Archive for the Mercs Category

C-J Falls :: 2000+ Pilots Involved as Multiple Coalitions Clash

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Fleet Tactics, Mercs, North versus South, Pandemic Legion on March 7, 2012 by Easley Thames

Tonight the C-J station came out of its final reinforcement timer. The battle in this system was not only enjoyable by all accounts, but also provides clues about the future shape of the North-Eastern sovereignty map.

By the time of this battle, RA had already moved most of their assets out to low-sec, as part of their announced plan of relocating to Delve.

Furthermore, neither XxDeathXX nor RA had an operation planned to defend the system. If that were the end of the story, things would have been pretty boring tonight.

However, aware of a developing PL / NCdot plan to upset AAA and Solar’s night of conquest, AAA called out for a full “red pen” CTA.

Given the numbers arrayed against them, even the mighty Tech Cartel alliances would have thought-twice about engaging AAA tonight, but this time they ended up gaining critical support from an unlikely source.

Whether it was a revival of the “bro pact,” or merely an attempt to mount a formidable defense in the name of “good fights,” PL and NCdot were able to get the support of the same people who helped murder their super-carriers  last week.

Source: kugutsumen.com

That’s right. This time Goons + Test + other CFC alliances fought on PL and NCdot’s side.

Some are calling this a nostalgic return to the days of the “bro-pact” between Goonswarm and PL.  While the leaders of both alliances do chat regularly, I think this can be explained in other terms:

  • PL and TEST have already been in cooperation for quite some time as fellow “Honey Badgers.” Many in TEST look-up to PL and enjoy working with them.
  • Goon leaders – including The Mittani – have a long history of cooperation with Red Alliance and XxDeathxX. Red Alliance was a part of the Red Swarm Federation, along with Goons and TCF. Among other notable pro-goon actions, XxDeathxX played a major role in the successful “all-in” offensive on Delve in 2009 under the leadership of Darius Johnson by attempting to heroically guard the Eastern flank against Atlas & AAA.
  • Third, and most importantly, this was the only way a real fight could go down in the system tonight, and everyone agrees that fighting 1000 people is far more fun than not fighting anyone on a Tuesday night.

Evoke and some other pro-PL groups also made a modest showing, but the major balancing force against the A-Team was clearly the CFC tonight.

Some expected to see Raiden on the field, but cooperating with Goons would probably have been too much for them to stomach.

The following list is highly abridged, since I don’t want this image to be any longer, but the total numbers are roughly correct.

The Cluster-Fuck Coalition (CFC) was hit very hard on their jump-in to the system by Nulli Secunda, Occupational Hazard, The Initiative, and SOLAR. These alliances demolished the CFC drake fleet.

A large CFC bomber gang was able to skip past the gate-camp and get involved with the main-battle on the station, but their presence was a double-edged sword, since bombing runs were actually a hindrance to the “Slow Cat” sentry-drone doctrine being used by PL tonight.

Needless to say, the carnage was immediate, but with Time Dilation maxed out (all the way to 10% with 1900 in local) things took a while to resolve themselves.

To elaborate on the strategy used by PL and NCdot, Shadoo brought in a fleet of approximately 140 carriers filled entirely with sentry drones. Each carrier can hold hundreds at a time, so losing a few waves to bombing or anti-support fire is not an immediate ‘game-over’ situation.

PL’s plan was to fight on station so that they could de-aggro and dock if the fight got to messy.

The coordinated sentry fire was theorized to be a good counter to just about anything engaging at ranges up to 100km. This seems to have proven true, given that they successfully brought down several after-burner Tengus at long range.

The fighting was already well under-way when I logged into C-J with my  dictor. I had flown over and logged-out the night before in anticipation of this brawl, and luckily I arrived in time to participate in the bulk of the fighting on the station.

Sentries were fairly effective in popping -A- fleet ships with coordinated sentry fire, but bombs and support-ships killed hundreds of these t2 drones.

It was an expensive engagement for everyone, especially since PL and NCdot were stripped of literally every support ship in short order.

The destruction of all hostile support allowed AAA and Solar (among others) to drop super-carriers on the station with relative impunity.

PL may have been able to match or exceed the A-Team’s super-cap numbers, but tactically it would have been a colossal blunder without support.

NCdot and PL were forced to dock when the -A- and Solar supers cyno’d in.

To the credit of PL and NCdot, they were fast about calling for their carriers to pull in drones and de-aggro, so only one carrier was killed by supers.

Pictured Here: PL's "Slow Cat" Carrier Setup

I feel compelled to mention that this was one of the best showings from -A- in a long time, with 400 alliance members involved, including a strong super-cap showing.

The alliance had labeled this operation as extremely high-priority, so it is doubtful that AAA Russians and U.S. players will be together on the same field like this very often, but it was nice to see what we’re capable of when we really want something.

It shows that -A- has a great deal of dormant potential that can be dialed-up on occasion, especially when merging its two major timezone groups into a single operation.

In particular, the missile spam from AAA’s Tengus was immense. Including all friendlies, there were over 300 Tengus on the field.

Back when T3 cruisers were introduced, members of my corp joked about a day when an alliance could field a full fleet of these pimp-mobiles. It’s crazy to see those musings actually turn out to be descriptive of reality in 2012.

With no firewall to block the incoming waves of heavy missiles, even heavily-tanked (and low-signature) Proteus and Legion hulls were popped without difficulty.

As soon as PL and NCdot docked up their carriers in C-J, the station was flipped by AAA supers, and promptly handed over to Solar Fleet control.

This may hint at the future division of the North-Eastern regions. Even if most of Insmother is retained by AAA, I think flipping C-J sends a signal that -A- does not care about expanding much further North.

