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Monday, 17 March 2014

Baby Steps/Always Bet on Stupid

Do you remember your first Capital Escalation? Some people consider PvE a bit of a dirty word; a means to an end in an environment that breeds what some regard as the most challenging PvP in the game. It’s a taboo that teeters closely to the cardinal sin of ‘farming’ and people should only generate enough ISK to allow them to bring fights in T3’s, faction battleships and capitals. Sure, I’ve been there, so I know the fights are more fun, but to get to that point is an evolutionary step in a corporations growth. Everyone starts out making the money. When they don’t need it so much, they look for ways to throw it away.

-S.V- has just been making those first baby steps in C5 space. Without initially running the sites in RR Tengus or Archon supported Battleships to begin with, we piled straight into the escalations. I actually didn’t mind running the fleets again. With this kind of content being new to the crew, there was still that enthusiasm for it rather than the energy draining ‘do we have to shoot red dots’ faggotry I endured with BLK. Might be because these guys don’t rely on credit-carding PLEX or farming FW for ISK, but it’s more than that also. I remember a mail from one of the old-school BLKPC members just after we first moved into C5 space entitled “Our first escalations - f*cking awesome”.

So, ISK has generally been good but with the luck we’ve been getting, we’ve been needing it! Aside from teaching the guys the PvE side, they’ve been raring to test out their new toys and create some content with them. Fortunately, they share my opinion that small gang is the most fun as individual skill play more of a part in the engagements. Mistakes are easily hidden in large fleets in the same way moments of brilliance are. While both are dependent on the skills of the FC, the pilots themselves can affect the outcome far more in small gangs. I still prefer a bit of solo hunting, but I don’t mind losing ships and if more people had the same attitude, new eden would be a much more interesting place. People get hung up on just ‘winning’, hence the 300 man alliances in WH’s.

I’ve always worked on the premise you can categorise PvP in Jay-Space in two ways. The first you can attribute to the phrase “Always bet on Stupid”. I adopted this from Concentrated Evil given how wonderfully is applies in WH space (and anywhere in eve really!). This is where a pilot’s ineptitude or foolishness are the major contributory factors keeping killboards ticking over. And I’m sure most people can recall plenty of instances of this, whether personal stupidity or someone else’s.

The second type is a trap. The trouble is discerning between the two. How many times have you been watching a target and thought ‘He’s either really stupid or it’s a trap’? Personally, I don’t mind walking straight into the occasional trap, so long as I think I can make off with the cheese on the other side. The skill here is figuring out exactly how big a trap it is.

So, C4 PvP. What’s that? I don’t remember there being much of it when I used to live in one, but people have said recently that there’s more of it now. After a few weeks, I’m still not convinced but it means I have to get creative when baiting for a fight. Generally, the locals don’t want a fight, they want a gank. On this occasion, we rolled into a C4/C5. Generally, the C5 would have greater odds for finding something to shoot, but there were Russian occupants in the C4 and they were active, with a few battleships on scan. I sent a scout in and decided to go baiting in my Vargur while the fleet assembled on our side of the static.  

The occupants took their sweet time to notice me, then started messing about in scanners to see what was going on. Just when I thought things might get interesting, they all reshipped to bombers just as I heard an activation on the C5 as a Sleeper Social Club Anathema jumped in. I reported this back to the rest of the fleet and the response went:

Nat >You’re still in the site?
Jay >Yes
Nat >You’ve just reported Sleeper Social Club in the hole
Jay >Yes!
Nat >And you’re still there?
Jay >An Anathema isn’t going to kill me.
Nat >You’ve either got balls of steel or a deathwish

Dying wasn’t on my agenda for the day, however it did spring to mind that about a year ago I got a mail from a certain Chitsa Jason, who is now in SSC, regarding his CSM campaign. In particular, the line that read:

"I am sending this message to you because you are in my contacts list and I want to be on CSM. 
It usually means that I wanted to kill you at some point, we are good friends or we have talked in eve about something."

Now, I’m fairly sure I’ve never spoken to him on any of my toons, which narrowed it down somewhat. And here I was sat in a multi-billion ISK ship intentionally baiting. While the kitchen sink fleet I had waiting on the E175 could handle a small group of Russians, SSC were another matter entirely [edit: Jay wasn’t the toon that got that mail –sad panda-].

It took longer than I expected, but the scout had obviously found where I was and I heard multiple activations from my own scout watching the SSC connection. They didn’t disappoint. T3’s, logi faction cruisers including a Phantasm (props for the Phantasm). I’ll guarantee I was in warp before they were! When they realised what was going on, they collapsed the hole and I went back to baiting. The locals reshipped to stealth bombers and the hound pilot convoed me.

I was waiting for the bombers to decloak for a bombing run any time now. What actually happened was the hound de-cloaked, but well outside of bombing range. Infact, he was 101km away. Unable to decline such a beautiful invitation, I Aligned to him and hit the micro-jump drive. I doubted what I had in mind would work at all, but I’ve always thought that to get lucky, you need to get yourself into the position to receive that good luck. The Vargur landed right on top of the hound and I immediately hit the smartbomb. The remaining sleeper must have pointed him and a moment later, instead of warping away, he popped.

While I was still laughing about the hound, the guys on the static were still baying for blood. Not wanting the ISK to go to waste, I went about salvaging the site while Nat lead the fleet over to the POS to try and provoke some reaction by shooting at the tower in their Domi fleet.

Instead of reacting how we would have liked, the Russians logged off. Some minutes later I was packing my loot into my POS and reflecting over how well the Vargur performed. Although more expensive than dual Rattlesnakes and more skill intensive, I don’t doubt it’s more interesting to fly. Then the thought occurred to me…

Jay > Guys, are you still bashing that tower?
Nat > It would feel like a failure if we didn’t get it past 90% shields
Jay > Is there any point? I’d scoop your drones and get home
Tsuki > I’m already on my way out. Time for me to go to sleep.
Razz > Ooh, I’ve got a Sleipnir on scan. And a Loki. And a Tengu…

Apparently, Anomalous Existence had chained into the C4 while we weren’t looking. Well, I say ‘we’ but I didn’t fancy a half arsed POS bash and just went home and I won’t name-drop the fleet scout. However, there is a phrase that the scout has coined that I’ve taken a liking to “Even my smoking hull is content creation.” To that end, the S.V Dominix wrecks were testament that content had indeed been created.