Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A lesson learned the hard way

The story below is one that I originally posted first a half year ago at Reddit:

The story I'm about to tell took place in September 2011.
I had been playing EVE since 2004, and played it actively since 2009.
First I like to explain some background about the game, also see this post for a more general writeup.
Basically the EVE universe holds lots of solar systems, and some of those are controlled by NPC factions. Sec, short for 'security' ranges from -1.0 to (+)1.0 where 1.0 is the safest, -1.0 is the worst. Everything 0.5 and above is labeled as 'highsec' and those are the safest areas to live in. They are controlled by NPC factions, not conquerable, there is Concord ('space police') that comes kill the offender if you are being attacked and while wars are possible in an organized manner (Concord will ignore fights between corporations that have an ongoing war) and you can be ganked (killed by high damage in a short time before Concord arrives) it is generally safe. Then there is 'lowsec', wich ranges from 0.1 to 0.4 security level. In those systems is no Concord, but stargates and space stations are lightly protected by sentry guns that will shoot an agressor. Last but not least, there is 'nullsec' wich ranges from -1.0 to 0.0. Some of those systems are owned by pirate NPCs and a lot of them are owned by player alliances.
In 2011, my corporation (consisting of me as leader, and some friends) lived in highsec, in the areas of the Caldari State NPC faction. The most we did was running missions issued by an NPC corporation named 'Spacelane Patrol' in the system 'Josameto' (a 0.6 security system), and thus due to lack of fantasy, the corporation was simply called 'Spacelane Mission Runners' (SLMR).
Now mission runners make okayish money. If you are running level 4 missions (and we often did that with a fleet of 4-8 people, and 1-2 dedicated 'salvagers' (people that salvaged the wrecks of the NPC pirates for useable modules and alloys)) you can easily make around 15-30 million ISK per hour. Mission runners are mostly investing in better and better ships, modules (weapons, shield/armor, speed, etc...), ammo and drones (little remote controlled ships). While income is slow, its steady as long as you keep running missions, and we've done so for over a year. Stuff sometimes got boring but we had eachother, chat/teamspeak and lots of fun. Every now and then we flew into lowsec or nullsec with cheap ships, only to lose them due to our lack of PVP expirence.
Now mission runners usually have pimped out battleships, so they can run missions as fast as possible, since this is the easiest way to maximize their income without leaving highsec. Those ships are offcourse attactive to pirates who like to get rich of your stuff and it was no suprise that half 2011 we were being wardecced by a corporation called 'Confedeferate Union of Tax Legalists' (including the typo yes), a corporation controlled by a bunch of ISK (the ingame currency) hungry pirates that were not very experienced, but sure knew more about PVP then we did. All our members received an ingame mail from Concord, stating that within 24 hours, fights legally could happen anywere in EVE, including highsec.
We gathered up in our home system/station before the war started and stacked up on ammo, some ships and other things we tought would be usefull.
Not very up to date with the war/agression mechanics, our first ships were quickly lost during the first days of war. The Confedeferate Union of Tax Legalists were people who actively looked for easy targets, wardecced multiple at once and kept camping the stations where they lived to wait for them to undock.
Now undocking alone wasn't a big problem. As long as you stayed close enough to the station and could sustain the incoming damage for long enough, you could easily dock up again and be safe; it still ruined your gameplay but at least you did not lose a ship. After the first few losses we learned this the hard way and figured we should all undock together to be stronger then them.
Easily said and done, at the next evening of the war our station was as usual camped by two of their members, sitting in shiny battleships. The other members were most likely checking on the stations of the other corporations that were in war with them, and we were with 5 or 6 people in total.
We checked our ships EHP (Effective Hitpoints) and did send outside the member with most EHP first, to get them to attack, since people that recently agressed would not be allowed docking by the station (often refered to as 'station games'). The bait worked wonderfull, he was instantly attacked by their two members and managed to kill one even before we were outside to come help him, then deagressed and docked up again. A few hours later we retried the same tactic. This time the same persion (who was the corporations CEO) was trying to bait us out in a worthless rookie ship. One of our members undocked and quickly flew towards him, shot him and warped of in a random direction.
Now he was mad, and ordered his members to come kill us, as we were all sitting outside the station, speaking brave words in 'local system chat'. They agressed us, and failed. The other members of them docked up and instead of them campung us, we were now camping them.
Some days moved on, and we were getting tired of the station games. I closed the corporation and opened a new one named 'Jovian Legacy'.
We decided that it was time to move on and do other things. No longer run silly missions in highsec, but time to get some real experience in the game. We decided to enter a wormhole.
Now wormholes are special things in EVE. They work a bit like the stargates that jump your ship between solar systems, except that they can also lead to 'unknown space', often refered to as W-space. Those W-space systems have a security status of -1.0 and are the darkest areas of EVE. There is no police, there are no stations to hide in, no easy ways out in the form of stargates and there is not even a way to see what other players are in the same system. It's dangerous and deadly, you have to maintain your own base ('POS' aka 'Player Owned Structure') and keep it fueled, put ammo in the guns and make sure your members have a semi-safe location to store their stuff and log off in.
Wormholes exist in 6 classes, ranging from C1 till C6 where obviously C6 is the hardest to live in. We decided to go for a C3 with a 'highsec static', a guaranteed wormhole that leads to high security space, but every 24 hours respawned to another random location in the system and connected to another highsec system. It kept us safe from the agressors, made us hard to find, we had a pretty good income and we gained a lot of experience on PVP combat (the hard way, by loosing lots of ships) and staying safe.
The CEO of the Confedeferate Union of Tax Legalists in the meantime found out that we deserted the original corporation and went to look for us. First he wardec'd (war declaration) the new corporation again, making highsec once again unsafe for us. Some of the members decided to leave the corporation and some decided to continue to life in the wormhole and go to highsec as less as possible.
We got into contact with another corporation named 'The Condemned and Convicted'. Those people hired themselves as mercenaries to the highest bidder and were paid by one of the other corporations that were in war with them. We decided to set a trap.
Without notice we returned to our former home system and sat there with a few 'bait' ships. Ships that were fitted in such a way that they could sustain a lot of incoming damage, to be able to hold them up for a while as they were trying to kill it. We mailed him, asking if he still remembered us and if he was still failing to find us. He bited without hesitation and soon after entered that system.
The other corporation was a few jumps out with their forces, waiting for the action. They had a huge fleet of battleships and some scouts; they had logistics (ships that specify in remote repairing other ships) and electronic warfare ships (those can 'jam' the targetting systems and other parts of enemy ships, rendering them useless).
Soon after our bait pilot undocked he was engaged by the alliance leader and made sure that he could not get away by scrambling his ships warp drive. The mercenaries jumped into system and warped to our pilot who was quickly repaired and saved from loosing his ship while the agressor was quickly shot down. His fleet ran away and stopped attacking us. We moved back into our wormhole and stayed there since that moment.
Thanks to his actions, we learned to play EVE the hard way. We learned to fight back and we learned to survive in harsh conditions. We learned to look for fun again and not care as much about our ships as we used to, because there is allways a new ship waiting to burn.
Still, we all think he was a total dick for attacking a clueless highsec space mission running corporation, but we learned and became stronger then ever before.
Nowadays most of our members live troughout lowsec, nullsec and wormhole corporations all over EVE, but still we all talk to eachother about those adventures.
Fly safe o7

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