Category Archives: PvP

I Want You to Want Me!

Mord FiddleJan 23, 8:33 pm

Well, now you’re just ignoring me. ;) Why do you believe people should be forced out of highsec?

I haven’t been ignoring you Mord.  I’ve been puzzling out a proper, non-flippant answer.  The short version is:  I don’t want to force people to do anything.  This is EvE.  I want them to move of their own accord, for reasons that make sense to them at the time.

I write a blog so you get the long version for free –

I think it’s fantastic that there’s people who stop travelling out when the sec status starts looking yellow.  They turn around and scamper back.  They find their rut and they travel it doing the things they like for as long as they want.  It’s fantastic.  They are enjoying the game their way.

The problem is they are likely engaging in single-player EvE.  It may actually be a small group, but they are not really doing much to create content for the greater community, and they aren’t terribly likely to stick around according to CCP’s metrics.  CCP has stated repeatedly that players are far more likely to stick around if they are engaging with other players socially.  Usually this means a corp/alliance.  I think there’s two reasons for this.  A player who works with other players is more willing to share in risks, and a player who is confronted with adversity is far more likely to recognize the scope of them, and overcome them either by getting advice before the adversity and mitigating their risk or by having a support network that can soften the blow with recovery efforts.

Let’s zoom out a stage.

Many, if not most, highsec-only players believe that they are, or at least should be, totally safe as long as they are playing in highsec, and not doing anything aggressive towards another player.  They think that their sole responsibility for self-preservation is to keep themselves out of 0.4 and lower sec status systems.  They do not think to protect themselves from people willing to lose a ship to destroy what they are flying.  When they do lose a ship to people willing to make that effort they blame it not on themselves for failing to protect themselves, but on the gankers, and not in such a way as to give them credit.  They do not recognize that self-preservation is forever and always their own responsibility and that a reliance on CONCORD and other players forbearance is a fickle means of protecting ones hard-earned isk.

This is not to say that gankers are all wonderful people that shit rainbows.  Some of them are bullies, some of them are jerks, some of them are people playing the game their own way.  Just like the miners.  The difference is in how they define their way, and how they understand the game.

Now if a miner belongs to a corp that does have a support they can still lose their shit, but they aren’t likely to leave the game.  As long as the corp supports them.  I have lost some EMBARRASSING ships.  However I had corpmates who supported me.  I had a community I belonged to, and who helped me see the scope of things and how unimportant one miserable Drake was.

Eventually that community led me to branch out.  To see PvP not as an evil practice to be avoided, but a fun and challenging (but hopefully not too challenging) focus of the game.  I want people to see as many reasons as possible to leave highsec, and I want highsec to be as limited as possible in pursuit of that goal.  Not every player is going to get involved in blowing up other players spaceships.  At least not directly.  However, at some point in his EvE career, every player needs to realize that pvp is the foundation of the game, and can happen to anyone at any time.  The players least likely to understand this are the highsec carebears who never venture beyond 0.5 for fear of encountering… well… EvE.

I want production to be more practical and useful in low/null to make the decision on where to manufacture goods to actually involve a choice other than “Safest area with the most available slots = win for me!”

I want resources to be more accessible and valuable in low/null to create an economic push so that veld isn’t always a “top 3” mineral when it comes to value.

I want low/null to have useful and unique mechanics that make them more fun and enjoyable.

Some of these already exist.  The last one especially has quite a few options, but there still isn’t enough to drive the great hordes out of highsec empire.  Having unique resources that cannot be collected in highsec space helps.  Having unique gameplay opportunities, like wormholes, or FW, helps.  Having organizations that help even the newest players capitalize on the opportunities to be found below 0.4 helps.  Look at Goons and TEST.  They can and will take players still in awe at the power of their reaper, slap them in a rifter and throw them to a system with a name like VFK.  They will bring them in, teach them to play and understand the game, and give them an opportunity to grow.  Sure they can be an embarrassment to the community, but they also contribute to the community.  Look at the rage being spouted by highsec carebears almost every day over at minerbumping.com and you will see just how “noble” the pvp-averse carebears can be.

