Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Kill of the Week: Stalking the wily Titan

Really, there's only one kill I can choose this week:

Lots and lots of people have written about how this PL Titan died.  Best coverage of the actual gank is probably from First General at Wolfsbrigade.  Take a moment to go read his description, and you might even watch the included video.  Best coverage of the background behind the gank is probably from @GamerChick42.  Very very tl;dr version, though: a team of faction warfare corps, observing that PL liked to gate-camp with their Titans in Amamake, made a conscious decision to stalk, hunt, and kill one of these Titans with a large fleet of insured glass cannon dreads along with a support fleet of hictors and battleships.

The original intent was "gank and run".  The "run" part was blocked by the fact that PL had a super fleet within striking distance to counter-drop.  Pity that CCP still hasn't addressed the ability of a large super fleet to project power, but what can you do.  Ironically enough, apparently the planners for this op got some of their ideas on ship fittings and tactics from PL's forum dump to kugu last year.  Props to them for the interesting use of this data.  ;-)

So, I'm not going to talk about the kill itself.  It's been covered.  Instead of talking about the kill, I'm really more interested in talking about "what it all means."

The response by PL to this Titan being killed has been enlightening to say the least.  Mr Blue registered on FHC to report (edited for clarity):
Not to boast or anything, but the [PL] supercap fleet is almost running 12-14 hours a day, so it's kinda hard to avoid hitting anything without having PL supers in gang somewhere closeby...
Aheh.  Wow.  In other words, hit anything owned by PL anywhere, and you're going to get counter-dropped by a PL super-cap fleet.  That's... ummm... impressive.  I mean, sure, EVE players by and large believed this was true, but to have it blatantly stated like this was a little bit jarring, at least to me.  The smug didn't stop there, though.  Mr Blue and Kalorn basically called Odda, the Titan pilot that was ganked, "not so smart" (the r-word came out, but I won't use it).(1)  And sure, you can kinda divine that from his Titan fitting.  But then Raivi jumped in to say:
Was a good kill. You FW guys did what all of nullsec has been failing to do by actively hunting and killing one of our titans.
Count on PL to give such a left-handed compliment while simultaneously subtly insulting 20% of the EVE player base at the same time.  ;-)

Presumably, PL will now be expanding their spy network to include some faction warfare corps, particularly since FW is getting some attention this year and will be the first location where DUST 514 orbital bombardment will be available.  I'm sure the FW corps have been easy to overlook in this regard the past couple of years, but I think it was that ability to fly under the radar that allowed them to assemble enough dreads to get this kill.  It's not a mistake that PL is going to make again.  FW corp CEOs, take note.

On the flip-side, "The Ents are going to wake up and find that they are strong," as Gandalf said in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  As GamerChick correctly notes, the FW corps now represent a pretty significant power in today's EVE world, without seeming to realize that's the case.  I think we'll get our first indication of that tomorrow when we see where Hans Jagerblitzen lands in the CSM7 voting.

The original plan apparently called for representation on this op from all four faction militias.  Had that happened, it's fun to wonder what would have happened.  PL dropped their supers into that situation pretty casually, without the intel about the first Titan-ganking op.  Suppose the faction warfare militias had all been gathered, and prepared to counter-counter-drop PL's supers?  Like I said, it's fun to think about.

Again, we'll learn if the FW militias can come together in their own best interests when we see how many votes Hans picked up.  There are some that are saying it might be Hans giving Mittens a run for his CSM7 Chair money this year.  I'm not sure I believe that, but if he's a strong second, gaining more votes than the other bloc candidates?  Yeah, I think that'll wake some people up.

Last but not least is the consideration of what it took to kill this Titan.  40-odd dreads were gathered.  As I said the other day, when you tackle a Titan, you can nearly always expect a large super-cap support fleet to come in and try to save it.  Hell, even before the counter-drop started, there were a couple of carriers providing support for this Titan.  "If he hadn't been in a [stupid] fit - he almost certainly wouldn't have died," Kalorn says.  I'm forced to agree.  Luck played its part here.  Had luck not been on the FW side, not only would the Titan not have been killed, but the FW corps would have lost tens of billions of ISK trying.

This is what it takes to try to kill a Titan in EVE today.  This is why further balancing of the class is still absolutely required.  But more on that in a day or three.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this kill!  You did a great job!

(1) Odda's bio (he's Norwegian) now jokes:
"smart norwegians" are next to "german humor" and "swiss navy victories" the 3 thinest books in the world-" Wladomir jed
Wasn't me that said it, and I apologize to anyone who's offended.  Would just like to make it clear that Odda's presumably getting trolled pretty hard by his alliance-mates.


  1. Listening to Elise Randolph and Seleene talk about this on the VftV podcast and say with a straight face that blap titans are "soooo vulnerable" made me kind of rage. Sure, very vulnerable, all you need is a big fleet of suicide dreads. :P

    1. Yeah, that's going to come up in the next blog post on this topic.

    2. And now they are both on the CSM - during a year in which Titans were going to be looked at further. Well done PL.

  2. I have doubts about the potential power of FW militias, since the whole militia system is about to fight each other. Now they may see the whole FW scene as one against nullsec people.

    But as they gain power and get killed more and more by opposing militias instead of nullsecs, real rivalry and hate against the enemy factions will rise, making such operations impossible.

    1. You misestimate hate mechanics in EVE. Especially when it comes to killing supercaps, absolutely everything drops to the side. The there are things that transcend other things. For the recent battle at C-J, goons ended up blueing PL and NCdot. EVE politics are complicated like that...

  3. The FW folks are just there to PvP each other. They look at nullbears the way WoW PvPers look at the PvE crowd.

    The Squids and Frogs can work together if you annoy them both enough.

  4. People miss one important part: FW Guys dont have sov in classical way. They are nomads themselves, giving them the ability to try something like that against PL. If .e.g X.I.X or AAA would try this, it is obvious that PL (1) can counter drop (2) hit critical structures in alliance sov space as revenge. Therefore from political and infrastructure point of views, it's more dangerous for a nullsec alliance to drop PL then for FW gus.

    1. Why are people playing than in 0.0 if they are ALL not with pl ??

  5. 3 NC. Titans down .... welp

    CFC: /Smug

  6. Some of you clearly underestimate the potential of FW pilots. Not only are many of them highly skilled small op pvp'ers, but many of them are also highly disciplined large fleet participants, including cap fleets. They DO have large numbers of cap assets that are in many cases unknown because they don't have to deploy them regularly. With the new Alliances in FW, the momentum of 'change' is moving quickly...ambitions are limitless. Those null sec alliances who forge friendships with said FW alliances will likely benefit, while the rest may wake up one morning wondering why they too just lost a titan, or worse...


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