Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

"Hassan Chop!"


Probing

The night began by testing something that I turned out to be wrong about: a couple of days ago I had thought I'd found a bug in the game.  While I was scanning for relic/data sites I found a site that I couldn't get past 48%.  I looked at the description of the prototype cloaking device and assumed that the "-50% scanning resolution penalty" meant all my scan results would be half their "natural" level. I thought this was odd at the time, since plenty of videos show people cloaked up while probing. Perhaps CCP had inadvertently introduced a bug in the recent changes to the probing system, and applied the 50% penalty to scan strength too?

I tested it again tonight and probing-while-cloaked works just fine. What must have happened is that I was scanning a very faint cosmic signature and my weak skills (astrometrics 3 plus 2 grav rigs on my Imicus) weren't enough to pinpoint it.  The visual distinction between a weak and strong cosmic signature is very hard to spot! It's something to do with the initial signal strength, so unless you're looking for it, you won't know that a signature is beyond your abilities until it just won't go any higher. This list may help.


Buzz Kill

While I was running another relic site, full of mostly T1 salvage, I got invited by a corpmate to come and salvage/loot his level 4 mission.  This is something I've been hoping to do for a while, though its not very "Ninja" if you're personally invited! He had completed one level 4 already, without much trouble, and invited me to salvage his next one.  I agreed, dropped off my meager loot (1.2M from 3 towers) and switched to my cloaked Venture.

As I was jumping to his location I hear signs of trouble: "Ah jeez, can't tank it," "It hurts, it hurts!"  I jump in at range and activate the cloak. I forgot to put him on a watch list and instead just ask how he's doing and maybe what the mission is so I can try and look it up so he knows what to expect.  He's mainly a PvP player and he tells me that running missions is a new area for him.  He remembers the mission name: Buzz Kill.  I ask him what kind of ammo he's using and tell him that its common practice to "cheat" and read ahead on missions (yet another instance of the game expecting you to use google as part of regular play), especially level 4, so you can optimize your ship's defense and offense for the type of pirate you'll see. He's using explosive (I think) which is the right type, but his PvP ship is set up to defend against all types of incoming damage. I think that might have left him more vulnerable to explosive damage than if he'd re-fit the ship to focus mainly on explosive damage prevention. I'm just guessing there, though.

He's already killed at least 25 rats when I get there and I watch him take out several more.  But the Angel cruisers and frigates are harder to kill than their big ships, and it slows him down.  He warps out to get more cap boosters and leaves his drones behind. The rats attack and kill the drones and there are no more in system.  He returns and fights on, but just as he's getting their numbers down the next wave triggers. It's huge! And consists mainly of cruisers and frigates.  He wades in, now fighting without drones and is suddenly webbed and scrambled!  Is this new behaviour? The cheat guide didn't mention this....uh oh....going down...down....poof! He warps out and the pirates sit still, waiting for anyone else to show up.

He apologizes for not clearing the mission and I tell him its not a problem. I consider uncloaking and seeing what I could pick up before the rats try and get me but I don't trust my ability to escape. I also thought about releasing my two salvage drones and seeing what they'd do, but it probably wouldn't have worked either.

As I'm looking around the system I notice there are four cosmic signature here and there's no hostiles or neutrals in local. It would've been a perfect place to have my Imicus, but here I am in the Venture instead, equipped for a party that didn't show up.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
                    Gang aft agley,     
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
                    For promis’d joy!

         --Robert Burns, To A Mouse

I notice another militia member in system and offer the remains of the fight to him, since, if nobody takes it, all this will disappear in about two hours. He declines, so I dock up and sign off.


Ships Used

[Venture, Low Sec Salvage]
Warp Core Stabilizer I

Medium Shield Extender I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Salvager I
Salvager I
Prototype Cloaking Device I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
[empty rig slot]


Salvage Drone I x2

[Imicus, Data and Relic Sites]
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Damage Control I

Data Analyzer I
Relic Analyzer I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Cargo Scanner I

Prototype Cloaking Device I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
Salvager I

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
[empty rig slot]