Farewell Battleclinic

Break Break.

I like to talk. Both my father and mother were great storytellers and as my grandmother would say, apple don’t fall far from tree. One of the advantages of teaching newbies is you get to tell your best stories over and over to new audiences. What’s old hat to you is fresh and exciting to the new guy.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

So several times a year, I get to tell people about the first time I got hotdropped by PL Supers, or the time we deployed to Delve to see if it was a better venue for OUCH.

It wasn’t. And I still have ships in 319-3D, Bren.

Anyway, when you say the same things over and over again, you develop sayings, cliches, tag lines, whatever you want to call them. I’ve got a few.

When I was young in New Eden, I pushed myself up the learning curve as fast as possible, learning as much as I could about how ships and modules worked. I found myself on Battleclinic studying loadouts and Yoz, my BFF and mentor out of the capsule, bopped me on the head and told me to stop.

Dude, he said, Don’t waste your time in Battleclinic loadouts. Things change and those fit don’t get updated. If you want to see good pvp fits, look at the lossmails of good pvpers.

So I started following the losses of 0utbreak [TOXIN]. They were the top pvp corporation on Battleclinic for a long time. It didn’t hurt that I flew against them in Curse. It also didn’t hurt that Yoz and Al flew with them.

So Battleclinic was my first intel tool in Eve. I followed what what 0utbreak pilots lost far more than what they killed. I studied their standardized fits of arguably the best small gang pvpers in Eve and I learned what ships, gangs and fits killed them. And occasionally, I got to tap their brains to see what they really were doing with the fits they flew.

The value of the killboard isn’t in the kills, it’s in the losses.

Over time, I grew up from a noob flying Rifters to a silent killer in the Falcon. I made it into the top 10k. One day, when my rank was about 2100 or so, I noticed that I was one rank below Agony Unleashed’s Azual Skoll.

A lot of people didn’t like BC. They still don’t. In the early days, a ton of false mails were posted and not all of them were deleted; the rankings were not perfect. But as a tool for following personal progress, it worked for me. I liked the format. I liked following the rankings. Was I ever going to be Number One? No. But I got to see a clear progression and history of me and mine.

I watched OUCH go from a 80000+ corporation with more red on the killboard than I want to remember, to the all time rank 192 PvP corporation in Eve. I got to watch Art Of War Alliance grow over a 5 year period, essentially a one corp alliance, finally ranked at 110 (all time, 78 or so for recent activity). When Battleclinic finally shuts down this month, OUCH will have nearly 20 top 10k pilots.

Not bad for a bunch of newbs.

It would have been nice to get into the top 100, but that’s not in the cards. We still have killboards, Zkill and Evekill. But still, I’m going to miss Battleclinic. We’ve lost a little piece of history this month. It’s a shame, but like all things in Eve, things change.

There’s no reason to complain about it, you just adapt and move forward.

So farewell Battleclinic. And thanks for all the fish.

If Logi Wasn’t So Easy

Plus one.

If Logi wasn’t so easy, it wouldn’t be getting nerfed.

I said that to Omega about a week before the last release. I know there’s logistics pilots who are going to start telling me how hard it is to be a logi pilot, cause you’re responsible for other people’s ships and if you fail to do your job people lose their ships and then they blame it on you.

Yeah yeah yeah.

This is the problem: Years ago, the player base asked CCP to make logistics repair better and CCP gave logistics repair better tools which made logistics repair easier. Watchlists. Broadcasts. More ships. Better ships. Now the ships are so good and the tools make life pretty easy for the logistics pilot. So easy that fleets of the same size cannot kill each other unless they can alpha strike past logistics repair, or trick logistic pilots into healing the wrong ship while they kill another.

Nowadays, logistics drives the size of the fleet.

Look, this ain’t my first rodeo. Years ago, in another life, in another challenging, e.g., hard MMO, I was a healer. No one turns away a good, dedicated healer. Not if you want to have an efficient group, anyway.

I quit that game and eventually found Eve Online. I found a corp. I moved to SOV. I moved to low sec. I moved to SOV. I joined OUCH and back in those days, we lost ships every single day. We needed a force multiplier to stay in the fight. We thought about using logistics.

