Category Archives: PvP
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.