29 January 2017

Lessons of Auga



Consequence.


Hello. It has been some time since I have written a blog post. Most of you that come here will be eve players. To help you orient yourself - edeity blogposts are NEVER about one thing. This one for instance will have a lot of eve content in it, because that is what has been happening for me lately. But I also will likely explore management theory (I am a management consultant IRL and find this interesting), music, videos, movies, books, coffee, raising kids and so on.

Now when you come here looking for ALL PEW PEW ALL THE TIME for eve, you will be disappointed, it is mixed in with the rest. If your not into a broad range blog that is also a lot about eve, your in the wrong neighbourhood.

So lets start with the elephant in the room.




So Amarr Militia had been building up to retake Auga. It is the Minmatar last major stronghold in the warzone. Amarr had captured nearly all systems, logistics of getting ships ready, and discussions with alliance leaders had been occuring.

Now for a minute here, we are going to have to delve into the personalities involved and who's who in the zoo.

First off, I am not a major leader or mover and shaker in the militia. Lets make sure everyone knows this. I run a very small corp, mostly play in AUTZ - when everything is quiet, hence little fleets and few kills. But I have a voice, and have been around a long time, so am a known name.

Now for people who actually matter:

Mira - has a ...checkered history with Amarr Militia. Has recently returned, and brought with him an entire battleplan, a group of pilots, and a seemingly large supply of isk. The Man with The Plan. Whilst has been in and out of Amarr FW a bit, not considerd real Amarr FW Old School, mostly because he has not stuck with it when times were tough and there are assertions of collaboration with pirate groups against Amarr.

Templar Dane - been around Amarr Fac war longer than me. PVP Killing Machine. Runs a small tight knit alliance of very skilled operators.


RudeX - I war decced him once over the cretinously incestuous relationship many of the old timer Amarr have with Predator Elite. Little group of corps, very hard hitting in pvp, but their political influence is not just waning, almost extinguished. Basically useless unless they are in the mood.

Tristan DaCunha - former founder and ruler of DNG that ruled the Warzone for Amarr. He has been building back up from scratch with a small but growing gang of highly skilled pvp. Just his corp of around 10 outperforms most Amarr alliances for combat effectiveness. I typically run with them during USTZ. Recently he got control back of the Local Is Primary alliance [CTRLV], which my corp Holy Amarrian Battlemonk joined.

Errestrian - I kicked his ass in pvp competition. Just gotta say, but I was shitting bricks before the fight. Errestrian runs the Koreans. The Koreans, if ANYBODY has been the big difference makers this cycle of "the pendulum" of Amarrs ascendency. Organised, numbers, doctrines, disciplined, skilled, and making jokess on comms in Korean the whole damn time.

CVA - their major contribution has been awoxers, and threatening a member of my corp to quit or they will take all his mains assets in Providence. Nice guys. Go die in a fire. OH NOES THE WRATH OF CVA is as limp wristed as ever. Go kill some more sansha battleships already.


Another important influence during this time has been the advent of Alpha clones. This saw an influx in recruitment to the militia in general. Black Armada, under nominal leadership of Mira took in a large proportion of the new members. I myself got a few, but found they were less than 1 in 10 useful. Its not about skillpoints or ships they can fly, its about attitude and willingness to make sacrifice, take losses, contribute. learn. I have literally just minutes ago kicked 13 members from my corp for being inneffective.

This did however lead to a perception disconnect.

Black Armada arrived on the scene, as the Militia was already in an upswing and taking systems. Yes the additional numbers for plexing did help. But whenever there was resistance, real resistance, they melted. The other groups would be the ones that actually did the heavy lifting. We would have 20 man fleets running from a small gang, and 3 or 4 guys from one the hard experienced groups would then come and sort them out.

But it became trumpeted around the warzone that Black Armada is the reason we are winning, and a lot of praise in many places for their great strategic leadership.

This continued, until we reached the point it was time for the last big final pushes. Time for Auga.

I had released a a Youtube to announce the arrival back in the Warzone for CTRLV, you can see it here if you're super bored:


Local Is Primary Announcement

Now Mira quite liked it. And he had a good idea, which I still think is a good idea, which was to create some propoganda for when the Auga assault is announced. I agreed, spend some time thinking about the themes, and how I wanted to put it together, and then spent a day building it.

I quite like the video that resulted, probably one of my best yet.

If you're like the one person who has not seen it, you can view it here:


Operation Reclaim Auga

It was built nearly a week in advance, with the GO date for Auga TBD by Mira. Then he gave me a firm date, and away we went. Reddit, Twitter, Eve Forums.

I would say the campaign from a marketing perspective worked, its definitely the highest watched video I've made (no, not enough for making the dank internet monies). Twitter is pretty much dead. Its like a bitchier, smaller audience version of Reddit. InterGalactic Summit forum in the the eve forums is the usual 10 people making snide comments as they still debate their fan fiction novel they are going to write. I call them a knitting club in a later post on there. But we shall get to that.


Now I've had a couple of major Issues with Mira over the times he's been in Amarr militia.

First off, people that don't listen to intel being shouted at them that is verry relevant for their fleet survival, well, thats something I care about in an FC.

Also the fact that every time I would a join a fleet he ran it would either achieve nothing, or die in a fire horribly, but he would have achieved something he wanted.

The allegations of kill feeding pirates, and can see potential merit from what I had observed before. Ok I'm being too polite. I felt the he sure as shit was feeding Amarr militia pilots into pirates for the slaughter. But he has not obviously been that bad this time.

But mostly it was that his strategies to me lacked sophistication needed.

War is the art of subterfuge. Of deception. The closest to that was always "if we run into a problem, I'll drop some carriers on them".

This approach of N+1 - massing concentrated numbers works for basic shifting around the warzone to take plexes - but it is HIGHLY inefficient even at that. I had at some point done comparisons of my personal performance for plexing and pvp - and found that I was regularly outperforming in both at the same time of day solo, compare to their 10-20 man gang.

