The History of AGONY
Base of operations : UM-Q7F
Great Wildlands I
Base of operations : Egbinger
Pure Blind I
Base of operations : X-7OMU
Base of operations : 6NJ8-V
Pure Blind II
Base of operations : X-7OMU
Date: April 08 to Nov 08
Base of operations : Hemin
Date: Nov 08 to Feb 09
As the Great War reached its peak, the whole north began to NAP against Band of Brothers (the core of this would remain NAPed long after the war ended as the Northern Coalition), and the majority of PvP pilots flocked to the front lines in the south. This left the north, including Agony’s long time home of Pure Blind, a very quiet place. It was time for a ‘vacation’.
Our destination was Curse, in the south. Like Syndicate, Curse is a heavily stationed region, and thus a popular area for smaller non-sov holding factions who are typically hostile to each other. It was also close enough to the main fighting that it was still well populated.
Agony made its home in Hemin, a pipe system close to empire, making it excellent for bubble camping and bringing the targets to us, which indeed became a common and very successful tactic for Agony gangs during this deployment. The initial period in particular, before Agony had tamed the system, saw great deal of action right on our doorstep. At the time of this writing (roughly a year later) Hemin remains one of Agony’s most destructive systems in history.
This deployment also saw an incident which is forever ingrained in Agony history as ‘Speedy’s balls’, during which a drunken Executive Outcomes carrier pilot hotdropped a small Agony sub-capital camp (back in the days when a carrier kill was kind of a big deal!) and was gradually torn apart, accompanied by vent recordings and all.
Agony's Curse deployment culminated in our entry in the 6th Alliance Tournament, in which Agony succesfully made the final 8 teams.
Base of operations : 6NJ8-V
Date: Feb 09 to June 09
Tactial Developments: Partial move from localised camping and ad-hoc to more structured, longer range roaming gangs. Larger ship classes (especially Cruisers & BCs) are now the norm in Agony roams.
Following the Alliance Tournament, Agony’s Curse deployment came to an end. With wallets running low, many members found their PvP time reduced by the need to earn isk. To counteract this, a plan was made to spend a short time, perhaps a month or so, on some hardcore isk making ready for a more challenging deployment afterwards.
Venal seemed the perfect choice for such a venture. While still NPC space, Venal is deep into 0.0 and is considered quite a profitable region, with excellent ratting territory. It was also an old haunt of Agony, with Venal I often being considered one of Agony’s best deployments. Intel reported that the region was very quiet at the time, and the decision was made.
What made Venal an interesting deployment was primarily the distance from high sec space, and the bearing of this upon logistics operations. Unlike most of our deployments, Venal as a region does not border empire space. Conventional travel requires around 25 jumps through Pure Blind and Tribute, and even carriers cannot reach Venal in a single cyno jump.
Thankfully, Agony’s Pure Blind base in X-70MU was still maintained and relatively quiet, so the move was split into two phases; firstly a move to Pure Blind, followed by the final move to Venal. Due to the difficulty of the move, as well as the intended length of stay, ship transport was minimal, and mainly geared towards ratting.
They say that no plan survives contact with the enemy, and this is exactly how things went. Upon arriving in 6NJ8-V, the same HQ Agony had used during our previous stay in the region, things were not so quiet after all. Our PvP habit rapidly replaced any intention to carebear, and Agony did what Agony does best - pewpew!
Notable opponents during this stay were Circle of Two (a relatively minor alliance in the Northern Coalition who would later come to unexpected fame as runners up in the 7th Alliance Tournament), Tau Ceti Federation (also NC, these guys moved right into 6NJ with us near the end of the deployment) and Morsus Mihi (that’s right, more NC) in Tribute to the south.
In the end, Venal II lasted far longer than originally intended, and while it didn’t succeed in its original purpose as an isk raising venture, it did provide an interesting logistical challenge, and a limited amount of action with good a good environment for medium to long roams. Inevitably though, greener pastures soon began to beckon, and as rumours began to spread of a potentially interesting situation in Great Wildlands, it was time to pack up and move back to Pure Blind ready for our next deployment.
Great Wildlands II
Base of operations : N-DQ0D
Date: June 09 to October 09
Tactial Developments: Early GW - Experimenting with the use of POS, and living in a highly hostile environment. Late GW - More focus on solo and smaller gang, due to low activity; smaller ships such as AF become increasingly popular again.
During the end of Agony’s stay in Venal, Great Wildlands had become a highly contested region due to the collapse of Foundation Alliance, who had previously controlled the area. After the relative quiet of Venal, it was hoped that a warzone like this would provide the kind of interesting tactical challenges that we were looking for.
