Emergent Gameplay Gone Right; Exploding a Vendetta
Well, it went right for me anyway. I can't say as much for the other guy.
The Alliance is spread out right now across two regions. We fight alongside Brave, Tikle, and others for control of Catch against Pandemic Legion, Northern Coalition, and Goons. We are still maintaining Esoteria as our home for ratting, mining, and production. Most groups in Test have home constellations there, and work there to bring the system indexes up and provide tools for the front in the form of ships, modules, fuel, and thousands of other things needed to bring the pain.
Being so spread out can be tough on the individual pilot. Keeping a second set of ships at the ready for home defense is expensive and keeping track of which ships to keep where is sometimes confusing. Having a Dread and a Carrier on standby in both arenas requires a particularly baller Pilot.
I keep my main in the active warzone, and my main alt in our home system. The alt usually sleeps and that is fine. While she can fly a lot of ships, I have always thought of her as a support pilot over an actual combat pilot, and I use her mostly for fleet boosting or logi. She maintains a select stack of doctrine ships in case of emergencies, but has rarely broken into them. So rarely in fact I had almost forgotten they were there.
I have really been liking living in V-3YG7. We are next door to Brave, and I get to piggyback on a lot of content meant for them. There is a constant stream of both fleets and solo pilots coming our way, and it's really rare in Eve that content comes to you like that. We have a jump bridge from here to HED-GP, and from there its a quick run to the middle of Provi. Its been a bastion of content after quite a dry spell and it has really lifted my spirits about Eve.
I have this crazy dream to be the best in solo pvp in the universe in an inconsequential ship, winning a race nobody knows they are running as it were. I have been flying a Heron regularly to that end, it's really an excellent and versatile ship and I will no doubt write about it in more detail later. In nullsec, the meta for the Heron is as a cheap exploration frigate, very often used by newer players in this area to crack relic sites for dank Sansha loot. I have never seen another out looking for combat, and I really like to use this assumption to get other players to engage me. I can kill most frigs, dessies, and interceptors, and even a t3d on a good day. Drones and rockets are my hard counter but I find that by the time a lot of players realize it is not an easy explorer kill they are getting and adjust, it is too late.
It is patch day as I fly around, and the salt is flowing through all faucets of Eve from the forums to every discord I am in. This is the most upset I have ever seen our playerbase, and I am not particularly surprised. This has been brewing for a while now and has all come to a head with a series of splits between the players and the management of CCP games. I am not going to get into the rights and wrongs of events that have transpired, mostly because it's still ongoing and hasn't really resolved itself and there is nothing to write about beyond speculation.
All this patch nonsense and bad feelings towards Eve had taken its toll on New Eden that Friday night. What is usually an excellent night to get involved in some space violence was somber and lonely. We have lost a few members of our corp over this and the remaining ones are finding something else to play. In our corp, there are only three actually online and playing. I have flown many jumps with only two good fights and one blob to test my Heron against.
I found that blob within a minute and a half of jumping into Provi through our jump bridge, or they found me rather. I engaged a malediction on the first gate I came to and the rest of his friends jumped through and wrecked me in faction cruisers. My roam only lasted a minute or two, and I was back in V-3 with a jump timer, wondering if I wanted to build another Heron or give in and go do something else, when alliance started popping off spam and the call went out over discord and jabber to get into fleet in our home system of D-PNP9, get into canes and dreads, and take the jump bridge to G-M4GK. I was discouraged that I would miss the fleet due to all this jump fatigue, but then remembered my alt was ready and right where she should be. I got into corp comms in time to hear my ceo Kel say, 'I'll bet they caught that Vendetta, it's been flying very recklessly the last few days'. And it turned out, someone had!
If you didn't know, the Vendetta is a Serpentis Supercarrier. They are extremely rare in the game and only a finite amount of them exist due to a multitude of factors. So far in New Eden, only two of these ships had been lost. The first was due to an awox while the ship was ratting, and the second was for a charity event. Never has one died in proper combat. The prospect of getting to fight one of these things was enough to snap everyone out of their doldrums and into action.
Aside from our active war in Catch, we maintain a frontline closer to home in Esoteria, on the border of Period Basis, with the former occupants of the space we now inhabit. These enemies are mostly Russians and the remnants of Stainwagon that stayed in the area. They are sandwiched between us and Goons, who they are friendly to but we are not. While the frontline was hot for a while, it has calmed down as a lot of the content has moved to catch. We have an agreement not to cloaky camp the systems within Period Basis, and they stay out of Esoteria and Paragon Soul. It is an uneasy truce and we still fight all the time. But in truth they only mess with us when we go there. They are not pushovers, and I have lost fleets to them on more than one occasion. I have a lot of respect for the Red Federation.
