Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Syndicate fights

As almost anyone in my alliance would tell you, if they even know me, is that I am a mostly AFK player, or maybe away from game(er) is a better monicker. Over the last few months I have been drawn back into Eve, but my current time zone activity is still sporadic and makes it difficult for me to make the majority of the Fleet ops that happen in Rote Kapelle. So consider this a bit of an outsider's, insider, perspective.

This post is all about my commentary on the Rote Kapelle cleanse diet that we are currently on. (no more carbs)

To me, the most interesting part of our campaign hasn't actually been the campaign (IE the in space pew pew), but has been the reaction both from other Syndicate residents and the larger community as a whole. Another Rote Kapelle blogger, the famous Ripard Teg, of Jester's Trek, started out the conversation in the blogging community in his typical fashion with this post. Now after reading all 42 comments to that post and then re-reading the post it's near comical the reaction to our campaign, even several weeks down the road. Anyways, Mord Fiddle over at Fiddler's edge pretty much summed up his viewpoint in some comments and then later in his post, Scouring the shire.

That was worth a response from Ripard, here. And then another post from Mord, where I think he gets the baseline message of our campaign wrong. Ripard also responds to that response....

Mord says our objective is, in his view of course :
"Rote's way is the traditional way and the best way to play PvP in NPC nullsec.  Failure to PvP Rote's way diminishes Rote's enjoyment of Eve in general and PvP in particular.  Therefore, it is essential that those in close proximity to Rote PvP the Rote way.  If they don't, Rote will harry and kill them until they either move away or submit to PvPing as Rote thinks proper."

I think our actual objective is closer to this :
"Rote doesn't appreciate the lack of PvP we have been getting from entities in Syndicate. The only solution we can see to continu to get good fights is to force those fights to happen. In order to force those fights, we will have to get into the dirty busines of killing static structures."

Sure, Rote is in it to attempt to force out the players in Syndicate who don't or won't fight us, or if they do fight, require that they get every advantage, more numbers, more logi, we jump into them, etc etc. To one of Mord's points, yes Ripard did heavily paraphrase the post on FHC made by a NOTORIUS badposter, Anderson, who was using that post to fling shit-filled words at a wall and see what ones stuck. Looking at the comments on Rip's post as well as the FHC thread (since locked) most of them did stick.

Perhaps more explanation is in order, because in looking at Rip's comments I can tell that something just isn't being translated...

Rote Kapelle is and always has been all about "the fights." It's something we actively comp our fleets for, we engage when we can, and don't when it's complete suicide. But above all, we engage, we go out looking for a good hard fight, not just ganks and quick kills, though we certainly don't shy away from those either. When I say above all, I mean, two evenly comped fleets sit on the other sides of a gate, one is Rote and the other is most every other Syndicate entity. 9/10 times we jump into them, in fact, it is so predictable that we know something is wrong when they jump into us. Some of our most obvious defeats were still generated by us jumping into a superior fleet with the intent of finding, generating a fight. If that's not clear enough, let me sum this entire paragraph in just a few words.

"Rote Kapelle exists for the fights."

Solutions to our problem along the lines of "we need to adapt" are stupid. Yes, stupid. You clearly have  no damn idea what we do, or how we do it. Adapting is something we are doing that's what brought us to this conclusion. We are practically begging for a giant blue blob to come fight us. Even when IRED shows up in a all Abaddon and rep fleet, and wipes the floor with us, we still engage. I can't even imagine the response from IRED if we showed up in their systems, during their peak hours, with a fleet like that. Here's a expected outcome... We wouldn't get a fight.

Now recently Rote has been having a tough time with activity (alliance wide) due in part to other MMO's/games, or other activities interfering with fleets. That's not all. It's become so hard to find a fight, even finding hostile ships in space that we can throw ourselves at in Anderson's "Bushido" doctrine, the one against the many, fighting to the death, no retreat style of play... without that there has not been a reason for some of our players to login.

Usually RK leadership combats this 'lack' of fights by going on a "road trip" where we leave Syndicate for a while, and hope for what I will call a re-spawn of local fights. While we are gone other Syndicate alliances have time to dig in, fight each other, get more confident. Then by the time we get back, we enjoy a flurry of new fights either from new residents who don't know us, or often from re-invigorated old alliances that have refined their tactics a bit and are now willing to engage us.

Sadly, or happily depending on who you are, Rote Kapelle has shrunk dramatically in size since last year. For instance, last year, Rote Kapelle was swelled by Veto and we had a near 23.5/7 reach where Rote and Veto could project anywhere from a 5-60 man gang. Now our most active TZ is west coast USA, and in an all-in type operation we are lucky to pull 40 members to a gang, including alts. To sum this development, it means that we are not of a "size" large enough to go play with the bigger fish in say Curse, Provi, or any of our other usual road trip destinations. Playing the dodge the blob game to get a couple kills isn't a whole lot of fun either. In any case, yes we did toss around the idea of doing both anyways, and found that it wasn't as viable an option.

