Our little C2 WH academy currently has a house guest, a gentleman with a short army of alts, an impressive killboard record and the patience and skill to make pretty much all operation hazardous at best, suicidal at worst. His strategy is to hang out in an active wormhole – of which there are very few and ours is one of them – and basically camp it until he is bored, the locals shut down operations or some token ransom is paid.
So, when we lost one site runner after the other, I was kind of amused by this. After all, we are a WH corporation designed to allow new players the experience of flying in this dangerous space. If he uses my recruits for some skeet shooting, he provides valuable training, so I have no real issue. Lastly, a significant portion of our recruits was hanging out in our C4 sister hole running sites and shoveling ISK with both hands into their wallets. I should be that lucky…
Skip and I had some friendly conversations with this guy, he is nice enough and he offered a deal, 200mil ISK and he leaves the hole. I tend to have a pretty good instinct who I can not trust and who I can and I believed this was a genuine offer. But I did not take it. For once, I hate to negotiate from a position of weakness. Sure, if we podded one of his characters and drove off the rest, then we would have a negotiation position. But straight up like this? Nah. Stories like this will end up in the alliance folklore and I’d rather it be a story of crushing defeat than whimpering out.
And here goes the tale of the crushing defeat.
Last night, our hole seems quiet and a squad of very green recruits had done some scanning, ran sites in our C2 neighbor, made bookmarks and generally was busy in our little home hole. No ship losses. Our houseguest had not shown up for a few days, only one of his known characters is online and we have 2 quite experienced alliance members hanging out in our hole in T3 Strategic cruisers. They are here to brawl with our guest who we know has an Astarte, Cloaky proteus, Hurricane and a Falcon. And he knows how to use them.
But no sign of him. I smell boredom in the air and as corp animateur, HR guy, recruiter and class clown, I feel obliged to take my teams for an adventure. Our newest recruit reports that the C2 next door has a Myrmidon active and that they ran sites but did not engage. Hmm. Targets? Its Wednesday night (traditionally our most active weeknight), its a holiday in the US, we have 2 serious PvPers from our alliance bodyguarding us, so lets go, look for trouble. Without thinking much, I announce in TS that I will take a peek into our neighbor hole and snoop for opportunities. I approach the – recently EOL – hole and literally whilst clicking “jump” decloak another Proteus. Its the guy who camps our WH. Ok, game is on. My jump was already initiated and I can’t stop it.
I am on the other side, getting into orbit. I could cloak before he targets me, probably, but we wanted this fight, so lets have it. I am in a ridiculously overtanked Proteus with >125k HP and will be able to last for a long time – long enough for my two friends to arrive in their Legion and Loki. So, I target, scram, put my puny blasters on him and plink away while sitting on top of my WH home. The cavalry will arrive any minute. We can do this. Any minute now. Where are they?
There is just one problem. My fleet mates in their scary Strategic cruisers are in the alliance, not the corp. And they don’t have the bookmark for the wormhole to our neighbor. Oops.
Our new recruit (who does have the bookmarks) is not in our fleet. The fleet advertisement only came up when I asked my alliance mates for it. The rest of my corp has not seen it yet. Oops.
This means, I am engaging without backup. Our newest recruit is “encouraged” to join the fleet immediately (words were said that we all regret and I will have to do penance in some afterlife) and warp to the wormhole as beacon for my friends.
He does not understand. How could he? It is his first day in the hole. He has no clue about fleet tactics, WH life, bookmarks and the kind. He hangs in our POS and tries to discuss what ship to bring, what he can fly, what he can not fly what he needs to train in order to fly…. all while my Proteus is taking a lashing from the target Proteus, an Astarte and – yes – a Myrmidon. Finally he does get it and warps to the hole at zero, giving my alliance mates a beacon to warp into. In the meantime, I am at 30% armor and getting also ECMed by a newly arrived Falcon.
The target Proteus jumps back into our hole, he knows that is my only way out but I need to take the chance. Maybe my guys can engage the rest of his fleet while I make a getaway. So I too jump, expecting to be scrammed and I am. My guys jumped across and we are now separated by the WH and polarization timers. They engage the Myrmidon and the Astarte while I am getting a new Hurricane and the Proteus. There is nobody else fighting on my side, so its our Proteus, Loki and and Legion against a Proteus, Astarte, Falcon, Hurricane and Myrmidon.
