November 19, 2015

Mercenary Coalition Contract Recap: Ring of Fire

I blogged about this contract differently than I had any others. I didn't plan it, but what ended up happening was that I wrote more often about this contract than I usually would. Typically, I'd save everything for the contract recap, but that has its downsides. For starters, the information wouldn't be fresh on my mind any more. I would, however, have more of the overall story in mind when I was writing. Instead, I just wrote about what happened on a particular day, which ended up helping craft the story all by itself. I think I like this style.

Regardless, an official contract recap is in order.

After my last post, there really wasn't anything exciting that happened. Suddenly had all but given up. We took a few more towers and The Culture took the 1-3 station as intended. It was all very uneventful from our end, but that just means we did a hell of a job.

Needless to say our employer was very, very pleased.

And, well, that's it! That's the whole contract recap. Luckily, I do have a bit more information to share, although I can't go into too much detail at this point. One of the things you hope for as a mercenary is minimal downtime. Ideally, you'd go straight from one contract to the next without delay. This keeps the game exciting for us and gives us new challenges. Now, you do need some down time after a few back-to-back contracts, or you get burnt out. However, in reality it's quite that you'd have one contract directly after another. In practice, due to the way mercenaries work in EVE, it's more common to have to find your own content for a week or two between every contract.

Well not this time! Mercenary Coalition has already begun moving a very long way for a very big contract. This actually built off the success of our Ring of Fire contract. Had we done poorly there, we probably wouldn't have been offered this contract. That's the way it is, too: when you're doing well, you get more contracts. When you're doing poorly, you're offered less.

I haven't done one of these contracts in a long, long time (I'll link to the last contract recap I wrote where we performed this service in my next contract recap so as not to spoil anything), but it's going to be a blast. Well, it'll be a blast after the pain of moving is over. That's never fun thanks to Phoebe (but I promise I'm not complaining).

I'll also be dusting off some ships I haven't truly flown in over a year! That's always a special treat :)
Read More

November 17, 2015

Ring of Fire Simmers Down

Yesterday was a big milestone for the Ring of Fire contract. Unfortunately it was also a very uneventful day. One of the hallmarks of a successful regional assault contract is when the target just gives up and stops trying. Like I say, it's uneventful - downright boring, in fact - but it gives me a certain measure of satisfaction to know that we've taken things to the extreme, that we never left the result of the contract a question. That's what people pay big money for.

I was happy that the "big day" happened on the weekend at least. No more watching from the sidelines while the alliance rakes in all the klls and has all the fun! And despite the fact that there weren't any kills, I did have fun.

The objective of the day was the station in 1-3HWZ. This station was called "No Not Believing in Station", a not-so-subtle reference to the alliance Noir. founded after leaving Suddenly Spaceships. Perhaps they did so as a Bat Signal of sorts to call us back home, the desparate attempt of a pre-teen to flirt by teasing. Whatever the reason, they apparently didn't want us to dock in that station, renaming it to Onae'Takku'Tree (a racist pronunciation of the system - real mature, these guys) when they realized they had no hope of defending it.

We had seen Suddenly lighting a lot of cynos in 1-3, but we were hoping they were bringing stuff *in*, not moving it out. Alas.

Speaking of no hope, I mentioned that no one from Suddenly Spaceships, The OSS, or Pyschotic Tendencies were to be found outside of *any* station. They clearly had the raw assets, they spent two days trying to move it all. But they weren't interested in losing any more of it, I guess.

In the hope that we *would* see some action, we formed in our Ishtars that proved to be quite effective before. We spent a while warping around, trying to locate any potential fleets and to keep any scouts on their toes with our true destination. Eventually we just sat in a POS while our entosis ships finished off the system and the station. There were a few times when we scrambled to support an entosis ship from a solo aggressor, but they didn't stick around.

And just like that, with nary a whimper, the station was taken. 

The rest of the night was spent shooting at towers. We, again, had no resistence. We'll continue shooting at towers until the contract is completed, but I have a feeling there is going to be far less resistence.

No one said being a mercenary was all adrenaline pumping action. Sorry to burst that bubble.
Read More

November 14, 2015

Another Day, Another Dead Suddenly Fleet

Once again, my work has frustrated me to no end. I've had to sit there, quietly and fervently working on things that my company deems "important" while my alliance is getting into fantastic brawls, Maybe I should quit.

Today, the fight happened over another one of Suddenly Spaceships towers. this was an Amarr Control Tower Small located in 10UZ-P. Our theorycrafters and logistics pilots spent the day before the op putting together a new Ishtar doctrine for the alliance. It's pretty standard, but getting it all put together for 300 people is a feat to be applauded. Personally, I was a bit nervous because there was more than one person who said they hadn't flown one before!

But, my fears were misplaced, as I found out by constantly refreshing the killboard while at work.

Going back to the tower: it vaporized. No trouble at all. Suddenly didn't even try to contest it, or they didn't have time. Instead, they decided to camp our fleet out of LSC4-P with help from OSS using Sleipners and Hurricane Fleet Issues with Basilisk logistics.

After the tower died, our fleet warped to the LSC4-P gate and immediately burned away, dropping drones as they went. MC held at range for a while, just trying to see what the next move was going to be. After about a 15 minute stand off, our fleet burned back towards our drones to scoop them up. Suddenly decided this would be a good time to jump in.

