Archive for September, 2010

Homeland Defense :: Worth Taking Seriously

Posted in Fleet Tactics on September 13, 2010 by Easley Thames

Corporations often allow hostiles to roam their space freely. The common refrain is “if our ratters get caught, they deserve to die.” While this is actually true in my opinion, there is no reason not to take advantage of these opportunities for some easy kills in your own back yard.

The other day, a ratter called out that he was tackled in a Sanctum. Instead of berating him (that comes later) we formed a small gang in a flash (-MVN- are usually on voice comms when in-game) and warped in on the Stain Empire roaming gang with a nice mix of recons and close-range brawlers. They were far off and managed to warp as we came on-grid, but we caught their Curse and Sabre in a bubble on one of the out-gates. The SE gang then made best speed out of Delve.

If you are diligent about forming up counter-gangs and taking out hostiles, you create systems that roamers learn to pass by when they travel in lieu of easier pickings. We will occasionally go so far as to setup sling bubbles or cloak in the belt with a ratter when we know a hostile is inbound, making our busiest systems the most dangerous by far. While it’s impossible to succeed every time, I have noticed some areas of IT space are clearly safer than others.

The one caveat is that, if you are not highly experienced as a corp with small gang pvp, and if you don’t have FCs on who know what to do, trying to save ratters can just make the situation worse. In -MVN- this is rarely an issue, but I wouldn’t encourage any corp to warp ships wildly into a belt to save a single member’s ratting boat. The key is forming a gang (albeit in a hurried manner) and responding properly so that you turn a bad situation into a good one.

It’s also worth chasing down a roamer sometimes, if for no other reason than to prevent them from thinking your space is a soft target. A short while ago, we heard a report about a Sleipnir traveling through Anzac’s constellation. Earlier in the day, the Aussies had some difficulty catching him, so we wanted to be sure he didn’t make it out alive. We got ahead of him and when he jumped into NOL- a nasty surprise awaited him on the gate.

In my opinion, it’s best to make your home systems a nightmare for cloakers, roamers and other hostiles who may wish to visit. You can take the time to yell at your member later and, if they are not very useful to the corp, go ahead and kick them. However, it’s never good to let your disappointment cost you potential kills.

Roam, Roam, Roam Your Boat

Posted in Roaming on September 5, 2010 by Easley Thames

We have been roaming between tower ops. Syndicate is a fun region, and it happens to be withing range of several other good hunting areas.

Tonight we started things off with a few titan-bridge traps. The first killed two members of a 10-man gate-camp. The second bridge netted us a command ship kill. They never had a chance against our rather large roam.

While opening a cyno and bumping local usually causes the majority of the hostiles to flee, sometimes it’s the only way to score some kills on a fleet that is unwilling to engage your gang.

Our path tonight lead us from Syndicate up into Pure Blind. Starting in 6-C, I caught a t1 hauler in a drag bubble. Moving ahead, our forward scout engaged a rapier that melted once the main-gang arrived. Meanwhile,  PK bagged an easy solo kill nearby.

We entered Cloud ring and tried to get a fight from Dead Terrorists. It didn’t work, so we left. They decided to try to bomb us on gate as we were leaving, which failed. We managed to catch one of their bombers and our side took zero losses, despite several bombers making a run on us.

We then located another gang ahead of us, neutral and battle-ship heavy. Perfect! With a nice compliment of shield BCs, shield logistics and light tackle we were ready for anything. Sadly, they started running for their lives as soon as out forward scout landed on their gate. We settled for bringing down one unfortunate battleship.

Moving forward, we traveled up to P-2 in Pure Blind, which is a staging system for various NC alliances. Again, we couldn’t get a fight, but we did gank the hell out of a Vagabond who had the balls to red-box on the station. It was getting late this point, so we decided to head back.

On the way back, we ran into a few pilots in the system where we had killed the Rokh earlier. We tackled and killed a small gang and moved forward, not wanting to delay for long with many people notifying us they had to get to bed soon. However, our fun was far from over.

We encountered a Wildly Inappropriate gang and managed to trap them on a gate, with some of our forces on both sides. After the majority of them jumped into one side, we scored 5 ship kills and 2 pods, while our forces on the other side had to settle for a harbinger kill. Great success!

