Another notch for a Noctis

14th February 2012 – 5.22 pm

I'm back in space and looking for something to shoot. I was in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system six weeks ago and the tower I have listed remains in the same place, although no one is home. A blanket scan confirms no obvious ships are in the system and shows me three anomalies and seven signatures. I resolve two ladar sites, one radar and magnetometric site each, and three wormholes, the last of which I finish scanning as a Zephyr, of all ships, warps in to the tower I'm floating outside of. I reconnoitre the connections whilst the prototype scanning ship gets his bearings, bookmarking a static exit to low-sec, a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space, and a K162 from class 5 w-space. It's not looking too friendly for the C3 pilot.

The Zephyr does nothing. I watch him for a minute but he goes off-line, probably after updating his skill queue, giving me a window to check the exit system in low-sec. I find myself in the Heimatar region and one hop from the notorious Amamake system again, and with more w-space behind me I choose not to scan here for now. And although I'm not actually too concerned about exploring class 6 w-space systems I get the general impression that any pilot living there is probably more experienced than in lower-class systems, so I head through the K162 to class 5 w-space instead. Like it's going to make that much of a difference.

Two towers are immediately visible on my directional scanner from the wormhole, along with a Rifter frigate, Reaper frigate, Noctis salvager, Iteron hauler, and only two moons. The towers have to be around those moons, so I scout them first before thinking about launching scanning probes. The Iteron and Reaper are unpiloted at one tower, but a Drake battlecruiser sits piloted at the same tower. Maybe I overlooked his presence on d-scan a moment ago. Then again, he immediately warps to another planet, which suggests both another tower and that this pilot has perhaps only just turned up. I follow in his wake, after noting the piloted Noctis and Cheetah covert operations boat at the second tower around this planet.

There are at least four more towers in this system, which is perhaps not unusual for this class of w-space, and three Drakes on d-scan, plus a second Cheetah. I locate the Drakes at one of the towers, only for two of them to have dropped off d-scan by the time I find the third. It's possible they've gone to C3a to engage Sleepers, so I warp to the outer planet again to check on the Noctis, hoping it will become a target. I don't find the Drakes directly but pick them up on d-scan again. I head to the wormhole to the C3, dropping short in time to see the third Drake jump through. Oh good, I have that system scanned, which will make hunting the Noctis so much easier. The main problem is deciding when to follow the fleet.

If I jump too soon it's possible the fleet won't have got themselves organised and will still be sat on the other side of the wormhole, giving the game away a little early. Even if the fleet has moved in to an anomaly, the Noctis could be sat on the wormhole waiting to be called in to the first cleared site, which may provide a nice sitting target for a moment but also an opportunity for the salvager to jump home and call the fleet to his aid. I don't want that either. I wait a few minutes, hoping for the fleet to move on and the Noctis to have made a safe spot, or maybe warped to an arbitrary moon in the system as a half-way measure, and jump to the C3. I appear to be in luck, as I am greeted by no ships.

I don't see any Sleeper wrecks on d-scan. Opening my system map shows why, as all three anomalies are out of range of the wormhole. I warp across the system to see the three Drakes and an unexpected Tengu strategic cruiser in an anomaly with Sleeper wrecks. Whilst the combat continues I make a suitable tactical waiting point just outside the anomaly, far enough away to be able to warp in to the site at a moment's notice, yet close enough to remain in visual range. All I need now is the Noctis, it so far remaining invisible to d-scan. Ah, there he is now, which is hopefully a good sign.

The site is cleared of Sleepers and the Noctis warps in. But the fleet doesn't warp out, making it look like I was spotted and that the combat ships will guard their salvager. Even so, I get ready. I bookmark a wreck within a couple of kilometres of the Noctis and align my ship towards it. Maybe I could risk a shot anyway. I probably won't last long against the combined fire of a strategic cruiser and three battlecruisers, but it shouldn't take long to pop a Noctis and unless their Sleeper combat ships have a warp disruptor fitted I should be able to flee easily enough. Oop, it doesn't matter, as there they go, one, two, three, warping out of the site and in to the next.

