Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hard situations, best memories!

Yesterday I had a discussion with my corp mate Magister Wu, who by the way will be No Fixed Abode's top killer of the month October 2012, with (so far) 118 kills, after ending September with 104 kills. Good job! But, back to the point: we were discussing eve online game play, and whether we value 'safe or unsafe' nullsec the most. 

During this discussion, it struck me: when given the choice, my gut instinct is always to choose a more safe nullsec environment. I have some character traits that compel me to do so, such as tendencies to avoid risk and conflict. Yet, looking back over the years, the most powerful (and most cherished) memories stem from decidedly unsafe situations! Early pvp experiences and gate camps, good fights and roams, the invasions of Querious and Catch our corp endured and survived. The adrenaline rush of pvp, the exhilaration of narrow escapes, fights won or lost! The experience of being an effective part of a larger fighting unit, to get yourself to do your job properly in the fight, when all your instincts tell you to warp out or ignore the FC’s orders. These are the things you will perhaps remember in years to come!

The thrill of a very narrow escape..

I know Eve Online has flaws; it has aspects I really don't like. But, it has the uncanny ability to compel me to get out of my comfort zone. It challenges me to do things I would normally not even consider. And by doing that, it brings me experiences that are, to me at least, unique and valuable. I may have learned a thing or two about myself, too..

Maybe something to think about, when you're contemplating 'what to do in Eve Online'. The best entertainment, the best experiences may be had when you push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. ‘Safe’ may sound tempting, but the biggest rewards and fun are probably elsewhere.

Friday, October 26, 2012

BB40 Bloodsports: hand me the remote, dear

It's Blog Banter time again, with Stan providing us with the following topic:
"So on with the banter.

Fresh from publishing the community spotlight on the EVE blogosphere and Blog Banters, CCP Phantom has suggested a banter focus on competitive tournaments.

There is no finer spectacle in the universe of EVE Online than the explosive dance of weapon-laden spaceships in combat. The yearly Alliance Tournament is the jewel in EVE Online's eSports crown and the upcoming New Eden Open should deliver the same gladiatorial entertainment showcase.

Given the scope of the sandbox, what part should eSports play in EVE Online and what other formats could provide internet spaceship entertainment for spectators and participants alike?

Banter on."
At first I wasn't going to respond to this blog banter, but on second thought, I do have a short something to say on the subject. To quote Chance the Gardener, from the 1979 movie 'Being There': 'I like to watch..'

I am not exactly the king of pvp. It is something I do and like, but I know very well I am not terribly good at it. Left to my own devices, I'd probably lose most engagements! I score my kills flying as part of a bigger fleet, and I usually fly pretty standard ships and fits.

That said, I do like to watch skilled pilots go at it, and I prefer if they do it on Alliance Tournaments so that I can tune in and watch. I am experimenting with streaming internet content to my new LED tv, too, so that I can watch on a larger screen! Grab a beer, plop down on the couch and watch stuff explode somewhere in New Eden.. I don't think I'd let anyone else have the remote control, for the foreseeable future :)

Kirith Kodachi has a short and good entry on pvp arenas for New Eden. I say add a live feed and a comments channel for those watching, and we're set. Epic struggles, memorable fights deserve to be seen.. let the games commence!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Running scared..?

Ripard Teg and some other Rote guys announced Rote’s intention to rid their NPC nullsec home region, Syndicate, from the risk averse alliances and corps living there. Rote wants good fights, and the current crop of Syndicate dwellers apparently can’t or won’t comply with Rote’s specific demands in that regard. On Eveoganda, a discussion on the topic ensued, with Ripard saying this in the comments:

“It takes one Rote frigate to get whole gangs to run from us. Couple of weeks ago, one of our guys scared off a 25-man fleet by unknowingly jumping into the system they were in in a pod.”

To which Mord Fiddle replies:

“Isn't the frigate they're scared of. It's the Rote fleet they're sure is waiting off grid. To a certain extent you're victims of your own success.”

How true this is! For us in Catch, there are a few hostile fleets we know will roll through our space, every now and then: CVA, Brushie Brushie Brushie, Eye for an Eye, The Fourth District, Darkside for instance. Many of these have become familiar: we know who their usual scouts are, what they are flying and what follows behind them.

When living in nullsec, there are two major activities to be done: player versus player combat, or player versus environment activities. When you're not actively doing pvp, you will most likely be doing pve.. to earn ISK to fund your pvp habits. But when I am in a pve fitted ship, I am not going to engage a well known hostile forward scout, because I just know the rest of their fleet is behind the next gate, ready to jump in..