So yeah, did some stuff, made a dint in the warzone, but claims of being the driving force doesn't stack up with observation.

Now it's important to get a picture of Mira, because he is a big influence on the Amarr side at present. Which gets me to my last gripe.

The problem with Black Armada is not that they are bad, its that no one else can get a word in because they won't STFU about how they are doing it all. Seriously comms are a nightmare. I fucking got asked who I was and what my corp tag on comms was - by the big cheeses of Black Armada. Fucking know your history if your going to claim that your the authorities.

I'll bet they will fucking remember [AMONK] and [CTRLV] in the next few days. But more on that in a minute....


Now all that said, there is big strengths to Mira, which I actually admire. He is big picture, and he sees what is need to string many of the pieces together to make shit actually happen. If he only had integrity and honesty to go with it, and recognised using more of others strengths rather than doing it all he would achieve a lot more.

But props on this. This is actually very hard. We actually need a Mira or two.

Now lets look at how the Auga campaign unfolded.


AUGA DAY 1


So I went a few hours early with the media campaign. 8am my time, usually coincides with America winding up its day, with space to get sufficient upvotes to hit front page of r/eve by the time the bulk of American's start logging in.

Faction war posts as a rule fair poorly on reddit. Some dipshit making an inside joke about his condor gets 300 upvotes because nullsec, but a major event for fac war will regularly go into negatie territory. On top of this from experience I have learnt to not post things in AUTZ for reddit. Aussies generally are negative, even more pro-null sec and even more hating anything not null-sec or cute newbro's. Basically faction war posts get slaughtered on Reddit depending on time of day posted.


Proceeded to spend the morning at work, in front of my uber screen (same as I now have at home for eve).


Watched the drama slowly unfold on reddit.
Got the distinct impression Minmatar just thought I was doing a usual shitpost.
Campaign hadn't really taken off yet,

Leave work a little early. Come home. Boot up machine. Reminded yet again how much I love SSD's.

Form up Battlemonks that are on. Open fleet up to militia.

My plan is to roll in heavy to start with. I know that the Minmatar will have serious ships available in their staging system and could totally smoke us without hesitation. But I'm trying to draw out what they are willing to undock as it starts heading into AUTZ.

We reach Dal, set people up on the Fortizar there. Then some guys jump into comms, with urgent needs for assistance.

We zip around. Kill a few ships. Lose a few smaller ones, but we are way in the positive in numbers and isk.

At this point I've lost control of the fleet. Basically the new guys have been talking over the top of everyone, and because no one else is saying anything, assume there is no FC of this fleet so obviously they need to step up.

I downgrade my ship. Experience of this scenario knows exactly how this plays out.

We start dying a lot more frequently.

At this point most of the fight - 80% or so are with Pirate gangs, mostly DHSJ - THANKS RUDEX YOUR FRIENDS ARE AWESOME GO FUCK YOURSELF.

The occaisional Minmatar we completely dust,  we even get a few DHSJ kills which is nice.

Tempo of engagements slows down, I've moved to my PVP Stratios to sow fear and annihilate isolated targets of opportunity.

Koreans come online.

A lot of hurrays.

Errestrian arrives, sets up a fleet. We disband, join the Koreans.

Now fleeting with Koreans is ..... interesting. Baically it involves lots of Korean, then some very clear english, a lot of english speaking pilots conjecturing on what the f they are talking about, and then City Cadelanne THE DOG KILLER saying hello and making a joke or two.

Once you get used to it, its kinda cool, although I noticed a few people couldn't handle it and dropped fleet quickly.

We rolled with the Koreans, who were using cheap as s^$%^ Merlins with logi support, and handing them out free. My merlin later died in a legit fair 1v1 against.... A MERLIN.  Goddammit.

Errestrian ran his fleet for at least 12 hours. I went to bed 5 hours after DT. When I woke, had a cup of coffee, pretended to tell the other half I gave a crap about her, they were still going, so I joined.

AUGA WAS PLEXED UP TO 16.5%

Hot damn. Apparently it had been higher, but Minmatar had been putting up resistance.

AUGA DAY 2

Black Armada takes over from Errestrian.

A mix of strategies are used - but all revolve around cheap ships for lowest common denominator.
Personally, from experience of the situational awareness of being in prior Black Armada fleets, I will either be also in a cheap ships (urrrgghhh) or have a ship capable of independant operations. Which means Stratios or my new favourite toy, Navy Harbinger of which I had 4 in system ready to die.

I do go in as a foot soldier a few times with the bulk of the Black Armada fleet, but we keep getting dunked hard. We ship up. We ship down. I fly Augorer and repair dying ships, and end up being the only Aug to get out alive.

One highlight was being cloaked in the Stratios. It's set up to tackle close, with dual webs, basically if it grabs you, your screwed. I also have Cloaking V... yep I'm that guy.... Anyway. a Naga decided he wanted to play sniper. Except he lands not far from me - when you in cloacky like this, you take risks in where to be - ideally where they are GOING to be and sit there patiently. Anyway, decloak, yell on comms TO EDEITY TO EDEITY, tackle, web, drone him to death. Boom.

RIP USHRA'KHAN NAGA

Now these sorts of kills are a small thing - BUT they affect the psychological readiness of the enemy. He was maybe the 5th solo operator I had killed cloaked at some random location while they were stalking the main fleet - it changes their risk assessment not just for them but all the others as well. This protects the main fleet by stopping fights before they start. Important tactical stuff for this bigger scale long running engagements.

But the main fleet, for their part kept just upping the tempo of suiciding into the minmatar fleet.

Minmatar now had numbers, and better ships even if the same class.

