Life in EvE: Poking Around in the Corners #eveonline

Before I forget, I found an old map of the Caldari-Gallente warzone, and modified it to show all the locations of faction warfare mission agents. Click to embiggen.

Don't complain to me about the red/green color choices -- I didn't make the map, I just colored in some of the dots.

95% of the time, I use dotlan’s faction warfare maps, but they don’t show mission agents in any useful way, so when I’m planning a route around a warzone to pick up a bunch of missions to run all at once, this (and the Minmatar/Amarr version of same thing) is what I use. Maybe you will use it. Maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s a thing that exists that didn’t before. La.

Now then…

Emboldened by my unprecedented two-solo-wins-in-a-row kill streak, I’ve returned to the Bleak Lands region in a Rupture-class cruiser, fit in a way that lets me pretend I’m flying a much more expensive Vagabond heavy assault cruiser. My plan (such as it is) involves roaming around the area, looking for war targets up to and including small (very small) gangs of frigates, destroyers, or maybe a cruiser or two of a favorable type.

It’s a fine plan, and I locate a number of likely targets, but they are (wisely) capturing “minor” complexes, which restrict ship access in such a way as to prevent me harassing their frigates with my cruiser. This is the warzone functioning entirely as intended — I’m simply on the ‘prevented’ side of an equation that far more frequently works in my favor, so it’s hard to get very frustrated.

While I roam, I hang out, quiet and idle, in general militia voice comms. In the ‘lobby’ channel with me is one of the senior members of the militia, also quiet, and I’m inclined to leave things that way — it’s hard enough to find one of the vets to talk to without driving them out of the public channels every time they show up. I’ve no burning conversation topics to cover, anyway; it’s not as though we’re actually in the same system or any–

Actually? It seems we are. Now that’s a weird enough coincidence that I feel like mentioning it, and strike up a casual chat with the other pilot as we both go about our business in the system.

The ‘Lobby’ doesn’t usually see a lot of actual voice traffic — it’s really just a stopping point as you connect to comms and figure out what channel you actually want to use — but our conversation encourages others to linger, and before long several experienced militia pilots are discussing their plans for the night, and I’m presented with something better to do than poke ineffectually at frigate-sized complexes I can’t enter. Several veteran members of the militia are getting ‘shot up’ in the Huola and are asking for everyone in the voice comms to grab a ship and join them. The system’s fairly far from my current location, but I hardly have anything better to do, and head that way.

It’s another false hope, however. First, as the fleet forms, it’s clear that it will consist entirely of battlecruisers and battleships — my cruiser, while a great deal of fun to fly, has left me first over- and now under-dressed for the evening’s festivities.

Second, the potential fight develops before I actually reach the system, and by the time I arrive it’s all over but the clean-up, with ships exploding on both sides of the brawl. I’d finished the trip anyway, in hopes that some follow-up ‘thing’ might develop, but everyone seems content to drift about in their big ships, largely stationary.

I'm very bad at waiting.

I check the local channel, and notice that there’s still a single war target in system. With nothing else to do, I proceed to investigate the various Minmatar complexes currently active in the system, to see if any are being vandalized by the enemy pilot. Pretty unlikely, given how many pilots we have nearby, but at least it gives me something to —

Well hello.

I land on a Complex gate and double take as directional scan shows me a Caldari Navy Hookbill frigate within. That’s pretty ballsy by itself, but more surprising is the fact that this particular complex isn’t a ‘minor’ — it’s actually large enough for cruiser-class ships to enter.

(Actually, now that I think about it, the pilot is probably still pretty safe, since all the other militia pilots in system are in big ships that couldn’t get into this complex either. My Rupture is actually the only allied ship in system that can get inside. That’s convenient.)

I activate the acceleration gate, but I don’t get my hopes too far up — the Hookbill is a quick, nimble ship, and I’ll land inside the complex at least 60 kilometers from his location — once he sees me come in, he’ll have plenty of time to warp away before I can get anywhere near him. I’ll chase off a war target and prevent some damage to the system’s infrastructure, but it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get a fight.

Unless he charges me as soon as I land.

Which is exactly what he does.

The pilot's enthusiasm is... surprising.

The fact that he’s charging straight into the fight actually gives me pause, and I check to make sure I haven’t confused the Hookbill with some other ship — certainly, a well-skilled pilot could use the frigate to take out a cruiser, but that’s a bit unlikely (at least in the case of this particular Rupture, which is specifically fit to do well against smaller targets). Maybe the other pilot is one who’s confused? Did he see a minmatar-made ship with an “R” class name and assume it was a Rifter frigate?

I don’t have time to ask him, because he’s dropped into an orbit and opened fire, at which point I put two cruiser-class energy neutralizers on him, drain his capacitor dry, shut off all his active modules, and blow up his ship — all in approximately ten seconds. GF?

I’m not going to look a gift fight in the mouth, and it’s a fine way to end what would otherwise have been a fairly frustrating night, but I can’t help but be a bit confused by the whole thing.