Giant Pain in the Rear or Glorious Space Adventure? Perspective in Eve
It all started with an overpriced Sisters Core Probe Launcher.
I was in 68FT-6, in Impass, sitting in our Keepstar and thinking about going out to Fethybolis to crack some cans in relic sites. I quite enjoy exploration as a pastime, it's how I came up in Eve, and the Sasha loot that spawns in that region often contains intact armor plates, which are quite valuable and worth the time to farm if you like fistfulls of space money.
In my opinion in explo, you are focusing on speed in every aspect. You want to find sites quickly, and complete them even quicker. Relic sites are the often the realm of the ganker, and the less time you have to spend there the better. The same is true of having your probes out there on scan, they are a red flag to everyone as to what you are up to.
To this end, and since I am playing in null at the moment, I have been fitting exploration interceptors. This is off meta I know, but I have really strong scanning skills and I feel like I get much better exploration tics in something fast. I find that, even though I am flying a paper thin ship I feel safer than if I was in an astero or a covops frig, and I find that most people think I am looking to probe down and tackle folks in sites, and generally avoid me. I feel more exposed while hacking in sites than I usually would,but that goes quickly with good skills and a fast ship.
I had a malediction hull laying around, and enough spare modules in my hanger to fit it up, with the exception of a sisters core probe launcher. Checking the local market I saw there were a few in station, but they were going for over fifty million isk, a severe markup of almost twice the cost in Empire space. I balked at the price, not being able to bring myself to click the buy button and keep my self respect. I checked the other ships I had in the region to see if there was one I wanted to pull off of something else, but there wasn't.
Looking through random modules I was surprised at the large markup on almost every item, especially anything used on a regular basis by people in the region. The alliance has rules against marking things up too much, but I'm thinking there is nobody really bringing the hammer down on offenders.
Over the years I have amassed a large amount of modules, boosters, ammo, charges, and other equipment in Dodoxie. Whether it is from looting the wrecks of my enemies, breaking down ships I'm not going to use, or any of a number of other reasons. I haven't ever bothered to liquidate all this stuff, aside from the bling. I am pretty good about consolidating it all to one place every once in a while though, so everything is well organized and ready to be reused or recycled.
My mind wandered to this, and I got to thinking that I should move that stuff out here and undercut all of these fatcats with some reasonably priced equipment. It was a win/win. I get to liquidate several billion worth of dusty junk, and in the long run maybe prices in the region will come down.
For me, moving things means wormholes. Impass is far enough away from everywhere to be unreasonable to import things in in anything but a jump freighter, which I do not have. The alliance has a program for shipping to impass from Empire space, but I do not wish to pay the collateral, as reasonable as it is.
I undocked my alt in an astero, and in a moment I had scanned a direct lowsec wormhole right in our main staging system. It wasn't there just a little while earlier, as I had been scanning for combat sites an hour before. It was obviously a gift from The All Mighty Bob, blessed be his name, granting his favor upon me for my righteous endeavor. And where will your good wormhole take me sir? Heydieles! Oh dear. Bob has a sense of humor.
Should you not be aware, just one jump off from Heydieles in the CalGal factional warzone is Old Man Star. The two systems are notoriously gatecamped, and known to be avoid as large bloc groups make their home there. Personally, I have died there many times, in many embarrassing ways. I will have to take precautions.
I log in my hauling alt, and put her in an occator. While not as good as a cloaky blockade runner like a viator it does carry a lot more and the mjd trick has gotten me past many gatecamps in the past. So as to not get caught out by gankers (a subject fresh on my mind since getting ganked in hisec recently) I haul everything in three separate trips to the last hisec system before the pipe. I also have my alt pick me up an extra hunter astero, as I had lost my last one to a gila. It is off-meta but works really well for what I want it to do, and it's fun as hell to fly, especially when you have backup coming.
The best Ishtar can do for hauling is a mammoth, which I have out here for moving small loads around and picking up MTU loot. It would take a few trips but I could move everything easily enough with that. I moved it into the wormhole and into lowsec, parked it in a station, and ejected to scout my alt in my pod.
I was happy to be able to travel like this, bubbles in nullsec mean I have to get out of my good pod whenever I go to do a risky activity. As long as I use tacs on these gates to avoid smartbombs, I am reasonably safe traveling like this. It's only two jumps, and lucky for me both systems were uncharacteristically empty for this timezone. This should go quickly.
My alt comes into lowsec without incident, and I meet her in the station to trade everything over. Loading up the mammoth, I undock and warp to the empty spot in space that was my way home.
In real time, it had only been ten minutes since I had used that wormhole, and it was brand new. I went to alliance chat in a huff, to find that someone had brought a FAX though there and collapsed it. I was obviously not the only one taking care of business that day.
