Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Special Cog

A woman like this you've never seen,
Come fly beside my sleek machine.
A touch from the tips of my turrets is bliss,
It's for you to decide, to take on a  girl in her ride.
-Sugar Kyle

It was like the toll of a thousand bells. A ringing gong that echoed through the atmosphere rippling the air as it passed. The vibrations sank down to the very bone until every nerve and cell echoed the call as confetti erupted into the sky.

Large Lasers V is complete. In one moment I have achieved a major goal that I had this year and doomed 7-2 to never fly another Laser fleet when I am online. The second may not be fully true. It feels true. I have a tendency to learn something and the flavor changes. Yet, it is still an accomplishment for me. This opens up the third large turret type and greatly expands my ship options that I can put on the field.

I, personally, wait until T2 weapons before I consider undocking in anything these days. Before I had my first set of T2 weapons I stayed in a cruiser. I did not undock a Hurricane until I could fully T2 fit it. That took six months of training to happen. The reasons I have these restrictions is because of Low Sec and living with PvP focused groups. If I was in null sec with a significantly larger group of people the force multiplier would accommodate the skill point gaps. Large weapons are a large train.

The small gangs that I run with are about taking on odds larger than yourself and taking on fights that you may not win. That is what the doctrines are for. Plus, knowing what everyone has on the field makes life easier for the FC to make calls. When you look at two ships one that you can fit well and one that you can sit in the one that you can fit well is probably going to make a difference in the fleet. I was also raised on fitting things properly fit for their task and flying them well by being properly skilled into them. Just being able to undock it does not mean that you can fly it and my boys impressed that on me early.

The other day, Altaen complimented me on getting the final blow in my Tempest. Flying battleships is a big change for me and a major bit of personal game growth. I still don't enjoy them and have a habit of buzzing around the field (slowly). Yet, that fleet was a call for battleships and triage to face the battlecruiser/battleship/cruiser gang that had come looking for us. That is the reason that I have learned to fly battleships. It is not that I have any desire to fly battleships.It is that I enjoy fleet operations and I have developed an appreaction for doctrins as much as I enjoy shaking the station and seeing what falls out.

I think when people hear doctrines they think of the draconian requirements many large groups come up with for various reasons. Eve Uni is famous for grounding certain types of ships as not to encourage the war decs they are spammed with. Null Sec groups have doctrines they want people to fly in so that their fleets are harmonious, properly fit, and they dangle ship reimbursement as the carrot to keep people in line. People fit doctrines for many reasons and it often seems counter intuitive to a person asking why they are doing what someone told them to do.

I point out that in games like Diablo and (WarCraft?) there are sets of equipment that you go after because they are the best. The high end gear is a goal for many people. The reason that gear is a goal is because it allows you do become the bad ass you entered the game to become. You are not really wearing a rotting, uncured wolf skin because its awesome and expresses your individuality. You wear it because you are level 2, poor, killed a wolf with a broken stick you found in a trash can, and its bleeding pelt does more armor protection then your rotting leaves of modesty according to a magical scroll some dude at a school gave you. So, you wear it and shiver in the mountains with leaves wrapped around your feet and splinters in your hand eating raw wolf meat dreaming of a rusty sword.

Doctrines are no different from people obsessing over gear sets to avoid the above scenario. Eve isn't about linear progress where you start in a Rifter and end in a Ragnarok doing level 4 missions with a badass level of sixty. Instead it is a game of hard counters and random possibility. Shield Myrmidons are amazing even with their bonus for repair modules. It does not make sense but it works perfectly for Eve. They are a way to focus a group into less random and more designed. There is a reason random fleet comps are called 'kitchen sink' fleets. And a kitchen sink fleet can be successful but that is rather more about the pilots.

Now, doctrines can be bad. The people making them can become so invested in their belief of their amazing fitting abilities that they bully their corporations into brilliant balls of failure. Calling something a doctrine does not make it good. Undocking fifty of said poorly fit ships does not make it amazing. But that is also about knowing who you fly with and the decisions that you make when you choose to fly.

But when you are at the point where a fleet doctrine is called for the situation isn't about you anymore. Eve is about working with people. It is about a common goal that you are a part of achieving. Sometimes that means swallowing one's desires and docking the Jaguar. That's part of my responsibility as a fleet member. It doesn't mean that I'm not an independent person. It does not mean that I am a mindless cog in the wheel. It just means that at this time, I am accepting the fact that my game intersects with other peoples games and while each snowflake is individual and unique when they melt, the water looks the same.

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