I hate autopilot.
If there was a module or rig that cut the distance the autopilot comes out of warp to a stargate, I would buy it even if it was a billion isk. Sometimes I just want to get somewhere fast and I’d like to go make myself a coffee or something while I’m flying through high security space. This is my pet peeve with EVE right now and I’ve shared that or something similar with every pay-to-play MMO I’ve ever played. The concept of the time-sink…something to keep you busy so you don’t tear through content. Travelling always seems to be a big part of this…spending large amounts of time getting somewhere.
I hate not having some form of fast travel. Of course, I completely understand it with EVE given the nature of the PVP game but I just wish autopilot didn’t take so much longer than manually jumping from gate to gate to gate.
Rant over. Let me tell you where this stemmed from.
So I have “Stuff” all over and I spend some time consolidating. This involves me flying around in an Iteron Mk III until most everything I own is either in Jita or my preferred home of Dodixie. I spend far too much time clicking on “Warp to 0” and “Jump” when I wish the autopilot would do it for me. Yes, I am lazy. After an exceedingly long time doing this, I finally finish and bring one of my ships from Dodixie to Jita in order to complete a fit and actually do something fun.
“Hey Lei, wanna come fly Rifters with us?”
This question comes from Ambedrake. Ambe is part of the Aperture Reach corporation, and he loves to kill stuff like the rest of the Aperture Reach guys. We’re all good buds, us in Deep Space Logistics and Aperture Reach. We provide industry, they provide muscle. Its a good relationship. Ambe has extended a couple invitations to me over the last week to fly with the AR guys. There is the odd joke that he is trying to steal me away from Deep Space Logistics. I don’t think that would bother me too much. One of the AR guys is named Mando, and he was the one who originally invited me to fleet and got me hooked up with DPSLG in the first place.
I tell Ambe I’d love to, but I can’t fly a Rifter. I’m pretty much a Gallente-only pilot right now and while I could train Minmatar Frigate really fast, I’d be no good with autocannons and I’d lose all my ship bonuses if I fitted it with hybrids. I ask Ambe if I could bring a Tristan instead, he tells me that anything with guns is fine; he just has like 100 spare Rifters right now.
Then Ambe has a better idea; “We should fly Comets!” he says. He offers to give me a Comet and we look up some fits online. Then I get a shopping list; Ambe provides the ships and I have to provide the equipment. Its not a cheap fit but that’s OK, I’m getting a free Comet out of the deal so I don’t mind.
I look up the Navy Comet. Looks pretty cool. Description says its a Tristan with an extra slot, more armor and shields. Even better! I love the Tristan so this should be ideal. I find out where Ambe’s staging point is and of course, its over 20 jumps away again. Its actually not that far from Dodixie which makes me alternately rage and laugh because I had just flown from there and back like three times already. So tired of traveling!
I get all the gear, barely pack it into my frigate and meet up with the other AR guys on the edge of lowsec NW of Gallente space. Ambe says we’re going roaming so I express my desire to not overly damage my security standing. I’m at -0.1 for a fairly recent act of piracy (another story) and I actually like flying around Council space.
“OK.” says Ambe. “Then we’ll go to Null.”
This is new to me. I’m excited. Secretly I hope we’ll stumble across some huge CFC vs TEST fleet action or something. Bombs, missiles and beams flying. Time dilation. Capital ship explosions. Delicious tears. “Gudfights” or so they say. Mostly I just hope we don’t get killed before we even reach nullsec.
We saddle up and head out. This is my first real taste of operating within a fleet fitted for combat. Small fleet, 5-6 of us in a variety of frigates. I look around and laugh as I notice that Ambedrake’s Comet is named “Panty Raider Sr.” I laugh even harder when I notice that my Comet is named “Panty Raider Jr.”
For the majority of the time, roaming involves doing absolutely whatever Ambe tells us to do, quickly. There are multiple noobs on this roam so I try and follow my FC’s directions without getting lost, lagging behind (too much) or accidentally jumping through a gate before our scout has cleared it. I only majorly fuck that up one time which is when I accidentally hit “Jump” instead of “Orbit” on a gate we were holding at. Fortunately I held cloak at the destination with no issues and the fleet joined me seconds later. Oops. My bad, Ambe.
I learn to dscan better. I learn how best to avoid warp bubbles. I learn how to work with a fleet traveling in a ‘rolling safety’. Ambe gives us tips and pointers as we travel on ways to not get killed, and keeps us safe. Hold and orbit at 500 on outbound gate. Jump, jump, jump. Hold cloak. Align on destination. Warp, hold and orbit at 500.
