Sunday was one of those “butterfly effect” sorts of adventures, where things happen that you’re just not expecting and could never happen in a scripted game like WoW. I’ve been trying out interdictors. These are a support ship that does absolutely nothing except fire off large 20km wide bubbles that prevent people from warping out.They are insanely helpful because without someone scrambling a warp drive, it’s easy for enemy ships, particularly the large ones, to get away. To prevent that, you either need a single ship to lock on with a scrambler. Or you can just dump a bubble and everyone in it, perhaps dozens or even hundreds of ships, has to get out before they can warp. Given this, the life expectancy of a “dictor” pilot isn’t exactly long and it’s not a cheap ship to fly. And you tend not to get on the killmails that define glory in Eve.
I don’t really mind that. I guess it’s the same mentality that leads me to play healers in most fantasy games. If I can be of use, I’d much rather do that than something else. Though globbing onto killmails does have this sort of appealing aspect, I know that what I can do with a hurricane battlecruiser is meager compared to what I can do with a bubble.
So yesterday I found myself in a rather large BS fleet as one of the very few support ships other than battlecruisers. There were three gates and three of us with bubbles, so I got assigned to a gate to sit and wait.
They start shooting a POS (a kind of low end space station) and someone starts asking “do we have any cloaky dictors?” Um, yeah. We have one. Me. The other two bubblers are flying heavy interdictors which don’t fit with cloaks. So I X up in fleet with a sabre protocloak, dual bubble. And then something really odd happens, I get a convo request. A private message. Now nobody ever convos anyone in Eve, particularly not in a battle where the big request is to shut up and keep coms clear for the fleet leader. You don’t need distractions. My first thought is that it’s a gold spammer or someone in IT taunting me, but no, it’s Lou Cypher, one of our FCs and a high muckety muck in the Mostly Harmless alliance.
He has a special op for us. Oops. Actually I’m completely excited about the whole idea, but I’m also quite aware that there will soon be a podding in my future. These usually don’t end well. He starts scouting for me and gives me a destination. We’re going around the back way to get behind a fairly distant enemy fleet and hopefully set up an ambush. Ok, sounds good. I notice that the route is along the lines of my alliances single pair of jumpbridges and I’m somewhat surprised to find out he doesn’t know about them. I lead him to the bridge and that cuts our trip in half. Score one for LAWN.
We’re lucky on our trip and don’t run into anyone and finally jump into system and wow is there a lot of red. I’m told to warp to a third person and cloak up. I arrive and there’s nobody there, meaning they’re also cloaked and I turn mine on. So far so good. We’re told to align to a gate and then suddenly warp to zero bubble and get out .
Well I warped the zero and got caught in another bubble about 20 klicks out from the gate. I dropped my first bubble, hit the microwarp drive, and burned for the gate as alarms sounded from my ship and huge blotches of red appeared in my damage readouts. Once they went through my shields and armor, I popped the second bubble for a little bit more coverage and shortly after was blown to bits.
Apparently, right after we dropped the bubbles another stealther opened a cyno beacon and the entire fleet jumped on top of them. A pretty good slaughter ensued with four hundred ships fighting and about half dying. We came out ahead of the game by about 2-1.
Of course, I didn’t see that. That’s part of what Eve is about. If you’re on a suicide mission, it’s a suicide mission and you go home in your pod. People who play bit parts, even if they turn out to be important, don’t have some scripted cookie as a reward. I couldn’t even tell you if either of our bubbles caught any ships. If their attention was disturbed by the entire thing, resulting in poor response to the drop. Or any of a million other things. No idea. But along with that lack of surety is just these amazing little happenings where a lazy sunday morning POS bash suddenly turns into a secret mission kicking off a big fleet battle.