Edit: I just realized that this was post number 100. Hooray!
When I log into the game now, I get greeted by our recruits with friendly but persistent hackling about my accidental shootout with TXG Sync – one of our newer pilots. He is an awesome guy, great pilot and has not succumbed to bitter vet status. Neither have I. When does that start btw, is that like midlife crisis?
Well TXG Sync is not just a great pilot and guy, he is also an incredibly gifted writer with a skill for nuances and someone who does not shy away from “walls of text” – i.e. a writing style that I respect, enjoy and emulate. Walls of text don’t scare me – I love to read as long as it is good. And his prose is. So after we had a very intense PvP encounter last night and he dropped a multipage, well written, factual and entertaining after action report a few hours later I asked for permission to make him an author on this very blog. I have never done this before and I am really excited about the skill, perspective and content that TXG will bring. In part, it will of course cover the same events I see – since we fly in the same corp – but I think that in itself is really exciting. To see the same event from someone else’s perspective is hugely interesting and I am looking forward to be surprised by his interpretation of events.
Anyway, our corp (BWMT) has grown dramatically over the last few weeks and we have a solid, aggressive and fun loving team logging in every night and wiping out the local sleepers with great tenacity. Last night was no exception. The team forms, without words scans down neighboring holes and identifies a tasty C3 with 9 Anoms as a pleasant target for ISK and adventure. The team is rallied and since our pilots are young, a weird kitchen-sink fleet assembles in our POS dragging everything from Harbingers to Drakes, blingy Tengus and Myrmidons (for which I still have a soft spot). So, basically anything goes. We employ spider tanking as a corp rule so, armor tankers find a friend and stay close to him. Its about the most diverse collection of BCs that Sleepers have ever seen.
Normally, Skip, Evenstar, Dean, or I would FC this but to be honest, we have people who are better at this. Folks who have been to nullsec or C5 land, managed fleets of far greater size and are more motivated to herd our fleet of under-tanked, disorganized recruits into a rather challenging (yes, I know, its just a C3 but some players have <4mil SP) fight. Tarek picks up the mike and declares himself FC and with great skill, experience and aplomb, he shoes our motley crew out of the bubble and into the C3.
My main character is on an Alliance assignment “elsewhere” (can’t tell you, its secret) and so the only character I have is a rather neglected alt with good scanning and ECM skills but nothing else. He flies a falcon but don’t sneeze – his boat may fall apart. Engineering skills? Overrated.
So, my job is to sit in the C3, on our hole home be bored for most of the time and scream “holefire” every time the hole, well, fires. Which, considering the size of our fleet, is constantly. The C3 is busy with our battlecruisers and salvagers and sleepers are turned rapidly into triangles. Over TeamSpeak, I hear Tarek calmly directing DPS and primaried pilots panicking for reps. Its all good fun and Evenstar and I open a private convo, enjoying the show like parents who watch their kids play in the mud.
So, when we finish the last sleeper sight I notice a bunch of Battleships and other “stuff” on D-scan that wasn’t there before. And the list keeps growing. An Imicus, a Drake, a Nemesis, I mean, holy crap some kind of fleet just jumped into “our” C3? And my team noticed the same thing – awake capsuleers all of them. Now, we have so much (PvE) firepower that an experienced crew would just let the enemy come to us. Sure we can’t warp scram. But we can frigging alpha anything. In addition to the site runners we have me in a Falcon and 2 bombers. Whoever attacks us will hurt.
But we are a young crew, sure our pilots all have seen combat but not as a team. Tarek does the One Right Thing, orders immediate warp out to our hole possibly abandoning hundreds of millions of ISK. This is not cowardly, this is solid leadership. He knows that our team is not combat tested and that his first goal is to keep them safe. Only his second is to bring ISK.
So with our team back home, the salvagers cloaked, Evenstar and I proceed to scout where these new ships come from. To our surprise, they are all at the local POS but mostly unpiloted. As if someone just kicked them out of the SMA to scare us – which worked. There are four guys online that we can see, in BCs, maybe a recon, a bomber and something else. Oh, yes a Prophecy.
Did I mention that my Falcon has one flaw? I forgot to pack the Amarr Racial ECM module. I have 2 Caldari instead. Nobody flies Amarr, right? A Pilgrim and a Prophecy on D-scan. Plus some Amarr Battleship whose name I chose to forget.
