Thursday, July 25, 2013

Capital superiority IS "morale"

"We need more dudes in fleets!", "In Nullsec keeping morale is everything!", "If we believe we can win, we will!" I'm sure you are just as tired of this bullshit as I am. No one has a "morale" meter. They say low morale can be seen from bad fleet numbers. And what causes bad fleet numbers? Bad morale! You got it: bad morale causes low numbers which means bad morale. Also, I've never seen any useful guide to rise morale, that's why there are embarrassing forum topics to "raise morale".

"I'm 1/20th of a shitfit dread. I feel so useful now." This is a quote from the TEST alliance forums from a member who just learned how the DPS of the bombless bomber he is flying relates to Dreadnoughts. In EVE every ship has a role and they excel in it, while fail in other roles, making every ship vulnerable to something else (except for unbalanced supercaps). Stealth bombers are great ships, they can decimate whole fleets in a bombing run. They can move undetectable, they can jump to covert cynos, they can light cynos and they can do many more. Grinding down multi-million HP Sov structures is not among them. Making people fly "siege fleets" has the same effect on their willingness to log in again as making them fly remote-repping Rokhs.

This isn't a problem on its own until you get a Sov war. You can just grab your ship - whatever ship - and find a role for it. You can go on a frigate roam and kill things, having fun. Of course there are fights you cannot take, but frigs are good at running. No one will force you to run lvl 4 missions or attack smartbombing battleships with your frigs. But if you are in a Sov war, you have no options: you must destroy and rep multi-million HP structures. Failing to do so ends you up with no Sov, stations and POS-es. You can no longer choose your way of playing to your ships, you must choose your ships to the task. You can't say "I won't take this fight" without consequences like a frigroamer.

Of course you can choose to run LvL4 missions with 10 frigates. Probably can be done. Probably gives the most horrible ISK/hour one can imagine. Make people do it long enough and they stop logging in. You can of course try to persuade them with social manipulation and it can work for a day or two, but you can't make someone log in again and again and again just to do something ridiculous like running L4s in frigates, remote rep in Rokhs or shoot SBUs in bombers.

But there is more: there is an amount of time one can spend in EVE without failing exams, losing jobs or finding out that his family left him a week ago. No amount of "fight for your bros" tribal drumming can change that. Time is a limited resource and if it's wasted, it will be missing. Sure, you can make surges, typically after a longer period of time when nothing happened in game and people cut back on their playtime. If your exams are fine, you have enough days off work and spent every evenings with your family for weeks, you can afford to go nuts for a day or two and spend huge amount of time in a video game. Welcome to 1-SMEB, where TEST alone shown up in an unimaginable 1300-men force. Fast forward two weeks, your new exams are upon you and you studied nothing, your days off work used up and your wife is packing. You have to cut back on gaming, you have to use that little time efficiently.

"Morale" of TEST is great. People are posting happily, fleet coms are in cheering mood and everyone is having fun. But the numbers are still low because horrible amount of hours were wasted in bombless bombers. People are no longer capable of playing excessive amount, and in the limited amount of time you can fly only a few fleets. It is very possible that TEST members spend more hours in game a week than Goons. It just have no effect as the hours are wasted in bombless bombers. Similarly, look at SOLAR: they lost no members and corps over the year, you can't show better proof for dedication of members. Yet they lost all their Sov. Seems "morale" did no good to them.

The side in the Sov war that is holding capital superiority is capable of saving its strength. Its pilots are participating in useful ops, they don't have to play excessive amounts to get things done, so they can log in when needed, and can even afford to go nuts sometimes like doing a 3:00 AM alarm clock op. The side without capital superiority has to spend inhuman hours grinding structures and will eventually lose. To win, an alliance doesn't need more drumming and even more embarrassing threads, but ISK for capitals.


Behnid Arcani said...

I am a little curious why people do it in Stealth bombers. What's the rationale?

