The Making of a Fighter Pilot

Posted: February 27, 2013 in EVE Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

It is with great pleasure this morning that I come to you and tell you that as of last night, I feel comfortable saying, “I am now a competent interceptor pilot.” It only took me three years of playing this freaking game to get to this point, but I know that I am finally here because of two fleets that happened over the course of the last two days.

Allow me to regale you with my tale…

It began on Monday evening with a call for a defense fleet in NOL-M9. Having not been in a fleet for a while, I was eager to see some action. It wasn’t too long before those who were causing us trouble (and the reason for the fleet forming) were gone, cowering from the combined might of TEST forces.

Still, with a fully formed fleet, people were restless to get some kills and as fortune would have it, our scout had found a fleet of neutral pilots in O-IOAI, just one jump over, who had apparently come through a wormhole. Tasting blood in the water, our fleet of around 37 jumped over to O-I to feast.

Knowing they didn’t stand a chance, the guys from Transmission Lost began to warp around to safe spots inside the system, hoping they could get away.

And here is where I had my first revelation that I no-longer suck at flying interceptors.

We had formed up on one of the gates in the O-I system, when I see on my overhead a stealth bomber uncloak. The FC calls for tackle to burn at him and get a point. Normally, I would have hit my orbit button (always at 500m when I’m flying a ceptor) and prayed I didn’t get blapped on my way to the target. I know this is not how you pilot an interceptor. I’ve known for a long time that they require manual piloting to be flown effectively. I know all about the “spiraling in” technique, and transversal and all that good stuff, I just had no idea how to do it correctly (it used to be a lot trickier when I first started flying interceptors).

Well, thanks to some new UI changes, I have learned that the spiraling technique is now incredibly easy, and I had spent a few days (well… a few minutes, but I figured I had it down) practicing for my next outing.

So of course the stealth bomber had uncloaked so he could drop a bomb. As soon as he uncloaked, I had begun my spiral towards him, and with my MWD on, it wasn’t going to take me long to get there… towards a bomb… with my MWD on. I’m sure you know why that’s a bad idea. I was already on my way when the bomb was unleashed, and I overhear comms light up with folks saying “oh no, you’re going to go splat” or something to that effect. “Shit,” I thought to myself, “here goes another interceptor.”

Well, I guess I was not the only tackle burning for this guy, because it wasn’t me to got hit by the bomb (and the person who did only lost their shields), and even better, because I had manually flown in, I was well clear of the explosion radius. No damage to me! Yay!

So, I dodged a bomb. That was my first inclination that my piloting skills had improved. Normally, bombs have been the bane of my frigate existence. Now, the stealth bomber cloaked back up and got away, but it wasn’t long until we flushed out his friends, and I even got on the kill mail for the Scythe that we caught in a bubble.

This excursion in and of itself had not totally convinced me of my competence, but was enough of a confidence booster to prepare me for the big show, which happened last night.

It was 9pm. I get up fairly early for work, so I normally try to get to bed around 9:30pm. I had finished my PI duties, and was about to wrap it up for the night when Demotress sends a ping out for a suicide frig swarm with special plans. I look at the clock. I look at the ping. Suicide frig swarm? How long could it last? I figured I could probably stay up until 10:30 or 11pm without too much trouble. No way a suicide frig swarm would last that long, right?

So I hop on mumble, join the fleet, and head to the staging POS with my Ares, Beautiful Muffin.

A quick note about Beautiful Muffin. I give ships I fly regularly a specific name, followed my a number to let me know how many of them have met their fate in the depths of space. For example, my solo pvp Maulus is currently “Slave IX.” Slave VIII met it’s untimely end at the hands of Goons. For a long time, I flew a taranis, lovingly called “Terroranis Wrex” (no rigs? WTF was wrong with me…). And of course, my special love, a viator called ” The Centurium Pidgeon 3″ (which has no killboard link because I haven’t lost a blockade runner in years). Since joining Dreddit, however, I’ve found that I’m much more useful as a fleet tackle, so I’ve switched it up to flying an Ares. This Ares has been good to me. But. I hadn’t thought about this change much when I made it, so I did not have a lot of time to think of a clever, yet fitting name. Beautiful Muffin was something my friends and I came up with in our teenage years as an insulting name for something that could trash you (in our case, a suped up Volkswagon Beetle, painted bright pink with a mural flowers, and enough horsepower to beat a Ferrari). The name is strictly so I can say;

“You have been vanquished by Beautiful Muffin.”

For some reason, I had gotten into a fleet at the beginning of the month in “Beautiful Muffin II,” which is odd because I normally go in order. Beautiful Muffin II had no part in the kills I linked about (that was all Beautiful Muffin I). I must have left the first one in another station. The second one, as you can see by that link right above, did not destroy a single ship, and met a fast end, once again at the hands of The Goons.