Before we made it home, one of our scouts scored himself another solo kill. As a side-note, there are several solo mails that have not been posted yet, but luckily for us they are all kills, not losses. We made it through the entire roam with zero losses and everyone had a great time. We spammed local like goons, played recordings over team-speak and there was even an appearance from the infamous Avicenna Sarfaraz.

Here is a summary of the mails I made it onto during the roam:

After the gang stood down, I went with a small alliance operation to kill towers. We picked up a new tech moon (with a can holding 35k tech left behind) and ninja’d another tower before it could be onlined by hostiles forces.

We have been taking moons with regularity, but there isn’t a great sense of urgency. We are obtaining something valuable, but I think the real objective for our forces should be to get comfortable with setups the alliance has not used frequently in the pass and improve morale. Going head-first into a brick wall can eventually wear down anyone, so I think those wondering why we aren’t already back up north or in the far-east should consider moreale

Evals :: Praise and Shame

Posted in Corporate Management on September 4, 2010 by Easley Thames

Every corp has its own way of evaluating members. For some corps, this is done on an ad-hoc basis, sometimes without any consultation between officers.

In -MVN-, “evals” have always been a big deal. We sit down and evaluate every member, starting with probationary members and moving all the way up to considering promotions of active full-members to the level of lieutenant, captain or even – in rare cases – bringing someone new into the directorate.

With the corp growing from a nearly exclusively American organization at the time of its founding to a far more diverse, balanced-group including substantial numbers of active European-prime players, we’ve now split evaluations into two groups so that the officers who regularly deal with the members in their timezone are assured to be able to make the relevant meeting.

After looking at the performance of our combat pilots (including both kill-board stats and anecdotes from fleet commanders) and evaluating the effectiveness of industrial pilots (who have certain quotas in place) we ended up removing over 40 players from the corporation. This is not only because evaluations had been previously delayed several times, but because we want to send a strong signal that we expect a higher standard to be met.

The number of kicked pilots does not include those who received the “fail penis” title, which is a serious warning that suggests you will be removed at the next evaluation period if you do not shape up, or if you repeat a serious past-mistake.

Some examples of previously-committed embarrassing actions that could justify a “fail penis” include losing a capital due to jumping blindly to beacons, getting tackled in a pimped ratting ship, repeatedly failing to adhere to corp and alliance standard ship-fittings, and – of course – general shitty performance or bad attitude.

Well-Deserved Recognition :: New -MVN- Corp FCs Making Us Proud

Posted in Fleet Tactics on September 1, 2010 by Easley Thames

I have said many times that PvP corps live and die by the activity level and leadership skill of their FCs. If there are no active FCs to lead gangs, your combat-loving pilots will be bored between major alliance ops.

In an alliance like IT, which doesn’t emphasize casual PvP, having successful corp-run roams is essential. Especially for a group like -MVN- that has always been unwilling to go without constant ‘pew pew’ for very long.

On the other hand, if the leaders at the helm of fleets are unskilled or foolish but highly-active, gang-participants will tire of showing up to commit suicide in expensive hardware and will soon defect or simply avoid participating. Therefore, having FCs who are both active and skilled is essential.

Admittedly, the overall pilot quality of a corp matters a great deal as well. Even a highly-skilled and active FC may soon burn-out or fail to achieve his potential if the pilots he leads cannot perform to his expectations.

However, having quality FCs around tends to improve and train the general membership, and even poor recruiting will eventually lead to the discovery of some diamonds in the rough.  Therefore, I consider fleet command / leadership to be the most important factor in a strong PvP-based corp.

There have been some new faces leading gangs in -MVN- recently, and I have been extremely pleased with their performances. In the past we’ve had new pilots become first-time FCs in -MVN- with mixed results. Perseus is a great example of a younger pilot (in terms of character creation date) becoming a top-notch FC on a very-short timetable. Others have shown promise but failed to step-up on the level we would like to see.

Recently, instead of training-up new FCs, we’ve had the good luck to take on some experienced FCs from other corps.

I would argue that, for a corp like -MVN- that gets dozens of apps each week from potential members, finding a highly skilled FC is more valuable than 20, 30 or even 50 additional skilled pilots at this point.

I will not post any names here for fear it could lead to them being primaried more than they already are, but I’m sure every combat pilot in MVN knows the people I am referring to.

So, all you new Maverick fleet commanders, keep up the great work! To those who have not been leading gangs but would like to start, now is a perfect time.