Dropping on a Drake

4th December 2011 – 3.06 pm

That Drake's new. Certainly, it's hard to tell a new ship at a glance when there are so many visible on the directional scanner, and made harder when checking d-scan after transiting between systems brings up a completely different display. But I've been vigilantly watching d-scan in this class 3 w-space system whilst glorious leader Fin and I rampaged through four anomalies in our neighbouring system, and I distinctly remember there being only two Drake battlecruisers before. Now there are three.

A count of the ships confirms my suspicions, after I've already alerted Fin to the threat. There are sixteen ships now, not fifteen. I don't really have much choice about where to go at the moment, sat in my Noctis salvager on the K162 in the C3, prepared to collect the loot from the Sleeper wrecks, as I am likely polarised from recent jumps. The Drake has turned up at just the wrong moment. Or maybe just the right moment, as Fin had a short delay to refit and hasn't jumped to the C3 yet. I ask her to turn around and get a Falcon recon ship, then come and protect me as I warp away to begin salvaging.

Fin thinks we'll be pretty safe anyway, as the anomalies are despawned and the pilot will need combat scanning probes to find us. I'm not taking the chance that the pilot doesn't have his home anomalies bookmarked for convenience. My many ambushes on salvagers has led me to consider my own salvaging strategy and I believe I can keep myself relatively safe, at least to start with, and start sweeping wrecks in to my hold as Fin swaps for the Falcon. I keep watching d-scan, to see if the Drake gets swapped for a different ship, but all I see is the ship named 'I See Scumbags'. Fin and I agree that he's probably a little bitter about our incursion to his system.

I salvage all four anomalies without interruption and with a cloaked Falcon watching my back, although there is a blip on d-scan that we both see. A ship appeared and went missing, a second Noctis. We can't be sure what happened, my guard staying close to me rather than watching the tower, d-scan being our only source of intelligence, but I would guess that the Drake pilot was hopping between ships. I don't think we have a new contact, but we shouldn't rule it out. More interestingly, when I am salvaging in the fourth site I notice three extra-site wrecks on d-scan. I am sure I cleared the other sites thoroughly, so these wrecks must be new. Surely the Drake isn't out shooting Sleepers with hostile pilots, albeit in benign ships, in his system.

Salvaging is complete, I feel safe. I burn aligned to our wormhole and call up the system map. Finessing d-scan confirms the Drake is out of the tower and coincident with the Sleeper wrecks, apparently in another anomaly. This is odd behaviour, but I note the anomaly he's in and enter warp, jumping home and jettisoning a bookmark to the Drake's rough position for Fin to pick up. It would be silly not to at least take a look at what he's doing. I dump the loot in to our hangar as Fin boards a cloaky Legion, one of our ship killers. I board the second one, not stealthy but rather more pointy as a result, and as Fin scouts the Drake's position I hold on our wormhole waiting for the signal to join her.

What Fin finds is curious. The Drake is in the anomaly but neither he nor the Sleepers are shooting. The battlecruiser is simply making a rather large orbit of the site. This doesn't look particularly encouraging. It rather looks like bait. Regardless, Fin has to get closer to the ship before we can engage, giving us time to assess the situation. Fin's in a better position to do this than me, so I leave the call to her. Whilst she bounces around trying to get closer she notes that the Drake seems very passively fit indeed, maybe not even the blue sheen of active hardeners in effect. An experienced pilot in a well-tanked Drake will pose problems, we may not have the firepower between us to pop the ship.

The Legions may not be able to break the Drake's tank, but a well-fit passive Drake will have the signature radius of a small moon. A torpedo boat will hit the battlecruiser pretty hard. A torpedo boat with ECM would even help us survive any counter-attack, either from the Drake itself or any acquaintances he may have waiting. Oh my, I've waited a while for this, a chance to use my Widow black ops ship in legitimate combat. I seem to remember using the Widow in anger before, but this time it's actually needed.

