Human beings have an innate need to describe things and give them a name. It’s part of our humanity, and we often invent names for things to describe behaviors we don’t even fully understand. In wormholes, the combination of random number generators, player action, player inaction, skill, lag, paranoia, and luck has a special name.
We call it Bob. The god of W-Space.
Those who thrive in Bob’s space are responsible for evaluating others who would seek to inhabit the holy realm. We do this by observing and testing those who would seek to be as we are. We watch for lapses in alertness and teach the neophyte that they are lethal. We test their discipline by bringing our fleets on them unexpectedly to test their reactions.
Those who are worthy of Bob’s respect are aware at all times, keep their heads in combat and stand and fight in the direst of circumstances. They meet our strength and determination with their own, and this leads to many glorious GFs. Those who fail our tests are ejected from Bob’s holy places and made to return to the wasteland that is referred to in the lore as “Empire.”
–From The Scriptures of The Unknown
I logged in. My Purifier stealth bomber warped back to my “safe spot” — a random spot well away from any objects of interest — in our home system. I briefly enjoyed the view; the Purifier is my favorite Stealth Bomber, and the Arbalest torpedo launchers mounted on the sides glowed redly with their deadly cargo.
My family had just left to go to their church for a few hours (I’m a nonbeliever, but my wife and kids are quite devout; more power to them to have a sense of surety in the Universe that I lack!), so I logged on planning to spend a Sunday playing Eve. I’d been on vacation for two weeks, and came home to an overwhelming backlog at work. It was good to be back for a nice, long session.
Apparently, not a moment too soon. The moment I signed on to our Teamspeak and joined our anoiki’s channel, Nylon’s distinctively laid-back New Zealand-accented voice filled the earbud.
“SYNC, are you busy?”
I queried back, the Utah accent not quite crowding out my native West Virginia drawl. “I didn’t see a scan report today, so I was just gonna update sigs. What’s up?”
“We could use you and your logi at the 3a1 right now.”
Nylon is a very, very understated person. Extremely congenial, soft spoken, and friendly to a fault. So I had to translate the language a little bit. In Nylon-Speak, this brief request was the equivalent to any other FC shouting “I NEED YOU MOTHER——- BUTT ON THE STATIC IN A LOGI TEN MINUTES AGO! MOVE IT!”
So I moved it. “Right away, re-shipping into my Augorors.”
Now, people often call this stuff “Logi”. Logistics. But it’s not. Not really. I can’t fly those amazing, game-changing ships yet… not for another couple of weeks, at least. What I can fly is more properly called a “Remote Repair Tech 1 Cruiser”. As a kind of baby sibling to the grown-up Logistics remote-repair vessels — and with that role newly created with the December 2012 expansion — people have taken to calling the whole line of frigates, cruisers, and advanced Logistics cruisers Logi for short. Due to their very easy training requirements, they’ve become a game-changing addition to factional warfare and low-security and null-security cruiser roams, and are slowly sneaking their way into the last bastion of “go big or go home” space: wormholes*.
“It’s not really logi,” I continued. “It’s just a tech 1 cruiser. Everybody in our corp can fly these things.”
What’s pretty crazy about these vessels is their flexibility. They can be tanked from barely-a-cruiser levels of 10,000 effective hit points or so up to a low-battlecruiser level of 40,000 EHP. Additionally, they can be fit to out-repair most of their Tech 2 Logistics siblings if you’re willing to accept reduced hit points, or — more typically — to repair about one-half to two-thirds as much as their older more-established relatives if you give them a reasonable tank. Our FCs have learned that I can fly two of these simultaneously with modest but usable skill, and they’ve been quick to plan for their presence when engaging in player-vs-player fleets. I never show up on the killmails, but my teammates seem to feel I make a profound difference in a fight if I show up in my dual Augorors. Being valued feels AWESOME. I will never get any respect from opponents who see me in anything other than a logi, but who cares what they think, eh?
Earlier in the weekend, we’d had a chance to test our mettle in several different ways, resulting in a few fun killmails. We are finally starting to hit our stride in the hole with our giant batch of newbies (self included), figuring out who does what best and how we are best used. We’re not exactly a well-oiled machine, but not exactly a herd of cats anymore, either.
I began logging in my second account. While I was dealing with a rush of ship-swapping and logins, Datu briefly explained the situation to me. My adrenaline began surging in preparation for combat.
Datu, Nylon, and Hathgor had been stalking some scout ships from a wormhole in the neighborhood for more than an hour. Nylon, Datu, and Hathgor were unsure of their ability to dispatch the pair. The pair had finished scouting, apparently decided they could move, and shipped up from scout ships to combat ships — a Legion and a Caldari Navy Hookbill — and seemed to be ready to pounce on Nylon’s Hurricane. The Hurricane is not really fit out to be bait — it’s a pretty typical damage-oriented Hurricane, and not very tough at all — but it’s what we had, and the neighbors seemed to be ready to bite. Nylon explained that the “Cane” made particularly good bait because most Tech 3 cruisers are confident they can destroy it.