I know I will lose the ship, so I align to a safe spot and get ready for the mail icon blink that is my cue to initiate warp. Good bye, overtanked Proteus. I really wanted to love you like my Nemesis but never could. You shall not be missed or replaced.
Our two remaining ships are being tackled and viciously beaten. They do the only thing they can and jump back into our home hole while I go fetch a Falcon. My goal is to secure their retreat and so I land on grid, decloak (why did I fly cloaked ? Now I have target delay) and select the – in my opinion – most dangerous ship, the Hurricane. That’s because it has the most DPS and the lowest signal strength. Ok, its shut down. Next, the Proteus. Where is he? Ah, there. But before I can target him, all goes dark. My non-ECCM fitted Falcon has been rendered a piece of fugly space junk by the application of a single EWAR module from the opposing fleet. Only one thing to do, I align to a celestial, initiate warp, ready for a new run but by the time, I return my fleet mates’s ships are little white triangles nicely arranged around the wreck of my own Proteus.
Fight is over. We have 5 enemy ships that we can’t counter with the guys we have in the hole. We have plenty of ships to choose from, more Falcons, Battleships even but we are missing the experienced crew to drive them. 3 alliance mates are inbound, heeding the call but we need at least 6 more to win this and it won’t happen tonight.
Well, so that’s how a serious whoopin looks like eh? A single guy with 5 characters beats us fair and square with a combination of superior firepower, strategy (logging in the characters one-by-one, when he needs them) and tactics (fleet composition). On our side, I made a bunch of serious mistakes that contributed to our demise.
- Intel. My alliance fleet mates didn’t have all the relevant bookmarks. They did not ask my recruits, my recruits didn’t say, comms channels were not shared and tactics were not discussed ahead of time. Our single recruit on the deck glowed greener than the Hulk after an erotic massage (I find that image disturbing, tbh).
- Overconfidence. The opposing team’s main character was online but not his alts. Maybe he is elsewhere? Also, I “knew” that my alliance fleet mates are far more experienced in PvP than I ever will be. I felt very secure in my actions knowing they could back me up. That our three ships could not take on the known fleet should have been obvious. Instead of my Proteus, I should have taken a bomber. Cheaper, nimble and far easier to get away with.
- Situational awareness. I may not know what to do with a situation but I am generally pretty damn good in sensing what is going on around me and what will happen next. Comes from my RL jobs, I am constantly in different projects and discussions and have many balls in the air. Last night my brain was just in neutral.
So, whats next? First of all, our houseguest convoed me and we actually chatted for a long time. He seems to be a very nice guy, offering advice, fits and stories. Turns out he blew up the fuel haulers that let this POS run out and leading to our nice raid… Figure that….
And when you cant beat them, join them. So we chatted. I think he would make a great addition to our corp and alliance. He has a ton of experience, a lot to teach and we have recruits and experienced players who could fly with him, support him and generally cause havoc on our neighbors. Honorable, solid PvP pilots, whats not to like? So, we are currently discussing ways we could work together. He joining our C2 corp is one way, we accepting him into our alliance is another. Rarely do we find people who are so much better at our game – WH – that we are and are no douchebags. If we can create a trusted relationship, I think we would get on extremely well. He could use our POS as refuel points, take our guys for roams (me included) and we could take him on our – increasingly frequent – shenanigans in low and nullsec.
Bottom line, I am better at the game today than yesterday and after all, that is what counts.
PS. I had an agreement with our guest that we needed a sign of good faith before we can proceed with recruitment conversations. He agreed and promised not to engage “boring” ships in the hole for a while. (By boring, he means, non T3, non “bling” ships, fine by me).
Not knowing of this agreement, one of our recruits proceeded – and against clear warning from our directors – to run an anomaly after I logged off. He duly got blown up by our houseguest.
Of course this is a breach of trust on his side that I am not happy with. At the same time, it is yet again a sign that running a WH academy with undisciplined and inexperienced recruits can be very challenging.