Life in a Wormhole: Trying for a Good Fight #eveonline

CB reports that we have a Nighthawk command ship and a... Caracal cruiser? Running sleeper anomalies?

Really? A caracal? That's... weird.

Everyone besides CB who is online and can fight (Bre, Tira) is currently out of the hole running errands (Bre's retrieving her Crow interceptor from the corporate office, and Tira's moving resources -- we've given up on waiting til the hole is totally secure for running logistics, because if we do we'll never get anything done), but CB hollers out into the interwebs and Em and Dirk log in. Much ship shuffling ensues, with CB getting the worst of it as he's sent for an interdictor, then an interceptor, then a battlecruiser, et cetera et cetera. Dirk gets in his hurricane and sticks with it, as does Em in her Onyx heavy interdictor.

While CB is shuffling ships, the Nighthawk and Caracal (who have been remarkably unconcerned about this activity) decide they're done with the site they're running and warp back to the wormhole, only to be snagged by Em's interdiction bubble. The two ship's land quite far from one another, and Dirk has to choose between the expensive but distant Nighthawk, versus the cheap Caracal that basically landed right on top of him. He goes for the Caracal, which pops quickly, followed by the pilot's pod -- both before CB can get back to the fight from the tower (a recurring problem: finds a target and ends up in mid-ship swap and missing out on the actual fight). The nighthawk gets clear of the interdiction bubble and warps away before either Hurricane can close, waits a few minutes, then warps back down to the hole and overheats his propulsion to power through the bubble and get out of the wormhole. Boo.

We assume that's it, but the Nighthawk surprises everyone by jumping back in for a second to scold our pilots for killing and podding the caracal pilot, because "he's a brand new player."

Maybe don't bring him into a wormhole, then?

It seems likely the system will remain quiet after that, but looks can be deceiving, as Shan later reports visitors in the hole via an incoming connection from another wormhole, and more than a few -- by the time I get where I can do any good, he and Em have spotted a Legion strategic cruiser, two Tengus, a Loki, and a Proteus jumping in and out of the system, all but the Legion apparently capable of cloaking up. That seems like most of the ships likely to be around (given their kill record), but it's hard to tell, since we weren't around to watch the entrance from the moment it opened.

We're a little short on manpower, but between the lot of us we figure we've got about six pilots to take a shot at the obvious Legion baitship sitting on the high-sec hole. Given that we probably need some kind of force multiplier for this, we go with four combat ships (three battlecruisers (two Hurricanes and a Harbinger), and a Dominix battleship), supplemented with a couple of Falcon force recon ships to try to cut down their incoming damage by jamming some of their target locks. We could just as easily have gone with logistics instead (and I'd generally prefer to do so over Falcons, as I find the ECM mechanics in the game to be poorly balanced and generally boring and un-fun for both sides of the fight), but we have several people multi-boxing, and generally that's a lot easier to do when one of them is in a Falcon rather than some kind of repair ship.

Anyway, we warp down to the Legion, which we expect to be heavily tanked, and aren't really surprised to be proven right, but our ships actually manage to get the strategic cruiser into low armor before his friends arrive. Things are looking pretty good for a decent brawl.

Until we see how many friends there are.

Yes, the two tengus, Loki, and Proteus strategic cruisers are there, but they're accompanied by a Drake and Hurricane battlecruiser, a Vindicator battleship (a real brute of a ship that flourishes in the short ranges at which we're engaged), and (most disappointing) 2 basilisk logistics ships to keep them all on the field.

In short, there's little chance we'll be able to beat the rep cycles of two dedicated logistics ships with our four combat ships, certainly not before their eight combat ships take us out, and especially not since Em seems to be unable to lock anything on the field (a malfunction with her Covert Ops cloak that prevents her from locking anything), and Bre's falcon was called primary target straight away and forced off the field in flames.

We manage to drill into the opponents' Legion and Hurricane structure, but two or three of us are in structure as well and have to jump out of the hole or explode for no good reason. We're joined on that side of the hole by both of the (now flaming) ships from the other side and, with the eyes of CONCORD ever watchful, exchange nothing more than a "good fight" comment in local and a few comments about the way the fight went, then warp off to the nearest station to repair.

It was a good fight, but frustrating for a couple of reasons.

  • I hate multiboxing in PvP, and I'm not doing it anymore. It doesn't increase our effectiveness nearly as much as it hurts us.

  • That was a lot of ships to leave cloaked up in our system in hopes of an ambush. They had to have been in there for hours. Good planning and dedicated work on their part, but I guess in the same situation I'd have... done something different. More and more, Wormhole PvP feels like "using expensive ships to get cheap kills." I'd be lying if I didn't admit it was frustrating.

The next day, the guys decide to go on a wormhole roam of our own, and I, Dirk, Em, and CB suit up in stealthy ships to explore the constellation of systems connected to ours through the class four. It's good practice, and a good way to kill a couple-three hours, but our timing is off -- it seems we've only just missed activity in every system we visit (and there are more than a few, as we map from our class 2 into the class 4, a class 3, a second class 4, a third class 5, and a class 5 wormhole, all disappointingly quiet (despite VERY recent signs of violence), and annoyingly full of scan signatures that are not more wormholes.

All in all, its good practice with no payoff. Everyone else takes off, and I wrap up by slipping through through the class 3's high-sec connection and thence back to The Syndicate, where at least if (when) I jump through six systems and don't find anyone to fight, it doesn't take nearly as long.
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