So no.  No I don’t want to force people out of highsec.  I want them to want to move out themselves.  I want them to go out and create content of their own and discover the real awe of EvE.  The ability to drive your storyline wherever you want it, not just Motsu station.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

War, What is it Good For!

So the drums of war are beating.  Sort of.  In that “What the fuck are you smoking?” sort of manner.

Before I get into this I have a disclaimer: I am pretty much getting the CFC side of things.  While I have friends in TEST, they aren’t really the “Core Personality” that people think of when they think of TEST.  The forums, major channels, and the public information is what I can base this off of, so I am freely admitting that I might be wildly wrong.

Now I pretty much understand a couple things.  First:  TEST has a diplo that makes me look like a sophisticated, subtle driver.  Thanks for that.  Second:  FA and TEST are having some serious pre-existing issues that probably need to be dealt with.  Third:  TEST’s inferiority complex is driving a lot of their “Core Personality” types.  More on this in a moment.  Fourth:  The “Srs bizness” folks are shaking their heads, but playing along for the chance at some seriously awesome fleet battles.  Fifth:  Nothing will come of this.

I’m not going to talk too much about points one and two.  TheMittani.com has more or less exhausted THAT possibility.  Point three needs some explanation.  I’m not saying TEST is an inferior alliance.  They are most assuredly not.  They have written themselves into the front page of the EvE Alliance list.  They lead one of the biggest Coalitions to grace Null right now, and their leadership have worked damn hard and are rightfully proud of what they have achieved.  This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a perception, both inside and outside of TEST, that this success is “tainted” by the assistance rendered to them by Goons.  Personally I don’t buy too much stock in that belief, but for people who seek excuses or seek to instigate hostilities, that perception is a HUGE button.  Bright red.  Labeled “DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON”

The Reason For the Next War

Like I said, I don’t regard TEST as an inferior Alliance.  I don’t regard HBC as an inferior Coalition.  They clearly have enough military might, enough strategic skill, and enough diplomatic skill to thrive in the current EvE Paradigm.  Right now there are elements within them that need a fight, and the list of opponents who might fight them is thin.  They have an excuse, they have a rallying cry, and they have a button to press that will cause “TEH RAEG” to drive things to a head.

Mittens and PL are both looking at this with a more jaded eye.  Were their leaders the kind for pithy comments I’m sure the average comment would be one of “wut?” or “SMH” but their disdain for the ham-handed workings of the TEST “Diplomat” is clear, as is their dislike for the entire war.

Finally this won’t be a war for territory.  Alliances will be hurt, and FA will likely suffer out of all proportion to any other alliance’s suffering.  TEST might suffer a little.  Goons might try different things to keep the war effort “fresh.”  PL may or may not be involved.  I think they will act to prevent things from getting too serious.  Goons don’t want more territory.  TEST doesn’t want more territory.  PL only cares for moons.  The pets are all content, and while many of them want a fight, they don’t want to be blueballed all the time, and as an ideological war this one is a bit of a dud since it’s Pot vs. Kettle.

All and all I wouldn’t mind the war.  I doubt it will turn into North Vs. South.  This won’t be a war for survival (except maybe for FA.)  It won’t be a war of competing ideologies, or styles.  It will just be a war if the participants show up and fight.  It would be the exact opposite of the old saw “What if they held a war and nobody came.”  It would be a war they held just because people came.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

The Great POS Lie

You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.
– Inigo Montoya The Princess Bride

So for years we’ve been calling them POS towers.  Player Owned Stations.  The problem is they aren’t really owned by any given player.  They belong to corporations.  The CEO can access anything in them.  So can Directors.  This presents a massive problem for people trying to use them.  Granularity to allow Players to own and operate their own towers simply doesn’t exist.  Recently I put a Archon in to research.  Well.  I didn’t.  I only have access to the hangars available to everyone.  So I have to trust it to one of the higher ups to put it in. Which means that only 4 or 5 people can access it at any time and potentially rip me off.  Do I think any of them would do it?  Of course not.  Well.  No more than anyone else in EvE would.

