Tag Archives: Black Sheep Down

Black Sheep Done

The true enemy of organizations in null sec are not hostile in your systems, or SBUs on your gates, or bad fleet doctrines.

The real killer is entropy, the slow wasting away of your corporation or alliance or coalition until it is just a shell of its former self.

Me, September 2013

That was some “deep” insight from me after being in null sec for a little less than two years.  Still, it is true enough, and the story of null sec has its share of tales about once mighty groups that wasted away from within then crumbled when the next crises that came along.  And that applies to any gaming group or guild in any game.  If people stop showing up for your party eventually the party is going to get cancelled.

This time it has come around to where I live.  In early December we got a note indicating that our corp, Black Sheep Down, would be closing up shop.

This was not a huge surprise.  We had never been a big group to begin with and never had as an aim to become one.  Our corp, born amongst some guild drama back in 2013, was an off-shoot of the first null sec corp I was in, BSC Legion.  It was actually the same tale of diminishing numbers and flagging participation that led a group to splinter off and form the new corp, Black Sheep Down.  I recorded all of this in a blog post, naturally enough.

EVE Online Black Sheep Down

Not really a logo, but something I threw together

Now, about six years down the road, the wheel has come around and the new corp has run down.

There was no need to rush off.  The corp will linger on in the alliance for a while to allow people to find a place to land and, as such, I stuck about for December.  I noticed that somebody had made me a corp director as part of this, clearly a mistake, and I abused this and spent some time making awards.  I paid for them, and awarded some to the old hands who were still around.  But there were also some SIG things going on in December and I didn’t want to leave until they were done because when you change corps in the Imperium it resets all your memberships and you have to go back and re-apply to everything.

Eventually though I will need a new corp, and with the new year upon us it is probably about time to get started.

There is a default choice.  A corp in TNT with the name Dynamite is acting as something of a consolidation option for some of the smaller groups, including our old corp BSC Legion, which showed back up in TNT after some adventures elsewhere, including a stint in Circle of Two alliance.

That is the easy option, one that maintains the status quo for me.  If I am not too keen on it as an option, it is mostly because I have been a pretty bad corp mate for the last few years.  I mostly fly with the SIGs and squads, and have since Reavers formed up a little over five years ago.  So not only do I not hang out of fly with my corp, I end up mostly playing in a very GSF-centric world.

So perhaps the obvious option would to find a spot in a GSF corporation.  That would solve a few deployment related issues, like stuff being listed on alliance contracts when I am not in that alliance or the ever popular “I linked it in alliance chat.”  I even have a 2008 date on my Something Awful account, so I could try to bluff my way into the inner sanctum of the true Goons that is GoonWaffe.  But I doubt I could pull it off.

Instead KarmaFleet is probably the best option.  They have taken half a dozen people I have thrown their way including SynCaine, Brent from VirginWorlds, and Darren of the old Common Sense Gamer.  I ought to have a chance there, and their participation requirements are low enough that even in the midst of peace time ennui I ought to be able to clear them without feeling pressured.

That would maintain the status quo for me… so long as I can get back into the various SIGs I was in.  I’m in a couple of informal ones that I fell into at one point or another that I will have to figure out.

But the status quo is a bit stale right now.  The Imperium isn’t in any wars and nothing appears to be on the horizon.  The latest “keep the troops happy” initiative involves running about in wormhole space.  Other than that there is homeland defense and the occasional roam.  But war and its relentless tempo is what has kept me going for much of my time in null sec.

So I could pack up all of my stuff, have it shipped to Jita, drop my affiliation with the Imperium, and go find a null sec group that is actually fighting… and who will take me.  Eight years in the CFC/Imperium makes me an unlikely spy, right?  Also, even after all of this time in New Eden and in null sec I am a bit of a scrub with an unimpressive kill board. I swear, if the average FC just shouted “Wilhelm, turn your UI back on!” two or three times during a fleet op they would very likely be correct in suggesting that I was once again “staring out the window” at space and spaceships with the UI hidden.  I just like looking at the game and the ships in flight and the pretty explosions sometimes… which can get in the way of things like putting reps on people.  My bad.  So I would need to find somebody desperate or with a low barrier to entry.