But?

Back then, T1 logistics ships were a joke, dual purposed to mine and space heal. T2 logistics ships were expensive and we were poor. To top it off, a four man gang was pretty big for us, a six man gang was huge.

And lone healer in a gang of four is primary.

Precisely. We turned to ECM because 1 ECM ship could make a difference where we’d need 2 logistics ships just to keep the logistic ships alive. Griffins and Blackbirds cost a fraction of the cost of a Scimitar. That’s how I became an ECM pilot.

See, Logi repairs damage as it is made; ECM stops damage at the source. ECM pilots do what logistics pilots do, only backwards and not as well as logistics pilots. We just we don’t have the same tools that logistics pilots have that make them efficient healers.

An ECM pilot locks up the opposition and tries to jam according to what color the target is. If you don’t have the right color, your chance to jam is drastically lowered, which means, damage is coming through onto your fleet, probably onto you. Typically, if the ship is bigger than a frigate, you do not have 100 percent change to jam them.

You can make it easy and leave the racial jams at home, use multispectral jammers. Of course, multispecs have half the power of racial jams, which means half the effectiveness on chance to jam.

Luck be a lady tonight.

A logistics pilot locks up their own fleet members and repair damage to their ships. They don’t worry about the percentage chance to repair, they just repair. It helps if their friendly targets resists are high, because they get more bang for their buck, since resists are applied only to damage and not repair received.

Couple of years ago, CCP passed out skills to make it harder for the ECM pilot. They’ve always had modules to make it harder to jam pilots: Logistics pilots are the primary users of ECCM modules. And CCP has been balancing ships to make life harder for the ECM pilot. Check out the slow rise in sensor strengths of ships during the past 2 years of balance passes if you don’t believe me.

All of the hazards that logi pilots have to concern themselves with are also the hazards of an ECM pilot. ECM. Neuts. Damps. Being called “Primary.” But ECM pilots do their thing in a ship that is undertanked and pretty slow in comparison to logistic ships.

There are no real tools to make the ECM job easier. We do not have a watchlist that tells us who the other ECM / EWAR pilots are handling, or a method to see incoming damage from it’s source so we know who to jam. Our fleet members cannot broadcast for EWAR support. Beyond a couple of pilots, it is extremely hard to coordinate targeting and jamming the opposing fleet. The most efficient tool for ECM pilots to coordinate jams is voice comms.

Simply put, ECM, and EWAR in general, do not scale with the size of the fleet. It’s why you don’t typically see Falcons or Scorpions in fleets larger than a 12 people.

But logi scales with the size of the fleet and the problem that everyone has with logistics is not that reps are too powerful, but that logistics repair can be coordinated in such a manner that the upper limit of fleet size is unknown. Over the years, logi pilots asked for and got powerful tools, watchlists and broadcasts, and it’s made logi pretty damn powerful.

So now CCP hit logi with a nerfbat and things are going to be harder. And I guess it could be worse: If CCP really wanted to nerf logi, all they’d have to do is get rid of the ability to broadcast for reps.

That would make fleet logistics hard.

Almost as hard as flying fleet ECM.

Minus one.

In It to Win It

Plus one.

My launchers are cycling on the Brutix when the rest of his fleet land on the POCO. FC calls a new primary, Harbinger. The Brutix is going to armor but I switch off my launcher and paint and switch over to the Harb, leaving my damp on the Brutix.

There is only one FC.

The Harby is obviously a softer target or a bigger threat, so I’m not going to argue. He gets a tracking disruptor, which probably ruins his night. He does not last long.

New primary is called: Vexor Navy Issue. The tacklers do their thing to make sure 2 Brutixes and the VNI are controlled. I ask where my TD needs to go and as expected, the FC tells me to neutralize the Stabber Fleet Issue, who is buzzing around trying to figure out how to engage something he can kill.

Then my shields are stripped off and I’m in armor. I’ve come in too close and there’s a flight of Valkyries on me. I tell the FC and prepare to bail, pissed off at myself for not flying aligned. FC acknowledges and I warp to a belt less than an AU away, wave at the rats and warp back in at range.

