Among the Stars: Awareness

2015-12-23

Good decisions are based on experience
Experience is based on bad decisions
~proverb

The hull warning alarm screamed in my auditory cortex as a volley landed and penetrated my defenses. Capacitor empty, sensors jammed into uselessness, warp drive scrambled, situation totally FUBAR. My focus shifted to saving my pod from the assault, and I watched my once lovely Stratios dissolve into scraps, propelled into the void from the explosion of my reactor core. An instant of tearing pain shot through my whole brain as I was ripped from interface systems and uplinks, unceremoniously ejected to a harsher home than my cruiser. Aura’s familiar voice notified me of my warp drive activating, her tones calming me down. My mind drifted to the last week that landed me in this situation, and I called up my NEOCOM to make some notes. Surely other Empyreans could learn from the mistake I had just made, and it was my duty as an honorable pirate to aid them.

BABY GOT BACKSTORY

You may recall my last article about the recently-added seasonal Operation Frostline Sites. It was a guide on how to run them, and judging by reader feedback, they have been popular. They payouts are pretty decent, even if you only get 2 t-shirts and a can of Quafe. I got a lot of those during my week in lowsec Aridia. I roamed around in my AB/Neut Stratios, picked some fights, almost lost some bouts, and came back with about 300 million ISK to show for it. Or rather, I almost came back.

As I was on my way back to Dodixie to sell my loot, both legitimately and ill-gained, my route took me through Sazilid. I spotted a Frostline site on my overview, cloaked, and warped to it. D-scan showed a Tristan in it, which I viewed as a bonus loot container. I waited out his killing spree on the frigates in the first room, and watched the gate activation showing he had gone to the final room. So far, so good. I gave some time for him to engage, then took the gate myself. My ship landed with the poor frigate at 6km away, allowing me to aim my scrambler, web, and neuts on him, deployed drones, and….

OOPS

Well, go re-read the first paragraph to see what happened. While my hunting was textbook perfect, I made one mistake. I failed to maintain situational awareness. Sazilid is a highsec system in the middle of lowsec. I immediately was engaged and destroyed by CONCORD. This once graceful ship was sacrificed to the god of stupidity.

LESSONS LEARNED

Perhaps your laughter has died down enough now to move on to the reason I wrote this. Situational awareness is one of the hardest things to learn in Eve, but hopefully I can help speed the process some. Use some of these basic skills when you fly.

  • Check system security status. Going into low or null sec leaves you open to being fired on without warning. For someone with a sec status lower than -5, going into highsec results in you getting fired on by police, as well as opportunistic pilots.
  • Check D-scan. Even in high sec, it shows you a lot about what’s going on. If you scan and see 40 Catalysts on a gate, you may want to re-route your hauler.
  • Be aware of your crimewatch flags. If you blew up someone’s MTU for laughs and loots, you can dock up, but undocking may be more problematic if there are other players in system.
  • Watch your aggression timer after executing any sort of suicide gank in highsec. After you dock, if you undock in a ship of any sort bad things happen til it expires. Such as being unable to dock, warp, or do more than wait for CONCORD to arrive and send you another lossmail. Don’t ask how I found that out.
  • If you are in low, null, or especially wormhole space where local doesn’t show the pilots in system, check d-scan at least every 5 seconds. It sounds paranoid, but a skilled scanner can pin you down to a warpable result in about 6 seconds. So if you have probes on a close (less than 1 AU) scan, get out. Ships will be inbound in a hurry to kill you, loot your wreck and sell your corpse in Jita. Better to run and miss good loot than replace a ship.

SKILL TRAINING: AWARENESS IV

Is it hard to stay aware? Yes, it is. My favorite Svipul has lots of information to keep track of. Guns, scram, web, neut, cap booster, MWD, repper, ship modes, and that’s not all. You also have to watch speed, transversal velocity for you and your target, cap usage, d-scan during the fight, module heat, range, and EWAR effects. All of this information must be juggled while under the biggest adrenaline rush gaming can give you.

The only way to get this awareness is practice.

One of the best ways to achieve this is in basic ships. Not that you are flying at a disadvantage, just using ships with very little in the way of active modules. An armor plated, or shield extended, Rifter can be effective and excellent to learn on. The guns don’t use cap, and have excellent tracking, leaving less for you to worry about when it comes to hitting your target. The tank has no interaction, since its tank is passive, and once you have tackle and orbit, it’s easy to be aware of the other pilot, since there’s not much to pay attention to on your own ship. And if you lose it, no real loss; you are only out a few million ISK.

You will lose ships. I have 3 years in New Eden, and still lose them all the time to poor awareness and decisions. The important thing is to learn from every loss. After putting “good fight” of “GF” in local, a traditional way of parting on non salty terms, take some time to go over things in your head. Figure out what went wrong, and what to do next time. Did that blaster frigate tear you a new one? Next time orbit at 8km, outside of his effective range, instead of 500m. If you don’t understand what happened, ask someone. We in Gold Angels always will take the time to help someone with a post mortem of their fight. It helps players improve, and only costs time and a bit of pride. If you don’t know anyone, I’m always here, send a mail or convo and I’ll try to help you sort things out. As well as try to recruit you, but that’s the price you pay for my help!

IN CLOSING

I hope this helps you fly a bit better. No one likes losing ships, but that’s what they are there for. As long as you learn something, it is never truly a loss. Stay aware before, during, and after the fight, and you will always be a winner.

I would like to thank capsuleer Feiryred for being a great CEO, and telling the stories that inspired this article. Sorry about that Vagabond loss! I would also like to thank capsuleer dustonio for the good cussing out about tanking our alliance killboard. It reminded me that everything in Eve touches others, and the importance of improvement. Finally, TMC writer Sophia S. deserves credit for the inspiration to write about my loss from my pilot’s perspective. Your fiction has been quite moving – please write more!

That’s all for this week! As always feel free to contact me with what you want to see in the next article. I’m on Twitter @verdis_demosays, on Facebook as Nick Dirkers, and in game as Verdis deMosays.

See you among the stars!

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Verdis.

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