Mobile boring unit

18th May 2014 – 3.06 pm

I'm about to recall my probes, but my curiosity gets the better of me. What type of static wormhole does this class 5 w-space system hold? It's not a particularly interesting question, admittedly, but there may be a reason why the system is unoccupied. I have time to find out, so call my probes in to scan the eleven signatures. There's just the one wormhole, making it the static connection, and warping across sees it to be a plain H296. A C5/C5 system seems pretty normal, so maybe this one will be occupied soon enough.

I've found the wormhole, it would be churlish not to poke through, at least for a quick look. Ships! No tower! And, sure, core probes that are probably already resolving this K162, but my directional scanner is showing me activity. I can stay a little longer, particularly as it looks like I have options for which activity to miss out on. Two Venture mining frigates can't be with the main fleet of six Dominix battleships and a Legion strategic cruiser, and the Noctis salvage may not be guarded by them, judging by the number of Sleeper wrecks being created.

Helios scout appears at the wormhole I just opened

A Helios covert operations boat warps to the K162, cloaks, thinks twice about cloaking, and reveals himself to make long, lazy orbits of the wormhole. That's cool, I've moved away and cloaked already, and I'm not foolish enough to take a punt at an agile and cloaky cov-ops when there are better targets available. Sure, the better targets are now aware of a wormhole in to this system, and they have a scout watching the wormhole, but I'm pretty sure I sneaked in under their radar.

I'm in the system. Is there anything I can do? I ping d-scan around looking for the ships. The Ventures must be sucking on gas, as they aren't in an ore anomaly. I'd have to scan for them, and launching probes doesn't seem like a good idea for staying unseen. I find the Dominices finishing a site, but without the Legion. Is the strategic cruiser merely providing boosts? His distant position and solitude suggests so, and I hope his is boosting and not guarding the Noctis. What Noctis, Penny? Good question.

Dominix fleet against the Sleepers

The last Sleepers are destroyed in the site, and the battleships recall their probes and sit still. The Noctis is not on d-scan, and apart from Venture comings and goings there really isn't anything to see or report. Perhaps I should simply warp to some of the distant Sleeper battleship wrecks, steal twenty million ISK or so of loot, and be on my way. Ah, but here's some Dominix movement, just as the Noctis reappears on d-scan.

Noctis warps in to join the Dominix fleet

The salvager warps in to nestle amongst his Dominix buddies, which isn't an encouraging sight. Even less encouraging, he drops a dumb mobile tractor unit. Hard to kill, less risk to the defender, and zero fun to shoot. What a silly unit. It doesn't provoke interaction in w-space, it discourages it. As if to prove all this, once the Dominices warp out—not to collapse the K162, thankfully—the Noctis pulls range on the MTU and cloaks. Lazy, slow, inefficient bastard.

Noctis deploys a boring mobile tractor unit

I suppose I just have to be patient, wait for the MTU to finish its tedious task, and jump the Noctis as it scoops the unit, releasing the delicious blue loot from within. Really quite patient. More patient than I think I care to be. The MTU really is quite slow, pulling in one wreck at a time. But who's going to stop it? If I had the firepower to kill it quickly I'd be gunning for the fleet, and if I try to do it now I'll get almost no loot and probably shooed by the fleet returning to protect their booty.

Shout out to Nykteas Solamnus

Someone has been spotted. A name is dropped in the normally quiet local communications channel. Is the jig up for me too? I hang around anyway, with just seven wrecks left to pull in to a ball around the MTU I may still get a shot at the Noctis. Or, you know, not. With three wrecks to go the Noctis decloaks and warps clear, leaving me with an MTU I can't crack in reasonable time and a load of looted wrecks that I can't salvage. Whatever. I get close and in to position anyway. You never know what could happen.

The Noctis appears on d-scan again, as does a Manticore and a pod. That's interesting, more so when the stealth bomber disappears. I don't see the Ventures any more either. Whilst it's a shame I won't get my ambush, at least the other interloper has got himself a kill, despite the fleet's efforts to stay safe. Good show!

D-scan puts the Noctis with the Dominix fleet, dropping another MTU. How dreary. I consider taking a crack at the loot-stuffed MTU in front of me, however unpleasant and potentially unsuccessful the experience. It's something to do. Well, it would be, if an Arbitrator cruiser hadn't just entered the system and warped to be a few kilometres from my cloaked Loki strategic cruiser. Okay, the jig is definitely up.

Arbitrator warps in to the cleared site

Hullo. The Manticore makes a return appearance, this time creating a corpse new to the system. That seems to call the Arbitrator away from the despawned and clearly inactive site he's in, and I grab at what little opportunity I'm left with. As soon as the cruiser is in warp, I decloak, gain a positive lock on the MTU, and start shooting. And keep shooting. And shoot a little longer. I have no idea why these are so much tougher than a Noctis.

Desperately trying to crack open a mobile tractor unit

I keep a watch on d-scan, sure that my appearance in the system will provoke a response, surer still that the fleet will twig what I'm doing. Yet still I shoot the MTU uninterrupted, somehow struggling through its armour and structure until it, well, it doesn't explode as much as stop existing. In place of the MTU is a small container of loot, roughly what I'd get from popping a loot-collecting ship, but, of course, without the salvage to go with it. Or the kill. Or the fun. MTUs are rubbish.

I steal all the surviving loot and make a bee-line for the K162 back to C5a. No one stopped me cracking open the MTU, no one stops me leaving the system the way I came. Thank you, Mr Manticore, for providing an excellent distraction. I suppose I could have caught a Noctis and got more loot, but that's not really your fault, more one of poor design. Still, the eighty million ISK of stolen loot I'm taking home is still eighty million ISK of stolen loot.

  1. 7 Responses to “Mobile boring unit”

  2. Picking up some freebies is never a bad compromise. Not quite as satisfying as picking them off the bones of a Noctis, granted.

    By Mortlake on May 19, 2014

  3. Yep, I got something. But the mobile tractor unit made the encounter inherently boring, a minor structure bash, the only 'excitement' being the added threat of needing to hang around longer to wade through the increased EHP the structure has over that of a salvager ship.

    Without the MTU, I would have had a dynamic encounter against at least one other player. Sure, a player in a non-combat ship, but an unknown quantity all the same. The MTU simply doesn't provoke conflict in w-space, but lets players actively avoid it.

    By pjharvey on May 20, 2014

  4. I see what you're saying, but it also means that the prime meat often sticks around longer after finishing a site, waiting for the MTU to finish. I see a lot of people in HACs and BCs daytripping that fit salvage and carry an MTU.

    By Mortlake on May 22, 2014

  5. If you're doing it right MTU finishes while you do next site.

    By Mick Straih on May 22, 2014

  6. Yeah. And much as I appreciate the occasional inexperienced pilot or tourist, having to rely on them for adventure makes for lean times.

    By pjharvey on May 22, 2014

  7. I realise that, but I'm fortunate enough to regularly cross paths with the inept. 'Outside > In' exploration helps of course. The uninitiated have a habit of not 'doing it right'.

    By Mortlake on May 22, 2014

  8. Altho that does mean there's an unguarded MTU to pillage.
    Then again, unguarded noctis would be better.

    By Mick Straih on May 22, 2014

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