Tuesday, 7 January 2014

One Good Blast From the Past Deserves Another

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Blogged by Jay Joringer

At the end of the last article it looked like things were all set for me to join up with Void Legion. The only problem was Max had offered them a spot in Disavowed which they took under the new moniker, Zero Frequency. Nothing wrong with that - just wasn't new ground for me. It wasn't getting back to building something up. Something that would add to wormholes. If anything, it had taken something away, with one promising alliance dissolving into a larger, well established one. 

So, options were running out, at least for what I was specifically looking for. There were a few lower class, independent corporations that looked promising though. Everyone has to start somewhere and for sure I needed a change of pace. There were a few corporations on my radar, but the guys who seemed the most likely option was Serene Vendetta. They'd apparently moved out of null and into a C3 and later a C4 but had ambitions to get a C5. Experienced players, but the change of environment is always a challenge.

That was when I noticed a name that rang a bell; Doris Deadlock AKA Sampson Dakota/Oxford Blue was the founder of the corporation. Apparently he was inactive, but having flown with him before, I knew the rest of the guys would be a good crew.

To me, it seemed quite ironic that I was hooking up with Ox’s corporation as they were just discovering WH space. Back when Blackstar Privateer Consortium was just starting up and we were all missioning in highsec, the corporation was part of the Drake Directorate alliance, which Ox ran. The irony was that we left after deciding to venture into WH’s instead of joining the rest of the alliance when they moved to nullsec.

The invitation to go to null came as a result of a wardec from Bloodphage Syndicate back in 2011. Apparently they were “impressed” with how we conducted ourselves during the war. Overall, it has to be said that we lost out quite badly, but discussions with Bloodphage had never degenerated into smack and collectively, we did take some ships off them. This was only our second real war, but we got a taste for it during the first – which is something I wanted the first blog article to be about since it put quite a lot of things into motion and gave me my first lessons in PvP but didn't quite get around to it until now.

BLKPC hadn’t been part of the Drake Directorate long when the first wardec came through. Imperial Blackhole Council were the aggressors and their declaration was joined by EVE Pilot Help Center. HALPZ were obviously a merc outfit and it looked like Blackhole wanted to use us to pad out their killboard with HALPZ assisting them.

Just before going on holiday, one of my directors, Moore McRay, had appointed one of the recent recruits as head of PvP. Teers Artasti had apparently played before, but the current incarnation was a new toon. When the war went live, he was definitely up for it and assembled a group of Blackstar pilots in our HQ system to travel to the where the rest of the alliance were based, on the other side of Caldari space. While the fleet was gathering in Niarja, NoLimitSoldier, Mobadder Thworst, Quaaid, Jerika Bodet and Aevenon from HALPZ turned up in local. Teers gave the order to scatter and warped off from the assembly spot at one of the planets, towards the Madimilire gate. That was where they caught him. As he reported that he was engaged, I decided to head the other way down the pipe towards Amarr where Jerika tackled me on the gate. It wasn’t long before the rest of his fleet arrived after dealing with Teers’ Harbinger and soon dispatched my Drake.

Teers didn’t take it too well – he quit the corp and logged off as I got my pod back to HQ to fit up another Drake (at this point I have to say we did our research before the wars went live and from what battleclinic was telling us, Drakes were awesome. Plus I couldn’t fly anything else). It was starting to look like we’d be cut off from the rest of the alliance, and with no PvP director, it seemed like it would be a long week. Morale was still high in The Drake Project and Imperial Combat Logistics Regiment and they continued to form up. Surely I’d just got unlucky with the loss of my Drake earlier (they were awesome, right?) and if I could hook up with the rest of the alliance, we might be able to turn the tables. Avoiding the shortest route, I decided to risk the journey myself and it was looking good until 2 jumps out at Airkio. Mobadder, Nolimitsolider and Quaaid were once again waiting for me and I soon found myself escaping back to HQ in a pod to check if my wallet would stretch to building another Drake.

We didn’t see much of the EVE Pilot Help Center guys over the next couple of days, but Imperial Blackhole Council had turned up in our HQ system to station camp us. We had a couple of minor skirmishes with the rest of the alliance sending pilots over to assist, but without and significant wins, people were starting to get fed up.