Then, leaving aside my dubious alliance history and lack of demonstrable game skill, who would even be worth joining?  TEST? Pandemic Horde?  Darkness?  Somebody else?  Where is the war at?  Which way to the front?

So something to think about here in the new year.

I do know that if I decide to dump the whole null sec thing I’ll probably just stop playing.  The territorial aspect of null sec, and the histories that have grown up around it, interest me in a way that missions or holiday events or random roams just to shoot strangers in the face completely fail to.

Campaign Medals

One of the many interesting features of corporations in EVE Online… and probably not well known to people outside of the game… is the ability to create, design, and award medals to member of the corp.

I have long harangued our CEO, El Supremo, to implement some sort of honors systems for the corp.  There are all sorts of ways that you could go with this, but my focus has been on campaigns.  Ideally, anybody who actively participates in a campaign ought to get a medal for their profile.  My campaign list would look something like this:

  • Branch and Tenal Campaign 2011-12
  • Homeland Defense 2012
  • Tribute and Vale Campaign 2012
  • OTEC Operations Award 2012
  • Delve Campaign 2012
  • Homeland Defense 2013
  • Liberation of Fountain 2013
  • Delve Campaign 2013
  • Curse Deployment 2013
  • Halloween War 2013-14

In addition, in my vision of how things ought to be, there would also be awards for significant battles, such as:

Maybe not all of those would deserve an award.  You might, as an example, just make a blanket award for having been in a battle that crashed a node.

These would be something like achievements, though being given out by fellow players and only available to members of your own corporation makes them more special.  At least if nobody is abusing the system.

Medals do not get used all that often in EVE Online however.  It can be time consuming to create them, they cost a small chunk of ISK for each one awarded, and the method for tracking and awarding them is buried in the usual atrocious CCP user interface.  Seriously, you think the UI is bad, and then you try to do corporation level functions and suddenly managing your overview seems pretty logical.

So, my hope is that, at some future date, CCP will cast its collective eyes on the medals system and turn it into something a bit more usable.

In the mean time my nagging had some impact.  I did get El Supremo to create medals for participation in the battle at B-R5RB and for being on a titan kill mail.

Order of Friendship

Order of Friendship

Hero of Socialist Labor

Hero of Socialist Labor

So you can see those on my in-game profile now.

An Alt Slips into Null

In something of an impulse move, I put my main alt character into Black Sheep Down.

I had been thinking about bringing him out to null for quite some time, but never really got around to it.  Part of the block was that I needed to go make sure he was jump clone capable, having apparently forgotten that I took care of that something like four years ago.

Seriously, I logged him in the other night and checked his faction standings.  He was sitting at 8.4 with Amarr Navy, so could create a high sec jump clone with them.  I looked at his skills and realized that he already had Informorph Psychology trained up to level 4, so he was covered there.  Then I started looking for an Amarr Navy station that had medical facilities so I could create a jump clone.  That was the hardest part of the evening, as EVE Online is always reluctant to give up information to the player.  It was easier to just go out of game and Google the question.  I found a forum post with the answer, which I will share.  Amarr Navy stations at the following locations have medical facilities for clone management:

  • Bapraya XI – Moon 4
  • Beke VI – Moon 4
  • Bhizheba IX – Moon 1
  • Ghekon V – Moon 11
  • Kamih V
  • Nakri VI – Moon 1
  • Sahtogas IV – Moon 2
  • Youl VII – Moon 10

Bhizheba happened to be the closest system to Amarr, where I was hanging out to buy and fit a ship.  So I jumped over, docked in the station, and attempted to create a jump clone there.

More after the cut.  Too many words and one pretty neat screen shot.

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Black Sheep in Low Sec

The new corp, Black Sheep Down, went on its first big op yesterday.

