January 12, 2016

Contract: You May Not Realize It, but It Matters

I want to summarize and quote a post one of our FC's, Athen, made on the Mercenary Coalition forums earlier. It's a great example of how, as a mercenary, sometimes your actions have far reaching consequences that aren't immediately obvious. Sometimes, even if the killboard isn't lit up like a Christmas tree, the employer is still incredibly happy with results. Below I'm going to outline a situation that fits into that category.

During the EU timezone (I was at work, unfortunately), Mercenary Coalition formed up a large Machariel fleet. We formed to support allied forces who were hitting some timers in the likely event that CFC responded. A couple of things here, Athen mentioned it specifically in the summary he posted, and it's worth repeating; I'll quote him: "We really do have one of the best logistic wings out of all eve alliances." I won't spend too much on this, but it's absolutely true. I've mentioned time and again how much moving is involved with being a mercenary, and with an alliance this size Mercenary Coalition would absolutely fall apart if we didn't have our logistics group.

So, after the fleet was formed and bridged into place, Athen held the fleet a few jumps out in lowsec while our Blues began hitting the timers. Ideally, CFC would commit on the fleet that they knew about, hitting the towers, since we were still a secret. Sure enough, CFC bridged in ~200 T3s and came within two jumps of the target system, unfortunately we were scouted at this point and they decided to bail.

And that's pretty much it. That's all that happened if you look at it from the grunt's perspective who doesn't have the full picture. This is the perspective most of us in EVE have. Rarely do we get a peak at "5 skype convos and 4 in game convos + intel channels", as Athen puts it, which gives context. But since Athen has shed light on the rest of the situation, let's dig deeper.

First, it wasn't just us and the Blues hitting the timer that were involved. CFC had another 200 T3s in support ready to come in, but they were caught by NC. and rage camped in a tower in Venal before they could move. And even though CFC still had a total numbers advantage, having their support fleet crippled, coupled with our large fleet in support (our alliance alone comprised 33% of the combined Blue fleet), probably convinced them not to engage with their main fleet.

And that is exactly what we're paid to do right now: make targets not show up, make targets stay docked. Make them want to live somewhere else. Our employer couldn't be happier. He couldn't have imagined a better situation, even. Was it boring from a pilot's perspective? Sure, but to me, the best part about being a mercenary is seeing your contribution effect the overall game. Sometimes, you may not realize it but what you do matters a whole hell of a lot.
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January 10, 2016

Mercenary Coalition: Contract Start

Today officially marks the beginning of Mercenary Coalition's next contract. This is our first one of the new year after a nice holiday. This marks the ninth contract Mercenary Coalition has had since Noir. joined the alliance in August. For those of you counting, that's averages out to almost two contracts a month. In short, that's pretty good.

Of course, I can't talk about the current contract because of security (but I'll do a recap once it's all said and done, obviously!), but I also can't talk about it because I don't know too much! There was an alliance meeting on Teamspeak last week that explained the contract in some detail to attendees, but the meeting was not recorded and I was not able to attend. In addition, while there are usually very motivational contract announcements, there wasn't one this time . Intentionally, apparently.

I have to admit, I'm a little bummed by the lack of contract announcement. Maybe it's silly, and perhaps I'm just being cantankerous but I truly enjoy reading a well-written hype post that lets you know what you're going to be doing. It's also an incredibly useful tool for those of us who, like me, missed the one-time explanation meetnig and provides a great reference tool when you're a couple weeks in.

Nevertheless, I hvae the basic gist of this contract, which is essentially a Harrassment contract. Our employer is paying us to keep the residents constantly on their toes, kill what we can, and deny them any kills if at all possible. What this means in practice is that we'll be doing a lot of skirmishing, rarely - if ever - hard engaging, and spending a lot of time cloaked. Personally, I love this kind of contract.

Yesterday, technically the day before the contract started, I logged in and saw 23 people in Teamspeak and nothing happening, so I started getting a blomber fleet together to either BLOPs or hit some towers. There were a couple of towers that had already been scouted that looked juicy, so we began preparing for hitting a Gallente Small.

As we were getting ready to depart, I realized I had a business call in about 30 minutes, so I handed the fleet to Zeeba, one of our regular FCs. We bridged into the system and began hitting the tower. Zeeba had us align to the sun (remember guys, always align in bombers!). We hit the tower for a while, bringing it to ~75 shield, before a small Circle of Two response fleet began forming. They came to us on the tower and we cloaked and warped off.

