Monday 28 June 2010

Faction War Interview: Gallactica

For my very first interview, and in honour of SOTF's 2nd birthday, I have decided to begin with Shadows of the Federation CEO, Gallactica.


Corp & Role:
Shadows of The Federation (SoTF) CEO


Most likely to be seen:
FC’ing (or volunteering someone else to fc!) and trying to avoid being primarried.

You’ve been playing Eve for about 7 years now, how did you start out and what did you get up to in your days before Faction War?

Started my Eve life being a 100% carebear, mining, building, selling etc – it took me a while to be convinced to leave the npc corp back then, eventually I joined a corporation called Magma Industries – Was pretty much a freelancer type environment but a few of us worked close together providing components for one of the members to build capital ships, worked pretty good and we all made some decent isk out of it.

Time went by and somehow I ended up being CEO of the corp after a bit of drama (current ceo at the time skimming isk from the corp) and it needed someone trustworthy to steer the ship. Now, Eve was my first and only online game so it was a bit of a strange time at first being responsible for the corp and the image it portrayed. I'm one of these sad people that plays my in-game character as I am as a person in RL so “trying to do the right thing” was always my ethos from the start.

We had an odd war dec or two thrown our way which at the time meant we just avoided any type of pvp and used the “bore them to tears” approach but it kinda sparked something in a few of us that there was a lot more to this game than adding zeros to your wallet – A few of us grabbed some shiny ships and headed out to low sec (we were 100% carebears, low sec was scary to us!) but we thought sod it lets give it a go and worst case scenario we get our arses spanked. Sure enough we got our arses spanked but the adrenaline rush was just unbelievable! Not experienced anything like it playing a bloody computer game before!

And that was the catalyst that made a few of us realise that carebearing all this time was just scratching the surface in Eve and pvp was where we wanted to be – So, we did a lot of soul-searching in corp and started to look at options of joining a 0.0 alliance to cut our teeth pvping and have someone to show us the ropes. We decided that it would be best if we left Magma Industries to do this as quite a few people were still content with the industry side of things so a group of us joined an existing 0.0 corp – one of our guys had contacts in Smash alliance with a corp called “The Funakalistic” so that ended up being our choice and we moved lock stock out to Geminate and built our home there with the premise to be taught how to pvp.

And what first prompted you to come over to the Gallente Militia and form Shadows of the Federation?

Things didn’t quite turn out how we expected and long story short we ended up getting “evicted” from Geminate without as much as a sniff of a defence – So, a bit disillusioned and losing the will a bit to log on me and a couple of the ex-magma guys decided we’d had enough of the 0.0 stuff and created a new corp – Shadows of The Federation and enlisted it into the newly created faction warfare for some no frills instant pvp and to basically teach ourselves through losing lots of ships how to pvp.

FW suited what we wanted perfectly, instant fights within minutes rather than waiting round forever for fleets to form, mixture of ships, and an endless supply of targets – The corp started out with 3-4 people and we slowly added to this with old friends on alts wanting to try out some pew pew for the first time (and ended up with their mains joining soon after). FW was buzzing, big fleets, small fleets, ganks, great battles it was awesome fun and exactly what we needed. We were very careful who we recruited into SoTF, we never had a minimum skill point requirement as were more interested in people who would fit in rather than the uberist pvpers.

Our ethos was fun first and foremost but trying to be serious about what we did as well – I’d never fc’d before but it was clear to avoid people station spinning that we needed to have someone step up and start leading corp fleets as well as joining in with the general militia fleets (where possible I always opted for joining existing fleets as I was shit scared fc’ing!)

So, we slowly added what we considered to be the type of people that would fit into our way of playing (Non pirate, nice guy type, who played the game for fun but also to try and earn some respect along the way) and 2 years later we have 80 members, nightly activity of between 20-30 people, a now decent cap fleet and are currently the highest killing corp currently in Gallente militia. We're also completely self sufficient, living in low sec and 2 jumps from our enemies high sec main forming area (not bad for a bunch of noobs!)

What is the big attraction for you with FW? What keeps you in the Gallente Militia?

Instant pew pew has always been the main pull for me personally and I suppose I’m a bit of a closet rp’er with being Gallente and wanting to fight for Gallente. Having a constant supply of targets and having built up the reputation of SoTF and being at the “top” of the killboards is a nice string to have to our bow – To me reputation is everything in Eve and I want to keep that. It sounds kinda corny, but it’s the people you fly with that makes playing enjoyable and there are some awesome corps/pilots in Gallente FW.

Do you have preferred ships types and fleet set ups?

For personal preference at the moment my favourite ship, especially bang for your buck too, is the arty Hurricane – I always used to be a Blaster fan boy (100% specced in Gallente) until one of my corpies bullied me into giving the hurricane a go. Since then I crossed trained to Minmatar and pretty much fully specced in their boats now too.

