The Triggering: Solo Dramiel vs. Frigate Duo

During a night of patrolling nearby and far away space, Hannibal Decca, commander of a Dramiel-class frigate in Eve Online, uncovered certain fascinating, potentially profitable patterns in the supple nearby environment. From his station, just a few days’ travel in the direction of either visible star uncovered more resources than any single civilization could possibly use throughout the sequence of the life of each associated star. And yet, there were vast, territorial alliances in either direction seemingly bent on the utter extraction of all of the valuable resources available.

Indigenous Fight For Freedom

Populations on the planets orbiting BZ-BCK, at a precursory glance, might have appeared to  have been happily employed; although an invading horde of locust-like colonizers did offer compensation to the governments of each these worlds, incentivizing them to destroy their own planets, there were enough dissident voices scattered within the populations of each inhabitable planet to mobilize a massive, interplanetary, grassroots funding campaign, motivated by freedom from the oppression of these Industry-minded overlords.

In their clandestinely circulated manifestos, these indigenous ecoterrorists argue that the horde’s careless extraction of the resources of their planet destroys the planet’s inclination to sustain life, and will eventually kill it and everything that needs it to survive. Although many liberation minded actors reportedly died already in this struggle, the survivors are motivated to guarantee the fate of their own mortal children.

Capt. Decca, having received a solicitation for hire from an intermediary to these freedom fighters, found himself impressed by the unbreakable spirit of resistance of these planetside people. Against his first nature, he accepted a paltry sum to assist them and immediately set a course to intervene without hesitation. Having been forced to fight for his own survival and freedom from the oppression of invaders bent on domination, Hannibal may as well have had a massive stipend waiting at the end of this mission.

According to the inhabitants of BZ-BCK I, the situation was bleak due to the fact that the invading mining operation was so gigantic, spanning multiple star systems. Every planet seemingly had at least 2 extremely fertile and temperate moons, each populated with a peaceful, unified nation of philosophers, librarians and inventors. Having mastered diplomacy and achieved disarmament, there were no armies, no bombs, and very few guns when the invaders came, casting the unnatural night of the shadow of their massive industrial ships across the land where unimpeded starlight should’ve never been broken.

When the invaders approached them, the “negotiations” between the powerful and the peaceful quickly became one-sided. With no contingency against the deception of any sporadic negotiations, only an observant few of the planet dwellers were able to foresee the importance of friends in the highest of high places.

Luckily, that few was the bare necessity, gathering system-wide political attention through a series of daring and usually deadly demonstrations of dissent over several decades. Kidnapping military personnel and hijacking a transmission tower proved to be the last straw. Word spread to the governing alliance overhanging the constellation that terrestrial terrorists had taken control of a broadcast station and were attempting to galvanize  and unify across their entire planet. Although they’d trumpeted their manifesto to their world and done a sufficient enough job barricading themselves inside the tower, the broadcast ended abruptly and mysteriously.

Space MMO Hero

Capt. Decca, having decided to accept the contract, was completely unaware that the dozens of families who’d suffered, scraped and saved to hire a capsuleer to help them against this intolerable and pandemic horde had been betrayed by the torture of the activist’s closest friends. Many lived alone and weren’t discovered missing for weeks. Those who lived with families were said to have simply not been found in bed the next morning and never heard from again.

Oblivious to the potentially macabre implications, Hannibal’s Dramiel-class frigate approached an orbiting Keepstar, known in Eve Online for having the ability to house trillions of ISK worth of destructive war making assets. Having come to negotiate a contract for hire, he’d only thought to bring a single frigate himself, seeing no reason to believe that any other capsuleers would be anything but cordial.

Sliding smoothly and noisily through the void, the Dramiel’s path took it far beyond the direct light of Hannibal’s home star. The notoriously unforgiving eve online learning curve is often exacerbated by language barriers. Perhaps a welcome simulated experience in a space MMO,  there are over a half dozen different languages spoken throughout the cluster so far, and Hannibal only understood a few with dialects originating from his home planet. Automated translators were useful for deciphering the initial document found through contract searches, but he didn’t think to hire one to come along for the journey. Surely, there’d be translators at the beck and call of these indigenous landwalkers.

