Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Battle of Aldrat

Each year, RvB declares war vs Eve University (a corporation that teaches new eve players.  I find them a bit too formal for my tastes, but they are really good for the game IMO, helping players overcome EVE's steep learning curve. Check out their wiki, it's a great resource!).  We declare war vs EveUni mainly for fun, but also to test ourselves vs a group with larger numbers.  Frequently we have the number advantage, but not in this case.  Also, it gives us a chance to form "Purple" - Reds and Blues uniting vs a common foe.

I also believe that this is a good educational for the Unistas - they get a lot of wardecs, but it's frequently by griefers.  RvB gives them a "real" opponent.   So RvB more or less shut down normal activities, we shipped a *massive* amount of ships to Aldrat (personally I sent 17 - I wanted options!) and got ready for war. 

And what a war it was!  It wasn't always "perfect".  On occasion, we didn't have a skilled FC present and vs the larger numbers of EveUni, we suffered a bit.  For instance I took out a t1 frigate fleet (I'm "ok-ish" at FCing).  Our scouts found their fleet, the numbers seemed roughly equal, we engaged... but they had scouts too and warped in reinforcements.  We lost that fight badly.  Oh well, t1 frigs!

In other occasions, we *really* didn't have the numbers.  At this time, we would form smaller roaming strike teams and look for targets of opportunity outside of Aldrat.  We have an FC who specializes in hunting war targets.  I won't name him so he can keep being effective... but he's very entertaining (and quite good too).  See, his wife is often sleeping when he's playing, so he leads with this hoarse whisper, giving the whole affair a unique cloak and dagger feel.  On that roam I decided to take out my Enyo to add punch.  It was my first time flying it in "real" PvP (vs structure bashing) and it was a very potent ship, if challenging to fly (soo little range!).  At one point I engaged a Thorax - look at the damage % I inflicted, the Enyo is a beast!  Other targets of note on that roam were a Talos, a Slicer, a Comet and a 0.5 bill pod.

And speaking of pods, another "fun" aspect of the war was the podding. RvB does not pod in regular Red vs Blue action.  However in this war it was allowed.  This forced me to get better at it... I had an overall success rate of 7/8 roughtly, but I did lose a semi-clean pod to the toon of 100 millions... ouch!

That is when things went "poorly". When they went well... it was glorious.  A doctrine we often used to counter the howling frigate hordes of eve Uni was the Longbow - a fleet built around the cormorant using t2 rails and spike ammo, resulting in a 100 km range!  This is a bit tricky to use - the FC needs to know what he's doing! - but when used well it's very potent, and very fun to be in.  At other time, to counter caracal fleets EveUni fielded, we used feroxes.  Rail feroxes used to be a bit of a joke, but no longer!

All this leads to Thursday, the last evening of the war.  Our spiritual leader, Mangala Solaris, called out for a large armor fleet to blow up an EveUni Poco to make a point.  When we called for the undock, it was an impressive sight.  Well over 20 Domis undocked at once, accompanied by heavy logi support, several other battleships, dozens of battlecruisers etc... about 100 in total.  We headed to the POCO and waited a few minutes for the timer to end, deploying sentries etc.  Mangala asked if we wanted to win, or if we wanted to destroy the POCO - we said it was his call.  This question wasn't rhetorical.  EveUni had a counter for our fleet.  First they dropped a number of suicide destroyers on us at short range.  While we were dealing with that, they put an attack battlecruiser fleet (mostly tornados) fleet in position... and hit us with a second, bigger waive of suicide destroyers.  This tactic, mixed with a bit of EWAR and their superior numbers, resulted in heavy loses on our side.   My dominix *melted*.  But... we did kill the POCO :)

We had a cruiser battle or two following this, then Yngvarr took over Mang for FCing.  Who is this fellow you ask?  Well, after this war I must say he is a Titan among men.  On some days he FCed 6 hours straight!  He also happens to be one of the top pilots on Battlleclinic.  So for this fight, he called for a shield cruisers with rail doctrine, loading caldari lead, all DPS no support.  I hopped in a Thorax.  Eve Uni chose talwars. At this point, both EveUni and RvB had a number of ships left, and not much time remaining on the war.  Everyone decided to go all out.

And Thus Began the Killing

The two fleets danced around each other, exchanging furious fire.  At once point we were killing a talwar ever 5 seconds.  Both sides kept reshipping, sometimes conceding the field for a moment to regroup but always returning to the fight.  I lost 3 thoraxes but kept coming back (at the end I was in a longbow ship and it worked well).  The battle raged for over 2 hours, you can see it here.  If you don't feel like watching 2 hours, the tl,dr is Yngvarr telling us to kiiiilll aaaalll the taaaalwaaars!  I unfortunately missed the end, but I hear there was a massive FFA at one point :)

Last year we stomped Eve Uni.  This year they fought like lions.  The final tally is telling:  isk ratio near 50%,  almost 120 billions destroyed, RvB losing 2400 ships but killing over 4500.  Who won?  All of us I think.  Furious battles, great fleets and fun for everyone.   There was an article about this war on TMC and unfortunately there were a snide comment or two, but they are wrong.  On Thursday, the real action in Eve was not in Nullsec, it was in Aldrat. 

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