Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Word on the Battle For Kamela

Never in my eve career have I been so exhausted.

With Kourmonen effectively secured the previous day, the day before the Inferno patch saw a heavy push by the Minmatar militia into Kamela, the last major Amarrian stronghold.

I logged on in the wake of the drama shit storm caused by the move by blues Drunk and Disorderly to defend the Kamela for the Amarr, the short lived treaty, its inevitable demise, and standing resets all around. Eve was burning.

Excellent. I voted against having those blues in the first place anyway.

It was the last day to take systems with the current amount of VP required, before holding systems would actually give rewards. A pitched battle was inevitable. Shortly after logging in, I joined the push into Kamela. The illustrious SigmaPi took command, and we attacked the plexes. Our standing strategy was to focus on the minor and medium plexes, using thrashers and ruptures, respectively. The day saw a series of bloody fights with huge loss totals on both sides. At one point, it was mentioned that the total kills in Kamela (now the "most dangerous system" in eve) was up over 800 for the day. One fight in particular lasted for 20-30 minutes, in which we fought a combined fleet of Amarr, Gallente, and neutrals. I had time to call targets for 5 minutes in a rupture, die, reship in Kourm to a Vexor, die, and reship once again in time to return for the end of the fight and the Minmatar victory. We held the field against Amarr and their allies, in their home system.

As the night went on, the Amarr appeared to become increasingly desperate, at one point bringing out a cruiser fleet that was nearly half blackbirds. It was an interesting strategy, but by this point, three of us who had run out of ruptures had shipped into faster, stronger, fleet issue Stabbers. Myself, and the other two fleet stabbers were able to track down the blackbirds at range while the main rupture fleet meatshielded long enough at the warpin to give us another victory.

And if all the mindless violence wasn't enough, the night held one last bit of excitement. My alt, the omnipresent Corax Lorn, was watching Kamela station while we were capping a medium plex, ready to report Amarr fleets undocking. Instead, however, a neutral Charon undocked.

And then he warped to an insta.

I had to work quickly.

I immediately swapped to my system view map while aligning down, repositioned my hidden probes around the station, and hit scan. Bingo. I warped to the Charon result while triple W-ing in fleet. As I landed I called the fleet warp-in to my alt, and a moment later I called point. Yeah, that's why I put a scram on my Buzzard.

Unfortunately the freighter was empty, but we assume he was an Amarr alt (this has not yet been confirmed, to my knowledge).

In the end, we had neither the time, nor the pilots still awake to take Kamela, but the push allowed us to secure our key interests across the rest of the warzone.

Oh yeah and a bunch of ships exploded.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Word on Solo PVP

I'm a solo PVPer.

I do fly in gangs, I call targets, sometimes I even FC, but my real passion in eve is for solo PVP. It's the part of eve that I give the most thought. As such, I have a three basic principles that guide the way I fly when solo.


The number one thing I consider when solo is how to get people to want to fight me. If you want to find fights, it's important to be in a ship that people actually want to fight. Back when tackle inties were prevalent, and the taranis was king, I didn't fly the ranis, because people didn't want to fight that. When the pirate faction ship buffs came through, and everyone and their grandma jumped in drams, I didn't fly drams, because nobody wanted to fight a dram. It's important to see things from the point of view of your targets, and give them a fight they want to take. Many people will take fights they see as "even," but even more will take a fight where they think they have an advantage.

Beating the standard fit:

So you can get someone to fight you in a ship hull that appears to outclass your own. Great. Now how are you going to beat them? When I open EFT to make a fit, I'm looking for something that can beat what 95% of pilots are going to be flying. The idea is to present a scenario wherein your opponent believes he has the advantage, while in fact holding the pocket aces yourself. To this end, you want your ship to have what I'm begun calling the "win factor." Win factor is whatever it is about your fit that makes it better than the ships it's intended to fight. This can be accomplished many different ways. It can be packing on more gank and tank than is expected. In can be done with ewar. I'm a fan of tracking disruptors, but I've seen fits such as an ecm thrasher be devastatingly effective. Win factor can be a surprisingly strong active tank, or more speed than you'd expect. As a rule, I don't often solo in ships that don't have win factor. Most standard fits lack win factor. Standard fits are standard for a reason. They're solid, they work well in a variety of circumstances, especially in gangs. A standard fit is like a good cliche, it's popular because it's widely applicable. However, standard fits are rarely head and shoulders about other standard fits, and therefor can't expect to win a particularly high percentages of even fights.

