Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rambling: Unwanted Touching

[This is about touching people in Eve who, for some reason, don't want it. Then I lose track of what I am saying.]

I'm something of a frigate pilot. I don't consider myself to be an amazing frigate pilot. I've never done frigate PvP. You will not find me in the faction warfare complexes having frigate fights. I spend my time as fleet tackle. My boys fan around me in their visions of fiery death. Yet, when I get the shakes it is when I'm told to jump into the system and the scout fleet warps me. There is something amazing about that moment when I am turned into a projectile. The entire fight hings upon me. I am fast across the distance. I am fast with the lock. I am there to grab thing and hold them until the muscle comes in. My goal is to hold on and not die.

Sometimes death comes. That is fine as long as it comes after the secondary points have been called. My task is accomplished at that point. I don't want to die. It's wasteful. I run in small gangs and often I am the only tackle. Taking me off the fleet will diminish the effectiveness of the fleet. After all, killing all the things does involve holding them there long enough for them to die and people have an unpleasant habit of wishing to leave before the being killed part happens.

As a frigate pilot however, my contribution to the fleet is felt by the fleet. It is just not reflected on the killboard in raw numbers. As a frigate pilot, I can and do point out that chasing people down, grabbing hold of them, and staying alive until the fleet arrives is a task in and upon itself. It is not the brave brawling of loincloth clad men of course and I believe that to many people dismiss it for the siren call of DPS.

Of course, as someone who is a specialized fleet member, this makes sense to me. Why doesn't the subtle call of the support character call to more people? I think that there is an accidental diminishment of the importance of tackle ships in the fleet when selling the concept of fleet PvP to new players.

DPS. It is a mantra. Damage per second. The pewpew. The dakka dakka. Be it sword or bullet, arrow or turret, the damage put out by our hero is always amazing. And the hero has side kicks. The mage, the cleric, the bard, the thief. He has the maiden, or she has the hero. But it rolls around to that big sword and the dragon slaying hero coated in blood, his armor gleaming.

Not everyone is a hero. Not everyone wants to be the hero. One of the things I like about Eve is that there are no heros. They are people working together and doing a lot of things. Or they may be working together to do one thing. The concept of the fleet is a concept of many persons working together to make an act happen. The movement of capital ships is one of my favorite things to point out. Without the fleet the titan, mothership, carrier, and dreadnought will sit.

When someone is new to Eve and want's to PvP they often do the things that the poster above did. They get into something that feels badass and go and die. While petting and soothing away their hurts they are told to get into a frigate and fly tackle. They are told glorious stories of new players who have decloaked titans and tackled billion ISK pirate battleships. These stories are all true but they are also a lure to coax people out of the role of guns, guns and moar guns, into what, in most games, is the side kick category.

"Any new player can be an important member of the fleet and fly tackle!" The accidental diminishment is the fact that flying as tackle is a task any new player can do. It does not emphasise the importance of tackle later in the game. Mix in the fact that two of the best advanced tackle ships are rarely seen in high security space and tackle becomes the place of the new character in the T1 frigate. It is cheap and easily replaced. It serves an important role for the experienced pilots, with the skill points and guns, to do their job.

One wants to grow into that experienced role. And there is a vast myriad of choices out there. Frigate specialization is an option. Frigate PvP is not something to be sneered at. Frigates are fragile. Even as they tear into each other their fights are intense bursts of frantic fury with hair thin margins of error. I know many pilots who do not care for frigate PvP because of the frantic speed. There is the path of the support ship. The siren call of electronic assault is loud to some. Logistics are now more open than ever and being the quiet backbone both game changing and completely defenseless lures others in. But it is the call for DPS that is so loud as people leave behind their newbie hood and enter into 'real' PvP.

But what is real PvP the soloists who step out to fight whatever they may find? Is it the high sec duelists on the 4-4 undock? Is it the server crushing clash of sov warfare? Is it small gangs, no gangs, ganking, tanking, market, or anything else?

Of course I say it is all of it.

It includes that tackle ship that so many leave behind. Some come back to it. Assault frigates. Interceptors. Hictors. Dictors. They all have their place in keeping the fight on the field. For tackling is not just about running at a ship and shutting down its warp drive for a gank. It is about controlling the field and owning the field. It is about making the situation what your fleet wants it to be and not what other's are planning. It is about sacrificing kill mails to turn a battle by burning after ecm and logistics ships.

Sometimes tackle is an after thought. The basics of it are not overly complex. Point. Stay near it until it dies. Do it again. But the same can be said for any other mechanic in the game. It can go beyond that or it can be only that. You want your tackle to be on the ball the same way you want your logistics pilot to be paying attention.

Everything in the fleet can be specialized in. The DPS, the tackle, the logistics, the ecm, the scouts, and even the beloved Fleet commanders. Everything can also be done with zero experience and a lot of hope. But with specialization the player improves and what seems to be a casual position becomes a part of the fleets support structure. A player does not grow out of the role of tackle.

No one that I fly with looks down on a tackle ship. I'm often amused at the lack of one in fleets, but such is the nature of small gangs. What is fielded is based off of numbers after all.  A fleet has an engagement profile just as an individual pilot does. When that profile includes all of the things it causes the fleet to be fit as tightly as the tightest ship fit to squeak out every single drop of potential.

After all, they call them Assault Frigates for a reason...
Assault and Battery
Two separate offenses against the person that when used in one expression may be defined as any unlawful and unpermitted touching of another. Assault is an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact. The act consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat. Battery is a harmful or offensive touching of another.

1 comment:

  1. Too true! Tackle are often undersold but they are so key to fights, and can deliver such a buzz.
    I've been in a lot of battles and small gang PvP and plenty of solo fights. I've live in wormholes and busted through gatecamps, yet the time that most sticks in memory and has done for what seems like a lifetime is of a tackle role.

    We were in a fleet fight, winning by a slim margin. A large group of the enemy fleet (50+ batttleships) had managed to break away enough that they were prepping their exit. Everyone was watching them go with seemingly no way to stop them and the sighs of disappointment were building on comms. I warped to a spot just outside of disruptor range, then burned as fast as I could into the group calling on comms for a dictor to warp in on me. I exploded and they locked my pod, but I held fast determined to keep the warp-in up as long as I could. Moments before I exploded and woke up in a station, I saw the bubble deploy and heard the fleet eagerly rushing in to battle where they proceeded to exterminate every last one of them.

    I was buzzing for hours after that. It may partially be that I've had so much more experience since then and am more used to fleet fights, but I don't think I'll ever get a chance to experience that level of a rush again.

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