Should be writing an entry for the Pod and Planet EVE Fiction Contest but I’m writing this post.
Today, I took part in an alliance cruiser fleet today.
We were beaten hard.
We had a 14-man Caracal fleet, including a Keres, Bellicose, 3 Scythes and an Executioner for support.
They had T3 battlecruisers (Talos), battlecruisers (Ferox, Drake, Gnosis), shield logistics and ECM (Rook, Falcon iirc).
One of their guys came into comms to apologise for bringing the ECM, and that act led to me writing this post.
Apologising for winning a fight? What the hell is going on there?
Actually, that’s not quite right. What really got me was that when one of our guys asked him what we could’ve done better, he only had one suggestion: we run next time.
That really hurt; it was the last thing I wanted my pilots to hear. It’s the easy way out, and that’s not how I roll.
I don’t blame said person for telling us all we could do is escape, though. It implies that we did our best and the fact of the matter is we couldn’t win. But that was not the case at all. We could’ve done things differently, so by saying we should’ve ran, either he didn’t care to tell us how to beat them, or he actually didn’t know what the hell was going on during the fight.
Here’s how I saw it:
We fought on a gate, hoping they’d take gate guns. They jumped into us, we were orbiting at 18kms. They engaged first, and our pilots immediately primaried the Talos that went suspect. That was probably the one thing we did well.
The fight was lost because we fought within range of their T3 battlecruisers. This was the crucial, deciding factor. Why oh why did we engage them on their terms?
I was not FC so I was gritting my teeth when we were deciding where to position initially, because we had all the time in the world to. I made suggestions, but that was all.
This fleet, actually, made me realise just how much I’ve become used to being in command. I found myself biting back commands that were different or sometimes totally against what the current FC was saying many times, and sometimes I even uttered the words, creating confusion. God, I wish I could shut my mouth sometimes. I think muting myself next time will be necessary when I am not FC. Power creeps, and it’s got me in its hold now.
The fleet liked the idea of gate guns on our side. I didn’t like the idea of losing the advantage a Caracal fleet had over most opponents; range. We should’ve been burning for the sun. I refrained from uttering a command at all, though, and only suggested it when I felt the time was right for us to pull range. This was at the moment that a scout spotted the enemy fleet in the adjacent system. The FC remained silent.
I decided to be a bit more forceful. Too late; the enemies had jumped in, and half our fleet died to their close-range high-dps ships, and we got nothing to show for it.
A shield Talos with perfect skills, two tracking enhancers and Null ammunition can hit to about 40kms. Optimal is 15kms.
A Ferox once again with perfect skills can probably get blaster optimal to 10kms if not sacrificing tank entirely.
A HAM Caracal with average support skills can hit to 24kms. With Rapid Lights, that’s increased to about 45kms, outside the range of the Talos entirely.
And yet we orbited at 18kms off the gate. Hostiles jumping in are already 12kms away; they can end up within 6kms of our Caracals.
Apparently, our only option in that fight could’ve been to run. Bollocks. We did not fight how our fleet was meant to fight, as unswattable flies stinging the enemy at the extremities of their falloff ranges. Their Talos’ should’ve been scratching us, their Feroxes should’ve been out of range. The only things that should’ve hit were their missile boats; easily repaired by our logistics.
Had we established that 20kms between us and them, it then would’ve been a case of keeping our fleet together whilst we dragged theirs apart. In this regard, I fear we would’ve messed up due to the varied propulsion modules we had equipped.
The point is, I knew exactly what went wrong there, and it was a matter of improving our skills, situational awareness, and control of the battlefield.
It was not a matter of running from a fight we couldn’t win, OR having bigger ships around so we can just one-up any enemies we come across. Because if that was all PvP in EVE came down to, I wouldn’t still be around.