Switching to repper drones

29th March 2010 – 5.32 pm

It's time for some more action. A minimal fleet is available to engage some Sleepers in an anomaly or two. We jump to today's neighbouring system and the squad leader warps the fleet in to the first anomaly. There is some confusion, however, as despite the whole wing apparently being in the system when warp is initiated the second Guardian ship remains at the wormhole. The pilot is understandably confused at the complete lack of action, whilst the rest of us are wondering where our last ship is.

As is predictable in such cases, the missing ship warps in to the anomaly under its own steam as we warp out to the wormhole to find it. It's not a big problem, as the fleet turns around at the wormhole and flies right back in to the anomaly to recover as gracefully as possible. And it's actually not such a bad situation for me, as once again I forget to bookmark the location of the wormhole home. I silently make the bookmark as the fleet warps out and in.

Clearing the anomaly is handled smoothly but slowly. The two DPS ships are both missing their drones for some reason, and Sleeper frigates are rather more resilient to big weapons because of their low signature radius. Normally, my Guardian's drones would help attack the smaller Sleeper ships, but I have swapped out my scout drones for maintenance ones, copying my more experienced twinned pilot. These new drones repair armour in much the same way as a remote armour repair module, but without being reliant on my ship's capacitor. They are almost as effective as an extra remote repper, which is quite useful in the more challenging sites.

The maintenance drones are straightforward enough to use, simply needing the pilot to target a ship and setting the drones to 'engage' the target as normal. It sounds rather more hostile than it is, and I think a flexible interface would be more suitable, one where the available commands change dependent on the function of the units. If some wag were to exchange my maintenance drones for scout drones, for example, I would be more inclined to notice them lacking a 'repair target' option, were one normally available, and as a result not send them to engage a friendly target with their weapons instead of reppers. As it is, the 'light armour maintenance bot' name is luckily lengthy enough to catch my eye and prevent this kind of mistake, but a better UI is preferable.

The anomaly is cleared without further problems, and I gleefully come back in a salvaging destroyer to clear up our mess. But there is a minor squabble brewing back home. Someone has borrowed the Lachesis combat recon ship of one of our more sensitive pilots without having the skills to operate the guns, causing them to be off-line when he now boards it. A challenge of a two-on-two duel is quickly made, to restore, um, actually, I'm unclear what the motives are, but it's okay. Everyone loses interest or falls asleep before the situation gets too drastic. And so ends another day in w-space.

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