AU History chapter 4
Original text by Rells
Copyright Agony Unleashed
Chapter IV: The Agony Phenomenon in Pure Blind
Pure blind was something of an idyllic time for AGONY in the middle of the corp's development. There were targets aplenty as anyone who wanted to traverse into the north needed to either go through pure blind or solidly held and camped alliance space. The alliances really didn't want Pure Blind that much because there was little there for the big crews to exploit. There were few moons of real value and the rats were of mediocre quality. Furthermore the NPC stations meant that it was impractical to dislodge any small corp that wished to take up residence. Sure the alliances had the manpower to infinitely camp the stations but that gets old fast for alliance pilots and since they couldn't take the stations, the area was left pretty much alone to act as a huge combat arena. That suited AGONY just fine.
AGONY became the roaming pack of PVPers that could literally be anywhere in the North at a moment's notice. Ratters learned to straight dock or warp and cloak when a single AGONY came in system. It got to the point that AGONY was occasionally able to fly haulers right through empire chokes without escort because those camping the gates would be fearful, for good reason, of a trap. When they did come after AGONY, the opponents usually preferred to outnumber us 3 or 4 to 1 and then they felt better about it but mostly we managed to avoid serious wipe outs in combat. Our ships were relatively cheap and AGONY pilots had a nose for smelling the 250million isk caracal in the enemy formation. In fact AGONY had to be the king of roamers because people had begun to desert pure blind to escape the raving bunch of maniacs that could not be NAPed and would shoot anything. Even BOB, after a quick foray into pure blind, left to pursue more productive activities after loosing multiple interceptors to fishing and flybys and several battleships to basic classes.
When it came to AGONY's combat development, we finally had the moxy to make a serious attempt at small POS warfare. The operations required a massive amount of battleship firepower at the time. There were no dread pilots in AGONY and dreads themselves were enormously expensive. AGONY under the FC and event leadership of Bamar took out several small POSes after putting them in reinforced. Now the farmers were evacuating Pure Blind as well. About this time NXT Level (Roc and Beef's old corp) got a carrier in trouble off the Sisters of Eve station in x-7omu. Unfortunately we simply didn't have the firepower to break the tank but the carrier pilot was scared out of his mind and Rells poked that fire a bit asking him where his backup from NXT was. It was only a week or two later that the carrier pilot in question dropped NXT and left the area. Rells had counted another psyops coup.
Other developments in AGONY were seriously underway with the implementation of the PVP-ADVANCED class and the refinement of several other classes. The problem with the classes is that they had gotten so long and complicated that it took 12 hours to run them. Clearly this was not sustainable with 2 or 3 people running all of the classes week in and week out. Rells had formed AGONY to get paid for teaching PVP and now he had a bit more than he bargained for. Every week the class would fill in minutes and Rells would end up spending entire weekends at the mic. Some weekends Rells was insane enough to run two classes back to back. However, the classes were the core of the recruitment efforts. Although AGONY didn't recruit actively from the classes unless the pilot was in an NPC corp, many pilots decided on their own that they would like to join. The skills and discipline they were gaining through the classes was paying off in combat and many AGONY players, known today as a feircely lethal pilots, had their humble beginnings learning about tracking and orbiting in PVP-BASIC.
Some class fights were particularly memorable. In one incident a wolfpacks class was jumped by a bait battleship while off gate in x-70mu. The class opened up on the bait but then quickly changed targets when the main fleet came in. EWAR was executed flawlessly and the smaller attacking ships blew like popcorn. When an interdictor warped in to pin us in a bubble, the students seamlessly switched to the interdictor and blew him up less than a second after he hit his bubble launcher. The opposition lost several ships in that fight, some really expesnive HACs and recons worth half a billion isk, and the losses to the class were only a couple of destroyers.