I was recently at an I-Hub bash in Amarr/Minmatar FW space. I only had a frigate for the job, which prompted me to do some calculations.

Even conservatively fitting an Oracle at low SP, it outperforms the SB at max damage fit at max SP. So why do people fly them?

Babar said...

People use stealth bombers because they are cheap and do ok dps. The main reason however is that coupled with a black ops ship, they can jump from system to system very efficiently. When enemies enter the system to kill them, they all just cloak up, warp to a black ops ship, and jump to another system, and start shooting another structure. This makes it very annoying for the other side to catch them, so annoying that they mostly just give up.

Gevlon: I don't know how long Test have been using bombless bombers, but Goons have done it literally from the start of the war, since until the last few days, we did not have capital superiority. For at least 3-4 weeks, Lyris and other FCs would take out siege fleets for hours every day, and usually 150+ people would join. It didn't seem to do much with our morale?

That said, if Test is really using siege fleets to reinforce towers only, then I can see why it would demoralize people, since it's completely useless. Our siege fleets would actually reinforce ihubs, which creates opportunities for the other side to make mistakes. This was pretty easy to see i Z9PP, a situation which would have been impossible without the tireless efforts of our siege fleets.

Again it looks like Test copies a concept from other alliances, without understanding how they are supposed to use them properly.

Gevlon said...

@Babar: and until the last week CFC practically captured nothing. Since they have capital superiority, they captured a dozen.

Babar said...

Agreed Gevlon, I'm not disputing that at all. This whole blog post is about siege fleets killing morale, and I'm saying that's false since it didn't hurt morale for CFC at all. In fact, our numbers have been steadily growing all through the conflict, even after weeks of non-stop siege fleets.

Like I said, we use siege fleets to create opportunities for mistakes. If Test is really fielding siege fleets right now (and from looking at their timers, it doesn't look like they have done that much the last week) then it's basically just wasting time. It's hard to imagine they somehow catching our capital fleet and then being able to keep it locked down long enough for PL and NC to respond, when we have superior number of sub-cap numbers as well as shorter time to reinforce. Also, reinforcing towers is pretty useless since we'll just not show up with triage carriers if we know NC has deployed their supers back to fountain. At least go for the ihubs and try to force our hand.

Lucas Kell said...

CFC capturing systems has nothing to do with cap superiority. We still field siege fleet very single day to get the timers, as they do it as fast, if not faster than capitals. We were making steady progress, had captured 10 systems and got the bridge up and the forward stage point all before we had cap superiority. The reason we've suddenly made loads of progress is that TEST have stopped contesting most timers.

There are a multitude of reasons bomberless bombers are used.
1. MOST IMPORTANT: Any FC can take out a siege fleet. This means you don't have to wait until a cap capable FC is online and the cap capable FCs get downtime. A tired FC means a dead fleet, so wasting capitals FCs time with structure shoots is pretty silly.
2. High DPS for ship class means they are good at dealing damage but can also maneuver really well.
3. Due to the black ops bridging and stealth capability siege fleets are easy to scramble if they get dropped on (you usually lose a couple of slow people), whereas capitals getting dropped on means a fight.
4. Capital fleets mean bringing a sub cap support fleet, or at the very least having on on a bridge at standby. This means having 200 dudes sitting about in subcaps doing nothing just in case the capitals get dropped on.
5. If the bomber fleet welps (the whole fleet) its about the cost of a couple of dreads. As you can see this means if a capital fleet loses 2-3 capitals, the cost already outweighs the siege fleet.
6. Most people can fly a T1 bomber and the ones that can't don't take much training to get there. To fly a capital takes a lot more time investment.
7. Siege fleets formup insanely fast and are ready to go. Only the blops needs to worry about fuel. Capital fleets take a long time to organise and get everyone fueled and in position. Covert cynos also mean you can move your cyno pilot around as you're not frozen in place for 10 mins at a time. So a siege fleet can hit multiple systems.