Unfortunately, when you ask people to align towards the sun they often warp there, too. To make it worse, some pilots warped before cloaking, letting the Co2 fleet follow. Somehow they apparently managed to decloak a couple of guys and nab four kills and a pod.

Around this time my business call had not shown up, so Zeeba handed the fleet back over to me. We hung around in system cloaked up for a while until the Co2 fleet left system. We began hitting the tower again, this time everyone aligning out to their own celestials.

What followed was a series of dances with one another: MC hitting a tower, Co2 responding with a Crow, Ares, Vengeance, and Confessor, MC cloaking up and warping off, only to repeat.

The Confessor was a surprise, locking and hitting from 100km. With no point, we were able to avoid it easily enough. At one point, we had been warping around a bit and I had just moved the fleet back to a POS to begin the dance. Just a bit after we had landed, a Vengeance came as well. We were all still cloaked about 40km away from him, so he wasn't aware of our presence. Surprisingly, he was about 10km outside of the shields and was at a full stop. So, I ordered the fleet to approach cloaked and get point. I kind of screwed the pooch, decloaking myself before our points were in range, but it ended up not mattering. I ordered the fleet to decloak and light him up, and due to having no tank, the Vengeance went down before he could even align out. We nabbed his pod, too.

It had already become pretty clear that we weren't going to be able to take the tower down, so with that kill I decided to go ahead and get out while we were ahead. Well, at least before we got more behind.

Overall, nothing special. It's always fun to fly, and even more fun to FC - even a small, easy fleet like this. Next time, we'll bring a Rapier and Falcon and I'll be comfortable taking on their response fleet and hopefully finish the tower.

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January 9, 2016

Mercenary Coalition is in the Perfect Place

I have to admit, I've had a little to drink tonight. Nevertheless, something came up in Teamspeak that I thought would be worth talking about a little. As the title says, I truly believe Mercenary Coalition is in the perfect place in EVE right now.

Let me explain. A few years ago, I wrote about the Current State of Mercenaries in EVE. One of my all time most popular posts, I reference it a lot. This is partly because it was a very relevant post, and partly because it speaks to me a lot. Being a mercenary is obviously my favorite part of EVE and one that I associate with greatly. So why is MC so perfectly placed? I'll be happy to explain.


For one, Mercenary Coalition is lacking nothing in content. We're always on deployment, which is good for a mercenary (up to a point - everyone needs a little down time). This means that employers are approaching us with ISK - and lots of it. This tells me that mercenaries are in demand in EVE, and the supply is definitely low. We're well positioned to accept these contacts due to the last year of work in building the alliance in terms of members. Now we have the pilots to take on large contracts that people are paying for.

I haven't done an in-depth dive into the amount of content that's been created due to recent Sovereign changes, but anectodely, there seems to be more activity in nullsec. As I mentioned before, a mercenary's true work is in null sec. If people are envious of owning their neighbors null sec system, there will always be a demand for mercenaries. 

Thus, it can be surmised - although not proven - that there is more content in EVE being generated than, say, in the last year and a half that makes mercenaries desirable.


Similarly, it's great timing for Mercnary Coalition to be making a comeback. With sovereignty changes and many other improvement in EVE, it's a great time to be a mercenary. Whenever large, major shake ups happen, corporations and alliances will call in backup. As I mentioned before, the last time this happened was when Dominion was released. Unfortunately, that died down drastically as people realized that you basically had to be part of a major nullsec alliance to make a difference. Hopefully that won't happen this time.

New Blood

This is an interesting one. One of the corporations in MC recruits heavily from EVE Uni. I've personally given lectures to EVE Uni, and we've put some focus on EUni in the past, before I was CEO of Noir. Academy. Yet, we've never seen any positive response. Yet, License to Kill [007] has seen great success from recruiting EUni pilots. There are quite a few reasons for this, but the point is that by drawing in new characters to the mercenary career, it actually gains us a net positive.

People often join a mercenary corporation alliance or corporation with idealistic dreams in their head for what being a mercenary is life. Often times, they're disappointed by reality. This isn't anything to be ashamed of and in Noir. we certainly don't hold any grudges against people who realise this lifestyle isn't for them. But, in practice, this isn't uncommon. However, by utilizing deep connections in an established new player organization, MC is adding members to the ranks at a fairly stable rate.

Without all of these things combined, it would be very difficult for MC to excel in EVE. But, luckily, it's actually a pretty good time to be a mercenary. Things have changed since I started, of course, and things will continue to change. But, as the old saying goes, adapt or die.

MC is adapting. MC is thriving.
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