Tackling in Syndicate

One of the things that has often been said about EVE Online is that a new player can be useful on day one.  In any operation there is generally room for the new guy in a basic frigate who is willing to get out there and tackle hostiles for the fleet.

And it is true.  I have seen it often enough flying with the CFC, and especially with Goonswarm, which prides itself in not just bringing new players to the game, but getting them into action very quickly.  So when the call went out last night for a Baltec fleet, which I was able to join, we had a couple of new players in the fleet as well, including a one day old account.

Jelly Knight - 1 Day Old

Jelly Knight – 1 Day Old

Despite having “things to do,” people spent time getting him into the fleet and pointed in the right direction.  We also got to hear him go through the sense of scale in EVE.  When he flew out to the staging POS in his Condor frigate, he was clearly impressed with how much bigger the battleships around him were.

Bumping Jelly Knight with my Apoc

Bumping Jelly Knight with my Apoc

He was then treated to another boost in scale when Reagalan led us off to the titan to wait for a bridge out for out op.  And there those big battleships looked pretty small waiting on the hulking titan.

Waiting for a bridge out

Waiting for a bridge out

I cannot image how it would have felt to have gone from a frigate to sitting on a titan after only a day or so in EVE Online.

The new guys also got to experience the “waiting on a titan” game.  We played that for quite a stretch until Reagalan had us turn around and head back to VFK-IV.  He got us a participation link for our time on the titan and asked those who could stay around for a different op to re-ship to a frigate or an interdictor.   I did not actually have either handy and the ship market in VFK was pretty empty last night.  The closest thing I had was a Hawk, a missile firing Caldari assault frigate, so I grabbed that.

Reagalan gave us a route that ended at 4-EP12 in Fountain, our old final staging base from the Fountain War last year.  I immediately checked to see if I had a more suitable ship there, and found I had a very low skill fit Rifter docked up in the station.  I would have just clone jumped out to it and save myself the trip, but I had just clone jumped to VFK for the fleet, so I had about 18 hours to go before I could jump again.  So I flew along with everybody else to the destination.  Fortunately, that did not take too long in frigates.

Arriving in 4-EP12, Reagalan had us drop his fleet and join the Freedom Squad fleet under DingoGS.

Freedom Squad is a Goonswarm group that looks for fights during US time zone prime time and which heavily plays up mock patriotic fervor in the “‘merica!” tradition.  They were happy enough to have us along, but were a bit surprised to find that we were mostly tackling frigates and interdictors;  Sabres and Rifters and what not.  Still, it seemed likely we would be able to hold on to any hostiles we managed to land on.

Then it was time to move a few systems in order to sit a titan again.  I took opportunity to head to the station and swap out my Hawk for me low skills Rifter and then joined up with the fleet.  In fleet there were some tips on tackling being given to the new guys which was also a helpful reminder for me.  While I had heard the routine before, I have never actually flown a tackling ship in more than seven years of playing EVE.  By the time I ended up in null sec, I was trained up to fly battleships for most of the factions, so have tended to fly in the “press F1 when told” DPS role (especially when DPS meant Drakes) or as logistics (which the first big training destination after hitting null sec).  So this would be something new… once we got into action.

Getting into action took a while.

We were waiting on a titan while the intended targets got themselves into position so that we could drop on them at just the right moment.  As usual, the right moment took its time in showing up.  Finally the bridge went up and we jumped through into CIS-7X and warped to where the hostiles were bunched up.  Then it was time to go through the tackling routine I had heard listed out on coms so many times.

Pick a target alphabetically close to your name.  For me that was the pilot VisualNarcotics, who was flying a Proteus in the middle of the pack.

Turn on your propulsion module, a basic MWD in my case, and spiral into the target so as to keep the traversal speed differential high enough to make your frigate tough to hit.

Orbit your target, remember to actually lock him up, and then turn on your tackling modules, which in my case was a Stasis Webifier I and a Warp Disruptor I.

Stay alive for as long as possible.

That last bit is, of course, always the trick.  I dove in through the blossoming warp disruptor bubbles and successfully locked down my target.

But then I was just there in the middle of the fight in a high speed orbit.  I turned my guns on my target, but wasn’t doing a lot of damage.  Meanwhile the FC was going through the list alphabetically, so I clearly was going to have to hold on for a while.  To keep myself busy I turned off my guns, un-grouped them, turned one back on VisualNarcotics just to let him know I still cared, then tried to lock up other targets being called to see if I could get in a few hits just to get on some kill mails.

Guns blazing

Guns blazing

Splitting my guns would be a sin if I were flying a DPS ship, but nobody is expecting the tackler to add significant damage… or to live very long… so what the hell.

I saw VisualNarcotics lock me up in return.  He apparently took a few shots at me as well, but failed to hit me according to my own kill mail.

In the fight itself, more ships were dropping in.  A hostile Naglfar landed right next to me, so I was able to lock him up and take a shot, which was enough to get on the kill mail.

And then the smart bombing started.

