Funny thing, though; it wasn't a particularly satisfying kill. Sure, I like a big e-peen as much as the next lowlife pirate scum, and it was with pleasure we posted the kill. There was some smugness in having pulled it off. But I got a lot more satisfaction when Joc and I killed a Rupture earlier today. Heck, I even enjoyed it more when I lost a fight with an Abaddon I thought I could schnooker while he was tanking sentries. The thing is, that battleship pilot didn't give us much of a fight; in fact, I didn't take any damage at all from him, and Joc and his itty-bitty T2 frigate tanked him nicely.
That Rupture pilot, now--well, Muad' Dib is a real warrior. I was at the Vitrauze gate in Onne when I saw him coming on the scanner, so I jumped through to take him on the other side. I knew Joc was coming for backup, and told him to jump right into Vitrauze and engage immediately--Muad' Dib was an outlaw like us, and whoever runs the sentry guns wouldn't mind if we were the tools lady Justice used to bring retribution (or vice-versa). The Rupture sure wasn't trying to duck no fights; I approached him, he approached me, and there were guns and blasters and drones lighting up the inkly blackness of space with destruction. I was pretty sure I was going to die, as the Rupture seemed to be hurting me faster than I was hurting him. After the fight, I realized I should have overheated my blasters, but in the thick of things I plumb forgot. I broke through his shields and armor, though, not long after he broke through mine, and whether it was because I had a stronger ship structure or because Joc's meager DPS finally made it on the scene, the Rupture went down leaving me with 1-2% of smoking structure still holding things together. I was trembling with adrenaline as we looted the wreck and recalled our drones. That was a fight, I tell you!
As for the Abaddon--I noticed him molesting the never-ending train of industrial ships that pour in and out of Hevrice, shrugging off the sentry fire as he did so. It occurred to me that those sentry guns would be much obliged if I'd help them out by pinning him down, so he couldn't just come and go as he pleased; and if the heavy blasters and high-tech medium drones of my Thorax were to engage, why that would just help things along a little faster. I figured wrong. Glaz Almaz was able to kill and loot his industrial target, tank those sentry guns, and continue to tank the sentry guns plus everything I could deliver long enough to kill me and help himself to the cornucopia of high-tech modules that remained intact in the twisted metal that had been my Thorax. He wasn't even particularly sporting about it, whining that I was being ungrateful for "killing him" after he'd helped out a corpmate of mine a little earlier. Still, as I got my capsule out of Dodge, I was thinking I'd just had a very good fight.
One doesn't even have to win or lose to have a good fight. Recently I was set upon by a Wolf, a Cormorant, a Buzzard, and a rookie ship (really). I almost killed the Wolf--but I think the Cormorant got me webbed in time for the Wolf to slip out of range of my blasters. Then I almost killed the Cormorant; in fact, I thought I had killed him, but the lack of a wreck or killmail has convinced me that I must have been jammed instead just as he was running out of structure. The fact that I did well against superior numbers, didn't make any stupid mistakes (though I may have done a thing or two better), didn't lose, and shared heart-felt "gf's" afterwards in local, left me feeling happy and satisfied.
All of which got me to thinking...what exactly does constitute a good fight? Here's what I concluded: There are a number of factors, any one of which may help a fight be a "good" one, and if you put enough of them together you end up with a really good fight. On the other side of the equation are factors that help make a fight a "bad" one. If neither side of the equation outweighs the other, you end up with "meh." It's actually possible, then, to feel satisfied after losing some fights, while feeling "meh" even after winning others.
Factors contributing to a good fight
- Good loot
- Fighting a more experienced pilot
- Fighting a famous or well-known pilot
- Fighting against a respected combat ship
- Fighting against a ship that is generally considered superior to one's own
- Having tactics or a strategy that make a positive difference
- Fighting against foes who employ a clever or innovative tactic or strategy
- Fighting slightly outnumbered
- Hearing respect from the other pilot or others in local afterwards
- Almost (but not quite) dying (Joc and I killed a Vexor in a similar scenario to the Rupture kill above; but since it was Joc who almost died and I who arrived at the last minute to save the day, it wasn't as satisfying a fight to me.)
- Learning something valuable that makes one a better pilot the next time
- Losing expensive rigs, implants, or modules
- Making stupid mistakes
- Fighting against hopeless numbers
- Fighting against a pilot who is not at the helm, extremely inexperienced, or stupid
- Fighting against a ship that is generally considered inferior at combat
- Hearing disrespect or excuses from the other pilot or others in local