As time passes we move deeper into Null. Our scout, Jieirn, is doing a fine job of keeping us safe and navigating us around warp bubbles, which are also new to me. We look for loners and stragglers, finding a couple that we can never manage to pin down. We find a small fleet of Exequrors at one gate and both fleets initially seem to ignore one another, but they briefly chase us as we high-tail it through systems. We’re faster than them; they quit after a couple of jumps.
Deeper we go. Dscan. Check local.1 extra person in local. 2 extra in local…no wait, they warped out. Everyone watches for gate flash. Mando scouts ahead and tries to get a point with his Warp Disruptor on a loner, but no dice. This roam is becoming uneventful, and not terribly exciting.
We finally get towards our destination system and then Jieirn stops us cold. He’s jumped ahead and seen a Cyno field. There are hundreds of contacts in local. We jump in, clear the gate to a few hundred km distance and investigate.
A couple hundred ships surround a player owned structure. Jieirn almost accidentally drops right onto it orbiting the second planet of the system and the vets start taking a look to figure out who the heck this all belongs to. It takes but a mere moment.
“Its a CFC structure.”
Well shit, I guess I get my wish. A Goon fleet is forming up here. Jieirn starts listing off ship classes, large and small. Nothing enormous (shame, I wanted to see a really big ship for once) but and impressive collection nonetheless.
Someone laughs in local about Jieirn’s rifter showing up near the station then turning tail and running but there seems to be no concerted effort to run him down. We feel that its likely they aren’t aware we’re here. We decide to see if we can bait anyone to come after us so we can gank them.
We decide to park near the sun and spread out with Mando left as bait, looking all sad and alone by a cargo container CFC have set up as a marker to warp to. There is a republic Firetail prowling around and Mando plays a little cat-and-mouse with him, trying to reel him in. He hangs out around 150 km though and doesn’t bite, sadly for us. Ambe warps out to one of the other planets and suddenly finds a Nemesis, which he promptly smacks down.
We check the affiliation of the Nemesis and its not CFC. Some of the more diplomatic members of the Corp start probing their contacts and get into channels with some reps from this other alliance, trying to gauge intentions. The diplomacy is pretty successful and Ambe feels we may have a chance of working with these guys in the near future since our mutual goals overlap right now (Kill Goons).
I am fascinated by how connected vets in this game seem to be to others. The data and intel at their disposal is immense and folks quickly scan through lists of names and corporate affiliations, looking for people they know, old corp mates, corps they used to be part of. Wheeling, dealing and leveraging relationships to get an edge. It never occured to me before that spending the better part of a decade in this game exposes you to so many people, and that you build so much personal history with them.
Anyway, its getting late and some of us are getting twitchy. We decide that death is far more preferable than just going home and CFC seems to be out looking for us in force now, with ships and probes all over. Jieirn pulls out a Hurricane and re-engages with the Firetail so with glee with all decide to throw caution to the wind and try to bust some heads.
The fleet warps to Jieirn and as the Comet blurs back into normal space there are lasers and autocannon fire streaking past my hull. A cloud of drones envelopes Jieirn’s ship about 80km away and I kick the MWD into gear to give him support.
I pan the camera to the left and the hulking spindle of the CFC station comes into my view for the first time. Brackets of player ships everywhere, ranges closing. Weapon fire streaks past again. Something explodes and my overview is filled with purple, yellow and red. This is what I’m talking about! Ambe orders us to start clearing drones off of Jieirn and I quickly lock a pair of Hobgoblins and start cycling my hybrid turrets. Missiles slam into the side of my Comet and I track back see the long, deadly shape of the Hurricane launching its broadside against me. I don’t care, I lock it and order my drones to engage just for the hell of it. Warning sirens are sounding and my ship is getting ready to pop.
Fleet TS is terse chatter. A couple of us are dead already and I’m almost there. Ambe decided it would be fun to warp into the heart of the fleet and take down the Cyno and with much hilarity he is successful. Of course, Panty Raider Sr dies shortly thereafter – Panty Raider Jr is equally unsuccessful and I’m ejected into my pod in short order. To my utter amazement I’m not podded and make it out to the gate, breathless and giggling to the point where my dog is staring at me like i”m insane.
Those of us who survive make the trek home to the staging area. The trip back is amazingly uneventful and it’s pointed out that we’re back in Highsec before our PVP timers have even expired. Unbelievable. Fleet chatter is happy and tired. This wasn’t exactly what we were planning but welping a bunch of frigates against a Goon fleet was still a lot of fun. Mando is upset that he didn’t get any kills. Nor did I, but that’s OK. Ambe wonders aloud if that Cyno was important. We laugh.
I thank them for a fun time and hope we can do it again sometime. Ambe tells me I have a standing invitation to any Aperture Rift roam, so maybe I’ll do this again soon and this time I might kick some tail instead of vice-versa.
I land at Dodixie, and call it a night.