Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top Dog

There are many obvious career paths a pod pilot can follow in New Eden. One can take the path of little risk and high payout by finding ultra-rare ores to mine, prowling routes between trade hubs, building shiny ships for discerning combat pilots, investing in IPOs, diligently drawing out Tech II blueprints on paper, and so on. The more blood-thirsty pilots can partake in skirmishing, battleship and capital ship slugfests, pirating, griefing, lurking in cloaked ships, etc., resulting in (usually) little monetary gain but a great sense of satisfaction and an awesome killboard profile for many pvpers.

Eve is renowned for its glorious combat, ranging from hunting a quarry in a belt to downing massive titan-class supercapitals. It may be possible to not have a leader in a small sized gang of 3-5 people, but anything more than that and the efficiency of the gang goes down rapidly. I have seen pirate gangs fall prey to a single anti-pirate simply due to a lack of coordination. Fleet commanders are the generals in Eve; they organize a group of pilots to stay on a task that involves killing. Without them, large-scale warfare would be more madness than it already is.

Fleet commanders are perhaps one of the most respected positions that a pod pilot can attain in the universe, and the position is often the quickest path up any leadership positions. Many online celebrities and alliance leaders have been FCs at some point. I can name quite a few off the top of my head, such as SirMolle, TWD, xxAngelxx, Suas, Agmar (I had orders to fluff Game-Over), SuperTwinky69, Ernest G (curb your tantrum Ernest, stop swearing your lungs out at deaf people)… There are many, many more legendary FCs out there in the depths of 0.0 and lowsec, each with a powerful personality. Some are bold and cunning foxes, some ooze calmness and confidence, some are hotheads and a complete riot (Evil Thug, anyone?).

But anyone who has taken up the role of fleet commanding will tell you that it is no walk in the park, and certainly not as glorious as it appears outwardly. It can be a dirty job, collecting intel from spies and scouts; it can be a tiresome job, when morale and numbers are low; it can be highly stressful, when fighting outnumbered or when a friendly titan goes down. Many, many people, new and old players alike, wish to be an FC at some point. I applaud these people for wanting to step up, and we all know that almost anyone who has fought can become an FC. However, what are the qualities that distinguish the truly spectacular commanders from the mediocre ones that are forgotten in history?

1) Patience and quick reflexes. Although these may sound like contradictory entities, they really are not. A patient FC will be able to gather sufficient intel from his scouts, have enough numbers in his fleet, and can wait for his enemies to make the first mistake. Executing a move without thought will often get a fleet waylaid, just like a game of chess. However, when the situation warrants urgency, any hesitation will also get the entire fleet slaughtered.

2) Fleet discipline. This includes self-discipline. While drunk/stoned FCs are fun to roam with, or so they claim, internet spaceship is serious business and most people would not enjoy losing ships on someone else’s whims. FCs who can keep a cool head in battle and call targets are usually the most successful and popular ones. Combat comms should also be dedicated to only the FC and scout – which is one reason why the phrase “STFU” is so commonly used, as many people lack the discipline to respond to “break, break” or cannot, for bloody god’s sake, stop telling others that his ship is going down. This also ties in with patience; sometimes waiting is just a necessary evil, and going AFK while waiting in space is an almost sure-fire way to be killed.

3) PVP prowess. Any decent FC worth his salt will have sufficient knowledge of pvp under his belt. These include but are not limited to:
- the gate dance and the laws of aggression (especially in lowsec with sentry guns);
- knowing ship names like the back of your hand. Sorry newbies, but you really do need this in order to understand how to call targets based on ship types;
- an understanding of forward and rear scouts’ roles;
- how to use the scanner;
- the tactics involved in laying traps;
- the methods of evasion in case sh*t-hits-the-fan or “o-sh*t-its-a-trap”;
- extra tidbits such as spider tanking (remote repping), drone aggression, fighter/doomsday lag, etc. Hugely important in capital ship warfare.