Blaster Mega is my choice for our bigger fleet ops, but have been known to use a gank Domi as well (paper thin, but awesome dps) – We have started to roll logistic ships a hell of a lot now, and we have a number of pilots who are our dedicated ecm providers.

Running fleets wise we tend to have fun from running good old fashioned T1 frigs and having a laugh up to BS fleets with full ecm and logistic support – You’ll find me in a whole range of ships depending on what’s required and what we are up against – Scouting, logistics, dps I don’t mind flying any tbh – We are fortunate enough now to have quite a few very good fc’s, so we tend to share the load of what’s required.

We are also building up a sizable cap fleet within our ranks (sizeable for our corp, and not comparing to others) which is something we need to have if we want to be able to compete with some of the bigger boys we come across, although within FW we try and keep them docked up tbh as at the moment it would be a bit overkill dropping 20 carriers on a squid fleet!

SOTF has remained in the Militia since the corp. was formed 2 years ago. Few other corporations have been in and stayed in for so long without a break. Have you ever considered leaving? Is there a future plan for SOTF to go elsewhere or would you happily stay in FW for good?

Yes we have considered leaving on a number of occasions, but it’s the simplicity of FW that keeps a strong grip on us – we have had offers from 0.0 alliances which many see as the “end game” and some have been very tempting but this is the beauty of FW, no alarm clock pos ops, no waiting around hours for fleet to form up. We plan on staying in FW for good to be honest, we just need CCP to give it some loving.

I suppose a good 0.0 alliance is where we could end up one day, it all depends on if FW remains active and provides enough fights but I wouldn’t disregard any option tbh if it meant we get more action.

As CEO you spend quite a large amount of your time working on diplomatic matters and not just for within your own corp. I remember you writing about a “typical Gallactica night” on our forums a few months back in which you described a night of dealing with emails, private convos and vent meetings. Do you not ever get fed up with the constant politics or being called on for your diplomacy skills?

Yes and no – Eve is more than just a game and it’s the social interaction that sets it apart from most other things. Generally no 2 nights are the same - As mentioned earlier, I try to approach things as “doing the right thing” way of handling things and treat others as you wished to be treated yourself – sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. Some nights you end up logging on and simply end up sorting crap out on vent for hours. There’s nothing better than logging on and no drama just to be able to shoot stuff, which rarely happens these days.

I’m fortunate now that the team we have as directors all contribute to running certain aspects of the corp, without that backbone I think I probably would have cracked up by now and just decide to shoot anything that moves and become a pirate :P

Can you briefly shed some light on the Militia Defence Pact (MDP). Why was it created and what role did it play for SOTF? Why has it now folded? In particular what is your response to the negative comments stating that the MDP was an elitist group, who rarely did anything with other Gallente militia pilots?

The MDP was initially created to try and defend against the griefers who were in FW just to try and grab easy kills on people – war deccing corps, shooting people in middle of fleets etc etc. So, we formed a defence pact meaning that if we had problems with corps we would be able to help defend each other by all deccing the offending party.

We got a huge amount of stick when we originally formed it “helping destroy the Gallente militia” etc etc but we knew we’d be around for a while so had to put into place something that meant first and foremost we looked after ourselves but also try to build something that would last – it’s easy for people to criticize, but we put in an awful lot of time and effort to create what we built up both corp wise and MDP and there was a massive amount of work that went on behind the scenes. If I’m being honest then yes I suppose people had a point in that we did tend to fly pretty much exclusively with each other with few other exceptions, however we live in Nisuwa, in low sec, 2 jumps from caldari high sec and that’s where all our fleets are formed. Our fleets consist of people who fit their ships properly, fly the ship that’s needed when called on, have comms discipline, follow fc orders etc etc – Having to head to Villore to pick up potential fleet members, registering them on vent, making sure the ships are what’s needed etc etc would mean that by the time this is all sorted the war target fleet we would be after would have got bored and moved on.

Some people think that because they are part of the a militia it gives them a god given right to have access to corps’ fleets, vent, comms, fc’s etc etc when in truth it’s hard enough work trying to keep corp members organised, happy and enjoying the game never mind trying to accommodate everyone else as well, suppose tbh that sounds a bit selfish, but people want to spend their evenings having fun and that’s exactly what we do.

Hidden snake has recently started up his training academy on the Caldari side and for that I give him huge kudos as its going to be a hell of a lot of work, if he pulls it off then he will deserve all the credit he gets for it. We have tried on various occasions with alt corps or members of my corp concentrating on trying to help the newer people in FW but it always ends up being way too much work and dies a death or people get burnt out trying to do it. End of the day we pay to play for fun, not for it to be a second job.

I’m not going to use the spy potential problems (it used to bother me a lot tbh) as a excuse as though, it’s very difficult to try and avoid this, you’ve just got to try and be as sensible as you can about it and reduce the risk where you can.

To say not too long ago people were saying that the Gallente FW was dead we don’t seem to be doing so bad, pvp kills wise and now on the plexxing front as well so we can’t be doing too much wrong overall tbh.