The real core of the problem is that I can’t have my OWN station.  I can’t build my own facility belonging to Corelin, unless I go back to Fancy Hats and start stripping roles.  It’s a trade off that doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose.  I think CCP needs to once again call a spade a spade and admit that it’s a Corporation Owned Station (COS) and follow up by re-introducing the POS as a small structure that can fill some portion of the functions served by a modern Corporation Owned Station, CCP can offer players the opportunity to do their own research, their own light industry, maybe even their own reactions, CCP offers a stepping stone even the lone miner can use to find something he likes more, and maybe a stepping stone to the more powerful functions of a full-up Corporation Owned Station.

I would make the core module of the new POS a fairly cheap component.  Modules would also be fairly inexpensive, except for reactor and computing modules.  Those would allow you to use more reactors, labs, what have you, and would cost exponentially more for the utility.  Each player and only anchor one, and they have to be anchored near something warpable in the system.  Could be a planet.  Could be a moon.  Could be an asteroid belt.  Might allow more than one at certain beacons.  Planets might allow as many as a dozen.  Defenses would cripple the utility of even a fully upgraded POS, with enough guns to disturb even a small battlecruiser gang rendering the POS nearly useless to anyone else.  It can only have two ships docked at it at a time (bonus points for them to show up mated to docking collars rather than hidden in a hangar) and the bubble would be tiny.  Forget hiding your Titan in one, your Mach is gonna be showing it’s ass outside the bubble.

The goal here is not to completely replace the current COS system.  They serve a purpose, and should be kept in some form.  Certainly alliances wouldn’t want to be utterly dependent on one person being around to keep up its cynojammers, its bridges, let alone the wealth of its moon miners.  POS structures will allow players their own base for a secure, safe operation divorced from the godawful Corporate Interface.  It reduces the strain on the corporate interface by making POS towers less of a necessity for the individual.  This won’t actually make players too much more independent though.  Readers of my blog already know I hate people who try to never interact with their fellows.  Instead I suggest having no more than a 24 hour timer for reinforcement.  Notifications will be sent to the entire corp letting them know that they have a friend in need.

This system creates a new choice.  Do I accept a penalty to research time and cost to secure my own resources, or do I put them at risk in a communal structure in order to save time and resources.  It creates opportunities.  It allows players to dabble in something they might not have access to otherwise, and provides new conflict drivers.  Imagine finding your rival running a POS in a lowsec cull-de-sac.  Think you wouldn’t be drooling over the chance to set a trap for him?  As a conflict driver they offer a real target for small gangs.  I think a decent BC gang, or even Tier 1 Cruiser gang should be able to smash up a cluster of these things to drive fights without the horrible monotony of a 2 hour POS bash.

Finally I don’t want them in highsec.  I want them in null.  I want them in Wormholes, and I really want them in lowsec.  The thought of hundreds of alts in NPC corps clogging up highsec beacons with stations is horrendous.  NPC Corp?  No POS.  Highsec system?  No POS.  These are conflict drivers.  These are enablers for individuals.  These are not traffic obstructions.  The last thing we need is more clutter at the Jita 4-4 undock.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

When it All Comes Down

So The Mittani linked one of his older pieces today.  This is the kind of reasoned, insightful pieces that put him on the map and it is generally true.  From the inside things look different and *feel* different.  Spies might be chortling it up but watching everything dissolve around you is frankly rough.  There’s been two times when my alliance has crumbled around me, once when I was a grunt, and once when I was a director and I’d like to talk a bit about the feelings more than the mechanics.

Cult of War I’ve talked about a lot, and it was Goons and Cursed Alliance that killed us, well Atlas helped by not helping, but that is life as a pet.  Goons created the sustained adversity for us, we came home from the Great War disappointed and feeling put upon by the fiasco that had landed on us.  Still a good portion of us hadn’t made it into the HED fiasco thanks to some poorly time ops and our forces were intact, then the raids started.  After a prolonged wartime period wallets were low and Goons had cloakies in all systems at all times, not just one or two either some of our major systems had more oranges and reds than blues.  Hotdrops were a daily occurrence and  Goons were fast to move their CovOps hotdrops around the several systems that were in range of our tiny home.  I was poor and getting poorer.  We had multiple CTAs a week and ratting was impossible.  Several of our people would just clone jump to highsec and I was rapidly getting an indy alt together to build SOMETHING to make money with.