If siege fleets were bad for morale, they wouldn't form up. As soon as a CFC FC calls for a siege fleet, it fills up quick. People love a bit of SB grinding, myself included. If TEST are having trouble getting people in the fleet it's because they are doing it wrong.

@Behnid Arcani See above for the reasoning. You wouldn't use non-covops ships as you would need to have a titan to bridge you in, then if you didn't have a titan to bridge you back, you have to gate back. A black ops can bridge across the covert ops, then bridge itself, then bridge everyone back, then bridge itself back. Also if you got a fleet dropped on you that was prepared for your fits, oracles would probably get decimated.

Anonymous said...

Morale's a very hazy concept. It's entirely possible that flying siege fleets is bad for TEST morale and good for CFC morale, since both sides have very different cultures and approaches to the game. The goons glorify the concept of dudes in crappy ships grinding down a superior foe, so siege and celestis fleets are really tailor-made for them.

Rob said...

Mostly it's good for us in the CFC because everyone gets to play though. I dont have a capital and probably never will, so capital fight leave me out. Its like that for a lot of us so siege fleets give us the opportunity to fight for our side more often instead of being on standby in a celestis somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Whilst you are correct that outright siege power belongs to dreadnaughts, you are looking at the problem through a very narrow lens of isk/hour.

Problems with your assumptions are many. Firstly you assume that you can field enough dreads at a given point in time. Given the choice between waiting for dreads and missing a timer or going with the equivalent DPS in bombers set up for siege and doing the same job, the choice is an easy one.

You also fail to recognize that a dread fleet is very immobile when in siege mode. You go into siege, you are committed to stay there until the cycle ends. A bomber fleet can simply cloak, or move. Bombers are less susceptible to damage from large guns from a relief fleet due to lower sig radius and constant movement.

At an alliance finance level, a bomber fleet is cheaper to field, has a lower skill requirement (meaning more people can get involved, reducing capital pilot burnout).

Does this mean dreads have no place? of course not. Dreads are great at blowing up structures. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. And there is more than one way to look at efficiency than isk/hour.

Kana Casul said...

SOLAR is bad example, the one and only way to collapse Russians is to leave them alone, they stand and fight while there is enemy present. I doubt any western mind can understand them.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon you're cripplingly autistic but I'd like to see you explain why GS participation in siege fleet remains far higher than any TEST fleet, day after day, and it makes gains

I know the idea of thinking outside the box must terrify you but you should probably just never comment on anything more complicated than margin trading

Gevlon said...

Goons didn't make any progress with those "siege fleets". They actually lost the Sort Dragon systems. They couldn't match N3-TEST numbers.

Then PL capital fleet left and they pulled out their capitals and started winning, started to get numbers. Unrelated?

Babar said...

The blog entry was about morale, not about how many systems we did or did not take. I think we've clearly shown that siege fleets don't matter for morale at all. Also, as has been stated, Russian politics is extremely complicated, so don't think that because Solar hasn't failcascaded, their morale is somehow at a peak.

As for effectiveness of the siege fleets, they have been extremely effective. They killed numerous towers, denying income as well as allowing us to extract from the moons. They annoyed and bored N3st so much that they eventually decided to start repping structures without a support fleet, allowing us to trap all their caps in Z9PP, massively changing the momentum of the war. It also kept all those caps off our own structures, since they had to use so much time repping their own stuff. It also allowed line members to feel like they contributed, as well as getting more people to train towards bombers, potentially increasing bomber fleet numbers and afk cloaking/killing ratters in the future.

From this whole post, it seems you weren't even aware of CFC siege fleets going on for hours and hours every day for over a month. Lyris was leading siege fleets for literally 12+ hours for days, with people joining and leaving all the time. And as has been said, our fleet numbers kept on increasing, which allowed for the massive numbers in Z9PP, where we were able to out-blob Test, N3 and PL combined.

