During my earlier days I would sit in Tusker Ventrilo listening in as my corp mates would bring down gangs twice their size, effortlessly kiting and pulling apart fleets and grabbing the kills before dashing off into the night. The two most prominent figures that stand in my mind when I think about this type of flying would be Proxyyyy and Suleiman Shouaa. Shortly before Proxyyyy actually took a break I decided to discuss this aspect of pvp that seemed an impossibility to me, both limited by my ship type and skill as a pilot. It's been on my mind since then and I think I have finally made my first foray into conquering the notorious blob.
My past week of piracy has been a painfully slow one with barely a kill coming my way most days, I've had a few nice fights here and there but otherwise very little has happened. This has caused me to move out further afield in an effort to antagonize the inhabitants of low sec. Most commonly I've been travelling to Amamake in Rifters as a means of getting some interesting engagements but today I figured that I would take out my Dramiel to see what I could get done. My pilgrimage gathered quite a crowd and before long we were a 5 man strong fleet rag-tagging our way into the heart of the Minmatar Militia's home. One awesome looking Legion (that was sat on a station) later and we arrived in Tararan. Novantco found a Thrasher sat at a planet and we went in for the gank. As we begin it was clear that this was a trap so we took the Thrasher out and awaited what would come. Two Jaguars! We cheered and the fleet went to work in blissful ignorance... Stabber, Caracal, Rifter, Thrasher, Claw. They all dropped simultaneously and we began to panic. This was not an official roam, there was no FC calling the shots. Novantco queried the warp out and Vent went awfully quiet for a second, save for me stuttering as I tried to assess a situation that had changed astronomically in the space of 3 seconds. 'Get out, get out!' I shouted and the majority of us managed to escape. Unfortunately we lost a Thrasher and Rifter in the process.
At this point our spirits were dampened and I was rather frustrating with my pathetic performance at saving my fellow wingmates. Why I froze is beyond me, I did and am still contemplating it now. I did however have things perfectly sorted out in my head at that point and decided to get some revenge for the losses incurred...
A wolf had been chasing me away from the fleet as I never actually warped off grid during the chaos, instead I chose to zip around at about 100km from the main fleet. This worked in my favour and I quickly leapt on the Wolf and went to work. Using the tracking disruptor I crushed his optimal and falloff ranges and sat in at about 6km. Whilst I kept a close eye on the fleet as they burned away to get within warp range I had somehow let him out of my grasps and he escaped in structure, my heart sank once more. Not only had I let my corp mates die due to my incompetence but I couldn't even take down a target in revenge.
All was not finished though as I watched them all warp off grid in one direction and a sole Jaguar in another. I chased the Jaguar down and attempted to tackle, only to watch him warp off to a faction warfare static plex. Under no illusions that it would be a trap, I geared myself up for a wild ride and warped in at 70km from the gate. A Stabber and the elusive Wolf sat at 30km whilst the Caracal and Jaguar sat at 0km from the gate respectively, all staring right at me. The rest were unaccounted for but I took the advantage I had been given fighting on an acceleration gate and began working on pulling the ships apart. The Stabber and Wolf began closing in and I decided on assaulting the Stabber as he came in range, I couldn't afford to let him kite me. Drones out, scram, web, tracking disruptor all on him as I began tearing him down. The Wolf closed in and I switched my TD to him as a means to decrease his potential dps. The Stabber fell as the rest of the gang warped off, bar the Wolf. I caught him too and began working through his tank, aware that they would be landing any moment on me.
Our fierce duel had pulled us back closer to the gate, around 40km by now and I saw the bulk of the fleet begin to land. Caracal, Claw, Rifter and Jaguar. Fortunately they must have failed to remember the warp disruption rules of plexes and thus landed at 0km. I had more time and focused back on my target. Kmang Satrow came to the fray in his Vengeance almost simultaneously and landed in the middle of the enemy fleet. I watched helplessly as he fought for his life, taking down a Rifter and forcing a Claw into 1/2 armour before his inevitable demise. The fleet now barrelled down towards me and I engaged the Claw and Jaguar, once more disrupting the secondary target's optimal range (the Jaguar) whilst eating through the already wounded Claw. Suffice to say he didn't last long and I then swapped back over to the Jaguar. We'd burned back to the gate now in the confusion and the enemy Caracal was somehow 40km away, my only understanding was that he was scooping loot in the midst of the battle. A Rifter and finally left in system Teak'li (also in a Rifter) landed as the Jaguar succumbed to the Dramiel's rage...
My modules were on the brink of their thermal threshholds, my ammo was beginning to thin and I knew that my time was coming to an end. My armour repair module was working on overtime as I patched up armour from the many fights I'd been in, I don't think it had much a break during the whole fight. Teak went for the Caracal whilst I murdered a Reaper that landed on top of me (also likely collecting loot).
Before I could finish the Rifter that had me webbed and scrammed off and dash over to the Caracal a second Jaguar landed and caught me, committing me to the rest of the fight. Unfortunately Teak was in low armour and had to bug out, leaving me once more to tear my way out. I utilized the exact same tactic before, disrupting the secondary target's optimal and bringing the primary to the ground. The Rifter too met it's end by my autocannons and I turned on the final Jaguar...
Time to bug out. A final wave of their units landed, a Thrasher, Hyena and the Caracal all landed on me and I knew I couldn't fight my way out of this one. A final overheated cycle of my afterburner and I pulled my ship from the brink of death, armour in the very critical ranges, capacitor all but gone and nearly an empty cargo of ammunition.
The feeling was phenomenal; cathartic beyond belief to have dealt such critical damage to the enemy fleet. They held the field in regards to loot from lost ships but I still felt as though we were victorious. This was by no means a solo effort, at some point during the 25 minute two-pronged engagement my allies had aided me invaluably, whether through distraction, wounding targets beforehand or giving me intel on the fly. Good fights were exchanged after the dust settled and I bucked it back home to Hevrice to catch some R&R.
I may take a retrospective look at what was done to achieve the victory, though I also don't believe that I am in any position to lecture on how to fly frigates and I don't mean to patronize. Regardless, this has been perhaps the most exhilarating engagements to date in my Eve career and I can only look forward to more.
The train is still here by the way (if you didn't already notice) so does anyone have some ideas on what could adorn the back of my blog? Answers on a postcard please.
/endofridiculouslylongpost. BYE! *frantic waves*