Caracal versus Thorax in a friendly duel

17th February 2010 – 6.46 pm

As the scanner boats return, with no fleet forming for the evening we decide on another couple of duels. Unlike last time, where I opt to duel with guns, I will fly a Caldari Caracal cruiser complete with missiles, giving me a good chance of striking hard and quick. The Caracal is fitted with sensor dampers to hinder my targets, and a sensor booster for myself. The general idea is to reduce the enemy's targeting range and keep my distance outside of that limited range, so that I don't even get hit. The idea is good, let's see how it works in practice.

The Thorax my colleague chooses is faster than the Caracal, chasing me for long enough that the micro-warp drive drains my capacitor dry, at which point I drop to a crawl and get within his damped targeting range. My missiles don't quite get in to his structure before his guns and drones eat in to mine. To be fair, my opponent wasn't. He overheated his systems to catch up to me, which whilst far from disallowed is perhaps a little against the spirit of a friendly duel for no stakes. But it is good to know that it took overheated systems to thwart me. So prepared, I am ready for a second duel.

In fact, I am more than prepared, with a second ship ready to energy-neutralise the Thorax to help me out. If you can't win in a fair fight, make it unfair in your favour. In both picking a random distance to warp to the chosen destination, the duel starting once both present, I even manage to get a few tens of kilometres between our two ships at that start, which helps my tactics. Unfortunately, the crappy Thorax races out of range of my neuting chum and closes with me quickly. With a more optimal initial range between us I get more missiles hitting my opponent, but just not quite enough to put him in to structure before he smokes me again.

Ultimately, my downfall is not moving away quickly enough. My first instruction for the ship to move away at maximum velocity is ignored for some reason, and I don't notice this as I busy myself targeting and activating sensor dampers and missile launchers. By the time I realise I am not moving it is a bit late, as the Thorax is closing fast and I have wasted valuable capacitor on an MWD cycle or two. It is a silly mistake and one definitely better made in practice. I have lost two more duels against colleagues, which really doesn't bode well for any real engagements, but the experience is vital. Understanding the modules, strategies, and what mistakes to watch out for is all good practice.

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