Friday, 29 November 2013

Full Circle

Today, we will talk about circles within circles, and unplanned positive outcomes.

Despite being a proud Khanid, and the lengths I've gone to fight their natives, I have a tremendous fondness for the Republic regions.

A long time ago, back when I first began as a capsuleer, I had grandiose dreams of setting up Imperial colonies in the fringes of Republic space. I imagined myself as some kind of missionary, bringing the light of civilization to the poor Matari savages. Well... we were all young once.

Since I was developing planetary industry there, my goals fell in line with the Republic Fleet, and I worked with them a great deal to drive away the Angel Cartel pirates that infest their space. I spent a great deal of time in Molden Heath, and I consider that region to be my first home in space.

Then King and Crusade called, and I set my guns to the very people I sought to protect, not so long ago. For nearly a year I attacked my former allies, all for the sake of greater diplomatic relations with, lets be honest, an incompetent military ally. (Really, they've been entrenched in a war with the same opponent for years now. Either make a push, or pursue peace.)

Now, making full use of the freedom regained by joining Stay Frosty, I have moved back to the Republic regions. We have a staging area just adjacent to the Marr/Minmatar FW zone. It's a nice 'coming home' kind of feeling.

Quite happily, the Stay Frosty staging area in Heimatar lines up quite neatly with my old Molden Heath staging area, and also my market slaves base of operations in Hek. Everything is on the same 15 jump line, providing a variety of space to explore along the way, from Crusade space to more lawless territory. Much better than that, is that my old caches of weapons and ships in Amarr territories are on the opposite side of the rich FW hunting grounds.

I have a circle of arms caches and stashes around the entire FW zone.

The benefit of this cannot be stressed highly enough.

One of the most demoralising aspects of solo capsuleer combat is the inevitable retrograde pod voyage. In other words, running away after a fight. Depending on your luck, this flight back to your staging area might be only a few jumps, or something much more arduous.

However, by having multiple equipment stashes across space, you cut this particular downtime down to a minimum. You extend your particular range in space by a great deal. It also gives you a clear patrol path to follow... simply plot from cache to cache, meaning that a roaming map is not needed.

Not only this, but the statistics can be useful. If you find yourself re-stocking a particular cache more than the others, then this will give you a good idea of where to find battles, or at least willing opponents. Population is an easy thing to measure, but the willingness of locals to fight is a good deal more difficult to calculate (I chased an Executioner for an hour around Heimatar the other day).

Am I suggesting that all pilots create their own networks of supply caches? Well, perhaps for the logistically inclined.

At an individual level, it might not be worth your time, particularly if all you want is the thrill of combat. However, such supply networks at the corporate level provide a clear advantage, particularly for small gang and solo based entities. Members will appreciate the convenience, and be much more likely to stay with the corporation once the shine has worn off the corp logo.

It depends on how much of a support service you'd like your corporation to be, as opposed to a social group.

So at the end of that rambling, which I'll label as Strategikon, whilst not really being concise enough to be called so, I just wanted to point out my own good fortune, and the benefits of creating circles. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Enjoying space again

Usually, I fly around the faction war zones.

There are a great many pilots to duel, and engagements can be, to a degree, forced into terms you desire. For example, novice complexes are secured to only frigate sized vessels.

However, since I joined Stay Frosty, and have no reason to spend my down time defending complexes, safe-guarding or capturing systems for the greater good of the Empire.This means that I have more time to simply enjoy being in low-security space.

And it is rather enjoyable.

In the last week, in among my hunts in the FW zones, I spent a lot of time exploring low-sec. That's not Exploring, meaning tracking down various relics and unguarded telecommunication hubs, but just, well, looking around.

Low-sec is peaceful.

The FW areas might be afire with the deaths of capsuleers, but just a few jumps off the beaten tracks, and you'll find areas of space almost forgotten. There are sights to see, and, maybe a little more significantly, sites to exploit.

There are a number of untapped combat anomalies floating around low security space. Serpentis criminals are in abundance in these not so well patrolled space lanes, and the peace-loving CONCORD are more than willing to pay money for their blood.

