Coming up on six years as a capsuleer. You'd think I'd have shifted further and further away from the base-line, become ever more invested in space, and what I can do through the medium of the pod.
In practice, I'm spending much more time out of pod than in these days. With so many investments in State mega-subsidiaries and political interest groups, the demands for my time and attention are becoming increasingly frequent, and thus the time I have to spend on actually being a pod pilot is reduced.
Well. Hopefully after the 25th things will settle down again and I'll be able to get back out there, making REAL money, and spending more time with the people who really matter to me nowadays.
Heard from Coldkill again tonight, it's always good to catch up. I described the KASDE situation and we got to chatting about strategy, military efficiency and the general philosophy of capsuleer warfare.
It's something I frequently muse on that for many, many pod pilots, even the most elementary rules of warfare seem to be ignored. Very few of us seem to have read the literature on strategy, and even fewer apparently treat their militaries as... well... militaries.
Take your average capsuleer battle, for instance. The whole approach seems to be "throw an enormous number of ships into the fight and then have one fleet commander calling targets sequentially."
This is unbelievably inefficient, when you think about it. A ship being shot at by, say, fifty ships will evaporate damn near instantly. Throwing in another nine hundred and fifty doesn't make the tiniest difference to how long it survives, let alone a tactically significant one. A 250 strong fleet could engage five targets simultaneously if target calling was devolved to the wing commanders. Ten times that many if the responsibility was devolved to the squad commanders
And yet the "traditional" approach seems to be that the FC spends his time constantly barking enemy callsigns down the voice comms channel and hoping that his or her hopelessly overwhelmed sensors are at least up-to-date enough that they're not calling a target which is already destroyed. There's no chain of command - the general strides onto the battlefield in person and proceeds to individually order the death of every enemy combatant.
And that's when everything's going smoothly. Capsuleer militaries totally lack for professionalism. I've been there - people lose their ships and start calling for help, or reporting their loss to the FC who does NOT need to know. What the FC needs is to have a clear comms line so that necessary information can flow.
Or could, if there was a chain of command for it to flow from and into. Point stands, though. That's the sort of thing that can - should - be covered in basic training. Explain WHAT the FC needs to know, WHY, and WHEN. especially explain why the FC generally does NOT need to know and you should shut up.
Is there basic training for alliances? I doubt it, for most of them. They rely on weight of numbers, not on competence. I suspect, and Coldkill agreed when I mentioned this, that one fleet of 250 could take on four times as many ships and win if its members were trained, flew in a planned fleet rather than bringing whatever they felt like, and were part of a distributed command network rather than being effectively a 250-hardpoint weapons battery on a monstrously large ship with no weapon grouping software.
I'm quite comfortable where I am. But I suspect that if I ever go back out to nullsec, the first thing I'll do is contact the senior FCs and whip the combat pilots into shape. Qualifications, education, role assignment, chain of command. If we just picked up even the most basic elements of a proper, professional military, the upswing in effectiveness would, I'm quite sure, be very pronounced indeed.
Of course, the first and probably most difficult obstacle would be convincing the idiots who've been doing it the "blob and primary" way this whole time.
There are times, regrettable times, when people just take things a bit too seriously.
The founder of KASDE called up a nullsec alliance friend of theirs who made some very dire threats to Cia about closing the corporation down if we didn't retract the war against KASDE immediately. Cia being the prudent, level-headed sort that she is realised that this sort of fight isn't what most of the corporation signed up for and agreed to their demands.
If it had been me, I'd have looked the arrogant son of a bitch who threatened us in the eye and started our own wardec against them, then and there. So, it's probably for the best that I'm not the CEO.
Still, I can't help but wonder. Such a threat is more bluff than statement of reality. A corp of that size based in Stain coming all the way to Molden Heath just to station-camp an industrial corporation half their size out of existence? Not going to happen, they'll get bored too quickly. Besides, without the option of deploying capitals they'd have to bring battleship fleets. That means a healthy selection of the big ones like Nightmares and Machariels.
I know from experience that cheap battleships - phoons, dominixes and geddons especially - can happily slaughter one of those ships fast enough that the presence of supporting firepower isn't an issue. You lose all the ships, but you WILL kill the more expensive one and spend less money in the process. spend two hundred million ISK-worth of fully insured hardware, take down a ship worth ten times that much. Do it ten times, twenty, fifty. Make the war disproportionately expensive for them.
Suddenly, their pilots don't much like the idea of coming down our way, and especially not in their big shiny faction battleships. They stop responding to CTAs, which leads to disciplinary problems. They start bringing cheaper ships, which leads to the fleet being less powerful than it looks, which leads to frustrated FCs, who make bad calls or have to yell to shut their pilots up, which makes the fleet even less efficient.
We've got friends and contacts in important places. I can think of at least four people who might be convinced to help an old fellow FLA member out in a tight spot. Big names, too. With a bit of diplomacy we could have brought an angry pod-pilot hammer down on these bastards, outnumbered them five to one, razed them from the map just like they promised to do to us and laughed at them when we finally allowed them to escape, beaten and broken.
It would have been so fitting for the arsehole who set them on us to watch in horror when it didn't work. It would have been justice to make the big schoolyard bully he'd run to for protection watch in mounting incredulity as the corporation he boasted about got stamped flat. It would have been glorious, a legend to go down in the history of New Eden. There would have been songs, poems and holoreels.
That's what I would have done, or lost everything trying. That's what FLA did.
Re-Aw is not FLA. I need to remember that. And for this corp, here and now, backing down was the only sensible response. I'm not happy about it, not happy at all.