September 6, 2015

Contract FC Fleet

It's a long weekend for me this weekend. I haven't spent as much time in EVE as I planned, but I did get to play more than normal, so that's a plus! I logged in this afternoon after doing a little work from home and noticed about a dozen people in TeamSpeak and a fleet already up. So I joined in to see what was going on, and to my disappointment nothing was!

So, I did what any self-respecting Noir. pilot would do, I took over the fleet and got us doing something. My initial plan was to take a small, hard-hitting fleet and put it a few jumps out while three entosis ships begin doing their magic in different locations. I was hoping our enemies would split up and try to save everything or forfeit two targets to keep the fleet together. In the second case, even if my response fleet couldn't take the fight, we could likely keep them tied up while our entosis ships did their work.

Unfortunately I couldn't scrounge up enough people to fly entosis ships, so instead I decided to just do an old-fashioned gatecamp. I moved my scout, who had been watching an enemy force entosis their structure back, into their staging system and moved the fleet one jump out. Our fleet comprised of four stealth bombers and one Sabre, with a Falcon for eyes in their staging system. I had one stealth bomber as scout on an entrance system. The plan was simple: our Sabre would bubble the gate if we wanted to fight.

Things were very quiet for a while. The enemy staging system had 15 reds in local, all docked up. I guess entosising the one structure had taken a lot out of them. But after 20 minutes or so, things began to move around again. We had a few false alarms with an Occator and Viator, neither of which jumped to us. Finally we had a Manticore jump in. He uncloaked and we bubbled him. Instead of cloaking back up, he decided to burn back to the gate, but we quickly melted him and his pod. Nothing of great value was lost on their side, and we didn't take any damage.

After that, things began to heat up a bit more. Somewhere around this time we added an entosis interceptor to our fleet who began working on targets two jumps out of the enemy staging system. They'd have to come through us to get there.

Our scout in the staging system calls out a Stabber, Scythe, Oracle and Dramiel. I decide we're going to take this fight. Our Falcon will jump in behind them and land jams, at which point we'll begin bombarding them with torpedoes. The gate fires, a bubble goes up, enemy targets begin to uncloak. Unfortunately the Oracle didn't come through. He was going to be a fast, easy kill. Instead, we focus on the Stabber who is quickly going through shields. He burns back to the gate and manages to jump. Switching to the Scythe, the same thing happens: lot of damage, but not before he gets out. Same story for the Dramiel.

We continue entosising while the enemy is suddenly trapped in their staging system by a handful of bombers and a Falcon.

The gate flashes again and the Stabber uncloaks. I had already told the fleet to hold their cloaks. Sure enough, the Stabber burns right back to the gate. He was trying to get us to engage. My suspicion is pretty much confirmed now. It's almost certain the enemy fleet has mobilized and is waiting on the other side.

The gate flashes again and a Stabber and Scythe come through and immediately burn back to the gate. We hold our cloaks.

I want to know what's on the other side, but don't have anyone that can safely check. It must have been my lucky day, because right then an alliance-mate joins the fleet and offers his services in a travel-fit Ares. He burns to us quickly and jumps in to the enemy staging system.

Just as I suspected: a fleet of roughly 5 Caracals, a Maller, two Scythes, a Stabber, a Stiletto, Svipul, and a Succubus sit on the other side. It's made up of HAMS, LEGIOS, and a few other groups who are all trying to band together fruitlessly against Mercenary Coalition.

We continue entosising.

The fleet eventually decides to jump through together. We hold our cloaks and they decide to move past us. As soon as they warp away, off to harass our entosis ship, I order the fleet to jump into their staging system and begin removing the large mobile warp disruptors they had placed. There are five or six of them and we remove all but two before the fleet comes back, unsuccessful in their attempt to disrupt our interceptor.

We warp to pings off the gate and wait, cloaked. The enemy fleet jumps in and decides to sit on the gate in the staging system as we watch from our perch. Technically they had us trapped in a small cluster. This was the chokepoint in or out. However, it wasn't my small fleet that was entosising, so I don't know what they were trying to accomplish.

On the other side of the gate, one of our guys sat in system with one of their guys. The enemy pilot began to complain and bemoan the FC of his fleet. Apparently, the FC (and I have my suspicions who it was) is not well regarded by some of his alliance members. The word "stupid" and "pointless" were thrown about. It was heartening to know their leadership is inept, and I was happy to encourage their bad decisions.

Eventually they decided they were done sitting on the gate for no reason and the fleet warped back to the station. We tried picking off a few stragglers, but they managed to get out in time before our bubble went up. After that I took the fleet home. It wasn't a hectic or intense fleet, and it didn't result in a lot of kills, but I really enjoyed getting back into the FC couch. There was definitely a gratifying feeling correctly anticipating the enemy movement and objectives, even if their FC was stupid.

Now I've got the bug again.