Tomorrow my support alt will reach a significant milestone in her training with finishing Logistics V. She will then be a perfect Scimitar and Oneiros pilot. Time to reflect a bit on her recent adventures and the development that is planned for her future.
Andrea is pretty specialized in the support role. She started off as a hauling alt, supporting my main’s highsec mining operations. As it became clear that my way was going to be headed for the less secure parts of the universe she became a cloaky scout and then a transport ship pilot flying blockade runners. In order to support my start in nullsec she was trained in basic mining and planetary interaction skills. Lately she also acquired a noctis for salvage duties.
The decision to develop her into a logistics pilot was taken quite early after joining my first nullsec alliance. Logistic ships are a vital component of every fleet and they are always in demand. If you are new to a nullsec alliance you will make every FC happy if you bring a logi to the fleet. The recent changes to T1 logistics cruisers and the introduction of logi frigates have opened a very nice and straight forward path of progression for your character towards the mighty T2 logis that will enable you to make an important contribution to almost every fleet that is called out. Logistics is one field where the importance of fleet doctrines becomes very obvious. The support ships are only able to repair either shield or armor tanking ships with a good efficiency. If you have a fleet that is half shield, half armor you will only be able to rep one half of the fleet. (That’s not even the largest difficulty mixed fleets will be faced with but a very obvious one). In WhySO this meant almost exclusively shield fleets and since I started logi training well before the Retribution expansion it meant to train for a Scimi.
Of course flying a T2 logi not only requires the relevant cruiser skill at V and the prerequisites for the logistics skill, which mainly ensure that you are good at targeting but it also means that you have to have all the support skills to fit a proper (shield) tank, propulsion, eccm and possibly some emc, shield-transfer and T2 combat drones. Superb engineering skills are essential to support the capacitor-heavy modules and last but not least the skills for shield transfer modules possibly at V. All in all this took about 2 and a half months during which Andrea was patiently doing her PI and Ice mining thing while Chirality fulfilled the fleet participation in her interceptor and later the Rokh. As mentioned above today with the revamped T1 logis you would be useful in fleet on a much shorter timescale.
Andrea flew the Scimi only a few times before our corp moved to its new home in Period Basis. And behold, here the alliance flew a lot of armor fleets. After digesting the initial shock I realized that this would be the perfect environment to hone the character into a very useful role. So I started training armor tanking and armor repairers from scratch. By now the T1 logi revamp had arrived and soon I was able to fly the Exequor and the Augoror. At that point a kind of difficult decision had to be taken. Should I train for the Amarr Guardian, by many seen as the king of the logistics ships, or should I go for the Gallente Oneiros? The Guardian can support a high repping power and heavy tank but is dependent on fellow logis to support his capacitor by using energy-transfer modules. The Oneiros on the other hand can be fitted cap-stable without a cap-chain, although then the overall repping power tends to be a bit smaller unless the pilot is fully skilled. It has a somewhat lighter tank but is faster than the Guardian. Ultimately I went for the Oneiros because I liked the independence it offers, which also allows to support smaller gangs. Another big factor was that my main was going to train Amarr cruiser V anyhow (an undertaking that just has started this weekend) and I did not want both toons to be cover the same races.
Now I am almost finished with the logistics training program. Logi V will open the most effective fittings for both the Scimi and the Oneiros and this will enable me to make a valuable contribution to all our alliance fleets.
In fact as the training comes together I have started to fly Andrea into battle more often. Logis are always welcome and these days there is a fleet up almost every time I log in. Last week logis were called for one of the jobs that are typical for nullsec life. Repairing things that somebody has damaged. In this case it was a reinforced POS. It is an open secret that the changes that the Odyssey expansion will bring to the resources and especially to moon minerals already cast their shadows upon the nullsec landscape. So here we sit at an R64 tower, trying to rep up its shields with a Talwar swarm nearby for our protection.
The evening could have passed in a peaceful shield repairing meditation, but somebody thought otherwise. Enemy forces flying heavy cruisers with significant T3 and logistics support crash on our party and force our logi group to hurry into the safety of the shield. While we could just have weathered this inside our POS our FCs decide differently and soon after at the system’s station the heavy cruisers are swarmed by our Talwars. We have the finest logi FC I have ever flown under on our side and smoothly switch targets to keep our fleet alive. The Scimi is a joy to fly and the battle really becomes a game of logistics.
With numerous Guardians on the other side we are not able to destroy the opposing fleet but neither are they, despite their shiny ships. After what seems an eternity the two groups disengage with our enemies having to lick a few quite expensive wounds while we return to the POS repair job.
The shields are still below 50% when the same group reappears. The POS shield game continues and our logi FC decides to our big delight that we just will show them the middle finger and continue our repping on the opposite side of the force field, trolling in local included.
Well… that finally pisses them really of. Honestly we did not expect that they would get so angry but they seem to be determined to destroy us now and call in the big artillery. With five dreadnaughts hammering our POS it makes no sense to stay in the shield any longer and I bow to my FC that we do not just run but actually engage them outside the POS trying to take at least one of their Dreads down with us.
Again the logistics on both sides hold out, but with the enemy getting support while our reinforcements take a too long time to get on the field the decision is made to abandon the tower and head home. It finally was a defeat, yes, but it also was great fun to fly a logi into.
Having a dual T2 armor and shield logi pilot I can join basically every fleet that goes out (In black ops fleets I could go for a cloaky hauler carrying fuel supplies). In that sense the training plan I have put this toon through really is a success. It is a useful pilot for the alliance and allows me to fulfil my duties in the strategic operations and home defence fleets while the PI and salvage provides some income. For anybody who thinks about getting an alt character, especially when you are part of a nullsec alliance I can really recommend this path. Above all, flying logi, being different from flying a combat ship or tackle, is a lot of fun and I quite like the realtime-management and triage-like dynamics of that gameplay.
So where will that lead Andrea from here? There are a few core skills, particularly in the navigation group, that I need to catch up with. They will be useful for keeping my logis alive as well as provide a basis for what is to come. The goal that I am setting today is to develop Andrea into a carrier pilot. Triage carriers are the pinnacle of support ships so this would fit quite nicely. Sentry drone carriers are always welcome assets in nullsec and finally a carrier also provides incredibly interesting additional possibilities with its transport capabilities.
The way to the carrier is long and stony. Fortunately, with the Odyssey skill changes coming up in only two weeks from now the time-consuming Battleship V skill requirement will be dropped from the carrier skill. Nevertheless battleships will be a good intermediate step on the way to a carrier pilot. In particular I plan to quickly get her into the Armageddon as post-Odyssey drone battleship and get up my drone skills. That way Andrea will be able to practice the slowcat-way of life in a sentry battleship and can contribute to the ratting tally and POS-bashing while waiting for the capital ship skills to tick in. I am quite excited to see where this path will lead her.
Fly smart! Chira.