More importantly, this battle marks the culmination of the AAA – RA war. The end result is clear: RA has lost, and AAA has won.

There will be plenty of structures to grind, but the most action we can hope for will be fights with opportunistic groups like PL.  RA has already fled this hemisphere, and XxDeathXx seems to be increasingly inactive.

I believe that very soon Solar will be able to declare a similar victory over XxDeathXx, thereby ending the DRF Civil War, but Eve is an unpredictable place. I will not jump the gun until I see who XxDeathXx can bat-phone to save them from Solar and AAA.

Two major powers have apparently lost the will to fight, and will have to regroup elsewhere, while two others have earned new territory after a long-fought campaign. This is what 0.0 life in Eve is all about.

Pictured above is the aftermath of the fight on the C-J station.

For those who do not know, C-J is the long-treasured crown of Red Alliance’s once-vast empire.

This system holds the same nostalgia for RA members as NOL once held for BoB, and this is only the third time it has ever fallen.

My corp has now been present for all 3 conquests of C-J in this historic system’s long history.

In many ways, the real story here is the decline of the DRF as a coalition.

Sometimes small conflicts can snowball into absolute catastrophes. Such was the case when XxDeathxX pissed off Solar, by taking the side of a renter over their most powerful ally, in what began as a minor standings dispute.

With White Noise existing in name only, RA evacuating to Delve, XxDeathXx flailing with no clear plan for the future, and WTF left adrift with no master to guide it – the future indeed looks bleak for this formerly fearsome group.

I have mentioned it before on this blog, but the butterfly effect – as depicted by CCP’s marketing department – is a real phenomenon in this game. Even small decisions can have immense consequences, and I would bet my favorite hurricane that XxDeathXx’s leadership now regret the way they treated Solar.

The DRF civil war was likely preventable, and it is XxDeathxX’s leadership that is to blame for the coming Drone Region diaspora.

One last topic seems germane to this discussion, and I feel this post would be incomplete without it. That topic is the role of mercenaries in 0.0 sovereignty contests.

Mercenaries are a great asset. From the well-chronicled adventures of  Seleene’s Mercenary Coalition, to the current influence of Pandemic Legion, mercs can clearly tip the balance in 0.0 – sometimes with frightening effectiveness.

However, when you rely on mercs too much it can lead to atrophy within your coalition.  You need to flex your own muscles as an alliance on a regular basis, otherwise they will eventually turn to fat.

I believe RA, XIX, and many others who benefited from their presence in the Drone Regions have put too much confidence in their hired help.

Mercs can be a great tool in a variety of situations, but the evidence available suggests that they make bad long-term guardians of sovereignty.

Noir. Mercenary Group :: The Best Marketing In Eve?

Posted in Eve Music, Mercs on May 19, 2010 by Easley Thames

Many of you are no doubt familiar with Noir.  I’m not referring to the Alexander Noir, the man whose Nyx was crashed into a station during the Empyrean Age, but rather  Noir. Mercenary Group (henceforth NMG on this blog).

I do not have a great deal of direct experience in combat with or against NMG. There were a few scraps here and there, but I was never involved directly against them as a result of their contracts, which is when I assume they get serious.

While I really can’t vouch for their skill as mercs, there is one area where this organization continues to impress me. That would be their marketing.

I remember when Mr. Karrde announced the creation of Noir. The message was simple: (to paraphrase) “we did most the work in our previous (well-known) merc outfit and we’re the best you can hire.” Add in some sexy banners (anime-related for added points with certain demographics) and you have a very strong brand.

Over time, they have taken things much further. They publicize the results of their many contracts, along with testimonials. They also established a sexy web portal for the alliance complete with a blog, forums and public announcements. They even have “employee of the month” and numerous methods of keeping their members excited about what can sometimes be boring work (as in the case of long station camps).

However, other alliances have done all of the above in the past. What NMG does well is create original, enjoyable content. The popular “true heroes of eve” parodies were just one well-known example of how NMG promotes itself. There are even podcasts by NMG available for download.

Just like a successful corporation in the real world, NMG has used marketing to position themselves as the #1 mercenary group. When people think soda, they typically think of a name brand like Coke or Pepsi (or maybe Quafe). When people think of mercenary services in Eve, they think of NMG.

Here is the latest release (based on Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”).  Karrde and Jimer Lins did an amazing job with this one.

NMG has also undergone a recent change from being solely empire-based into owning a small portion of “New Providence” and they have even established an academy corp.

Some say that, after taking space of their own, NMG will drift away from being mercenaries and become another run-of-the-mill alliance.

I don’t see that happening. Even before taking space, there were a few people Karrde admits he never would have contracted against, it just wasn’t publicly declared. As long as they have abundant targets, there will not be any problem for their business model.

Moreover, I reject the notion that mercs must accept any and all contracts. For example, there might be an outfit that role-plays as ex-slaves who now make their isk taking jobs solely against the Amarr Empire.

Even without the crutch of role-play, I’m very sympathetic to the “Seleene” position that no one has to play “your version of mercenaries.” If they want to build a merc-run empire, I say more power to them.

The restrictions NMG has set forth on contracts leave plenty of room for taking jobs (even against AAA as long as it doesn’t involve attacking infrastructure). I would say that they have 99.9% of the options open to them as they had before.

In exchange for maintaining a few relationships diplomatically, they’ve gained a place to make isk and engage in small gang PvP between contracts. I’d say it’s a worthwhile trade.

With the popularity and renown of NMG, anyone who thinks they will be short on business as a result of their move into Providence is – in my humble opinion – far off base.