September 20, 2015

Contract Recap: Smoked Pork in the Homeland

Well, it's official. I've completed the first contract flying in Mercenary Coalition. I had a lot of fun, although there were certainly growing pains, as you'd expect when three (counting Noir. Academy) new corporations join an alliance right before a contract of this size. There were definitely some idealogical headbutting, but honestly things went really smoothly at the organizational level, and I think most of us had a really positive experience.

This contract's title comes from our opponents (HAMS United) and the fact that HAM now resides in MC's spiritual home. Four of the stations in the area were built by MC many, many years ago.

So, we returned, but not to stay.

Our objective was simply to harrass HAM for four weeks, specifically focused on HAM's key sytem of 1-NJLK. We had secondary objectives, unrelated to HAM, but they never came to light. To be honest, this contract was a big ask. We're half the size of HAM, which I don't think is a problem, but trying to punch above your weight while ironing out so many new alliance issues is not the ideal way to go about a contract. But if everything is easy, where's the fun?

We set out with a handful of doctrines picked for the contract and set up shop in the nearby region of Stain. Things started out pretty rough, not only because HAM quickly called in help from Russia Caldari [RUCA], making the numbers game 3:1 in their favor, but because a lot of people were flying certain doctrines for the first time. There were definitely some fuckups.

The first major fight of the contract was one I was there for, which was nice. But unfortunately, it didn't go as well as we would have liked. I noticed a fleet with roughly 6 people in Caracals, Basilisks, and a Huginn sitting outside our station. There was only three or four of us in comms at the time - we were still getting settled in after a long move - but after a few slack messages we had formed up a good sized fleet comprised mostly of Zealots.

I was in a Sacrilege, acting as bait. I checked my hotkeys for broadcasts were set up and I undocked alone to try and get them to aggress me. As I undocked I noticed that the fleet was 70km away and burning farther out, but they did aggress me, so the fleet undocked. I was webbed by the Huginn so I wasn't going anywhere, but the rest of the fleet was making decent speed to close the gap and lay on some DPS.

As soon as they saw our fleet undock, they had the rest of the fleet, comprised of Cerberuses, more Basilisks, and a few assorted ships come in.

Eventually the Huginn decided to release the slow, lumbering Sacrilige and focus on perhaps more dangerous targets, and I began to move as quickly as I could towards the enemy fleet. Somehow, someway, they allowed us to get on top of them. For whatever reason, I was called as the DPS anchor, despite the fact that I was in a totally different type of ship than the rest of the fleet and was already acting as a heavy tackle (I had the Huginn and a Cerberus pointed). So as the rest of the Zealots piled on top of me while I was humping the face of the Huginn, I quickly realized this wasn't going to work, but I didn't say anything. Big mistake. I'm not used to using or being an anchor. We rarely ever used them in Noir. and I was not prepared for it here, but that's no excuse.

The Zealots were having a hard time hitting anything since they were right on top of the target at times, but we were managing to drop a few things. Then I guess the Huginn got the FC's attention and focus shifted to me. I broadcast for reps as my shields were going down, not really worried at all. We had lost an interceptor and a Sabre at this point, I believe.

My armor starts to get chunked and I broadcast again. No reps. I call out on comms that Psianh needs reps. Broadcast, I'm told. I am! I reply. No reps. I die. I warp back to station to grab a Zealot and check my hotkeys. Turns out, my hotkeys were set up, just not for what I remembered. Damnit.

Also unfortunately, an enemy Megathron is on the undock and is keeping me from warping back into the fight, scramming me and taking out nearly all my shields in one hit. I'm out of the fight.

From there things somehow turned out really poorly. I guess with the Huginn untackled, they were able to dictate range the way they wanted, leaving our Zealots with too little damage to matter.

It was not the best way to start a contract, and we definitely had other slip ups, but in the end we adapted and pulled out a win - although, personally, I don't know if I consider the contract one to brag about. We ended up with a pretty poor efficiency for the contract as a whole, but the employer was actually very happy. We did exactly what we were paid for and we improved each week, gelling more and more as an alliance.

We already have our next contract lined up, and this one is going to be epic. I'm going to make a point of playing at least an hour every other night during this contract because I don't want to miss out on the stories this is going to generate. I'm also very optimistic about how much our performance is going to improve. I never really imagined not flying under a Noir.-fronted alliance, but I have to say that being in Mercenary Coalition is quite the dream.