As it happened, we faced an entirely different set of challenges. By the time Agony finally deployed to Great Wildlands (via a short stay in Pure Blind), fighting in the region had ceased and the area was firmly in the grip of Cult of War, who had NAPed most other factions in the region (the most notable groups being Gentlemen’s Club and YARR & Co). Rote Kapelle remained neutral and occasionally roamed in from nearby lowsec, but the region was otherwise completely NAPed.
Our choice of system was N-D, the least populous of the three station systems in Gread Wildlands (the majority of CoW based out of the nearby systems of E02-IK and M-MD3B, which acted as a chokepoint to all of southern GW). This left us with relatively free reign of the northernmost pipes such as the one to Etherium Reach, but effectively cut off from most of the southern Wildlands.
Due to the station being kickout, we initially staged from a POS. This served the dual purpose of facilitating logistics and provoking a response from CoW.
Initial operations began as expected. A number of CoW regulars kept the N-D station camped pretty much around the clock, usually with capital support. Roaming gangs encountered some success, but targets in Wildlands were sparse, and CoW & friends were quick to use their numbers advantage in most fights, with most trips into southern Wildlands being swiftly camped into the pipe once they passed the CoW home systems. Thus Etherium Reach to the north became the preferred destination.
Before long, CoW began to take an interest in the POS. Initial attacks were mainly casual, and were repelled with a combination of POS gunners and bombing runs. Eventually CoW committed to a more organised assault as expected and put the POS into reinforced. Word was spread discreetly to a few of CoW’s enemies, and when the CoW cap fleet entered siege the following day, they were annihilated by a hotdrop from Pandemic Legion. CoW ultimately returned to remove the POS with a cautious sub-capital fleet, but by this point the damage was done.
Shortly afterwards, corp focus switched to the 7th Alliance Tournament. Despite an excellent showing behind the scenes and an excellent first round, we suffered a significant loss in the second round and were unable to qualify for the finals.
Due to a combination of factors, most notably the tournament, Agony activity in Wildlands had gradually died. Most of the corp had moved to lowsec, and gangs generally ignored Wildlands in favour of Etherium Reach. Morale and participation were at a significant low, as was combat efficiency, leading to GW commonly being considered as one of Agony's darker times. Rather than rebuild our Wildlands 0.0 presence, the corp chose to look forwards, with a number of options considered for our future direction including faction warfare and mercenary work. Ultimately though it was backwards, not forwards, that we chose to head.
Syndicate II and Agony 0.0
Base of operations : EZA-FM
Date: October 09 to Present
Syndicate is considered the birthplace of Old Agony, and in many ways this deployment was intended as a return to those roots.
Geographically, Syndicate couldn’t be more difficult to Wildlands. A heavily stationed region, Syndicate has historically been a hotbed for small unaligned factions, a huge change to the quasi-sov situation in Wildlands at the time. It also differs in its lack of pipes, with most routes (other than the pipe between upper and lower Syndicate) having multiple viable paths.
Agony made its new home in EZA-FM southern Syndicate. While not really an obvious through-system to anywhere, EZA is central enough to have numerous entrance and exit routes (and isn’t in a pocket), giving the corp a great deal of maneuvreability. Our most significant neighbours were IT Alliance (mainly ex-Band of Brothers) just one system away in 6-C (some of whom later based out of EZA) and long-time Syndicate residents Huzzah Federation in the nearby PC9 pocket. (After the Dominion expansion, most of IT Alliance moved on to sov warfare, and Huzzah ultimately disbanded, with numerous smaller factions moving in in their wakes).
During this time, Agony also underwent a significant internal change – the replacement of the complex Agony 2.0 philosophy for the more streamlined Agony 0.0.
The guiding ethos of the change was to focus on PvP rather than beurocracy. Under Agony 0.0, the complex military ranks were removed in exchange for a flat structure, with all Core members (other than directors) sharing equal responsibility. Many internal admin processes were simplified and/or delegated, most notably recruitment and trial periods, which underwent a complete rework. Agony’s previously rigid Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement were also modified in favour of a more simplified ‘common sense’ system.
Syndicate proved to be far more suited to small gang and solo PvP than Wildlands had been, with activity, morale and effectiveness quickly rising to pre-Wildlands levels, and then beyond. An influx of new members and the return of many old ones breathed further life into the corp, and Agony began to flourish once again. Tactical development (inspired partly by our unused preparation work on the tourney) was once more a part of Agony life, initially with regular HSLR and HSSR and bomber gangs, and expanding to include RR battleships, Black Ops drops and Titan bridging.
Other incidents of note include Agony being wardecced by long time Syndicate residents and local gankers Exquisite Malevolence, who proceeded to get their POS network torn down by Agony within the first few days of the war, and Agony's first Mothership kill courtesy of No Trademark.