The breaking point was hit far more suddenly than what Mittens suggests.  After an op popped a CSAA we had in operation leadership virtually disappeared.  Confusion increased daily and the quiet steps back started.  The end came suddenly when our leader re-emerged to announce that the jig was up and we had basically 4 days to GTFO.  Goons found out about the evac before we did so it was a very perilous one.  Things got chaotic and large amounts of materiel was left behind.  I still have some relic fits out there, a snipe megathron, an eagle, a ferox… We were confused.  We had been losing but there was no honest threat to our space.  Goons had no interest in Scalding Pass, but the will of our leadership collapsed, possibly from lost RMT from the CSAA, possibly from knowing that we couldn’t really grow, that everything we did would be limited by Goons, and that while we had the will, we were running out of warfighting material.  We had people who lost 3 or 4 ships at a time defending CSAAs, fighting the timers Goons showed up for, and they could see the writing on the wall.  The end was precipitous, and calamitous.  We fell apart and corps were booted or left in a torrent.  Engad Tanon has attempted to resurrect CoW several times since then, however it is now closed, and it is a loss to EvE that it happened so.

FWA was a very different sort of alliance.  Run by the mercurial but formidable Dread PirateRoberts; FWA had a solid grasp on its goals and had the power to drive to them rather easily.  We had a blast and I managed my role as a CEO, and one of the strategic leaders of our merry band, but something was rotten in Aridia.  DPR was about as diplomatic as an HE shell with a contact fuze.  When he should have been sharing the credit he was hogging it and when she should have been shouldering blame (whether it was really his to take or not) he was blasting people.  He was also a paranoid bastard but I think every EvE leader is a paranoid bastard because… well… It’s EvE.  As it turned out his paranoia was very well founded.  Several of his corps split off, behind a very elegantly stated series of blatant lies that split the alliance virtually down the middle.  We had some advantages but diplomacy wasn’t one of them, and when Mayhem. brought in ringers things went downhill and fast.  We got stonewalled in a fight that cost us multiple Bhaalgorns, and only some utterly fantastic bumps by Sefiea Wreth saved our carriers.  After this fight, forming a fleet was simply impossible.  All the momentum was gone and we tried to convince DPR to move to another area.  We scouted, we wrote out reports, we did all the leadership things in EvE that make the game a job, and not a game.  DPR wasn’t swayed and the members started voting with their feet.  Fancy Hats pulled out and I burned out.  I was exhausted, mentally, emotionally, and even physically, it had been THAT stressful.  Leadership had poured out its treasure, its sweat, and its brainpower and most of us had literally nothing left to give.

Being part of a failcascade hurts.  It drains players, it drives their activity down.  It destroys organizations.  It also creates opportunities and vacancies.  It opens up space, and drives conflict and the engines of both war and commerce.  For every ship destroyed, one will be sold, for every shot fired, a round must be created.  Every station one alliance loses, is gained by someone else.  Players know this, and even if they burn out for a while they come back.  Burnout burns down, and from the ashes players rise.  Corps rise.  Alliances rise.  Not everytime, not all the time, but enough that the game has grown over these last 10 years.  I’ve been knocked down.  Knocked out even.  CoW.  CROM.  FWA.  S I L E N T..  (I hate dot alliances) I’ve also taken part in amazing things, and done amazing things myself.  I play EvE for the amazing things, but I recognize that sometimes you cause the failcascade and sometimes you ride it.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Apex Bex Batphone Episode 879: French Fries

So my buddy Apex Bex called me again to join them to bash a nice juicy wormhole.  So I bring a nice shiny Oracle.  We pew pew a few towers, fleet is big enough and towers are poorly enough configured that, hey, it goes fast.  But it could go faster so I turn the Oracle over to some random fleet member who can use the upgrade, and go get a Geddon fit for POS bashing.  We settle back in and continue bashing the POS, debating what to call the Bubble Wrap we are putting on the POS towers, and generally doing the normal wormhole control shenanigans.  I even took some sexy screenies.

