The worse thing you can do to a new player is leave them confused and lost in hostile territory whilst barking commands at the tattered remnants of your fleet after a whelping.
But that’s exactly what happened today.
I went into null-sec with some 10 pilots in armour cruisers, with logi and an interceptor scout, feeling confident, expecting some fun. We got into a few scuffles, didn’t kill anything, didn’t lose anything.
Then we got scouted out by Dirt Nap Squad, and they brought something like 30 pilots in interceptors, dictors, cruisers; there was a Raven somewhere out there as well. We were locked into a system, they started probing us down, I tried vainly to keep bouncing, and eventually I tried to get the fleet through a jump. Naturally, there were people on the other side. Perhaps we could’ve gotten away, but some of us would’ve been sacrificed. I didn’t want that, so I got us to burn back to the gate.
As we jumped through, we had probably drawn the aggro of about 10-15 of them. Hence, surely on the other side there would only be 10-15 people fighting us. We could’ve made a brave last stand, and perhaps slayed a few of them.
But I chickened out. I hate to admit it, but I called the retreat, in a horrible, panicky way that must’ve done absolutely no good calming my pilots. Goddamnit.
So we bailed and lost a few ships. I broke the spirit of the fleet in one foolish decision. Had we decided to fight together, die together, it would’ve been better on the guys. Dying in glory was, after all, what my fleets are known to be about. 😛
In the end, null-sec was a bit too new for me, bubble mechanics and dictor/interceptor spam, whilst not being the trump card that caught our fleet, made me overcautious and finicky.
So I had what was left of my fleet, including a newbie to the alliance in his little Atron. Here’s where I managed to make things even worse. I found us a route out that was 18 jumps through null-sec, hopefully leading us around the camps DNS must’ve surely set up to prevent us from escaping. I was calling the warps as we went, but eventually I checked that everyone had the same route as I set, and told them to go it alone, since we had our interceptor a few jumps ahead checking for danger. I felt it would be faster for the guy in the frigate to get out if he was not slowed by the warp speed of our cruisers.
I have fallen victim to the same blindness I have warned myself not to fall into. How was he to know if his destination was right? He’s probably never modified his destination before. Did I check? Nope. And if our positions were reversed, I would also feel I’d be getting in the way if I kept butting in, asking questions, making a fool of myself. I would’ve remained silent too. He ended up zooming straight back into a gate camp we avoided before whilst the rest of the fleet was heading in the opposite direction, and got podded, and logged off shortly after. I have never felt more terrible, ever. I was out of my depth, sure, but all he knew about the situation was that his FC had abandoned him, and he died as a result.
Next time, if I know our fleet is about to get crippled in a fight, I will take it and we will fight tooth and nail until every one of us is podded. I will spend the time that our fleet is jump cloaked to give a short, sharp speech about how our wrecks will burn with glory, and I will commit.
Today marks a day where I abandoned my fleet. I saw an enemy fleet, was simply overwhelmed by its size, and crumpled under the weight of the responsibility. Then, under the pressure of getting the rest of us out alive, I neglected to keep close the very pilot who needed it the most: the inexperienced newbie. I let him get lost in null-sec alone, got him podded, because I was too busy apologising for the whelp.
May this never happen again.