Spanking Sleepers in the home system

17th May 2012 – 5.57 pm

It's a late start for me. I turn up to see my glorious leader also here, but is she really here? Yes, she is. No exploration has been done yet, both of us appearing in the home w-space system within a few minutes of each other, so let's get started. Blanketing the system with my scanning probes shows the stray gas to be gone, bringing sweet relief, leaving us alone with the static wormhole and a whole bunch of anomalies. I think today would be a good day to make some iskies.

We prepare our two Tengu strategic cruisers for Sleeper combat, the Golem staying in the hangar today. The marauder is great for the anomalies in class 3 w-space, but the Sleepers in class 4 anomalies appear farther apart, thwarting the limited range of the Golem's torpedoes, which are already occasionally stretched in C3 sites. The additional and stronger EWAR the Sleepers use in our home anomalies also makes using the Golem a riskier proposition. It's not a problem, though, as our Tengus are more than capable to the task. And even if salvaging is never risk-free, at least we don't have a wormhole getting in the way of us and the safety of the tower.

There's an art to clearing these sites. We don't simply warp in with all launchers firing, although it's not a bad strategy if you have the numbers to swamp the Sleepers. Taking a more nuanced approach, it is necessary to know which ships bring in the next wave of Sleepers, and where they appear, so you can plot an optimal route that lets you maintain a high transversal velocity to mitigate some damage. It is also good to know whether the targets neutralise your capacitor, slow you down with webs, or disrupt your warp drive. Sometimes it is best to pop the scramming ships and bring a new wave in early than be prevented from escaping.

Shoot, pop, align. Burn along a chord to reduce incoming damage, then slow to a crawl and wait for the fast-moving frigates to come to us. If we close the distance to them too soon then the cruisers and battleships are close enough to repair their armour, making the frigates much tougher to pop. If we let them come to us they stray out of range of the repairs and we can pop them like bubble-wrap. Then it's just the cruisers and battleships, which are big and slow enough to take full missile damage, and can't counter the damage with repairs. And that's one site cleared. On to the next.

Argh, bloom of doom! I can barely see anything, what with the cloud of apparently fluorescing gas, combining with our system's star and pulsar phenomenon, all ganging up against my poor eyes. Thankfully, we know what we're doing to the point that we can almost fly on instruments, although we still need to be able to see those instruments above the bloom of doom. Our directional scanners are pretty important, and we can't stop monitoring them just because our eyes are watering. There may have been no errant signatures when we started shooting Sleepers, but that doesn't meant there aren't any now. W-space can change at any moment and we need to keep on our guard.

Two more anomalies are cleared without any panic, or obvious signs of intrusion. We swap the combat ships for salvagers and get to work sweeping up the mess we've made. And despite the nuances of anomaly efficiency, and the changes to salvaging strategy since the Noctis replaced destroyers, salvaging remains the most enjoyable part of Sleeper combat for me. I appreciate the effort it takes to make the wrecks without drama, but clearing up always feels more active, as there is always something to do that isn't just updating d-scan.

Tonight's salvaging is particularly rewarding, in terms of ISK as much as personal enjoyment, as a rather rich haul of salvage returns about as much profit as the loot itself. From the three sites, we bring home almost four hundred million ISK split evenly between loot and salvage, which is a damned good result. That will keep us in fuel pellets for a while, as well as help to feed our expensive habit of getting strategic cruisers destroyed in silly ways. Although we didn't leave the home system, it's been a good evening of profiting from Sleepers.

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