That’s when things started to change. One of The Drake Project’s pilots, Sleepy The Dwarf, had contacted Mobadder to see what the war was all about. Our initial assessment had been correct. It seemed that HALPZ didn’t think too highly of Blackhole (who were apparently being dicks about the war), but were paid to help them out. What Sleepy did next appealed to both HALPZ apparent dislike of Blackhole and their wallets – he outbid Blackhole to have Mobadder and his crew teach us to PvP.

The fleet assembled once more but this time our FC was flashy-red and technically still a war target for another 23 hours but thankfully no one was stupid enough to shoot him. Over Eve voice, Mobadder gave started showing people where we’d gone wrong in the past couple of days and went through the fleets fittings, suggesting adjustments and improvements (so the Drakes were made even more awesome!). The next lesson was about locator agents. Now the hunters were now about to become the hunted. There were only a few members from Blackhole online and neutral scouts were sent over to where the locator agents said they were and soon we confirmed that one them was taking a little time out from the war by running some missions out of Funtanainen. The target had jumped to a mission in Kappas, which was a dead-end next door to Funtanainen and perfect for staging an ambush.

As we made our way over to the Kappas gate in Funtanainen, Mobadder talked us through aggression mechanics, making us realise we’d needlessly lost ships in against them earlier in the week. We mulled that over while waiting for our first practical lesson in tackling. After about 10 minutes on the gate, Grem Eto appeared in local. His Drake (!) decloaked and aligned for warp, but we had him, and then shortly afterwards, his pod! It wasn’t much of a fight but even a small victory is a win and that is good enough to lift people’s spirits.

In truth, we hadn’t seen Grem Eto being involved in the war until that point and afterwards we were looking to hunt down the bigger fish in the Imperial Blackhole Council pond. Soon they started logging in and now the cat was out of the bag; The Drake Directorate were here to fight.

Mobadder directed the fleet around as we looked for more targets while bestowing more of his knowledge on us, but it seemed that Blackhole were using the time to group up. One of them, JudgeKronn was on his own. We headed over to where he was, but held 1 jump out to get eyes on him. His Abaddon was waiting on a station undock so Mobadder asked for a volunteer to try and bait him to which I volunteered. I was starting to feel the adrenaline buzz as I jumped the gate and warped to range off the station and locked his ship but even after several volleys of heavy missiles, there was still no reaction from JudgeKronn. Worst of all, he was easily repairing the damage as he sat there motionless. I reported this back to the fleet and got the call to rejoin them. The other HALPZ guys had informed the fleet that Blackhole had fleeted up and were heading over to JudgeKronn and us.

The enemy fleet broke cloak and the missiles started to fly. They had 3 Drakes, a Myrmidon and Kron’s Abaddon, but we were about to play our ace; Mobadder has refit his Oneiros so it now had shield reppers while Fish Evans was calling the targets. For many of us, it was our first fleet battle and from my point of view, it looked spectacular. It may have not been the prettiest of ships, but that Drake looked awesome flying through the laser fire and explosions while spitting missiles at the enemy.

Blackhole went straight after Fish’s Raven and he called out for reps with his typical calm. Mobadder kept him up while we took out the enemy fleet, but nearly burnt out his modules doing so. To their credit, the Blackhole guys went down fighting; Sirranthelunatic, SaVee Fireorb, Captain Dogofwar, the ironically named lolugotpwned and lastly JudgeKronn and his Abaddon.

When the dust settled, the guys from Imperial Blackhole council seemed to have lost their taste for war. Quite a few of the Drake Directorate guys were the exact opposite and were happy to learn more from Mobadder and his crew, who did give out a few more lessons and even though I don't think he plays much these days (if at all), I have to say that he was/is one of the coolest guys in eve. It didn't stop at the lessons either. Sleepy's alter ego, ZANE VOIDSTALKER, joined up with some blues of HALPZ in Concentrated Evil and would later convince me to join also (which turned out to be one of a few PvP 'sabbaticals' away from the WH). 

Coming up to three years later and I think it's pretty funny how by complete accident, I'm rolling with the same crew, or at least a development of it that was set into motion by those events. It looks like a big universe, but it's probably smaller than you think.