However, Capt. Decca soon discovered that to some large and terrible forces in the galaxy, displaying a fleet consisting entirely of one ship is just a little too close to having no fleet at all. Without personally bringing the might required to ensure diplomacy, the Dramiel’s crew were offered no more respect from the Keepstar’s lords than a man might offer to a stray cat in his living room.

The Keepstar’s transmissions were immediately hostile. Sensing that communication was ineffective, Hannibal requested authorization from a representative of the horde to access the system’s local jump portal. This would enable his vessel the ability move to other areas of the constellation and quickly facilitate leaving a wide berth to these apparently hostile invaders. Perhaps, he thought, it might be possible to investigate the allegations of terrestrial destruction without any confrontation. But in reply to his request, two frigate-sized ship signatures appeared on radar, within engageably close proximity.

Off To The Eve Online Races

One of these defenders was a Slasher-class frigate, known for its speed, firepower, and extreme fragility. What the Slasher lacked in durability, it made up for in price; in most configurations the ship is extremely inexpensive while potentially packing quite the punch. It’s capable of using some of the same armament as the Republic Frigate, the Matari Liberation Front’s first choice of front-line brawlers in Minmatar factional warfare.

Each of the eve online races has a certain specialty in manufacturing their ships. The Minmatar favor speed and versatility, offering crews the flexibility of using any damage type against enemies. The ability to switch from high damage explosive ammo to long range electromagnetic pulse rounds mid engagement is unique to projectile and missile turret weapon platforms.

As opposed to the throwaway Slasher, the Daredevil on the other hand was the complete package; extremely high damage potential due to it’s excellent utility of the small hybrid turret weapon platform, in addition to shocking speed, and, sometimes, a fairly decent defensive system. The Daredevil’s only consistent disadvantage was the relatively extreme amount of ISK needed to take full advantage of the hull’s bonuses in comparison to the Slasher.

The Dramiel-class frigate flown by Captain Hannibal Decca was, by far, the fastest vessel in flight within the star system. Upon undock for the current mission, it was equipped with over three times it’s typical deployment weight in additional ammunition, and four Hobgoblin II’s. Although by this point in the engagement, it had only one of it’s original four functional drones in space, the Dramiel had plenty of small projectile ammo left to kill two frigates.

Captain Hannibal Decca

Regardless of the number of enemy, Hannibal usually took engagements solo. Fighting outnumbered could be dangerous, but in Eve Online, numbers alone never convey advantage. Either to prove this or in an act of defiance, Capt. Decca’s vessel deployed a single drone, apparently leveling the playing field at two vessels apiece while the Slasher displayed various aerial acrobatics overhead. All the while, the Daredevil hung silent, motionless and distant, threatening from its perch near the Keepstar, some three hundred kilometer’s distance from the Dramiel’s pursuit of the Slasher.

Captain Hannibal Decca regularly employed the best propulsion and maneuvering officers available, actively seeking the most talented crew members using all methods of creative incentive at his disposal. In Eve Online, it pays to be well-trained and well prepared. Hannibal’s current engagement was no different, but more important than a well-trained crew, by far, is the skill of the captain.

Using clever throttling and deceptively subtle maneuvering, the Dramiel-class frigate’s path sliced outward, toward the star of the system, increasing speed along a wide, oblong path. By diverting the load of the 5MegaNewton microwarpdrive, the Dramiel’s velocity stubbornly decreased as the Slasher climbed further and further toward safety. Hannibal, seemingly, had allowed too wide a distance.

Just prior to the Dramiel sliding efficiently out of lock range, the single light attack drone, which had by now circled just out of the view of the Slasher’s crew, was finally given the order to engage from about 50 kilometers away. Visible as little more than a twinkling point from the Dramiel’s main HUD, the single hobgoblin II’s thrusters blinked a sharp, bluish white, launching it to reach the Slasher in predictable time, and engaging the frigate from a tight, close orbit.

Sometimes a Drone Is Better Than A Wingman

The single remaining light attack drone launched from the Dramiel had no direct method of slowing such a relatively massive and quick moving eve online ship as a Slasher-class frigate. Yet somehow, there the Slasher hung, uselessly abandoning it’s flight of the Dramiel’s pursuit, and instead engaging the light attack drone. Although it could never be known for sure due to the hostilities resulting from the skirmish, engagement of the drone by the Slasher was interpreted as an opportunity.

