Draft Article (Empire War)
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- 1 So You've Been Wardecced
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 The Mailman, He Bringeth Bad News
- 1.3 The Bells Of War
- 1.4 The Last 24 Hours
- 1.5 Calling The Ball
- 1.6 About Agony Unleashed
So You've Been Wardecced
Agony Unleashed (http://www.agony-unleashed.com), July 2008
One of the greatest things about Eve is that you are never truly safe (except in a station), just safer. However, this leads to some situations that can be a little daunting to a newer, less experienced or simply less aggressive player, and can really mess with them in a bad way. One of these is high security wars, predominately the ones asking for your hard earned ISK.
So, how can you avoid it? In truth, you can't. If someone wants to declare war on you (henceforth referred to as 'war-dec') and they have the cash to do so, they will. All you can do is minimise the chance, and be prepared in case someone simply takes offence at one of your members.
Wolves And Sheep
It has been said there are three kinds of people in the world, but in Eve you can really only be one of two. You can be a sheep, happily grazing the rich pastures of Eve and making a tidy profit doing so, or you can be a Wolf, who will think nothing of ripping a sheep asunder to eat that night. Generally speaking, industrial corps are made up of sheep, and the empire war-dec corps are wolves. Its up to the sheep to learn how to be a wolf for the duration of the war, but with the same be able to flick back to the sheep at the end (unless you get the itch, which will be covered later)
Know Your Foe
Yes, this old chestnut. I'm not talking about researching empire war dec corp number 2913613. I'm talking about war dec corps generally. Probably the best thing you can do is dial up www.eve-pirate.com and look up Nexa Necis (after flipping a nice donation to Anders for hosting) and read all those stories. Try to do it objectively, don't get caught hating Nexa (or loving him for that matter), but simply read them, looking for mistakes made and lessons learnt, and learn them yourselves. I'd personally rather learn a lesson from someone else for free, than lose 250 million ISK for the same lesson.
Don't Be A Target
The best defence is not a good offence, it is a Covert-Ops cloaking device on a Cheetah! Joking aside, being invisible is better than being big, so have a good look at yourself from the piracy point of view. Which would you rather steal from; a battleship bristling with railguns and a giant armour plates, or a freighter loaded with cargo and no friends? The answer should be simple, but my point stands, you can't steal anything from that cloaked Force Recon cruiser sitting 150km away. As Sun Tzu never said 'Be neither the freighter or the battleship, but the Force Recon'. Don't appear vulnerable, but don't big yourself up either. I've read some pretty crazy corp descriptions in my time, ranging from the pacifistic 'We want peace throughout Eve' to the overly challenging 'Our security wing is unbeatable'. The best options are the ones that say nothing about how you will react, such as 'T1 ship manufacturing, contact xxx for bulk prices'. If you must make a statement, underestimate your abilities, so as to gain the advantage in the first couple of engagements.
The Mailman, He Bringeth Bad News
So, you log on one day and you see the corp mail button flashing. You investigate, and there is one new mail...from DED. You open it up, and it holds those ominous words: 'xxx has declared war on yyy, after 24 hours, fighting can legally begin' (*Note: Need to check the wording*). I bet you anything that you just felt all the blood drain to your feet. It sounds crazy, but that is your primal instincts kicking in...fight or flight. Your mind senses trouble and it is ready to run for the hills. You may also be shaking slightly, that would be your new friend, adrenalin, which you may also find odd. Both of these are pretty unique to Eve, due to the sense of loss (unlike an offline game you can reload, or something like WoW where you can just resurrect) your brain gets a little confused, and thinks Eve is real for a few minutes. Before you do anything, calm down. Grab yourself a water (or any non alcoholic drink...you need to think straight for a while), take a wiz, take a walk, chat to friends, whatever to calm down. Then come up with an action plan.
You get the mail, you have options. You can surrender to any demands, and get the peace back. You can run and hide, try to evade your foe until they get bored, or you can fight them, show them you have teeth!
