Clearing up The Blockade

26th August 2008 – 7.44 am

In a concentrated effort, I managed to run and complete my first level three mission, The Blockade, before it expired. It took buying and fitting a Drake battlecruiser, several retreats to recharge my shields and repair some scorch marks to my armour, and around 3,000 heavy missiles in total fired from my smoking launchers. It was an epic battle for me.

Even though I reported the mission completion to my agent there was more to be done. I had left what must be around forty wrecks floating in space, waiting to have some ISK-earning salvage pulled from them. The salvaging couldn't be done before handing in the mission because of time constraints on the mission itself, but some helpful advice gave me the option of returning later, having bookmarked the location of the wrecks.

I didn't have a dedicated salvaging ship, nor had I invested in a tractor beam at that point, with tractor beams costing around a million ISK each and I had been trying to save money to buy, insure and fit a Drake for the mission. However, one beneficial outcome of having fought a large number of deadly battlecruisers was the size of the bounties. Being used to getting maybe half a million ISK from a level two mission I was astonished to see the bounties I was getting for this level three mission. I pulled in over 5,000,000 ISK in bounty rewards!

Not only did the millions defer the cost of buying thousands more missiles to replete my stock for future missions, it also let Penny Ibramovic's Salvaging Operations expand a little, buying a dedicated salvaging ship. I bought a Cormorant destroyer, and fitted it out with four salvagers and a couple of tractor beams, as well as an afterburner and expanded cargo space. I still need to train in micro warp drives, but I am steering my learning towards that goal at the moment.

Naming the salvaging destroyer Flycatcher I take it out for a maiden voyage. Heading out to the location of the huge battle I start locking on to wrecks and trying out the tractor beams for the first time. The clear advantage of the tractor beam when salvaging is that the beam works out to twenty kilometres, whereas the salvaging module only works within five kilometres. The tractor beam can thus pull wrecks towards the ship, at a speed of 500 m/s, for quicker salvaging. The wrecks can then, of course, be towed with the tractor beam along the ship's route to pick up more wrecks, which greatly reduces salvaging times.

The multiple salvagers and tractor beams lets several wrecks be salvaged at once, with an added benefit. If fewer wrecks than salvaging modules are within range at any one time multiple Salvagers can be put to work on each wreck, increasing the chance of successfully pulling salvage from the wrecks, also reducing time needed to salvage. This is great! I am whizzing around in deadspace pulling and dragging wrecks along, Salvagers permanently at work, with almost no wasted time. The advice to get a dedicated ship was certainly worth heeding, and now that I've seen tractor beams in action I would say it's worth spending the money getting another two to fill out the remaining high slots.

The only problem I encountered was the wreckage disappearing. I was sure I had left far more wrecks floating in the deadspace pocket than I could see now, and I thought they didn't break apart in less than a couple of hours. What had happened to them? Ah, the answer was that they had indeed broken apart from the passage of time. Breaking up The Blockade had been such a challenging and involving fight that it had taken me almost three hours to complete, and by the time I had finished, handed it in to the agent, and bought and fitted Flycatcher to return to the deadspace pocket the wrecks had disintegrated.

Ah well. I had completed the mission, earned millions in bounty money, and had a new salvaging destroyer. The past week has been quite an adventure.

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