If you a regular reader of this blog, follow me on twitter or know me in EVE, you will have been aware that from the 26th to the 29th January 2012, RVB was at war with EVE University.
I have outlined why we went to war in my initial article on this – linked above – so I will not go into that again. This article is to detail my opinions of this war now that it is over.
There was a couple of large fleet fights, and plenty of skirmishes in between both around RVB’s base of operations and in the pipe from Jita towards Hek. Here is a video of a large fight that happened in Hagilur:
I think it is safe to say that as far as the actual pvp is concerned RVB won this conflict, just by taking a look over the RVB killboards:
As it turns out shooting yourselves every hour of every day really pays off. I know as the FC in various engagements, that even being rusty as I was, I could trust the RVB fleets to get things done. From our frigate and cruiser pilots tackling the large ships and taking down the Unista tackle along the way, to the logistics pilots knowing what best to rep and what to ignore, to everyone who was utilising dishonour drones understanding without prompting exactly what targets they had to be let loose on. I still like to call for dishonour however.
This experience certainly gave us a leg up when facing EVE University’s fleets, however that is not to say the Unista FC’s and the older pilots in their fleets lack a similar level of experience, they just have less opportunity to apply their experience in an offensive environment, given – at least from my experience fighting in the first EUNI war – their primary directive is to be defensive in nature, which usually pays off.
I do feel that with more offensive wars under their collective belt the Unista members – from the FC’s right down to the rank & file – could become a much tougher force to face. They have a good understanding of certain tactics outside of “turtling” up and did try to make use them of from what I saw, however such tactics still require a modicum of experience and calm from the rank and file – and I can pretty much guarantee a large number of the Unista fleet members had the adrenaline shakes as combat started. Hell I still get them after years of this.
Anyway back to what I was saying about some of the tactics the Unista’s employed or could have employed during this conflict. Obviously this is all my opinion, not knowing how exactly the Unista’s work.
Soon after the war went live, I noticed some excellent uses of the “cloaky warp-in” tactic, and more admirably – done without probes – then again the gang hit by this was only at a gate tac, so patience was the only thing really needed on the part of the cloaky. The first time did go badly for the Unista gang however as the RVB gang had plenty of tackle and lots of dps all sitting together which meant when they warped in at a range from their cloaky, we grabbed everything we could. Second time around using this trick, they landed on us as we were spread out, so plenty of us managed to bail – not yours truly in his bomber however – which suggests to me the cloaky knew what had gone wrong the first time and over compensated. Given what the Unista fleet had on field, had I been in their position, I would have warped onto the bulk of small fleet rather than a ‘cane that was pretty much alone. Assigning frigs to tackle “everything” and then utilised the scorpion and other ewar to jam the big stuff we had on field. However, just for using a cloaky with a pair of balls (of steel), Debir gets an A.
The second part of that rumble did teach me to keep my fleet together where possible, with frigs orbiting at varying distances and drones assigned to various fast lockers as well, anything to help force a decloak on a cloaky that may not be using probes, just patience. So I certainly learned a new trick.
Over the course of the war I noticed a few things done right and a few things done wrong.
Right: Lots of tackle around the gate – cruiser and frigate sized. However, did these get tasked before hand, or did they need to wait on primaries? In my opinion the best way to learn to tackle is to be thrown in at the deep end with vague orders to just point everthing.
Wrong: Obvious battle-cruiser DPS squads practically sat right on the gate. Keep these way at range behind your tackle wall, preferably warped in from a safe they are aligned too, that is not near a handy celestial. This resulted in your frig wall dieing to mine as our heavy tackle grabbed your dps. Nothing was running if we could help it.
Right: Logistics well set-up and running their cap chain – and from the AAR I read knowing what exactly they had to be doing.
Wrong: Logistics within range of not just the few ECM platforms I had, but WELL inside of the drone range of your average user of Dishonour drones. Once they reached your Basilisks, it was pretty much game over for them.