On our comms there was talk that we are winning the isk war because one of their firetails is ten of our merlins. For me, as soon as someone starts saying their winning because of isk, that means we are losing. Systems dont give a shit what your bank balance is after. Just who captured it.

AUGA CAPTURE STATUS 14%

I play footsoldier. Escape some mass death from Ruptures and mass death from Firetails.

Our strategies are not changing.And are not working. The only plan we have is KEEP ADVERTISING IN MILITIA.

Hmmmm.....


Time to go to the Cinema, drink a lot of beer and be served pulled pork sliders and these awesome cocktails while watching Rogue One. Noice.

Come home. Fool around with missus. Pass out drunk and exhausted with Buffy The Vampire Slayer playing in the background (my missus has... specific tastes).

*bleep*

an alert on my phone.

Tristan daCuhna: CTRLV #general @edeity the time has come, civil war!

Wake up. Bolt downstairs. Login.

AUGA 0%


OMFG.

Overnight however Dal next door had been finally taken, which is something.

I start moving ships out of the Black Armada Astrohaus.
Bit of chat with Tristan.

Yep ok. Lets do it. They need to learn, and as they dont' listen and talk the fuck over everyone, we will find another method of communication.

I start on the poster.

Tristan starts on the War Decs.


WHAT NEXT?


In strategy, there is a saying "It is better to fail at a good strategy, than to succeed with a bad one".
Amarr militia is in this exact space right now. It's biggest problem is itself.

So we are declaring war on Black Armada. It is not because we want some pvp targets, it is not because we are awoxxers. It is because the militia needs to be shaken up.

Will we destroy Black Armada? No. There will be a time after this when we will need to work with them again.

What could we possibly hope to achieve? We need to show the loud mouthed tough talkers who shit up comms, take over fleets and generally cant kill a small gang of frigates that we don't give a shit how tough they talk, they need to show it in action.

What this in turn does is help the rest of the militia that has been only fed one single narrative lately that there better more effective ways to operate that don't involve dependency on one single person.

Are we worried about getting squashed by an alliance an order of magnitude larger? lol.



28 July 2015

Ship Fitting for Mad Bastards 101

aka My experience being in Oceanic Assault




So I'm in this competition thing called Oceanic Assault. http://oceanicassault.com/
I dont work for them, so not here to plug them. I'm just in it.

It's a 1v1 Tech 1 Cruiser duel. Every 2 weeks there is an elimination round. The finals start next round.

Now the challenge with this, is that it is a fair fight. Only T1 Cruisers, T1-meta-T2 modules. All implants, all drugs acceptable. No faction anything except ammo. No faction drones, no Gecko's.

No Links.

When I read the rules when this popped up on reddit, I went, shit, this is the competition I have been training for my whole eve life. For every minute of every day my competition has been in fleets blobbing with their links and logi, I've been out there, solo dying, learning, dying and learning to finally find new ways to win.

Cool. I thought I could win a round or two at least before I ran into a hardcore PvP'er and got obliterated.

Something like 128 players or so joined in on the comp. Lot of fights were going to be had.

They drew the random draws for who you get to fight for the first qualifying match.

Bam Stroker vs. edeity

FUCK.

Bam is well known. I wanted to try recruit him ages back when he was in low sec to be my AUTZ PVP champion. He was now in Van Diemens Demise, in PL. FUCK. Also if not THE at one of the most well known AUTZ pvpers.... oh well. Here goes.

Now the meta for the first round was unknown. Lots of theories. My thoughts were that vexors and Caracals would dominate the field, and a few odd asymmetric fits.The problem with t1 cruisers it is VERY paper rock scissors. If you go with something there IS a counter to it. If you go generalist fit, you will die to most specialist fits.

So I went with an extreme asymmetric fit. Heavy Beam Slave Implant Sensor Boosted no prop mod Maller. 85k ehp. But my tracking was shit. But I could hit at 100km. That'll do Red, that'll do.



Fights at this stage were not being streamed, so no one knew what was happening besides text commentary after the fights. nerve wracking.

I'm up. Say something polite to Bam. Fleet with the referee. Undock. No drugs.

At this point what do? I can warp anywhere from 0 to 70 from the Ref, Bam the same from opposite direction.

Because I couldnt track (and had no idea what he was in) I thought would use the battlefield and rules to my advantage. If I'm on the edge, he cant orbit me. Mean he has to tack, so worst case im going to hit him full blast on the turns. Further away less turns but better tracking chance to hit. Closer, more tacks so more hitting him on turns.

Fight starts.

Bam is being a bit tentative. He has warped close but not too close. I am at 70. So a total of around 100km between us.

Swap to range script on sensor booster. Target him as he approaches at 95. Start firing at him.

After a few seconds he realises that whilst the hits are not massive damage, I'm not fucking around. He cant sit at range.

He burns at me. This is his mistake.

He is in an Omen. Omen is great ship but has shit grid and bad capacitor. Typically the fit will have a single small cap booster. Enough to just sustain the lasers and the odd rep. I can't tell his fit at this point.

Im still plinking away at him with my Heavy Beams as he closes to 30. I swap crystals damage heats up. Bam deploys drones and start tacking. Smart. He has at least the sense to know to avoid taking a lot of my dps by using tracking.

He deploys drones. I deploy mine. My drones are on his ship, he focuses his drones on my drones. I think his strategy here was not too bad. Take out the dps that could definitely hit him and mitigate my beams by continuing the tacking back and forth. But focsing on my drones buys me time. While his cap is depleted.

He is landing reps as I start to dig into his armour, and he is slowly grinding into my ungodly buffer tank. His goes a lot faster despite his higher dps, due to relative difference of probably my 4-5x his EHP. His reps become sporadic. I can't tell if its cap issues or he has ACR.

His reps drop off completely, im in 1/3 armour, and then he is in hull. The boom. He had killed my drones.

