Monday, November 16, 2015

The Perfect Fight

I wasn’t anticipating writing another article until I finished a Lessons post, but I just had to write about the experience I just had not two minutes ago.

It all started innocently enough.  I logged into to find TISHU knocking around a few ping-pong balls in Cloud Ring.  So, I jumped into a Heretic, caught a titan bridge, and made my way there.

It started as a gate camp farming all sorts of traffic between two Pandemic Horde systems, and it started to morph into some entosis fun a few jumps away.  I had just put up a bubble to kill a Catalyst, and was a little behind the rest of the fleet.

I was picking clean the carcass of my last kill when a Kestrel landed on the edge of my interdiction bubble, so I burned into him and killed him, just as a few of his friends arrived.  They had warped in from different vectors, so I had a little space between me and them… long enough for me to warp off.  However, the Kestrel got me into very light armor, about 95%.

As I bounced safes, I switched overviews to scan for bubbles.  My out-gate was clear, so I started making my way out of the system towards B-D, six jumps away.  At the time, I felt I was having a pretty good night.  All of my kills were small gang, and we were having good fun in someone else’s space.  It was exactly why I joined Adversity (well, that and taking 8 gates in a fleet of Archons to kill Tempest Fleet Issues).

But all of that was prelude to a moment of transcendent satisfaction.

I’ve written before about the structure fight, the very best kind of PvP engagement.  For me, nothing in Eve can compare to the beautiful, terrifying, humbling, delightful experience of fighting another pilot of equal skill, in equal ships, 1v1.  Such experiences are actually quite rare.  Too often, solo pilots are met with blobs or hot drops.

I was two jumps out of my destination when I landed on a gate with a Sabre.  I hadn’t seen anyone for a couple jumps, so I figured it would be just him and me.  The thought of a hot drop didn’t even cross my mind.

As I loaded grid in FD53-H, local was empty.  This was it!  I had stumbled into a structure fight, in null-sec, between two large fleets within a six jump range.

I immediately burned back to the gate.  In case the Sabre spawned too far away, I wanted to be able to catch him with my bubble.  He spawned 24 km away.  I locked him and overheated my guns.  For a moment, I thought he’d try to run, but then I saw that comforting yellow box pop up on my overview.  When I entered range, I activated my scram and web and starting cycling my launchers.

At first, I started further away, but he had no problem applying damage at that range.  I thought he might have been arty-fit, so I started cycling in closer, even though it did nothing to improve my own missile damage.  It was a race.  He ran into my armor tank first, but I expected that against a shield-tank.  As I approached, his damage output began to creep up.  I hoped to slip under his guns, but I never made it closer than 3,500 m.

I saw his ship disappear from the overview before I saw the explosion, and for a moment, I thought perhaps he had been stabbed and warped out.  After all, I had locked him first, consistent with him suffering the scan resolution penalty of a WCS.

But, no, he had exploded.  Interdictor vs. Interdictor, 1v1, with two characters of a similar age.  And every moment of it, I was appreciating the rarity of the duel.

So, as quickly as I could make it back to a safe POS, I sat down to write it out.

The Sabre pilot’s name is ian scomeda.  Everything I need to know about him came out during that fight.  He has my utmost respect, and always will.

I’ve said before that a human opponent is the greatest adversary anyone can ever have.  And there’s no event in Eve sweeter than the entire history of a pilot’s experience, strategy, and skill crashing against that of another in an empty system.

There is a space bushido, however bruised and damaged it may be.  A stillness and appreciation of the moment.  A connection between those two pilots that no amount of time or experience can ever undo.  They may forget it each other or the particulars of that fight with the passage of time, but for that moment, those two pilots share a transcendent experience.

Eve is a silly Internet game, but the rare satisfaction capable of being experienced on that moment isn’t about the mechanics or the result.  Those pass, and are without meaning. No, the satisfaction comes from the chance meeting of two kindred spirits bringing of the same mindset, who appreciate the same things and share the same priorities, to a proving of their worth.