I spent a few days bombing around in a Talwar destroyer, attacking targets in both belts and curious scan sites.

The money I got was negligible compared to what my market slave brings in (I really must look into that.. I'm not sure my current lifestyle suits slave ownership), but it was most relaxing. Probably just what I needed after moving from Amarr space to throw in my lot with pirates.

That's not to say it was all hum drum, by the numbers patrolling. There are, as always, other pirates to fight!

The destroyer was lost to a Kestrel. A close fight, and one I probably should have won, if I went with the suggested fitting for the Talwar, which called for an armor plate. Put simply, his frigate was built more sturdily than my destroyer, and the difference in firepower not enough to overcome the difference in defense.

The way the fight came about is the subject of a later post, one that about hunting technique and use of the Directional scanner. There are hundreds of written works and videos about this topic already, but I'm not convinced I have to concept clearly in my head yet. I've always held that you learn best by teaching others, so, I will attempt a guide to help with my own professional development.

There is also now a raised question of income. During bust cycles of my slaves profit growth, I would supplement his investment capital with goods from the Crusade Quartermaster. This is no longer an option. I will need to think of a new supplementary income source.

Monday, 25 November 2013

War Record: The First Week

Whilst I'm not strictly at war with anyone, I still like to prepare reports. It's a good tool for skill development.

My initial hunts didn't turn up much, but the behavior of capsules in the Federation/State war zones is... odd.

I found a Caldari State militia man defending a complex with a Venture mining frigate. Despite it being a civilian ship, he was participating in a combat role, so I engaged. Unfortunately the Venture's overpowered warp coils escaped my warp scrambler.

Quite why he was in a mining frigate is beyond me, but his ship is well equipped for running away. I'd like this to be an isolated incident, but, well... read on.

The second target I found was a kiting Tristan. The Tristan is a drone specialist ship, sporting 5 of the little bees at any one time. A very flexible ship, able to deal damage effectively at any range, due to it's drones. Brawling fits are typical of brawlers (very tough and damaging), whilst kiters, again, are typical, if a bit on the slow side.

I affectionately dub this ship the War Bunny.

When fighting a kite Tristan, there are two possible tactics. Simply engage, ignoring the drones, treating as a regular turreted ship, or target their swarm, crippling the damage output.

Initially, I treated it as a normal turret ship. However, my attempts at a slingshot were thwarted quite handily, so I set to destroying his drones instead.

The fight ended with me unable to catch the frigate itself, but taking out his entire complement of drones. Cost of rockets used was much less than the cost of the drones, so, despite a lack of kill mail, I'll count it as a victory.

The rest of the week devolved into several cat and mouse games, with no real engagement, except for this peculiar kill.

An unfit Executioner, defending a complex. Even more strangely, the pilot self destructed his capsule, even before I had a chance to lock him again. Not that I would destroy his pod, but I stayed to watch him commit suicide, simply out of curiosity.

I'll say this for the Minmatar Republic. They're not as weird as the Gallente and Caldari.


My hunting strategy isn't getting me any worthwhile engagements. I shall need to think upon this some more.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Stay Frosty

So, I joined Stay Frosty.

Run by the infamous Rixx Javix, this corporation is a motley collection of skilled pirates and rookies looking to escape the drudgery of High security space.

I'm not sure how well I will fit in here. I led a more disciplined life in the Crusade, and my targets were usually Republic Militia types, or aggressive pirates. I never shot first against those not flying the Tribal Liberation Force flag.

Pulling the trigger against any combat vessel is something I will have to learn.

Pulling the trigger against a civilian, or non-combat ship... well, that will be the source of some inner debate.

It's not technically against my Family's oath, and now I've left the Khanid Navy, I certainly won't face court marshal for it. I might have trouble if I ever wanted to go home again, but once you undergo the capsuleer process, you tend to sever ties to grounded life anyway. But, I feel it violates the spirit of my Oath. Destroying a ship which cannot fight back is hardly bringing the light (well, except for the obvious laser blasts and consequent explosions).

However, piracy is what I'm here to learn.