Too far from the fight and deep in armor, I man up, turn on my MWD and burn in. The Stabber Fleet gets a track. The FC is working on the second Brutix so my torpedoes and paint are on him. The other Brutix throws his drones on me, so I align again and go to warp as the second Brutix disintegrates.

Less than a minute later, we’re finishing off the first Brutix. The SFI pilot, not wanting to fly home alone, or perhaps, guilted by his bros, barrels in to let us scram, web and take him down.

We fielded 2 Stealth Bombers with Tracks, Damps and Paint, 2 Assault Frigates and a Stratios. Yes, we had a Falcon… Art of War Alliance does not have E-Honor.

Kill more, die less.

They had a Harbinger, Vexor Navy Issue, two Brutix and a Stabber Fleet Issue.

Their EHP? Probably about 190k.

Ours? Maybe 60k? I know my SB without a shield extender was at 22 percent armor when I docked up in station.

One of their Brutix pilots accused us of using an exploit: he wanted to know how he was jammed without a jam icon.

Probably the damps.

Yeah. The only exploit we used was our opponents ignorance of the proper application of EWAR.

We’re in it to win it.

Kill more, die less.

That’s what we do.

Minus one.

Kicks and Risks

Plus one.

I didn’t support the Fountain War Kickstarter. Not because of Goonswarm. Not because of The Mittani. Not because I don’t think they got a good enough writer. Not because “he said, she said” RMT scandal. Not because Sion pissed me off, or Rixx made me think.

I don’t hate Goons. They usually don’t affect my day-to-day playstyle. And occasionally, when their actions cause CCP to nerf something that was cool with 3 ships but sucks with 300, I really try not to complain.

Really, truly?

The average member of a SOV superpower looks at a 100 man alliance in NPC space and believes that we are just content. They are part of something powerful, we are not. They are part of the narrative. They are playing in the endgame. They believe that they are, and we who are not must certainly covet that which they are.

I’m not them. I’m not one of the “hundreds of thousands” that look back on this period of time of interstellar conflict with wonder. I didn’t fly in multi hundred man fleets. I don’t fly capitals. I don’t do bloc warfare. Sovereignty has no appeal to me, because I won’t fight for something I don’t believe in.

After the war ended, when TEST fled to Curse to rebuild, and Goonswarm came to Curse essentially to try to finish them off, we happily shot at both sides. With regard to dealing with the Curse locals, DaBigRedBoat told TEST, “You are going to die… Generally speaking they are inbred, space hillbilly-gypsies and they are much better at this game than you are.”

He made my day.

While I enjoy the space drama on the blogs and the super blogs we call news sites, and I might be enticed to buy a book or comic about Eve Online, I’ve not done so yet. I spend an inordinate amount of time reading and writing about Eve Online. And I have other non-Eve related things to read that are important or entertaining.

So I’m not sure why I should should chip in and pay for a book that hasn’t been written yet, telling a story that to me was fighting over who could make the biggest fleet in Eve Online.

Large coalitions fighting over the ownership of income generating moons so that their alliances can afford ship replacement programs to maintain standing navies so they can protect their supercap construction facilities from each other, so they can have supercaps as a deterrent against each other while maintaining the status quo of being impervious to the threat of smaller alliances.

I thought it was about good fights?

Yeah, the story just doesn’t seem as compelling as the hype machine claims. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve never even been to Fountain.

Ultimately, it’s a big universe when you travel gate to gate. The story of the Fountain War is not the story of all of us, or even most of us in New Eden. It’s the story of a tiny fraction of us.

Someone else can pay the advance, I’ll buy the book when it’s done.

Maybe.

Minus one.

Then They Came for Me

Plus one.

Somewhere out there, there are logisitics pilots saying to themselves:

First they came for the jammers,

and I did not speak out,

because I did not use ECM.

Then they came for the jump drives,

and I did not speak out,

because I was not a capital pilot.

Then they came for the off grid links,

and I did not speak out,

because I did not have a booster alt.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

Minus one.