In rank and file, a sinister looking fleet in rows of ten glistened under the blue-white glow of the hangar lighting, an army of winged demons ready for flight. Was it to be a month of hedonistic debauchery and pimped out kills and losses in the spacelanes for the boys and girls in SKRMR corp? Or was it going to be something else? We gained exclusive access to the pilots who gave us an up close and personal review of the events.
I managed to speak to SKRMR pilot Nogusha in the hangar bay in Pelille before the event kicked off. As an Atron his capsule had just exited from hissed and popped with the sound of combat, he had this to say.
"Hmm, it'll be silly costly but I've always fancied trying my hand with those suckaz. Count me in. Shits and giggles to be had! Now, how do you fit and fly the friggin' things?"
Perhaps it was therefor apt that the first killmail logged during the event came at the hands of the Jin-Mei Samurai Nogusha. An Enyo sporting the colours of the Gallente Federation the first ship to fall. It was the start of a pattern that would emerge for the remainder of the month. Or, three weeks, as it turned out to be in the end. With the killing fields being the faction warfare grounds it was going to be rare to see anything other than militia pilots on most of the killmails, (and lossmails). There were to be a few exceptions of course but from looking back at the kill feeds it read as a who-is-who in faction warfare guide.
Back at base and just a few days into the event, SKRMR pilot Vincent R'lyeh dropped the bombshell that he was withdrawing from the event. He had seemingly developed a fear for his fleet of expensive looking stingers.
"So I'm officially thinking of calling my participation in Dramiel Month a bust. I just can't bring myself to fly these expensive little buggers," Vincent was heard saying as he clutched a bottle of his favourite synthetic space gin before sulking off into his quarters. It later transpired that he actually sold most of his fleet to Miura Bull for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the billions. Although neither pilot would confirm the sums involved, possibly for tax reasons.
Later that week a few of the pilots sat around in the locker room as the steam filled the air. An interesting conversation developed as the pilots discussed Vincent's reluctance to jump into the hull and his subsequent ship sale to the boss.
Nogusha was keen to point out his views on the subject.
"Aye, 'tis a funny thing how the expense can be off-putting. That said, however, you do get used to it the more time you spend in space.
Had a close shave the other day. Saw a Comet at a novice plex and went in for it only to see that it was outside the gate. The whole thing smelling decidedly fishy, and knowing that there were a number of AF's and destroyers knocking about on scan, I decided to jump into the plex.
Surprisingly, the comet followed. The dance began and I was chewing away at him happily at range when I noticed incoming on short range scan, namely two Maulus and a Thrasher. I knew the Thrasher couldn't get in so it was decision time. The Comet at this point was at around half armour and it was slow going, the thing was brick tanked, but I stuck around for a while longer out of curiosity. I'd heard tales of the legendary escapes made by Dramiels and I thought I'd put it and myself to the test.
The two Maulus arrived and I was damped to within an inch of my proverbial. They were keeping range at around thirty k and relying on the Comet to do the dirty. I lost lock in short order and began to align to the sun. Fortunately, the Comet decided to close to point blank to apply his damage, which allowed me to lock him up once again. I overheated the jets like a mofo, webbed the comet down and crossed everything as I began to pull range.
I was watching the effects icons like a hawk and the second I saw his scram disengage I was off like a shot, trailing flames and down two drones, but my plucky little devil lived to fight another day. Bloody good fun!"
Miura Bull joined in the conversation as the bare-bottomed Lhorenzho strolled into the showers with his cigar still lit.
"I think the key is to forget just how expensive something is. Fly the tech one gunned Rifter exactly the same as you would a four bil Loki. If your ship is going to die it is going to die. Every ship will die, if you undock it of course."
Lhorenzho reemerged from the steam and smoke.
"Wow amazing! From the days of flying tech one fit Rifters to buying packs of quasi blinged Dramiels for silly ISK! How times have changed for us MB. Kind of sad in a way."
Miura replied, "The evolution of the frigate junkie my friend."
A few days later as I waited for further news on the Dramiel front, Nogusha appeared in the docking bay minus a Dramiel. It was his first loss of the event.
"Alas! Alack! Oni is no more. No glorious death for my little devil, no departed souls to journey with her mighty spirit to Valhalla.
She was ignominiously obliterated by a camp of Rainbow Dash Friends. Despite her best efforts as she raced back towards the gate, their firepower proved too much.
I feel oddly relieved now that the worst has happened!"
The remainder of the weeks passed by with the same blend of stories. Pods returned, burning and twisted Dramiels returned and sometimes medical bays lit up with new clones returned. It seemed to me that looking in from the outside that the SKRMR boys were having a hell of a good time out in their Dramiels. But alas, Miura informed the crew three weeks into the event that it was game over.
"Officially declaring Dramiel month over at midnight tonight. Three weeks of flying only one hull has just about killed me if I am being honest, as fun as it was at times."
And that was that.
In the end the only killmails came from Miura Bull and Nogusha. They had registered between them some 83 kills and 11 losses in three weeks of dedication to the Dramiel hull. Not a bad return for what was billed as a bit of fun event.
Nogusha had this to say on closing.
"Y'know, it's hard sometimes to remain objective at times. I've just had a miniature revelation of sorts. I've been put off flying expensive ships for a long time, but Dram month has been good for me in that regard.
It's the facts and figures that are hard to get out of your head, especially silly ISK efficiency. My second loss, detailed here, is shit in regards to the ISK damage ratio, but man, that was a brawl with a Drake, a Fleet Issue Stabber and an Enyo, and the damn Drake went down.
It was a bloody good fight, and hella fun. Lots of micro-management, shooting drones, switching targets, pulsing reps, careful overheating et cetera. The experience of the fight itself is never truly reflected in a report and a financial break-down.
There we go. I think my demons have finally been exorcised. This month you could argue has seen my ISK efficiency crippled to a point from which I'll never recover due to my usual play style, but I've had some jolly good fun in the process, and at the end of the day, why does it matter really?"
Miura had this to say on the event as the lights went out in the Dramiel hangar in Pelille.
"This started off as a bit of a joke in all honesty after Vince won some expensive ships on the lottery. We got to talking about fits and various elements on combat and I had this crazy idea about just flying Dramiels for a whole month.
Crazy flying. Just, Dramiels and fire and explosions and that fresh smell of a new clone as you crick your new neck for the first time. Laugh in the mirror and then go again. You know how it is?"
"I think it would have been nicer to have had a few more of our pilots on the killboard but some were planetside catching rays or working on other stuff and Lhorenzho was busy being Lhorenzho, overall I can't complain. We're only a handful of pilots and I am pleased that we got so many killmails in what in reality was two pilots with not a lot of time to put on the flight gear."
I asked Miura what his favourite fight was during the event as I got the impression I was outstaying my welcome a little.
"There was this one fight I vividly remember. It had been quiet all day and I spot this Daredevil and Ishkur over at a small. I think, heh, what the hell let's go bake some cakes. I land right in them and we start the dance and I am working on them thinking shit man this is fun. I didn't care if they wiped me out there and then, flames were happening that night. I remember hitting structure and closing my eyes as the drones swarmed me. As the dust settled I was surprised to see that I'm still in one piece and I have two wrecks in front of me.
That was Dramiel month for me. Just a crazy blast of adrenaline. Good times."
A few days later I was mailed an image of the medals presented.
I would like to thank Miura Bull and the SKRMR corporation for their hospitality during my three weeks with them.
Alvin Harkonnen - Channel 17 News Team.