Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hek to Low Sec

I'm an easily contented guy. I figured with well over a billion isk in my wallet again, I wouldn't have to worry about making isk for a while. It's so deceptive really. A billion isk can disappear in a flash if you're not careful, much quicker than you'd expect. But for now, I'm good.

This led me to stop chasing blindly after rarely-found faction loot in low-sec plexes or the much more reliable income from wormhole sites. I turned my attention toward low-sec PvP for a while. There is a very vocal group of people who complain that low-sec is dead, broken, or just too quiet. While that statement is true for vast areas of low-sec, it's also true for any other system type as well. Furthermore, I find roaming low-sec to be the easiest way to find something to shoot at. It's a hassle dealing with gate guns, GCC, and sec status loss for sure, but I rarely seem to come up completely empty handed.

My latest jaunt through w-space had let me out a few jumps from Hek, where I parked last night. The more time I spend in Hek, the more I grow to like it there. If I were to list the main market hubs in New Eden, I'd put Hek's Brutor Tribe Factory somewhere around 10th. Decent enough prices where you can find almost everything you'll need. But what really makes Hek shine is it's proximity to low-sec: right next door in Otou. Plenty of belt ratters trickle over, quite a few industrial ships move through there, and you get the occasional plex runner to hunt down as well as a number of low-sec corps who live in the surrounding area. Minmatar low-sec seems to be the most vibrant in that regard.

Hek's low-sec proximity also serves to make roams into Rancer, Hagilur, and the bordering constellations quite simple. Did you lose your ship? There's a new one with fittings on the market in Hek. Even going -10 isn't too bad considering Hek's .5 sec status. The faction police aren't extremely agressive. It's not all that uncommon to see some red pilots darting around system, occasionally getting blown up by their law-abiding counterparts.

Traveling 30+ jumps one way through null-sec to get out to our corp's home (which we're not likely to be settling back into any time soon) didn't seem all that appealing. So the alternative - wander around Hek for a while - seemed all the more enticing. Looking over my collection of ships in the hangar, only one was fit for PvP. A lone thrasher fit with 200mm autocannons, a pair of gyrostabilizers, and a medium shield extender. A microwarpdrive, energy neutralizer, and warp scrambler rounded out the fit. This seemed like a fun fit. A few hours earlier I had finally finished training on Destroyer V. Loading my autocannons with Hail S and overheating, my ship reported being able to deal 433.5 DPS. Not bad for a lowly destroyer. The larger 200mm autocannon's lower tracking speed along with hail's tracking penalty is offset by the thrasher's 50% bonus to tracking speed, so I wasn't too worried about that. With some EMP charges, nanite repair paste, and a janitor in my cargo for luck (and cleanliness), I took off into the great unknown.

I passed on the cynabal, vagabond, or drake signatures I saw on scan. I could probably avoid them easily enough, but I certainly didn't want to be forced to engage. Any hauler foolish enough to be caught off a gate, station, or pos would be my prey. Also, any class of frigate or a selection of cruisers would make tasty morsels. After watching a wolf escape my grasp due to an obnoxious asteroid sitting in my approach vector waiting to bump me, I circled around a few systems and eventually found myself back in Otou with an incursus on scan. Not as worthy of a target as the wolf, but it'd have to do. I narrowed his general location down with dscan, then quickly picked out which belt he was at and warped on top of him. Four volleys later, and his pod was liberated from it's confining enclosure. T2 fit! Slightly luckier than I was expecting. I finish off the battleship rat he was working on to partially atone for my crime and wonder what to do while my GCC timer counts down.

12 minutes later, a simple solution appears as Evereal jumps back in system...with another incursus. But this time, he's got a plan. I warp to his belt at 0 to find him 70km off, engaging the rats. I overheat my mwd to close the gap as quickly as possible. At about 30km away, the distance between us starts to remain constant, and I realize he's equipped a mwd and plans to use it this time. I realize too late that my mwd had been accumulating quite a bit of heat and had just offlined itself. Pity too, as I could have outlasted his capacitor and possibly caught up, if he wanted to play that game. As it is though, I'm forced to return to Hek to repair my damaged modules. It's a good thing I was on my way too, because just as I enter warp, a pilgrim decloaks only a few kilometers from me. Evading certain death has a kind of deep satisfaction to it.

Upon returning once again, I find the incursus pilot overconfident in his ability to taunt and outrun me. He's taunting me in local. But apart from repairing my microwarpdrive, I had also swapped in a pair of nanofiber internal structures, giving me more than enough speed to catch him. Which I did. Some people are just too stupid to escape while they still have the chance.

A few hours later, I head back out for another run. I'm not officially a pirate again, emblazoned with a yellow skull, making it harder to sneak up on oblivious pilots unnoticed. Thus is the price we pay for some action in low-sec. But I do end up chasing down a tornado that's jumping between belts in order, it seems. If it's artillery fit, I have a pretty good chance of getting under its guns and taking it out. When the tornado warped in at 70km, locked me up, and volleyed my ship before I could react, I realized how stupid I had been to not warp to at least 50km out.

Returning back in a fresh ship to continue my roam, I find the tornado pilot has left syste. But a lone wolf appears on dscan I picked a belt to sit at and waited a couple minutes for him to warp on top of me. My lower tracking speed proved to be a slight issue here, causing me to miss a few volleys. But in the end, the wolf made a satisfying pop sound.

If you've got some time to kill, why not give low-sec some love? I may even bump into you one of these days.

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