Monday, February 7, 2011

Target Acquisition

If life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.
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Target selection in EVE Online PvP is important.  You need to have a firm grasp of exactly what ships you can and can't engage when flying.  True to form, I attempt to gain this knowledge the only way I know how: The Hard Way.  Here are a couple of failed attempts at engaging a target.  If you were instead looking for advice on how to do it the right way, you came to the wrong place.  I suggest you try out one of those other blogs where people know what they're doing.

Remember the story of me and a gang-mate teaming up on a Rifter?  Well, I shall now tarnish that glorious adventure by telling you what happened a few minutes later.  My wingman and I had just warped into a system with only one other pilot in local.  Scanning about for a moment located him in a Thrasher.  Now, Destroyers are designed with one role in mind, and that role is to kill Frigates.  "But surely," I had thought, "there are two of us and only one of him."  Sadly, my math lessons were not paying off.

Tracking him to an object, I in my Punisher, my wingman in a Rifter, warped in at different ranges to ensure one of us was close enough to tackle.  I landed about 80km away from the Thrasher, and 40km from the Rifter, and knowing I wasn't going to close those sorts of distances quickly, I warped away with the intent on warping back at a different angle to land on top of him.  During my short trip through warp, I heard my colleague state that the Thrasher was Artillery fit, and he was taking quite a beating trying to close the distance.

I landed atop the Thrasher, and set in a close orbit, just in time to see my friend's Rifter explode.  Once the Thrasher set about firing at me, however, I saw that he wasn't able to track with me this close.  Surely, I was meant to take revenge for my fallen comrade.  That is, I was meant to do so until a second Thrasher landed 30km away from me.  I began seeing firsthand the beating that the arty Thrasher was able to put out and made one of those judgement calls that sometimes doesn't end well.  I decided to make a run for it.

Now, I'll never know if I could have tanked the second Thrasher long enough to dispatch his friend, and maybe even long enough to get under his guns as well.  What I do know, is that once my transversal dropped against the Thrasher I had tackled, I wasn't able to tank them both.  It didn't take long before the two of them had laid my Punisher low, and we were all exchanging GFs in local.  I can't blame him for calling in backup, after all, we had hoped to engage him 2 on 1 as well.

Clearly not having learned my lesson engaging Thrashers, I decided to step it up a notch by shortly thereafter engaging a Stabber.  Only this time, I was solo.  Having spotted him on scan, I had asked over comms what some more experienced pilots thought of my chances against him in a Punisher.  The wise response that I got back was that it depended on if he was fit for PvP.  Deciding to roll the dice, I soon found out he was.

Having landed the tackle (although he probably wasn't really trying to get away) I had settled into a low orbit and was somewhat pleased to see that his Medium Autocannons weren't able to track me this close.  I was webbed and scrammed, sure, but I was still maintaining enough speed that he wasn't able to hit me.  It wasn't his guns I should have been worried about.  I've mentioned before that a Cruiser pilot has multiple ways of dealing with pesky frigates like me.  One of them is drones, which the Stabber does not have.  The other, is an Energy Neutralizer.

I had faced a neut in combat before, but that was a small neut fielded by another frigate.  This was a Medium neut, and was turning out to be a completely different animal.  An animal with claws and teeth and such.  I lasted about a minute before my Cap had been completely bled dry and, with my Afterburner shut down, began getting hit by my opponents guns.  It wasn't too long before I was watching my pod in warp, having only gotten my opponent to half armor.  More GFs were exchanged in local, and more lessons were learned by me.




  1. I just started reading your blog and I'm really enjoying it. I've been playing for a year and I still make these mistakes sometimes.
    One time I was out in a cane and I saw a Claymore on scan. Intel channels reported gangmates next door. I reckon I can kill him before they get here. Long story short, I get him to 60% shields then a hostile Loki and Vaga land. Boom!
    But hey, taking those risks and then pulling off a victory makes it all the sweeter!

  2. I don't think your examples qualify as poor target selection. Getting under an artillery Thrasher's guns (which you pulled off nicely somehow) is usually the key to success. You shouldn't be too paranoid about possible gang mates joining - otherwise you'd deprive yourself of a lot of gfs.
    Secondly engaging a cruiser in a T1 frigate is always a gamble unless the opponent is very unexperienced. I'm sure you chose to take the risk for the 0.2 probability of a shiny killmail.

    The problem with target selection in eve in general is, that every PVP pilot knows about the criteria and much can be faked. Lonely newbie in a belt? Gang is waiting next door. Ratter in a low sec belt? There's no such thing. Slow approach doesn't mean he isn't faking it to hide the MWD etc.
    I've come to only avoid fights when I know that even under optimal circumstances I have a low chance of winning. And I should add, I'm dying a lot.

    Rock on!

  3. I've had similar experiences, but if I remember your fit correctly your actual cap requirements are pretty low if you don't have to run the repper.

    Have you considered a nos? Or some low module that will improve your cap recharge to the point that you can continue to run under the neut, like a Capacitor Flux Coil, Capacitor Power Relay or Power Diagnostic System?

    You will lose some tank (the low slot items) or your neut (the nos) but be much better at dealing with the neuts cruisers like to use.

    If you use the low slot stuff, then your own neut becomes that much more powerful against frigates.

  4. Taurean - I actually run a Nos on a Punisher. I'd recommend it over the Neut after some experimentation. As to Cap Rechargers, you can't afford giving up one of your two midslots for it. You could fit a Flux Coil, which would make you cap stable at the loss of about 1200EHP. If someone puts a Medium Neut II on you, howoever, you go from Cap stable to lasting 29 seconds. Turning the repper off, you'll last 1m 4s...which is 2 seconds longer than you would without the Flux Coil. In the end, the Medium Neut, being a Cruiser class weapon, is designed to seriously drain other Cruisers. If you run into one in a Frigate, there's really nothing you're going to do to keep your cap running. My advice, is that your Nos should keep your Scram engaged long enough for you to completely burn out your guns trying to kill him before he kills you, but it's still not looking good for the Frigate. Sobczynski is right when he says you don't engage Cruisers in a Frigate solo because you expect to do it because it would be absolutely awesome if you did, and sometimes, that small chance is worth the risk.