So feeling a little bit motivated after realizing that I haven’t done anything with my Stratios yet, I sat down for a round of low-sec exploring. First I had to fit it, which required a little bit of shopping at Amarr.
[Stratios, Low sec]
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Medium Remote Armor Repairer II
Small Tractor Beam II
Sisters Core Probe Launcher (Sisters Core Scanner Probe)
10MN Afterburner II
3x Omnidirectional Tracking Link II
Cap Recharger II
True Sansha Medium Armor Repairer
Core C-Type Armor EM Hardener
Armor Thermic Hardener II
2x Drone Damage Amplifier II
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit II
4x Garde II
4x Bouncer II
5x Vespa EC-600
5x Hammerhead II
4x Garde II
The fit is a little bit bling as I was concerned about the tank ability for combat sites. This gives me a 219 dps cap stable tank, which is really still not a lot, but I intend to dual-box those with my Ishtar anyway so the incoming damage should be mitigated somewhat by higher dps and split fire. A small secure container in the cargohold is just enough to fit in 4 warp core stabilizers (can’t have too many!), a hacking set of cargo scanner, relic analyzer and data analyzer, and a spare assortment of light drones. Add in the obligatory mobile depot and it looks good to go.
The Stratios and Ishtar set off for low-sec together. There was an incursion going on so I didn’t take any screenshots due to the weird off-yellow color. Jumping in the Stratios shows the first low-sec gate to be clear. There’s only 1 other pilot in system and there are some signatures, but I decide to go a bit deeper in to see if there are better opportunities.
The second system has a red Drake hanging around camping the gate. Not a very dangerous gate camp, especially to a Stratios, but nevertheless my first time ever encountering one. The system seems fairly populated so I head off to a neighboring dead-end system while the Ishtar remains cloaked in a safe in the previous system. The dead-end system proves empty and has one signature, which resolves into a combat site! Yay! Except it’s a rogue drone site, Outgrowth Rogue Drone Hive. Ugh. I would still have run it, even with it supposedly taking a couple of hours for a solo Cerberus, if not for this:
Getting through the gate into Room 2 requires the skill “Plasma Physics” trained to Level 4. It also requires a Zbikoki’s Hacker Card.
Well at least now I know what that dumb card is for.
Checking back at the camped gate shows that the Drake pilot has switched out for a Broadsword interdictor, and is also accompanied by a Sleipnir command ship. Fortunately, a few seconds after my Stratios arrives at the gate perch they both warp off. Taking advantage of the opportunity I slip my Ishtar through to another safe spot.
Jumping into the next system, my Stratios then encounters a Procurer. Wait, a Procurer? Unless he’s mining the stargate, that’s a pretty obvious bait ship. A Buzzard also appears and hangs around, making the bait even more obvious. My Stratios warps to my safe and then warps back 50 km from the gate, with the intention of helping out with sentries if my Ishtar gets caught. The Ishtar jumps through as a Talos, obviously an alt of the Buzzard pilot, also lands on the gate. I’m getting a little nervous here as I realise that I’m going to have to test out the cloak-MWD trick. And fortunately I did mount a MWD on my Ishtar. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that it’s quite a bit harder to do the cloak-MWD trick when aligning to a bookmark since I can’t just spam warp like I can when warping to a planet at 0. This results in my MWD expiring before I turn off the cloak, and now I’m stuck without MWD to boost me up to warp speed. Hmm. While I ponder what to do I try to align to a planet instead of my safe spot, since that at least gives me a warp button to spam. As I crawl along 20 km away from the hostiles, they start moving around trying to decloak the Ishtar. I think I’m fairly safe as I’m out of scram and web range, so even if they catch me with a long point I “should” be able to MWD away and warp. Eventually I decide to go for it as a Purifier bomber also lands on the gate to help in the search. I decloak and select warp to 100, and thankfully the Ishtar turns out to be pretty speedy and enters warp almost immediately. After landing I immediately warp to my safe, just as the Talos lands at the planet 70 km away.
As this system seems pretty hot, I quickly make my way to the next gate and jump through with the Stratios. A Ferox battlecruiser, which turns out to be the Procurer pilot’s alt, shows up on d-scan. A bit of scanning at my safe finds 2 wormholes, which I’m not interested in. The last signature turns out to be another combat site, Provisional Blood Outpost. I warped both ships over, eager to finally do something. However it turns out that someone has already cleared the site as all I find are empty deadspace pockets. In the last room, I notice that the Buzzard pilot has followed me… together with his Talos alt.
The same story plays out for 2 more systems, with the Ferox pilot joining in the chase. At this point I figure they are not going to leave me alone and there’s no way I’m going to be able to do anything with the Buzzard just waiting to scan me down. So now it’s time for more of the same, except in reverse as I head back out. I’ve got the hang of the cloak-MWD trick now by going for a planet first instead of a bookmark, so I keep slipping past the Buzzard/Talos and Procurer/Ferox with the Ishtar while the Stratios just flashes past them merrily with ambulance radar spinning before disappearing under cloak.
When I finally jump back into the safety of high-sec, I do a bit of high-sec exploring just to accomplish something and end up doing Asteroid Infestation again, which of course yields nothing except Overseer underpants. So all in all that was basically not a productive session, which did not help dispel my EVE ennui. Some people say they like the excitement of being chased, but to me all I felt was annoyance. PVP in EVE is so pointless, it just reminds me of all those WoW players fighting in the middle of the road in Arathi Basin. Accomplishing nothing, yet puffing out their chests at the scoreboard at the end of the match showing their kills. Even though they lost the match, but they “didn’t want that victory anyway”.