That’s why I fly.  That’s why I play this game.  Nothing can rival the absolute parity, the absolute purity of this kind of experience.  Eve isn’t about winning.  It’s about living in the perfection of a temporary present.


  1. Sounds like a fun fight. Stuff like that is rare, especially with dictors and their usual role. I suggest that this experience you describe doesn't necessarily have to be a 1v1 scenario, although I imagine that personal preference is part of it. I tend to get the same sort of rush in any kind of fleet engagement where I can sense that, as a single pilot, my actions are affecting the outcome of an engagement. A skilled triage pilot would be one example, or an interceptor giving a perfect warp-in. I think the most recent example I've had personally was during 'The Best of Us' Veteran's Day NPSI roam, when our mish-mash of faction battleships and an Archon fought Provi Cerbs. I eventually died, but throughout the course of the fight was able to warp out in low armor about 5 times to get carrier reps. As panic-inducing as getting primaried by a fleet might be, I had the satisfaction of knowing that every time I warped out alive, I had wasted their fleet's dps for a small time, giving our fleet time to hopefully eliminate more targets. Tldr: 1v1 is probably the most well known and sought after 'combat high' sort of experience, but there are plenty of other moments where it can happen.

  2. You are so weird... you are the only person I know in EVE who would say, without trolling... "...then I saw that comforting yellow box..." =P

  3. I really enjoy reading your posts like this, it makes me want to jump in a ship and go out and find a fair (ish) fight.

    Perhaps it is because I am fairly new/terrible at solo pvp but I think personally (apart from the difficulty in finding the “fair” fight in the first place it is because I go out there in cheap T1 frigs and Destroyers (although soon upgrading to T1 cruisers) that I think I actually maybe making things more difficult for myself.

    Attacking a Curse in an Algos for example was never wise, but I was bored and had been looking for a fight for over an hour so took it anyway. Same way as attacking a Bellicose in a Dragoon probably was questionable too, but the same reasons apply, I was bored.

    It probably doesn’t help that I am in a carebear corp in providence (but my theory was that lots of solo people come here I should be able to get fights) but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. The few blogs I follow from people whom seem to be good at PVP are generally US TZ (I am UK)

    Anyway ive rambled. Nice article, it have given me impetus to go out and try to find that fight, regardless of the ship it is up against.


  4. Awesome post, Tal. I may not have the same reason to play, but I thoroughly enjoy these particular posts. :)

  5. "the satisfaction comes from the chance meeting of two kindred spirits bringing of the same mindset, who appreciate the same things and share the same priorities"
    I had a similar experience almost 4 years ago. It wasn't a pvp encounter, but the principles remain the same. I was in a public channel created by a youtuber that I followed at the time, and one day another person who watched his videos entered the channel and we began talking. It wasn't long before realized we had similar interests in the game, and despite the fact that there was quite the age difference and an ocean separating us in the real world, we instantly became good friends and remain so to this day, getting together on weekends to enjoy some gaming fun, both Eve and other games. This is why I play, to meet new people and make new friends all while having fun doing whatever gives me enjoyment at that point in time. :)

  6. Interesting how would you wrote it if you lost those engagements.

    1. Fair question, but I've written quite similarly on this blog about losing, too. When I convo'd the other pilot, we were both stoked about it.

      Sure, it's a "perfect fight" because I won, but even when I lose, it's still "damned awesome".

  7. Interesting how would you wrote it if you lost those battles. Winning is always feels good regardless of the game.

  8. I was very surprised when I clicked a link and saw myself. Of course I had no chance of winning a 1v1 in that, but yeah, I knew some others are coming that way, so I figured maybe I can stay alive long enough. Great article as always, thanks.

    1. I respect you for charging in, and it was a near thing. A couple more seconds and that story would have ended differently!