Leaving BRAVE: Part II

First, a quick note.  I really have not played Elder Scrolls Online lately.  After our move, we switched back to Time Warner from AT&T U-verse, which I was sorely disappointed in.  While a lot faster, Time Warner had a very bad problem with dropping signal which seemed for some reason to be worse whenever I got onto TES.  The “dropping” problem seems to be resolved, but I still need to get back on TES.

In the meantime though, I really need to continue talking about leaving BRAVE.  I have started this post three times and every time it turns into a history of BRAVE doctrines which sounds terribly dull.

So, just to get that out of the way, BRAVE in the time I was there initially had it’s Talwar, Pocket Rocket (Thorax) and Furrox (Ferrox) doctrines, adopted the Harpy I talked about a while back, adopted the Baltec Megathron, promptly ditched it again, picked up the Augror Navy Issue, and finally settled on the Moa and Eagle, and now appears to be adding Tengus.  The Talwar has survived (with less and less use) and the Harpy remains.

I loved the Pocket Rocket doctrine and would have loved to see it altered to fit Null.  Perhaps I’ll discuss it at some length later on.  I enjoyed the Eagle and Moa, although I felt both fits lacked a bit in damage application, and I liked the Baltec Megathron which was abandoned almost as fast as it was adopted due to FCs not knowing how to use it.  The Augror Navy Issue was horrible – it suffered from poor lock range and appalling capacitor consumption despite having only 3 guns.

Overall, however, BRAVE was pretty fun to fly doctrines with aside from the perpetual overabundance of fast tackle.  Manfred Sideous talks about BRAVE’s fundamental tradeoffs a bit in his CSM candidate thread.  I think he’s got a good grip on the basic tradeoffs BRAVE has made, and that the game should not be balanced specifically to make BRAVE’s playstyle more viable.

But let’s talk outside of fleets.  Outside of fleets, you will find a lot of BRAVE pilots flying, for PVP: atrons (and slashers), interceptors, RLML Caracals, and then a smattering of more expensive stuff, sometimes ridiculously so; it’s not unknown for a single BRAVE pilot in a Garmur or something like that to go out and get killed by a roaming fleet in his system thinking that he has the backup of a defense fleet that’s barely forming – or worse, just can’t warp to him in time.

As I mentioned before, BRAVE has all kinds of people showing up to content-farm them all the time.  An FC I flew under recently characterized BRAVE’s local defense as “drone boats and atrons”, and while I’d add RLML Caracals and the occasional other unfortunate to the fix, he’s fundamentally correct, becase BRAVE has a lot of newbies and atrons are cheap.  Drones are preferred for ratting in Catch because you can select any damage type, the tracking disruption on Sansha’s doesn’t affect them, and most importantly, if you take care of them you have little to no ammo cost.  Important for newbies on a budget.  The Vexor Navy Issue is the boat of choice for ratting because you only need Gallente Cruiser IV for it, rather than needing it at V plus HACS to III+ for an Ishtar.

Where this all gets frustrating is if you are the guy trying to bring something a little more appropriate or survivable to the fight than the aforementioned.  If you have 8 guys trying to kill a Deimos and 7 are in T1 frigates and you are the only one in a Jaguar it gets pretty annoying that no one can undock something worth more than 5 million to kill a 200+ million (fitted cost) ship.  When 5 guys have a Vagabond tackled and can’t kill it until you show up in a Cyclone that does more DPS than the 5 of them put together the profuse thanks are pretty nice.  It is not sheer agony all the time.

But what really gets you is when you, as a very experienced pilot (especially by BRAVE standards of “very experienced”, get lectures from far less experienced newbies that indicate a near-total failure to appreciate either A) what you’re actually saying or B) that there might be things they haven’t learned yet.  It’s much like college in ROTC- no one is more opinionated than a sophomore who thinks he’s talking to a freshman.