You have been massively criticized for this blog post both here and on EN24, but the only responses I've seen does not address the criticism at all. In fact, the only two responses from you have tried to move the goal posts to something else entirely.

Gevlon said...

@Babar: Rephrasing what you said: Goons worked their ass off in bombers, which TEST casually undone in carriers.

Then CFC gained capital superiority and hit these carriers at Z9PP, and since then TEST can't go on with carriers.

eve isk said...

Gevlon: I don't know how long Test have been using bombless bombers, but Goons have done it literally from the start of the war, since until the last few days, we did not have capital superiority. For at least 3-4 weeks, Lyris and other FCs would take out siege fleets for hours every day, and usually 150+ people would join. It didn't seem to do much with our morale?

Arrendis said...

Except that no, we didn't have 'cap superiority' at Z9PP. We had no capitals on the field. We had something like 6 fleets of subcaps, and more of them forming up.

Early on, we took fleets out with the express intention of just making TEST jump supers in to fix the damage we did, because TEST pilots had to pay for their own jump fuel.

Siege fleets are about shooting structures, chatting and relaxing, and then scurrying off and laughing at any attempt to catch us. They sow chaos and make people form up to defend against them, or form up to repair the damage from them. Either way, they were good for morale and keeping people engaged and willing to log in - because they were entirely about nothing more than being dicks.

Seriously. That was the point: being jerks and making TEST do work. Siege fleets, like the Celestis fleet with it's oh-so-appropriate name, are popular with the CFC because they fit our primary play style's method and motivation:

'Why? Because fuck you, that's why.'

Form up a fleet, start shooting a structure, then when the defenders show up, bridge to a structure 13 jumps away and start shooting that one. Laugh at the poor bastards who have to run to chase you. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Once again, you miss the point: We do these things because they are fun. Our territorial objectives exist, but alongside them is the strategic objective you repeatedly insist cannot exist: maintain/bolster morale in order to keep the fighting numbers high.

That's what happened at Z9PP: morale had been staying high despite lack of any measurable advance in the front line, and we poured an insane number of sub-capitals onto the field. We had no caps on-field. None. We cannot have achieved 'cap superiority', because we had none in the fight.

And TEST having to be saved by a node remap did more than just keep morale high: it made people mad. Were we laughing about it? Hell yes. But we were also pissed off.

And that's why you had the Lazamo a few days later, where a group of unflappable logi kept a megathron fleet alive against 4 enemy fleets until once again, we could pour sub-capitals onto the field in staggering numbers. And those guys keeping Laz from whelping?

That improved morale. That kept participation high. That even gave us 'Remember the Lazamo'.

And both fights served to demoralize our enemies. Do you really think it's a coincidence that TEST's presence in their defensive fleets cratered after those? Do you really think we were able to successfully field greater sub-capital numbers in the AUTZ because we had cap superiority?

Caps are handy. They're a shortcut - a shortcut to more dps, a shortcut to faster travel - but if you really think you need cap superiority to be successful in a sov grind, you haven't been paying attention to this war at all.

Gnome Sweet Gnome said...

Gevlon, you are an autist, and will never understand what does and doesn't create morale among a force.

Feeling like you have solid leadership that has control of a situation raises morale, even in a loss. Having leadership that makes foolish decisions and cannot seem to adapt, or who failed to engage in proper planning and have gotten themselves in a bad situation, creates bad morale, even when you win.

The mere presence of capitals is not sufficient to keep an alliance from failscading, or Raiden would still be around.

And by the way, noone in the CFC feels like much of a slave. We're too busy putting on our shades and doing a 50 cent to your fleets as we set regions on fire. The reason people looked down on TEST was because you suck horribly, and demanded to have your hands held at all times, while spewing forth constant temper tantrums and plotting against the very people who handed you your sov.

I would never have thought before seeing it that you could literally diagnose an entire coalition with borderline personality disorder. Except you. You are a miracle. You are the first ancephalic child to survive to adulthood. Congrats.

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