Victor Amarr, round 1 to edeity.


https://zkillboard.com/kill/47816114/




Now It Gets Real


Well, some good strategy, but also a bit of luck there. I could have been defeated. Slightly better cap management, and a willingness to accept a beating to save cap from using the MWD - and choosing either active or passive fit - and it could have been a loss for me. He was a skilled pilot, knew what he was doing, adapted to the situation, I think mostly I won because I confused him with my own plan being outside the box of what he expected.

Next fight, I could not afford to rely on luck and surprise so much. Had to really know the meta... maybe consider getting into a dirty dirty Vexor. OR DID I!

HELL NOES. IM GONNA BLOOD RAIDER THIS BITCH UP.

Run through all the best ways to be a neuting ass kicking mofo that can kill a Vexor or a Caracal.

Came back to using a Maller.

Testing my concept on paper, how much cap could be neuted, could I survive a Thorax at point blank long enough to neut him? What if he has a cap booster? Do I go passive tank or active?

The problem with the Maller is that every Neut you add, means one less gun. And one less gun is a LOT of the dps. By my calcs with mid grade Talismans I would need 3 small neuts or 1.5 medium neuts to effectively neut out a thorax with a cap booster before it could break my tank. To fit this I would have to go active tank. Passive just would not cut the mustard for having enough buffer. You need to take a beat, it is after all a 2 player game... just because you have a plan doesn't mean the other guy doesn't. Learnt this many times in low sec - its not the fights you expect to lose to worry about - its the other fights you need to worry about. Have a plan for when your plan gets thrown in your face. Thats the difference in low sec.

So active it has to be. But small neuts - no im worried about range. Scram kiting or web kiting is a thing. A skilled pvper can do that. Mediums are best - I can neut even if webbed to hell.

Try about twenty variations of fits. Finally settle on 2 medium nets, 3 focused pulse, dual rep, dual medium cap boosters, MWD, res of lows energized armour resists, DCU and one Power diag for some extra grid. I need the implant slots for my Talismans. This fit lives or dies by getting a neut lock on.

Ship is set up ready to go. I have never flown a Maller setup like this before, and cerrtainly never seen anyone with this fit. But it is basically a severely gimped webless Ashimmu. That I was familiar with.

1 day before the fight my pod full of Talisman Implants is destroyed on Amarr station. The joys of AUTZ lag and being suspect because you didnt check when you warped into Amarr because the fleet your FC said were blues but not marked blue decided to blow up every faction ship in our fleet because someone locked on their FC...

Buy new head of implants. Decide to go all the way, get all +5% support implants for a neuting ship and laser turrets. I guess I could fly one mean ass Ashimmu or Pilgrim when this is over.

Fight time.




Verse Askold v edeity

Now I tried doing some research on Verse before the fight. Looked like from Killboard he did some wormhole stuff and mostly involved in fleet fights. I LOVE fighting solo people who are eleet fleet pvpers. They tend to suck solo. No boosts or backup here sunshine. But I couldn't get a read on this guys skill level. His last fight in the competition he had won because of a forfeit. Gah. No idea what he would bring.

Stick to the plan.

So before the fight, here is the chat in alliance.

[ 2015.07.26 09:16:38 ] edeity > im fighting a guy from adhocracy
[ 2015.07.26 09:16:46 ] edeity > are they like a pvp corp?
[ 2015.07.26 09:17:06 ] edeity > Verse Askold
[ 2015.07.26 09:19:13 ] Techno36 > wh group?
[ 2015.07.26 09:19:20 ] edeity > dunno
[ 2015.07.26 09:19:28 ] edeity > killboard looks wormholy
[ 2015.07.26 09:19:38 ] edeity > lot of corp members
[ 2015.07.26 09:19:55 ] edeity > im guessing hes shit wthout links and 20 other guys
[ 2015.07.26 09:20:04 ] Techno36 > lol

And then when it gets to the pointy end of almost being time:


[ 2015.07.26 12:30:12 ] Techno36 > you fought yet?
[ 2015.07.26 12:31:15 ] edeity > no
[ 2015.07.26 12:31:19 ] edeity > v soon
[ 2015.07.26 12:31:33 ] edeity > Strong Exile Booster ;)
[ 2015.07.26 12:31:46 ] Techno36 > hahah any sideeffects?
[ 2015.07.26 12:31:58 ] edeity > ive got a std running atm
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:01 ] Callaglyph > 7h till heavy drone op level 5. :)
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:01 ] Techno36 > you have implants as well?
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:05 ] Callaglyph > time to go to sleep.
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:05 ] edeity > ofc
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:09 ] edeity > 1bn in implants
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:13 ] edeity > just for this ship
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:21 ] Techno36 > lmao
[ 2015.07.26 12:32:49 ] edeity > best head of implants ive ever had for this configuration
[ 2015.07.26 12:33:03 ] edeity > ill link fit once fight begins
[ 2015.07.26 12:33:13 ] edeity > and then youll go oh hes fucked
[ 2015.07.26 12:34:10 ] Techno36 > once the fight ends
[ 2015.07.26 12:34:14 ] Techno36 > no distractions
[ 2015.07.26 12:34:19 ] Techno36 > you gotta win
[ 2015.07.26 12:34:23 ] Techno36 > also fight when
[ 2015.07.26 12:38:26 ] edeity > another fight on atm
[ 2015.07.26 12:38:29 ] edeity > mine is near end
[ 2015.07.26 12:41:49 ] Techno36 > lmao
[ 2015.07.26 12:41:50 ] Techno36 > what was that moa
[ 2015.07.26 12:43:13 ] Mooseyman > yeah using MMJDs?
[ 2015.07.26 12:43:21 ] Mooseyman > probably just a mind game
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:20 ] Techno36 > eietyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:39 ] Mooseyman > i think hes fighting nw
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:45 ] Techno36 > no
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:47 ] Techno36 > stream is clear
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:50 ] Techno36 > unless its mega delayed
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:53 ] Techno36 > but I don't think so
[ 2015.07.26 12:49:58 ] Mooseyman > theres probably a delay
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:09 ] Mooseyman > he just said in corp chat it was starting
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:11 ] edeity > ISD news reporting is setting up
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:20 ] edeity > its starting nowish...
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:23 ] edeity > now...
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:31 ] Techno36 > GL
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:32 ] Techno36 > !
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:37 ] Techno36 > bring honor to ctrlv
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:49 ] Techno36 > wait
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:50 ] Techno36 > no
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:50 ] edeity > fffs not yet
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:53 ] Techno36 > this isn't you
[ 2015.07.26 12:50:58 ] edeity > another fight first
[ 2015.07.26 12:51:03 ] edeity > they called me and everything
[ 2015.07.26 12:51:18 ] Mooseyman > haha
[ 2015.07.26 12:51:20 ] Techno36 > lmao
[ 2015.07.26 12:51:23 ] Techno36 > mmjds banned
[ 2015.07.26 12:51:53 ] edeity > edeity > did you know that DNG is recruiting?
[ 2015.07.26 12:52:00 ] edeity > in the official channel
[ 2015.07.26 12:52:03 ] Techno36 > kek
[ 2015.07.26 12:53:00 ] Techno36 > 2 more fights
[ 2015.07.26 12:53:02 ] Techno36 > after this one
[ 2015.07.26 12:53:04 ] Techno36 > before you
[ 2015.07.26 12:53:57 ] Techno36 > wtf
[ 2015.07.26 12:54:04 ] Techno36 > are these people all dumb or something
[ 2015.07.26 12:54:10 ] Techno36 > I could pick anyone from dng and they would do better
[ 2015.07.26 12:54:46 ] edeity > omfg
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:12 ] Techno36 > uhoh
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:15 ] Techno36 > they said only 2 matches left
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:20 ] Techno36 > but on their website there are 3 more
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:23 ] Techno36 > maybe one dropped
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:34 ] edeity > IT TIME!!!!!!!!
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:40 ] edeity > ME
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:43 ] Techno36 > ALRIGHT BOIS
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:47 ] Techno36 > YOU CAN DO IT
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:55 ] Techno36 > BRING HONOR TO CTRLV
[ 2015.07.26 12:55:59 ] Techno36 > I BELIEVE
[ 2015.07.26 12:56:03 ] Techno36 > HYPE HYPE HYPE
[ 2015.07.26 12:56:36 ] Techno36 > COME ONTO TS BOIS
[ 2015.07.26 12:56:40 ] Techno36 > WE GONNA HAVE A STREAM PARTY
[ 2015.07.26 12:57:03 ] Techno36 > no spoilers we're like 30 seconds behind irl
[ 2015.07.26 12:57:28 ] edeity > Sanguis Exterminatus full head of talismans and +5% support implants...
[ 2015.07.26 12:57:42 ] Techno36 > w-wat
[ 2015.07.26 12:57:48 ] Techno36 > lol
[ 2015.07.26 12:57:51 ] Techno36 > also never fit t2 mwds
[ 2015.07.26 12:57:53 ] Techno36 > lol
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:09 ] Techno36 > actually it might work in this instance
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:10 ] Techno36 > yolo
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:24 ] Moosey Kalkoken > they are a bit faster, sometimes might be worth it
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:29 ] Techno36 > ohhhhhhhhhhhhh
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:31 ] Techno36 > right the rebalance
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:32 ] Techno36 > nvm me
[ 2015.07.26 12:58:36 ] Techno36 > forgot about that


And the fight is on.Streamed. The alliance (Local is Primary) watching, or at least the ones awake. 

Now I had been being a bit clevar.

I had brought my old Maller from last fight and sat in it outside the station in Sarum Prime on and off and let a lot of ships check me out. For about 2 hours before the fight. Taking care to be undocked when my opponent was in local. I also theorised there was a high probability he talked to Bam. These old timer Aussies are pretty tight knit. Im not in their club. So I wanted to send some false positives his way. So meta...

Time to fight. Docked, swapped to my real ship, freshly named "Sanguis Exterminatus" I wanted to give a hint what he was in for if he knew latin and Amarr/Blood Raider Lore.

Warp to Planet 1. Then warp to referee at chosen range.

I choose 70km again. It would be harder doing this if they are a kiting caracal... but otherwise they will burn cap to get to me - doing half the job of my neuts for me.

I'm listening to the gamer radio broadcast live of my fight. I can hear they pause when they scan my ship and can't quite make out if its a failfit or genius, and then just announce "edeity meets the requirements".

Fight on.

Verse Askold has warped to about 20km. So 70km between us.

Fuck. He is in a Vexor. Despite being the dominant meta, it probably has best chance against me besides a damping Caracal.

I dont move. Just sit. Drones in.

"Verse Askold is approaching edeity"
"edeity is not moving"
"looks like the maller will be range fit"
"No edeity may be trying to lure Verse in"

30km. Verrse has deployed drones and is burning full speed to me.

I lock target.

I MWD straight at Verse.

"hes moving!"

[ 2015.07.26 12:59:44 ] Techno36 > OH BABY THAT SKIN
[ 2015.07.26 13:03:29 ] Techno36 > lmao they think he is neuting you not the other way around
[ 2015.07.26 13:03:42 ] Techno36 > LOL
[ 2015.07.26 13:04:40 ] Techno36 > don't fforget your rones
[ 2015.07.26 13:06:26 ] Techno36 > THEY ARE SO PERPELXED WITH YOUR FIT
[ 2015.07.26 13:06:27 ] Techno36 > lmao
[ 2015.07.26 13:09:22 ] Techno36 > AYYYYYY
[ 2015.07.26 13:09:25 ] Techno36 > DNG DNG DNG DNG DNG
[ 2015.07.26 13:09:38 ] Mooseyman > hes not even in DnG
[ 2015.07.26 13:10:10 ] Mooseyman > AMOINK AMONK AMONK

Verse tries to bump me out of the arena. Close. No cigar. Sorry son, saw that one coming.