PEW PEW

PEW PEW

Turns out our opponents were not wasting the time panicking.  They were panicking AND getting on the batphone.  They popped a few of our ships in an initial tussle at the wormhole and we were split, half inside, half outside, and a nasty looking T3/logi gang sitting on the bubbled wormhole.

We hit our own batphone, which turned out to be a pretty decent batphone.  We honestly brought the blob.  It was not nice.

No One Likes The Blob

So we stomped them.  Hard.  It was the schoolyard bully picking on the kid in a wheelchair.  With a club.  The people inside the POS warped at a decent range to get their attention on us and get them moving off the hole, then another 40+ showed up in the highsec local and warped the 3 AU to the WH entrance.  The hostile fleet started moving and our timing was as close to perfect as can be.  Caught between two fires they melted, at first their reps held easily but as soon as our reinforcements landed the rout was on.  Ship after ship popped or staggered back into highsec, bleeding air and fire as our guns blasted again and again, wreaking havoc on those unable to escape.  The only thing that saved any of them was our lack of webs, and some discipline issues with split damage.  We won through a combination of numbers, luck, and timing.

… And you go long!

We managed to prepare ourselves to use tactics that allowed us to pull them away from safety by lulling them with our initial inability to damage them.  Our reinforcements were sufficiently unscouted that, even though our opposition had to know SOMETHING was coming, they were unaware of the extent of it.  Our logistics held up our main ships and then we collapsed the house on them.  The final results were lopsided.  They don’t seem to have posted the few kills they got, so we cannot see their whole fleet but we know it was based around 4 guardians and 9 T3 cruisers, 3 each Loki, Legion, and Proteus.  The wormhole had a bonus to armor ships, so my fleet also had 0 Drakes.  I like that.  We also did lousy damage.  Between T3 resists, increased armor resists, and a signature bonus, my guns may as well have been firing puffballs.  Still we managed to bring enough of them to hit the enemy hard and take out more than a few shinies, and drop some SP from our foes.  Always a nice plus when it comes to T3s.

Fleet command had a few issues.  I’m red to a goodly number of people in that fleet and while I was giving advice, I was nearly primaried a few times due to “overview glitches” and there were a few times the guy directing all the efforts between inside and outside had to be…. guided into tactics that were moderately less suicidal.  While we clearly weren’t in danger of losing the field, we could have ended up trapped too close to the T3s without sufficient logi, burned to a crisp and all the T3s ready to jump out as soon as our reinforcements arrived.  Fortunately some smart pilots and leadership willing to listen avoided that fiasco.  In addition our reinforcements managed to burn down from null FAST, in the right ships and with a leader who could step up and take over in the fight.

Tomorrow I might even have my FRAPS recording edited and ready to go.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Get Outta Your Head Rook

Implants.  Now that I’m back in Nullsec I need to think about implants a LOT more.  I have a grand total of 1 +3 clone, and several are filled with +4 learning and +3/+4% hardwirings.  I even have a low-grade slave clone for my Archon.  None of these are particularly suitable for nullsec though.  Bubbles make it a lot harder to save a pod, and sometimes you end up so far from safe harbor that you need to pod yourself to get home safe.

My first thought is:  I’m gonna need more clones.  Sadly my medical clones are 30 million a piece right now.  I’m pushing 100 million SP and it starts to hurt when you get blasted at that point.  Adding +3s doubles the price of the clone with decent hardwirings, adding +4s can make you feel like a real asshat when you lose a 200 mill pod + clone.  One suggestion that had me slapping my forehead was “Have a clone for the skills you are training.  Just 2 +4s, and any hardwirings you feel like.  Much more efficient than a head full of +3s.  Finish your skill?  Hop to a new clone!  Be efficient and don’t have a bunch of implants you don’t need in (unless you are really good at avoiding pod death in which case go for it)

One of the best ways of making isk is not losing it stupidly.  Extra implants are really stupid.  When’s the last time you used Charisma?  Even Intelligence or Memory is much rarer than Perception/Will at this point of the game for me.  Planning and preparing for your losses will help you a lot in minimizing the isk you waste, and making the most of the isk you make.  Which of course leaves you more money for lots of ships, guns, and skillbooks.