Additionally, FC should have the ability to fly cloaked or tanked ships, especially in large and important sieges (km whores need not apply). Flying fragile ships that are likely to get primaried is a big no-no.

For the reasons stated above, I do not recommend pilots who are completely new to pvp to start commanding fleets at the get-go. Instead, get someone experienced to show you the ropes, fly with them on a few ops to get the hang of things, and try leading gangs after that. You will quickly learn being a fleet commander is not as easy as it seems, and don’t let the armchair generals and railbirds tell you otherwise.

And when you get your first battlefield full of yellow wrecks, the rush that comes over you will get you hooked, like cocaine.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Escape Artist, Another Titan in Paradise, and a Podcast

Along with everyone else in the alliance, I’ve been taking a much-needed hiatus from blob warfare, and going on casual roaming gangs instead. Having -finally- taken the time to train up Caldari Cruiser V, I’ve received more than one “HAX” comment when I was spotted in something other than a crow (Thanks “Mr El Paso Jackal”)…

That’s right, after a year of messing around, yours truly can now fly a Cerberus! I’m liking my Lionness very much despite all the malignant comments about the missile HAC. Many people consider the ship no better than a Drake but I beg to differ; my first cerb has survived far more encounters than my big fat heavy drakes, which I used to fly as n00b dps ships until I decided zooming around in a gistii crow was more entertaining (tally: 3 speeding tickets so far). Pilot ability comes into play as well – don’t expect to survive long with up-close-and-personal styles like autocannon vagabonds or blaster megathrons. I fly it like a slippery escape artist and I'm not ashamed of it: lots of manual piloting, toggling my mwd, staying at range from the battlefield, and keeping alignment towards celestial objects. The cerb is really not meant as a heavy assault missile boat with its missile range bonus; use the Sacrilege if you really want to use HAMs. Fit a scripted sensor booster and nano-faggotry modules however, and enter this scene: a haggle of angry homeless dudes (read: vagabonds) are bawling and running at you with the speed of Olympic sprinters, asking for spare change, and you run away while throwing big rocks at them with perfect aim from across the road. A fine addition to any nano gangs. Viva la nanocerb!

Just don’t count on seeing me much in empire with it. Word from CCP is, factional warfare is limited to individuals and corporations not affiliated with any alliances, in order to keep large 0.0 alliances from taking over low sec. Fair enough and a good move to keep it friendly to newer players looking to get their feet wet with pvp.

Also, things seem to be rather hot in the Drone Regions, which comes as a big surprise to many players. Almost 60 capitals were killed in a big fight between Atlas/Smashkill/FIX and Solar Fleet/Goons/ED/Legion of Death, including a dead Erebus flown by the Goon pilot Deadtear. Props to Smashkill and friends – few expected such concerted war efforts from them.

A friend asked me if I’d like to start up an Eve podcast series with him. I’m quite open to this idea, considering that he would be handling most of the technical details and such, but I simply wonder how long I can maintain the podcast. First of all, I’ll be returning to Asia and traveling extensively in the month of July and August with my family, and they’ve always hated my gaming habits. I don’t even know if I can explain the concept of a game podcast to them without being chased out of the house. I’m also planning on hanging out with a lot of old, old friends of mine from high school years. Secondly, living in Midwest America has increased my affinity for summers exponentially, so I doubt I’ll be gaming much while the sun is out. And while Internet spaceships is serious business, shopping is definitely much more serious for me.

Who knows, we’ll see… If things move along as planned we may be recording our first episode this weekend. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You Saw a What Crash into a WHAT?

That's right, a Nyx-class mothership was kamikazed into the Ishukone Headquarters in Malkalen, Caldari space... Leaving a flaming wreck and "hundreds of thousands" of dead people behind...

