Thursday, 28 April 2011

Why SOTF left Vale/RAGE/The NC

I hope everyone had a super Easter break. I certainly did as it coincided with my 30th birthday celebrations! But having had my fill of chocolate, BBQs, booze and sunshine I felt it was time to crack on with this post.

It's a big one but I will try hard not to waffle on too much...

Well. Joining the 3rd largest alliance in Eve, instantly becoming part of the Northern Coalition and moving a corporation full of casual low-sec pvp’ers over to sov held 0.0 was never going to be without teething problems. We knew this however things did start out pretty well.

We got on well with RAGE itself and have formed some lasting friendships within the Alliance. With a lot of sweat, tears, hard work and help from our new allies we quickly set up home in Vale and established our first station. The majority of our membership threw itself into 0.0 life with gusto. We attended CTA’s, ran a few fleets and tried out different ideas for upsetting Russians and other reds as well as pushing our own suggestions for official fleets and fits.

But as the weeks went on our experience began to deteriorate and there are a number of reasons behind this. The easiest way for me to explain these without a giant wall of text is to simply list them. So here they are;

- Resistance from the NC to our ideas and suggestions and a lack of support for our fleets

- Loss of independence in running pvp fleets

- A lack of small gang activity

- A lack of pvp in general

- Becoming part of the NC at the start of the war with the Russians. Not because we are a bunch of pussies - but because we walked straight into the deep end of constant CTA fleets which did not allow us enough time to do our own thing or fly casually with RAGE (and thus properly settle in).

- A loss of our casual pvp lifestyle in general

This was all pretty bad for SoTF.

Whilst we may not be a sov corp we are a proven pvp corp. We have effective FCs, good leadership, experienced members (including many with backgrounds in sov 0.0) and we work very well together as a team. Our corp is 99% pvp focussed. This is our only interest.

But our good points became diluted every time we were dumped into gigantic fleets, forced to follow the whims and say sos of people who did not (in our opinion) seem to know what they were doing, and forced to fly alongside people who were only present because a capital lettered email told them to be.

My original write up of this post included details of specific incidents and events that p*ssed us off or started causing frustration. But a lot of water has already gone under that bridge and tbh it seems silly to start dragging up the dirt now. I don't particularly want a smack fest and I am not looking to lay blame at anyone’s door. It is what it is at the end of the day and whilst SOTF is very happy to be out of the NC now I think it is fair to say that we are better for the experience and glad to have been invited to take part for a short time.

I will however bring up 2 personal observations that stuck out for me during this episode.

The first observation was the this is how it’s always been done, so this is how it will continue to be done attitude, often present within the Northern Coalition.

In my brief time working with the NC and from the feedback we received from our corp FCs and leadership, I saw this wall of resistance come up again and again. Perhaps we were wrong for expecting our ideas to be listened to or supported when we were so new? I don't really know. But I do know that the wall was certainly there and for us it was not only stifling but also prevented us from showing everything that we were capable of.

My second observation relates to people who pvp because they want to as opposed to people attending a fleet because they have to (and this is surely not just an NC issue).

Clearly not everyone who moves to sov space has combat in mind. You have industrialists, miners and ratters all out there churning up different incomes and goodies for the good of the entire organisation as much as for individual wealth and glory.

But when important assets are threatened then everybody must be ready to add bodies to fleets and save these assets. From my, again brief, experience of seeing this the resulting fleets are peppered with carebears who are not pvp minded and not particularly interested in pvping past clicking on the primary and pressing F1. In addition (and potentially because of these reluctant non pvp’ers) there becomes a misguided need to create a much larger blob of ships than the enemy could potentially show up with.

If this is what saves assets and creates giant empires then so be it. Who the hell am I to say any different. But it is not conductive to enjoyable pvp. So in that way, perhaps SoTF just wasn't suited to the life of sovereignty.

I felt it prudent to include in this post some feedback from a capsuleer who was actually in the thick of what has happened and so I posed some questions to my CEO Gallactica (who probably suffered the most extreme stress and headaches of us all) on his thoughts about what happened and whether or not he had any regrets.

I would like to share some excerpts from his reply:

No, I dont in all honesty have any regrets in making the move we did. Rage was a good choice for us and, despite the intial feeling of the “little FW corp joining” by some areas, they are a very good group who made us feel at home. I have a lot of respect for them and we've probably made friendships that will follow us for the rest of our eve life.

There are a few reasons why I think it didn’t work – The timing of our joining was a big factor. The big fights hotting up with the Russians meant a constant stream of CTA's happening pretty much 23/7 and so we didnt really get a lot of time for ourselves or to look for the small gang action that we specialise in. People quickly got bored of sitting in 500 man+ fleets staring at a pos/titan or whatever whilst the NC lead FC's decided what was best course of action. We basically felt wasted in these fleets and peoples willingness to participate started to drop. We came from a background of “log on, x up, kill stuff, log off”. Maybe we had been spoilt with the simplicity of FW and took this for granted?

We lost a few members who were not interested from the start, and then lost a few more as the weeks went by. We had hoped that by throwing ourselves at this full pelt the corp would get through any initial issues. But unfortunately as time went by the lack of instant fights became too much of a problem, to the point where I questioned whether we would even have a corp left if we carried on.

So any regrets? Hell no, its the people in this game that makes the difference and this just re-enforced to me what a fantastic corp I have. Everyone in it deserves immense credit for sticking through this – we gave it our best shot, it wasn’t for us, time to look at what’s next for us to throw ourselves at.

- Gallactica

So, what is next for us?

Well in Galls response to some of my questions he alluded to several offers we have had from both sides of the NC/DRF conflict as well as from other areas of Eve. There seems to be much to ponder and right now the future is undecided.

But for the time being we are enjoying a period of re-bonding, group hugs and very drunken pvp back in Black Rise :)



  1. You know it's bad if faction warfare claims they aren't getting enough "small gangs."

    Haha, okay I kid, I kid. Honestly though, when my brother joined Sys-K after leaving The Bastards he pretty much had exactly the same opinions, and didn't lost very long in 0.0 himself. I feel like the mechanics that help to level the playing field across different timezones also serve to ensure that whoever has the biggest fleet wins, rather than making it a viable strategy to spread resources and practice things more along the lines of guerilla warfare.

    IMO Sov wars should be about hitting multiple fronts simultaneously, not massing thousands of ships into a single lagfest.

  2. RAGE were cool. The problem were the elitist pricks like Morhus Mihi whose attutide was "we've been here longer therefore we know better". One of my "fondest" memories of this was sitting with a 100 man fleet on a friendly station, with an FC screaming at people not to get closer than 100km to the hostile gang of around 15 reds in case you got killed. Fan-f**king-fail-tastic.

  3. I spent about a week with Therapy when they were still in WI and I completely understand what you all experienced. Fortunately I pulled out before all my stuff got moved out to 0.0. In FW we do get spoiled because everyone, for the most part, is here to PVP.

    It's unfortunate that Rage didn't see the value of your small gangs. Someday an alliance will evolve and use real tactics. They'll have to if they want to compete with mega-alliances like the NC.

  4. Nice read, I enjoyed it. I couldn't think of anything more hideous than joining the NC, without coming across as rash - I just hate the whole concept of what you described above. Your post should serve as a warning to other pvp corporations. :)