Full of vim and vigour after the Tuskers FFA event and having a few spare hulls left over I decided to waste my implants and join the RVB Ganked roam and get a taste of some fleet action. The theme of the night was the highly convenient DPS frigates. Having spent all day slobbing around and recovering from the night before I quickly fit an Incursus, joined the Mumble server and dashed up to the staging system.
I found the fleet involved in a conga line several thousand km long. Home at last. I joined the ragged tail end of the line as well as I could as we waited for the deadline and other stragglers like myself.
Then it was time to be off. Initially I thought the plan would be haphazard if non-existent. As ever in EVE I found myself learning more stuff.
This was my first time in a large fleet, large meaning more than four ships, so I was nervous. I didn't need to be. Whatever Mangalas self professed "I am bad" FC skills he managed to keep a near ton of bloodthirsty and over eager pilots in some sort of form all night long while at the same time being easy going. Mumble and chat were open and amusing all night. Mumble was full of jokes and banter and the odd blast of mocking music without getting in the way of tactics. The only bad bit about Mumble was realising how old I was when hardly any of the pilots along for the ride knew who sang Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Yet again, young in EVE and Old in RL. Old I am.
I found it easier than expected to keep up with the fleet jumps, destinations, alignments, waits, holding cloak when needed, dealing with our own bubbles and the eventual locking of targets. It was fascinating to see glimpses of the organisation of a large-ish fleet behind the chaotic guise of a bunch of pilots goofing off for a Sunday evening. In particular I was impressed by the scouts. They were constantly sending back intel from the systems around us about the populations and potential targets. It sounded like a pretty demanding, expert job. Something to aspire to maybe.
Unfortunately hardly anyone was coming out to play this particular evening. We wandered and wandered, picking up only a couple of kills until an offline POS was spotted. I can't blame the local population for staying out of our way though had I been on the other side I'd have been shipping up some fun for these amiable frigate dudes. Some our frustration over the lack of targets poured over and a sorry small POS got taken down, mainly by frigate fire. The entire tower turned into a wacky disco of multiple weapon type fire (see below). I guess that's what you get for offlining a POS in null sec.
Targets being few and far between we ended up trailing down through Fountain and well into TEST space, looking for someone to give us a quick ride home to the clone vat. It was late enough that some of the fleet even took this option from the rest, getting shot down by fleet mates in order to save the journey home.
I looked at my journey home. 28 jumps. Most of it through null. It would be unlikely that I'd get through it on my own. One last adventure though, who cares about the ship and implants? I'd already considered them lost once I'd joined the fleet, that's the plan after all. Still. I left the fleet, set my destination and headed back the way we'd come. I expected to run into vengeful locals at any point along the route but found nothing until a couple of jumps out from low sec. I picked up a Talos tailing me as I made the second to last jump from null. I wasn't too worried initially, it'd be hard for him to pick off a frigate at speed with large guns unless I was unlucky or I jumped into a bubble, which of course I did on an null/low entry gate. I fired the afterburner as I hit it but a shot still hit just after the Talos appeared behind me. Drones were deployed and I didn't have long. Zig zagging as much as I dared while closing on the gate I watched my trusty frigate drop into hull damage.
Ten minutes later the luckiest frigate pilot ever docked up in hi sec, closed down the client and crashed into sleep.
All in all, despite the quiet run, a great experience. I'll go again as soon as I can. I think it's missiles next and I have almost zero skills in those. If you are a noob like me then head along, its a light hearted way to see a bit of fleet organisation, combat and probably a bit of null space. There will probably be more fights along the way on other runs. Don't expect to not lose everything you take with you, write it off before you go!
Follow Mangala on Twitter https://twitter.com/awanderingjon
The fleet on the move. BSG in miniature.
Our glitterball collapses. Cue random play of Gangnam Style over Mumble