Easiest option, as well as the quickest. I'm not sure if there is a giant cartel of corps who share info on who surrenders and pays, but it is still a bad move, if only because you tell yourself and your members that they should yield because they are weak. Yes there are situations where you should Pay The Man(TM), but usually this isn't one of them.
Run And Hide
Run to the other side of the galaxy and dock up until the enemy get bored. Seems like a great idea until you find out about locator agents (agents that tell you where someone is) and drunken singing on TS/Vent (great anti-boredom move). Eventually you will reach a point where one of their pilots can tie up 10 of yours, and that is an even worse situation than what you started with.
Yeah, now we are talking. Get some friends, get some cheap ships, get some spots in a PVP-BASIC class (spot the cheap plug there?!) and get shooting stuff. Probably the most expensive option, but by far the most satisfying! It also lets your opponent know you wil not back down when threatened.
So, What To Do
This article would be fairly boring if I said surrender, and running only makes you die tired. So I'm going to assume you are up for a fight with these guys, and with that option chosen, lets continue.
About That Action Plan
You hadn't forgotten the action plan, had you? Good. Time to make it. First things, make sure everyone knows about the war. Lots of people don't read corp mail, they might not know. Tell them, hammer it home that this war is unavoidable now, and that they will lose ships and pods. 1st thing? Minimise losses. Get jump clones. These let you effectively store implants safely so you can fight cheap and without worry. Next, deal with any POS' you own. Either drop them into a station for the war, strip them of valuables or fortify them, depending on the POS. I'd personally save the worry and drop them all, you can always put them up again later. Be careful of your future war targets trying to steal POS structures, the moment they unanchor they are fair game to be pinched, so be ready to scoop them.
Once the time consuming things are done, its time to tell members how to act. Some (probably most) will have never been in a war before, so make sure you explain everything carefully. Firstly, level 4 missions are off. Level 3 is the maximum (2 reasons, 1) level 4 hubs are a honeypot for war targets, level 3 not so much and 2) you can use cheaper gear and omni-tanks in level 3 missions, more on that later). Mining should be done carefully, war target enters local, you dock up immediately (even if that means leaving some ore or drones behind). Manufacturers and traders should restrict activity to intra station activity only, if you need goods or minerals in a different station, you buy them there, you don't move them. Anything considered valuable by a member should be locked up in a station (not a POS) for the duration of the war.
You as a leadership figure will be busy for the duration, but you should try to make sure there is always a director (or leadership member) online at all times to organise gangs and be an inspiration. You'd be surprised how much difference it will make to the general membership to know the leadership is also loosing ships and pods, but they are still leading gangs. Devise a rota if you have to, and make sure the membership know if there are any gaps, like 'for 1 hour after DT there will be no directors on, so try to stay docked up during this time', to let them know that the leadership has not abandoned them.
Honour, Spies And Deceit
Let's get one thing straight. Honour is a concept devised by the loosing guy to make the winning guy ease up on him. Yes, it exists in some places, but you are dealing with people picking on those weaker than themselves (usually). Any concept of honour goes out the window right now. Done? Good. Now, you'll probably be thinking spies. I'll lay it down. You will not get a spy in the enemy ranks, and they already have one in yours. You have 24 hours to prepare, they might have been plotting for weeks, they have covered everything already. Don't go witch hunting, you want to keep a unified force for now. The spy will show himself sooner or later. For now, make sure any valuable corp assets (POS structures, blueprints, ships) are in a corp division that only the CEO (and only the CEO!) can access.
Import And Export
Ah, the shopping list. Once the war starts, it will be harder to get what you need, and to sell your goods, simply because you can't move them in bulk. Answer? Do it now. Anything you need to sell goes on the market, and anything you need to buy gets bought. What do you need to buy? Well, ships and weapons for a start, you'll see later what kind of ships and weapons, but in terms of when to buy them, its now.