As the last ship enters warp so do I. It's easy to spot the increased acceleration of the exiting ship and my warp engines ignite immediately, thanks to being aligned, and I decloak and get my systems hot, seconds away from introducing myself to the Noctis. I get a positive lock and start shooting, approaching the Noctis in expectation of having a new corpse I'll need to scoop quickly. Warping in as the fleet warps out gives me the maximum amount of uninterrupted time to engage the salvager, but if they come back I don't want to be caught fumbling with loot or corpses. And speaking of loot, there is an unlooted wreck the Noctis is towing behind it, right next to my ship. My missiles are happily chewing away at the salvager's armour, I have little else on my mind right now. I open the wreck and move the Sleeper loot in to my hold to get a some pre-emptive profit.

It takes a little while to pop the Noctis, longer than a stealth bomber would take, but it pops. I snap at the pod with my targeting systems, and am pleased to get a positive lock and my warp disruptor active on it. As my missiles get to to the chewy centre of the pod I loot the wreck of the Noctis, trying to be as efficient as possible, before turning my fire on to the wreck as I scoop the frozen corpse to my hold. No need to scoop, loot, and shoot, as I did it on the fly. All that's left for me to do is get out of there, and I burn away from the pocket to get safe. The Tengu and one of the Drakes return just in time to see me cloak, with nothing they can do about it. Safe, I warp back to my monitoring point, where I bask in the warmth of a good kill.

The Drakes and Tengu leave the site and the system. I don't suppose they're coming back. And there's a Sleeper battleship in this anomaly that remains unlooted, holding a good seven million ISK in its wreck. I'm having that. I warp in, loot it, then warp out again. But if the fleet isn't coming back maybe I can have the loot in those cruisers too, and probably the salvage. I return home, drop off what I've collected already, and go back to the cleared anomaly in C3a in a salvaging destroyer. It is a simple matter to sweep up the handful of wrecks left behind, netting me about eighteen million ISK in total, which is a pretty good addition to the podding. And as I head home with my loot I notice a pod on d-scan, which is probably local. Maybe the evening isn't quite over yet.

  1. 6 Responses to “Another notch for a Noctis”

  2. Ack, another cliff hanger! :P

    By SirPaper on Feb 14, 2012

  3. Only a little one!

    By pjharvey on Feb 14, 2012

  4. Hey there,
    Been reading this for a while and there is just thing I gotta ask, how/why do you get so many pods? I mean an interceptor has a hard time catching a pod whose pilot is awake and yet you manage to catch them in a tengu...I doubt it is lots of sensor boosters. I don't know, I just wonder why the noctis pilot didn't get away; surely they knew their ship was going down, time to prep for getting your pod out.

    Yet you seem to get them regularly. I would have thought getting podded as a wh dweller would be a major pain in the bum.

    have fun,

    By tnankie on Feb 15, 2012

  5. Being podded in w-space is a pain, which is why I do it. As most encounters will be with a target either in their home system or a system adjacent to their home, you really don't want to let pilots get back to their tower and return in a ship that specifically counters your own.

    As for how I get them, I can only speculate. I have a sensor booster, which obviously helps, but my best guess is that the capsuleers are following a natural instinct to flee homewards which, in w-space, means warping to a wormhole or their tower. Wormholes and towers are not on the overview, unless you are on-grid, and therefore cannot be easily selected and warped-to using big, convenient buttons. Instead, the pilot needs to find the right bookmark in the right window, open the context menu, and choose the right option to warp. If you're a little inexperienced in w-space manoeuvres this process can probably take just long enough for a sensor-boosted Tengu to get a lock and point.

    Like I say, that's just speculation, but it seems a reasonable explanation. In fact, it's the basis of my previous thinking behind why some corporations anchor a territorial control unit in w-space.

    By pjharvey on Feb 16, 2012

  6. yeah I guess that seems reasonable, I personally have a pod saver overview which I swap to when I am going down, but that is usually in null/low.

    even so pods warp and enter warp fast enough that they should be able to bounce off a planet...still when the adrenaline is pumping it is hard to think clearly.

    By tnankie on Feb 16, 2012

  7. Same here. I have an overview tab specifically for fleeing, holding no ships at all. Pick an object at random and start spamming the warp button. It's got me out of a few tight spots.

    By pjharvey on Feb 19, 2012

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