However brief, feints and distractions are critical in eve online to the survival of any solo ship in hostile territory. The Dramiel’s 5MegaNewton microwarpdrive again thundered to life, punching the vessel through the 50 kilometers expanse between itself and the reeling Slasher in glowing ferocity.

The drone was nimble and fast enough to catch the Slasher; once it had, it’s mounted turrets proved powerful enough to reduce the shields of the enemy ship by almost half. Through action, Hannibal gave the Slasher captain the choice of either hilariously losing a ship and its entire crew to a single Hobgoblin II, or of killing the drone, making an attempt at catching the Dramiel, and holding until the Daredevil finally sorted its coordinates. What Hannibal did not give was any more than just a few seconds to the enemy captain to react to the ferocity of the Dramiel’s assault.

The Benefits Of A Controlled Deacceleration

With no intention of aiding the target whatsoever in it’s fight against the drone by bumping the Slasher into a higher rate of velocity, the clever Dramiel crew cut their throttle at about 15 kilometers from the approached target, lending the final seconds of the approach to an eerily calm, thrustless slide, completely smooth, between the rhythmic blasts from the 150mm autocannon II’s.

With their own microwarpdrive draining the capacitor well of the rest of the ship, which was now under the Dramiel’s webifier restraint and taking serious capacitor pressure, the Slasher’s internal systems eventually buckled under the combined load of it’s own propulsion and repair systems and the Dramiel’s equipped Small Compact Nosferatu module.

But it was at that moment that the previously tacit Daredevil crashed through hyperspace, piercing through violently just off the Dramiel’s six o’clock, before slamming to a noisy, pitched halt in empty space, 1,500 kilometers starboard.

That strange maneuver by the Daredevil might have been some effort to scare off the engaging Dramiel, but it was ineffective; no frigate in null security space has any chance of hitting or catching the Dramiel from over 1,500 km. More likely it seemed, was that the Daredevil had failed to account for the benefits of a controlled de-acceleration and simply made a navigational error. Having recognized the enemy’s mistake, Hannibal pressed his  advantage, laying heavy fire to the engaged Slasher from increasingly red hot 150mm autocannon II’s.

From aboard the Dramiel, the Slasher’s own autocannons could be seen erupting in it’s defense by the bright, rippling flashes and their associated renderings along the Dramiel’s own electromagnetic shields. Compared to the Slasher’s plight, this incoming damage to Hannibal’s ship was negligible. Arguably, there was no damage at all; in Eve Online, shields regenerate passively using the ship’s capacitor, even during advanced maneuvers. The Slasher’s damage wasn’t the concern.

On-Grid Separation In 1v2 Engagements

The Daredevil’s thruster plume illuminated it’s fuselage sufficiently for Hannibal to see that it had darted some inconceivable distance across the sky as its engines twinkled silently from afar. Hannibal knew that the Dramiel’s scanners were accurate, it’d been verified before flight; the Daredevil had somehow overshot its distressed ally in the Slasher again.

On-grid separation in 1v2 engagements is easily the most important factor to survival in the fast paced environment of solo frigate pvp in eve online. Regardless of the impressive speeds displayed as this powerful frigate flung itself wildly too far in every direction it pointed, the plight of the imperiled Slasher remained. It was still taking too much damage to repair itself, it was still helpless to escape, and it’s backup was still powerless to intervene, throwing itself thousands of kilometers past the engagement.

It’s shields had completely faded, allowing the Dramiel’s small projectile ammo to punch directly into it’s thin armor. Just as the Slasher’s hull began to split, red and glowing, the ship’s bridge lights, which were intermittently flickering under the strain of it’s failing capacitor, suddenly kicked on to full brightness. Somehow, the ship’s velocity began to increase as it appeared newly capable of righting itself, climbing gracefully  from the Dramiel; the formerly struggling main thrusters of the Slasher were suddenly stabilized.

