Friday 27 August 2010

Faction War Interview: Aurora Nyx

Back in my early days with the Gallente Militia I often found myself flying with popular scout and interceptor pilot Aurora Nyx. He was a regular face around the militia, a staple member of any decent fleet and good company to boot. When I finally made the decision to return to FW full time I was dissapointed to find out that Aurora had left the Gallente Federation and was now fighting for the Caldari State, his original militia home...

Name: Aurora Nyx

Corp & Role:
Inglorious Basterds [I.B.S] Director


Most likely to be seen:
Scouting in a Crow, assuming I’m not too busy with Corp business. Directors work hard you know!

Tell us about how you got started in Eve, what did you get up to before Faction War and what was it that first tempted you to join a militia?

Like thousands of pilots before me, I was a miner, deep in 0.0, and working for a Corp that wanted lots of ore, all of the time. Quite incredibly I spent the best part of 2 years 'shooting rocks', keeping the ores my Corp didn't want. Eventually the Corp became directly involved with defending BoB alliance systems, and the mining was feeling like a second job. It was at the time the plans for FW were being announced by CCP.

One night my CEO (a complete idiot btw, like most CEOs of 0.0 Alliance pet Corps) insisted that I jump into a tackling frigate and assist with defence of our home system. The fight was over in less than 5 minutes, and I died horribly while holding down a couple of Goon BS's, but the thrill of the fight and the buzz on the comms was enough to wake me up from my PvE slumber. That night I made 2 new accounts, 2 new characters, and planned the sale of my Miner. I've never looked back.

What sort of fleets and ships types do you prefer?

I have 2 ship-loves in Eve. The Crow and the Drake. Feel free to pod me if you see me flying anything else! The Crow in my opinion is the best all-round Interceptor, it doesn't excel at any 1 thing, but it has a great mix of speed, range, and agility to assist me in what I do. The Drake is just pure awesomeness. Enemy fleets most often leave them until last when it comes to target calling, so the total damage that they can put out over the course of a battle is usually higher than total damage of any other Battlecruiser.

As far as my favourite fleet-type... well ... Wolf Pack of course. A swarm of Frigates have the DPS to pop anything Battleship and lower, and more importantly the agility/speed to out-run enemy fleets. The fleet moves through space at a rapid pace, picking off solo pilots and small enemy gangs, without getting caught. How frustrating that is for our enemies! Also, honestly, Frigates are fun to fly, pilots need to go down a few ship sizes now and again to remember what fun is sometimes.

You've spent time in both the Gallente and Caldari militias - what was behind your decision to switch away from the Caldari? And why did you later return?

Easy question. Despite my lust for blood and action, I'm actually a nice guy. I believe in fair play, and I want my character in Eve to portray that side of my personality. I joined Caldari pretty much by accident. I had created 2 characters, 1 Caldari, and 1 Gallente, so I could have joined either with their standings, but the night I signed up I was in Caldari Empire. It wasn't long before the Caldari with overwhelming numbers and over-powered ECM ships like the Falcon were stamping on Gallente fleets 23/7, and while it was nice to be 'winning' it didn't feel that good. We weren't having fights, we were inviting the Gallente to be slaughtered any time they left their high-sec base. So, a dozen pilots including myself decided to level the playing field a little and we defected.

Moving on a few months, and having had a great time flying with the Shadows of the Federation, the Gallente militia gradually got their act together, started running fleets based on a core of trusted Corps, and co-ordinating their efforts against the Caldari. As a militia 'Alliance' they pushed their pilots into flying real ships with real tactics. I'm afraid that as a consequence of the Mutual Defence Pact that was formed, and the subsequent unintentional 'shunning' of the General Militia, I felt that Gallente FW was no longer compatible with my 'fair play' attitude, so regretably I had to make the tough decision to return to the Caldari. I don't have any regrets, nor do i hold any grudges, changes happen and things move on, you have to be true to yourself, whether you have an evil streak or a Mr Nice Guy attitude. Afterall, this is just a game, and how would you ever enjoy playing if you didn't do what was best for you, good or evil?

Having been active and involved on both sides you have a fairly unique perspective of both militias, do you feel that there are any major differences between how the Gallente and Caldari work?