Federation Delegation Arrives in Malkalen Malkalen
For the first time since the end of the Gallente-Caldari War, a procession of Federation Navy warships entered Caldari Space, only this time flying a banner of peace. Met by Ishukone Watch ships at the Border Zone, civilian and military ships alike paused to watch the majestic Nyx-class super carrier and her escorts as it traveled to Malkalen. "I've never seen one in person before," admitted one Caldari Navy officer, who preferred to remain anonymous. "That's one impressive looking ship. Not as impressive as one of our own Wyverns, of course. But impressive." The Caldari Navy harbors a great deal of respect for Admiral Alexander Noir, the pilot of the Nyx and the last living veteran of the war. He has since become a spokesman for improving the relationship between the two nations, undoubtedly selected for this summit because of his years of advocating peace. "We wouldn't let just anyone fly a capital ship into the heart of our space," stated Caldari Navy Fleet Admiral Morda Engsten. "Admiral Noir has done more to bridge our differences with the Federation than anyone else. We are honored to have him, as with the entire delegation." Federation Economic Minister Wadis Chene and the members of her team left the carrier in a shuttle and docked at Ishukone Headquarters Station moments ago, where she was welcomed aboard by Otro Gariushi.

Economic Summit Underway Malkalen
To the enthusiastic applause of all in attendance, including the hundreds of reporters and camera drones present, Federation Economic Minister Wadis Chene and Ishukone CEO Otro Gariushi began the session with an embrace. The emotional welcoming was symbolic of the two nations' efforts to reduce racial tensions and strengthen economic ties. Also in attendance were various guests from Ishukone, all of whom expressed interest in meeting with Federation delegates in advance. Following the handshakes, the summit commenced with a question and answer session with Otro Gariushi and Wadis Chene. Both officials expressed deep regret at the recent escalations in ethnic violence, conceded mutual blame for its origins, and accepted responsibility in taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.

BREAKING NEWS: EXPLOSIONS REPORTED, CONTACT WITH ISHUKONE HEADQUARTERS STATION LOST Malkalen - ** This is a breaking news flash ** Eyewitnesses have reported a massive explosion at Ishukone Headquarters Station in Malkalen, the site of the economic summit between the Federation and Caldari State, where a general evacuation order was issued moments ago. Contact with the station, including reporters onboard, has been lost. Scope News has released recorded footage of the event taken from outside the station before the explosion was reported. We are still trying to get information and will continue to provide coverage of this event.

UPDATE: FEDERATION NYX RAMS ISHUKONE HEADQUARTERS STATION Malkalen - ** Breaking News Update** A Nyx-class supercarrier that was part of the Malkalen Economic Summit delegation has collided with Ishukone Corporate Headquarters. The calamity occurred shortly after a general evacuation order was issued on the station during the summit. Preliminary estimates place the death toll in the "hundreds of thousands". Although unconfirmed at this time, the collision appears to have been deliberate. Eyewitnesses report that the supercarrier’s escorts were engaged and destroyed shortly after the impact by Caldari Navy and Ishukone Watch warships. We are continuing to monitor this story will provide details as soon as they become available.

MALKALEN – Logs from the Local subspace channel in the Malkalen System obtained by the media have confirmed that the Nyx supercarrier piloted by Admiral Alexander Noir of the Federation Navy was deliberately piloted into Ishukone Headquarters station. This attack occurred during an Economic Summit hosted by Ishukone CEO Otro Gariushi and included representatives from the Federation government. Partial transcripts of the local reveal Admiral Noir’s final words, just before impact: "I have obligation to my beloved Federation to settle accounts with this hateful race, these cursed Caldarians. For my entire life, I have mourned for Hueromont, wishing, praying, willing for the day when I could strike back on behalf of those souls who perished. Fate has bestowed upon me this grand opportunity, this great day, to take vengeance for all those who gave their lives for the Federation, the true guardian of our precious Gallentean race . . . may you rest in peace now, brave souls of Hueromont, and you, kindred spirits of Nouvelle Rouvenor, knowing that I will take back what was stolen from you . . . Curse you, Caldari . . . may I take as many of you with me that I can!" The Federation has not issued a statement as of this time. Search and rescue efforts are underway to reach survivors onboard, where numerous fires are still burning throughout. The scale of damage to the station is catastrophic, with the death count estimated to reach into the hundreds of thousands.