At this point I'm certain of two things. There are no reasonably prices modules going up on the Impass market today, and this mammoth isn't going to be seeing any more service.
I would usually just deathclone back home, but today, my expensive training/ratting pod keeps me from that solution. I'm going to have to fly back the 50 jumps in this astero I've brought myself. I decide I will bring all my boosters along as they are small, and send everything else back.
I give everything back to my hauling alt and pilot her away from the station towards hisec, she will put everything in a station container named 'for Ishtar' and one day we will try this again. As I jump her into Old Man Star, where there was nobody ten minutes ago, I find myself surrounded by a gigantic gatecamp. There are around a dozen ships, a good composition including fast tackle, lots of webs, and high slot scrams. My ship is a five billion isk loot pinata, I'm going to be on reddit dammit...
I knew they were going to catch me, the mjd+warp trick is great, but there are a dozen scrams that are going to land on me before I get to that point. I set my safety to red, and give it a go, aligning to the outgate, cloaking, then activating the mircowarp and microjump quickly after. This trick works great to get you out of a jam, and I have used it many times, but as suspected I was pointed by more than I could break through, and my ship started to take damage.
In the past I have forgotten that I have a burst jammer, or forgotten to set my safety off green in time, but today I was able to activate it. I turned back toward the gate like I was going to crash back through, and then immediately realigned the outgate. As I hoped, the entire fleet rushed to the gate to jump through, giving me some distance and enough time for the jams to catch, and like magic, they all fell away and I warped away from my doom. They followed me into hisec, and the limited engagement meant that they had another shot before I got into the station, but they weren't set up enough, and I escaped yet again.
The FC of the gatecamping fleet convo'd me, and expressed his amazement that I had escaped. It was a cool moment and I was proud to have made it away safely. I left my alt in the station and went to see about Ishtar.
I had a lot of cargo, but I felt safe enough in my fast frigate. The cloak would keep me safe from any baddies along the way, so I set out the long distance with the intention of scouting myself into nullsec with my alt in 40 jumps or so.
I crossed the galcal warzone without any incident, wondering if I would ever be back to live here in this area again. It was good here until giant roving gatecamps drove away all to solo pvpers. Maybe that's changed since I was here.
Upon entering hisec I get a notification that I am unable to cloak, because I am am wanted by the local police. I had totally not anticipated this. I usually go to great lengths to appear an upstanding citizen in Eve, even going as far to farm tags to keep up the appearance of being an okay guy. I found it a lot easier to hunt people if you appeared to be something other than a pvp pilot at first glance. I have been doing a lot of ratting recently, and my pvp in nullsec, so my sec status had been up quite high indeed! About a week ago I decided to go on a tear through lowsec for a couple days and gave no fucks about killing pods and aggressing neuts. I dropped my status to -3.9 with that couple days fun, and had not considered this. I was still not red enough for other players to shoot me, so I figured I could probably get away with continuing along my way, one jump later I ran into Marmites.
Marmites are a group of hisec wardec corps that camp popular stations, events, and trade routes. As a longtime solo pilot I had never paid them mind, but these fellas were wardecced to Co2, and they were here waiting for me.
There were a number of Garmurs, Proteus', and other fast locking dps ships, along with boosts and logi. For the second time today I stood to lose a ship full of expensive loot in a stupid way, and I was honestly thinking 'I deserve this..'.
I was in a .5 system, and what I didn't realize was that being .01 away from -4 in sec status meant I could cloak. As I aligned to a station I spammed the cloak module, and miraculously it worked! For a moment anyway, until I did something I have rarely done in the past, I double clicked it and uncloaked myself.
I got away from those guys, but only barely, and I warped around and made a nice safe. I watched them look for me for a while and then dipped into a wormhole in the system. After a fight with an astero, I was lucky enough to dump out into nullsec some 20 jumps from home, and made my way safely back without incident.
As with everything I do in this silly game, I started to analyze the entire debacle. There were obviously a lot of mistakes made, and I had gotten lucky to have walked away without an embarrassing and expensive loss on several occasions along the way. I got to wondering, how should I be looking at the whole event?
Before anything is said, I think that the fact that I escaped the ordeal on all counts really helps me take a positive view of the situations I put myself in. If I had become content, and them become content again, it would be hard to put a cheery spin on this, but as it is I think I could argue that I had a grand space adventure that is completely at the core of the game itself. All these complex variables stacking up to provide all these event are exactly what I love about this game in the first place. If I don't embrace the unexpected in Eve, I don't think I would still be playing.
Things really didn't go to plan, goddamn if I'm not just fine with that.