Probably the most important thing you can get your hands on is a voice communication system, basically either Ventrillo, Teamspeak or Eve Voice. All have their advantages and disadvantages (beyond the scope of this document). Get one of them in place if you can and use it, otherwise ask another corp very nicely if you can borrow some of theirs (they will probably charge you ISKies for that).
Sounds obvious, but upgrade your clone. Remember also if you get podded (i.e. pod killed), you will need another clone.
The Bells Of War
So...it's on. The war has started and you may well be bricking yourself. Well, time to calm down again. Hopefully you are in a station and thus you are safe, so go for a walk, a drink (non alcoholic, you need to concentrate), a chat, whatever you need. Now, time to get a fleet together.
The biggest mistake people make for PvP (Player vs Player) combat is that they need a Tech 2 fitted battleship to win. You don't. Seriously. Not to blow ones trumpet but Agony classes have taken down multiple battleships and command ships with a group of frigates most of who have never PvPed before. We have been considered enough of a threat to get hit by a Titan's Doomsday device! So, fly cheap in frigates and work together. If you destroy even one enemy battleship, you have effectively won the engagement (on ISK loss terms) even if you get wiped out. It will also teach you it is ok to lose ships, even in large numbers. That and more explosions is better for everyone.
So, what should you fly? To start with, the electronic warfare frigates (Crucifier for the Amarr, Griffin for the Caldari, Maulus for Gallente), in the order of preference of Griffin > Maulus > Crucifier. There is a Minmatar e-war frigate, the Vigil, but it is completely unnecessary for your needs. Why are these 3 the difference makers, I might hear you ask? Because they can do a disproportionate amount of damage to the enemy. Your Incursus may not be able to beat an enemy battleship in straight up combat, but an e-war frigate (particularly the Griffin) can turn it into a 200 million ISK paperweight. In skilled hands, in fact a Griffin can knock out 3-4 battleships, and paired with a skilled Maulus can probably bring it to 5 or 6. Pretty impressive for ships which cost under 1 million ISK each (fully fitted).
Setups should be pretty simple. Griffins get ECM Jammers (White Noise Generators against Amarr ships, Spatial Destabilizer against Caldari, Ion Field Projectors against Gallente and Phase Inverters against Minmatar). Try to also fit an Afterburner, a pair of rocket launchers if you can, then anything you need to make it fit.
The Maulus is similar to the Griffin, but instead you are fitting Sensor Dampeners (scan resolution dampening scripts) and railguns. The Crucifier again is similar, but with Tracking Disruptors (tracking speed disruption scripts) lasers (type doesn't matter). Both of these ships should have a 1MN Afterburner if possible.
Fighting The Enemy
OK, so you have your frigates, you are all ready to undock, and you all bundle out the station to hit the enemy battleship. One of two things will happen. Either he will run away/dock up (at which you have won one of the critical first engagements) or he will try to take you down, at which you let loose with all that electronic warfare. It isn't the best use of it, but it doesn't matter at the moment. He becomes a paperweight, you can shoot him with little to no resistance (until he runs or docks). First engagment of the war and he (super hard experienced PvPer with millions of ISK and a huge ship) has run away from you (new PvPer with a frigate). Of course, he will report back that you blobbed him with 10, 20, 30 maybe even 50 frigates, and they will counter that strategy. Their strategy will probably involve smartbombs. While I won't say how you counter those (don't want to start running through the PVP-BASIC course too much), they are easy to counter.
Whatever you do though, don't get overconfident. Your only advantage is numbers, play it mercilessly. If you don't think you outnumber the enemy enough, wait in dock for more pilots. Your skill will grow with time, as will your confidence, but for now, play it safe.