I'm here to learn how to fight like an outlaw. A lifetime of military service has me wrapped up in so many rules and regulations that I'm consistently confounded by electronic warfare, and unorthodox tactics. I hope for these unorthodox ladies and gentlemen to teach me their ways.

The first thing I shall change: My patrol hunting pattern.

From now on, I will no longer orbit complexes. There is no value. I do no one any favours by hovering outside a station, and in fact can only cause panic to the people on board. Now:

  • Aggressively enter complexes known to have capsuleers.
  • Spend no more than 4-5 mins in each system looking for a capsuleer.
  • All combat vessels are to be engaged.
  • Other pirate faction vessels to be engaged as targets of opportunity and profit.
This is something I could have done in the Crusade, but the lack of trust between militia mates means that entering a complex with a militia member inside might result in friendly fire.

I have brought a stack of 5 Kontarion Breachers near to Hevrice, the home land of Stay Frosty. I shall have to get used to the Gallente and Caldari low security systems, but at least I lessen the risk of awkward encounters against Crusaders.

I hope the honourable Mr. Javix doesn't mind the slight edits I did to his corporations emblem. I'd like to keep a small link to my past.

Many pilots are talking about crossing the Rubicon, a reference to a truly ancient history. I believe that today, I have crossed my own personal Rubicon.

I haven't received any word from my family about my actions.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

To dark places

I sit here now, thinking deep thoughts about my career.

When I first started, I was proud to follow my King's decree. I believed in my objectives. I believed in having a reason to fight.

The desire to do a duty, even to a figure I had never met, gave me the impetus to strike out beyond safer places of space. The Crusade forced me into danger. It forced me into combat with other capsuleers. Under my King's orders, I was prepared to carve a bloody swathe through the stars, leaving a rail of my own cloned corpses and wrecked ships.

I fooled myself into believing that King Khanid's ideals and goals aligned with my own. Independence from the Amarr Empire. Freedom from tradition. Defying God's law, as told by theocrats. These attributes made me proud to bear the Khanid badge, proud to declare myself a Khanid Kataphract.

But it is illusion.

King Khanid is simply another Empire ruler. He serves his own interests, and is willing to do anything to get what he wants. This makes him admirable. To not be constrained by tradition or others' laws is freedom for him.

But without guidance, without someone else's goal, you must have one of your own. The ship does not sail without a destination in mind. Even those ships have something to look for.

What is my purpose?

In the Crusade, I was a simple soldier. Learning how to fight was my goal. A simple life: follow orders, do as well as you can, and get rewarded.

So what now?

I have my oath, but an open ended 'Learn to fight' goal doesn't have any real conclusion to it. My current plan of arbitrary 'Get x kills' is hardly compelling. But what else is there for me to do? There's no great war for me to fight. The current Empire Wars are only the bizarre outcome of controlled self-interest, regulated to the point of irrelevance.

There is nothing to really fight over in the Crusade. There is a lot of money to be made, but my market slave is nearly producing a fully fitted cruiser a day for me, at no real effort on my part. So why fight at all?

And after a week of wrestling with the concept, I still have no definitive answer for what I want to do in the end. All I really know is that I want to get better. To what end, I don't know. Perhaps that will be my goal. A romanticized drift through New Eden searching for a new objective.

My family's oath is to walk in dark places. I think I have found a dark place to walk. There are shadows there, shadows with skill and experience beyond what any in the Crusade can teach me. I'd like to walk with them for a while.

I hope they accept my application.

I hope my family will understand.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Strategikon Arcani: Kontarion Breacher

I believe I am coming to understand the mind set of a brawling pilot.

I have a certain distaste for it myself. Simply engaging and bullying your opponent from close range is hardly befitting of the intelligent warrior. But I can see now that there are nuances to learn when fighting within a few kilometers. And brawling is a part of flying the Kataphract Slicer. 

Equally, although I have respect for Minmatar fighters, I don't understand their mind set, or fully understand their tools of war. As I said before, Matari ships are gutter fighters, their use of projectiles in the age of space travel a sign of the desperate freedom fighter. Amarr ships are more like phalanx soldiers, well armed and armoured, but lacking flexibility.

