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Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Deadliest Rat of All

In my opinion, The Blockade is the toughest level IV security mission to blitz. And in the Apanake constellation, it is always Blood Raiders who form the blockade. The mission entails five waves of rats. Each wave consists of elite cruisers and battle wagons. There are frigates and destroyers to be sure, but they are actually outnumbered by the larger ships.

This particular mission is a great mission to not blitz. There are so many battleships bounty and loot payout is about the best there is. I've easily made over 100 million ISK on this mission in the past. With a Micro Jump Drive and a Bastion Module, you land, jump away, go into Bastion mode and pick the rats off as they come screaming at you... stupid rats. Just don't kill the trigger ship for the next wave until you're done with the rest. To quote Jester's Solo L4 Missioning, Part 3 guide,

Blockade, All.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete. Difficulty: Moderate/Hard. Worth salvaging: Yes.
In terms of bounties, the various Blockade missions are some of the most profitable L4s there are. However, all of them are relatively difficult to complete solo, particularly the Blood version which neuts the player ship heavily. The Sansha version can also be difficult (owing to Tracking Disruptors) if it is attempted in a turret boat. The best way to complete this mission is with a friend, keeping in mind that each wave will aggro independently. This mission used to not be worth salvaging due to the time it takes; the Noctis with its long-range tractor beams, however, now makes it worth-while. Aggression management is critical in The Blockade.

I've done this mission quite a bit. Just since my last post-Rubicon income report, I've drawn it three times. And since this is my month of blitzing missions, I have of course blitzed all three. Blitzing The Blockade requires sniping. You cannot brawl this mission. Even I, with my love of blasters, acquiesce to that reality. In a Gallente ship, you have to use rails. Spike is your friend until they get within about 60 km. Then it's Javelin all the way. With a Mobile Tractor Unit, looting and salvaging a non-blitzed mission is easy. There is plenty of time between waves for your unit to keep up. If it hasn't done every wreck by the time you finish, and you've a Kronos with your own tractors like I have, pull wrecks in for it to loot automatically. All you have to do is get the wreck within range and the unit will take the loot for you. That's what I did before, but not since January 19th.

Since the 19th, I've been killing just the trigger ships and leaving the rest of the wave intact. That's how you blitz this mission. You have to kill five battleships in total, and then you can warp out. And with a Micro Jump Drive, that is possible. I've done it three times. But it's dangerous, with a capital D. If you make one mistake, you're done for. If you have all five waves land on you, according to EVE-Survival you will incur 1786 EM and 1742 thermal DPS. No single sub-capital ship can withstand that for short let alone long.

Remember what I said was the weak point of my Kronos fit all those month's ago? It's extremely susceptible to energy neutralizing. And what's the Blood Raider forte? You guessed it, energy neutralizing. Even the EVE Survival page has a warning at the top, underlined for emphasis, "kill all the NOS cruisers/elite cruisers first." But when blitzing you don't do that. You play with fire and stay one jump ahead of the cruisers. Mobility is your friend and savior.

The one thing that is not your friend is the Bastion Module. Sixty seconds is forever when you are under the neuts. And if you've not figured it out by now, I know from personal experience. Yesterday was the third time I've blitzed The Blockade, and my luck ran out. Actually, it wasn't luck that deserted me. It was common sense. I committed the cardinal sin of a mission runner. I got overconfident. That is the deadliest rat of all.

What I did, in retrospect, was pretty damn stupid. I wanted a good blitzing time because, you know, it'd make my blitzing post that much better. So rather than take the time to do three or four micro jumps around the rat ball that had formed by the time the fourth wave appeared, I decided to jump straight across the angry red fleet because the next trigger was on the far side. It'd be a lot faster. I landed 20 kilometers the other site of the Corpus Monsignor that was my target. Then I made my second mistake. I decided I could take him down point blank range quickly enough to get out before the cruisers arrived. That would save time as I wouldn't have to wait for the trigger ship to come back into range once I jumped again.

And that was true enough. I did take it out quickly point blank. But I did the really stupid thing in the process. The DPS was so high while I took down the trigger ship, my True Sansha repairer wasn't keeping up. So I put the ship into bastion mode to double my repair capability. "I'll be in and out of bastion mode before they even notice," I said to myself. And I thought I was okay because the cruisers were still well out of range. I was wrong, and I couldn't jump. Do you know it takes less than 20 seconds for three Blood Raider Elite Cruisers to drain a Kronos' capacitor when it's already below half and having to run an armor repairer full out?

Anyway, that's how I lost my first Kronos. It was overconfidence, pure and simple. I was so certain I could keep avoiding those "dumb" rats I forgot I could be the dumbest rat of all. Keep that in mind when you're out there running missions. We all say uncomplimentary things about the rat AI in EVE Online. But the point of their AI isn't to give use an adrenaline fueled one on one confrontation. It's to make us think tactically and to pay for making poor decisions. It's an exercise in decision making, not twitch maneuvering. That's why I enjoy missions more than one on one PvP. I'm not trying to run solo PvP down here. There are tactical decisions necessary in every second of solo PvP. But I want to relax when I play, so making a decision every 10 seconds is preferable to making a decision every 1 second. That's all. Of course, having all that extra time to think is probably what led me into believing I could pull something off that was pure folly. All I can say is don't get cocky, or you too may end up having to replace a 1.25 billion ISK ship because of your own stupidity.

Fly Careful


  1. Loving hybrid weapon so much, you should move to Gallente or Caldari space. The rats there are easier to kill with blaster or rail.

  2. Good suggestion. Osmon is in Caldari space. I'm considering it, if for no other reason than it'd give me different rats to kill. And, it's only 7 jumps from Jita. But I'd have to manufacture SoE hulls somewhere else. I can usually get in a 2-day queue in Dodixie 20. Jita 4 is just out of the question. That means an inherent risk in transporting a new hull to market I don't have right now. Still, a little spice in life makes it more fun. :-)

  3. Ouch on the loss. There seems to be a mix of PVE content from High Sec to Wormhole that can take down even the oldest of Vets if they become complacent.

  4. Just be aware that in Gallente it is Serpentis with a bucket load of damps. So bastion mode for guns or a sentry domi. Still trying to get the hang of change to active modules for drone omnis. And since my alt has recently lost two kroni (kronoses?) staying with megas for now. One to a disconnect in bastion mode - just beware that the ship will remain on grid while the bastion mode is active. (the other was RL and Blockade).

  5. Sorry to hear that Mab. Because the Kronos has a truck ton of grid and CPU, I tend to run with a cap battery. Admittedly, am unsure of the effect on NPC neuting.

    Given also I tend to run a dedicated noctis pilot as opposed to using anything else, that gives a couple of utility highs for your own NOS/Neuts...

  6. Here's a tip for situations when your marauders tank starts breaking:
    a) if you have to stay there for a while - enter bastion
    b) if you have to stay there just a little longer before you MJ/warp away - overheat!

    Blingy reppers have good thermic properties and can overheat for longer before burning out. Also, space your modules accordingly to enhance your heat dissapation in low slots (Jester has a good guide on it).

    And last, but not least: stay away from Blood Raiders - they're just not worth the trouble :D


  7. […] the hardest mission to blitz in my opinion is The Blockade. I’ve already discussed why here. Still, blitzing it does cut in half the amount of time it’d have taken me otherwise. I can […]


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