Right: Getting off the bait once my logistics appeared and hitting them. Not that it made much difference in the long run, but kudos. Sometimes bait is too juicy to pass up, but it looks like you did. Especially given he survived in 40% armour.
Wrong: Logistics that either had little experience or fleet members not broadcasting. Even before the dishonour reached them, everything EXCEPT the Logi’s that I called was melting without any reps hitting them.
Right: Battleships sitting at range and pre aligned in most cases ready to bail if needed.
Wrong: Taking on a frigate gang using shield fit myrmidons armed with 425mm guns. No webs+poor tracking=dead battle-cruisers right after the enemy finish with your frigates. Good try however, but again RVB+frigs=unstoppable force ;)
Wrong: When roadtripping, bring more ships. Have them all pre-fit, bring plenty of ammo (I saw a quote or two in AAR’s that suggested people did not do this) and just treat everything as lost already.
A good idea during the first fight would have been to have had the Abaddon fit a single large smart-bomb and sit in front of the logistics blob, so as to smartie any drones rolling past him. Given enough distance off gate, and a careful pilot he could have negated the effect the dishonour drones had – I know mine were jamming on every cycle.
As it turns out the biggest reason the Unista’s went down the way they did in the first fight – other than our experience/ nearly equal numbers – was Steve Fire (the Unista FC) getting hit with an overview problem right on contact, following which I understand he tried to call regardless before passing off to his secondary. This may have helped the fleet somewhat stay focused, but it would have been better to have passed control immediately to the secondary.
Which is something an RVB frigate gang could have learned when they fought a Unista fleet I joined to be nice! When the FC dc’s all it takes is 1 person to step up and carry on – including primarying me. As it was the Unista’s capitalised on the confusion and prevailed, HOWEVER watching Debir broadcast, I am still unsure why some of the targets were broadcast, as they were miles off the gate – and therefore the majority of their tackle and dps (except Syd and myself in drakes). Then again that is a well known downside to FCing at range.
In the second big fight down in Hagilur, you were set-up much better however and scored more kills, but still got beat quite soundly, however enough of you got of field, and we were in some disarray (and tired after rolling for five hours) so we bailed leaving you the field. I think Steve had learned a lot from the night before and tried to plan to avoid a repeat of that fight too, which did work in my opinion. Although I would have used your local knowledge and used a small bait fleet to keep us busy in Bei, while your main group landed on our Battleships and Battle-cruisers using a cloaky/neutral warp in, but each to their own – given we were set-up on the Hagilur gate for quite some time.
Regards the overall conduct of the war by the Unista’s – I think you did well, you got out of your home area’s you came looking for us and despite some blue-balling by both sides when you all brought it, you brought it. If you wanted fights more often I would have had smaller gangs rolling around led by one or two older players – frigates, cruisers mostly – just trying to hunt RVBers along the pipe and get smaller, more frequent actions. It would be an excellent learning experience for your members to, send them out into the world as more than an Incursion or Nullsec drone as one of my RVB mates puts it ;)
This also works for us, as I know the fleet sizes we formed up did have some of your fleets docking up and waiting on reinforcements, had we done smaller more independent gangs it would have been even more fun for us – and it was a huge amount of fun as it was.
To RVB, I hope everyone who took part in any of the fights from the large fleets I FC’d to the smaller gangs that rolled around in the off hours being lead by Varc, Dragon and others had an absolute blast. I would say however, that if we have future conflicts with the Uni lets try and do small gang stuff, for example hit and fade on their fleets in staging areas and so on, as often times we blue-balled ourselves by just wanting to get MOAR bodies!!! And we are very good at small gang actions now aren’t we? After all the last time around, we had big set pieces & lots and lots of small gang hunting. Given they staged near us this time, harrassment actions should have been the order of the day until the Unista’s wouldn’t undock anymore!
I also hope that this Purple action taught both Red & Blue that we are all in this together, I know I saw some people who are usually the bitterest of enemies in regular RVB stepping to the plate and working awesomely well together, lets try to keep this up!