It was planned as a corp op, to follow on to our first corp meeting, as something of a bonding exercise, with out fearless tyrant, Meclin, leading us.

But then word got around on the director’s channel and suddenly it became an alliance op.  TNT turned out for our little venture, which got us some more pilots as well as titan support for a bridge out.  More pilots was probably a good thing too, as we were off to blow up a mining tower in low sec and replace it with one of our own.  More is generally better for that sort of thing.  But Meclin sort of got muscled out of some of his leadership responsibilities with this as well, which seemed fine with him.

The call was for a Talos battlecruiser fleet, another fleet doctrine I hadn’t really run into up until that point.  As it turned out, a lot of people in the alliance had not either.  Some Taloses were trucked up and put on alliance contracts at which point they sold out almost immediately.

A Talos Battlecruiser

A Talos Battlecruiser

I was short a skill to fly the fleet Talos fit (Hybrid Weapon Rigging I), so I opted for logistics and piled into one of the Scimitars I have parked all over New Eden.  I made sure I had a Garde II shoved in the drone bay so I could get on any kill mails.  Sentry drones have the range to hit a tower through the POS shield, unlike a standard combat drone, which has to get in close.

We ended up with about 60 pilots headed out to our target in low sec, with a boost from a titan to get us on our way.  Once there it turned out that the tower had no fuel so was sitting there with no POS shield.  I could have stuck with my Warrior II drones.

The shoot went smoothly, with only the occasional factional warfare pilot landing in the vicinity.  We were in one of those systems.  The tower was blown along with two key modules.

Boom

Boom

Then a Rorqual dropped in to deliver the new tower.

New tower, new name

New tower, new name

While that was deploying and coming online, a chunk of the fleet set to check nearby systems to make sure that process remained undisturbed.

Intel sent us chasing after a couple of elusive targets.  Then a call came in that some neutrals had a Chimera tackled near a POS.  We rushed over there to find no Chimera (it was literally a Chimera I guess), so joined them in bashing the POS tower they were working on.  That put us all on another kill mail.

We moved on quickly from there figuring that, once the POS was down, the two fleets would likely start shooting each other and we were at a disadvantage.  This is EVE Online after all.  Sure enough, once we warped off, they sent us a note asking why we did not stay and fight them.

We had good reason to move on.  While we were off doing that, a couple of ships had shows up to harass the tower deployment operations.  So we moved back to where we started and knocked them off quickly enough.  We chased a few more phantoms after that before finally starting on our way home.

As it turned out, while we were away, some hostiles had been roaming around VFK looking for kills.  We attempted to cut them off as they were leaving the area.  However, in one of those moments of bad timing, we warped off a gate just as they landed on it, so we were not able to follow them through and bubble them on the other side as quickly as we needed to in order to catch the bulk of their fleet.  A couple of stragglers were nabbed, but that looked like all we were going to get.  So it was back to home from there.

Not a bad first outing for Black Sheep Down.  The op was a success, kills were had, the alliance joined in, and we added another moon mining tower to our operations.

As usual, I have some screen shots from the op after the cut.  I was able to get some good shots of drones for once.  I think the ambient light in low sec might be better suited to such screen shots.

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Black Sheep Down

In which we engage in a little corporate drama and sheep fancy.

The true enemy of organizations in null sec are not hostile in your systems, or SBUs on your gates, or bad fleet doctrines.

The real killer is entropy, the slow wasting away of your corporation or alliance or coalition until it is just a shell of its former self.

Sure, in New Eden, as in real life, such pressures can accelerate entropy.  The evacuation from null sec of Intrepid Crossing might illustrate what a shock to the system can do.  Razor jumping on them for fun one time too many made them evac, but the root cause was more likely the rot from within.  Razor just wanted a fight and suddenly the door came right off in their hand.