No kidding! This is exciting... ahem, dire... news for the Caldari empire. As a nosey civilian, I abandoned all thoughts of pvp, and headed out to Malkalen last night for some touristy pictures. Sadly you can still dock at the station, but it's still a pretty graphic job done by CCP. I had always thought the RP and storyline were sorely lacking in Eve, but factional warfare (done right) is an excellent first step.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blaze of Glory for All

When I first started this blog, I had no idea that it’d turn into an alliance warfare/politics blog like it seems to be for the last few posts. My apologies if my gentle readers were expecting something lighter to read.

Alliance news: Kudos to the Coalition for successfully taking over Branch – both sides fought hard for it, much fun to be had when the node gods chased away the lag monsters. To summarize the war: Insurgency got overpowered by the NAPtrain. The natural bitterness from losing Branch is starting to turn into hate and some action is planned – don’t ask, I won’t elaborate until the time has come. Hopefully, I won’t have to shoot too many friends, but if we meet in space as reds, pew pew will happen. You can always lambaste/castigate/brag about shooting me in my chill channel afterwards. I will still lub you. ^_^

I’ll admit that I lost my usual calm and the “it’s just a game” attitude when home space got locked down (got to be the most massive and prolonged station camp in the game – perma-camp maxed at about 400ish over the weekend, been there since Friday of last week, broken only for approximately an hour in total). I was stuck at a POS coming out of reinforced with no other safe POSes in system. Panic attack!!! After much fretting about my assets stuck in station (my BIG mistake: Putting used Amarr crystals in containers – you cannot contract damaged items!), I managed to run for it with 10 minutes left on the timer, when a combined friendly fleet came from Venal to attempt to break the camp. Thank you, fearless Phalanx pilots! All is now good... Time to roam. Now if only someone will be my luggage delivery boy

And with this, a new chapter begins for Insurgency.

Also, Darknesss, CEO of D00M, has announced the dissolution of Triumvirate over CAOD, citing tiredness amongst its pilots and internal problems. Rather than having to go in a whimper, he has decided to close shop while the going is still decent. A very wise move by Darknesss; he has my utmost respect. My salutations to Tri - I have fought against and with you, and you are a bunch of excellent pvpers, regardless of what the forum trolls and your enemies may say. God speed your nano ships.

On a completely different topic, I’ve resisted reading about the Council of Stellar Management (CSM) for a bit, simply due to plain laziness and my preconception that CSM is going to be a barking dog with no bite. A corp mate of mine asked in corp chat for us to vote for him a few days ago, but he did not have anything to document his campaign, or even a campaign! Well, I do like you, but isn’t CSM theoretically about the greater good of the entire player-base rather than just an alliance, let alone a corp? At the very least, inform the players why they should vote for you. Anyway, I decided to grudgingly take a look at all of the candidates, and came up with a few who had really well-written responses to issues at hand to deliver to CCP when the time came. These people came to mind:

- Hardin (CVA)
- Gritt Pebbledasher (PURE.)
- Omber Zombie (Frontier Technologies)
- Verone (Veto Corp)

Do check out EveMag: Special Issue for an interview of all the candidates who are running for the Council. I didn’t read through them all, but some candidates struck me as though they only ran for the sake of going to Iceland once a year for free. If you are going to vote, choose wisely and cast your misconceptions aside – some Goonswarm candidates are surprisingly eloquent, thoughtful, and well-educated.

Oh, and if you like the ambient music in Eve, you may want to check out some excellent work that a gentleman from Denmark has created as a freelance musician for Eve. Just make sure you play it in Winamp or something, because the lag monster will attack you in fleet situations if you turn audio on ingame.