Another fight that was particularly memorable occurred at the end of the first PVP advanced class when the class was headed back to Nonni to break up. A famous pirate named Lord Vodka decided he would attack the fleet with his command ship and a couple of friends while the fleet was in a safe spot. His command ship ended up blasted to pieces and the blinking pirate zipped his pod out to a station to regroup with his friends. The Advanced class warped to a planet to remote rep damage. Shortly after a group of well tanked battleships, all blinking red, jumped the AGONY formation. The pirates knew that usually when they warp into a group in lowsec, the group scatters and they can pick off targets as they wish. Unfortunately for the pirates they hadn't fought the combat psychotic known as Rells and they had no idea that the gang in question was actually a group of students looking for blood. No one scattered and Rells called primary targets. One ship went down and another was being worked on when two falcons showed up on the scene. Rells immediately burned out to the falcons in the company of two rapier pilots. Points were put on one of the falcons and the other ran scared, warping off. Rells was shortly jammed but the damage had been done, rells 5 drones were now eating away at the fragile recon and the two rapiers now had webs and disruptors on the falcon. The falcon fought valiantly but couldn't keep us all jammed and eventually caved to the mass of drones. His friend in the other falcon warped in to try to help him jam off the rest of us but the friend was caught by the rapier and stopped long enough to be the next victim. In the meantime the class had taken out 3 more ships with minimum losses, the blackbirds jamming the snot out of the opponent and the damps and tracks taking their toll. There was one battleship left, it was lord Vodka again in a heavily tanked BS trying to hold off destruction and loose. He was in 20% armor, 10%, 5% and in warps a Nidhoggur carrier to a planet in lowsec. The Nidhoggur caught the battleship with remote reps at half structure and we couldn't defeat the remote reps so we warped off. Of course the Nidhoggur was crazy and would subsequently lose that ship to another crew that had a waiting BS fleet. As we did not, we withdrew.
It was at this time that Sever Aldaria, the default corporate videographer, completed his ground breaking video, the "Agony Phenomenon" and that video showed the magnificent corp that AGONY had become. Any ideas that we were a joke of a corp had been relegated to those in the Eve community that thought "Reason" was a dried fruit you get out of a Sun Maid box. The classes were well regarded and many corps began to require them for membership. It became increasingly harder to get into a class. Although many had threatened to compete with AGONY, anyone who tried realized just how much work it was and abandoned the idea. At this time it started to be known that if you wanted to learn about general aspects of eve and carebearing you went to Eve University but when you wanted to learn combat, you would come to AGONY. We were now the sharp point of the spear in pvp education and tactics thought Eve had begun to change. People abandoned monolithic fleets with huge firepower and started to work on ways of countering those wackos in AGONY. Through a combination of game balance changes and the spread of tactics from the thousands of pilots educated by agony, the sniping battleship was deprecated in favor of much more inventive strategies. Although a great portion of Eve still remains entrenched in firepower, much of eve actually thinks about tactics, traps, deceit and strategy.
The only serious problem in pure blind was that AGONY pilots were outgrowing tech 1 ships of all kinds and even tech 2 frigs. They were reaching a wall whereby they would need much more financial backing to proceed into the next level of ship combat. Furthermore, as invention hadn't been ... well ... invented yet, tech 2 was still enormously expensive. Clearly AGONY pilots needed to spend more time gathering isk than ever before. Some went off to their mission agents and some went off to work on a POS farm in another area of space with alts that couldn't be associated with AGONY. The pilots couldn't do these things while being known as AGONY pilots because that would get their investments wrecked by any number of the organizations we had pissed off up to now. Sure, some organizations respected AGONY's teeth but few actually liked us.
However the money issue couldn't be denied and AGONY started getting spread out in search of isk. Through the stupidity of CCP, making money in empire was significantly more productive than doing so in 0.0 at the time. In fact most of 0.0 was a barren wasteland that was there seemingly to be merely an impediment to travel. Agony pilots kept on their alts in far flung areas of empire to hoard some cash before the next big fight. This was becoming an ever more heavy draw on the combat resources of AGONY and an impediment to growth.
Another problem was that AGONY was becoming too complacent and comfortable for Rells' taste. They had bordered on arrogance in their handling of opponents and that indicated that they needed much more of a challenge. Something to keep what Rells called "the crucible" going. A crucible is a container used for melting metal at thousands of degrees and Rells had always seen the corp as a crucible where the strong, adaptive, intelligent team players were the most likely to survive. With money pressing and the need for more challenge, Rells began to look North to Venal.