Struggling to find the energy

8th June 2010 – 5.10 pm

The static wormhole is on the verge of collapse. It is not the work of others trying to keep us out this time, but a lack of anything to do provoking corporation members to try to collapse the wormhole themselves. The operation isn't quite as successful as it could have been but no one is isolated from the home system either. Whilst not in a position to look farther afield for combat there are a number of anomlies in this system, which we can clear to cull the again-growing Sleeper infestation. Two Guardian logistic ships, and Scorpion, Megathron and Maelstrom battleships comprise the fleet. Our force looks good and the battleships are only peckish for extra capacitor juice, which should make for a smooth operation.

Extra corporation members arrive and look for action as we clear the anomalies. Our fleet of five grows to six, seven, then eight by the time we enter the fourth anomaly in the system. As Fin suggests, clearing anomalies in our home system is an ideal time for some of the newer pilots to gain experience of our operations. The logistics of wormholes can be ignored, there being no need to worry about having particular bookmarks, and our tower acts as a safe-spot should it be needed between sites or in case of trouble. All the pilots who join our fleet are fairly experienced already, though, and despite the suggestion of having the last member run behind us in a salvager she instead wants to join the combat directly and is welcomed in to the anomaly in a battleship.

All three new fleet members are in capacitor-depleting Abaddons. Although compromising the battleship's stability for extra DPS works well on an individual basis, the capability of the Guardian to feed excess energy to ships is limited. The Guardians need one of their two energy transfer arrays on the other Guardian, to keep each other powered, which only leaves one transfer per logistics ship free. Flying with two capacitor-thirsty ships is manageable although not ideal, as it still is not possible to run all four reppers continuously whilst running both transfer arrays, but to run any more is an exercise in frustration.

Being able to switch reppers between ships is made easier by the transparency of the armour status of each ship in the fleet, from the watch list and the icon when the ship is targeted, but there is no such option that indicates capacitor levels. We rely on individual input to assess energy needs. Two thirsty ships means each Guardian agreeing to feed one of them and running an individual transfer permanently to that ship. Three thirsty ships makes this approach unfeasible and without constant status updates it is guesswork and annoying micro-management for a Guardian pilot to keep the battleship pilots happy. Battleship pilots are only happy when they are shooting, and they can only shoot when they have energy.

We struggle to keep all three Abaddons energised and have to sacrifice more than one when our fleet comes under heavy Sleeper fire and our ships need to activate all four reppers to prevent ships exploding. It is a frustrating experience, one that I don't think is fully appreciated by anyone who hasn't piloted a logistics ship. If we continue to field fleets of this size some consideration will be needed to make the ships more efficient, as the current configuration makes piloting a Guardian more of a thankless chore than a fun challenge. Never the less, we clear all seven anomalies in our system of Sleepers and I get to relax afterwards by piloting a salvager and collecting all the loot from a couple of the sites. I still enjoy salvaging an awful lot. Our collective efforts bring home a healthy hundred million ISK profit each.

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