Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sometimes, You Have to Give Up

Sometimes, persistence yields benefits. We've all read those stories about players carefully stalking targets over the course of days or weeks, lining up the perfect opportunity. Titans and supers tend to be a target of these kinds of players, and through them we learn never to be predictable when we're flying "the thing". Some players afk cloak for hours on end until the residents relax long enough that they finally let their guard down and get caught.

But for each carefully researched and laid trap is that opportunity that just doesn't pan out.

What separates the "persistent" from the "stubborn"? In the end, doesn't it have to come down to likelihood? The persistent player reviews the situation and recognizes an opportunity that may be somewhat distant. The stubborn player clings to a hope not borne out in evidence.

That afk camper knows - as sure as the sun rises in the east - that the people she's camping will eventually shrug their shoulders and put out a bait ratter. She might respond to comments in local hours after they're made, just to reiterate that she's not sitting at her computer. After nothing happens to it, more pilots will start ratting, then they'll bring out the bling. It's a certainty.

That titan hunter can point to the habits of the target, knows its travel routes, knows active time periods, and has scouts ready to relay intel. Evidence. Fact.

Then, there's the other type. Yesterday, I came across a stubborn player whom I kind of felt bad for.

When you own space, it's very easy to become complacent from a PvP perspective. You spend all your time in your alliance's staging system, with your mates. And, if you own just a little space on a heavily trafficked route, that's all well and good. You get a steady stream of pilots coming through and you get some action.

But, when your space is way off in the corners of the map, nothing happens. Roams tend to require 15-20 jumps before you come across anything interesting, and after a while, people just stop trying. There's a reason the Imperium stopped being very effective when it was forced to curate its space in the north; there's nothing to shoot nearby, and it was all too easy to let those PvP skills entropy.

I used to think owning space naturally tended to dull PvP instincts, and that groups like Black Legion, Pandemic Legion, TISHU, Shadow Cartel, and Snuff Box had the right of it. They sacrificed easy ratting space for immediacy of PvP action, and it was a good trade. But, now I see that owning space in and of itslf isn't bad, provided that space isn't "safe" in a corner somewhere. You've got to own it for the right reasons, and ratting isn't one of those (at least, if you want to keep your alliance in tip-top fighting shape).

And that's the context in which I was traveling through Tenal recently, chasing an escalation on Talvorian. Yes, you heard that right... Talvorian was ratting.

Now, yes, it was the Stanley Cup Finals. Being in a fleet required too much attention while watching the game, but ratting was a perfectly suitable low-thought activity that didn't interfere with watching my Penguins charge through to a 3-games-to-1 lead last week. But the simple fact is, I've got plans for my isk and have to earn it up, just like everyone else (at least until PLEX rises a little bit again).

As I made my way through Tenal, I completed the last part of the escalation and headed back when I came across a netural sitting in a Stratios on my in-gate. I dutifully aligned, cloaked, and warped away with the easy cadence of someone who knows his server ping very well. And I thought nothing of it.

Then, as I landed on the gate, I passed through a bubble with some cans around the front. Sitting on the gate with me was an Ares. Being nullified, it didn't stop me, and I continued on my way. On the other side of the gate, I saw a Devoter put up his HIC bubble at the gate flash. Curious now, I checked local and saw it spike as the Ares jumped through.  It was a good try, and it'd have caught my Stratios, if I'd been hunting someone up north.

But, I wasn't. I was in a cloaky, nullified Proteus. A nigh untouchable cloaky, nullified Proteus, mind you. So, I warped off, cloaked, and thought nothing of it.

And I proceeded to watch that Ares follow me, seconded by the Devoter pilot, as I made the next three jumps.

At first, I was puzzled. They hadn't caught me in the bubble, I clearly had a cloak, and they hadn't caught me when they were fully prepared. What did they hope to accomplish with a run-and-gun chase against a ship they couldn't see? They were obviously bored.

And then I realized it... the Tenal trap. Off in the ass-end of nowhere surrounded by fellow MBC members, these pilots were looking for content in the wrong place. And, with that shared familiarity of memory, I felt bad for them. Not bad enough to sacrifice my Proteus and four days of training time, of course, but bad nonetheless.

Sure, things will change once the MBC finally dissolves and calls an end to the great war of bee extermination, but for the moment, the new residents of the north must chase a cloaky nullified Proteus for the sake of local content.

I feel for you.

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