This is all important for what happens at the end.

After dealing with some station bubbles, the fleet is formed up on the NOL staging POS and ready to begin our super secret mission. Demotress, the FC, links out destination in fleet. VFK-IV. Capitol system of The Goons. Yes. Surely this could not last long.

We left NOL with close to 40 pilots, all frigs with a few destroyers for good measure. We burn with reckless abandon towards the Goon capitol. Despite a few obvious spais in the fleet, the trip there was surprisingly calm. Not once did anyone try and stop us, making the 30 something jump a fairly tedious affair.

But we made it, and wasted no time bubbling Mittanigrad. I was in the CFC myself for a few months, and remember friendly trips in and out of Mittanigrad. Now I had returned as an aggressor, a hungry aggressor who would be fed. Yes, Mittanigrad would feed me it’s morsels.

We actually had a few more kills in VFK from people undocking, but I was still getting used to working my MWD while guarding an undock, and would often shoot out of targeting range in my attempts to catch targets. We spent a good 30 minutes on the VFK undock hoping to catch more, but nothing much came of it except two Archons who wanted to play station games. There was also another problem…

We were still alive. We had figured this would be a suicide mission in tiny ships that would welp up against an unstoppable Goon defense fleet, and here we were, approaching 11pm and Beautiful Muffin hadn’t been touched.

With nothing but station games for us in VFK, Demotress decided we would roam into dangerous territory until we found an opponent worthy of blowing us up.

Onward, to Venal! That was our plan. Surely we could find a fight there!

And that’s when it happened, the good fight we were waiting for. We freeburn towards our destination, and as I’m 5 jumps out of VFK, Demotress  excitedly chimes in over comms telling us all to get back into 3OAT-Q. We had caught some battleships.

I jump back into 3oA and warp to Demotress, where I see on grid 2 navy Dominix battleships, a scorpion, and at least 5 other cruiser sized ships (I forget what they were flying). Demotress was right next to them, so it didn’t take long before I was orbiting under the guns of our first target. I’ve got three points on him myself, with blasters shooting away and my small nos draining its cap. The other fleet is panicking to eliminate as many of us as possible. They had 3 battleships and at least 5 cruiser sized ships. We had lost people since we had first gotten to VFK, and our fleet was only sitting at around 25. We fully expected to lose this battle, but Demotress was determined to at least get the Navy Dominix I linked above.

The Domi goes down, and Demotress calls the next target as the scorpion. It was while we were whittling away at the scorpion’s shields the other side decided they couldn’t win, and began to evacuate while leaving their pointed buddies to burn. The scorpion goes down, and the final navy Domi is left on the battlefield.

After the Domi is called as primary, I see a yellow box start to flicker on my screen as I burn towards our final target. “Crap,” I thought,” guess this is how Beautiful Muffin ends.”

Bam!

Shields gone.

Bam!

30% armor.

Here we go.

Woosh!

Miss.

Woosh!

Miss.

I had made it under the guns, and was orbiting comfortably at 500 as I watched our final victim succumb to the combined fire of 20 other frigates. With 30% armor, Beautiful Muffin had survived the skirmish.

After much rejoicing about how what had just happened should not have happened, we moved on. We roamed around Venal a little, still looking for someone to kill us. We stopped in VG-6CH to kill this guy, but other than that there was no one to be found.

It was about 11:45 pm at this point, and with everyone tired, and still about 20 of us left, we made our way into low-sec where the others decided to have a thunderdome to make for a quick trip home.

But I just couldn’t do it. After everything I’ve been through with Beautiful Muffin, I could not just throw her away for the sake of a quick trip home.

So I docked up in station, where Beautiful Muffin is now, and will keep her at 30% armor as a reminder of this awesome roam. I’ll jump clone back to NOL this evening, but leave Beautiful Muffin in that low-sec station somewhere close to Vale of the Silent. I think she’s earned the right to retire. Maybe one day I’ll find myself up north in need of a reliable interceptor, but until that time, enjoy your retirement, you most Beautiful of Muffins.

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

– JRD

P.S. Oh! Also, someone was awesome enough to FRAPs this whole roam. You can find the video here. The fight with the battleships happens around 1 hour and 2 minutes in.

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Comments
  1. jorS says:

    Just fyi, Domnis are drone boats. So while you thought you were getting under their guns, you were actually just getting a fast enough orbit to stay away from their drones. You probably didnt notice that they never redboxed you. Was a fun roam though, must do again.

    • Ah! Thank you for the clarification! Definitely good to know for future drone boat encounters.

      And no, I didn’t notice too much going during that whole fight. My adrenaline was pumping too hard! I was just hoping I could stay alive long enough to finish the last Domi.

      Definitively a fun roam! I quite enjoyed blowing up Goon ships with you guys =)

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