So it was like this. A member of Brand Newbros and resident meme (that says a lot if you know Brand Newbros) Drakyll Shadowdancer got super drunk and gated his Dread to Period Basis. That is like 31 jumps and while he was on the way he got the attention of some friendlies who trailed him to see what was going to happen and report his movements to intel.
Once he got one jump into period basis into G-M4GK, the frontline system, he was engaged by a Vindicator, which he engaged and tanked in hopes of escalating the engagement. The Vendetta and a Nyx gated in from next door, the Russian staging system of TCAG-3, and engaged him. He was tanking them while calling for reinforcements and that is when Test began to form. We have a jump bridge to the system and can have a fleet there in just 3 jumps including the bridge. Eventually an Erebus gated in from TC and doomsday'd Drakyll, but this was as light tackle was arriving in the system.
Out of the four enemy ships, three warped to TC, jumped the gate, and were home free, but the Vendetta bounced off of an anomaly, and then to the gate. This was a critical mistake on his part that left him singled out from his crew and allowed tackle to get ahead of him.
As he jumped into TC there was a bubble and dictors waiting for him. They had to hold him until the fleet could assemble and arrive and many sacrifices were made to hold tackle. Bubblers were setting stop bubbles in between the gate and the fortizar trying to stop reinforcements from beating us there. The Vendetta was hyperspacial fit, and was burning out of bubbles and killing tackle effectively. There were several points there when pilots nearly lost him. A lot of tackle was dying, and the calls for 'More suicide tackle!' were being yelled over comms by the FC Sajuuk.
There really was a point were we almost lost him, but then the fleet arrived and the real fight was on. I entered system just behind the main fleet, catching up with many others in a Hurricane, and jumping in with the Dreadnought ball and Carriers. I bounced off a ping, anchored on the FC and started shooting targets with the fleet.
Red Federation and friends were forming as hard as they could. There were a lot of cynos going up but we were managing to stay on top of killing them before too much could get through. A few minutes into the fight we got a cyno inhibitor up and so their reinforcements were arriving slowly through gates, getting caught up in various drag bubbles, and generally trickling in at such a pace that they couldn't get together to help each other. We traveled in a pack of Hurricanes easily between targets and tanked them alone instead of as a group. There were several enemy Force Auxiliary ships on field, and at first we were focusing on them, until someone got a scan off on the Vendetta and we realized he was armor fit. The enemy faxes were fit to rep shield, the enemy in their haste had brought the wrong comp to rep the ship.
Once we focused all fire on the Vendetta, it didn't take long for him to die. I have a lot of respect for the fellow to fly that manner of ship in such an aggressive and macho way. He killed 40 of us in the end, mostly hurricanes, but also 3 Dreads and if not for just a couple mistakes on his part, he would have escaped. I heard he left the game after this, I hope that is not true.
The remaining enemy pilots on field focused on getting their dreads out, which we were burning down very quickly. We took the opportunity to exfil our supers and dreads while the canes did the dirty work. Most of the enemy were stuck in bubbles. They had brought in fleet of rattlesnakes, but they had not all come together and were spread out. We successfully picked several of them off at range as we burned between larger targets. It took the enemy about 15 minutes in the end to form enough up in their home system to force us off field. We took minimal losses, mostly those canes I mentioned earlier, of which my alt was one, and the three dreads that died during the initial fight and the unintentional 'bait'. We were left with a whopping 180billion isk killmail, along with another 60billion in secondary targets. We lost 21bil at the end of the day. This was the most expensive Vendetta loss to date. Battle Report
For a lot of us, it not a huge stretch to say that yesterday was one of the worst days we have seen in Eve. The toxic atmosphere invading every circle we inhabit in this game after the culmination of all these points of contention is enough to make even the hardest Pilot think about walking away from Eve and all they have built here. Seeing our comrades unhappy, depressed, and ultimately abandoning our social circle brings us all down. The discontent is real, and in my opinion mostly justified in some manner or another. Meaning somewhere along the line everyone has a legit reason to think Eve is going downhill, and that our Gods at CCP may not have our best interests at heart. I was glad that this happened for our alliance and for everyone involved on the winning side of this. It was a good time for something to happen that reminds us that Eve is cool and we are happy in it because of the behavior of its players in the universe provided them, and not because some ambiguous person behind the screen allows us to be.
I hope to remain a CCP atheist.