An example of a type of fit that lacks win factor that I've seen a lot of lately is the single rep assault frig (lets set aside the vengeance from this, as that's something of a special case). I'm talking about armor AFs like the enyo, ishkur, wolf, and retribution. Many people fit these as active tanked with a single small repper. This strategy will work a decent amount of the time, especially against relatively low-dps opponents. The problem is that many of the enemies you might fight in such a ship will not be low dps ships. Natural opponents to the AF are other AFs and destroyers. Both of these classes can put out high amounts of dps that can be as much as 2, 3 of 4 times your active tank, especially if they can do the right damage type to hit your resist holes. Where a buffer fit might hang on longer (and will often have more dps as well), a single rep active tank will fold quickly once the damage outpaces its rep.

Avoiding the Blob:

The third major consideration of a solo pilot is to keep your fights limited to numbers you can handle. This can mean dodging a 30 man gang, or simply splitting a pair on a gate by getting one to agress and one to follow you through. Avoiding the "blob" is the reason I, and many other solo pilots fly predominately frigate hulls. Frigs have a a good changes of getting away if you jump into a camp, and they move from system to system quickly, which is nice for roaming.


Basically, you want to ask yourself three questions: How do I get people to want to fight me? How am I going to win this fight? How do I avoid getting ganked?

I'm happy to answer specific questions here or ingame, and most of my fits can be seen plastered all over various killboards.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Welcome to the Blob, and The Word on FW changes.

Here it is ladies and gentlemen: the moment you've all been waiting for (trust me, you've been waiting for it, even if you didn't know it). The one and only Galdornae has started a blog.

Since I have no idea what this blog is actually going to be about, let's go over some familiar ground, shall we?

FW changes and what they mean to me.

One of the greatest things about FW to me, has always been the PVP for PVP's sake. I loved the fight club. I loved simply being able to undock and get a in a fight. By and large, casual PVP is what FW has always been up until this point, with system occupancy being essentially an RP thing (which is fine by the way; as much as I love to troll RPers, they have a place in Eve just as much as I do). I joined FW shortly after I started playing Eve, and have been in 3 out of the 4 militia's since (just need Gallente for the set). I have had hundreds of great fights in FW, and by and large, I feel it has served me well. As a solo pilot, it has provided a nice hunting ground, as well as a nice fat free wardec to make people want to shoot me in the face.

So what went wrong?

In a word: stagnation.

When you fight the same people over and over and over again you learn what they do, what they can and will bring to a given fight, and what you should and should not fight. This goes both ways: the Minmatar learned the Amarr, and the Amarr learned the Minmatar. Fights became effectively scripted, with casual PVP turning into an endless dance of reshipping games. Other times, neither side seemed to really have much interesting in even logging in, much less undocking.

In a perfect world, we would still be able to PVP for PVP's sake, and the biggest concern would getting that "good fight" and preserving a sustainable balance of combat.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. The warzone did stagnate. The availability of fights - any fights, dried up. Many people left. Many more considered leaving. -

On a side note, I believe the sense of community provided by the alliances that have been made on the Minmatar side (specifically Late Night and Iron Oxide) is one of the main reasons for the current numbers imbalance. The Minmatar managed to hang together despite their differences (heck, go back a few months and KPP and Autoz were at war with each other, now we're in an alliance together). I'm not too familiar with current internal politics on the Amarr side, so I can't speak to what might have gone wrong for them, but I can say that the Alliances on the Minmatar side have kept us together. Kept us blobby. Whatever you want to call it.

Anyway, where was I? Right, the warzone stagnated. So the only real solution was to introduce incentives and/or penalties. Goal oriented PVP, however, means a whole new ballgame. Getting a good fight becomes a lower priority (with any luck still a priority), and objectives like holding onto your systems becomes a higher priority.

Would I love to still have the fightclub? Absolutely. In the absence of a viable fightclub though, I want something. Something fun. Something worth logging in for.

Will I stay in FW no matter what? No way. If things don't suit me I'm outta here. The grass is always greener and all that.

Am I willing to give it a try? Hell yeah. Lets do this. Come shoot me.

I will fight you one on one. I will fight you in the blobs. I will fight you on the beaches.