Because I liked a lot how the last game session went, I continued straight from there and launched from Asellus Prime with my Eagle. Despite having to wait some time for an unidentified signal (US) appearing, I like the diversification I get in terms of enemies and situations.
The most annoying are those single clean-status Lakon-9 freighters and the security vessels, because they steal time when all I want is the next combat situation. However, they are vital for establishing and maintaining the mood. I am in a virtual world of space travels, after all.
- another space traveler, headed for Asellus Prime! Of course, as usual, he "disappeared" from my view before any chat or voicecomm could have been established...
I continue to experiment with the weapon loadout and find that the beam laser is crap on an Eagle. The gimbal-effect is very delayed, i.e. it takes more time for the guns to be on target after a sharp turn than I could do it manually. They overheat quite strongly, which is amplified by the impression that the Eagle does not have good cooling anyways. Before I can switch back to something else and after a dozen bounty vouchers collected, my Eagle spashes against the windscreen of a Cobra. Damn. Again a situation where I was at 100% shield&hull and the Cobra only around 30% hull. But in general I also do like that fact that you have to stay sharp in your pilot seat and I take this as a clue and reprimand to actually stay sharp. This is no pussy piloting and should never be.
My ship being destroyed means that also all bounty vouchers which I earned during the last 40 minutes are destroyed. A fitting punishment but of course I do not care, with 10 million Credits on my account (however, the completionist in me flinches). I switch to a Viper and try again the g-beam lasers, all four of them. Maybe the Viper has better cooling and they thus are more useful. I equip it with military grade armor, chaff, heat sink, 2x C4 g-beam and 2xC2 missilies. Loading the missiles costs me 20.000 Cr. on top, but I consider them as additional punch power if things should go wrong.
As I head out of docking, I notice white targets. I flip through them, and cannot pass the opportunity when I discover some containers with pricey personal weapons. Collecting them is a bit difficult, as they are very close to the tumbling dice of this station (which is the main reason the cargo is there I suppose; some NPC AI was overtasked and smashed into the station), but this time I manage to scoop them without destroying one and I do it quickly. Which is a good thing, because the radar shows a ship closing in; player? No, no hollow blip, but triangle means weapons deployed (btw thanks to somebody having pointed out in the forum this difference between square and triangle). Security vessel. Just as I have collected the last container, I get scanned. I boost to the superior 500 clicks of speed the Viper is capable of and am quickly out of range and in supercruise without consequences (btw, what is the speed unit? it is not km/s I believe in the meanwhile, because 30 km/s of speed is where supercruise starts already). Well, maybe there were indeed consequences, because a bit later I discover two fines on me; maybe a fine for evading scan? But fines do not give me "wanted" status if I pay them off within a day or so.
- cargo scooping back-to-back to a giant, tumbling, dice
Unfortunately, I discover that I have now 8 stolen cargo and nowhere to sell them. A fully equipped Viper cannot jump very far, open is only the way to Eranin and Dahan. I would need to get to I Bootis or to LP 98-132, this is where the two black markets I know are located. I jump to Eranin and try to see whether it brings me any closer (galaxy map is faulty), but, no. So I dock in Eranin and sell of my C2 missiles first (I feat that I loose the value of the ammunition of 20k Credits but don´t know how to test this), in order to get my ship less mass and thus make it able to jump farther. But, still no jump line to neither I Bootis, which is 5,4 ly or LP 98-132 which is 5,2 ly. I cannot sell off the armor (iirc it weights 8 tonnes, which corresponds to two c2 weapons) because there is no replacement for sale here. Sigh. Back to Asellus Prime then.
On my way there I get interdicted. Two Cobras. And of course I had forgotten that the beta client erases my fire group setup when I do it in the station instance before entering supercruise. I immedeately rectify this issue, but I overlooked that these Cobras appeared very close to me. While I am in the rightmenu for my fire groups, I am woken up from my slumber of routine by the missile alert. Before I have removed myself from the Cobra´s firing positions, thanks to the Viper´s superior speed and turning, I already lost shields. The completionist and pack-rat in me says, continuaton is not worth the risk, especially while some valuable cargo is aboard, and so I bail out. These containers are already more hassle than they are worth it.
Docked in Beagles Landing 2 in Asellus Prime, I strip my Viper of everything except for the heatsink and give it just two C1-pulse lasers. I note how the equipment offered changes with everytime I dock (or jump in system). Very annoying, a time stealer and nothing else. Both black-market systems are now in jump range, good. LP 98-132 will be interesting. It is an anarchy system and from some forum posts I know that Freeport station has become a kind of gate camp. Danger...