For sure. If you could strip away any numbers advantage I'm pretty sure that with their great organisation the Gallente would come out on top every time. The Caldari Militia tends to attract many more mission runners than the Gallente Militia. Our FW missions are easier, and the rewards are greater. Unfortunately this means that when it comes to fighting we have fleets filled with pilots in weird PvE / PvP hybrid ships, not knowing how to behave, and not necessarily knowing how to follow orders. Where the Gallente have a core of a few PvP Corps guiding all the action, we have 2-3 Corps struggling to herd the novice masses. It's a challenge, but every victory we take is a victory hard earned, no matter how few our victories may be at times we can say we have pushed, prodded and poked our pilots into shape for the fight, and that for me is worth the effort.

So the Gallente have their great organisational skills, but no one, and I mean no one makes a 'blob' like the Caldari, that unfortunately is the Caldari Militia talent, sometimes the blob wins, sometimes it gets hot-dropped by 300 pirate Carriers, lol.

How easy was it to switch between militias? Did it take long to become trusted once you changed sides? Would you ever switch back to Gallente or do you have any plans to go to the Minmatar/Amarr militias?

Switching to Gallente Militia was easy. I joined open fleets, demonstrated my ability of shooting at any target, and ignored all the taunts and jeers from the militia I had just joined. Luckily I already knew Gallactica of Shadows of the Federation, and many of his pilots from when i camped various gates with a couple of other Caldari. So after a few weeks of killing my ex-militia pilots I asked to join. Gallactica, Shadows CEO ( another Mr Nice Guy ), is always willing to give people a chance to prove themselves, and from there the rest was easy.

Returning to Caldari was difficult. I was effectively exiled, and for a time i was hunted by both the Gallente and a few pilots in the Caldari Militia. It was a long road back. It took 3 weeks just to repair the damage to my standings with both Caldari State and Caldari State Protectorate. I had to fly alone, kill solo (not easy in a Crow) and prove that I had something to offer if they were willing to trust me. My lucky break came when the leading Caldari Corp at the time, the PERVS, stopped shooting me because I was doing plenty of plexing to regain standings, which was their area of expertise. Eventually with around 40 enemy high-sec kills (mainly griefing Gallente miners and haulers), I was allowed to join a Militia fleet, the rest is history.

As far as any plans to join another Militia.... well who knows what my Corp will do in the future, but 1 thing is for sure, there is no way I can withstand another side-swap at my age ! I'm over 40 now, you know :)

Your corporation, Inglorious Basterds, is a very proactive group in the Caldari Militia, can you shed some light on what you guys are currently up to and your plans for the future? Will you stay in FW or do you have other aspirations?

This question arrived at the right time to have a good answer. It's holiday season for most of our pilots, so we have some people coming and going, long periods of inactivity etc. The Corp is working hard to get all of our pilots to live in low-sec FW space. FW is based in low-sec, so it's only right that we live there if we are serious about what we do. Getting hardened industrialists and PvE'ers to agree to raise their risk level isn't that easy, the first step is always the hardest and yet the most important. We have discussed going to help friends in 0.0, leaving Caldari Militia, doing Corp-only fleets, and turning pirate. I expect most corps have given thought to most of those things, and I think we'll probably do all of them over time, but our hearts and minds belong to keeping the momentum in Caldari FW that we have worked so hard to build.

Can you tell us more about the Caldari Defence Initiative, what is the main role and goal of the pact and how do you see it progressing into the future?

The Caldari Defence Initiative (CDI) was actually born a couple of months before it was made official and given a name. It was created out of a few Corps that were being war dec'd by just about every mercenary group in our area, seen as easy pickings because they had low numbers or were new to PvP. It was agreed that we would assist each other with remote reps or logistics, or by joining the war to even up the numbers a little. Over time only the die-hard mercs were still hitting us hard, and at a time when we were getting hammered by the Gallente it was the last thing we needed. So with a bit of prodding and poking, and a lot of behind-the-scenes conversation, the Corps made an official pact.... declare war on 1 of us and the rest will declare war back. The pact was named 'CDI' and Corp info pages started to display the warning. Within 2 weeks most of the remaining war decs against CDI Corps were dropped. These days we get very few war decs.

For the future I see the CDI continuing to be a force for defence, and a source of pilots from member Corps that die. Most member Corps are happy with the CDI as it is. We've gained new Corps, and lost some too, but at it's heart the CDI has 4-5 solid Corps that will stick together whatever the CDI evolves into. We've had plans on-going to use the CDI as a core to form Militia fleets around, so we'll see where that leads us.

