While I’ve been playing just as much as ever, and writing about the new stuff coming in the expansion, I haven’t felt compelled to write about actual events in game for a little while, simply because it’s been pretty typical and straightforward shenanigans: small gang stuff every few nights, random solo stuff the rest of the time. Faction Warfare is a very interesting and sometimes frustrating environment; on one hand I feel as though I’d get more out of it if I were connected to some of the big established groups, but on the other hand there’s direct evidence that Sturgeon’s Revelation applies just as much to people as it does to anything else1, and I’m not sure I need to expose myself to that any more than I already am.2
Case in Point:
I went on a small gang roam last night, run by one of the really good guys I’ve run into — someone who’s a real pleasure to fly with and who always seems to have a fun fleet idea to try out.
Flying with him: a couple of his corp mates, and a cage of shit-flinging spider monkeys.
Now, normally, it’s not that bad. The fleet members list was about the same as usual, but for whatever reason — full moon, hormone imbalance, Ritalin shortage — this ancillary group of pilots (from a corp unaffiliated with the FC) have been particularly sub-functional lately.
But I grit my teeth and bear it, because I want to try out this new idea the FC has. The last few roams, he’s been asking for armor-tanked cruisers supported by a couple tech1 logistics ships (the exequror, which is currently a hairsbreadth above a joke setup, but receives a major facelift in a few months), and specifically asked if I could bring one of the support cruisers, which is a class of ship I’m well-skilled for and never really get a chance to fly.
Anyway: the evening didn’t offer up a lot of viable opportunities. The nature of the ships we were flying (support cruisers with poor attributes, combat cruisers press-ganged into remote-repair setups) and our numbers (ranging from 6 to, at best, 10 or so) meant that our window of viable targets was a bit narrow — potential opponents either warped away before we could get there, or seriously outnumbered us.
Still, we preserved, roaming around the war zone, looking for anything that would give us a good run.
(Side note: the tunnel vision that overcomes “healers” in any group activity is just as present in EvE as it is in any other MMO, at least in my experience. I couldn’t name one system we flew through last night, aside from where we started and where we ended.)
After a slow hour or so, people were justifiably itching for a fight, and everyone was pretty happy when a scout (one of our spider-monkeys) excitedly announced he had a war target tackled. The current fleet commander called for jump and we warped to the fight.
Imagine my bemusement when the overview loaded, and all I saw were two different shades of purple on the list of nearby pilots: the purple of my fleetmates, and the purple of fellow members of my militia.
The scout (also a militia member) was shooting one of the pilots in that second group.
Apparently, the spider monkeys had had some kind of friendly fire incident a few days earlier, resulting in a pilot from some other militia corporation losing a ship. Reparations were made, but in the end, the two corps decided to use the in-game system to declare war on each other, thus making each other valid war targets.
Let me repeat that (because I for damn sure needed it explained twice when I first heard it): faced with two different enemy militia to fight (whose pilot memberships collectively numbers a bit over fifteen thousand), these two groups within the same militia decided to start shooting each other over a 10 second friendly fire incident, some name-calling, and the loss of a single frigate.
I really don’t think that is how one successfully conducts a war.
Faced with this situation, I did what I’m supposed to do in a support ship, surrounded by friendly pilots taking fire: I locked up every ally I could and started repping anyone getting shot.
Yes, the “other guys” too.
I figure we were already well into the realm of Pants-on-Head idiocy, so adding a little more ridiculous behavior could hardly hurt.3
Eventually, someone decided to shoot me. I’m honestly not sure which side. Maybe both.
Upside: I got a lot of good practice flying support, and the ship loss was amusingly cheap.
And, not for nothing, having an excuse to drop fleet afterwards (when the FC called it a night) was something of a blessed release.
1 – There’s also a disturbing trend wherein the forces behind Gabriel’s Greater Internet Dickwad Theory manifest at such a high concentration in EvE that intelligent, well-spoken people who seem immune to this phenomena (while on Reddit, for example) turn into mouth-breathing frat boys the moment they log into the game and join a fleet. I’m embarrassed on their behalf.
2 – One of the nice things about wormholes? You are generally insulated from the 90%, except in small doses. Call that a plus. In faction warfare, I keep my local channel set so I only see who’s in the system (not anything anyone’s actually saying), and make liberal use of the ‘block’ chat function make other channels marginally useful.
3 – It’s easy to poke fun, but you must be careful when casting stones; stuff easily as stupid happens with head-shaking frequency throughout the game. Usually, the result is a lot more costly (which either makes it more or less funny, depending on who you ask.)