He gets to 10km. I have not fired a shot.

NEUTS ON.

I am being hammerd by full flight of Hammerhead IIs and Blasters.

My tank holds.

His guns stop firing.

I start firing.

Deploy my drones.

He realises the fight is not going to plan. Takes evasive action. Tries to move away. I follow. I move as fast as he does without either of us having prop mods on.

Conflag firing away.

The big issue now is that he has 2 ASB's. I cannot break the tank because my dps is so crap because I gimped it for the neuts. But he never gets it fully repaired after a reload cycle.

He dips into armour.

Gets shield back to full.

Dips a bit further into armour.

Shit im running LOW on Navy Cap Booster 800s. I am dead in the water without cap.

Turn off all neuts. Micro manage armour reps. They are nearly burnt out from surviving the balsters + drones earlier, so cant use overheating. Have to be very careful.

Dip into his hull.

Back to full shields.

Last Cap booster charge. <10% capacitor left

BOOM.

[ 2015.07.26 13:10:18 ] edeity > VICTOR AMARR
[ 2015.07.26 13:10:49 ] Techno36 > AM-OINK AM-OINK AM-OINK
[ 2015.07.26 13:11:03 ] Techno36 > I shitted up twitch chat in your honor
[ 2015.07.26 13:12:58 ] edeity > lol cheers

https://zkillboard.com/kill/48092608/

After the fight I found out Verse Askold burnt out one of his ASBs - I suspect near the end. It was damn close, and actually a lot closer than I think he realised. He did well. I am also pretty happy that I beat a ship that I knew had a very good chance of beating me, so I'm still gonna take it as a win.

Then I basically posted shit in alliance and every other channel about how awesome at PvP I am and no one payed any attention.

So there you have it. What its like on the ground to be part of Oceanic Assualt.



16 November 2014

Leadership, Value. and the Toughest SOB computer game


Quick TL;DR - this is not about blowing up spaceships. Its about management theory but in a game about blowing up spaceships. As with all my blog posts it rambles along, with my thoughts and insights told in the form of a story of my life experiences. If your after a quick fix of someone shooting some space ships I recommend you instead look at this:




Now that I've cleared out the ADHD junkies, lets begin:


Attention Economics



I've been an Apple customer almost since Apple existed. I think my total Apple product ownership went: Apple II europlus,  Mac 512, Mac Plus, Mac SE, Mac IIfx, yes a fucking NEWTON, MacBook, MacMini, iPod Mini, iPhone 3, MacBook Pro, iPhone 4s, iPad, iPhone 5s. Starting at age 10 and I'm now 41yrs old. All purchased new, pretty much on release date.

I think this classifies me as at least more than just a casual Apple customer.

I have owned probably just over double that amount of Wintel Computers in the same time, and at least as many Nokia phones as iPhones. So also not inexperienced in other technologies.

Of my total screen hours in front of a computer not work related, I would say only 1/3 of those hours were with an Apple product - excluding web surfing an iPhone (bastards created a whole category of screen time while in a lift with no one attractive or looking around at a work function and seeing everyone was boring or the effort in pretending to suck up to some random person in authority just not quite make the plus side of a cost benefit analysis against to the opportunity cost of not looking at 4chan screenshots on reddit).

Google I love. I will not use any other search engine. I have quit a high paying job in part because IT forced us to use Bing.

Open source: getting rid of walls, integration with open standards are beautiful things. Nearly 20 years in IT Architecture. leading the charge in SOA adoption back when that was a scary new thing, getting THE worlds largest finance company to adopt LAMP as a standard despite being presented with potential for dismissal if I insisted - yeah I've also got some chops in Open Source.

Android v. iPhone ? My view on this is a little different. Whilst my Mac ownership stats are impressive, never owned an Android, and every single rabid pro-Android user I run into calls me a MacFag, oh and I do adore and love the cult of Mac - but its not in my mind at least about one over the other.

It came to me yesterday when thinking about corporate culture and cultural fit. Had been working through what is it about my current (soon to be not current) employer that I found just made it not possible for me to want to make a difference.

Ultimately it is about why. This is the driving force, the lever of capturing my attention, commitment, dedication to an abstract thing  and then what it does and the products or services it offers.



Why Why Matters

Over Apples history, there was a time I lost belief. I lost trust in their why. Why they do things. It coincided of course with Jobs absence from leadership.

But my Google love is the same. There is a common thread. And google doesnt have the same cult of personality. I cannot even name a personality driving the things I love about Google.

And then I see this pattern in other things.When I first joined Infosys, it was cool. The story was interesting, some guys built a company in India with the total startup capital that I would piss against a wall on a friday night. Defined new ways of doing work.Innovated. They had an immense amount of obstacles - racism in their markets, lack of trust in their ability to deliver, systemic government corruption at home and just emerging from a socialist nearly communist economic system.

They preached hard work and meritocracy. In Bangalore I challenged one of the founders of Infosys on this.

Me: "As you would know, its easy to say you support meritocracy. Can you give me an example of where you made a hard choice to stand with this principle at significant cost to the company?"

He gave a brilliant answer. Standing in front of our group of about 8 people, he pointed out the window to all the buildings. Then told his little story.

All the land we have these buildings on, we had applied for it from the local government. Running a large commercial business was even more difficult in India then. We had one government department left to give their approval. The head of that department told us he could approve the land use, but his son would really like to work for us. We told him that his son, like everyone else is very welcome to apply to work for us, but we can only take him if he has the right qualifications and passes the tests and interviews.

The land use application was of course then rejected. They felt the whole company was on the line, that they would end up possibly failing as a result of taking this stand. But they stood by it. Knew the stakes, accepted the cost and stuck to their guns.

