Iron Sharpens Iron

More leaked sparring footage from a legendary training camp.

Personally, I don’t care who they put in front of me. I don’t care about their reputation. I don’t give a shit about their followers. They get in my ring and I’m gettin’ all up in that ass.

When I’m hungry I don’t pet the cow before I eat the steak. I don’t touch gloves before sparring if I know you got bitch in your blood. If you make it out of the ring, I’ll shake your hand. Otherwise, good luck with your recovery.

Reaching The Surface

After traveling to an unconquered planet, Hannibal is faced with the struggle of survival with little support from logistical supply lines.

Training is difficult. The barracks are tiny and cramped; mere tents in the jungle hidden in the shade of a skybreaking cliff. The geography is extreme here, with blistering heat in the starshine for 20 of the 48 hour days. It takes us half this day just to gather food and supplies from the trees all around and their plentiful inhabitants. Gravity is punishing here; everything feels heavy, from our supply packs to our actual bodies.

All manner of insect, lizard, and flying creature plagues us by the minute while the sun is high. At night, the insects and lizards get much worse. Every once in a while, we find a large, boar-like creature, with two long, straight, sharp horns jutting out from its crown. Unable to smuggle our rifles from the ship orbiting some 12,000km above, we resort to fashioning weapons from the exotic timber of this alien world. I’ve fashioned a club, heavy, with a weight on the end. I carry this with me every day when we forage; it has saved us from hunger many nights.

How To Play Solo In EVE Online

I have a small contingent of crew members to assist and help carry out my plans. This includes smuggling additional personnel to the surface of the planet from the automated customs office in orbit. We make other weapons and tools from the dense, oily bark of a strange tree so massive its branches break the clouds above.

Scouts have reported that there are people on this planet, somewhere, but we haven’t seen any with whom we hadn’t personally traveled. What there have been plenty of are magnificent beasts of every horrifying appearance you can think of, but nothing resembling a typically sized man or woman. In an environment of survival like this, instincts are honed, the belly becomes filled with exotic meats and fruits, and the mind is free from distraction to focus completely on any task.

White hot intention has illuminated every exercise. I spend every waking moment sharpening the skills that will protect me. Chopping wood for months on an alien planet has given me power and stamina. I feel good. I have little more concern for space politics while on this new world, save the customs office checkpoints. Once on the surface, we’re the only people in the geographical vicinity, whatsoever. It’s true that it’s difficult to get people down to us, but we make exceptions aside from Minmatar crew.

There are certain prisoners of war that we have captured and incarcerated who have become more useful since sparring partners are so scarce in this side of the galaxy. They’re fed well and allowed extra freedoms in the weeks leading up to their transport to the outpost. Once they reach the surface, they are retrieved by my crew and brought to the camp. With us, they eat well, they rest well, and they work a fair amount, as do the rest of us.

What Happened To The 23rd Imperial Crusade

The only difference is these prisoners of the Pendulum War have to fight me to determine their fate. They’re all given the same deal; if you can beat me in just 1 round, I’ll let you go free. It sounds easy because it’s supposed to. So they all take the deal, one after the other.

Because of this, I now have quite a few permanent residents on the surface in our fledgeling community. It’s only fitting that these former colonizing slavers are forced into inescapable servitude on a far away planet, cut off from the rest of their so-called civilization. I will set free whoever can beat me in a fair fight. None of them have come close.

So now, I have plenty of sparring partners from which to choose; my height, taller, shorter, bigger, smaller, southpaw, old, young; you name it. The best part is, even if I beat one of them really bad, and he needs to heal for weeks, he’s always welcome to another try. It’s the only way off this rock, as far as they know. We don’t even tell them what star this planet orbits. Nope. Amarrians are not for trusting; they’re for fighting.

EVE Online is a very old space mmo that spans hundreds of storylines.

They come in all shapes and sizes, and I can’t wait to drive my fists into as many of their sullen, downtrodden faces as I possibly can. They all want out of this colony and would likely say anything to make that a reality. I’m not taking it easy on any of them. Every time I call, they line up outside my gym, one after the other. The first few are always energized and motivated when the door to the sparring rings opens. I try to make an example out of that first guy.

If the second guy believes he can win still, he gets it even worse. By the time I get to the end of the line, some of them realize they just watched their most admired comrades defenseless as I beat their brains in with my bare hands in fair fight after fair fight. Oh, the expressions on those faces!

It’s a wonderful life.

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…

EVE Online Republic Fleet Firetail Solo PVP

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Since bullying mega-alliances solo in a t1 faction frigate is apparently my thing, I decided to keep the ball rolling by sharing the skirmishes leading up to the third flight of the Penetrator.
This is the kind of thing that makes the writers get all excited and quivery.

This here’s what they call a “pirate ship,” repurposed from a factional warfare fighting frigate. Instead of looking for 1v1 solo frigate pvp fights, pirate ships look for victims of opportunity.

Going deep into enemy territory solo is usually difficult to do in most regions, due to the residents guarding their stargates. With a handful of ships, restricting access to the systems for a single frigate is usually simple.

And for the solo frigate pilot in EVE Online, these gatecamps are brutally efficient. There’s usually a tiny window of opportunity to escape instant death.

Alone in a single frigate, I somehow managed to slip behind the stellar barricades and stab directly into the dirty, unwashed underbelly of Pandemic Horde.

And it stinks in there.

I didn’t really even do that much damage, or so I thought. A little time goes by, and I see some reactions:

Well I’ll be goddammed! I guess the whole alliance was overmatched against the big bad Hannibal wolf!

So I decided to go a little deeper and show the prequel to the Flight Of The Penetrator 3, lol, because fuck ’em!

Every kill counts!

It felt really good to kill a Rifter, and an Algos, and a Crucifier, and get away with each before Praxises, a Svipul, and an Arazu could catch me. Especially since they were all PH.

fly:
https://bit.ly/3pvZdtf

follow:
https://bit.ly/3hA2fYU

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.