In the short time I have been in The Water Margin, I have been thrown into the teeth of Empire fraticide. I have had kills now and so have many in the corporation. Have linked in with many a Gallente fleet made up of capsuleers from all over New Eden. The fleet commanders overall have been quite good with some outstanding ones really doing the business. It is heartening to see many pod pilots of Caldari and Amarr lineage fighting for the Gallente Federation as well; though am sure that most pod pilots see themselves above and apart from the other four races and the majority non-capsuleer populations. Since we are all practically immortal anyway.
My favourite ship-class (for now) is the ishkur-class assault frigate. It is relatively fast, deadly due to its compliment of ten tech 2 light drones as well as a rack of tech 2 small neutron blasters. With my skills, this green-skinned frigate is a monster.
As part of a defensive plexing fleet of about ten or so sub cruiser-class ships; we patrolled around the hot spot of Old Man Star down to Ladistier. Beyond were nominal Gallente administered low-security space but now occupied by the Caldari State Protectorate apparatus. Already, the squiddies were launching probing attacks into Old Man Star in an effort to take yet more territory. We scrambled around blunting the efforts of enemy capsuleers, most drawn from the 22nd Black Rise Defensive Unit - an infamous Caldari State Protectorate corporation and one of many an imitation of our own FOOM. Actually, am being a bit facetious - they may have been a pale imitation but the 22nd and their ilk have really stepped up and re-organised themselves into a focused and well trained unit.
Meanwhile, a large capsuleer fleet led by Mitch Taylor roared through on it's way to Tama - territory grabbing and defending nowhere near their radar: State Protectorate screams and deaths however were. There was a friendly wave from all pilots and then local dropped; the fleet was about 60 strong.
However, I have discovered that plexing like this usually attracts squids like a lure. There's no need to find them - just plex and sooner or later; they'll come. Our effort, meagre as they were, at denying an easy route to flipping the system did attract the attentions of some of the 22nd - one of their member in a comorant-class destroyer coming too close to us who we then casually dispatched at the gate leading into the security bunkers. I hope the Gallente Navy is grateful for our efforts and I eagerly updated the killboard.
I was buzzed by a crow and stiletto class interceptor while I was holding another area solo. They came in close locked me and fired missiles - I sent my drones after them and they quickly bugged out. Content to let me secure yet another site. It does appear that for some of the minor sites; a team of three pilots in destroyers can hold and defend the site quite well: one near the capture point and two near the warp in point to snag, web and dismantle the interloper.
Ten minutes later; there was a call on the fleet channel for assistance - most of the defensive pilots were spread out over three systems so quick reactions were needed. A pirate harbinger was around, sniffing around for any targets of opportunity. He had already destroyed one of our number around an inbound gate so we were eager for revenge. The harbinger was pointed on one side of the gate by one of our lone interceptor pilots. The rest of the fleet, now numbering seven ships of various classes, none bigger than a cruiser hull, waited for the pirate to jump through. 'LuckyPunch' was our pilot on the other side, relaying tactical updates to us.
"Pointed, he's moving towards the gate. Get ready."
We waited and spread out silently around the gate, priming our weapons and tackling equipment.
"He's now within jump range. I am going to fire on him and force him through." Over the intercom we could clearly hear the whooping sounds of missile fire.
"Pirate has jumped. Pirate has jumped. Prepare for tackle! I will stay here to grab him if he comes back."
The gate fired and the pirate held his cloak, no doubt figuring out his best course of action. He decloaked and burned towards the gate.
"There he is - pointed!" Yelled one militia pilot.
"We need to throw a web on him." I said as I too resolved my lock and sent my drones screaming towards the ponderous form of the harbinger. We destroyed practically all of his shields and a good chunk of his armour when the pirate managed to jump back. Meanwhile, on the other side of the gate; LuckyPunch tackled the pirate once more.
"Pointed. He's coming back towards the gate once more. Get ready for round two!"
The pirate returned and once more tried to escape but with assault frigates and interceptors buzzing around the gate - he had little chance and was soon caught by us. This time, we made sure and smashed his battle cruiser to scrap. We missed the pod however.
Great job by LuckyPunch for the initial tackle and brains to stay put.
So in one night I experienced a very wide selection of FW experience: from the relatively boring defensive plexing to the more challenging offensive plexing in enemy territory to mass fleet fights. What are my thoughts?
At this moment, territory capture and control is all with the Squiddies. While FOOM definitely saw the tactical advantages of plexing; the vast majority of the GalMil have not. Though I suspect that very soon, this will change and we will be faced with an uphill struggle as we attempt to recapture lost territory. From what I can see the GalMil has a split focus: it is either PvP or Plexing; with the former attracting 99% of the GalMil's atttention and resource. So, it is true that the numerically inferior GalMil is whipping the State Protectorate in most fleet engagements, despite the squiddies have almost 1500 more pilots. Pilot for pilot, the GalMil is better than his Squiddie counter-part. However, the GalMil pilot is nearly always solo or working in small groups. The squiddies tend to work in small to medium gangs with focus and it is this area of expertise that we are running behind the squiddy. Also, while we can amass a fleet of over 100+ at times, 60+ more commonly each night - the sheer destructive potential of this fleet means that PvP will not occur; an enemy with half a brain will merely dock up and let it blow past them.
We may laugh and jeer at the squiddies for turning tail and running but can you blame them?
Once we're gone, the squiddies come back out and nibble away at yet more territory.
The GalMil is under the impression that we can grab back the lost territory easily and while I am confident that we can; I do not for a second think it will be easy. For one thing, the Caldari Navy, brought into a captured system is ECM heavy and therefore makes any attacking fleet flounder if a) we we don't ECCM or b) have more than the navy can effectively jam. Meanwhile, Caldari attacking the Gallente sites only have to worry about close-range blaster boats backed up with remote sensor dampeners.
Anyway, am ranting a bit - seeing more of our home territory falling to these fascists get's my blood up!