Over the weekend I finished training up the last few skills required to fly Caldari Cruisers. It took shorter than I expected once I actually finished Caldari Frigates IV, in part because my chosen fitting deviates quite a lot from the standard loadout using Heavy Missile Launchers. I managed to pick a Caracal up for a slight discount at 3.1 million ISK by placing a buy order rather than buying it outright at the Oursulaert trade hub, so after buying a few Assault Missile Launchers and some shield tanking modules for the middle slots I was good to go.
I chose to use Assault Missile Launchers since I was still primarily doing level 1 missions which involve fighting frigates, and Heavy Missile Launchers are more effective versus cruiser-sized targets. Also, I’m still packing a single salvager on the ship so that I can salvage the wrecks I leave behind. The salvaged components add up over time and can give me a fair amount of money, so it seems a waste not to do it even though it can take much more time than actually killing the enemies in the first place. I could just leave the wrecks behind and come back with my old Cormorant destroyer fitted out to be a better salvager, but I’m kinda lazy and it seems a hassle especially when the mission requires jumping to another system first. Ideally I’d do it on another account but I’m getting sighs from my wife for subscribing to one account already and she’s shown zero interest in playing so that’s out. So given that I’m salvaging on the Caracal, which requires being closer than 5km from the targets, there’s no real point in fitting it with longer ranged missiles. Killing things at 60km would be nice, but then I’d have to trundle over to salvage them anyway.
So far the Caracal, tentatively named “I Spew PewPew”, has as expected been completely overpowered in level 1 missions. Yah I know it’d be ridiculous if it wasn’t. The shield tank is awesome, so much so that enemies can barely make even a dent in it. I haven’t even had to switch on my shield booster at all so far, and the Caracal has plenty of capacitor reserves since it uses missiles which don’t use any cap. The Caracal also comes with a small drone bay, so I can get some practice with using drones. The 2 scout drones I have now are pretty good and able to kill enemies on their own provided I tank the enemy fire. Mapping “engage” and “recall” to hotkeys has helped immensely, now if only “launch drones” could be hotkeyed as well… The main problem with drones is that I have to recall and relaunch them if a new wave of enemy ships spawns since they won’t have aggro on me initially, but I’m getting the hang of it.
That Damn Dagan
I also finished off the Sisters of EVE epic arc over the weekend, which I didn’t manage to do on my previous trial. I actually did it before I finished training my skills for the Caracal, which turned out to be a mistake. The last enemy, Dagan, who was behind all sorts of nefarious schemes involving rogue drones, turned out to be an unkillable freak of nature. I warped into the mission in my little Cormorant and easily blew away his escorts with my railguns. With him all alone, I warped out to recharge my shields a bit and then returned for the kill…. or not. With all 6 guns blazing at him at optimum range, his shield bar barely moved. I think after 5 minutes he was down to 90%. Oooookay… looks like some other tactics are needed. I’d previously fought his lieutenant in an earlier mission (the one which got my wife annoyed) and faced a similar problem. Generally weapons in EVE trade off damage for range, which makes sense. My weapons were relatively longer ranged and thus didn’t have the dps to overcome their shield recharge rate. So for his lieutenant, I switched to really short range guns and high dps-low range ammo and whittled him down at close range without much problem.
Aaand I’d been smart enough to bring the equipment for this alternate loadout with me. Pure genius. Warped to a station, swapped stuff around and I was back for Round 2.
After 10 minutes he was down to 50% and not going any lower. He couldn’t kill me either but I was going all out and he was just shrugging it off. After 20 minutes Mr Dagan probably fell asleep, because miraculously his shields went down to 0% and I got him about 30% into his armor. But then the blaring alarms woke him up and he mashed his shield booster button and his shields zoomed back up into 60% and never went down again despite another 10 minutes of plinking away. At this point I was running out of ammo and getting a bit discouraged, so I asked for help in rookie chat. After some initial snafus where kind folks who were willing to help were 20 jumps away, someone said he’d help me and invited me to a fleet.
I have to admit that the horror stories of EVE were going through my head when I accepted the invite. I think people in the same fleet have permission to shoot at each other without CONCORD, which is like the police, going all ape-shit on the aggressor. I could just see him warping in and blowing me to smithereens for shits and giggles. So I warped on over to the jumpgate out of the system and aligned myself, ready to jump out at the first hint of a gank.
After waiting about 20 minutes, InterceptorSA finally jumped into the system, and in a Brutix battlecruiser. Wow. I thought he was just another newbie, otherwise why would he be in rookie help. But he turned out to be a great guy who had jumped all the way out here just to help me. We warped in to Dagan, who must have started getting bored flying in circles with no one shooting at him. I set up to tank him while the Brutix got to 30km range to start pounding. I think InterceptorSA had expected Dagan to be a pushover with his firepower, since there was a pause after his first volley when Dagan’s shields barely took a 5% hit. Apparently, normally even level 3 battlecruisers die in 1 salvo from his Brutix. But with 2 of us, the outcome wasn’t really in doubt and we eventually wore down his shields and blew him away. I tried to give him some ISK for his time and trouble, but he wouldn’t hear any of it and I wasn’t able to mail him any ISK as I was still on a trial account. I should give him a present after I upgrade to a regular subscription.
Now that the epic arc series of missions is done, I’m starting to slowly do some level 1 missions to increase my standings with agents. And of course, to get some capital to start on my trading which will hopefully give me lots of moolah.