P.S.: I didn’t quite like how neon-pink the old layout was, and also decided to design my own banner. I hope you like the new look!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Noob's Journey

Browsing through my oldest pvp exploits made me realize that it’s been a little over 10 months since I first started to play Eve, and the journey has been rather entertaining. When I listened to the excellent Drone Bay hosts talk about tips for new players, it made me feel that I wasted a lot of time as an ignorant noob. I couldn’t agree more when they talk about the importance of finding the right corporation. For the newer players out there who read my blog, I hope you can shape your own Eve experience through the tales of my noobdom…

In The Beginning
I started in an asteroid belt with a powerful Ibis (did you know it had a drone bay?) in the system of Todaki, at the School of Applied Knowledge. After a few days of doing tutorials and L1 missions from agents who had attitude problems, I was told to find a group of players to play with. So I joined my first corp located in Amarr space of all places, which promptly fell apart on me after 2 weeks when it was wardecc’d by a single pirate flying his “T2 ships and shit”, quoted verbatim from the CEO who was, on hindsight, a bit of a corp-hopper and probably new to Eve. Not a good combination.

Weeks flew by and I found myself mission-grinding in Caldari
space, basing my operations out of a corp located in Nonni. I trained up for mining barges and building, but found little joy in shooting rocks. The corp mining ops, which lined the wallets of the directors, helped a lot in instilling the fear of mining into me. I started flying caracals and drakes (quack quack), and it made mission-running so much easier.

One day I jumped into Passari, one of the most infamous spot in low sec space, to pick up a courier mission. That very moment, as I loaded to a grid of red flashies, was the first time I saw how pvp could be like. My heart was thumping as I sped away from the gate in a shuttle, while local was abuzz with sightings of a Triumvirate Nyx, no less.

I didn’t like those guys. Who were they to try to blow a harmless noob up?
(I do enjoy blowing noobs up now. How else will they learn?)

It wasn’t until 3 months or so into the game when I had my first taste of blood, pirating with my new 0.0 corp mates from Rule of Three. My first kill was a drake that a corp mate had scanned down in a belt in Mara, and I still remember how much “shakies” I got. We ended up pirating mostly in Mai, a dead-end lowsec system in Amarr space. This was where I trained in the basics of pvp and scanning, but targets were few and far between as the system was almost constantly camped by us at the time. My current disdain of pirating was based on the premise of Mai being boring as hell, with the occasional hauler, swarms of noobships, and the very rare battleship with crap T1 or mining fits. Anti-pirate gangs were rare as well. Granted, I have great respect for true roaming pirates, such as the likes of
Kane Rizzel and LordChaos (ok, anti-pie, but whateva), but Mai just felt like a wading pool for me.

With my newly acquired negative security status, I managed to get 2 rigged crows Concordokkened 1 jump out of Jita, me being an immensely idiotic noob. I almost gave up on Eve as the swarm of fellow noobs descended upon my wreck…

In fact, I did stop playing for a few months, due to RL workload.

The Great Wild West, The Train, and The Baptism of Blood
I finally ventured up the Tribute pipe to the alliance’s 0.0 home in the Drone Regions. Everything was new to me then: the gleaming asteroid belts, the triple battleship rat spawns, the concept of not-blue-shoot-it, and keeping an eye on local at all times. I fattened up my wallet through ratting and trading high-end minerals. During this time, there was a
push against Band of Brothers in the south and members of the NAPtrain were pressured to aid in the invasion, so off we went, and I got one of my first blob experience (wasn’t overly fun, but not bad) flying under some talented, albeit bad-tempered, Coalition fleet commanders. I also led my first roaming gang into Providence as a trainee, and the results were very satisfactory. I ended up leading most alliance ops, which culminated in a successful large battleship slugfest to cement my spot as an alliance FC…

The Naughty Pvpers' Paradise
Unfortunately, that single battle was the last good fight that Ro3 saw. I was tired of dealing with carebears and their reluctance to engage in pew pew, and having to go 30 odd jumps to find noteworthy targets. Also, there were many internal problems including corp thefts and drama bombs. Eventually I saw that the corp was about to fail catastrophically and made it out for greener pastures. Why pay for a game that I no longer enjoyed and was giving me grief on a daily basis?

