Thursday, April 12, 2012

Clash of Rifters

I’ve been flying in Essence a lot recently. Sorn Nordvind (he just started blogging himself, go read it – here) suggested that Essence was a good place to find fights so I went up there to see for myself. He was right, and there wasn’t any lack of BRRC presence either. Whenever me and Sorn fleet up we are soon joined by fellow rebels to join in the good times.

This morning while flying alone in my Rifter, I found a fight that had me on the edge of my seat. I was on my way to drop off the Rifter in Vitrauze, my makeshift base of operations, when another outlawed Rifter pilot landed near me. I decided to engage him, and he did the same. He was just out of my scramble and web range, my bullets didn’t touch him while he was slowly punching dents into me. I was being kited, and knowing the 400mm plates on my Rifter was slowing me down considerably, I cursed myself for engaging my turrets too soon, cutting off my escape route through the gates.

Then I noticed the 15km distance between us turn into 14km, still just out of my range. I overheated the afterburner and soon he was within overheated web and scramble range (yeah, everything was overheated). The distance closed quickly then and my overheated turrets devastated his Rifter. My speed fell dramatically as he activated his web on me. He went into structure first with me close behind him, but he was pulling distance from me and I wasn’t hitting as hard anymore. It was nail biting as we hit deeper into each other’s hulls. Then disaster struck me. I was still overheating my web and my scrambler, and the web melted completely. I watched in dismay as he pulled away from me. Soon I was warping my pod away.

GF’s was exchanged in local and we discussed our mistakes. I didn’t turn off overheat on my webber and scrambler. He in turn didn’t overheat his afterburners, which allowed me to catch him. This explains why he was pulling distance from me after I got close. It felt good to have an experienced pilot tell you he was on a high after the fight. I too was feeling renewed love for the ever trusty Rifter, and imported 10 fitted Rifters from Jita immediately after.

What lessons can I take from this fight?
  • Gate/Station engagements needs extra care. When the fight started my itchy trigger finger cost me a quick escape plan through the gate. In a recent post I explained how I lost a Wolf when I engaged at a gate. Here again was the perfect opportunity to drop a blob on me (and yeah, people do that to a Rifter). Also, if he did overheat his AB then I would have had no chance to fight at all, escaping through the gate would have been my only option.
  • Think about your ammo. Yes it takes 10 seconds to load, but I’m almost sure I had ten seconds to change ammo while I was chasing him. Though I’m unsure if Barrage would have saved me at all in this encounter. I was doing much more damage than he was up close with my Republic Phased Plasma. If I was loaded with Barrage, that would not have been the case. From a distance he would have had better DPS even if I did have Barrage loaded, simply because he probably had rigs and modules to increase his falloff.
  • 400mm plates are heavy. With a max speed of eight hundred and something, I should stop thinking I’m fast at all. 200mm plated fits and shield fits are all faster than me. I should enter the battle with the mindset that I don’t control the fighting distance, and adapt to whatever they orbit at (unless they don’t fit webs). By adapting I mean change ammo, I’m sure my increased buffer allows me the 10 seconds to change ammo. I’m also thinking about trying lighter fitted Rifters again, might even try kiting...
  • Watch the heat. Duh! But this point should actually be: SNAP OUT OF THAT STUPOR AND CHECK EVERYTHING! In a fight I usually stare at the opponent’s hit points verses mine and adjust accordingly. I need to check more things in the heat of battle, but this is easier said than done. More fights like this one would help a lot.
  • Hit record. I have been less prone to forget to record fights recently, but alas, this happened too fast for me to remember. The information gained when reviewing a battle is invaluable and I’d recommend anyone to do it.

Now all I have to do is remember what I said here when I engage my next target. Wish me luck!

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