More senior government officials / ministers then looked into of course, and came to the conclusion that this business was of strategic importance to India and got the rejection overruled. But for a time the future of now one of the worlds largest IT companies hung in the balance over meritocracy vs. cronyism.

I loved this shit. From the start it was a global company that started in India. This got my inspiration fired like nothing else. Despite being the whitest white boy who loves his steak, yep I'm on board here to make a difference.




Now a change occured in Infosys around the GFC. Compared to the other Indian outsourcing they always had a bit of an edge being forwarded thinking, more than giving you what you ask for giving you what you actually need/want. The company was founded on innovation, and even though the majority of their revenue was cost reduction plays for global companies, they always kept that burning.

GFC changed this. Cost focus. I saw a round of redundancies in Australia. Amongst the first in the companies history. Of course it made sense. Their revenue base in the US was contracting massively. Cuts had to be made everywhere.

I left. Joined a bank and ran a team in Australia and India. Treated the Indian team exactly like the Australian team, including same job titles and career progression. Prior to me taking leadership, there was very layered and tightly controlled communications within the team. NO communication from the Indian team was permitted to the Australian team without review and approval by the Indian team leader. I don't just hate that shit, I will die/sacrifice my job and financial security to stamp out controlling the free flow of ideas, questions and learning within a team purely because someone wants to build political capital under guise of quality control. I knew exactly what that must feel like to the team members over there, how demoralizing and crippling to their productivity, creativity, and sense of value in their work and as a person.

When in Bangalore talking to my Indian team, I was both brutally honest about their jobs "your here because your cheap" but also used the Infosys story and then our own team story, how we were building them into being more than just cheap. Their job was to step up and become the future centre of operations, the knowledge of how this part of the bank runs would become theirs as soon as they are ready. This meant more work, more promotions, more management, even leadership. Yes one day my job will probably be done by one of you.

Now before you feel all bad about exploitation of workers from other countries, I don't know about you but I don't have a cleaner, cook, nanny and driver. These young men and women did. Learnt this long ago. A lot of Indians I worked with in Infosys were far wealthier in $USD than I will ever be.

So while I was at the Bank, the Infosys thread of this story went schizophrenic. A faction on the board wanted innovation and growth through new services. Management Consulting was seen as a strategic play for this. At the same time the dominant faction wanted more than ever to go down the "more for less" route - work staff harder, for less pay in as dumb and simple work as they could get. Indian white collar burger flippers. Vegetarian burgers of course.

The dominant faction then won. All its dreams came true, but only just after they had purchased a global management consulting firm. A new CEO, heavily networked and a dominant cost minimization culture and get rid of anything that sounds dangerously interesting.



The corner started to turn when the CEO's son was appointed to a senior leadership position. So many could not believe that everything the company stood for was so systematically being destroyed. I was told a story of outright rebellion where the son started to criticize some senior people in how a project was being handled and he was abruptly told "we know why we are here, but no one really knows why it is that you are here". This is what kills growth in companies. Competitors take that growth, then invest those profits and then take your core, and your leadership is left going "It doesn't make sense, we were leaders". No. The guys before you were leaders, you just played politics.

I love this story, because it is the stark counterpoint to the hope and inspiration of what I look for. It is a necessity to have an accurate understanding of what hell is when your trying to find heaven. A great many people helped create hell, and many of the decisions leading to it were of necessity or fear of what might be coming. To know where that leads, invaluable - otherwise you will only be asking yourself "yeah but how bad could it be really?"

Infosys got better btw. A new CEO is in play, and he is damn cool. I'm not there now, but hearing lots of good stories, and they are firmly back to a focus on innovation while keep the core business profitable and driving cost effectiveness for customers. I think this is fantastic.


Internet Spaceship Management Consulting

Now as a few people reading may know, I spend about 20-30% of my waking hours plugged into a virtual reality simulator called Eve. Eve is interesting because it is all about human behavior, and more importantly has a razor focus on humans making choices with real economic consequence.

In this simulation, people group together. Why? Well for a number of reasons, and rarely for a single one. Mostly they want things to be interesting.

In this people fight. Fights are interesting, so a lot of management effort of these people goes into securing fights. Fights also consume resources though, so an economic backbone is needed for people to acquiring the resources to fight more. They also like a sense of identity. The stronger sense of identity, the more powerful a culture evolves and that attracts people, resources, and well... fights.

Politics then enters play. Which is where this meandering blog has been going. By necessity, leadership has to  be tightly held. There is things such as spies, thieves and people who shoot people that are supposedly friends. All acceptable in this game. People have destroyed years of work through betrayal of trust placed in them. This happens here all the time. Leadership has to be iron clad, locked down, tough and untrusting.

The cost of this, can often be hope and inspiration. Next generation leadership can be looked over, good ideas ignored because of these tough but necessary defensive mechanisms. Eve leadership can be hell.

Brave Newbies was a fairly recent phenomenon in eve, which I think exploited the arbitrage that exists between older established corporations and the hopes and aspirations of younger pilots. In turn the young pilots flocking to it, failing, then learning created an infectious culture that spread. More experienced pilots became attracted to this culture to break out from their corporate servitude  and now something new and significant exists.

But the pattern will repeat. We saw it happen with Fweddit - J4LP. They started like Brave Newbies, grew, massive appeal as new and open. Leadership changed a few times, a focus on retaining assets with token giving some "content" or interesting fights to the members. Leadership became opaque, limited in engagement but steadfastly locked on objectives not aligned with the underlying wants and needs. Yes they had polls and votes, but the members had already been voting by not logging in and /gquit - so you mostly only had the ones left that supported your world view. There was not a Steve Jobs, Google giving what they wanted before they knew they wanted it. It was instead a Windows 8 - oh they like that smart phone tablet shit, lets tack some crap on the UI over the top to make it look like we are relevant without changing anything that actually matters.


