I know, I know. Serious PvPers my age are expected to scoff at the lowly Caracal. It’s a one-trick pony, nice DPS in a cruiser hull with five heavy missile launchers, but it’s too slow to catch anything and if you tank it properly, it can’t tackle all that well. I’ve always loved it, but when it comes to flying it, there’s usually something that will serve my purpose better.

But still. Remember I’m flying a freaking hauler, lately. We hauler pilots really don’t like heavy missiles.

So there I am in the belts, quietly demonstrating to a Retriever pilot, name of Connectius, why we don’t jet-can mine in the modern age. As I wait for his response, which never happens, I notice two things. The first is a Dread Gurista wreck, and the second is its owner, sitting near it in a Caracal.

However, by the time I make the connection between DG and Caracal, I’m in motion toward the DG wreck. Those things can have great loot.

Seeing me rumbling toward his wreck, the Caracal pilot targets me.

Ohshit, ohshit. Is this guy actually ratting? A mining cruiser I can fight, but a fully armed Caracal? Not necessarily smart.

So I pull his employment file. Interesting — he’s still in State War Academy, and he’s only 26 days old. He could be ratting in high sec, but if he’s fit right, he could still toast my buns. On the other hand, 26 days, and ratting in highsec? The flavor says “real new guy”, and that means the odds are against a good (dangerous to me) fit. The way to bet is what a veteran would consider a comedy fit, even though I still remember how freakin’ hard it was to fit my first cruiser with ISK I earned ratting, so I tend not to laugh at the fits that result.

All this finishes flashing through my brain as I pulled up on the DG wreck. Tag and ammo, nothing sweet. Do I really want to do this? This could really HURT goddammit! If he’s actually fit for PvP, with a point and a full rack of missiles, and has enough speed to keep me inside his point range… but he’s NEW. Surely he won’t be able to do all that in a Caracal?

One way to find out. They don’t call us Ironfleet Towing And Salvage for nothing! I yoinked the DG loot.

And boom! I’m getting missiles on my shields. Point the schmoe, get out in a nice long orbit, and start throwing missiles at him!

Nice dent out of my shields, let’s touch those up, nice, holding nicely as long as my cap does, let’s have a look at the damage messages in the little window…WTF?

Son, sometimes it pays to be a gambler. This boyo is shooting me with light freaking missiles! I guess he’s had no time to train the heavies, yet.

Good thing, too. His salvo of five lights was hitting me for about 20% more damage than my one heavy was hitting him for. And I can tank that … not forever, but for what looks like a really long time.

His shields? They take a little dent each time I hit him, and he dosn’t have the regen to tank it. I wait for some active repping out of him, but I don’t see it. Maybe he’s all passive?

Suddenly, the distance between us starts to widen. He wants to run! Can’t have that, so I give chase at my stately 247 m/sec rumble:

chasing a fleeing caracal in my Crane of Destruction

Everything is going my way today, because he can’t open the distance. By now, I’ve about shot out my first stick of 40 missiles, and his shield is just about gone, and showing a tiny bit of armor bleed. Hope the reload doesn’t take too long!

It doesn’t. The slow methodical battering continues. He stops shooting at some point — I thought maybe he was out of missiles, but apparently not judging from the kill mail. Finally, after 58 salvoes of one missile each, the Caracal explodes:

Victim: Tot Troto Corp: State War Academy Alliance: Unknown Faction: Unknown Destroyed: Caracal System: [redacted] Security: 0.5 Damage Taken: 16189 Involved parties: Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow) Security: 1.3 Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage Alliance: NONE Faction: NONE Ship: Crane Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile Damage Done: 16189 Destroyed items: Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 39 Ballistic Deflection Field I Heat Dissipation Field I Assault Missile Launcher I, Qty: 5 Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction Beta Reactor Control: Shield Power Relay I Dropped items: Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 26 Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 1040 (Cargo) Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction Beta Reactor Control: Shield Power Relay I

While the last missile was in the air, he tried to convo me. I accepted, but by then his ship was dead, and he had nothing to say. Finally I offered a “good fight” (which it was) and we exchanged pleasantries. He was cool, sad to lose his ship, but says he had fun too. I like his aggression, hopefully he’ll go far in Eve!

3 Responses to “Death To Caracals!”

  1. Planetary Genocide says:

    Haha, you took down a Caracal in your “harmless little Badger”… that’s pretty badass

  2. Gatlin Nugget says:

    Can i get your fit?

  3. Marlenus says:

    Well, I’m going to be a little ambiguous about the mid slots, where you have some options. And the Crane is too easy to kill for me to want to give potential opponents the precise specs. But I can share most stuff. (Note well: I’ve never fitted a Crane with faction bling. Options exist for the stupidly rich — but I ain’t that rich.)

    For starters, you want a Heavy Missile Launcher II in your high slot. Accept no substitutes; you desperately need the extra 2% per level rate of fire bonus Heavy Missile Specialization gives the T2 launcher.

    Bottom: a pair of Ballistic Control System IIs. Again, this is not optional. This platform is all about tweaking the max damage from that one pea shooter in the high slot. You’re never going to engage deliberately with anything that is likely to be able to kill you, so your limiting factor is “can I break its tank, or not?” (Note well: the exception to this rule is Hulks piloted by older pilots with serious drone skills. For advanced students only — and if you are chasing that game, you don’t need my advice about fittings.)

    Rigs: again, fit them for missile damage. I don’t use EFT so I don’t have a perfect min/max DPS answer for you; currently I’m using a Bay Loading Accelerator and a Warhead Calefaction Catalyst.

    Mid slots, you need a point. I’m not saying short or long — that may depend on what game you are hunting. For the most part you won’t be pointing stuff faster than you, but you might find a mining cruiser or destroyer with an MWD fit, and need the scram.

    The other three mid slots are at your discretion. I like to hunt hulks, so I tend to fit shield tank modules here. One setup I used to like is Shield Recharger II, Shield Boost Amplifier 1, Medium C5-L Emergency Shield Overload (Meta IV). At one point that meta mix was perfect for my fitting skills, but you may be able to do better. And there are lots of other ways you can go with your mid slots, some of which are proprietary. ;-)

    And finally, remember that the entire concept of the combat Crane is in one serious way, direly obsolete. When I started playing this game, blockade runners could not cloak, but they did get two points of warp stabilization built right into the hull, which meant that I could typically run away if I made the mistake of attacking a bait boat fitted with a point. Now, that mistake is utterly deadly. You *might* try fitting warp core stabilizers, but you’d lose so much missile damage, I wouldn’t care for the tradeoff.

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