It often takes some time to switch from pve to pvp, especially when you have pilots spread over multiple systems. Yes, everyone should have pvp ships available in multiple locations, but even then, it is not easy to swiftly organize an effective fleet that is capable of successfully engaging a disciplined and able enemy. So unless we are already PVP’ing, chances are we will safe up to let these hostiles roll through. It’s not that we don’t want to fight; it’s that we don’t want to bring a knife to a gun fight. We have engaged these fleets, and successfully too; but on our terms, on a moment of our own choosing.

On a more general level, you could say that a well prepared roaming gang, looking for a fight, will usually have an advantage over a local population that wasn’t prepared to pvp at this specific moment in time and space. And when that roaming gang has a solid reputation to boot, odds are the locals won’t engage this time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The fun part of war: saving the carrier!

Another year, another Catch invasion. This time the reds aren’t Russian, and they aren’t coming through the north but via the south. One thing remains the same: there is an awful lot of fun PVP to be had! With most of our non combat essentials already evacuated to safety, we are free to focus on getting as many kills as we can get, before the inevitable long slog of sov war hits us. Until that happens, we’re milking this war for all the fun it can give us.

Yesterday when I logged on, gate camping was already under way. Intel was arranged, bubbles were placed, kills were scored, but nothing impressive. Our man MR 10 had a nice run, picking off pods before we could even lock them, much to my chagrin! This solo Talos kill was undoubtedly his personal highlight of the evening.

Suddenly, two of our scouts spoke up. A sizeable hostile HBC fleet jumped into V-3YG7 and it was unclear whether it would it go to GE-8JV or come our way. The other scout reported a 4th District fleet, consisting of about a dozen ships, sneaking up on us from the other side. What to do.. we were contemplating our options, when the HBC fleet moved into GE and outside of our immediate area of interest, so we focused on the 4th district fleet instead. Unfortunately, at this moment I had to leave the PC for a short while.. and when I returned, it was chaos!

While I was afk, EzSnake undocked his Chimera carrier, with the intention of using his fighters to overcome the three (yes, three) Scimitars the hostiles brought. But the 4th district gang didn’t warp to the gate as expected, they warped to station instead and proceeded to bump the carrier off the station before it could dock again! Slowly but surely EzSnake drifted away from the safety of the station, and as for the nature of his comments on TeamSpeak.. let’s just say I was happy my son wasn’t listening in anymore :-)
But there was still hope. It seemed the enemy didn’t have enough firepower to break the Chimeras’ tank, which gave us a moment to calm down and contemplate our options. Counting the ships available to us we knew it would be difficult to break the hostile logi, but we had to try. On the FC’s signal, we mass undocked (or warped in from outside, depending) and began shooting the first Scimitar. To no avail, we didn’t have enough firepower on the field to break them, just as they couldn’t break our carrier tank. Still, they did considerable damage to our kitchensink fleet; I lost a Ferox I’d just bought a few hours ago. A couple of other battlecruisers were also lost, but nothing major fortunately. Anyone not pointed docked up again or warped out. So what now?

Frankly, by this time I was expecting a PL hotdrop or something like that. I don’t know if 4th district has a batphone to them or anyone else for that matter, but if I were them I’d be looking for the extra dps to finish our Chimera which they obviously couldn’t break by themselves. Something had to break this stalemate! At that moment an alliance mate picked up on our fight (via alliance chat), and he casually mentioned he was with a nice -A- fleet four jumps out. Could we use some help? Why yes we could! Sensing we could turn the tide here, we reshipped and waited for our allies to arrive. As soon as local began to spike with blues, we again mass undocked, this time going for the kill. EzSnake called targets, calling a Lachesis primary. I burned my Merlin towards him as fast as I could and quickly pointed him before he got out. But then another FC took over, and targets were switched: Scimitars and Drakes were killed.. and all the time I was orbiting the Lachesis at 500 meter, keeping it pointed and nibbling away at his shield tank with my guns.

Obviously the hostiles didn’t want to lose the Lachesis, and after a while I was targeted by what remained of the hostile fleet. Frantically I typed in fleet chat that I still had the Lach pointed, and pretty please with sugar on top.. kill it! Now! Luckily, after about thirty seconds, the FC obliged, and after I had kept it pointed for a few minutes the Lachesis finally exploded. I am very proud of that kill, I’ve never had something tackled for so long, waiting for others to move in and kill it.

I had been so focused on tackling this Lachesis and keeping it pointed, that I hadn’t paid any attention to the rest of the fight at all. It turns out -A- brought around two dozen Tornados; more than enough to turn the fight upside down and break the stalemate. And with a sigh of relief, EzSnake docked his carrier!

Good fights were exchanged in local. And a good fight it was, with - for us - a happy ending.