Monday, May 9, 2011

Because of Falcon

It is folly to say you know what is happening to other people. Only they know, if they exist. They have their own Universes of their own eyes and ears.
--Douglas Adams

Commandment #11
You shall not mine in low sec...

And God looked down from the heavens and saw that the infidels were indeed mining in low sec. "I shall Smoke THEM!" He announced, but due to recent budget cuts he was not able to order more lighting bolts, so he just hired us, The Blood Money Cartel, for half the price.

(or just pay the ransom)

The above was shared with me by the Executor of the Blood Money Cartel after a recent run in with a Mackinaw in Lowsec.  What's that?  Oh yes, there are Mackinaws in Lowsec.  No, I don't know what they think they're doing there.  I take that back.  They're exploding there.  Or possibly acting as bait there.  Or maybe they were just some innocent bystander to all the ships exploding around them.  Why don't I start from the beginning?

One of our new recruits had just logged in and asked a question commonly seen in our Alliance channel, "Anyone roaming who wouldn't mind a little company?"  I had been out on my own, but was on my way back in to repair some damage and resupply with some much needed ammunition.  By the time my Malediction was undocking I had a Rifter and Rapier in fleet with me.  After about eight jumps we spotted a Loki in a mission and decided it was worth it to call in a probing alt.  Four jumps for the alt and Combat Probes were now in space.  Unfortunately for us, it didn't take long for the Loki to notice and vanish from D-scan.  In an attempt to see if he was still in space I started bouncing around to see if he was still in space and instead found an Ishkur and a Mackinaw at a belt.

There aren't really a lot of things that an Ishkur and a Mackinaw can be doing together.  I suppose you could technically load up the Ishkur with mining drones, but the thought sort of hurts my head.  I had expected the Ishkur might have been attacking the Exhumer and, in a classic moment of EVE Online, I warped in to save the poor Mackinaw from an untimely death.  Of course, my intentions were slightly less noble than those in the video.  Thoughts of driving off the Ishkur and ransoming the Mackinaw for myself danced through my head as I dropped out of warp right on top of the pair.  Then things got weird.

Upon my arrival, the Ishkur warped off before I could get a lock on him.  The Mackinaw wasn't so lucky, and as the other pilots of my gang joined me in the belt, the Mackinaw pilot joined us in a ransom channel to bargain for his ship.  Something was just a bit off the entire time, with the Mackinaw pilot not seeming as concerned as he should have been for his safety.

Let me explain something for a moment.  When you're being ransomed by a Pirate in EVE and have decided to call for backup and stall for time, you may think you're being quite clever about it, but you're really not.  The ones that have no intention of paying are usually quick to respond with insults.  The ones who want to do whatever it takes to save their ship are usually a constant stream of text in the chat field, as they've begun to pay no attention to anything but that channel.  The ones who are stalling for time come off as extremely aloof.  It's no surprise really, considering they're trying to divide their attention between the ransom channel and whatever channel they're asking for backup in.  It leads to a lot of hemming and hawing without any real commitment or protest to the ransom itself.

Long story made short, he lost his ship.  Then his day got a little bit worse when he lost his pod after not responding at all when we offered to ransom it.  Insert some lecture about losing a 100misk ship when all we really wanted was half that and we would have left him alone.  I've ranted about it before, so I'll skip it this time.  And the Pirates went on their merry way with some strip miners for their trouble...

Wait, that's not right.  That's not how it ended at all.  After I told everyone to safe up and wait for GCC, the Rapier pilot responded that he had engaged a Dramiel that had arrived in the belt.  After confirming that the Dramiel had him pointed and he wasn't able to get out, I went back in to try getting the Dramiel pilot off of him.  Now, my experience with Dramiels has generally been that they go at ludicrous speeds, but with a Triple-Webbing Rapier on our side what could possible go wrong?

Landing back in the belt my completely rhetorical question was quickly answered.  As the Falcons (that's Falcon with an S at the end) decloaked around us and I lost my ability to lock anything, thoughts turned to getting out of there.  In an eerie repeat of my last loss I sped away from the action while dying a slow death to the Dramiel and thinking, "Just one missed jam cycle is all I need..."

So was the Mackinaw bait?  I don't think so.  We were there for several minutes before anything happened.  The pilot wasn't in the same Alliance as the gang that would eventually hand us our asses with a healthy dose of ECM and Faction ships (Dramiel and Cynabal I'm looking at you).  Of course, I can't see who the Mackinaw pilot had Blue or whose alt he may have been, but it seems just as likely that they were a passing gang that we ran afoul of as they were the ones for whom he was stalling for time.

Has ECM+Dramiel become my new kryptonite?  Well, can you show me someone against who that combination isn't an I Win Button?  No, seriously.  I'm getting sort of tired of dying a slow death while being unable to lock anything and would love to know what the counter to it is.  Don't take this as the often repeated Emo-Rage that ECM is broken.  It's not necessarily broken.  Just very irritating when it isn't on your side.



1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, some tactics don't really have a viable counter.

    A similar example we find in 0.0 is the cloaked sabre, falcon(s), and (optional) dramiel - sabre and falcon sit cloaked on a gate, and as soon as someone solo comes through and tried to warp - decloak, bubble and jam. The dramiel if you have one makes sure whatever comes through has no chance of escaping that bubble. This combination is almost impossible to evade unless you know it's there, and can simply remain cloaked if anything comes through it can't beat. They get get an obscene number of kills.

    I guess you can't blame people for making the most effective use of the ships and tactics available to them - playing to win and all that. Doesn't make it any less frustrating of course.