Fortunately, the Minmatar are not wholly disimilar from the Khanid. As a people, we Khanid are mentally robust, and unlike our Amarr bretheren do not cling to tradition and dogma as a shield against reason. The Tribes, in their search for weapons, have many ships dedicated to missiles and rocketry... a trait which the Khanid can certainly sympathise with!

Khanid designed vessels are all missile based, with technology borrowed from our Caldari allies. In true kataphract fashion, our vessels exemplify thick armour and the tactical flexibility such a weapon system offers. The Republic, in one of it's rare bouts of wisdom, produced a frigate similar to this, albeit shield based instead of amour... clearly the Republic has yet to find funds to reproduce the advanced alloys coming out of Khanid Innovations.

So without any further exposition, presenting the Breacher.

Do not be fooled by its... spartan appearance. This is a tough vessel, and an extraordinary ambush predator. 

Relatively light on it's feet (for a full combat vessel) it provides extremely strong shield defenses. Whilst not as tough as Caldari shields, it can repair it's shield strength very rapidly.  

It fields two light drones, which make up roughly a third of it's firepower. I like drones. They provide firepower at any practical range, and whilst they need to be looked after, they can be relied upon to hound the target.

Missile systems have a travel time before firepower is applied, but unlike turrets, do not need to track or account for falloff. In fact, rockets, whilst giving a lower damage than other weapons, can better a pulse laser in range, and that's before rigging!

These elements all combine to make it an almost perfect training brawler.

[Breacher, Kontarion]
Damage Control II
Overdrive Injector System II
Ballistic Control System II

Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 50
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
1MN Afterburner II

Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Rocket

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Small Bay Loading Accelerator I

Hobgoblin II x2

This set up is fairly mundane, but the simplicity is balanced with effectiveness. With my skills, rockets hit out to about 7.6km, which lends itself to some brawling tactics:
  • For pulse laser ships, keep as close as you can. The tracking on lasers is relatively weak, so you will mitigate damage this way.
  • For blaster and autocannon fit ships, maintain a 6-7km orbit. With the fall off from those weapon systems, you'll be out of the bulk of their firepower. 
Keep an eye on your drones, but they're fairly autonomous. If the enemy starts shooting at them, bring them back in, then release after the enemy has forgotten about them.

Repair your shield as needed. Unlike most active tanks, the Ancilliary shield booster is quite immune to energy neutralizers. In addition, your rockets don't use capacitor either... so long as you're in range you can deal damage to your target.

This can be seen in this Tristan fight. My capacitor was drained completely, but the drones and rockets punched their way through regardless. A bright ray of sunshine, on an otherwise terrible month.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Arzad, and the character of the Crusade

Sleep has been elusive of late.

When I first started in the Crusade, it was when the Amarr forces had been pushed to their breaking point. Only a few strongholds held out.

My own contribution to the inevitable turning tide was negligible. But turn, the tide did.

Crusdaers had a sudden surge in skill, passion and above all, luck. They pushed the Republic capsuleers back, taking several systems.

One such system was Arzad.

The taking of Arzad was... special.

Jamyl Sarum, the Emperor of Amarr ordered the system to be bathed in slave blood. Not warior's blood. Not Matari. But slave.

A freighter was brought to the Infrastructure hub by capsuleers. It was full of slaves. The Crusdaers fired upon the defenseless freighter. Their lasers stripped it's hull quickly, and it detonated, killing many of the slaves inside.

They were the lucky ones.

The wreck floated in space, slaves still surviving inside. Slowly, their pressurised cargo containers lost integrity, and they suffered an agonizingly slow death, as their oxygen was depleted.

After an hour or two of taunting the Republic, daring them to rescue their bretheren, the Crusaders opened fire again, vaporizing the wreck, condemning the slaves inside to the harsh vacuum of space.

I very nearly left the Crusade that day, King's orders be damned.

