So here I am at 5 minutes to 10pm on a Saturday night. Location Sendaya, intention Ganking. It’s the Scrapheap Challenge Gank Night 13.
It’s the first time I’ve been on one of these, and I’m not really sure what to expect. All I know is that we are all supposed to be in Drakes (although other BC also allowed), and the idea is to roam through as many lowsec and 0.0 systems as possible killing everything that we find. Basically if you come back with your ship intact you’re doing it wrong. All I’m hoping for is to survive more than the first 10 minutes of the event. 10pm arrives and there are 111 pilots in fleet with more latecomers to join no doubt. Apparently these things never set off on time.
We’re off and running at 10:25pm. Not too late I suppose. Looking around there are now about 120 ships in fleet. When we land on the first gate the blob of ships on screen looks like a force to be reckoned with.
On our very first jump we are presented with 5 ships on the other side camping. They must crap themselves when they see 120+ BC jump through the gate at them. The gank fleet quickly disposes of the 3 Battle Cruisers, a cruiser and a Heavy Interdictor. The engagement literally lasts about 10 seconds. Unfortunately I’m not into the run of things yet and forget to switch on my Sensor Boosters which means I fail to even get a lock on any of the ships. On the plus side I have survived the first jump of the gank night, but not everyone has made it.
We make a few more jumps and then we’re in 0.0. It’s on the next jump where we land in a bubble that I realise that I have mistaken fit a Afterburner instead of a MicroWarpdrive and I get left behind. I have to decide if I carry on and risk getting left behind every time we hit a bubble, or go back 3 jumps to buy a MWD. I decide to go back and get a MWD, but the fleet stops for no-one and I get left several jumps behind by the time I have gone back and back out into space. I’m trying to jump and warp as fast as possible to catch up. Fortunately the fleet is stopping at each gate while someone scouts ahead, so I’m only out in 0.0 on my own for 5 or 6 jumps before I catch up. I notice in local that there a few other stragglers too, so I’m not completely alone.
Whenever a fleet member drops connection they are blown away in second, before the FC has a change to shout ‘Don’t shoot!’. So far we have killed more friendlies than anything else. The pace of the fleet is also picking up as the scout gets a few systems ahead. It seems about 20% of the fleet gets left behind as they miss the fleet warp each time we jump into a new system, and we start noticing a bit of lag as we travel through system after system. Not really surprising with 120+ ships jumping at once.
Some info come over Team Speak that said a gang of 40+ ships are following up behind us, but the FC decides to carry on regardless. Sounds like they are all small ships. As we move through 0.0 we encounter the odd small group of ships, but it’s mostly quiet until we get blobbed by a large-ish gang of small ships. It is unclear at the time if it is the gang that was reported to us earlier. Normally a gang of BC would have no chance with killing these small ships, but due to our overwhelming numbers we managed to catch quite few of them before we get bored of chasing them and move on.
At about 23:40pm the FC calls a 5 minute break. Up until now we’ve only made a few kills, and I gather from other Gank Night veterans that still being alive this long is pretty unusual. A few jokes are made to the effect that the FC doesn’t know what he is doing if we’re not dead yet. We continue after the break but we are still yet to find any big fights, or die horribly.
We start heading towards Providence with the intention of getting CVA to get a fleet up against us. They are pretty slow to do so as we get several systems inside Providence before there is much activity in their intel channel (we have spies watching). Eventually at about 1am we get what we want, and a large mixed CVA gang appear in AY-24I. Primaries are called but I quickly realise that ships are dyeing before I get lock on them, so I order my overview by distance and lock up everything I can, closest first. It seems others are doing the same as there plenty of ships taking damage that have not been called primary.
Surprisingly I mange to survive longer than most, but eventually succumb (and lose pod) after about 13 minutes. The battle only goes on for another 2 minutes after my death. I’m not going to go through all the kill stats, as you can see the carnage on the Gank Night Killboard for yourself. I personally manage 22 kills.
From start to finish the gank night lasts for 2 hours and 47 minutes. From what I hear from other fleet members the gank going on for this long is virtually unheard of, particularly when about 80% of the original fleet were still there for the final showdown. I feel my first Scrapheap Challenge Gank Night went very well, and I found it most enjoyable. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one.
An area of ship set up that is often overlooked is how well a gang of ships work together, and the need to synchronise their fittings to compliment each other. In the many gang battles I have been involved in I have often been amazed at how little attention some gangs give to what their fleet mates are flying (I’ve also seen and learnt from some excellent fleets that know exactly how to set up their gang).
After the dust has settled and the enemy annihilated a look down the killboard at what your opposition were flying gives you a lot of information. It is common to see lots of well fitted ships in their own right, but with obvious little regard to what their fleet mates were flying. For example you might see every ship in an 8 man gang fitted with Warp disruptors, but none with Webifiers.