A "staycation." The solution, but also the problem. How could we stay in Syndi, generate fights, and still reinvigorate the flight-club that is Syndicate? The options are pretty limited here, either we just stay in TXW and hope the fights come to us. OR we create a campaign, something that not only draws interest from our membership but ALSO attention and interest from the rest of Syndicate, thus generating more fights.

How to generate fights? Static assets, and home systems. Static assets are a long time risk in nullsec and especially Syndicate. Rote, alliance with near to no Blues, Rote has very few static assets. No Poco's, few POS, very little that can be directly attacked. Some of the same people who refuse to fight us seemed to be building near sov level POS and poco backbones in our own back yards. Now aside from the Ripard post where he points out the folly in POS mining or moon mining in Syndicate (we have shit mins yo, and any good min moons are claimed by large sov holding alliances), well these static assets became a target, fight generators as it were. A big target.

The thought was, simply, maybe if they won't come fight us while we roam, if they won't even undock, then by attacking their static assets, we force their hand, maybe even getting a few decent fights while we are at it. So, D5IW was chosen as the first target, there Damned Nation sat happily in it's stations and POSes, willing guinea pigs for our new tactics. As we jumped in Anderson made his post on FHC, and we began.

To some outside observers we were just wrecking sandcastles, but to us, we were generating fights, content and I'm not talking just one or two fights, but around the clock skirmishes, forcing people to call in favors, have their blue friends out in Sov space form up on titans to bridge and engage us if given a chance. Further it was our chance to show them how it felt. We'd let them get all worked up, securing blue fleets waiting to help them out and save x or y pos when they came out of reenforcement. Sure enough we saw some 100+ man whelpcane fleets out in Sov space on a titan just waiting for the jump order to engage us. We waited and after a month those same friends were no longer responding to those calls for help.


Short answer, no. The campaign is meant to bring us fights, not needlessly throw ourselves away against assorted blues and friends of people we were attacking. We aren't always stupid, we aren't going to up engage some 15 people vs 100+. 15 vs 40 is apparently fine though. Anyways, we would let them use up all their goodwill and then be forced to either defend in person, or lose their resource. This in addition to the extra fights we got just by the effort of setting up a static camp (something people could come fight, and did come fight, namely IRED and friends, as well as Goons, and a few TEST visitors, V.e.G.A., and others), fights gave people a reason to login, a reason to play Eve. In fact something that I'm sure won't be repeated for a while, was a very successful Stealth Bomber fleet that harassed logi and repair efforts on modules and POS all around D5IW.

Killboard - Success! All this in mind, the real numbers are just as important, in the months leading up to this campaign shows low fleet based activity, mostly Solo kills or ganks. But since the start of the campaign we have 972 kills to 143 losses in our target area's. Now if your real goal is to go out and fight... that can be seen as nothing but a success.

Since D5IW was cleared out... We have now moved over to 4L- to say hello to V.e.G.A. Who felt like helping out Damned Nation was a good idea, but only showed up in Fleet BS. Really it is because they liked to bring big battleship fleets to help out Damned nation in D5IW. Since we have showed up on their porch, fights have been lacking, well at least with THEM. We've instead had some good fights vs Goons, last night in fact... here

We'll see if they start turning out while we kill off their infrastructure. All in all, using this way to liven up combat in Syndicate for Rote is paying some serious early dividends  but it will be interesting to see the long term effects.

Long Term outcomes:

  1. "Nothing ever works as planned." Rote successfully "sweeps" Syndicate, forcing out a good group of our neighbors, and nobody moves in, Syndicate goes from bad to worse with lower population and Rote is once again without fights, we fail-cascade epically when we turn on each other for kills.
  2. "Stupid Christmas" - Rote gives up on our futile plans to sweep Syndicate, and moves back to TXW for the holidays, I get to share Christmas with John Rev and IRED in a happy peaceful Syndicate. Fights return to pre-cleanse level, nothing major has changed. Rote claims success because we never lost, everyone else claims success because they were never expelled.
  3. "Rote WHO?" - Rote gets camped in/killed by one of the various coalitions either in Syndicate or  from their big brother friends in surrounding sovspace. Rote returns to TXW, proclaims success, but remains persecuted, more fights on average, but also more blobs.
  4. "Fat trimmed." Ev0ke and Rote force out all the bad alliances, Ev0ke takes up permanent residence in Outer Ring, populating Syndicate with good fights for all. More alliances move to Syndicate to partake. Everyone is happy.
  5. "I'm boooored!" Rote gets bored, (already showing early signs), still can't get fights, moves back to TXW in frustration, tries to figure out next game plan. Syndicate laughs off their campaign as unsuccessful, life moves on.
So between all of that I would think that 2, 5, and 3 are pretty likely, especially with the addition of Ev0ke to the area, having just moved into FD-. With them in the picture Rote will need to be extra careful when fielding it's cap fleet lest we become Ev0ke's next cherry on their killboard. I project that Ev0ke will beef up some more and head back out to Sov space in short order, likely CR, and will build a little defensive coalition that might give us good fights in Syndicate. Failing that we can always roam out to CR, Ev0ke's never shied away from fights.

1 comment:

  1. So I saw the title of this post, and was *yay battlereporting*.

    Some things never change ='(