I stayed believing in Khanid II. I stayed trusting his leadership would never set the Khanid Kingdom on such a bloody thirsty and psychotic path. We Khanid may be harsh taskmasters, but slaves are still a valuable resource for us. We are never so wasteful.

So I stayed, turning a blind eye to the psychotic nature of the Imperial Navy, and the Crusade.

There are many fine pilots here. Many who are helpful, and many who act like decent human beings. But even these could not stop Arzad. And so now, they are tarnished by the actions of others they could not stop.

And that includes me.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Breaking news: Amarr Admiral killed by Capsuleers

As far as I can tell, an Empire led assault on pirate systems in both Curse and Syndicate ended in an utter massacre at the hands of capsuleer run corporations who dwell outside of CONCORD's jurisdiction.

High ranking Empire officers were killed, including Admiral of the Imperial Navy's Third Fleet, Ran Karetta.

As the ship loss record clearly shows, the Admiral was ambushed and murdered by an ad hoc coalition of capsuleer alliances. Their guilt is quite obvious to any who care to look.

I'm sure the Emperor is in fierce debates now, coming up with a response to this grievous crime. 

King Khanid has also informed me that he is looking with suspicion at those capsuleer corporations bordering the Khanid Region. Such a communication from my King can only mean that he is considering a change in my orders. We shall see.

For now, let us wish the good admiral a pleasant afterlife. Incompetent as he was in commanding a fleet, he has paid the price for his shortcomings, in a most final manner. Here is a short quote from scripture, that was said to be the admiral's favourite:

"Face the enemy as a solid wall
For faith is your armor
And through it, the enemy will find no breach
Wrap your arms around the enemy
For faith is your fire
And with it, burn away his evil"
- The Scriptures, Amarr Askura 10:3

Clearly, dear admiral, lasers are better at burning, and sound tactics better defense, than faith.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

War Record: Compounding stupidity

The Kataphract Slicer was handily destroyed by a Firetail, fit with both a scrambler, tracking disruptor, neutralizer and webifier.

Even though the Slicer could brawl in a pinch, the guns were disrupted, speed limited to about 100m/s and the capacitor drained. The fight was ended within seconds, and the Firetail's shields barely scratched... which didn't matter, as he was fit with an armour plate.

How do I know this? Civility and diplomacy. I congratulated him on his victory, and politely asked for his fit, which he was kind enough to send me. Remember, the Arcani are pledged to learn from shadows.

How did this happen?

I warped to an acceleration gate, where he was already orbiting. Foolish. He locked me up faster than I could get away, and from then on, I was doomed.


So what could have been done better? Simple enough: don't warp so close to the acceleration gate. Warping to the complex itself always lands you at a beacon, but the acceleration gate can be approached more cautiosly.

New routine: Warp to 30km.

This engagement again highlights my weakeness towards Electronic warfare, and close quarter fighting in general. I dislike brawling. I believed it to be the domain of gutter fighters, and the unthinking brute. This fight has taught me better.

Minmatar ships, whilst they can be adequately fit for long range warfare, are ambush predators. These are the weapons of guerrillas and terrorists, not the true fleet ship. They have their advantages in catching the enemy off guard, and doing unexpected tactics.

Amarr ships, whilst they have an edge in conventional fights, have limited tricks up their sleeves. They are soldiers weapons, designed to exemplify traditional combat values: firepower, damage application, and defense.

My training so far has just been with Amarr tactics. Clearly, I cannot win by simply understanding these tactics. I will learn how to fight like a Minmatar. Once they are understood, they can be defeated.

My kill counter will be reset. I still have yet to check off the first step on my plan.


The next loss was hardly even noteworthy. Experimenting with a Slasher, I landed at a complex I expected to be empty, only to find 3 frigates already brawling. The reason: my D-Scan setting were wrong.

Utter stupidity.

To be honest, those pilots should have taken my clone as well. I deserved that.


Check your settings. Idiot.

As my old teacher used to say, on a week like this, it's time to put down your gun, make yourself some tea, and contemplate your multitude of sins. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Trade Log: Depreciation

No, I don't mean I don't like my customers!

Depreciation is when the value of an item decreases over time. Take an obvious example: the humble Gallente potato.

