December 8, 2015

Contract Recap: Taking The Initiative

Immediately after our last contract, Going East, ended in a bust, we packed up and moved all over again. You may notice, those of you who read Golden Crusade quite a bit, that being a mercenary involves a lot of moving. It's definitely a lot of what we do and certainly one of the benefits to longer contracts - not having to move again so soon after deploying.

Nonetheless, we packed up and moved to from Scalding Pass to Curse even before we had time to settle in. It wasn't a bad move for me since our logistics team handled the bulk of the ships and I just moved a few quick jumps in my Redeemer.

Once in place, we began working on the objective: remove The Initiative and Initiative Mercenaries Towers in Curse. We didn't expect a huge resistance since The Initiative live in Tenal and were currently involved in the police action in Cloud Ring. We began the contract officially on November 30. Just six days later we had completed the contract.

The contract result was more strategic in nature than anything. Our employer was apparently very pleased with the results that our actions precipitated. There's nothing better than making the guy with the money happy.

I was only involved in one really fun fight. We were in a fleet of HAM Cerberus and RLML Caracals - not ideal together, actually. The engagement ranges are not super conducive. We were attacking one of The Initiative's towers in stealth bombers when a member came in to restront it. Assuming he wanted the timer to come out in the ideal time for The Initiative, we calculated that if we reinforced now, it wouldn't put us in the best position to finish it off. So we decided to kite the shield, leaving it at 30%. We planned to come back every so often and hit it again and make sure it stayed low without reinforcing it, causing the timer to come out at a more favorable time for us.

The Initiative responded by bringing out a Naga fleet with Basilisks to repair the tower.  As I mentioned, we shipped into Cerberus and Caracals. The plan was to get right on top of them and brawl since we knew they had 425mm Railguns on their Nagas. There turned out to be an issue with that plan; there was a Gorgon Tempest fleet roaming around that was causing a lot of issues for us, as we could have potentially been sandwiched between the two fleets, likely dying a horrible death.

Eventually we were able to move quickly enough to avoid worrying about Gorgon and get a warp in on the Nagas right on their tower, landing inside their fleet with every ship about 15km from us. We bubbled them up quickly, before they could warp - even though they were aligned - and chewed through them.

The rest of my time was spent on towers which isn't typically the stuff dreams are made of. But hey, getting to sit on comms and hang out with some really cool people is a special type of fun that only we EVE players probably appreciate.

Now we're spending a few weeks on R&R, earning some ISK and spending a lot of time away from the computer, I'm sure. After the holidays are over, we'll immediately set off on our next contract which is already bought and paid for.

I'm preparing an update to The Current State of Mercenaries in EVE, and while it may not be all sunshine and roses across the board, I have to say that the grass is pretty damn green from this side.
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December 5, 2015

Contract Recap: Going East Turned Into Going Bust

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a contract recap for this one, because it's pretty short and not super interesting, in an explody kind of way. But, I think it's still a fairly interesting peek behind the curtain of being a mercenary, so perhaps a few of you may enjoy!

MC was contracted by Russians to defend Immensea from Drone Regions Federation. MC had contracted to this region once before in the past, before my time, and it turned into MC fighting TRI and SOLAR. Not an ideal place to be in! To avoid that situation, leadership spent some time making sure we were actually going to have allies in the area.

From a high level, our job was very simple:

  • Inflict maximum damage on DRF
  • Help retake lost systems
In practice, this means lots of roams, gate camps, and creating timers to keep DRF busy. It also meant augmenting allied fleets and taking the lead against strategic objectives. 

Unfortunately, it didn't pan out this way. Our logistics team pulled off a Herculean effort to move a staggering amount of supplies in record time - starting the day after our last contract ended. This was in preperation for the opening day of the contract on Sunday. As fate would have it, CCP and the internet had their own issues that day and laid waste to our plans. So, without a shotgun start, and because of poor timezone availability the next day (a work day, of course), a few things happened. I'll quote Seleene:

  • Red Alliance lost and did not recapture C-J6MT, their traditional ‘capitol’.
  • Since MC was contracted and began moving into position, RA lost another 16 systems.
  • RA lost a titan.
  • RA began throwing shade on their allies, tossing blame every which way.
A big chunk of that shade was cast at an alliance we had planned to co-ordinate closely with and, as a result, they decided they didn’t need the drama and are checking out.

Yet in all of this we had specifically negotiated a clause that stated our participation hinged on local support so we did not end up in an MC vs TRI, SOLAR and XIX situation similar to what happened the last time we came up here. With RA’s allies folding up their tents, that clause kicks in and, right at this moment, our current contract is null and void.

The silver lining is that the employer has asked us to remain in the area and explore other strategic options - some of which we've implemented as of a week ago. The entire premise of the larger contract was actually part of a much bigger vision and a long partnership, so while it was unfortunate things turned out this way, it was never intended to be a one off. We simply began on Step #2, as it were.

So there you have it. Going East didn't turn out quite like we expected - no one fired a single shot, technically. I suppose that makes this contract rare and unique in its own right, but between you and me, I hope we don't have many more of these!
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