The Fall of Floseswin

A Mammoth evacuating critical supplies from the front line of a factional warzone in EVE Online.

After a bloody and bitter months-long campaign of disinformation, infiltration, subterfuge and eventual overwhelming force, the Amarrians had finally regained control over a key solar system in the Eugidi constellation. Their tactics were admirable, I had to admit, having taken queues from warlords from millennia ago. The first wave was a wall of new recruits that flooded to the Minmatar lines. These were pilots with almost no employment history but seemingly plenty of experience; an obvious red flag to almost every recruiting officer without too much greed to vet. In truth, it was more difficult to tell which of the Minmatar organizations were NOT infiltrated at one point.

Effective communications broke down as bitter political discourse broadcast daily and nightly subtly became the norm, the most popular talking heads had finally pieced together the very beginnings of a narrative of explanation of the utter failure of the Minmatar to stem the tide of these seemingly inexhaustible enemy. Once the Amarrians had the ability to glean information about their enemies, Hannibal noted that they began strategically avoiding larger Minmatar fleets with greater efficiency than they had been before; Amarrians are typically and notoriously risk averse to some extent but were usually unable to maneuver throughout the various constellations with such surgical precision as they showed in the Eugidi campaign. There were multiple instances in which tactical information broadcast to the entire Minmatar Militia was immediately acted upon by the enemy without delay.

During the period in which the Amarrians were gathering information regarding Minmatar deployments and logistics, they simultaneously spread disinformation among Minmatar ranks. It eventually got so bad that most seasoned officers refused to use the dedicated channels, effectively cutting off the seasoned and experienced pilots from any legitimate new recruits, leaving most of the actually loyal, new Minmatar pilots completely at the mercy of the Amarrian disinformation campaign. Soon, previously recognized authorities were in constant disagreement with each other about whether or not to defend Eugidi as a whole, if the Floseswin system was even worth fighting for in the first place, and whether or not joining forces was worth any advantage or should the forces remain scattered and vulnerable. Throughout, I was impressed, if not annoyed, by the sheer coordination. Once he realized that the hearts and minds of Minmatar defending forces were under clandestine assault and that most Minmatar were unwilling to concede that fact, I ordered the Matari Liberation Front’s forces to evacuate the area, save a few absolutely mission critical materials and locations.

A Mammoth evacuating critical supplies from the front line of a factional warzone in EVE Online.

Over time, he was proven right. The Amarrians, with the aid of their numerous mercenary allies, captured the system on 22/4/121 despite a valiant, last ditch effort to defend by MLF-led forces. Many ships were lost, many crews were killed. Losses on each side were technically about even, but the Amarrians had the advantage of more numbers and more efficient logistics. In time, they claimed victory; without reinforcements the Matari defenders would fall, regardless of the tide of each skirmish. Although the solar system of Floseswin technically changed hands under Amarrian control, a small, decentralized cell of Matari dissidents still reside there, keeping a low profile, waiting for the opportunity to strike when the enemy is vulnerable…

Hunger

An excerpt from a long discarded journal, found among wreckage in a salvage yard. The initials on the leather bound cover read, in ornate golden letters: HD.

It’s been weeks since I’ve entered Factional Warfare. I’ve lost many more ships than I have destroyed and have not yet reached a level of equilibrium to sustain these efforts, although I have made slight progress to that end. I’ve developed a fondness for the Minmatar Navy frigate, the Republic Fleet Firetail. Of course, I’ve destroyed so many this past week that you’d just as likely assume that I have some deep-seated aversion to their existence. 6 firetails lost in a single week. And what have we learned?

Not much, actually. I didn’t exactly focus on target selection on the night that I lost most of these ships. In fact, I pretty much exclusively engaged ships that were designed to counter frigates. The Amarrian Destroyer-class Coercer was the main culprit. Never one to be discouraged, and foolishly valiant, I sacrificed crew after crew of those frigates that I thought I was so fond of, within minutes of each other, to the point that the enemy pilot lost all animosity and began offering pointers.

Now, as far as the lore goes, that’s a definite no-no; Amarrian and Minmatar fighters fraternizing is something I think I’d never see years ago around the time of my first encounter with Amarrians. Eve Online has changed, and I think it’s for the better in some ways. The community has become much less elitist toward those who are obviously either new or unskilled, whereas before there was a shocking embrace of psychopathic exploitation. This isn’t to say that there aren’t still plenty of anti-social types in EVE; they’re just a little more easily avoidable now.

I guess I did learn a few things from all of those countless digital deaths. First of all, I learned that Minmatar ships are typically more densely populated than their Amarrian counterparts due to less automation and therefore more of a need for larger crews, which reinforced my suspicions that Republic Fleet leadership is a proponent of various macabre practices of population control.

I learned that equipping microwarpdrives on EVE Online ships decreases capacitor capacity, thereby reducing the amount of time that ALL modules that require capacitor can be activated without some mitigating tactic. I chose a nosferatu unit (of course) to use a portion of my enemy’s capacitor to make up for my own cap gimping, and to put more pressure on the enemy’s ability to use their own equipment.

Over the course of the fighting, I also eventually gleaned that the best defense isn’t necessarily to even consider defense; that is, to focus on defensive capabilities during solo frigate PVP engagements can actually be a death sentence. I haven’t had a single fight that lasted more than 45 seconds, and usually the goal has been to lay as much damage onto the enemy as possible, as quickly as possible. Repairing damage is only important as a means to lay more damage on the opponent than he/she lays upon you. It may seem counter-intuitive at first to fly a small, vulnerable ship with the majority of optional modular space allocated for more and more firepower with very little left to defense, but after fitting a number of conservatively constructed frigates I am now assured that it is much safer to kill than to attempt to save one’s own skin to a fault. A small ancillary armor repairer and damage control are the only real physical defenses I found necessary in most cases. Eventually, I found that it’s much more important to try not to take direct hits if possible,to stay out of the optimal range of the enemy’s weapons, and to know when to withdraw.

Target selection in EVE Online is much more important than I gave it credit for. Although not all destroyers are off the table for frigates, some most certainly are. I had a much easier time destroying a Cormorant than a Coercer, and I imagine that a Thrasher or Talwar would’ve been much more difficult.

Experience plays a significant role in effectiveness. Pilots that are the literal scourge of wormhole space are more vulnerable in low security space. You’d be surprised how well you might do against an intimidating foe that’s out of his/her element. I’m not good at this game, but I was able to easily deal with a member of a corporation that is relatively well-known for their bloodthirsty, months-long wormhole campaigns with a simple Alpha alt in a t1 frig. The mechanics gave me the home field advantage, and I was able to outmaneuver him.

I also learned that sometimes you can do everything wrong and live just as easily as you can do everything right and die. There’s always someone just a warp away that does things just a little more right. Even if your target selection is perfect, the target might have a trick up his sleeve and lure you directly into a viscous dick-punch before you realize what happened.