I joined the dark side. Insurgency was a most refreshing change of scenery. I was surrounded by a vibrant market (compared to my old home, not Jita), talented pvpers and FCs, and had a lot of fun flying around with alliance mates. Things escalated quickly – a month after I joined, the NAPtrain attacked over a dysprosium moon, bringing in about 10 alliances to wipe us out. I’ve learnt a lot about POS and capital warfare since then, and though the Northern Coalition has made fairly successful inroads into our space, I have to say that Insurgency has held up very well considering the massive odds leveled against our fleets. Whether Insurgency gets ousted out of Branch remains to be seen, but I personally wouldn’t mind returning to the roots of skirmishing in Gurista NPC space. And finally, we catch a glimpse of
how BoB must have felt during the Coalition’s assault on Delve.

And this is where I am right now. I’m happily nested amongst a group of dedicated 0.0 pvpers, and while I’m not very optimistic about the way the War is going for us, I still see many opportunities for Insurgency to turn into a formidable 0.0 alliance. I foresee myself staying with them for many more months to come…

Did you make it past the bulldozer?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Empires

Disclaimer: It took me a full weekend to gather my thoughts for this entry as events unfolded, so this entry is a bit long. Also, please do not take offense to the alliances mentioned in this passage; my only intention is to use them as case studies. Any opinions/alignments expressed herein are solely mine and not of my alliance's.


Watching the collapse of the once-powerful Mercernary Coalition unfold in
Period Basis made me feel somewhat moody, much like watching a James Bond movie with a poignant ending (Casino Royale, anyone?). Tortuga, respected as some of the most powerful alliances in the game, had fallen to internal strife long before Band of Brothers' ambush. BRUCE, yet another power bloc in the regions of Syndicate/Cloud Ring (my geography is a bit murky there), saw its alliance leader and executor corp FOOM leave for empire.

Which made me wonder: How does an alliance avoid or prolong the seemingly inevitable "failure cascade"?


"In armed struggle, the difficulty is turning the circuitous into the direct, and turning adversity into advantage." - Sun Tzu,
The Art of War

The general Sun Tzu wrote one of the most renowned manuals in Chinese history: "
The Art of War (孙子兵法)", which describes military strategies with impeccable logic. Eve, with its characteristic massive territorial warfare and in-depth corp/alliance management, offers such a realistic model of skirmishes and wars that it would be pure folly for any fleet commander to ignore the principles and tactics of warfare. Survival of 0.0 alliances often depends heavily upon the battles that were won and lost.

Take a look at the (in)famous Band of Brothers, for example. When the Northern Coalition and its bandwagon attacked Delve, BoB gave up system after system in Cloud Ring, Period Basis, Querious to the NAPtrain. However, they held on to their home system in Delve with an iron grip, and after 2 months of relentless sieging, the fatigued NNC went home. And now BoB, alive and kicking, is back with a vengeance: it has renewed its invasion into Period Basis, reclaiming most of its old territory - it won't be long until BoB took back the rest as well.

I have great admiration for BoB in this regard. In my mind they have successfully used these strategies to turn the tidal wave of annihilation levelled against them and propel themselves to greatness:

1) Firm leadership. Charisma is a bonus, but unnecessary.
The best leaders lead by example, flying their biggest, baddest ships into the fray and expect their followers to do the same. In this regard I approve of Triumvirate's culture of ridiculing and kicking players who bring crap-fitted T1 ships (i.e. quality over quantity). SirMolle, arguably the most powerful leader in Eve, is an excellent capital fleet commander as well. From what I heard, he rules BoB with an iron fist and gives them direction. This adheres to the principle that democracy is anarchy in battle-minded Eve, as soldiers who are allowed to act on a mind of their own often derail the killing machine.

