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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Charge of the Test Brigade

4,070 pilots.  Over 7,000 killmails.  Time dilation maxed out for 6 hours.  Actual news organizations covered it here and here.

The official stats (?!?) aren’t in, but I’m sure this is the largest battle Eve Online has ever seen.  It included bomb runs and welps.  Fleets fighting to the death (kudos, Tribe), panicked efforts at escape, and doomed remnants taking down a final target.  It showcased all the things Eve is about.

I wasn’t there.  My wife and kids take priority on the weekends, and I couldn’t log in until it was all over.  But I was watching Dotlan and saw the killmails start to pour in.  I was gnashing my teeth at missing it.

But I’m not going to rehash a battle I didn’t see first-hand.  Even if I did, I would have experienced only one piece of it.  The whole report can be found here.

The point of this article is character.

Looking at the CFC preparation for the battle (Goonswarm towered every single moon in the system ahead of time to deny Test a safe POS, for instance), it would have been easy for Test to stand down and save their resources for another time.  Their ship replacement program is behind, they’ve had to resort to donations to keep it going, and their finances are tapped out after about seven months of constant warfare.  Trolling aside, the smart – and completely understandable – move would have been to stand down and wait until their allies could come help them with defense of another timer.

But Test wanted the fights, and their allies stood by them.

I had planned to write an article about this battle talking about how Test’s donation drive depended on one fatal flaw in their logic: that their pilots had other choices for continuing to fight the CFC – other corps or alliances they could join – and wouldn’t sacrifice all for Test.  I expected their numbers to be anemic.  I’m not sure how their numbers compared to turnout earlier in the war, but that doesn’t really matter.  My pre-planned narrative changed completely when they brought their full might into this battle.

They were sending a message. They should have stood down.  It was a fight that didn’t need to happen in the long view.  But they wanted to send a message that, while they recognized they were outnumbered in pilots, they refused to have their will broken.

You can’t control how often you fall down.  It’s whether you stand up that matters most.  And Test showed that they were willing to keep standing up, keep fighting as best they could.  Their performance is proof of their character.

As a Razor pilot, I’m bound by a policy of no talking in local chat.  It’s a policy meant to prevent us from burning any bridges with alliances or players who we might deal with in the future.  It’s meant to demonstrate our professionalism.  We aren’t trying to embarrass or shame anyone.  We’re playing the game with established mechanics.  We jump in, murder you (or get murdered) drop a “gf” in local, and leave.  Business.  But I do compliment pilots who perform exceptionally well, either in character or skill.

I’ve seen a lot of tears, and a lot of bad behavior from Test pilots in local.  Smack-talking and insults abound.  From their local chat, you’d think they were a bunch of children smashing their keyboards when they lose ships.

That image is entirely erased after yesterday.  Clearly, Test may lose this war, but their will may never be broken.

And to prove the point, they killed an Avatar that wandered too close to a POS shield.  WTF, buddy?  I was four jumps away in a Wolf when the ping for a rescue fleet went out, and you were dead by the time I landed on the 6VDT gate.  You could have bought two Titans for that fit, and you went down so fast that the officer mods clearly didn’t help.

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