Fly Dangerous, Score Kills.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

The Gladius

For hundreds of years the most dominant army in the world carried a weapon that changed very little.  Used from the earliest days of the Roman Empire until very late in it’s decline, the Gladius has to be one of the most deadly weapons in the history of the world.  It was versatile, easy to make, simple to use, and light.  A tremendous combination that was lethal to the enemies of the empire.  The only downside it had was its’ unique set of characteristics that demanded it be used in tightly-packed, close formations emphasizing teamwork for the survival and success of the warriors using it.

Stabbing you for Hundreds and Hundreds of Years

So what does this have to do with EvE?  Quite a bit actually.  Every fleet doctrine has its ups and downs.  Some are easy to train into, but require various levels of skill to actually use, and may or may not be effective.  Others are highly effective but require ages of training, or ludicrously expensive ships for someone just starting out in heavy PvP.  Still others require so many different pieces to be used in a coordinated fashion to work as to be impractical on a day to day basis.

EvE has never had a “Gladius” doctrine, and it probably still won’t.  The closest it has had was the ubiquitous “Drakefleet” which combined a low bar to entry with ease of use and cheap ships to make it quite competitive even against fleets that should have been far superior given the basic ships making them up.  Now the Drake has been nerfed, and faces still more nerfs in its future, a new fleet doctrine must come together, and one tool in the toolbox that demands a look is the new Tier 1 cruisers.  Their varied capabilities and single-purpose bonuses and statistics scream for use and their strength cannot be denied, especially given the literal hordes of players capable of using them.  Most players can get 350 to 400 DPS out of a shield thorax.  Veterans can easily crank out 600+.  These ships are cheap too.  Fully fitted and rigged they rarely bump into the price of a Battlecruiser hull.

We're coming to get you!

We’re coming to get you!

In my new alliance we’ve had two engagements.  One against a nasty little Muninn fleet that we handled very roughly, and another against a TEST “Kitchen Sink” fleet that we simply didn’t have the firepower to break, although we handled it quite roughly.  These ships also have another neat feature.  They are fun to fly.  The Stabber handles like a dream, and there’s no fear in flying it.  I’ve had single ticks ratting in null that paid for this ship.  Heck I’ve probably scooped loot from single kills that paid for it.  You can whelp a fleet and barely lose 200 million.  I’ve got pods worth 5 times that.  Putting together a defense fleet built around one or the other flavor of cruisers is both cheap, and a hell of a lot more effective than the TEST fleet that we skirmished with on that wormhole.  Sure we needed support, the Rapier in particular was invaluable in keeping them off our backs and away from the safety of the Wormhole, but the core component of the fleet could have been any dozen guys in T1 cruisers providing targets and DPS.  A coherent mix on the other side could have stonewalled us, especially once they warped in their carriers, but we were able to chisel away at them and easily pop out a few, while they ineffectively failed to use concentrated fire or wormhole mechanics to their advantage.

Any alliance with Sov could easily stock dozens of appropriately fitted T1 cruisers in its hangars, and hand them out like candy at a parade when they have roamers come in to form up defense fleets.  And you know what your people are out if they get hotdropped in that fleet?  A T1 cruiser, and the alliance is out a couple minutes worth of Tech.  On the other hand if you win, your PvP-ers are happy because they got a win, the nullbears are happy because something interesting broke up the monotony and they didn’t even have to risk anything, and the leaders are happy because their space is that much safer.

These fights are fun, these ships are fun, they are easy to use, and surprisingly strong.  They let newer players try out roles that were traditionally closed to them (hello new logistics pilots, I love you all to death!) and expose them to the fun of PvP at a fraction of the risk.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Making Things Matter: Nooblets

Not N00BS! Nooblets.  Those endlessly inquisitive, endlessly optimistic, endlessly hopeful characters most of us scrape off our boots on our way to a real fight.  Now the shoe might be moving a bit.  The redone T1 frigs and T1 cruisers are not to be ignored.  TheMittani.com has reported some nasty fighting and a couple nights ago Get Off My Lawn treated Retirement Club to a demonstration.  29 T2 ships against the 39 man LAWN fleet (later joined by some Space Monkeys pissed about a Pally loss and some more gnomes who missed the bridge) with results that left me stunned.  I was resigned to losing my Omen, and nearly did, dipping to 22% before I remembered to Orbit giving our hero logi squad the chance to save me.  I managed to limp home at 22% structure with my Omen!