Cathedral and the Bazaar

OMFG seriously not this shit? Heh. This  is one of the earlier descriptions of the business models of Open Source vs. Closed IP software. Essentially the Cathedral was BOB. All the eliteness and power to the central governance and control, who ruled the universe. Goonswarm was the Bazaar - a whole bunch of new young pilots in rifters trying to find new and interesting ways in the universe. Except now Goonswarm is definitely, at least from the outside the Cathedral and it is united under the singular eternal, unchanging banner of Chairman Mittens.

The Bazaar is where innovation happens. Where new comes from. Where the asymmetric combination of needs, skill, and differentiated thought emerge to create new. It cannot happen in the Cathedral because everything in the Cathedral requires review and approval by the clergy and the political cost or reputational risk limits innovation to a very few areas that are either harmless or directly aligned to the few key strategic focuses.

So where is the Bazaar? Well I think Phoebe helps. There is now new opportunity for management entities to emerge in deep 0.0. This change is I think quite under appreciated for how big a force for reshaping the corporate landscape in eve it is. Its not only about rebalancing assets, ability to project force and control of space. Fundamentally it effects management styles that can be successful. People are going to have to learn the meaning of the word Keiretsu a lot more. New mechanisms for creating tactical to semi strategic coalitions that are disposeable will emerge.

Wormholes and Faction War are the other places driving the bazaar. Speed and ability to recruit balanced by trust remain the big challenges in this space. Womholes are about to get damn interesting. It will be beautiful and deadly. I really want to see what changes in management culture this generates.


Holy Providence

The greatest dream in New Eden, from a management perspective for me remains CVA and Providence. It is the ultimate Google. Apple. They have a dream. It is under constant threat from pretty much any group that wants some fights and has no regard for the beauty of their dream of a place in space ruled by self imposed law that all are free to operate so long as they do not fight other freely operating pilots. This means about 98% of eve is out to kill them should they have the spare time.

On the brink of destruction, and yet turning it around over YEARS of activity to regain what was lost and build upon it - this is just epic. Sheer act of strategic will. Management beauty, unlike rarely seen anywhere, even the real world.

A necessity of their Not Red Don't Shoot is of course holding a grudge. I often when discussing in militia chat about people who have AWOXED (shoot a friendly for fun or some bad mood or because they think they are awesome) have described myself as "holding a grudge like CVA". We do not forgive, do not forget. Except CVA can claim this before Anonymous, that's how long they have been bitter space monks for.

The grudge aspect is very important. It was how the Roman Empire was built in its early years. If you declared war with us, fought with us, if you dared lay a hand on a Roman senator, well you have eternal war that will only cease with your destruction and enslavement. No amount of gold, bribery or politics would save them. The first few nation states that killed an unarmed senator would laugh about it at the time, but later states that had heard of Romans and the complete extermination of states that killed a senator would wade into the decision to hurt one with a little more gravity and thought.

My small little corp is of course KOS to CVA, despite being founded to be loyal to them no matter what... a long story... but I admire that despite multiple attempts to reset standings they are all still nope or ignore me. Gotta admire that holding steadfast to ideals.


Future Eve Leadership

Disaggregation will increase due to combination of Phoebe and an uptick in living in Wormholes fulltime. More mid sized (rather than small) corps will be a sign of health for the eve playerbase.

Purpose, or why for corps will still be lacking. The rules of the sandbox I still think need some shifting to promote why over more baser tactical interests. Culture at present remains the dominant long term stickiness for corp membership, followed by relationships, and only after that gudfites. Short term - why people join a corp is pretty much the reverse order.

I'm still chewing around in my head what could give more meaning to longer term strategies for corps, but I do think it is appropriate for CCP to address this. Many corporations in eve have been around longer than companies listed on major stock exchanges and have as many man hours from appropriately skilled and qualified people put into their running as serious national businesses. More for this would really change the player dynamic and interest levels to add more roundedness to shooting, fighting, trading and socialising than just seeing increases in isk or LP. Again, I want to reiterate admiration for CVAs pursuit of a strategic agenda in spite of lack of an external reward.



At some point Eve has to solve the whole Maslows hierarchy of needs in an integrated manner, catered for in the sandbox. The game does perform better than all competitors around the economic functions which adds strength and weight to others. The community aspect is trumpeted as a strong point in eve, but I have to admit even though WOW was a lighter game you could build strong powerful communities there with more ease than in eve, even though in eve the value of the community was higher. Its different.



This means there is still a significant amount of arbitrage in the game between needs and what is offered. One way or another the market will solve this. At present the only corps / alliances really addressing the actualisation needs of rank and file members is the role play corps. And everyone knows role play is not going too strong in eve.

Gaming will step up. Because they are not just "games" anymore. They are culture, identity, and yes a spirituality. They are why people get up in the morning.

As per above diagram which I just drew right now in MS paint - not all gamers want to define themselves or find meaning in their lives from computer games. But the thing is, the number that do is increasing.

Using eve as the example, predefining a set of systems or structures for meaning wont be enough. Part of it is people creating their own reasons. But the game will need to evolve mechanisms for that to occur. In the same way Faction War exists. Minmatar and Amarr were actually going hammer and tongs at each other near providence before Faction war was created. It wasn't technically needed. But creating an abstracted framework to support it gave so much life into a once very dead area of space and created so much experiences and decisions for players.

The same is needed for long term strategy and identity for corporations - and maybe even players. Maybe there should be a reward structure for playing a character for 10 years and progressing towards a goal everyday. A reward that a character bought off the market cannot achieve in a few hours by spending some isk.

Token rewards like a special ship or some implants or more isk doesnt cut it. That's only market value. More. Some real thought needed here. But if done in an interesting way, just like the eve economy, it would be real difference in the market place for gaming.