I warp back to the tower and hastily refit my Widow with some ECM modules tuned to Caldari systems, the Drake along with most of the ships in the C3 tower being Caldari, before returning to the wormhole. 'Jump in and warp to your range in ten', says Fin. 'Mark.' I jump in and warp to Fin's position, far enough not to get in the way but easily close enough for my torpedoes to reach the target, and land in the anomaly to see the Drake successfully tackled by my partner. There are three Sleeper cruisers here too but I'll ignore them for as long as I can, focusing my fire and jamming on our target.

The Drake's tank is solid. I can understand why Fin thinks we may have to warp out without a kill, even without signs of a counter-attack coming, as the battlecruiser's formidable shields regenerate a good 30% before our eyes. 'I can't hurt him', she says, a little dejectedly. I can! That increase in his shields was eye-opening, but it all came when I was reloading my torpedoes. Now that I am firing again the shields are once more falling impressively fast. My Widow is taking huge chunks out of the Drake with each barrage, and I am feeling suitably powerful in my beautiful, underused ship. And I only need to pulse my shield booster occasionally to recover from the attentions of the Sleepers. I would say this is going well.

I don't need to reload a second time. My torpedoes hit with full force, evaporating the Drake's shields with astonishing ease, before crushing the armour and hull in the blink of an eye. We aim for the pod, but my modified battleship's systems are far too slow to catch him, as well as not being fitted with a warp disruption module, and the Drake's drones confuse Fin in to disrupting one of them instead. That's okay, I wasn't expecting to catch the pod in these ships, although it does mean we have to endure the douchebag's childish taunts a little longer.

We loot the wreck and clear the pocket. I somehow manage to leave a couple of drones behind, in a battle when I both actually have drones and remember to use them, and the battlecruiser wreck is intact. I am still wary about this being a trap, despite already having got the kill, and would prefer to get our two billion ISK's worth of ships home safely, which we do. Job's a good 'un! The motives of the Drake pilot are bizarre and I don't think I want to speculate on them too much, and in the end it was good awareness, scouting, and coordination that got us this kill. It was also a good choice to swap to the Widow, as I doubt any other ship we have available would have broken the Drake's shields. We will sleep peacefully tonight.

  1. 8 Responses to “Dropping on a Drake”

  2. Screen grabs with the old-school typeface will continue for a little while longer. I trust everyone will feel suitably nostalgic.

    By pjharvey on Dec 4, 2011

  3. yay \o/. Also I'm sure you probably never talk in w-space local, but this definitely warranted a "U MAD BRO"

    By Planetary Genocide on Dec 4, 2011

  4. Nice kill. Your posts make me seriously considering moving into w-space.

    By Raelyf on Dec 5, 2011

  5. I'm not entirely sure I can communicate successfully with this breed of capsuleer, PG.

    If you're think of coming to w-space, Raelyf, what you need to ask yourself is, 'do I like scanning?'

    By pjharvey on Dec 5, 2011

  6. I actually really like scanning. In fact, every time I launch my probes I say a little prayer of thanks to the Eve Gods for replacing the nightmare that was the old scanning system with one that is so pleasant to use.

    Though to be fair I scan ships 99% of the time so scanning sig after sig might get boring. Still, the addition of corp bookmarks might make this a good deal less tedious. In any case, I'm currently bringing all my scan skills to 5 in anticipation of some wormhole adventures - largely inspired by this blog.


    By Raelyf on Dec 5, 2011

  7. Corporate locations are a major improvement to w-space scanning, although they only alleviate individual responsibility if you are not the first pilot out in space scanning the constellation.

    Also, signatures don't move or get spooked by probes, so scanning them is a bit less tense than always going after ships.

    By pjharvey on Dec 6, 2011

  8. I wonder who the douchebag was. Your blog is boring and you never killed me so dont get any ideas.

    By Iampr0br0 on Dec 7, 2011

  9. The identity of the douchebag will forever remain a mystery, thanks to my opaque writing.

    By pjharvey on Dec 7, 2011

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