As it stands now however, we have decided to dissolve the MDP in its current form. The MDP corps have slowly outgrown the pacts original purpose and we had tried to run it as an Alliance but without any of the Alliance mechanics available to us this was prooving difficult (this is due to the restrictions of being in a militia). On top of this there was less of a need for war dec supporting and of course as individual corps we all have different playing styles and rules of enagement, in the end trying to get it all to run together just wasn’t working. That said, we still work with the former MDP corps pretty much as we did before, just under less formal terms. The MDP might be over but what it stood for is still very much alive.

New players do often have quite a hard time in the Gallente militia these days, with spy accusations and often a lack of experienced FC’s willing to take out unknown pilots. What advice would you give to someone who is joining, and possibly pvp-ing, for the very first time?

I do keep an active interest in what goes on in the militia chat, and yes I can see it is difficult for a new person to try and get involved with what’s going on – The best advice I can give is grab a cheap ship and go out and have some fun – there are always people looking to join a fleet, so get a few guys together and go kill stuff – If you can do it, don’t base in Villore, base from a low sec system, if anyone based out of Nisuwa it wouldn’t be long before they were involved with our fleets and fights – At the end of the day it’s your £15 a month subscription (as the in reverse its our £15 a month too) so sat station spinning and moaning isn’t going to help, just go have some fun and some kills and losses along the way, it won’t be long before you are picked up by one of the corps – and follow the old adage don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.

In 2 years you must have seen a fair amount of ups and downs in the Gallente Militia, are there any particular events that really stand out for you?

Lol, yes there has – The thing with FW particular is it very much goes in cycles of being on top, we’ve been here since the beginning so we’ve seen this cycle go round on a number of occasions.

In the early days we were getting 100 v 100+ fleet fights very very regularly but the massive problem we had at that time was the lag monster, it was unbelievably bad at that time – even small fights were ravaged by it and a lot of the time it was just unplayable. Then CCP fixed it and the problem disappeared and thankfully we don’t get much problems with lag at all these days.

The momentum the Caldari rolled with after the initial newness of FW was hard to compete against, whether it was the plexxing prowess of the Pervs and friends or the Gavin Goodrich blobs it seemed every man and his dog was joining them and as our fleet numbers were starting to drop, theres were getting bigger and bigger which ended up being one of the catalysts behind us moving to low sec.

The nightly Caldari blob rolling down the Tama – Old Man Star pipe was getting to a point where it was difficult getting into low sec, the MDP corps decided to move to what was affectionately named Fortress Nennemalia. It meant we were off the beaten track and had to start working closer together and this really was the start of the rise of the MDP. We slowly got our shit together and started putting together fleets of more organised pilots, using our own comms. We knew we could count on each other to bring/fit the right ships and follow orders for us to be able to compete even when we were outnumbered – this was the start of a major “up” for us.

The big down we were experiencing was with the Caldari plexxers now taking systems at will with very little resistance (many reasons for this, they were very well organised, had certain advantages. We seemed to not have enough people willing/interested in doing it and it meant the poor sods that spent a lot of time and effort defending the plexxes didn’t get any real help from us tbh). So system after system fell, we were outmanned and morale was very low as a whole.

Then the cycle started to turn in our favour. We had a few corps join Gallente FW who were better organised, our FC’s were getting better, more corps joined the MDP and after a bit of a skirmish with Dead Terrorists moving into Nennemalia we ended up having to re-locate systems (sounds daft being evicted from low sec, but we simply couldn’t fight them head on at the time) – This was probably one of the best things that could have happened looking back. SoTF moved to Nisuwa where Wolfy and Mentl were based from, and the bulk of the other MDP corps based from Heyd and tbh we have never looked back.

The momentum was starting in our favour, the big squid blobs took a huge bashing when Gavin Goodrich left and it meant our more organized setups were now handing out spankings all over the place – even outnumbered we were still comfortable winning fights, this culminated with the Gallente plexxers making headway into the systems, backed by us providing a lot of the dps to “shoot the bunkers”. Things were now looking very good for us and it was getting to the stage where the squids (and still do to a degree) found it difficult getting too far out of high sec before one of our fleets engaged them and sent them home.

The pendulum is starting to even up a little now however, Hidden Snake's work and initiative is getting the squids more organized with his “CDI” very similar to the ideas with the MDP we had, we are starting to get some good even fights again, winning some and losing some but above all else the fights and fun is what everyone wants.

Even tho I still think we have the edge over the Caldari, things are a lot more even nowadays.

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  1. Nice interview, here's hoping FW does get some love.

    Can I suggest not having the questions in yellow? Makes it difficult to read in many RSS readers (which use a white background).

  2. Didn't realise about the yellow, I'll stick to the blue I usually use for high-lighting, cheers.

  3. All lies and propaganda !!!

    Only MNG speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth !