For some 16 years growing up I never liked the smell of melted cheese. It didn’t matter what type of cheese it was, it never mattered to me what the cheese was then going to be used for because the smell was just off putting. An advert on television had some breadcrumbed chicken and inside it had some garlic cheese that just oozed out of them as they were sliced open. The sight of this made me want to eat them, but I knew I couldn’t because the smell of melted cheese would just be wrong. My family tried this chicken and enjoyed it while I ate some form of proccessed fish. Adverts for pizza hut made eating out look rock and roll, fun and exciting somehow with colourfull pizzas everyone at the table would enjoy. Friends and family who ate pizza together had a bond that I could never share, I would be left to eat proccessed fish.
I would hang out with some friends at a house one Saturday where some of us gathered before a party that evening. We watched movies and South Park, talked pc games, music and mountain bikes. Around 5pm it was announced that this friends mom cooked us pizza. I had never been to this friends house before, I couldn’t very well say “fuck your pizza”, because it wouldn’t have been polite. The friend started to say something about how I hated pizza but before he could, I cut him off and said it was fine. I sat down, and ate the pizza. From then on pizza and melted cheese has been something I can enjoy. No more proccessed fish.
This ship is something I did enjoy but can no longer. Change like the above example is good, change like having your favourite ship altered entirely is not good. That is how I see the Manticore now.
I never will get over that change and yes I will just go cry moar and yes you can drink my tears because they feed you just like your mom breastfeeds all your school mates when your dads not home.
The first ships I trained towards were Stealth Bombers. The Manticore being the easiest to obtain due to my average missile skills and having Caldari Frigate IV helped to. The idea of sneaking around watching people come and go knowing that I could try shoot at them if I wanted seemed pretty cool. Voyeuristic but with spaceship death at the end rather than the police knocking on your door wanting a word.
Having joined Faction war on the Caldari side some 4 months prior to sitting in my new Manticore I was used to running through low sec in a rifter made of cardboard. That is running away from everything red and only chipping in some firepower when the odds were hugely in the Caldari favor. Taking the Manticore out for a spin felt a bit like retreading over old ground, but with a cloaking system to help me hide better. It didn’t feel so scary despite how much ISK I was flying at the time.
It took me about 1 week to get anything realistic to shoot at as at that time everybody flew in gangs of 4 million and picking off one target would mean almost certain destruction. Plus I was a bit of a chicken and when I say “a bit”, I mean KFC came to me for produce. My wallet had something like 100mil and here i was in a ship that cost 50 million, had I just lost it I would have been a bit upset.
Still, even though my stalking got a bit monotonous and my directional scanning was becoming better and better there was hope for me yet. I found a lone target. A Tristan that was just sat at a planet not moving, not doing anything. Now imagine before you first had sex and all you did was think about it and think about it and think about it so you are convinced you know wtf you are doing but then the actual time comes and you turn into a fucking spastic all Gecko eyed and octopus armed hemoraging body fluids like your spacesuit just ripped whilst repairing the Hubble telescope. So I uncloaked 70 kms away (yea yea i know), fired up all 3 sensor boosters, had the cruise launchers fired up ready to go, locked on, missiles away…BOOM!!!!! My hands were shaking, my fucking heart increased my rip cage by 4 inches by beating too hard and my pants were full of poopies.
It was instant addiction.
Some time passed and I fired some missiles off at random war targets but nothing hit but it didn’t matter. The hunt was what mattered. I used to sit in Tama and just weave inbetween war targets outside the station, knowing that 5 km too much either way and I would be uncloaked. I was Captain Ramius and this was my Hunt for red October. Endless practice going through the trenchs of the ocean, knowing that by finely tuning my navigators, so that in moments where it would count they could get me home safely. These war targets had no idea I was doing this, I never once uncloaked on purpose or by accident.
I made tonnes of bookmarks in all of the best places for sniping and observation. Even if I was not shooting, i would report the intel on gates directly into the militia to help out anybody that might get ganked. My reputation for doing so got me some friends in the right places and I would scout for fleets. Me; a noob, scouting for war targets and getting intel to the people who knew how to use it. Fun was had every single day thanks to this ship.
When I did shoot and got lucky it was generally at long range. My method was to use a passive targetter and velocity rigs and shoot at destroyers and frigates or stationary cruisers. So the targetter would allow me 2-3 seconds of “OH WTF I’M BEING SHOT AT!!” from the WT before they could react, and my missiles would fly much faster so I had bought maybe 5 seconds of suprise time total. Sometimes that 5 seconds was all that is needed.
I helped destroy a Myrmidon one afternoon and I couldn’t beleive that I helped destroy such a large and expensive ship. Some days later I fired at a Tristan in Old Man Star on the Heydelies gate while I had a Thrasher 40km away burning straight at me that I had not really noticed (adrenaline and all). The Thrasher popped just as the first volley to the Tristan went off. Two kills in the same couple of seconds and I didn’t even get a screenshot.
It would be a safe bet to say that I loved flying the stealthbomber. Wether sniping at 150km or shooting right up at 50km it didn’t matter. I lost more Manticores from stupid mistakes and kill greed than actual WT ability and I would just mission up for a couple of days to afford more. I even went so far as to train into bomb launchers (because I thought you could use them in low sec..stupid) and T2 cruise missiles. It made more sense to buy the T2 launchers which were cheaper than the Arbelest launchers at the time so I would save ISK. Also the idea of precision missiles just blew my mind, “extra damage on smaller ships!!!” thought I, “I can’t wait to test this out!!” I would get all excited and cry. Investing at an early stage in my EvE game into the Stealthbomber is an understatement.
Eventually though my training increased and I spread out to recon ships and improved my overall gunnery and missile skills. I went back to flying Rifters and Thrashers, progressed into more and more things and eventually noticing that the stealthbombers I owned hadn’t been flown in a few months. Just gathering dust in their hangars. A thought about getting together a wolfpack of stealthbombers to go ambushing war targets crossed my mind and then, CCP switched things about.
I hadn’t even trained Torpedos past lvl I and it went against my religion of steath bomber mechanics. Fire from FAR away and use range as your tank. This was the complete opposite and it would never sit quite right in my mind. So The bombers I did have I converted into other things. One became a covert op’s hauler for drugs. One became a stealth Faction Warfare plexing boat, another I just sold to a corp mate. There was no attempt to reconcile myself with something I had no intention of trying to learn to fly again. I just moved on to other things and have left the stealthbomber behind.
Good memories are what I have of the Manticore (and Hound) so by not moving to the world of close combat knife fighting ALA Torpedos I kept the memories intact without tarnishing them with failed attempts and frustration. So goodbye Manticore, we had a nice run so let’s just keep it that way and I will enjoy my pizza.