The Galpo is worth s most when it's freshly dug from the soil. Obviously there are price differences between planet side and station vat grown samples, but nevertheless, it's the freshest and most expensive as soon as you get it out of the ground.

Then, it starts to get older. Day by day it gets less fresh. It goes wrinkly. It develops buds. The flavour goes, it starts to dry out. It can take a while, but eventually, your potato will rot. Have you ever tried to sell a rotten potato? It's value plummets.

The same is true of any item you buy in New Eden.

When you buy an item, with the intent of selling it, it's value to you is the profit you can make from it. Generally speaking, it's at it's peak value the moment you buy it... then the clock starts ticking.

Let's start with what I call Market Depreciation.

As any trader can tell you, the markets of New Eden are fiercely competitive. Prices are undercut, buy orders over bid. Once you set an item to sale, it will inevitably fall in price. I can't think of a logical time when prices will increase, except for a sudden and drastic surge in demand, or a catastrophic drop in supply.

This is your items depreciation. Most traders hedge their bets, taking a 20% hit n their projected profits to represent this. I'm one of them, introducing as many worst case scenarios into my calculations as I can.

You should to. My own calculations (since I have occasional obsessions with arithmetic), take into account standings, taxation, travel time etc. However, it's not really necessary. Just do as most others do: 20% off projected profit. It'll keep you smiling when your wallet balance is better than expected.

But that's not the only other form of depreciation. Let's look at Profit Depreciation.

If you're a serious trader, or looking to supply a soldier whose skills aren't stellar with a frigate every day, then you should really start calculating in terms of Profit/day.

The calculation is easy enough:

Profit per day= Profit ÷ days to sale

Calculating this way actually gives you a much better idea of what an item is worth... or at least, worth to you as a trader.

Say you have a very expensive implant. You got it cheaply, and you can make 100,000,000 ISK from flipping it to someone else. Sounds great right? But it takes 10 days to sale.

Profit/day = 10,000,000 ISK

Not too shabby. But, say you have a cheaper implant, that you can only sell for 50,000,000 profit. No brainer right? Go for the better profit margin. But lets check Profit/day. How long does it take to sell. 2 days.

Profit/day = 25,000,000ISK

Better than double! And you get your money back quicker, which means you aren't subject to Market Depreciation for so long!

The point is this: Big wide profit margins look good, but can be misleading. Estimate how many items you can sell in 10 days, and see if that super-shiny implant is worth the trouble of buying, when you could get two cheaper ones for better Profit/day.

Happily, every Region in New Eden keeps a record of market fluctuations. It's that funny graph on the market window. Very handy.

So why is this on my mind right now?

Well, to do with my experiment. Profit margins in Hek are very wide, but volume of items sold is pretty poor. Right now I can expect to have an item sitting on the shelf for a week, if not longer. And yes, the profit off each will pay for a fully fitted frigate, but I think the same items can do better.

Just to be clear, I'm not manipulating the market. I'm working with market forces... whether it's sustainable or not is up those same market forces. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Trade Log: Market Experiments

Every now and then, I like to experiment with the market.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand my master's orders... I still maintain my other business. But when those a stable, such as now, even the clink of coin flowing into the bank can become dull.

When this happens I like to fiddle with market forces and see what the results are. My goals with trading are to keep my master happily supplied with ships to blow himself up in, but since that Slicer of his hasn't gone boom yet, we have a bit of a breather.

Today's experiment: Volume increases in Hek.

Traditionally, Hek is good for it's low volume, but wide margins. There's money to be made if you're patient, and don't expect ISK to pour like a waterfall, but more like periodic geyser.

The downside to high margins is that volume of sales are low. So, the idea is simple: lower sell prices, and raise buy prices, to see if we get more product mobility. I'm going to invest a relatively small sum, and see what the results are. I'll track the progress, and see if I can update you guys on how it goes.

Theory: Decreasing the gap between Buy and Sell orders will make items sell faster.

Counter argument: Market is already balanced due to laws of supply and demand. Basically, the amount of items flowing already satisfy the people living in Metropolis... in which case, we'll see no change.