I'm on FIRE!

I’m on FIRE!

And you know who else can fly Tech 1 Cruisers?  Nooblets.  Lots and lots of Nooblets.  With coaching and leadership these ships can be extremely effective.  And if you welp a fleet or 5, you still haven’t lost the 2.7 Billion + isk our 401k friends did.  These kinds of fleets need a LOT of leadership though, likely “skill” positions like fast tackle, Logi, and EWAR will be filled with a WIDE variety of skill levels.  Getting people to understand their role and what to do is a huge challenge opportunity to excel for leaders.

For years TEST and Goons have been championing the Rifter Stampede, where every Nooblet they could lay hands on was encouraged to hop in a rifter and go tackle something.  Now they can take those hundreds of people and put them in Omens and Stabbers and Vexors (oh my!) supported by Celestis, Arbitrators, Augorors, and nearly a dozen other ships I can’t even NAME; and they will be effective.  The previously crushing advantage held by more skilled players has been softened.  The sledgehammers the elitists in EvE once wielded with near impunity has been cut down and the eggshells Nooblets were expected to compete with given spikes, and a tougher skin.

One of the most common complaints a new player could make was that he had nothing to do other than fly a cheap ship, or PvE when he started out.  Now that is no longer true.  Now a new player can be flying a version of the Omen I used in about 3 weeks with minimal skills, and fully T2 the bastard in 3 months or so, including time to get the fitting skills right.  In this period of time a new pilot can finish the tutorials, take several classes in EvE University, take some Agony Unleashed courses and find a good place anywhere in EvE and contribute in frigates OR cruisers.  Having useful, powerful hulls that can compete right down to the ground floor of EvE is a great incentive to avoid the rush to Battleships that drives many a Nooblet (myself included) into a ship he cannot afford to lose, and cannot realistically fly.

There’s another big lesson to be learned with these ships.  That losing a ship is not the end of the world.  These ships are not exactly tough.  While they aren’t made of tissue paper, they aren’t bricks either, with the exception of YOU Mr. Maller!

You Smug Tough Bastard

But losing these ships, even repeatedly, wouldn’t strain the resources of a veteran, and most alliances, and even many corps, could realistically work to provide a stable of ready to go ships for their newer players to drop into and go.

To me at least, the ease of getting players into these ships, combined with their obvious utility, and the low risk of loss that comes with flying these ships combines to give new players more to play for, more to play with, and more reason to play.

BONUS:  Video of the fight from one of the few other Omen pilots we had.  Because apparently NO ONE LIKES LAZZORS PEW PEW PEW

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Fine I’ll Write About the Money

But mostly the Meta.

So apparently CCP has decided to get into E-Sports tournaments.  Funnily enough I think EvE is kind of the original E-Sport tournament, at least for people who ignore the EULA.  That’s a different story however.

E-Sports are big.  MOBAs like League of Legends (which I suck at) pump millions into tournaments.  I’m not kidding.  Millions.  Teams are rigid, rigorous, and have strategies planned down the the second.  None of this “Garmon’s passed out at the keyboard, who’s ready to jump in?” nonsense.  CCP is starting with a modest $10k pot.  However they are emphasizing the “sport” and ignoring the “game” that it comes from.  Sure the Alliance Tournament produces some memorable moments.  However the meta-moments are the best ones.  AT IXs, final was hilarious and as EvE Online a moment as you could get.  How about the famous AT IV match where BoB had the counter to their setup gamed out by their opposition and losing to Star Fraction.

Then CCP did the suddenly popular “Double Down” not only are they going to ban anyone attempting to meta-game this tournament, they will go after all their alts (mains) as well per THIS post from Sreegs.  This pretty much means any involvement in the tournament exposes potentially ALL your EvE assets to banning.  Never mind that what exactly constitutes meta-gaming isn’t exactly covered in the Dev Blog, you’ll know it when you do it.  Or at least when you get banned for doing it.

