In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.
Getting acquainted with our new home has been interesting. Setting up bookmarks everywhere, learning which of the locals were dangerous and which were easy prey, who baits and who hotdrops. It took me a bit by surprise when I spotted some familiar faces out there. Seeing a couple of members of the NC Alliance I was a part of for my first month of EVE, I decided to see what they were up to.
After a moment spent scanning the system, I had located a Rifter and Caracal together. Not really feeling confident with my abilities to take on two pilots, I decided to offer a 1v1 to the Rifter pilot. "p1" was the response I got back. Taking that as an agreement to the offer, I warped to the planet at 30km and found the Rifter and Caracal both sitting 30km away. I waited for just a minute at full stop, but once the Caracal warped away and the Rifter began to approach me, I did the same to it. However, three things were about to go horribly wrong in this fight. Settling in to orbit around each other I found the fight taking place at about 4km, and saw my capacitor draining away much faster than it should have been. Taking stock of my situation, I saw the reason why...the Small Energy Neutralizer my opponent had fitted.
I knew that the Punisher had maximum Capacitor of 425 gigajoules compared to the Rifter's 250GJ, so I was confident that I'd be able to keep my Warp Scrambler running, and my own Nosferatu would give an extra boost that should be enough to keep my Afterburner going, but it was going to mean my Armor Repairer was out of this fight. Confident that I was going to be able to deal with the Neutralizer, the second thing in this fight decided to go wrong. As my own shield klaxon began to sound warnings that my shields were failing, I saw that I wasn't making a dent in my opponents shields.
Ah yes, the aforementioned Shield Rifter. I had heard of them before, several members of The Blood Money Cartel swore by them, but I had never faced one in combat. This was my first fight trying out Fleet Fusion instead of Barrage, and it turned out it was exactly the wrong ammo to have had in this fight. Seeing I wasn't going to be able to break his tank, I decided to switch to Fleet EMP. Those ten seconds to reload seemed to take an eternity, and I spent almost the entire time swearing that I had made a mistake. My guns finally coming back online, I was already at 3/4 armor.
With my guns finally online with ammo more suited to fighting a shield tank, I couldn't help but smile. My own armor was at 50%, but my opponent's shields were quickly melting before my eyes. I knew that once I was through them, he wouldn't have any real armor defenses to speak of, and was hoping to soon be looting his wreck. This would have been about the time the third thing went wrong. Remember the Caracal from earlier? Yeah...
The Caracal pilot arrived at 0km on the planet, and our fight had taken us to about 40km away from the warp in, but that didn't make me feel much better when he arrived on grid. As the Caracal locked me, I started to feel a whole lot worse. I didn't have a lot of Cap left, but I began using it on my armor repper and started worrying about getting out of there as soon as possible. Burning hard away from the Rifter, I hoped to manage to shake his scram and warp off.
The Caracal pilot was now 30km from me, and had opened fire. The Rifter pilot was deep into structure, but was managing to stay on top of me with the warp scrambler. My own klaxon was sounding letting me know that I was now taking damage to my structure. I had aligned to a celestial and started to worry about getting my pod out of this. With the Caracal 20km away and the Rifter being held together only by the duct tape on its hull, I was a little shocked to be staring at my own ship in warp.
OK, so here's the embarrassing bit about this fight. I was actually pretty proud of how I had handled myself, and thought I had made really good decisions when it came to switching ammo, manually closing range for my shorter range weapons, and liberally overheating modules, but this story wouldn't be complete without me making at least one totally Noobish mistake. That mistake being that I didn't even notice I had gotten the kill until the next day.
Allow me to explain. What I thought had happened was that my opponent had finally decided he was going to lose his ship and had burned away from me as I was burning away from him and we'd gotten out of each other's scram range and warped off. What had actually happened was I had managed to destroy my opponent's ship, he had thus stopped scrambling me and I had warped off with the Caracal pilot still firing at me. I didn't notice the killmail until the next day when I got another kill and saw it sitting there. I didn't get any loot, but even if I'd seen the Rifter explode at the time, I would have had to cede the field to the Caracal so not too big of a deal really. What I really want to illustrate from this fight are a few things about my ideology when I'm flying.
First off, I don't really care much for politics in my video games. Mainly because the phrase "politics in my video games" makes me giggle, but also because it's far too complex for my tastes. I don't want to spend my time worrying about the state of NAPs, allies, enemies, etc. I just want to PvP for profit with my own skills and wits being my defense, not how many people I've managed to befriend and who I can call for backup. The political ambitions of The Blood Money Cartel can be summed up as NUSIATIS. "Not us? Shoot it and take its shit." Which, as you might imagine is exactly what it says on the tin*. Anything more complex than that isn't what I'm looking for right now. Maybe someday, but not now.
Second, what you can expect from me when I offer a 1v1 or ransom. Simply put, they're always honored. Why do I do this? Well, for some very insightful looks at honor and Piracy, I recommend these posts. I agree with most of the points they make and they're a good read. My own thoughts on the topic are mostly that it's good business practice. I'm trying to turn a profit here, and I can't do that if people won't pay me because they don't trust me. What did that Alliance have to lose from betraying a 1v1? Honestly, nothing. They don't need to make money from people believing them and their own political connections aren't going to be damaged by betraying Pirates in lowsec.
Third, to expand some more on the topic of the 1v1. I wouldn't recommend it. I got into a lot of them during my first two months of Piracy when I hadn't yet gotten good at tracking down non-consensual PvP. What I learned is that there are only really two types of people who accept them. The first type can be seen in the tale above. That Rifter pilot probably meant something more along the lines of "1v1 unless I start to lose, in which case I'm calling in my backup." The second type should set off alarm bells in your head when they accept them. The last fight I lost to a solo Rifter pilot was one of those. He had about 20x more SP than I did and a -10.00 sec status with a sizable bounty on his head. When he offered I knew it wasn't going to be a fight I was going to win, but I had gone a couple of hours without a fight and was ready to see something explode...even if the something was my own ship.
You can certainly learn a lot from getting into fights that you've offered and your opponent has accepted, but I for one haven't had much luck in actually winning them. If you've decided to learn PvP by purchasing a hangar full of frigates and taking them out, then the 1v1 might be just what you're looking for. If you're trying to make a profit out of your attempt at PvP, they're best to be avoided.
*To those of you that have never been linked to TV Tropes before, I apologize.