For example, I once had this conversation with an 8-month-old newbie, regarding Marmites and permadeccing

Me:  “It wouldn’t hurt to take a Moa doctrine up there one day to the trade hubs and force them to dock up for half an hour just to remind them that they can only pop individuals in trade hubs – they can’t fight us fleet-to-fleet”

Him:  “That doesn’t work in highsec”

Me.  “Why not?”

Him:  “Because they’ll just dock and use instaundocks.”

Me:  “So what?  We’re still forcing them to dock and publicly showing that they can’t fight us.”

Him:  “You can’t hellcamp someone in highsec without bubbles”

Now, regardless of the merits of taking a Moa fleet to Jita or Dodixie and annoying Marmites the simple fact is that I wasn’t suggesting a “hellcamp” of half an hour, nor was I suggesting we’d get a ton of kills or force them to fight at all.  In fact it should be clear I suspected they wouldn’t fight.

Again, this may be a terrible idea, but the reasons the newbie stated are not the reasons why.  Rather, it represents a serious problem in the 6-month to 2-year old character range that BRAVE has a lot of among those who stayed there – they have started learning some things and think it’s far more than it is.  This newbie knew about “hellcamps” of stations, and therefore assumed any station camp was a “hellcamp”.  He also failed to think about the usefulness of the idea in terms of what it was intended to accomplish – a show of force to make a point – and instead complained it wouldn’t work for another purpose – getting a lot of kills, and having good fights – for which it was not intended.  I can forgive the latter more than the former though as its a very common error in many arenas.

This would merely be an unavoidable vice of flying with newbies, but when mixed with some of the former it becomes infuriating.  A gang comes through, a bunch of people engage it in frigates and RLML caracals, and a semi-experienced newbie comes to help in his Armageddon.  Unfortunately, the few Atrons and Caracals are near-wiped-out by the time the Battleship warps to gate, jumps through, and engages.  Not the fault of the pilot; the battleship is what it is and he even has it fit sensibly.

Meanwhile, along comes Kiryen coming back from doing some relic sites and hearing this on comms I dock up, re-ship to a Cyclone and warp to the beleaguered and now-solo Armageddon while the casualties.. well, apparently don’t re-ship.  I land reasonably near him and start trying to get on a Pilgrim, which retreats rapidly in the face of missiles and drones that it can’t tracking-disrupt or neut… and the Armageddon MJDs away.  He lands, can’t align or warp in time, and dies before I can get to him.  At least they didn’t get me; he pulled them too far away to get me before I warp out.

All right fine, an understandable mistake, but the “why didn’t you help me?” afterwards.. You can only take that so much.  Dude I did help you.. then you MJD’d away and I couldn’t support you with my HAM fit.  Oh you mean everyone else?  No, they didn’t come back but you committed a big, slow ship too late, and when you did have help you MJD’d away without aligning out first.  Instead of focusing on what everyone else did wrong, look at what YOU did wrong so you won’t do it again.

In the above example, my Cyclone lived.  There were a lot of others where my ship didn’t.  That’s ok – losing ships is part of the game – but it gets tiresome after a while being one of the few to show up in something that can dish out the DPS or shore up the weaknesses of the frigates and Caracals, and be constantly losing it and then hear other people whine about their losses.  The Armageddon at least was a significant loss, but when someone pisses and moans this way about a Vexor – not even a VNI – that’s more grating.  Even worse is when your kitchen sink fleet is fighting a Pandemic Legion roam and your Hyperion is taking damage while the FC is sitting there saying “leetttt’ssss….sssseeeee….” and clicking his teeth on comms trying to decide which target to shoot.

I should also note that in the BRAVE capital system you get more support if only through sheer numbers.  I lived a few jumps away because of the income.  Still, when I was fleeted up in the capital, and previous experience in Sendaya and Barleguet, experience rapidly taught me that you’re going to lose ships to people simply fucking around even there.  When you’re one of the few people trying to shore up the Atron swarm that gets old after a year.