Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blood In Bosena

Ever since my close call with the Arazu Force Recon last week, I've been intrigued by the thought of solo hunting in my Force Recon, the Caldari Falcon. With the ability to warp while cloaked, one would be able to do what the Arazu did to me: hunt down an unsuspecting target that can't see you on scan until you are ready to engage.

There are hurdles to this idea however. Unlike the Arazu, the damage output of the Falcon is limited to only three weapons and they can't even all be bonused missiles either. The Arazu can have three blasters and has a 40m3 drone bay giving it an impressive DPS potential. In addition, the mid slots of the Arazu can be the Remote Sensor Dampeners (its specialty) along with the warp scrambler and webber while having a good armour tank in the lows; the falcon doesn't armour tank well and really needs weapon boosting mods and a ECM booster in the lows.

In summary: Arazu tanks better and does more damage. The only upside to the Falcon is that its electronic warfare completely breaks the lock of the target and I don't have to worry about getting too close like the Arazu does where a dampened target might still lock and start shooting.

Regardless of the downsides, I was determined to try it. Molden Heath was full of crafty pilots that would safe spot at the first sign of trouble on the scanner so I was hopeful that I could find some unsuspecting targets with my cloaked hunter.

And in the first low sec system I arrived in, I did.

I was surprised to find a pilot ratting in a Arbitrator (Amarr Tech 1 cruiser, drones main weapon) in Bosena. That system tends to be hot with gate campers and pirates and busy with lots of different corporations, and there is only 5 asteroid belts. But sure enough, there he was in a belt, killing rats. I was too far away to engage but followed him to the next belt which was empty. Figuring he would warp to the third belt, I warped to it as well only this time at 0 km to the centre instead of 70 so I would land right on top of him. And so I did.

I deactivated the cloak and activated the ECM, scram, and web. Damn, can't target him yet, forgot the cloaking recalibration timer of 6 seconds. Come on, come on.... YES! Locked, jammed, scrammed. I activated weapons and let loose some Caldari Navy missiles and hybrid charges (Faction ammo can be used like Tech 1 ammo but has superior damage, and costs more, but is so worth it in PvP). My opponent unleashes his drones but since I engaged him before they were out he has to direct them to attack me, and since he cannot lock me, they will do nothing but orbit him. That's when my evil laughter starts: he's going down.

The rats are helping me too so his shields and armour melt away very quickly. Just as he's getting into structure a new signal pops up on the overview: a Wolf assault frigate. I hit the warp button as I assume its help my target called upon. Just as the wolf starts targeting me the warp bubble coalesces around me and I escape. Seconds later, I receive notification that my security status takes a hit for the death of the Arbitrator ship.

I didn't get the killmail so I figure the Wolf wasn't friendly to either of us. I compose a pilot evemail to the Wolf pilot asking for a copy of it for my corp's kill board. Meanwhile in local the Wolf pilots starting talking, asking incredulously who would gank in a falcon and using multispec ECMs?! I say simply "Yeah. Something different." to which he responds along the lines of "dude, find a pilot that knows what the fuck he is doing and get him to help you." Pleasant.

I didn't respond. He was right about the multispec ECM, but I was comfortable enough in my setup to not respond to some stranger. A reply to my evemail appears in my mailbox. "I'll give you a copy if you can tell me why multispecs are bad." Sigh, fine. "Racials use less cap, have more range, and achieve the same or better effectiveness" I reply. His next response is the kill mail.

So why was I using 5 multispec ECMs instead of a mix of racial ones? Well, they are cheaper for one thing, and when using racials I like to double up on Gallente and Caldari and have one of each for Amarr and Minmatar but with only 5 slots available, it meant either going with one less of my doubles or taking a chance and dropping the Amarr ECM leaving me vulnerable to those ships. By going with 5 multispecs I got decent coverage of all races while still being capacitor stable and the optimal range was still well within my targeting range.

So I got a kill (mostly) and while it was not impressive (his settings were mostly Tech 1) it still counts. Later on I continued hunting and almost pinned down a Vagabond heavy assault cruiser that was looking for elite rats but he escaped before my cloaking recalibration timer elapsed.

Tomorrow night, more hunting!

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