The CDI is often compared to the MDP agreement, the former defence pact between some of the Gallente militia corporations. What is your own take on this, are they similar or do you feel that the CDI is quite different?

Quite simply the CDI was never designed to be anything other than a group of Corps rushing to each others aid. We never form CDI-only fleets. Our CDI chat consists of chat about war dec's and ideas about how to help each other and help the CDI evolve. We don't use any CDI-only action for anything other than war decs. The Gallente MDP was an offensive unit designed to keep out the less-desirable elements from fleets, and to work together offensively in a completely organised, secure way. The downside of that is the loss of goodwill and a feeling of resentment from the masses for being excluded, but I can see that the benefits of 'secure' warfare outweigh the drawbacks for the Corps involved. The CDI has a core value in its statement that it will help the General Militia by giving assistance, by forming and leading fleets, and providing a more desirable place to be.

How is the CDI coping with working closely with so many corporations? Your CEO, Hidden Snake is a strong voice in the call for Alliance mechanics being made available to Faction War corporations – would having this functionality help your current pact of corps to work better together?

Hidden Snake is tireless in his desire for a better FW experience for all, not just the Caldari. I've been part of his Directorship and the CDI for a while now, and all the politics can be a real bind. How do you tell a 3-man Corp that they MUST war dec a 30-man merc Corp ? Who gets to make the decisions ? Who takes the credit for the good things, and who takes the blame for the bad things ? An Alliance mechanism would allow all member Corps to vote on war decs, to vote on accepting new members, to vote on member Corps that get kicked out. An Alliance war dec means all member corps are in, and if it has been voted on, then it's the will of the many, and the few have to accept the democratic process. These are just a few of the essential democratic fundamentals that normal alliances take for granted. Fundamentals that we have to work hard to enforce or compromise on. Of course dealing with 200 egos in 15 Corps is never going to be easy, but the 'paperwork' should be, and this is Hidden Snakes point.

You've seen rather a lot of combat on both sides of the fence - any particular moments that really stand out for you?

Yes I have, lol, but not so much since I made Director of Ingloious-Basterds... so much work, so little time :p While I was in Gallente Militia there were so many fights, so many funny losses flying with Shadows of the Federation, I was known for my 'hero-tackling' and that produced some great results, but being honest I would have to say it was when the PERVS (Caldari FW) taunted our fleet FC into flying his support wing into an FW plex. They landed on 6 smartbombing Battleships and were popped and podded. That not being enough destruction, the FC then warped the rest of the fleet into the carnage. Several seconds later we had lost all frigates, all crusisers, and 10 of our 15 Battleships, something like 37 losses in total.

Now... favourite moment in Caldari, apart from all the times I help pop or pod my ex-CEO (Gallactica) .... would have to be our first ever Wolf Pack. We flew in with T1 and T2 Frigates, destroyed over 20 ships without loss over the course of the 2 hour fleet. The Gallente just didn't know where we were or how to deal with us at that time. The cries of 'not fair' or words to that effect made the night even more rewarding. I think that was the turning point for us in the recent struggle to get back to our past form. It certainly showed many of us that warfare is more than just Battleships, remote repping, and 'blobbing'

What are your favourite things about Faction War? What is it that keeps you here?

Although sometimes I am driven to despair with the lack of PvP experience and ridiculous ship fits, the Militia itself is what keeps me in FW. We get them all in FW. The die-hard PvP'er, the carebear, the know-it-all EFT warrior. It's such a great mix. Throw in a few pirate Corps that share our space, and some 0.0 Alliances claiming moons and trying to throw their weight around, and what you have is a unique collection of pilots, and a real sense that literally anything could happen at any time. I love all aspects of FW, I love the fact that 0.0 pilots come to FW for some action, I love the fact that carebears feel that FW is the place to start their PvP ambitions.

If you could have CCP fix or change one thing relating to Faction War what would it be?

I would ask CCP to build a monetary or loyalty point reward into capturing FW plexes. I see plexes as a source of combat. When you open up a plex it shows in everyones overview. If you put a system into 'contested' status it shows up in the star map. Enemy pilots will be attracted by plexing action. The only problem is that there is no real incentive to run plexes in the first place. It's a wasted opportunity for small-scale fights, that could so easily be fixed. I'd also ask CCP to ban the Gallente from living in caldari low-sec space, but that would be 2 fixes :p

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