Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nullsec and Me (And impending FW changes)

How time flies!

Having gotten my fill of 1v1s in Angel Creo-Corp Plexes (and other places) the last 2 or so months, I began to get a little bored. Faction War is in a somewhat sad state; unpopular impending changes will make it so that enemy militia cannot dock in space controlled by the opposing force (pretty dumb) that one can earn FW LP for plexing (I am ok with this change) and a few other tweaks, such as upgrading your controlled systems by spending LP... basically, its gonna be sort of like sov null. I think. Anyways, yeah, its unpopular... but militia combat has degenerated into blob vs blob of the worst sort, and it is very, very difficult to solo, at least without a lot of frustrating losses. Ill have to work on this.

Anyways, enough complaining about FW. I decided to begin poking about in nullsec, so I fitted up my trusty wolf and headed off to Great Wildlands, for a bit of good-ol roaming. My standard fit, with an MWD, of course, a fit that I now fly virtually all the time. A wolf with an MWD has a tough time vs scram fit cruisers (Most of them) so I narrow my target selection some, but I gain a lot of kiting ability, the ability to counter kiters much easier, and the ability, most importantly, to pull gangs apart and/or GTFO.

1st trip in, I spot a wolf and thrasher at the 9SNK gate in BVIP. I figure theyre together, camping the small bubble i see on Dscan, when I see GFs in local and the thrasher pilot's pod! Hmm. I debate for a moment, and during that moment the Wolf must have repped up, as he was at almost full SHIELD by the time I landed (I debated for a while... first time in null, haha)

I warp to a safe above the gate, and see the wolf sitting next to the bubble... and right next to the thrasher wreck. I load fusion and warp down to the wreck, scramming him and lighting him up, pulling to 8k range. He was pretty slow responding, and he exploded before I hit armor. I pop the pod for good measure, and scoop up my loot... quite a haul, better than I am used to! I drop my loot in Egbi and roam around, but everyone i meet is either in vagabonds/canes/cynabals or in cloaky haulers or bombers.

Here is a funny part of null. Its very empty. Like, emptier than losec. At least GW is. I guess M-M and the other station systems have more activity, and I will begin poking around there shortly, but 99% of the time, I was alone in each system, leisurely ratting and making safes to evade bubbles. Yes, safes.

Bubbles come in 3 flavors; 1) a Warp Disruption Field generator attached to a heavy interdictor. These mean burn out, or back to the gate, as hictors mean gangs. I have yet to see one.

2) A probe that a Sabre (or other interdictor, though no one flies anything but sabres) launches. These mean burn back to the gate, burn off... or kill the sabre. That last option is almost a certain pod loss if you lose, but we're in null, we should be in cheap clones anyway. No guts, no glory! Load EMP or plasma, heat everything, and see what happens. The standard kite at edge of scram range dosent work vs sabres, so try to get close for max gank. Sig radius, fit, and a bit of luck will decide this fight.

3) Drag bubbles. These are bubbles that people place in line with celestials (like other gates) so that when someone warps to the gate, they are "dragged" 50-60k off the gate, into the bubble. NEVER warp directly to a gate unless 1) youre sure it isnt bubbled 2) no one else is in system or 3) you want to kill whats camping the bubble. Make safes at odd angles near gates; 150k is too close, i preger 250-300. We shall see why in a few minutes. Warp to the safe, THEN down to the gate... or down to the bubble, if you want to kill what is camping it!

Later on, I engage a thrasher in a belt, and what do you know, I lost? I started my repper late AND this person had fit a TE and loaded barrage; methinks he read up on me. Wonder where he could have done that... GFs were shared, and I skulked off home.

A few days later, I see a Claw, Catalyst, and Drake in OPI. Hmm. There are 3 gates in this system... and one was camping each gate. Now, I could have slipped past that Drake easy as pie, but we're not here to slip past anyone, are we? I wanted that Claw and Cattie. I warp to within 30k of the gate the cattie was on, and aligned, MWD off, to the sun. Predictably, the Claw lands, burns toward me, and dies gloriously, getting WAY too close to me on his approach. He popped in 2 shots. The Catalyst, strengthened by the company of his corpmate on field, had also by now burned toward me, and I opened up on him, reducing his ship to slag. Terrible fit, by the way... by now, the drake has landed, and I quietly ignore it as i scoop the loot and bounce, not wanting to chance a drake that wasnt pointing me from 20k in an MWD fit wolf. 2 down, off I go home. Good fight.

This trick with picking gangs apart and isolating tacklers or members with gate aggro/warping at ranges is one I am loving, and the fights are far more fun than old fasioned 1v1s in losec. Can I do it? How long should I stay around? What should I kill first? How do I split them? Do they have something that can web/scram/ecm me? These questions and many more run through my head, but I am loving every second of it. And I am getting a bit more confident....

I am ratting and a Capital Punishment Cyclone keeps following me. For hours. Sigh.

Ok. Pirates. Im going to share a tip. If, in the first 2 hours, someone hasnt commited to fighting you, because your ship is blatantly something they cannot fight (Most cyclones are active tanked with scrams, yuck!) maybe ship down and/or go find someone else. Im glad he didnt... he called a friend!

I jump into UNJ, with the intention of leaving him behind, when I see he has a corpmate in a dramiel on the gate... oh! Hmm... cant fight this close to gate. I pray and warp to my bubble evasion safe, 250k above the gate. I manage to warp off as  the Dramiel begins to target.

And then it merrily burns at me at 4700 msec.

Oh, happy day. I align to the gate and light my MWD. Dram is coming closer... closer... and points me when I am 180k or so off. The cyclone still has not jumped in. At this range, I know he can jump and warp to his corpmate as soon as I redbox (As this dram was in no danger of killing me anytime soon) so I wait until i see her straight behind me... 27k away.


Stop my ship, wait for speed to hit 75%, and immediately reversed direction and burned straight at her. Scram on! I open up with plasma, the cyclone jumps in... she is dualproped, which means her AB is still on... gotta leave my MWD on or she will get away. Her shield evaporates, followed quickly by armor and hull, and a Dramiel Goes to heaven! The cyclone is landing... ack! I align to the sun and burn away, warping off, leaving the bewildered duo behind. Dram killed, Cyclone evaded, though I was unable to get the somewhat meager loot, it was a pulse pounding, if short, fight.

I am loving nullsec, folks. I recommend you hop in a cheap JC, grab your favorite MWD inty or AF, and head out there. Who knows... maybe we'll meet each other, eh?


  1. I have lots of ships in null. It is great when you find the small gangs and twosomes and threes--not so great when you run into a blob. But you play with feathers you get your bum tickled.



    1. Probably the oddest variant of "Play with fire, get burnt" I have heard, hehe.

      Yeah, I expect to die to blobs, falcon/sabre dualboxers, etc, repeatedly.

      Its still more fun than FW.