November 7, 2013

As the blood leeched out of my thorax...

Recently a lot of my Eve time has been either struggling to get my indy alt to the next level or diving in and out of wormholes.  And that Eve time has been more limited thanks to a number of RL issues (on the plus side, Go Red Sox!).  But there has been far too few explosions involved.  So last night I decided I wasn't going to do anything else until something exploded.  Follow along and see if you can spot my mistakes.

Roaming 'Rax
I know I need to get out of just running Thoraxes.  I think that will change later this month, but that's not the topic for today.  I threw together a Thorax to make use of the MAAR, which I've been meaning to do for a while.  Setting out from Dodixie I headed for Gallente low-sec.  With the increased activity in the Gallente/Caldari FW systems I saw that my path was a bit hotter than usual.  FW systems can be great for solo play, but when big things are happening it seems that I'm unlikely to find a solo engagement rather than being hit by a 5+ person team.  And that's about my preference, not theirs - I know they need those groups to counter the other side.  I'm an intruder in their FW world.

Thru belts I spy a... Cruor?
I'm slipping through, scanning belts and such, when I get to Onne.  I warp to the Deninard gate at 100km, dropping a Midwarp bookmark to come back to later to let me investigate more.  But as I hit I see a Cruor also land near the gate.  Oooh, I vaguely know what that is.  I wonder if it wants to play.  I start towards it to see if it will engage or head on away and sure enough it turns into me, now at 96km and closing.

"So, you think a Thorax can take a Cruor?" I ask on the comms of some guys I've been hanging out with.  The quick response is that it will probably kite me to death while neuting from range.  Right then, I load Null into the blasters with the thought that I can apply some surprise damage out to range.  Maybe a bit of playing with our motion can get me some low transfersal to apply damage in.  I have a cap booster, so I'm hoping that the other pilot will be surprised that I'm not capped out immediately.  At 40-somethink clicks I get the Hammerheads out.  Sometimes I run with two wings of lights - that would have been nice for this time around but what can you do.  The Cruor immediately starts knocking them down.  I hit the Cruor with a couple volleys of Null and he's down into armor, but repping.  But the Cruor isn't kiting, he's diving into close range.  I try to pull away to lower transversal and gain range but it's too late.  The scram has disabled my MWD and that with the web has dropped me down to something like 23mps.

I switch over to Fed Antimatter and I have a web and scram on him, but I'm not landing any dps of note.  I pull the Hammerheads (down to 3) with the thought of springing them again in a moment after perhaps he's not looking for them, but I don't expect they'll matter much.  As a matter of fact I actually just forget about them once they're in the bay.  I try all the weaving I can in or out of the orbit, but with my paltry speed compared to his I might as well be stationary.  My shields are gone and my armor is slowly weakening.  I switch the MAAR to "Auto-repeat off" since I expect I'm only going to get specific chances at my cap as my boosters aren't keeping up with the neuting.

It quickly becomes clear there isn't anything that's going to work, so I align to the gate.  As my ship dies I hit Jump and ... huh?  Oh crap, pick another celestial, Deninard is only 60km away.  Scram, pod pop.  Hey, that's the new podded animation!  Bummer, that was my most expensive clone.  As I awake in a far away station I send Tyen (the Cruor pilot) a convo request to convey a GF, and he seems nice enough about it all.  For all the bitching about Eve being full of mean people, I really haven't run into too much rage from those I kill or mocking meanness from those who have killed me.

Oh, that Tyen?
I mention my loss to a friend on a private channel and link my lossmail.  He congratulates me on getting killed by someone famous, since that is Tyen of the Nightmare in New Eden event.  Hey, another bonus on the fight.

The Ships
Turns out Tyen lost the Cruor and his own pod later than night so we can compare the ships.
My Thorax (43M) - My Pod (155M)
Tyen's Cruor (110M) - Tyen's Pod (208M)

Notice the familiar looking loot in Tyen's cargo?  Clearly he killed me and two other people before dying, so overall I hope he had a good night of it.  It does make me wonder if someone else picked up my corpse (if it is the one of the two that dropped).

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Battles Won and Lost before the first volley.  It's a common statement that Eve fights are often lost in planning.  Let's look at my side - a Thorax I threw together fast with rigs that were intended for a failed earlier fit, but still I'm not too unhappy with it.  Yes, I might have been better off in this case with the double-web Thorax I've flown before, but then that neut/nos pair would have taken me down even faster.  The mixed light drones would have been good for this fight, but not if I was engaging another cruiser.  However, looking at my pod and his we see something else.  My pod was originally meant for my mission-running days, focusing on battleship tank, and while that is a bonus to this active-tanked Thorax it's probably not the best match.  Tyen's pod isn't a perfect match for his ship - he has a rapid launch implant that does nothing for a Cruor.  It is reassuring to me that we were both running with 3% implants, so perhaps my choice of cost/benefit was good.

Taking the fight.  One of the guys on comms said "when I see someone in a expensive faction ship I assume they know what they're doing."  Amazing failfits posted about the web aside that's probably a good assumption.  I also only had a vague understanding of the Cruor as I turned into the fight (neuts and dmg bonused lasers), and when someone else suggested the neuts were range bonused I didn't confirm that.  That led to me closing range instead of trying to make the Cruor chase me.  Here is Tyen's fit in Osmium - under MWD I can outpace him.

It might have been interesting to see what I could have done to him with Null outside of scram range.  Not that my Thorax is a really a kiting ship anyway.  If I had recognized (or looked up) Tyen's name I would have also known his experience level - though I did noticed the -9.8 sec status.

Drone use.  Pulling the drones or not probably didn't influence which way the fight went, but they certainly did me no good in my drone bay.  Even a lucky hit here and there might have kept him running that SAR, and given that he had no cap support that might have mattered.

Cap lessons.  Osmium gives him 41s of cap with everything running.  That seems really low to me, though I'd have to play with it to see how much longer he can hold out when the SAR isn't running.  The Nos he clearly can turn off once he's knocked me down, though with the newer mechanics he does definitely have more benefit for fighting up class.  All this is interesting, but of course I don't know his fit going in.  An advanced skill is intuitively knowing what an opponent likely has going in, but I'm not there.

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