Salvaging as we go

16th April 2011 – 3.11 pm

Eight sweet anomalies wait next door. Fin's scanned our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to find the anomalies, along with no occupation, a static exit to null-sec k-space, and a K162 wormhole reaching the end of its lifetime leading in from low-sec. It looks like another good night to make some profit from Sleepers. It's curious how the ebb and flow of w-space life works, but I suppose there is some self-deterministic function at work too. If we weren't after the iskies we would ignore the anomalies, collapse our wormhole, and look for capsuleers to hunt. As it stands, we're enjoying exploiting the efficient anomalies and I have a new ship to continue experimenting with.

Fin boards her Tengu strategic cruiser, I am still in my Golem marauder, having apparently slept in it by accident, and we jump in to the class 3 system to start shooting Sleepers. My Golem's configuration is unchanged from yesterday, still with the large shield booster that allows me to survive as long as the Sleepers shoot someone else most of the time. I hope to change that soon, either by completing skill training or buying expensive replacement modules. For now we'll do just fine. And once the first anomaly is cleared, and salvaged at the same time, Mick turns up to add his Tengu to our fleet. Now we'll really burn through the sites.

I can't keep up! Combat was hardly restful with Tengu and Golem, but a second Tengu sees ships popping left and right, and I have much more to do than when in my own Tengu. Moving in to a suitably central position is far from onerous, particularly in these anomalies where all the Sleepers generously close to within shooting range anyway, but if only it were that simple. I am broadcasting our next target, so that we can co-ordinate fire to make best use of my boosted target painter, which I need to do ahead of the current target's destruction to keep up the pace. The wrecks are targeted, tractored to my ship, looted, and the salvager activated. And I also have to balance my shield boosting with capacitor levels, as I can't simply leave everything running, which means paying attention to when I'm being hit and when I'm not; not realising which state I'm in either drains my capacitor or gives my colleagues cause for concern as my shields drop below half.

Right now I am struggling to keep up with salvage. The extra firepower is creating wrecks more quickly than my single salvager can manage to strip them of parts. At least a new kill order helps with my tank, the battleships of the final wave targeted before the frigates. My Golem blows the battleships away more quickly than our Tengu fleet does, and removing their heavy-hitting damage from the field relieves my shields more than destroying the gnat-like frigates. In general, I only need to pulse my shield booster whilst the last two battleships are active, so dealing with them before the frigates makes combat simpler all round.

I'm a little insulted when both Tengus take it upon themselves to orbit my Golem to keep their transversal speed up, making it seem like I have my own gravitational pull. It may be true that I am bulkier and less agile than a strategic cruiser but I am not that fat. 'The Golem is like Mak, but with practice', Fin points out, 'and a few cinnamon rolls', probably not referring to the ship's colourings. Their tactic is effective, though, keeping our own ships clustered to bring the Sleepers closer, which helps negate my sluggish speed.

Salvaging may be a little slow relative to a dedicated boat, but it's surprisingly efficient to salvage as we go. A couple of times we move on to the next anomaly leaving a handful of wrecks behind for later retrieval, but mostly there are only one or two wrecks to salvage once the Sleepers are cleared, and it doesn't take long to wait for them to be stripped. I find it amusing that my already expensive target is being stuffed with profit, making me even more alluring to pirates. But, as Mick points out, it is probably safer than making a separate run in a Noctis salvager, and I think he's right.

A Noctis is a pretty easy target to ambush, as we've proved ourselves on many occasions, least of all because it can't fight back. Most salvagers aren't protected by strategic cruisers, either. Any capsuleer hoping to ambush our salvaging operation would have to be able to overcome a Golem whilst surviving itself, at a minimum, and if it could do that then a Noctis certainly wouldn't survive. And if a fleet were able to ambush the Golem and Tengus, and we were defeated, then we would not be returning with the salvage either way. In the end, we clear all eight anomalies, salvage and all, in just the one trip. We return home with a healthy profit of just under four hundred and fifty million ISK in loot. That's nearly enough to buy some deadspace modules.

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