Thursday, 21 May 2015

Back in a Merlin, Part 2

This is part 2, you can find part 1 here.

It's peak time and I'm hitting up the Heimatar region, looking for FW spots. Locals are big. There's 30-odd ships battling it out on the gates of Amamake. I sneak through without much trouble.

The thing that strikes me most about this challenge - I'm not afraid. There's a surprising comfort knowing that another 9 ships are waiting just a few jumps away, should anything go horribly, horribly wrong. I don't even have implants in yet, after my recent trip into null.

I even stopped to take a picture.

I finally spent the free 5,000 AUR they gave me years ago.

The goal was to get 10 good fights, win or lose. Sure, wins are always good - but I'll take a lesson from a loss in such a cheap frigate.

I recorded the fights so I could evaluate them later.

What I love about EVE is that so much goes on in the community outside of the game. I expected the only person to view those videos would be myself. Yet after just 1 day, a few people have already left constructive feedback about my fights!

  1. Overload modules from the beginning of every fight.
  2. Wasting too much shield boost, maybe use passive instead of active.
  3. Carry alternate ammo with better range.

Here's the YouTube playlist:

Fight 1: Merlin vs Rifter - kill mail

"As wins go, that was awful."

After settling into an orbit outside my optimal then wasting my shield boost charges - it struck me I hadn't turned my afterburner on and the Rifter would slowly nibble me to death unless I adjusted.

I broke the orbit with manual piloting but I'm sure I could've just clicked 'approach' instead. Could've saved myself a lot of cap charges.

Fight 2: Merlin vs Merlin - kill mail

"Why is he so goddamn tanky?"

I was excited about fighting another Merlin. I honestly didn't know how my build would compare to the 'standard' FW fit. Turns out this was not a typical fit, the guy had two shield boosters. I should've noticed a phantom mid slot because he didn't web me - I need to pay more attention.

Once I realized he was out tanking me, I tried to manually dodge his shots while I waited out the 60 second shield reload. This was felt incredible, I was manually piloting and pulling away! I was doing it! (I still hadn't realized no web...) 60 seconds later and I'm back in the fight; but his shield is just too strong.

I try to bail and actually make it out of scram range (yay!), but there's not a warp point in sight and I have to turn around (buuu...). Forget to re-web him, overload everything, burn out my afterburner. Sitting duck and dead.

Just a total clusterfuck, really. Lessons would be: carry ammo with more range, check what he's targeted me with, aim for a damn celestial if I'm trying to escape.

Not a Good Fight - kill mail

I lost a ship to bait. It was a busy system, I jumped in a novice site and a Tristan showed up. I kept checking D-Scan during the fight (yay!) but was unable to do anything about the two Imperial Navy Slicers joining their buddy.

Fight 3: Merlin vs Tristan - kill mail

I noticed (yay!) this guy was neuting me straight away which I'm really happy about.

"Power everything down - let's see if I can kill him while there's still juice in the tank."

I could not. In fact I was so far away from killing him that I've decided to avoid Tristans while flying this particular fit. Not a particularly valuable lesson learnt in terms of my PvP career, but it should save me a few Merlins over the next few days.

Fight 4: Merlin vs Merlin - kill mail

After my fight with Mr Crazy-Big-Shield Merlin, I thought about the lack of a web and the impact it might have on fights. Sure I had managed to break scram range from this guy, but my current problem was an exploding ship - not an escaping target.

The only way to fit two shield boosters is to drop my Ion Blasters down to Electron Blasters. The new setup should see me a lot tankier but with less DPS.

"Let's see how I do against this Merlin... Shield's down!?!"

His DPS is insane, eats through my shield. I spam both boosters in panic to get myself back to full. We settle into something of an orbit and it all calms down a bit. I'm trying to stagger my shield boosts but the damage has been done and I'm soon due a 60 second reload. Towards the end of the fight he's pulled a bit of range on me. I'm barely scratching him while he tears through the remaining armour and hull.

He compliments my tankiness and I check his prior losses on BattleClinic to see what I was up against. Except, there aren't any recent loses in a Merlin. He hasn't died with this ship recently.

So I message him... and then he links his fit!

"People really are nice in EVE, even after you've tried to kill 'em."

Ah... the Old Faithful. He's flying the buffer shield Merlin. Web, Scram, AB and an MSE with defence rigs and an anti-EM. That's the ship I used to fly back when it had two rocket launchers and two turrets on offense. He's managed to fit three Neutron Blasters on there. He sure did a lot of damage... Hmm. maybe I'll try that one next...

Read part 3, here.


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