Our team back home re-ships into again into a kitchen sink PvP fleet. It was actually amazing how fast the transition went and Tarek -despite telling everyone that he doesn’t FC PvP fights – does a great job keeping a lid on things. Evenstar and I have eyes in the system and we are bullish. Lets go take ’em. If we lose, fuckit, we get more ships. We may not be as good but we are many more and we have the balls of newbs.
Decision is made to get the salvagers back into the game with body guards of assault frigates, interceptors, bombers and T1 frigates. I swear, I have never seen a more mixed fleet but everyone grabbed what they could fly best and felt comfortable with. I abandoned my post watching the hole home and steer my Falcon toward the first salvage site. TXG Sync is tenderly salvaging wrecks with constant alignment to a celestial. The rest of the crew flies in and postures in their frigate when the opposing team lands a Prophecy Amarr Battlecruiser on the deck, about 70km away from me. Then a Pilgrim. Did I mention that I didn’t pack ECM for Amarr? Did I mention that this is my alt character who can’t overheat his modules since he doesn’t have the skills? I curse (silently) and ask (aloud) if we are engaging. Tarek just orders the engagement and our crew pounces on the BC with the viciousness of a toddler attacking his sister’s sandcastle. I am too far away, not skilled and not geared for this. So I decloak, burn towards the BC, fire up the Damage Control and send a prayer to the goddess of random numbers to grant me a successful jam on the enemy boat. I must have offended her in some ways, the jams of my multispecs don’t stick and the Prophecy is launching a fist full of mean looking drones and my team. Then a Drake lands lending his rather substantial firepower to his team mate. Now, Caldari, that I can do and with 2 cycles of my ECM mods, that Drake is shut down and relegated to launch his single flight of Hobgoblins.
Which come straight at me. I see their mean outline and the flashing squares closing the distance and my shield starts turning red a bit. I have some transversal but I am leery of firing up my MWD – it blooms my signature radius and if the Drake gets one volley off, I am toasted. Time for the secret weapon! I carry 2 smart bombs which make a very pretty light spectacle and very efficiently dispatch the Drake’s drones. And finally, I am getting a few good jams on the Prophecy – which allows my team of frigates to dent its armor and make progress. Then I even get a lock and a jam on the Pilgrim. Things are looking up.
Suddenly my shield just goes way. Wtf just happened? The Drake must have closed range and used the time between successful jams to fire a single volley at me with rather high efficiency. The Prophecy sends his drones my way and my lousy smart bomb skills drain me of capacitor rather quickly. I am running my damage control, 4 ECM mods and 2 smart bombs and just before Scotty calls that she can’t take any more, I align somewhere and warp away. Which of course means that the two opposing Battlecruisers and the neuting Pilgrim have full reign and start pounding on our intercepting T1 frigates, Evenstar’s Proteus and Tarek’s Tengu. Two tackling frigates go down. Evenstar is floating the breeze without cap – the Pilgrim has latched himself on him with barnacle-like efficiency. We still hold lots of tackle on the Prophecy and I warp back, calculating in my head how much capacitor I will regain during warp. It won’t be enough to run the smartbombs but hopefully enough to jam the Drake a few times.
And that’s just what happens but its not over, I get chased off the field again with the same trick, deep into armor this time which is ok (I have a 800mm plate) but rather disconcerting. “she can’t take any more of this” Scotty calls from the engineering department as I turn the Falcon around for my third engagement.
In warp back, my mailbox flashes and I swear I was confused. This only happens when I die, right. Not quite. Also when we get a bounty – my team finished off the Prophecy, the Drake warped off and the field is clear. We won.
“GF” is offered in /local and responded to in kind. One pilot of our team starts trashtalk but Evenstar shuts him down on the spot. We don’t do that stuff, we leave it to the uncouth peasants in nullsec. The Pilgrim and the Drake were able to leave the field – good for them – and the Prophecy remains our only kill for the night. But its a good swap, we lost 2 T1 frigates and bagged a BC – on the ISK side, we won.
All I need to do is to hug one of our Myrmidons and receive tender loving care in form of armor rep. My armor took some beating and his green rays heal me like the salving hand of a deity a pagan.
But this was more than a good fight. We are a Wormhole Academy. Most of the guys on the field have never flown with each other, never talked on comms, never experienced real PvP fleet combat. Reader, don’t forget that our guys generally have a lot less than 10mil SP and are converted carebears. For them to function as a solid and cohesive team is a huge accomplishment and a testimony to their skill, eagerness to overcome and the skill of the FC and “leadership” of those of us with more experience.
That’s what this game is all about. For nights like this, I stay up too late and risk Wife and Boss aggro. Its worth it.
At least in the summer when I can sleep on the deck