- views like this are goint to feel much more immersive once I have received my EDtracker and again hundredfold, hopefully, somewhen next year, with the Oculus Rift
Arriving at the station, I do not want to take a risk before I did not sell my cargo. So I boost and turn flight assist off to maintain maximum speed and go into stealth. Everything is fine but I indeed spot up to four hollow squares or triangles. It goes wrong the moment I arrive high speed directly in front of the docking entrance but Freeport tells me "request denied". And then I am stuck again with "request timed out" messages for at least a dozen times. In the middle of a PvP situation. Tense! My ship has overheated quite a bit. I have to come out of stealth soon after I depoyed my heat sink (have to test why it is only one, I am sure I fully loaded it). I glue to the station walls and circle it slowly while I repeat the
macro with the docking request. After a felt eternity I am finally
Getting 16k Credits for 8 units of stuff is not bad, but irrelevant at this point in the game for me. I did this whole thing just to have some change and an interesting gameplay, and behold, it emerged and brought me into THE pvp area of the beta game! When I want to get ready for some PvP in this sector, to my dismay I have to discover that Freeport does not really have good equipment to offer; only C1 models are available. No way I am going to PvP with a Viper with just some C1 guns! I could switch to a Sidewinder and earn my first experience. However, my feeling tells me I want to feel more comfortable with weapon setups and maneuvering before I make an entrance. So I leave Freeport, boost FAoff and turn cold.
It is after three kilometers, I drop stealth and align for hyperjump, it happens and I get engaged my first time by another player. Due to my genius stroke to turn cold, my shield is already down, I practically handed any enemy already my bare underbelly, so I immediately have to listen to the bolting impact of multicannon rounds, like heavy rain on a metal roof. Take away some seconds of surprise and taking in the situation, my hull has already degraded, my shield does not come up. Like this, there is no way to engage with any viable chance of success. I vertical strafe a bit, which is easy enough to avoid multicannons due to the travel time of their rounds, and at 78% hull (military grade armor!) I enter hyperspace. I regret a bit that I will never know who this Commander was or what ship it was he attacked me in and if he used stealth to approach me or was just fast enough to engage. He was behind me and the scanner only shows names after I could scan a ship via the front mounted scanner. Maybe Frontier can give us a means to socialise a bit easier.
Docked back in Asellus Prime, to my dismay the dealer does not offer C4 lasers anymore. Goddamn random generator! I do not want to waste time by jumping out of the system and back in, i.e. "reload" until I get what I want, so I stick to four C2 burst lasers for the time being. I ditch the gimballed versions, because according to my impressions so far, they tend to react overtasked on a nimble ship turing fast and tight and I have trained to a sufficient good aim in the meanwhile anyways.
I do some nice US patrols and have a lot of fun. I quickly adapt to aiming without gimbals, and I can say the Vipers guns are very nicely aligned in a close line so that most of the time, I am able to make all four lasers hit the target. I find out that key for good damage is to have 3,5 pips in weapons power and "tab-fire" in short bursts. This makes me aim more carefully while also saving the capacitor´s energy for the moments where I really need it and can unleash on the enemy.
My last hunt involves an Anaconda with wanted status, which I engage after hesitating briefly. It takes some time, but I believe any weapon setup needs some time to get through to an Anacondas innards. It is a very satisfying experience, because I really manage to circle this ship like a pro and do not loose any chip from my armor. This, folks, is why I would not want to do PvP in an Anaconda, and I will definitely try and see if I can out-circle a player´s Anaconda as easily as well. It should, because acceleration, the ship´s turning rate and speed are crap.
As the Anaconda finally explodes, on top of it I get a unusual high bounty reward of 1.600 Cr. With this good feeling, I leave this game session. I did some videos of my battles in the Viper and will try to expand this article and upload some later [DONE]. I will be away over the weekend, though.
As a summary, in this game session I managed to approach quite satisfactorily most of the "to do´s" which I noted down earlier. This play style can still be explored in more depth next time, maybe now with a focus on PvP situations. One of my ideas for this is to programm a voice attack macro which not only enters stealth but also shuts of unneeded system components in order to sustain stealth longer. There is almost nothing cooler than sneaking up on a suspecting player and sniping him down. Note that I wrote "suspecting", because just ganking unsuspecting players is not very sportive. However, the current PvP situation and location is discussed heavily in the forum, so it is save to not consider anybody in and around Freeport as being unsuspecting.