I lost my beloved Kronos today - and it's entirely my own fault. I thought I'd share the experience here, in hopes that others can see where I went wrong, and learn from my experience.
Never Go Full Retard
I was running missions out of Lanngisi, trying to earn enough loyalty points with the Sisters of EVE (SoE) to buy one of the new Nestor battleships coming out with the Rubicon 1.1 update in a couple of days (January 28). I had been running SoE missions out of Osmon, but the LP rewards are slightly higher in Lanngisi because the system security level is 0.5 - as low as you can get while still being in high sec space.
On the other hand, lower system security also means slower CONCORD response time - but more on that later.
I had previously placed a clean jump clone in the SoE station. After jumping there, I drew the Recon missions from the level 4 SoE agent. Recon is an easy set of three missions that can be completed very quickly if you blitz through them without shooting anything, which is exactly what I did. I finished them in only a few minutes, and decided to request another mission, getting Gone Berserk in the nearby Tvink system.
After undocking from the station, I noticed an Imicus targeting and scanning me. Knowing that gankers are always looking for easy targets, I was used to getting scanned whenever I left the SoE station. I didn't worry very much about it. And that was mistake #1.
My Kronos fit had a few faction modules, and while it was far from being completely "blinged out", it was worth over 1.7 billion ISK - not a bad target if there wasn't anything else more attractive around. I was experimenting with different configurations and had replaced some standard Tech II items with faction guns and an armor repper, for a little more range and tank. I knew it was a little shiny, but not so much as to attract the attention of serious gankers. Or so I had convinced myself. And that was mistake #2.
You can finish Gone Berserk quickly if you shoot the targets in the right sequence, which I did. After disposing of the proper number of ships, the agent notification flashed on the screen informing me that I had fulfilled the mission objectives and could report in. I considered heading back to station right here. But another eight fat battleships beckoned at me to kill them off, and some extra bounty money sounded good. So, I decided to stay and collect a little extra ISK. And that was mistake #3.
I was in bastion mode, immobile but highly tanked. I dropped a Mobile Tractor Unit and started pulling in the wrecks, using my salvager module when they got close enough. After killing the remaining battleships, I considered packing it up and leaving the remaining wrecks behind. "Oh, well, I've gone this far," I said to myself. "I might as well just salvage the rest of them." And that was mistake #4.
I had Local chat open, watching for any "red negative" pilots in system - the most likely gankers. There were two in Tvink already, but I told myself I'd head out to a safe spot if I saw a sudden influx of them. Besides, I had micro-jumped 100km off of the beacon, so surely I would have time to escape if I saw anyone warp in, right? And that was mistake #5.
Suddenly, Local bloomed red, as 16 new negative security status pilots jumped into the system. "OK," I said casually to myself, "Time to get out of here." I clicked my bastion module off, and prepared to warp out. But I did so just as my bastion module ticked over into a new cycle, so I had to wait a full minute before I could warp off. Still, I figured I had plenty of time to escape. And that was mistake #6.
Eventually, Your Mistakes Catch Up With You
A long twenty seconds later, my overview was suddenly flooded with red blinking lines. I was still cycling down off of bastion mode, paralyzed. "Oh, this is not going to end well," I sighed.
They all came at me in Thrashers, except for a lone Catalyst, and were on top of me just as my bastion module switched off. I spammed the warp drive, but to no avail. It was a good kill, and well executed. I tip my hat to the gankers - they did their job perfectly.
I had just enough time to bring up my Podsaver tab on the overview, and prepared to warp my capsule off. But then I thought: forget it, I'd rather end up in Aldrat anyway. I was in a clean clone with no implants, and at that point, I didn't really care anymore. I let them have the pod, saluting my attackers as they bored in. The screen went white, and faded to black.
I did get to see the cool new death animation - something introduced in the Rubicon expansion and which I had not yet experienced for myself. But it was a bitter loss, as I knew it had been totally preventable. My greed and complacency had been my undoing.
I studied the kill report and was impressed with what I saw. It was an assortment of Tuskers and other pilots, 17 in all. I took some small satisfaction in making my kill rights available to everyone at zero cost - at least others would get the opportunity to return a small measure of revenge on my behalf. But I'm sure that's no big deal to the victors - it goes with the territory when you are a ganker.
They were a little unlucky with the module drops, however. Only one of my faction modules dropped, a True Sansha Large Armor Repairer. But they did get some decent meta items in loot from my cargo. From an efficiency standpoint, the gankers did well.
One small benefit from this experience was that my small 100K bounty that fellow E-UNI corpmate, Darian Reymont, had put on me as a joke was now wiped out. I no longer have WANTED emblazoned across my portrait - at least, until someone else decides to slap another bounty on me. It seems to be a required rite of passage in EVE Online these days.
I dipped into my ISK reserves and replaced my Kronos and fittings. If I wasn't a relatively experienced player, this loss would have bothered me a lot. But as they say, never fly what you cannot afford to lose - and fortunately, I can afford a loss like this, as long as I don't make a habit of it! This is one of the things that makes EVE Online great - you can fail but learn from your mistakes, and then pick yourself up to try again.
Why did I lose my ship? I had fooled myself into complacency in at least a half-dozen ways. I forgot my primary objective - earn enough LP to get my Nestor - and was distracted by the lure of a little extra income. I had convinced myself that no one would really be interested in my semi-blingy ship - clearly, that was a complete fallacy. I'd forgotten that many gankers simply like to go for expensive hulls, just for the thrill of the kill - the modules are just frosting on the cake. Perhaps if I had fitted more common modules, they may have selected a different target, but even that is uncertain. The point is: never let your guard down in EVE Online.
It's only paranoia if you think they are all out to get you - in EVE Online, they really are.
I should have realized that I was in potential danger when that Imicus scanned me the moment I left the station, and assumed I was a target at that point. I could have evaded the entire gank if I had just been more aware and reacted faster. But, of course, that is exactly what the gankers are counting on.
Learn from my mistakes, people, and don't make them yourselves!
Fly safe! o7