Sunday night we had a little fun. We had our fleet up in Camp Curse, AFs and frigates like always. Quiet for the most part, but every so often a small gang floats through. Appetite 4 Destruction blasts through in an assault ship gang. Pandemic Legion on the hunt in a BC gang. Dirt Nap Squad surfing by in a Talwar gang. Red Alliance roaming in a small BC/HAC gang. Then Brave Newbies rolls through in a 30 ship kitchen sink fleet, a mixed bag of frigates, destroyers, cruisers and battlecruisers.
You can see where this is going.
Back before I joined Open University of Celestial Hardship, there was a fundamental disagreement among the leaders on what ships were best for newbies. One group wanted everyone to fly frigates, because they were cheap and easily replaced. Another group wanted the new guys to fly cruisers, because cruisers are harder to take out and bring much more to the fight than a frigate. The guys who wanted frigates won, and when I joined, OUCH had a frigate replacement program: If you lost one, our CEO would send you ISK to get a new one. Strangely enough, very few people actually asked for replacements.
Small gang pvp demands self sufficiency.
Now I’ve come to believe that, despite the fact that OUCH puts new players into frigates, that frigates are really best used in the hands of experts. They are not necessarily the best ships for a brand new player to run around in, because frigates are unforgiving. The 3 month old guy in a frigate just isn’t going to be as effective 12 month old one. Period. That’s why OUCH instructors preach that support skills are the most important skills to work on while you are young.
Frigates are fragile. They require good support skills (Engineering, Mechanics, Navigation, etc) and experience to be flown well. Failing that, they require EWAR and Logi support to help them make it through the fight. Not many new players have those skills, so I can understand how some corps would want to get newbies into cruisers and drag them out in large fleets.
Cruisers bring a lot to the table: A poorly skilled cruiser pilot still is flying a ship with at least three times the tank and gank that the newbie would have in a frigate. Cruisers are generally slower than frigates, which makes them easier to manually fly: slower means you have a little bit more time to think. Cruisers are much more forgiving of mistakes made while flying one. And to top it off, a newbie in a cruiser, in a fleet of cruisers, is camouflaged. In a gang of 5 or 50, depending on what you engage, a newbie in a cruiser is pretty safe.
Unfortunately, once your 30 ship fleet gets ROFL-stomped (in this case, I think DNS chased BNI into PL) and you scatter to the winds, you’ve got to get your surviving pods and ships home. So we got a BNI frigate, then a Brutix – which was just yummy, by the way – then a couple of pods, then a second BNI Brutix – which was also yummy, thanks for asking!
Some of those Brave Newbies could use some training.
Then we closed the night with a fight with the Red Alliance gang, where we danced with 3 Hurricanes and a Vagabond, took a ‘Cane and disengaged cleanly.
I used to wonder what fight these large gangs think they are going to find in Curse, but as I’ve gotten older, more and more I believe that half the time what I am seeing is safety in numbers. Simply put, small gangs tend to avoid larger gangs. They avoid the Blob and I think that in a lot of cases, the Blob isn’t there to fight. It’s just passing through.
Are you implying large fleets are a form of risk aversion?
Well, in the case of the BNI guys, no. They’re looking for a fight, looking to lose some ships, that’s their thing. But in my experience, if you want to move some ships and gear from point A to point B through null sec, just fleet up 25 to 30 guys. More than likely, everyone, including another 30 ship fleet, will just get out of your way.
No one really wants an even fight in null sec. Well, no one except small gang pvpers who look at 3 to 1 odds against as even.
Not me, of course, but I can name a few.