Now, that does not mean that leaders should not listen to their grunts. In contrast, someone who can balance sympathy and firmness without turning into a power thirsty maniac will find themselves with a loyal following. An alliance charter helps immensely in laying out sensible ground rules for its pilots. In Insurgency, pirates and empire ganks are frowned upon and anyone found breaking this will be kicked out. [Rant mode ON] I love this as I've always had a gripe with people who hide in empire when their 0.0 alliance needs them. FFS (for the lack of a better term), leave the corp to do your pirating, then come back when you are ready to help with space-holding again. We used to have pirates in Rule of Three who only lived in low sec. These players would do well to join a pirating alliance or the Privateers, rather than leeching off the 0.0 alliance, or being part of it "in spirit" just for the sake of blue standings. [/Rant]

It has been proven again and again that without a strong leader who is willing to police his ranks, even the most organized alliance will fall apart: when the
visionary Seleene departed for real life, no-one else was able to step up like the way he did and as a result, MC's internal cohesion was destroyed by aggressive parties from within.

2) Propaganda and espionage.
Morale is one of the most, if not THE most, important aspect in an alliance. A drop in the morale of troops can quickly snowball and lead to disastrous consequences. As such, the best wars are won not by force, but by subtlety and spies who can manipulate the morale of enemies from within. There is little doubt that BoB has an extensive network of spies in each alliance, giving them valuable intel about the movements of an enemy force. And by spreading discord amongst these enemies, they can execute ambushes with great morale devastation of the enemy, such as the controversial doomsday that was set off in an MC pos, whose password has been retrieved from the ex-MC titan pilot, Krall Amarr (for an epic scam on this traitor, see
here). The fighting will of Tortugan pilots was eroded, and PB fell without resistance. However, one must be careful with the excessive use of flamboyant propaganda, as the tactic can easily backfire, such as the vociferous Goonswarm forum threadnoughts that angered much of the player base and gave GS a dubious rep.

3) Wars.
A battle-hardened army is far more valuable than a swarm of n00bs or big expensive toys that have never been baptized in blood. 0.0 entities must always be ready for war, unless you are in some far off corner of the galaxy that nobody wants to attack. Even so, there is nothing to stop equally isolated neighbors to attack space held by an alliance seen as easy pickings. Living with too many blues around is a sure way to get pvpers bailing by the dozens. Who wants to go 30 jumps just to gank some ratter? And can you tell I'm not a big fan of the NAPtrain style of playing?

This also ties in to the constant tug-of-war between carebears and pvpers (a topic that I was planning to talk about but got distracted). Alliances must be able to balance the tension between the two factions, i.e. there should be a clear rule as to how much the carebears are allowed to carebear, and how much they must donate to the war chest. Or even better, do not let them into the alliance at all. Rather, adopt a feudal system where industrialists must pay rent to continue operating out of that space. In times of war, these renters are responsible for their own survival and become meat shields if they fail. This has worked extremely well in BoB's favor and many alliances are quickly adopting this system.

From my own experience, a lack in any one of these three inter-related aspects will result in a degradation of the quality of an alliance. Many seasoned 0.0 players in an alliance are able to spot a failure cascade from a mile away and leave before the time comes to fold. It is up to the leader to correct any minor mistakes before they balloon into major issues, and sometimes harsh actions are needed. As a small-time FC, I admire all of them for the time and passion they put into the game. These are the very people who shoulder the responsibility of directing others, and the consequences, should they fail, strike fear into the hearts of the less brave and ambitious. To be at the helm of an alliance and to lead with continued success is a heavy sceptre to wield for any individual.

In other news: Interceptors have to be one of the most fun ships to fly out in 0.0 with a gang. Hats off to Sir Fintroll of PURE Alliance for getting on three of my crow killmails. I enjoyed one excellent tango with the skilled gentleman, but the rapiers piled on me the second time round. I look forward to playing with his brave little faction crow some time soon again.

P.S.: If anyone can point me in the direction of adding Eve logos and linkages like those on
CrazyKinux's awesome blog, I'd appreciate it!

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