I got in on Deathrace 2013 and some PVP in this past week and a bit, at the low low price of a Navy Comet + pod for Deathrace and two thrashers for the lowsec PVP. And I had my first kill rights assigned on me. Otherwise things slowed down due to lots of RL stuff - all good stuff, but particularly that my son has become drawn into all things Tolkien so we spent six nights watching the extended edition LOTR DVDs. Lots of fun but of course that meant no Eve those nights.
Deathrace 2013I hadn't joined Eve yet the last time there was a Deathrace, so I definitely wanted to give this a try. Consider it a checklist item I suppose. I fit out a Federation Navy Comet for the race trying to balance align time, warp speed, light tank, and some weapons. I won't replay it jump by jump but instead try to summarize my impressions overall.
So the race started out with a bang. My little comet was knocked into half armor going through a smartbomb camp on the second gate or thereabouts, so I decided to take a very brief stop at a station to repair then was right back in the race. After that I didn't take any other damage except when I chose to engage. The thrill of the beginning wore down as we just repeatedly issued "Warp and Jump" commands. It was more about remembering to turn on the DCU that provided most of my tank after each jump.
I ended up uncloaking in New Eden, half out of desire to do something other than jump gate to gate, half out of confusion on whether we were required to at least some fighting amongst each other to start qualified for the race. I messed up a high-speed attack pass and getting blown up. I did end up making it to the finish line in my pod, though far enough behind that the final system was getting quiet. A buddy of mine made it ahead of me in his Venture, so congrats there to Billius Zabub.
There was a fair amount of confusion of what the racers were supposed to do in order to be not be disqualified. Did we have to engage the pirate BS and get on the killmail, or just wait until someone else did it? Did we have to have a copy of Pax Amarrica or not? Did we need tokill one of our fellow racers in New Eden to stay "qualified"? Did we have to go to the deadend string of New Eden at all? Rixx would like to pass this ambiguity off as being a reflection of the "unfair" nature of Eve, but I think a lot of people just felt it meant it all wasn't that well thought out. A lot of racers were also disappointed that the race was entirely in lowsec (save the final system) when they expected a fair portion in null (and thus bubbles). Rixx had said that the race would favor those with patience - I'm not sure what he was thinking unless he meant the patience to ignore the sideshows of the pirate BS, New Eden, and getting the Pax and just keep moving at top speed with no guns as soon as the next destination was announced.
Perhaps what this really demonstrates is the difficulty in putting together such an event. Not only are there a lot of possible expectations to try to balance (racing versus fighting) but also the possibility of having people show up to try to spoil your event. Maybe that's why they ended up avoiding spending time in Null, only ending in one system where they could bring Rote Kapelle in to be the final obstacle. Is it a matter of size of corp? What if a larger bloc (such as a nullsec alliance) ran an event like this? Maybe it would distract them from their allergy to sov-taking and waging new wars. :)
Lowsec Pew Pew - Thrasher #1I had expected Deathrace to be more deadly, so I had planned that if I was killed on the first couple systems I'd switch to ships that could either hunt racers or hunt the campers. To that end I had homed my clone to a system on the known portion of the race route and Frogged out two Thrashers and two Thoraxes. I figured at worst I'd do PVP after the race, making use of all of the bookmarks I'd made through that area of lowsec. I didn't think of it at the time, but once the final system was declared it would have been better to get podded in New Eden, hop in one of those ships, and then head to Syndicate for the finish line. In any case, these ships were then available for some lowsec fun.
I just recently got my small projectile skills to T2 weapons, plus enough shield skills to put up T2 tanking modules. I figured the Thrasher was a good shot since it would take advantage of my Destroyer 5 skill, and of course it was originally meant for killing frigate-class racers.
Rattatat was a thrasher with an artillery / disruptor / MWD fit. I bounced around the area trying to look for anyone for a while. I also was trying to learn to use a narrow-angle d-scan to check out moons and belts for targets. I learned a quick lesson there that POS medium artillery batteries can cause a lot of damage if you warp to a moon at 100km out, but fortunately I was able to warp away fast enough. I warped to a planet to d-scan its moons when suddenly a Rapier dropped out of warp about 25km off my position. Finally, I thought, here we go.
My thought process was that a Rapier was a fleet support ship with webber bonuses (IIRC), so I should expect another ship to drop in soon. I expected to die if I engaged but hoped a bank of artillery could kill that Rapier when perhaps she'd be expecting me to have autocannons. When the flight of drones sprung up I just crossed my fingers that they wouldn't be ECM drones. I fumbled getting a lock as I did a quick set to orbit at 20km first. I put a little dent in her shields but the lightly tanked thrasher went down fast. I got my pod out and ended up chatting with the pilot who got me, a local pirate. She was very amiable and even invited me to come out with her corp for some action the next night - if it was a trap to get another kill out of me I really wouldn't have cared, but unfortunately I couldn't make it due to RL commitments.
Choosing range: I should have internalized better that distance and speed is my tank. This is the opposite of my Gallente PVP experience where close hugging brawling with an active tank is the plan. I knew I wanted to engage at the edge of warp disruptor range and I had EMP loaded which I would think would be good for a Minmatar target. If I had set my ship to "keep at distance" while I fumbled with the guns she would have had to overtake me while I hit her with artillery as she chased me (and thus hopefully low transversal). This would have better fit my original expectation that the Rapier was there to hold me down for someone on the way. Her drones puzzled me - I didn't expect to see a full flight of drones - because I thought the Rapier was a frigate-class interceptor...
Know your ships: Ooops, it is a cruiser-class Force Recon. Could you tell I made that mistake from the way I wrote up my thought process? If I had known that I probably would have got for full-speed MWD to get away, though as I learned later chatting with Irunami Rei her ship could outpace me even before those webs hit. She was hitting me with 650mm artillery, so keeping distance wasn't an option. Perhaps this also speaks to the disadvantage of trying to roam solo - given that pirates are likely to show up in cruiser to battlecruiser hulls, what am I hoping to do in a destroyer?
Thrasher #2This was a loss with less to learn. I listen in on the -THC2- channel thanks to Sugar Kyle's excellent blog and I heard that some action was going down. Maybe my arty thrasher could be of some use in a fleet. Since she's mentioned Bosena as a hub I thought to myself - why not try to get to Molden Heath and get myself blown up there? Maybe I can even get in on something. So I set my shortest-path map and got going. Looking a few systems ahead I see that it's going to take me through the infamous Rancer. What the heck - it's getting late anyway and as long as I can survive the gates I'll go through. I didn't survive the gates and was immediately locked and podded. Ah well. No real lesson there other than to put Rancer and such places on the "avoid" list on the autopilot.
Lots of things in the Meta for a future blog: Caldari Prime Eve+DUST event, announcements at PAX East, CSM election stuff.