It’s important to understand that when you fly as a fleet you should view it as a single entity and not a collection of individual ships. The FC should have an idea on what he wants the fleet to do, and tell the individual pilots to fit accordingly. A corp should issue a set of standard ship fittings for it’s members to use during fleet ops so that there is a single pre-organised aim on how to take down the enemy (or survive). With everyone flying similar setups it is easy for the FC to make adjustments to the midslots of various fleet members so that you have enough of everything e.g. points, webbers, ECCM etc. They also know what specialist ships to bring like Falcons or a Hospital Domi or two.
Just like you wouldn’t omni fit your ship with a mixture of armour and shields, it is important for a gang to be fitted in an organised and coherent way. There is no point bringing a ship with shield tank if the rest of the ships in your gang have remote armour reppers. I would even go as far as saying that even when you fly a ship that traditionally fit for shield or armour, you should not stick religiously to that idea when is comes to fitting a ship for gang operations.
A good example is a Raven. When flown solo you would be mad not to set it up with a good shield tank, but when flown in a gang where there aren’t many other Caldari pilots you have to think outside of the box. While normally it is an act of blasphemy to suggest fitting a Raven with armour tank, in a gang of armour tankers where all of your fleet mates have remote armour reps fitted then a Raven armour tanker is the way to go.
Obviously in the long run if you’re mostly going to be flying in armour tanked fleets you should be cross training to ships that can armour tank well, but even in non traditional armour tank Raven what you lose in HP on your personal tank you make up several times over when your fleet mates have you locked up, repping your armour, and giving you a virtually unbreakable tank.
It has been a quiet couple of weeks for my piracy. A lack of lowsec traffic and a lack of my own time to spend seeking victims has meant I’ve not had a lot of kills. All that however changed last Sunday.
There I was docked up in station while I attended to business on an alt when a message came over from The United’s CEO. They were bored of camping due to the lack of decent traffic and were planning a little trip to Hagilur to go mess with the locals and wanted to know if we wanted to go along. Having only had one kill that day there was no hesitation to get in on the act, along with three more from Neo Spartans.
Hagilur is one of those lowsec systems where no single corp claims ownership. On that particular night The Filthy Scum were in attendance along with a handful of The Bastards. The bait ship was sent in while the rest of the fleet waited outside system. Unfortunately for our victims they took our bait and get themselves aggression and the fleet jumped in.
The battle was 24 allies vs 22 Enemy pilots (note that Sirius Fog warp disrupted his fleet mate and Commandante Caldari was a random participant on our side in a Falcon, also some of the Filthy Scam came back in second ships), with mostly battleships of both sides. The Nidhoggur arrived a few minutes into the engagement but made little difference to turning the tide on us. We had pretty much finished off all the BS when 3 more capital ships were jumped in on us and we decided it was time to go home. End Result was 15 kills for 7 loses (this was even better for Neo Spartans as our KB shows 14 kills for 1 loss). To get the full picture of kills check The United’s Killboard as well.
My only negative for the battle was that we didn’t kill the initial Carrier that jumped in. The FC insisted that we keep killing the BS rather than go after the Carrier which was unfortunate as by the time we left it was in structure. Had we started on it a little earlier we could have had (should have had) a cap kill too.
As we all returned back home news came through of a Pheonix in Olettiers that was undocked and on the verge of being out of docking range. The bump ships were quickly on route and I returned to Otou to switch from my Battleship into an Onyx, but before I got on my way to Olettiers some of the fleet got aggressed by a small group of 4 BS, which was unfortunate as the rest of the fleet were still spread in the surrounding systems and they had nowhere to go. I sat alone on the gate in Otou in case something should try and escape. 3 of them died in Miroitem while I scrammed the other who tried to escape into Otou until backup arrived to kill him.
There was no time to celebrate the kills however as by now the Pheonix was about to get bumped off of station in Olettiers. By the time I had arrived his fate had been sealed and the Pheonix was heading towards structure. After a short pause to see if he wanted to cough up a ransom (some choice words indicated that he did not) we finished the ship off and as a bonus killed his pod too. Unfortunately the Pheonix was unfitted so it looks like it hadn’t long been out of the showroom before we turned it to a lump of twisted metal. Not the most interesting of kills, but a cap kill is a cap kill.
Just when you think things are getting a little dull Eve throws up big chunk of excitement to get you going again.
As many people are aware Neo Spartans and The United are napped due to the proximity of their home systems. If they weren’t neither corp would get anything done other than fight each other (it’s not so long ago that this was the case). It also allows them to control several systems in the surrounding area. They are NOT however in an alliance together, nor do they work together on a day to day basis. The above is one of those times where it is in the interest of both parties to take on a common enemy.