We were colluding with a group of neutrals on this op, which is always leads to interesting results.  In our case, we killed several of the neutrals before people got cleared up on who was who.  Meanwhile, the neutrals moved in and started to smart bomb the enemy formation.  Of course, I was in the middle of that with my MWD on, meaning I would get the maximum amount of damage if I was in range.  The first one hit and I was nearly dead, my status put me 90% into structure, meaning that even the duct tape holding the ship together was on fire at that point.  I turned off the MWD and hoped for the best.  I seemed to be out of range of the next few, but another one landed close eventually and suddenly my ship was gone and I was flying a pod, the kill mail having go to our temporary allies.

Gold pod away!

Gold pod away!

I expected, sitting there being smart bombed in the middle of warp disruptor bubbles, that my pod would soon go as well.  I headed for the edge of the bubble, crossed my fingers, and ended up getting out and away safely.  I hung around on grid, still opening the gap between myself and the battle, in hopes of being present for a couple more kill mails for ships I had shot up.  Then it was time to take gates back to 4-EP12.  The battle having wrapped up fairly quickly, the rest of the fleet was close behind.

The route to 4-EP12 ended up being clear.  There were a few neutrals along the way, but when the fleet showed up in system, the melted away.

Once there, I was able to re-ship in my Hawk and head back to VFK with Reagalan’s part of the fleet, while Freedom Squad went back to their current deployment base.

So the night ended up fairly well.  I got my first shot at tackling.  While I lost my ship (value ~730,000 ISK, look at how meager my fit was), I did not lose my pod (value ~55 million ISK thanks to all those skill points and the implant I need to fly a Baltec Apoc), I got on a dozen kill mails, and generally had a good time.  I could have done with less waiting, but that is simply part of the game.

The new guys seemed to be enthusiastic after their first battle.  Jelly Knight made it through without loss.  The fleet, as is the tradition, showered the new guys with some ISK.  I gave them each a million ISK, so I spent more on gifts than ships.  Another day in EVE Online.

A gallery of screen shots taken during the op is available after the cut.



11 thoughts on “Tackling in Syndicate

  1. Duncan Ringill

    I’m always surprised when a battle report holds my interest. This was a fine read, and good on you for taking new players by the hand. What a great introduction to EVE.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Duncan – Well, I only contributed some ISK and linked him the screen shot of me about to bump his Condor with my Apoc. There were plenty of people in fleet both more knowledgeable and familiar with helping out new players than I.

    I mentioned him because new player help became part of the fleet that night (I always try to record some of the atmosphere of an op) and because here was somebody with a day old account flying along side me, more than seven years into the game, in the same role in the fleet… and both of us were in that role for the first time. (I got on more kill mails though. Bitter Vet skills.)

    It sort of fits in with the EVE turns 11 post and all the things I still haven’t done in the game.


  3. Valinar

    Bought the Steam starter pack, and i’m debating on starting up. Love your posts on the game they’re one of the reasons i decided to pick it up. What’s the route to joining up with you and your guys if i take the plunge?


  4. zaphod6502

    I’d be interested in the process Jelly Knight went through to join Goonswarm. From what I have been told it is quite an involved process and at the very least requires some sort of extended forum participation on the SA forums. So I doubt Jelly is a “true” newbie in the sense he was probably already a member of the Goons community and decided to try his hand at EVE.


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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Valinar – My own corp is… not as welcoming at the moment. There have been a couple of leadership changes, and I was a supporter of the previous regime, all of whom have left. I suspect I am something of a persona non-grata at the moment, and haven’t been kicked because I actually fly on fleet ops, unlike a good chunk of our corp, which keeps us from getting kicked from the alliance. So I rarely actually fly with people in my own corp. I tend to just go on GSF ops.

    @Zaphod – Getting into GSF requires you to be an active member of the Something Awful community. There are, as I understand it, no hard and fast requirements, primarily to keep people from trying to game those just to get in. I have been a member since 2008, and have played with a couple of the other SA groups in other games, but I tend to just read the forums rather than post (there is a lot of really good info there), so I am pretty sure I wouldn’t make the cut unless somebody recognized my name from fleet ops.


  8. Anonymous

    wow. this is totally the opposite of what REALLY happens in Eve. Bittervets corps wont recruit you, noob corps are wardecc’d to high hell (so they cant gain strength AND you are forced to leave the corp), which leave the MAJORITY either mining/missioning or quitting.

    Please do not muddy the waters with a feel good story that represents (what CCP has OFFICIALLY said) 5% of new players can only WISH they could experience. And if they do get lucky, they are bullet catcher/tackler for some corp … or they are killed/podded for some older player to pad their killboard.


  9. zaphod6502

    @Anonymous: There are plenty of corps out there willing to recruit new players and give some great content. And they are not nullsec corps with lot’s of Titans. And really who cares if the corp is wardecced. IMO it adds to the excitement and content of the game.

    My own corp has been wardecced no less than 18 times (at last count). I can count on one hand how many times we have been killed as a result of the wardecs and this in a 220+ person corp.

    EVE rewards the resourceful player and if you travel around EVE space with your ass hanging out you are going to get it whooped. It also helps that players are not anti-social twats and can actually get on with other people.


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