Expanding Your Fleet
E-war frigates are fun, but eventually you will want to kill the guys harassing you. For that, you need a more balanced group of frigates, with some more kinds of electronic warfare, notably the warp disruptor and scramblers (stop the enemy running away, although it won't stop them docking) and statis webifiers (which slow the enemy down). Mount these on Rifters, Punishers, Incursus', Merlins, Kestrels etc. and put the hurt on the enemy. If you can destroy his pod after you kill his ship, do so (without any mercy).
The War Drags On
So your first week kiblitz on the enemy wasn't enough to scare them away, thats cool. We did say stockpile for a reason, so you can go for months. However, you should be aware of a few things which will happen.
1) You will lose pilots. People who are sick of the war, people who just want to run missions, people who got podded one too many times. All you can do is minimise numbers, keep the victories high, leadership presence up and the morale in the roof. If someone asks to leave, let them, and don't hold hard feelings. PvP isn't for everyone, especially extended periods of. 2) You will lose battles. To think you will win them all is nieve. Just keep the losses figure down (and with frigates, it will be low) and don't do anything stupid. 3) You will feel the pressure. The eyes of the corp are on you to lead them (or help lead them). Socialise with them, have a friendly chat about the game last night, or how hot Jennifer Garner is. Train yourself to switch on and off at a moments notice, and you can last so much longer. Above all, it shows you are still human.
I said earlier about dropping down to level 3 missions for the war duration. This is predominately so you can make use of an omni tank, a tank with equal effectiveness against all damage types. While NPCs will do slightly more damage to you, any war targets will do a whole lot less, letting you survive longer. Also, try to use a full passive shield tank (as in, 0 cap use) so as to annoy any war targets if you get caught.
Other things to bear in mind...try not to use drones in missions (they are very easy to find, you are much harder to find). If you do get found, keep shooting the NPCs. The chance of you actually destroying one of the war targets is very low, and at least you make some money of the NPC's. It is also a good way to reduce the amount of damage you are taking. If you have ECM drones, use them on the war targets to try to run away.
Pretty much immediately after the first engagement all the way to after the war, you will have to deal with smacktalk, or smack. Smacktalk is the refuge of the desperate, trying to goad you into fighting when the odds are against you, or just so they can vent. Ignore it, and try to get your members to ignore it as well. Those guys can and will use anything you say against you.
Calling In The Heavies
You may well get to the situation where you need a hand, for whatever reason. When that happens, mercs are the way to go. They are expensive, yes, but worth it. If you explain the situation, and tell them that you are kicking their ass with frigate blobs, they may even give you a discount. Just make sure your members don't shoot the mercs by mistake!
The Last 24 Hours
So, you won, but don't celebrate yet, you've still got 24 hours to survive. Not really much to say, except keep up the pressure (unless you negotiated some other agreement) and don't get ahead of yourselves. Dont get the valuable assets out yet, don't set the POS' up again. Wait until the war is over properly.
Calling The Ball
And with that, the fun ends, time to return to normality. The POS goes up, the miners go out, the mission runners go in and the casualties go down. Kind of an ani-climax, but you can't complain. Just make sure you remember what you learnt for next time.
Feeling The Itch
Of course, some of your members, maybe even yourself, might feel 'the itch' to go blowing stuff up again. There are plenty of opportunities, from piracy to factional warfare. And, of course, the PvP University, run by our good selves, Agony Unleashed. You never know, you might end up signing up and joining the fun in 0.0!
About Agony Unleashed
Agony Unleashed was formed in 2006 by Rells to further tactics with likeminded individuals beyond 'line up and shoot the primary'. He also started the PvP University, which aims to teach players of all levels of experience something about PvP. With over 1,600 unique graduates over a variety of courses, the PvP University can only be seen as a success, both in terms of getting pilots to think for themselves in combat and in getting even the most humble of frigate flown by the newest pilot recognition in warfare. The vast majority of Agony pilots were once empire dwellers and carebears, and were literally unleashed during courses such as PVP-BASIC, PVP-WOLFPACKS and the latest addition, PVP-BOMBERS.