Despite the sustained fire from his own ship, Hannibal watched in surprise as the Slasher’s armor began to cool visibly, fusing itself back together in warped, distorted welds. From somewhere behind where Hannibal stood aboard the bridge of the Dramiel, the Daredevil-class frigate tumbled once more out of hyperspace, clumsily skipping to a halt less than 8 km from the Dramiel.

Why You Need A Dependable Warp Scrambler

From it’s shockingly perfect new offensive position directly behind the Dramiel within a ten kilometer range, the Daredevil captain finally engaged Hannibal Decca in defense of the Slasher. After having wrestled with its apparently unprepared maneuvering team helplessly from a distance, the Daredevil’s legendary power could now finally be used on the Dramiel. Unleashing hybrid rounds from its equipped Light Neutron Blaster II’s, the Daredevil’s first two volleys landed squarely against the shields of the Dramiel.

Small Hybrid charges fired from turrets resemble large, fast moving glowing orbs that translate an unexpected amount of kinetic and heat energy upon impact. Any resulting damage to shields, armor, and ship internal structures can be shocking and devastating under the onslaught.

Interaction with the Dramiel’s shields was a flash of the entire electromagnetic orb surrounding the ship to full intensity twice in rapid succession, in sharp contrast to the dull, localized blip resulting from the Slasher’s autocannons. The shields, being now completely down, offered no protection against the jarring kinetic energy contained in hybrid rounds; the Dramiel’s armor, welded to the ship’s structure, would absorb this force and conduct it to everything within it. But the third tangle of angrily energized particles sailed directly past the target.

The Dramiel’s defense systems absorbed considerable force in the Daredevil’s first two volleys, but was more than capable of withstanding at least five more. Regardless of the amount of damage the Daredevil might be able to conjure in the precious seconds it had left to intervene before the eventual destruction of it’s ally, Slasher-class frigate hulls are only capable of withstanding such an onslaught, regardless of augmentation, for short bursts. Although the Dramiel was finally beginning to take a degree of punishment from both the Slasher and the Daredevil simultaneously, the Dramiel had also increased its rate of fire on it’s falling target.

The Slasher, despite it’s impressive feats of repairing damage under fire, eventually collapsed, folding into itself and erupting into a pillowy cloud of illuminated ions, leaving twisted iron garbage and radioactive dust in it’s wake.

It might all have been an elaborate ruse; a single weaker ship deployed as bait would prove an irresistible target. It might’ve been all theatrically orchestrated that, as the Slasher was engaged by Hannibal, the Daredevil would then catch the Dramiel, and then together, the duo’s firepower would have a better chance at overwhelming the Dramiel’s defenses. The Slasher might’ve been just a pawn, moved strategically to create an advantage for the Daredevil.

But if there was strategy involved, the Slasher wasn’t a well-used pawn; despite the efforts of the crews of both the Slasher and Daredevil, the Daredevil had failed to deploy any tackling modules. The third volley from the Daredevil’s Light Neutron Blaster II’s orbs buzzed angrily through the now empty space; the Dramiel was no longer within visual range by the time the shots were fired, having disappeared in the direction of BZ-BCK, a [main sequence star] with multiple planets in orbit.

In an instant, the Dramiel escaped without a single casualty, and just a few minor injuries. The destruction of the Slasher all but guaranteed that any diplomatic negotiations with the extracting horde of industrialists would be completely ineffective. But despite this, and although the Daredevil was clearly more than capable due to it’s own speed, it didn’t give chase to the retreating Dramiel.

With no communications whatsoever with the planet dwelling revolutionaries anywhere in the BZ-BCK system on whose behalf this caper began, Hannibal and the crew of the Dramiel began their long journey back through the tangle of gravitational shortcuts weaved together through warp gates, quadrillions of kilometers back to the light of a more familiar star. In order to locate the clients of his contract, Hannibal Decca would have to find a way of moving throughout the constellation undetected, and of searching each planet and moon, one by one.

Battle Footage Below

Written by Bill Reeves

Bill Reeves is a reporter for evilonline.co documenting stories in EVE Online. Bill actively reports on factional warfare and current events and graciously accepts in-game donations of EVE plex and ISK. Bill is always looking for tips and checks his emails often.

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