Cruising deadspace

7th September 2009 – 5.23 pm

'I've got rats to kill!' It's worth shouting about encounter missions when working for agents that are far more inclined to want packages delivered. Unlike courier missions, where it is unnecessary to drag others in to the tedium of jumping several systems across and back again, encounter missions are quicker and more fun when shared. I swap my Crane for the Drake and head out to deadspace, where I will start the exploding whilst my friend makes her way to join me.

An acceleration gate sits between me and the enemy. It is not an uncommon sight, but this one is cunningly configured not to let any ship bigger than a cruiser activate it. My Drake battlecruiser's systems repeatedly get an error message when trying to use the gate, leaving me floating helplessly when there are rats to blow up. I could go back to my agent and pretend I completed the mission, but after so many courier jobs my corporation friend and I have the bloodlust. A quick browse of the market finds a couple of cheap Caracal cruisers to snap up, and we head to station dock to scramble them.

The only problem with needing to fly a cruiser for this mission is the span of time since I've put my pod in a Caracal. I'm not quite sure how to fit a standard cruiser. The problem is not so much about what to fit—as they are Caldari ships we'll need shield capabilities and missiles—but rather the size and quantities to match the CPU and powergrid of the cruiser. We both raid loot bins and ransack our Drakes to find suitable modules to fit, resorting to buying from the market for missing pieces.

I end up with five assault launchers firing light missiles, two large shield extenders, one medium shield booster, two mission-specific shield amplifiers, and two ballistic control systems, with a couple of light scouts in the drone bay. The fitting gives me a pretty good shield tank with some quick-firing launchers to rip through frigates and worry cruisers. My friend is happy to stick with the heavy launchers from her Drake, which works well in tandem with my set-up.

Suitably equipped, our Caracals head out to the acceleration gate in deadspace, activating it to be thrust in to the heart of the action. It's a little disappointing to find only a couple of frigates and a cruiser waiting to be destroyed, even if there turn out to be three waves of them. It took about an order of magnitude longer to buy and fit the Caracals than it does to convert the rats to wrecks.

I imagine that the many months of support skill training makes the mission far simpler than it would have been when I was new to level two missions. The extra missile, drone, and shield skills, coupled with enhanced CPU and powergrid capabilities, all combine to make a much more powerful cruiser. It makes me wonder why the acceleration gate is locked down to allow only smaller ships through, when it is almost a trivial mission to complete for anyone who has the skills and ISK to pilot bigger ships. Forcing a veteran pilot in to a more appropriate class of ship for the level doesn't increase the challenge, only the time commitment.

At least I get a chance to exercise my mind a little in trying to squeeze as much out of a cruiser as possible. It seems like good practice to find suitable fittings for different ships, to remain aware of the many different modules and fittings available, perhaps thinking of novel combinations or simply remembering basic set-ups. If nothing else, it was a fun jaunt to go shopping and take a new ship out for a spin.

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