CCP doesn’t even have the excuse that it’s the sponsor’s money so they want transparency.  They apparently want this to be completely above-board to show it off to bring more people in.  Fine.  Here’s the problem.  Someone who comes in thinking EvE is all neat with two teams neatly divided by a line is not gonna like what he finds.  Spais are EVERYWHERE in this game.  I assume them in every fleet that involves more than 1 person who’s IRL address I do not know.  To put in this steam-cleaned, sanitized tournament as an example of EvE to the outside world is disingenuous.  EvE does not have neat dividing lines.  There’s always potential to metagame, to play the system more than the game, and to win by doing so.  The e-sports tournament puts the tournament before the game.  That’s a decision CCP is certainly allowed to make, but it doesn’t make it a good decision.  CCP claimed shame at the AT IX results.  I think they should have done what they always did.  Laughed it off over a beer.  Congratulated themselves on, once again, having the only game where that would EVER happen.

Spying happens.  Ask The Mittani.  Metagaming happens.  Ask… shit ask anyone.  Denying these facts, these tools, upon which EvE is built in what will soon be a very public facet of EvE is just silly.  Having such stark punishments under such vague rules?  The first time someone huge gets mega-banned get ready for ALL the major players to step back and stop involving themselves.  I sure as hell wouldn’t put Corelin at risk in this format, which means not having any of my alts involved either.  Punishments are too high, rules too vague, and even the benefits are iffy.  Unless you have the PL or Hydra train taking you to the top you are just showin’ yer ass for a chance to get banned if some chain of inferences means you might have metagamed.  Like if I blogged the wrong thing.  Or maybe the thought police caught a whiff of something.  I love Big Brother.

I’m using it every time I can

Controlling Your Fleet, Controlling Yourself

This one has been kinda bugging me for a while.  By now the Makalu Cries thing has come and gone, but I want to talk about it a little bit, not as a specific incident but as an example of how not to run a fleet and inspire confidence.  This is actually something I have done before.

In 2009 I was in Southeastern Iraq working radios in a Battalion Command Post.  I was the primary RTO, the guy people talked to when they called for help.  It’s a job that requires only a couple things.  You have to be able to stay calm when people are screaming at you both over a radio and over your shoulder.  You have to communicate clearly, and you have to understand what someone who probably isn’t communicating clearly is saying.  I had more than one leader see me after a nasty patrol and seek me out to tell me he was glad it was me on the radio when the shit hit the fan.  They heard my voice and it did two things.  They knew I’d been through it myself, and they knew that I’d keep calm and battle for them against the deeply seated REMFs that tend to accumulate in a command post.

What does this have to do with EvE?  What would you rather have, Maklku screaming in your ear about how fail you are or a calm voice continuing to give sensible, actionable orders?  Sometimes an FC can get excited and inject his fleet with his energy, but this is the double-bladed sword.  You get excited positively and things will go great, you start slamming on people, they aren’t going to want to do shit, and they wont even perform up to their own level of skill.  If you keep an even keel even when things go to hell you can sometimes salvage, well, maybe not a win, but more than you would if you go to pieces and take your command structure with you.

How best to do this?  Practice.  Take out fleets, keep it calm, keep it level.  Take a video you FRAPSed of a fight, turn down the audio and practice “Shootin’ Star in an Abaddon, is your primary, Corelin in an Abaddon is your secondary,ESS AITCH OH in an abaddon, Ess Aitch Oh, Ess Aitch Oh is primary, See Oh Arrrr is secondary.”  Work on having a clear pronunciation and emphasis on each letter when you spell them out.  Developing a rhythm is important as well, having a distinct way of giving each kind of order, whether it’s aligning, warping, jumping, target calling, bubbling, having people able to figure out what you want as much by HOW you are saying things as WHAT you are saying is invaluable in a game where you often play with people who don’t speak the same language, whether they are Russian, French, Portuguese, Australian, whatever.

The right voice at the right time instills confidence.  The wrong voice instills rage, confusion, and does as much to ruin a fleet as surely as all the spies.  Take this for example:

Keep calm, keep in control of yourself and you will control your fleets better and see markedly better results.

Scream at them and be ready to watch participation drop off a cliff until you can’t get the folks together to undock for a fight you know you could win.

I’m using it every time I can