On the evening of August 31, 2010, I had one of the most fun nights I'd ever had in EVE Online.
At the time, I was a member of The Perfect Storm, one of the expat corps that escaped from the collapse of the Gentlemen's Club alliance, after the fall of our Scalding Pass home to the DRF horde. We had set up shop in Orvolle in Placid, just one jump from Syndicate null-sec, and we spent our nights roaming through Syndicate, Outer Ring, and low-sec Solitude. At the time, my corp was looking to join Cry Havoc., one of the truly great unbounded PvP alliances in EVE's history. A group of us were flying with their gang in a combined short-range armor HAC gang. I was logged in as Ripard, in my beloved dual-tackle Terrier Taranis.
IT Alliance was at what turned out to be the height of their strength. They had retaken Delve about six months prior, and their fall was about six months in the future. But at that time, they were a force to be reckoned with, and roamed far and wide... including frequently into Syndicate. So Cry Havoc. and Perfect Storm spent a lot of time separately fighting their roaming gangs and good fun was had by all. Now it was time to try working together. On this particular night, we got word of a strong IT fleet of sniper Apocs supported by close range armor HACs acting as tackle. I forget what the IT gang's goal was -- it isn't important. What was important was that there was a good fight to be had. Their fleet was about 70% larger than ours, but with their fleet doctrine split, our FCs agreed that we stood a good chance of taking them on successfully.
We rushed toward their location; they spotted us, and turned to leave Syndicate. Our lead elements caught them briefly in Faurulle and prevented them from escaping into Aridia, where it was known they had at least two Titans parked for bridges back to Delve. Two jumps later, we pushed them into Hare, their Apocs burning to a perfect sniping range away from their AHACs, daring us to come at them. And come at them we did.
What followed was a 40-minute melee throughout the system, from gate to planet to safespot and back. Both sides had scanner ships, and both sides used them well. But where they had sniper battleships, we had inties and a few T3s for tackle. And that made all the difference. Our scanner ships would get us decently close warp-ins. At that point, I and the other inties would burn in and catch and hold as many of their ships as we could. Meanwhile, we acted as warp-ins for the rest of our close-range HACs. For me, it was a glorious, heart-pounding fight. I'd pick a HAC, scram and orbit him at 600m, and point whatever the most expensive thing I could find within point range. Call my scram, call my point. Wait for one of the two to die. Replace that target with a new target. Repeat until their fleet warps off. Wait for our scanner ship to give me a new warp in. Warp. Find myself 70 or 90km off as they desperately burn away. Burn after them. Maintain transversal; don't get popped. Watch out for Zealots; those are particularly nasty. Get in close, wait for my range to the rest of the fleet to open. Scram. Type a few "x"s into fleet chat. Call on comms: "Warp to Ripard! Warp to Ripard! Xs in fleet!" Rinse and repeat.
The final battle report is gone from eve-kill now, sacrificed when eve-kill dropped all but this year's kill-mails. I came home with my Ranis intact, several expensive faction mods in cargo, my reward from the FCs for many hero tackles that evening. The Cry Havoc. guys gave us a lot of compliments and it looked like Storm was going to be their newest member corp. But CH was essentially dead two weeks later, the victim of lassitude within their own alliance. I remember those few weeks campaigning to join them as my opportunity to fly with a lot of guys from Habitual Euthanasia, at that time a cornerstone of CH... now a cornerstone of Pandemic Legion. Hull Miners Union is gone. Invicta. is in Rooks and Kings now.
It was in many ways one of the high points of my time in EVE. I spent months after that looking to recreate that experience... to no avail. The few T3s we had in fleet heralded the birth of the T3 blob. The IT super-caps we avoided heralded the birth of the super-cap blob. I'm honestly not sure that kind of fight even exists in EVE Online any more.
So it's with very mixed emotions that I watched the new "I Was There" trailer today. I've been right where that ceptor pilot was. It was real for me, too.
I was there. Was. Past tense.
Does the kind of fight in this trailer exist in New Eden any more?