Why?: I have a soft spot for Hek. I've pretty much made all of money here, and, well, my family came from here.

End Date: 03/12/2013 (Subject to my Master's needs)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

War Record: My weak spots

Some things confound me more than anything else. My weak spots, whilst obvious, is no less frustrating for being so. In fact, it's much more irritating because of it.

On a recent patrol, I took my Kataphract Slicer into a Medium complex. The Republic Fleet cruiser gurading it was relatively easy to take down... a close orbit of less than 5km meant it's slow guns couldn't track the agile Slicer.

This was the first time I had entered a Medium Complex, and I was looking forward to finding what targets I would face. A cruiser? A destroyer? What ship would seek to end my Kataphract's survival streak?

A pirate frigate appeared on scanners.

Disappointing, but I readied my weapons, and quickly exained what type of vessel it was.

A Maulus. An Electronic warfare ship, specializing in Sensor Dampening. It also fields drones, making it an excellent kiter.

Sensor Dampeners do exactly as the name suggests. They reduce your locking distance, or increase your locking time. For a kiting ship, this is effectively a combat nullifier... if you can't lock a target at range, your strategy is useless.

But, foolish and cocky from my recent good luck, I attempted to close to short range against the frigate, loading Multi-frequency crystals, determined to brawl the target down.

The Maulus entered, and sure enough, the Sensor Damp hit, bringing me down to a limited lock range. What followed was the most tragic display of piloting on my part, and an excellent display on his. He was similarly fit with a MWD, and could kept out of range of Kataphract, sling-shotting around me with ease, his drones pummeling my ship.

I believe I got off one salvo on him.

Seeing my armour slowly whittled away, I decided disgression was the better part of valour. I overheated my MWD and burned away, putting enough distance between him and myself to escape.

After a quick compliment on his skill, I left the system, soundly defeated, my tail between my legs.


This patrol highlighted all of my weak spots, and lays them bare for me to think upon.

First of all, over confidence will get you killed. I underestimated my opponents advantage, and did not act cautiously enough when attacking a new threat. Lesson learned: act with caution against EWar frigates.

That said, I do not know the weakness of the Maulus. I assumed paper thin defenses, but that's not something you can count on when you can't even lock. Does it have low speed? If I destroy his drones, is he out of options? These things I must know.

Second, my piloting skills are terrible. The Kontos Exectuioner largely removed this problem for me, the equipped Webifier allowing me to make mistakes and maintain distance at the same time. I've come this far by working around my problem. I must tackle my failings head on.

Third, I have not considered defenses against EWar. I was unprepared to counter Sensor Damps, despte having lost a ship to one before. I lost a Coercer to a Hookbill wielding a Sensor Damp (I can't find the kill mail... I do however have an odd capsule loss I don't remember). I must find a defense against Sensor damps...

All in all, a reminder that I have much to learn from these shadows.

Friday, 1 November 2013

100% and Moving Forward

When in sevice to a cause higher than yourself, personal acheivement pales in comparison to the overall aim. Such is the pride I find in service to the Khanid Kingdom.

However, when such personal achievements do occur, I see no reason not to celebrate them!

In the last month, I lost 0 ships. This meant my efficiency in combat was 100%! I reported this to my King, and he rewarded my family with the leasing of one of his private asteroid belts. Not an uncommon gift, but apprecited none the less.

The caveat is this though: I only performed two patrols in October. But still, 3-0 is not bad.

With this in mind, I'm re-opening my old Plan. I hope to get a 5-kill solo patrol streak, before learning the intricacies of Fleet Command. In addition to this, I will start adding Small Complexes to my target list, hoping to take down Republic destroyers. At first I shall attempt to use the Kataphract Slicer, but I may need to change to a destroyer myself.

On a recent patrol I found that the cruisers guarding Medium Complexes could be easily taken down with the Slicer, by flying in close orbit. I will add this to my list of patrol targets, with the aim of finding what ships make their way into such arenas.

Despite a relatively poor exploration trip, October was a good month!