Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Monthly Top – May 2014

Zkillboard has a nice little feature which lets you view the monthly (as well as all-time) “top” for any given pilot, the most useful stats being the most used ships and the most frequent systems for that character's PVP “wins.” I figured it would be worthwhile—for my own reflections, at least—to make a series covering my monthly top 10—the ships, at least, but sometimes the systems as well. I wish the killboard had a monthly top losses as well, but generally my top killing ships were also ships I lost the most of. I will start with May, 2014:

For the month of May, I was in Stay Frosty, and virtually all of my fights were solo (attempts at solo, at least). May and June tend to be some of the busiest months of the year for me “IRL,” so I am happy with how much activity I ended up with.

1. Coercer. 17 kills.
Tied for the top ship of the month for me is the coercer. I have been flying versions of the “Standard” PVP fits for coercers for the past few months as part of my plan to solo in every combat capable ship in EVE at least once. I used a standard 400mm plate armor fit, sometimes with (now “mid-grade”) low grade slaves which really helped the viability of this brawling setup when combined with the ship's decent range and passable DPS. I also used a high DPS, small pulse laser fit which proved quite solid, scoring kills such as this dual-rep incursus, a near 2-shot on this condor, and other such kills. The high-DPS coercer does not have as much DPS as max DPS catalysts nor does the 400mm plate version have as much tank as the 400mm plate algos, but it combines those types of fittings with a generous engagement range when using scorch. I learned the value of that ranged DPS the previous month when I warped on top of a high DPS catalyst and managed to pulse the MWD outside of his blaster range—but still inside the coercer's laser range. Lasers are still quite new for me, so this fight was a learning experience.
In a quick secession of fights, this coercer, which eventually died to a random command ship, provoked a high sec group of players into throwing what looks to be their entire fleet of ships at it, to no avail, including a mackinaw, a noctis, a retriever, and a drake navy issue. I'm not at all sure what happened here, but at least they got a sort of revenge in the end when a passerby killed me.

1. Astero. 17 kills.
The Astero is one of my favorite ships. I use a fairly standard dual rep, cap boosting fit for scouting around, for semi-afk PVP activities such as waiting for explorers to wander by, as well as for exploration in 1/10 – 3/10 DED combat sites when there is little else to do. With drones on aggressive and an afterburner going, the latter is largely a semi-afk activity as well. I've also scored almost 50 solo kills in my astero—which I bought sometime in November 2013 and have yet to lose as of June, 2014. The 17 kills of May include many a hapless explorer (for the new players among them I always repay them more isk than they lost and strike up a conversation about exploration and PVP, explaining how they can avoid getting killed next time they venture into low sec. I've made a few friends this way). However, the astero is more than capable of fighting other PVP ships. This algos is one real fight this ship had during May, as I tend to be fairly risk-averse in this ship, maybe because I like it so much.

3. Stratios. 13 kills.
In May, I mostly flew a Stratios in high sec while in a +5 attribute clone, during short play sessions, as part of one of my completionist goals to visit every high sec system in game. I visit new systems and poke around a bit, doing some exploration sites in this ship, but also getting into some strange fights at times. This drake was upset I killed his mobile tractor, while this thorax—a frequent baiter of mission runners in this area of space—was no match for the pre-nerf Geckos which boosted my Stratios fit up to an insane 850 DPS. RIP pre-nerf Geckos.

4. Ishkur. 9 kills.
There's actually not much to say about the ishkur kills in this month, as I was largely testing out fits and cleaning up some mobile tractors I found.

5. Tormentor. 7 kills.
Like the coercer kills, the tormentor kills in May were part of my attempt to solo in every combat capable ship at least once, and like the coercer it is frequently underestimated (which can make getting fights a bit easier). Laser ships like the tormentor are still very new to me. I used a “standard” 400m plate fit, a dual rep fit similar to the dual rep incursus, and a small ancillary armor rep fit with a 200mm plate (again similar to a parallel incursus fit). The tormentor is a pretty tough little ship, capable of fighting above its mere T1 class due to its decent DPS at scram range and its excellent tank when either passive or active. All of my fits are afterburner fits—which opens it up to being easily kited. Flying smart can sometimes prevent this, getting lucky where you land can also help, but sooner or later if you fly afterburner fit ships you are going to die a slow, painful death to a kiting ship—such as to a condor or the new garmur.

6. Purifier. 7 kills.
Tied with the tormentor is the purifer at 7 kills. I had a blast in this ship in May, with many reminders at how viable stealth bombers can be even in low sec against the right targets. I flew the purifier around low sec mostly looking for clone soldiers while keeping an eye out for potential targets in space—an activity that pairs nicely with having two monitors and doing something besides EVE on the second. I encountered this ratting caracal as well as this harbinger navy issue while not really looking for fights, but stumbling on them anyway.

7. Moa. 5 kills.
The Moa, now one of the hottest ships in EVE, used to be ugly. I started flying it when still ugly and it quickly became one of my favorite cruisers. I use again fairly standard blaster as well as 200mm railgun LSE fits, and have an XLASB fit in the future line-up. In cruiser-class brawler versus brawler fights, it fares pretty well. However, it is quite slow and runs out of cap very quickly, which makes flying the 200mm rail fit somewhat odd—on one hand, you have good range. On the other hand, you cannot exactly kite since the MWD only lasts a minute or so.

8. Celestis. 5 kills.
I was largely trying out some bait celestis fits, simply getting a feel for its tank and DPS. This resulted in fairly odd kills like this one but nothing really special.

9. Nereus. 5 kills.
Also largely testing out some bait fits and shooting some mobile structures. Nothing really special. 

10. Executioner. 2 kills.
Finally, the poor executioner. I've tried hard to get a fit that works, that can score some—any--solo kills, but the executioner simply isn't as solo-friendly as most other frigs. Using a scram range kiting fit with an active armor tank, I scored this cormorant kill and counted it as a massive accomplishment as was the first time I've flown the executioner without just dying in a fire.

There are a few other ships I flew and scored 1 kill in, and there are many other fights I had which either resulted in 1) me exploding, or 2) no one exploding, but that's roughly how May went for me—a lot of really strange fights which occurred when I wasn't exactly looking for a fight. However, I learned a huge amount and made steady progress toward my personal goals in EVE, so I count it as a successful month.

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