Sunday, December 13, 2009


About three months back I finished training Gallente Battleship to V, a few weeks after that Large Hybrid Turret to V and the associated blaster spec to IV. Sadly, between the cost of armor rigs and my growing boredom with the game, I never got the chance to give Gallente battleships the shakedown they warrant. Recent activity in Placid yielded the perfect opportunity to acquire several of these hulls, placing them in the seed for my new hanger there.

With the Dominion patch looming just days away, many alliances had gone through constellations knocking every POS they found into reinforced, preparing for eventual takeover once the patch hit. A POS owned by a member in ERIS had been targeted in such a way by FREGE, and ERIS wasn’t about to let this occur without a fight. Jumping onto their comms as I was in the area, I found ERIS in the midst of forming a RR BS gang to refute a FREGE siege hopefully before the POS went into reinforced: perfect opportunity to try out a gank Megathron. A few jumps from my hanger I joined the ERIS fleet, and we were away.

Timing for the fleet was poor: the FREGE fleet was several minutes into the siege before the ERIS force even undocked, and maneuvers from Placid lowsec into Syndicate took precious time. A jump from Syndicate, the ERIS force was joined by a second fleet, composed of another alliance under attack from FREGE. Their POSes had already been knocked into reinforced, however between POS gunners and an ERIS stealth bomber gang, several FREGE support had been destroyed. The secondary fleet was composed of sniper BS, which took up position a jump behind our advancing RR gang.

Entering nullsec, FREGE activities became less clear: scouts began reporting that the POS was already put into reinforced, and the FREGE support fleet was fleeing the area. Things became fairly hectic over comms, until it was finally confirmed that FREGE had left with their work complete. However, several elements from their support fleet evidently were slower than their comrades, and it was possible we could cut them off from their route home.

Jumping into the system containing the friendly POS, fleet was ordered immediately to the D2-HOS gate, where we encountered the fleeing remains of the FREGE support. Jumping through, we were able to catch several fleeing battlecruisers, however nothing worth the 30+BS fleet which we represented. Denied their engagement, the two fleets decided to convene for a FREGE POS smash in an adjacent system. To this I tipped my hat, employing a wormhole in D2- to make my way back to Placid.

Less action (and thus enthusiasm) than my typical report contains, and I suppose I’ll use this space to express my dislike about the give and take of POS warfare. In theory it gives a wonderful incentive for gang PvP, as it focuses PvP activity at a single point, the POS. However, in the big fish eat little fish universe of EVE, it’s often a rather lopsided affair: not to mention the activity of sieging POSes themselves constitutes a form of PvP grind that to me is as fun as watching paint dry.

To me, EVE is all about small and medium gang warfare, employing skirmish tactics to counter larger gangs, a strategy which yields incredibly exciting combat which is never a forgone conclusion. Large scale PvP takes the individuality out of combat, and turns your foe into a faceless being, removing much of the personality of EVE PvP. Certainly I’m making many sweeping generalizations about large gang PvP, but I’ve devoted two years to nullsec combat. Fighting in medium to large gangs normally end in colorless meat grinder action, with little occurring beyond shooting primaries and moderate gang maneuvering. The change from that to small gang and solo PvP was a breath of fresh air that renewed an otherwise stale EVE existence.

Moving into small gang combat removed the overbearing FC figure, and required pilots to exhibit much more initiative and skill than a typical nullsec fleet required. The stakes are higher, however smaller gangs acquire more fights as their reduced numbers are more accessible for other players to counter with gangs of their own. Eliminating the need for very specific fittings for an optimal homogenized fleet (sniper, nano, RR) promotes highly varied options for small gangs, increasing the value of underused ships as well as allowing for creative fittings of more popular ship hulls. Put simply, small gang PvP makes EVE more interesting.

I do miss BS slugfests, capital ganks and the incredible flurry of activity that goes on in large scale fleet combat. There is an absurd amount of cloak and dagger between those climatic fleet engagements, which in itself lends EVE Online one of its most unique flairs. It’s also awesome to win a fleet fight, and literally require haulers to scoop the mass of loot strewn about a battlefield. However, all these perks couldn’t incite me to give a crap about the monotonous lifestyle and stale PvP regular large scale PvP alliances often offer their members.

I’d LOVE to eat my previous words, and join an alliance that manages combat without the drudgeries of politics, POS warfare, and elitism while managing regular, intense large scale combat. Not holding my breath, but who knows what the future holds.

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