Guardian in a structure

13th March 2010 – 3.50 pm

With nothing happening, it's time to go out scanning in my Buzzard again. A handy bookmark to our static wormhole is already in the can at the tower, which suggests our scanning man has been out already today, but I can take a look around anyway. The neighbouring system has a tower, which I find easily enough using the directional scanner, and there are no ships or pilots loitering there. Even though the system may be mapped already, I am fairly keen to have a go myself. I noticed that my scanning skills were lacking a little and one more level in two skills was trained relatively quickly, so now my scanning times should improve. And I pluck a wormhole to resolve on my first attempt!

As I am in warp to the wormhole, the scanning man finishes and announces the route to a high-sec exit is through six w-space systems, not including our own. That's a lot of uncertainty, in terms of occupied systems and wormhole stability, so I return my Buzzard to our tower and switch to the Manticore. With the wormhole bookmarks copied to my systems I head out again, a warp disruptor now fitted to my stealth bomber, looking for someone to bomb. The wormhole I choose to loiter on first leads to 'deadly' unknown parts of space, which is more dangerous than 'dangerous'. It leads to a class 6 w-space system, the highest class, which will only be occupied by the most competent and well-equipped capsuleers. Maybe I shouldn't look for trouble in there. But I will.

Oh blast, a corporation fleet forms wanting to shoot Sleepers, just as my Manticore crawls to within ten kilometres of the wormhole. I will regrettably have to abandon my adventure, and I quickly run away back to the tower, swapping in to a Guardian instead. Our fleet assembled, we head next door to plunder Sleeper sites for profit under the absent noses of the occupying capsuleers. We start with simple anomalies, a reconnaissance ship heading in first to get a good warp-in position. The probes may get a lock when scanning that allows the site to be bookmarked from AUs away, but that often means you warp in 100 km from the initial wave of ships. Sending in a cloaked vessel to get a better bookmark can prove useful. Of course, it depends on the bookmark.

There is little option in most anomalies but to bookmark the structure, and warping the fleet to that bookmark has the unfortunate effect of having the ships bounce off in various directions. We are also often left on different sides of the structure. Closing to the Sleeper ships or ensuring that a healthy mutual range is maintained between the fleet is initially complicated by first having to manoeuvre around the structure. I find this frustrating, personally. In the Guardian, I busily need to lock on to each member of the fleet as their ships arrive separately, and decide who to transfer energy to and when to activate remote repair modules to cover the Sleeper alpha strike. And if I wait until the initial debris has settled before moving out, I often then have to quickly catch up with a battleship zooming away to close range with a Sleeper. It's not that I can't cope, it's that I don't think I need to, as a fleet can be warped to an arbitrary distance from a point. Still, that doesn't mean I should get insolent and bump my Guardian off the structure like a fish out of water.

I think my message gets across, but probably thanks to a more diplomatic and friendly colleague and not my selfish actions. The next anomaly sees us warp to within a couple of dozen kilometres of the structure, making the initial engagement less stressful. And once again I can use the corporation chat channel as the fleet 'watch list', seeing announcements about ship damage before it even happens. It is pointed out, again unsurprisingly not by me, that the watch list helpfully blinks ships in red when they become the focus of aggression, already giving us Guardian pilots plenty of warning. Some wag then asks 'am I blinking yet' as the Sleepers switch targets to him, but he is actually only enquiring to find out more about the mechanics of the watch list. Corporation chat reverts to normal gossip and strategic discussions, only occasionally interrupted by the understandable yelps of fright when huge amounts of armour are lost quickly.

There is a bit of a fright when we warp in to one anomaly but someone forgets to recall their drones in the previous one. There is no call to cancel warp, so I assume the drones will simply be left behind, but half the fleet warps and half cancels to wait for the drones to return. Unfortunately, this is one of the few times my twin Guardian and I think differently, and I am flung in to the anomaly without any means to have my armour repaired. And the Sleepers start shooting me. I stay calm, my mood somewhat fatalistic this evening, knowing that I am best to wait in the anomaly for the others to arrive. If I try to flee, I could leave just as the rest of the fleet arrives and put them in to the same boat, so to speak. Thankfully, it is not long before the cavalry arrives, and my armour is barely below 50% when I am repaired back to full strength. I probably deserved to be shot for my earlier actions anyway.

In the end, we storm through seven anomalies, the damage bonus of this magnetar system helping with our clearance speed. We finish with two radar sites. The other Guardian is re-fitted with a codebreaker to open a databank in the radar sites, which spawns the additional waves of Sleepers, so that we don't need to keep switching ships in and out of the site or system. We get a huge amount of loot from the sites and databanks, even salvaging a hull from a talocan cruiser in the second radar site. It is a good haul, and another good evening of Sleeper combat.

  1. One Response to “Guardian in a structure”

  2. Heh, I love the line:
    "more dangerous than 'dangerous'"

    And as for warping to the anomalies independently, I guess you just had to be there. I think everyone was rather fatalistic about the endeavor.

    By Kename Fin on Mar 14, 2010

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