We spoke briefly about the powerful, omnipresent influence of Russians in Eve Online while we waited for them to take the bait. “The Cold War never ended,” joked Hathgor, “it just went to internet spaceships.” We joked with the nervousness of soldiers preparing for battle. Right as I finished re-shipping and started the warp of my two Augorors to the 3a1 wormhole, Nylon spoke quietly into the microphone. “A Legion and a Caldari Navy Hookbill are on grid with me. I have point on the Legion. Jump jump jump.”
I landed on-grid with the wormhole as the pale shadows of Datu’s Dominix and Hathgor’s Drake echoed as they were sucked into the wormhole. I clicked madly as I landed, trying to get through the wormhole as soon as possible. My heart rate spiked.
“I’m into armor,” said Nylon. This meant “I’m getting hit pretty hard pretty quickly, and if you don’t get your logi here quick I’m dead.”
“I just reached the wormhole,” I replied. “And it’s not logi. It’s just tech 1 cruisers.”
The server patiently waited through all my mad clicks to tell me that I had to wait because it was already changing sessions. My frustration and anticipation mounted. I began thinking unclearly.
THROUGH! I was cloaked on the other side of the hole, and I could see my teammates. Nylon was getting pounded by the Hookbill and Legion, dipping below 50%.
“Sync, reps would be a really good thing right now,” came Nylon’s voice over my earbuds. Translation: “I’M DYING HERE YOU IDIOT GET THE ****AMN REPS GOING NOW!”
I suddenly realized that, in my hurry to re-ship, I had not added anybody in our little fleet to my watchlist. And with adrenaline raging in my veins, my fight-or-flight instinct going mad, I realized I had briefly — but completely — forgotten how to target friendlies in battle without a watchlist. I needed to set up my capacitor chain between my two cruisers; without it, they had a very limited time to perform repairs before they ran out of capacitor and were sitting ducks. And I needed to repair Nylon’s Hurricane. I was in a terrible panic, all thought of how to do my job out of my mind.
This kind of thing happens to me a lot when I’m in a rush. It happens in real life, too. It’s one of the reasons why I signed up for a wormhole, PvP-oriented corp: to get more experience in battle and learn to quell my panic with calm confidence in my abilities.
I’m obviously not there yet.
Finally, in desperation, I clicked around on all the purple objects on my screen. There was Nylon! I ctrl-clicked again, taking a few moments to lock the battlecruiser, and on this one of my two cruisers I knew I was doing my job.
“I gotta jump back to home,” Nylon relayed over voice comms, “my armor is dipping below 20%”. His Hurricane’s armor was yo-yoing crazily as the volleys of the Legion and the hastily-punched triple reps landed to a cosmic off-beat: 25%, 35%, 24%, 34%, 23%, 33%, and s on.
But on my second screen, my Augoror was not even decloaked yet. Time slowed to a standstill as I clicked my other Augoror, right-clicked to set up an orbit, targeted, and then tried to find Nylon.
“Got the Hookbill,” came Datu’s grizzled voice over comms.
“I can’t believe he stuck around,” Hathgor replied, “I thought he was going to bug out when we showed up on grid.”
A split-second later, the magnificent explosion of the ship registered on my screen.
“The Legion is going down,” said Nylon. For some reason, he had not jumped back to home, despite saying he was about to do so. And at the moment he said that, my second Augoror locked on and I began applying repairs to the Hurricane, slowly edging his armor back from the bring of oblivion.
“I think that Legion is done for,” I said with more confidence than I felt. In truth, I had no idea how the Legion was or was not doing. I was just relieved that I’d successfully began repairing my teammate in time to prevent his destruction. Barely.
Then I heard Bitching Betty — my pet name for “Aura”, the voice of every ship in the game — squawk at me from my second screen. “The capacitor,” she began, as if exhausted, “is empty.”
“The capacitor the capacitor the capacitor the capacitor the capacitor is empty” she quickly finished, indicating that my hardeners, repair units, and everything else on my ship was shutting down from exhaustion, one after another. I had never set up the capacitor chain between my two ships! What a rookie mistake!
But it didn’t matter. The Legion exploded in an amazing blaze of Tech 3 glory. The pilot — perhaps not realizing he would lose a level of skill in his ship by remaining in it rather than ejecting, or perhaps wanting to deny us a free, badly-damaged Legion by ejecting from it — warped off in his pod, none of our ships able to lock him before he headed to safety. Wherever that was.
And I finally hooked up my capacitor chain between my boats, restarting repairs on the Hurricane to return him to full armor a few seconds later.
“God, I love logi,” I heard Nylon say over comms as his hull hit full armor, ready for another fight.
This time, I was too frazzled to correct him.
* “Big” in this context means “expensive”. Due to mass limits, wormholes offer excellent opportunities to see effective fleets composed of low-mass ships, mostly “Tech 3” cruisers and battlecruisers that offer excellent firepower and tank for their mass.