Fight or flight (now with added spaceship)

Relived the tension of a PvP tournament today, with a little 2v2 T1 cruiser tournament organised by our friends over at the LONG AND HARD. [S0LID] corporation.

I don’t know what it is, but when I think about it, I’ve been leading frigate and destroyer fleets regularly into FW space without blinking an eye, but suddenly, knowing I am about to experience a 2v2 cruiser match, I get extremely tense. It was the same for the EDU 1v1 tournament. I feel like emptying my bowels from all orifices of my body, nauseous, grim, sweaty. It’s as if my whole body is concentrating super hard, but you don’t notice it, not until after a fight or when you have a break, and suddenly you realise you’re light-headed, your heart is pumping, and if you stand up too quickly you’ll probably black-out.

Unrelated picture of Bowhead, yeah!

Maybe I was the only sober one there, because that’s certainly how intense it was for me. However, I don’t think I was the only one. People were walking out for smokes, drinking their preferred alcoholic beverages, and as a result having to go piss it all out more than usual.

Something about knowing a fight is coming is so much more gut-clenching than wandering around looking for any fight that comes your way.

In those moments before the fight comes, the fight you know is coming, you find yourself in an incredibly focused, I’d even go so far to say tunnel-visioned state of readiness. It’s incredibly strange, in hindsight, trying to explain what occurs in those few minutes between warping to a designated team safe spot, and the time it takes for us to hit the arena, and the call is given for us to begin fighting.

It’s like… you’re being pushed by your own mind to start the fight and get on with the action. You can’t think of anything else except that you want to start shooting, something, anything, and trying to restrain that urge is like trying to dam a furious river. Your mind becomes an engine revving up to let loose; everything leading up to that moment becomes a narrow tunnel where the floor is one of those flat escalators like you see in airports that speeds you unrelentingly to your destination.

Well. I got a little worked up over that, but it’s not far from the truth. PvP… does that to you in EVE, sometimes. Why?

  • Death costs you ISK.
  • People are watching.
  • Particularly in a 2v2, your partner relies on you.

Those are three of the reasons. Then, at least in my opinion, you have one that makes EVE tournaments so thrilling. And that’s trying to guess what your opponents will field.

These days, drones dominate and Gallente ships are undisputedly popular in the tournament scene. Indeed, this tournament saw a hell of a lot of Gallente. We used Gallente to reach second place.

However, we were beaten by two sensor-dampening kiting Arbitrators. The Arbitrator is a good choice, of course, according to the drone meta, but not one we were expecting. All our rounds we fought with our trump card being the dual-rep Vexor, utilised because it’s so effective in 2v2 tournaments where its reps cannot be volleyed through so easily.

I assumed the finalists would want to bring close-range neutraliser boats; indeed, I assumed that’s exactly what the Arbitrators were fitted for when they landed on grid.

Except they landed at 150kms from us (they warped to 100 and we warped to 50 in a 100km radius tournament arena). I realised my mistake then, and the finals dissolved into a futile matter of trying to kill their combined 30 Valkyries whilst they sat at range until my ancillary repairer ran out of charges. My teammate, due to my assumption they’d use neuting boats, was in a Caracal fit with HAMs. Neither of us were optimised to kill drones, and we perhaps got through 10 of the 30 before we were both killed.

The beauty of EVE tournaments is that no matter how sure you are that your opponents have a certain setup, they can always prove you wrong. That, I think, is what keeps you sweating as you wait for the call to warp in the arenas. Because your setup is designed with strengths and weaknesses, and you can only hope the opponent’s weaknesses are your strengths. In our case, the other team managed to outwit us and pick ships that absolutely crushed us.

When flying in a fleet, there’s no care in the world; how could an FC possibly imagine up every possible encounter we’d come across?  A roam is carefree in that if you’re positioning properly, you can choose to deny a fight. Not something I personally do often, but I have done it. However, in a tournament, your fate is sealed.

Looking back, the nervous wreck I became (and the daze I was in after the tourney) during the tournament had me feeling as if I’m not going to do one again in a while, even though the guys at S0LID wanted to do these weekly. One day after though, and I’m ready for more. I seriously dreaded the wait before the fights, yes, but when it began, oh, it was magical. It’s like you’re released from a cage after being confined for years, and the PvP is all the more sweeter after the wait.

If you have a PvP-oriented group of players under your wing, I highly recommend some form of internal competition. Funnily enough, if your members can be convinced that it is worth shooting each other, and if prizes are supplied (perhaps from a buy-in cost like this one was), I feel as if these kind of activities can go a long way to building bonds if done correctly. It may not seem like it, but I find it is a good way to reinforce the mentality that it doesn’t matter how or where or to whom you lose your ship as long as you learn from it. These 2v2s can open eyes to the capabilities of ships that fleet fights or ganking could never achieve.

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I'm just a poor boy, but I'd like some commentary~

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