Regardless of the game, I’ve never been particularly drawn to stealth classes. Rogues, Burglars, Assassins… you know the type. The long setup. The slow creep. The careful maneuvering. The final violent burst of action that was, for all that, almost anticlimax to the preparation that got you there.
I could do it well enough. I just didn’t enjoy it all that much, or at least not as much as I did other possible options. I got my ‘single bullet kill’ achievements in Hitman II, but there were at least as many missions where I crashed the game because the engine couldn’t render that many dead sprites at the same time. That one where you dress up as the fireman? With the axe?
Which brings me to wormholes.
About a year ago, I started to get… itchy, when it came to living in a wormhole full time (which I had been doing for roughly a year and a half). As interesting and inspiring as blogs like Tiger Ears were (and continue to be), I found myself increasingly dissatisfied.
To be fair, wormholes aren’t for everyone. Wormhole living requires a lot of specialized knowledge about certain areas of Eve: the perpetual scanning; the living out of a player-owned-starbase that feels like camping full time out of twenty-year old modular tent with missing pieces; the ritual-and-requisite paranoia. No, it’s not for everyone. It’s not even for most.
But that wasn’t really my problem. I’d just gotten tired of playing a stealth class.
There are certainly examples of other kinds of combat that happen in wormhole space, but day to day, for most pilots, that’s the exception rather than the rule. In the life of a dedicated wormholer, pvp is about finding a target and, having found them, doing something with that knowledge before they know you’re there.
The slow creep. The long step up. The careful maneuvering. The final burst of action. Stealthy stuff. It had taken me awhile to recognize it, but when I did it was a bit obvious.
So I left.
Well, Ty left, anyway, and CB decided to come with me. The wormhole stayed just as active as it had been, but we were off to explore other options, which led to Gambit Roulette: our foray into Faction Warfare.
Gambit Roulette: A convoluted plan that relies on events completely within the realm of chance yet comes off without a hitch.
If your first reaction to seeing the plan unfold is “There is no way you planned that!”, then it’s a gambit roulette.
The reason for giving the corp this name was straightforward: I didn’t know what I was doing. Anything that looked like intentional success was obviously going to be, in truth, blind chance.
The first month of the corp’s existence wasn’t exactly draped in glory. I think we destroyed two enemy ships and lost seven.
I did a lot of solo flying in the months that followed, and managed to turn the kill/death ratio around, though never by any particularly stunning amount. 21:7. 18:4. Then right back down to a mediocre 11:9.
Through the early months, I was struck by the fact that, while there were obviously many groups flying around the warzone, I wasn’t *in* them, and getting in — becoming someone known and trusted — was going to take time.
“How’s that faction warfare thing going?” asked my buddies in the wormhole.
“Pretty good,” I said, and it was true, for all that I mostly on my own. “There’s always something to do.”
“Nice,” came the reply. “Maybe I’ll bring an alt down and join you or something.”
“Sounds cool,” I said, because it did, but at the same time I thought: I need to pave the way for my friends — to find the way into the good groups, and learn which are the bad groups — so they don’t have to do that slog work.
Something of a breakthrough came in that next month, as a veteran FW pilot I’d flown with a couple times invited me to a channel he seemed to use to sort out newer pilots he thought were worth the time.
He got me in my first fleet with the Order of the Black Daggers, a group of pilots who had fun, didn’t get too riled up when things got hard, and (most importantly) had a good leader and times when they regularly and reliably “did stuff.” I was happy – thrilled, really – to fly with them. Gambit Roulette ship losses per month increased by a factor of three; ship kills increased by a factor of six.
More importantly — FAR more importantly — I had found a group of good people to fly with. If my friends from the wormhole ever decided to check out this Faction Warfare thing (they did, and not on alts), I could simply say “these guys are with me,” and that would be that. (And it was.)
First, we were two.
Then another guy joined us. A stranger, though someone who’d read the blog, started in a wormhole, and wanted to try something else.
“If he wants in the wormhole,” CB said, “hell no. But if he wants to come out here? Sure. Blood for the blood god.”
Then our old corp mates joined us. Em and Div and Shan and the rest, with a few particularly dangerous souls staying behind to keep the lights on back in Anoikis and destroy the unwary.
We joined Daggers in their alliance – Ushra’Khan – and joined the fight for the Eugidi constellation: the first time the war really felt like a war and not a roaming free for all.
After days of fruitless efforts to find an Amarr opponent, Em got a fight with a neutral pilot in a complex — a guy who just wanted a fight; wanted to try something new in the game.
“Recruit him,” I said.
“Already talking it over with him,” he replied. “Going to get his buddy in here too.”
That recruited pilot got in on a Titan kill a few weeks later.
We have our up months and down months. January was quiet, with many of us traveling.
February, which saw two new pilots join — former wormholers looking for something different — was not quiet. Record number of ship losses, and if the number of kills didn’t spike by quite as much, we’ll chalk that up to the learning curve. We still destroyed as many enemy assets as I did the month I started flying with Daggers.
More importantly — far more importantly — we’d found more pilots we really clicked with.
And suddenly it’s now, nine months since this thing started, and we are the small group of pilots “doing stuff” on most nights.
This month, halfway through, we’ve nearly doubled the value of destroyed enemy assets from last month, with half the losses. Ignoring that crazy titan kill, it’s already our second most productive month, behind only the Eugidi war.
And best of all, it’s fun. It’s fast.
And we rarely need a cloaking device.
The five-character Corp ticker for Gambit Roulette is IMPRV.
Some people read that as “Improv” and assume we’re just making things up as we go.
Some people read it as “Improve” and think we’re all about trying to learn and get better.
I think: Why not both?