And we’ll be saying a big hello to all intelligent life forms everywhere…and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together guys.
A number of reasons for this post, not just to make Cheap Trick references. This also commemorates the first kills I made after finally attaining outlaw status, and where the first bounty on my head came from. It's also a scarily appropriate title considering that today is Valentine's Day and I wrote this post several weeks ago and just added it to the end of my posting schedule...maybe it's fate?
Now proudly sporting the Scarlet Strobe of an outlaw, I had gone out for my first roam since. I was actually finding that the new status was rather helpful if you're trying to get into fights. However, it wasn't getting me into the fight I was looking for this time.
The fight that I was looking for was with a pod pilot who already knew me for ransoming his pod recently. He was hanging out in a Rifter in our home system, but not at any celestials. It was time to call in some probers. Not having yet trained a probing alt of my own, I asked a fellow cartel member for the assist.
Unfortunately for us, the Rifter pilot knew what he was doing. It can't be overstated that as long as you're attentive while piloting in lowsec that no one is going to catch you if you don't want to be caught. This pilot wasn't looking to get into another fight with us with superior numbers, and it just wasn't going to happen. After ten minutes of watching him move anytime probes got too close, we decided it just wasn't going to happen, and went our separate ways. I only got a couple jumps away before I'd be calling for that backup again.
Spotting a Rifter and Merlin on scan at a belt, I sent out a request for someone able to even the odds to a 2v2. That help came in fast. Specifically, it came in a Dramiel. Unfortunately for me, while I was waiting for him to arrive in system, our ratters had moved to another belt. Unfortunately for them, they moved to a belt that was scannable from the gate the Dramiel was coming from. A moment later and the Dramiel pilot was calling our targets out at a belt and we were both warping in.
Worth stating again, the Dramiel is fast. He was already there and had point on the Merlin with the Rifter in structure by the time I was coming out of warp. He asked for me to get a point on the Rifter, but it turned out to be unnecessary, as the Rifter pilot never tried to run, until he was in his pod that is. With the two of us on the Merlin, he didn't last long either.
These guys turned out not to be as big of a challenge as I thought they were going to be, and the killmails told us why. There wasn't a Tech II module between the two of them and the Rifter was sporting a Civilian Shield Booster. No, that's not a typo. In fact, our killboard estimated the Rifter cost about 320kisk and this wouldn't have been a very memorable fight, except for what happened next. Both the Dramiel pilot and myself saw our bounties increase by 500kisk each. Now, 1 million isk may not sound like much to most players, but it strikes me as particularly odd because it's more than that Rifter cost fully fit.
Now sporting an Outlaw Status and a fancy Wanted sign on my portrait, I was feeling pretty good about myself. When I jumped into the neighboring system to spot the Rifter pilot from earlier just arriving there, I sent him a greeting over local comms. Now, being at a gate as an outlaw meant the other pilot could engage me freely, but I wasn't going to be seeing any support from my friend in the Dramiel. It looked like my scarlet strobe was finally going to get me into the fight I had been looking for.
The Rifter pilot was about a year old, which means different things to different people. I've heard plenty of other Cartel members refer to year old pilots as "young", but when you're less than three months into the game being a year old pilot sounds like something very far away. In more concrete terms, it meant he probably had 4-5 times the skill points that I did. Steeling myself for a hard fight, I dove in close to brawl.
Unfortunately for me, the Rifter wanted to get in close too. So close in fact that I was going to have trouble tracking him. Responding quickly, I set a course away from him to minimize transversal between us and my autocannons began finding their mark. A liberal dose of overheated modules later and I was looting his wreck.
I took quite a few lessons away from that night. What were they? Glad you asked...
1. Remember my discussion of various Rifter fits and how to combat them? Remember how I spent almost no time on Armor Fit Rifters that want to get in close? Well, this is one of the reasons why. While that Rifter has better tracking and does more damage than the AC Punisher, the Punisher's tank is just so much better that it doesn't matter. I'm sure it works pretty well against larger ships or maybe someone sporting 200mm ACs, but that's not me.
2. Skillpoints aren't everything. There's really only so many points that can help you in a frigate fight. Even at three months into the game, I was getting pretty confident at my abilities to hold my own against any other Tech I frigates out there. This is an important lesson, and highlights why Frigate combat in lowsec is really a great experience even for young pod pilots.
3. Never overestimate your opponents. I'm pretty confident that I could have taken that Merlin/Rifter duo on my own and the reason is pretty simple: They didn't know what they were doing. Civilian module fit Frigates just shouldn't be ratting in lowsec belts. Pilots of their caliber are the reason that the FNG can succeed as a Pirate, and for that I thank them.
Now if I could just find some more 70's music to ripoff for post titles then every little thing gonna be all right...