Sunday, May 13, 2012

Me + 2 Drakes = 1 Drake

Ah the lovely w-space. I am beginning to feel at home in wormholes. If one month ago someone would say to me that I was going to PVP in wormholes in a few weeks I would just laugh at them and reply that I don't engage in such barbaric activities and that I most certainly don't visit wormholes in my free time!

But here I am, practically living in wormholes now. Over the course of the past few days I have refined my method of searching and exploring. Since I am flying solo (and in a stealth bomber) I have limited myself to staying in low class wormholes (mainly C1, C2 and C3). Although I do peek into the occasional C4 and C5 connection, I don't really venture further into w-space. I also prefer to look for wormholes off the beaten path in less populated areas and if luck is on my side I can find unsuspecting wormhole dwellers clearing Sleeper sites.
On this particular day I started somewhere in Amarr controlled territory. It's so so weird not having a home or a base. But on the other hand I have probably visited more systems (w-space and k-space) in the last week than I have in my whole 5 years of playing EVE. As usual I launch my probes in search for unstable wormholes - it didn't take long and I find myself in J110316. It's a C2 wormhole with high-sec and C4 static. My d-scan immediately reveals two Drakes and Probe frigate I also notice some combat scanner probes and a whole bunch of Sleeper wrecks along with a POS tower.

I being to warp towards the star and immediately cloak. After I am in the middle of the system I run the anomaly scanner which reveals 7 anomalies. I use my d-scan and attempt to locate the Drakes. Sure enough I pinpoint them to one of the anomalies. I warp to 100km to investigate.

Drakes clearing the site (click to enlarge)

As I arrive to my destination I see a pair of Drakes clearing the Sleepers. The Probe frigate and combat probes still on my d-scan. After examining the ship names I come to the conclusion that the Probe is a scanner alt from one of the Drake pilots (the Drake and Probe had the exact same naming pattern). I assume the Probe was there to scan for intruders and alert the Drakes of any danger. A smile appears on my face and I make an imaginary high-five gesture towards my covert ops cloaking device.

Although finding the Drakes was easy I find myself in a difficult position and unsure how to proceed. My first thought was to wait for the salvager ship to arrive - but to my dismay I notice one of the Drakes using a tractor beam and looting the wrecks. It's still possible that they would return in a salvager but it was a gamble (and with empty wrecks nicely piled together it's quite possible only a cheap destroyer would arrive for the clean-up job).

I check the age of the pilots and discover I am dealing with two ~4 year old veterans. Judging by the distance they were shooting the Sleepers from I was pretty sure both were equipped with heavy missile launchers. I didn't see any drones so they were either already dead or the two pilots didn't even need to deploy them. After a while a Sleeper battleship appears with a sizeable escort. Drakes still didn't deploy any drones and the seasoned pilots took care of the Sleepers in no time - even the battleship didn't cause them any problems whatsoever.

The Drakes were also some 60km apart from each other. One of them slightly away from the site and the tractor beam Drake right in the middle. Even if I engage one of the Drakes I would be in missile range of both and there was a good chance these guys had dangerous drones in their ships. I took a gamble and I slowly approached the tractor beam Drake, hoping that the other Drake would warp away first and leave the tractor beam Drake to loot the remaining wrecks.

My instincts were spot on and the other pilot warped away after a few moments. Only one Drake remained on the site and he had some 3-4 wrecks left to loot. Still I was hesitant to engage him. I did manage to destroy a Hurricane a few days ago but this Drake would no doubt have considerably better tank (and he was able to tank the Sleeper battleship with such ease).

Attacking the Drake (click to enlarge)

Still I had to at least try! I get to 20km of him, de-cloak and begin my attack. I was prepared to warp away at any sign of danger. My overloaded torpedoes did considerable damage but the Drake had a strong tank and I knew it was going to be a difficult fight. He starts shooting at me and my shields are slowly but surely taking damage. My afterburner and speed-tanking helped a lot but I wasn't sure if I would have enough time to kill the battlecruiser.

Luck was on my side this time and the Drake didn't deploy any drones. Nor did his friend came to help. My shields were half gone when the battlecruiser finally got into armor. But I knew that my explosive torpedoes would melt the soft armor and structure in no time. An explosion followed and I almost caught his pod as well (if he were just a few milliseconds slower he wouldn't have made it out alive).

I approach the wreck and take around 15M worth of loot. After examining the killmail I also notice that the Drake had a full squadron of T1 Hobgoblin drones. Although I was orbiting the vessel at 20km the drones would quickly catch up to me and I am not sure how the encounter would have ended in such scenario.

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