29 January 2017

Lessons of Auga


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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).


an alert on my phone.

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

Wake up. Bolt downstairs. Login.



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.


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.