Exploring has been a bit of a bust for me recently. So I decided to give that a skip and try some hunting in lowsec which was fun, even if I got nothing to show from it at the end. But new lessons about cloaking have come and new opportunities continue to beckon!
I missed the rush to explore after the patch due to busy RL which sounds like I may have missed the loot tables being turned to 11 for a bit. I've been staying in highsec since I wanted to learn how to do the minigame and because I'm not yet sure if my hack skills are up to lowsec. The first time I got in there to try it I ran a half-dozen relic site and maybe brought in 10M in loot. The second time I must have been a few steps behind someone else as every system was stripped down to the wormhole signatures, except for one data site which was empty of hackables, so I must have been right behind someone. But I did find I was enjoying zipping around in my Helios and practicing cloaking.
So I moved on to something different the next time I logged in. I popped a cloak on a PVP Vexor fit (losing a turret slot, I know) and headed off to lowsec. My general plan was to cloak and hang out around some of these exciting new locations, standing 5km off of the warp-in point, and drop in to surprise someone looking to rat for tags or ninja mine some ice. The lowsec system I had picked was an entry system between a lower-population highsec and a big string of lowsec, and one that looked inactive for PVP. In other words, the place I hoped someone would also consider attractive for ratting - one jump back to highsec and quiet. Considering the limitation of a non-covops cloaker I didn't want to have a susbtantial local resident population to worry about.
The general plan for this fit was to be agile and have a MWD. I know I'm going to have a long delay between decloaking and locking, so the idea is to get close to the target and ram them under MWD while resetting. I'm loaded with blasters, so being on top of him is what I want anyway. I have Hammerheads, Warriors, and EC-300s for fighting cruisers, faster ships, or for GTFO.
Insertion into the system was uneventful and local was empty, so I popped on over to a ice belt and sat for a bit while reading forum threads and looking at market stuff. Then it occurred to me that attacking an ice miner wasn't likely to net me much, so I moved over to an asteroid belt and repeated. I waited. I stopped and killed some rats out of boredom (and sec status) and moved to another belt. Local still zero. Hmm, definitely need to plan ahead to have some indy planning to do or the like.
Aha! Someone comes into system. I look him up. Apparently he's recently been caught ratting in an autocannon Wolf and had some shiny modules dropped. Excellent! I start d-scanning and looking to see if he shows up in any belts around the same planet as me. I'm pretty sure I can take a PVE Wolf fit like the one he lost, though I know I may really regret the loss of that one neutron blaster. I see rats, then I see wrecks, and the Wolf is moving around. Argg, but I realize the rats in my belt are small ones and so may not be worth his time. So I dscan down the belt he's moved to with live rats, align, and come out of cloak to warp and pounce.
I come out of cloak, start locking, got lock, hit the warp disruptor - Invulnerable. Damn! Just missed him - there he goes off to a planet with lots of belts. I pick one and give chase. This is probably going to be a fool's errand since he almost certainly can align faster than I. I cloak up and wait a bit more. I wait - let him get back to ratting, then try one more time. But now he's probably watching d-scan and he's gone from his belt before I even arrive.
A couple Russians show up and I think both the Wolf and I safe up, considering how he disappears. I see some core scanner probes on d-scan and then they're moving on. And my Wolf pilot as well. Ah well, it was fun.
Cloaky Spying Ninja
The next time I log in I decide to try another idea - scanning down mission runners and going after their loot. My plan is not to do a full ninja in front of them (something I'm familiar with, ahem) but to clean up after those who tend to blitz or just are taking a long time. But first I have to find them, so it's time for the Helios again. I find a nearby system with an L4 security agent and away I go.
And there's a battleship - Megathron! Let's take a peek and warp to about 30km away. It's not just a Megathron, it's a Megathron, Loki, Rapier, Talos - oooh, it's a highsec fight. And the targets become little Caldari wrecks pretty much as soon as I see them. The victorious ships start warping off - perhaps they saw my "not trying to be subtle" combat probes and think an enemy is looking for them. If they want to leave those PC wrecks behind I'll be glad to - oh bummer, the Loki is sticking around an salvaging them.
Back to the scanning. There's another Megathron. Warping in I see an acceleration gate. D-scan shows the Mega nearby, so presumably inside the gate. I slowly move up to the gate, trying to remember if it will activate at a range greater than the decloaking-range. Nope, decloaked by the accleration gate. So know I'm surrounded by lots of yellow triangles - and no Megathron. There's another gates, so the BS must be in the next room since he's still on d-scan. I bookmark and warp out to pick up a Noctis.
Warping back I see the gate - oh, right, you can't bookmark inside of a room only the gate. Okay, back in. Now I'm getting nervous. Once I pick up the loot I'll be flagged and I'll have to wait that out. And I wasn't smart enough to make a safe in this system, it's one of the ones around here that i don't already have bookmarks for. And the battleship is no longer on D-scan. Is he coming back? Did he see my Noctis before he left?
Right, line up so I can tractor the large wrecks first. lock'em and ... what? You can't tractor someone else's wrecks! I think I have the wrong tool for the job - maybe a Noctis is too pricey an asset to risk instead of loading a destroyer full of salvagers. A suspect timer will hold me for 15 minutes and I'm already up later than I planned to be, okay, maybe I'll try this again some other time. I head back to base, making a midwarp safe along the way for later.
Cloaks are fun - train for them. But not being able to warp cloaked is going to limit me a lot. A Helios can't fight and I can't afford to be running a cloaky Proteus around lowsec looking for danger. Middle ground would be a Force Recon - I'm not sure really what I could beat with a Force Recon, but I'll be really interested to try. Signature Analysis V is now on the training list to meet the prereq. Who knows, they may get a rebalance by the time I get into them.
There's a lot going on out there, if you know where to look. I didn't mention spotting the Black Frog cyno alt above, since that's about all there was to it. Presumably they didn't open a cyno that I saw because the place was wrong or because there were people in system. Then there was that highsec fight. How to look into all that action is an interesting question to think more about.
Lowsec exploring. I think I'll set up an Imicus with non-faction probe gear and slip into low to try the sites. Though with the mass of people doing exploring it may just be something I back-burner for a while.
Think through the plan. If the Noctis was the wrong tool it shouldn't have been out there. Arguably I really should think about whether I'd be better off just getting back to trying L4 missions, which could net me loot I would own and get me standings too. It would be nice to have jump clone standing with someone.