This wasn't an easy choice, and I again want to thank all of you that sent me recruitment offers over the last several weeks. But FOVRA's offer was one of those, and it immediately jumped into my top tier of possibilities. It was incredibly flattering to me to receive an offer from them. I've had a ton of respect for Rote for a long time. They have a terrific, well-deserved reputation as some of the best -- if not the best -- small-gang PvPers in EVE, and small-gang stuff was my first love in this game. I was then thrilled to discover that they're very active in my California TZ, a criteria that disqualified a lot of corps that I was considering.
Rote has a downside, and that downside would be devastating to a lot of players: they expect and demand that you leave your ego at the door until you've proven yourself with them. They also expect perfect ship fitting, and they expect total discipline from their pilots. I knew this going in. I followed Rixx Javix's adventures with Lucifer's Hammer in Rote when they happened. Still, I pride myself for being an anomaly on the Internet: if you tell me I'm wrong, and show me why I'm wrong, I will admit and accept that I'm wrong and change my position. I also have an incredibly thick skin. And when it comes to discipline, I'm a machine. This blog proves that. ;-)
Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!
Doris Murphy: Why don't you give her a break, Jimmy...
Jimmy Dugan: Oh, you zip it, Doris! Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pig-shit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?
Evelyn Gardner: No, no, no.
Jimmy Dugan: Yeah! NO. And do you know why?
Evelyn Gardner: No...
Jimmy Dugan: Because there's no crying in baseball. THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! No crying!
So yeah, I'm definitely in "shut up and learn" mode. But... holy shit. Holy shit, these guys are pro. Again, I knew that going in. But this is not a corp for beginners, or even intermeditate players. Two years ago, I wouldn't have even been able to follow the conversations that I'm hearing. A year ago, I could have followed the conversations, but I wouldn't have understood or accepted the conclusions. And there's an expectation in Rote from the get-go that you know what you're about and you can handle yourself and your needs. A lot of alliances -- most alliances -- have mentors to help you through your first month. Not Rote. If you need that kind of hand-holding... there are other alliances.
When I joined and was told Rote's home system, I immediately packed a couple of carriers with a broad selection from my stable of PvP ships, 15 ships in all, all BC and below. I got API access to the forums as this was happening, and started trucking the carriers in. My habit when I join a new alliance is to start with the ship-fitting section of the forums, and as I expected, this part of Rote's forums was extensive. I started taking notes, concentrating on my first 15 ships. Now of those 15, three of them were pretty specialized and not really anything where standard fittings are likely to exist (Buzzard, for instance). Another was a type of ship that Rote doesn't even fly. Of the remaining 11, I discovered to my horror that eight of them were fit in ways that Rote would find unacceptable for some reason. Another, I classed as "maybe". Only two of the 11 -- both faction frigates -- were clear "yeses", meaning that Rote would find them acceptable.(1)
Morpheus: Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize -- just as I did -- that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
Now granted, in a lot of cases, the problems with my fits were small ones. 5% here, 5% there. But in EVE, sometimes 5% is the difference between winning and getting podded.
I didn't argue for my case. I immediately started packing a Giant Secure Container in Empire with all the modules I'd need to make those eight ships right, and made plans to bring it in with the second wave of ships. It pained me to watch fleets go out without me. ;-) But I wasn't about to take a non-approved fit out on a roam. I could have asked to buy or borrow a ship, of course, but I gritted my teeth and accepted that the time would be better spent making my own ships right. I'm really looking forward to getting out there with Rote, though. These guys are going to teach me a lot.
So that's a big reason that I joined Rote: I want to take my game to the next level. I recognize that there are a lot of ways that I can improve as a PvPer, and I feel certain that these guys can help me.
Other reasons? As I said, an active California TZ was huge. I've bitched before about how few corps have this. Active small gangs were another big plus. Pretty much every corp I was looking at focuses on either solo or small gang. But there was one other factor that was also decisive: I decided I wanted to stick with null, rather than low-sec, wormhole, or joining a high-sec PvP corp. I'm like a moth to a flame on this subject, and I know that I want nothing to do with sov fights any more. But my instincts as a PvP pilot are always going to be around null-sec space. I like dictors and bombing runs and not having to look over my shoulder for CONCORD or gate guns at every gate. It also helped a lot that several in-game friends recommended Rote to me after I told them some of the corps I was considering.
A couple of guys have been nice enough to notice that I've been around, ask me questions, and find out what I'm up to. One of Rote's more senior pilots did this the other night. I'm pretty sure he didn't know me. But he saw that I was new, asked what I thought and what I'd been doing, then asked a lot of pointed questions about my mind-set and attitude. It was like a second interview, and I'd already been through a first (rather extensive) interview. ;-) I answered his questions, and he concluded "yeah, you'll do OK here."
So yes, Rote Kapelle feels like an excellent fit for me, and I'm thrilled to be a part of them.
Jennifer Mack: What's it doing?
David Lightman: Learning.
It's already had funny side-effects, though. I have a pretty extensive collection of tactical bookmarks around Syndicate(2), where Rote lives, already. Still, you can always have a better set, and there were a few systems where I didn't have any. So since my faction frigates and the inties I brought in the second wave were in pretty good shape, fitting-wise, I've been using them and the time that I can't be in fleets profitably to get this task done.
Just last night, I was screaming around a pipe system in a speed-fit inty, building the tactical library, when I spotted a 14-man gang T1 cruiser and BC gang in-bound to Rote's home system. I got on the intel channel and on TS3 and reported it, then warped to one of my tacticals to get a closer look at them and see how they were fit. It was just 16 of us in system: this 14-man gang, a guy that had been hanging out in this system for a while, and me all by my lonesome in a Rote Kapelle-flagged interceptor.
The gang turned around and went back the way they came. ;-) Apparently, this isn't unique for a Rote-flagged pilot. While I was listening in on TS3 a day or two ago, Bacchanalian, a well-known Rote pilot, did the same thing... in a pod.
Ah, Rote Kapelle, your reputation doth proceed you. ;-)
Hopefully, one day, I can start adding to it.
(1) Now, that said, almost all the initial 15 were pretty standard go-to DPS ships. I did a lot better with my special team ships, fortunately. For instance, I was pleased as hell to note that my Falcon was fit dead on, as were my dictors, by and large.
(2) This will be my third time living here.