Unfortunately for them, we were immediately able to burn away unhindered. They were suddenly in our optimal ranges, and while we took some heavy damage at first, once our tranversals were higher, there was no incoming damage.

We began melting through their fleet and they jumped in a Nidhoggur to try and keep up. Unfortunately, as the fight wore on, our drones weren't able to apply damage effectively, and were taking damage. The MC fleet warped off and back on to try and get into a better position. Apparently, during this interim, The Unthinkables arrived in Machariels and began alphaing through the remaining fleet.

It was already a done deal before The Unthinkables arrived, Suddenly admitting that we were breaking their reps. We only lost 4 Ishtars total, all near the beginning. We were in no danger of losing the fight at any point.

Here's the full battle report with the video from INK's point of view.I have to admit, watching INK's view is pretty awe inspiring. Their alpha damage is impressive, to say the least. I definitely do not look forward to being on the receiving end of that!

Shortly afterwards, we found a Barghest sitting on a tactical off a gate in A-SJ8X. Boom. And pod.

For some reason, while we had a 20-man fleet roaming 22 jumps away from our staging system, some Suddenly pilots decided to come to our home and talk shit. I'll quote them below, as the hilarity, irony, and hypocrisy of their hollow taunts can only be appreciated in their voice:

Khanadore > WAKEY WAKEY
Memphis Madagascar > they are big girls
Memphis Madagascar > only attack offline pos, as per their blog :P
Read More

November 13, 2015

Mercenary Coalition's Burning Ring of Fire

Mercenary Coalition has fully deployed on our current contract. This one has some history for me, and the rest of Noir., as the target is Suddenly Spaceships. I'll save the details of the contract for my recap, but needless to say this contract struck an interesting chord for Noir.

It'll be helpful to give some context. Let's start with the most recent bit of relevant information: a Suddenly Spaceships alliance meeting recording.

If you don't have the time, I'll quote Talladar from his Reddit comment:

07:30 SMA are helping us evict Horde
08:45 We are going to install renters into Could Ring
12:36 Some guy with downs “WHAT DO ABOUT FWEDDIT BEING BLUE”
13:00 Downs guy: what value does standings with Fweddit bring?
13:20 CEO: None, OSS made us blue them.
14:00 CEO: They helped us defend our space and gave us two money moons (makes sense)
14:10 CEO: I would like to remove them from Cloud Ring (Cooooold!)
18:40 SMA wants to evict Horde and give us their constellation
19:25 I want to build a small empire using 30 guys in bhaalgorns
20:00 Imperium will never hit our space
20:30 After Horde is removed we turn Cloud Ring into renter space to buy 40 bhaalgorns
25:00 We just want to play the game for fun frags (and apparently run a renter empire)
27:04 Apparently SS had a meltdown at the thought of losing their sov station. (Wouldn’t that be a shame…)
There is more but those were my highlights.

Station Name: No Not Believing  in Station
Secondly, Suddenly Spaceships is apparently very bitter about Noir. leaving them to this day. They've named their station after the alliance we formed after leaving Suddenly Spaceships and have sowed Reddit with some serious salt in the last couple of days.

I won't go into it all again, I've written on the absolute horrible management, embarrasing organizational skills, and outright shameful leadership style of particular members of Suddenly Spaceships in the past. And while Suddenly Spaceships apparently thinks about Noir. every time they dock, I like to quote Don Draper, "I don't think of you at all." Suffice to say, I don't miss a single thing about being in Suddenly Spaceships.

Nonetheless, someone apparently had a bone to pick with Suddenly and contacted us shortly after the meeting was leaked. Connection? Perhaps! I honestly don't know, but my speculation says there's something there.

Anyway, off we go! We had a couple of skirmishes with Suddenly that were very bad for us. I have no idea why some members of Mercenary Coalition are fighting frigates in Stealth Bombers, but they did and they paid the price multiple times. It was quite frustrating for me and the other late US time zone players since Suddenly Spaceships is so heavily EU focused. We're not able to get in on the good action and really pick fun fights.

But, luckily for us late US players, Suddenly does have quite a few POS in the area. Some of them offline, it turns out. We killed a small and a large offline tower without any response from Suddenly or the alliances they rely on to keep them safe, The OSS and TISHU.

This, apparently incited Suddenly into some sort of rage, and so they decided they'd take one of our towers too! And so they formed up 34 members of The OSS, 27 members of TISHU, and 26 members of Suddenly Spaceships in 27 dreadnaughts, 8 carries, and 46 battleships to take it from us.

In turn, we formed up 43 members of Mercenary Coalition. Athen switched back and forth between a few doctrines as more and more information became available. In the end a Cerberus doctrine was decided on. The plan was to coordinate with our POS gunner and take as much out as we could. The tower was worthless to us, and losing it meant absolutely nothing in the short term.

However, The Culture and Pandemic Legion had scouted the tower out already, it seems, and decided to come and pile onto it already. When they saw that OSS and TISHU had fielded such expensive fleets, they made the decision to come in with Rattlesnakes and kill them all. They weren't interested in the ISK our Cerberus fleet represented. In turn, they brought Pandemic Legion who arrived a bit later and helped secure the fight.

It was, frankly, a positive turn of events for us - and an unexpected one. In the end, we lost a tower worth 293M ISK and a few cheap ships. The others, combined, lost about 100B ISK. All in all, a pretty good day.

The full battle report can be found here, along with the footage from our perspective below.

Read More