February 26, 2013

Can you find the clue to destruction?

So below you'll find my tale of how my Thorax got destroyed.  Follow along and see if you can spot the clues that I should have noticed...

The Tale of Woe

I undocked my Thorax and headed for lowsec with a grin on my face.  I’ve generally only taken frigates out into lowsec, with the exception of a Thorax I lost when I was in Gallente FW and they needed more dps for a structure bash.  In comparison to my previous post, I was definitely feeling more relaxed for some reason.  In the last highsec system before lowsec I warped to 100km off the gate to check it out.  Not that I would spot any cloaked scouts, but just as well not to go straight into something obvious.  Nobody there.  I backed up to a midwarp safe, then gave a jump command on the gate so if there was someone cloaked there they’d have less time to report between the end of my warp and arrival on the other side.

I came through and saw a Velator on grid with the gate, twenty-something klicks off.  That’s odd – a Velator in lowsec.  Must be bait or a cheap intel position.  I ignore it and dive towards a distant asteroid belt, with the idea that even if he can tell that I’m aiming to the planet he won’t be able to report which of the five or six belts I’ll be arriving at.  I drop a midwarp safe on my way and hit d-scan as I come in on the belt.  Nobody in the belt, but when I swing the d-scan out to 360 degrees I see a Venture.  Hmm, I can’t scram the Venture but I was recently talking with a corpmate about how fragile they are.  If I’m fast enough I might be able to get on him – though that would probably mean he’d have to be near the warp-in of the belt.

I try the nearby belts but I can’t seem to find the Venture.  I do see probes though – but core scanning probes, not combat probes.  As I fly out to another belt I catch sight of a Vexor on d-scan.  A lowsec explorer, perhaps?  The Vexor is a good ship for that.  A Thorax / Vexor match up could be fun, and I’d certainly have the advantage if he’s fit for anom rats.  But if he’s in an anom I’ll never find him of course.  I briefly put the Vexor out of my mind as I swoop over to another planet and look around the belts.  Then I remember the Velator and wonder if he’s still there.  I warp to the gate at 20km, d-scanning as I go.  That’s funny, I’m not showing the gate on my d-scan even though I’m pointing right at it.

I come out of warp and I don’t see the Velator, but I do see the Vexor with his probes out around him.  I don’t know what he’s thinking doing that, but I know what I’m thinking.  I lock him and hit the MWD.  He starts yellow boxing me and I’m wondering if it’s going to be ECM drones or combat drones.  I launch my Hammerheads and punch the scram and neutrons.  What?  The darn new safety warning is screaming at me.  Quick, turn the darn safety off.  Fire!

Damage piles onto my shields, almost gone in one shot.  Arggh, I wasn’t thinking of the gate guns.  I’ve lost a frigate before for foolishly engaging on the gate in lowsec, but I didn’t think of that here.  I swing around and try to align out as I my buffer armor gets smacked.  I try to warp but I’m scrammed.  I’m losing armor fast – the Vexor must have blasters.  My ship blows and I warp my pod out.  I give a GF in local along with a  joke about being a foolish noob.  I start chatting with my corpmate and figure I'll pull up my lossmail to share.  Hey wait, the top damage dealer is... CONCORD Police Captain?  Oh crap.  I look up at the upper left - I'm in a 0.6 system.  Sigh.

So, did you spot the signs?

Certainly the Velator in lowsec was one, but before that remember all that warping around as I checked out the gate?  I think what happened was that when I warped back to my safe I then grabbed the wrong gate to jump through.  Everything after that comes from that root cause.  Since I have the warning about "you're about to enter into lowsec" turned off, it is all on me to pay attention to where I am going with homicidal intent.

The Ventures weren't so big a sign - people use them for their warp stability in lowsec and WHs.  The Vexor with core scanners, also not as big a warning sign.  But after all CCP did to add that safety swtich, over-ruling it was the bigger sign.  I think my thought at the time was that perhaps the safety didn't consider lowsec, and I was so intent on killing that Vexor!

After the fact

I got a convo from the Vexor pilot.  He and I had a friendly conversation.  He said I almost killed him before he managed to hit the gate and jump.  We had a good laugh and that.  "At least it turned out okay" he says.  Not okay by me, I'd be just as fine with both of us losing a ship, though I didn't say that part.  Suicide ganking is not something I'm interested in, but if I was that close... oh no.

Go back a couple posts.  What was one of my first Lessons Learned?  Overheat all the things.  I have to wonder if I had preheated my Neutron Blasters would I have killed that Vexor?  Arrgh, now that is much more painful.

So time to line up a few more ships.  Autocannon and Artillery Specialization is skilling now.  Maybe it's time to look up some good Thrasher fits...

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