But, while CCP’s motto might be “EVE is real,” you, me, and The Mittani are not bound to New Eden.  We don’t live there and our investment in space is purely emotional.  People leave the game all the time.  They take breaks, they tire of the routine, or they just move on.  Some stay subscribed but rarely log in, others let their accounts lapse without a word.

Any organization in EVE ends up with a certain amount of inactive players as time moves on.  If people are leaving, or just coasting, and nobody new is coming in, you can end up with a hollow organization.

But what happens when your leadership tires of space and stops logging in?  That is a problem we were facing.

Our corporation, the British Space Corporation Legion has been around for a while.  If the rather out of date entry on EVElopedia is correct, it was founded on March 16th, 2007.  It has been active and dormant at times and has been part of a number of alliances, most recently with Tactical Narcotics Team up in Deklein.  That is where they were when I joined them about 21 months back.

I joined up to make the jump to null sec space because my friend Gaff sponsored me there.  He has been with TNT for a couple years himself having started out in Skyforger.  He then moved to BSCL which was active and open to members, as was the case when I showed up.

Since then, however, there has been some decline as people have faded from the scene for one reason or another.  And the most noticeable of those spending less time in space was the CEO, Qtipp.  2013 has not been his year for New Eden and he has been away much of the time.  Acknowledging his time away, he put an interim CEO in place for a while.  However that did not work out.  Qtipp showed back up at the outset of the war in Fountain, but faded from view again shortly.

So the corp was adrift.  Participation rates fell after Fountain and leadership was ad hoc as we deployed to Delve.  Serious discussions started behind the scenes as something had to be done; were not looking good in the eyes of the alliance leadership.  Two alternatives came to the fore.

There could be new leadership for BSCL( and a likely purge of the inactive), or there could be a fresh start with a new corp.

Qtipp was willing to let somebody else step into the CEO role officially, but would not part with his shares in, and thus his complete ownership of, the corp.  While that is an understandable position for a corp with a long history, it wasn’t one that the emerging leadership could run with.  So the second option was sent out in a corp-wide email.  The BSCL would be retiring, with Qtipp, from null sec for now.  We bid them farewell and wished them well.  But those who wished to remain in Deklein with TNT were welcome to join the new corp, Black Sheep Down. (Ticker: BAAW)

I was told that the Welsh contingent insisted on the connection to sheep.  I try not to get involved with that aspect of the corp.

So we are now in transition with the new corp up, the old corp departing, and some small chance of losing access, at least temporarily, to all the services to which we have grown accustomed.  Somehow I know that among the three voice coms, three forums, two wikis, two Jabber channels, or various other utilities, something is going to throw up and reject me because “BSCL” is encoded with my account and now I am in “BAAW.”  And, of course, just as I need this, CCP is throwing errors when I go to the API manager page.

Nice picture, but the error...

Nice picture, but not helping…

Paranoid, I went and sat in my high sec clone while updating my access.  But I made this while I was cowering in the station, afraid to undock because of all the goddam neutrals.

Not really a logo

Not really a logo

So we have that going for us.

I am actually pretty happy with that.  Did the rifter silhouette myself.  I just couldn’t find the right font from the cover of the original.  Actually, I found the font (Citizen), I just didn’t want to pay money for it, so Copperplate Gothic for the win!

Meanwhile, on the Delve front, my question has been answered.  We do appear to be done with Delve now.  No more siege fleets for a while.

Delve - Swp. 18, 2013

Delve – Swp. 18, 2013

TEST has been purged from Delve and Period Basis and has just one system left in Querious.

Of course, Querious and areas east of that have become… interesting.

South West - Sep. 18, 2013

South West – Sep. 18, 2013

Solar Fleet and a cast of many are carving up Querious, including my favorite “I really know nothing about them” group, the Walltreipers Alliance.  Against All Authorities, against whom we waged a bitter campaign previously, is pretty much right back where we found them last summer.  And then there are a bunch of other players in the area.  I am sure we’ll be meeting the neighbors soon enough.

Now will it be back to Deklein for us, or another campaign elsewhere?