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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stages of War

Earlier this week, our two high sec wars ended. One expired normally after the first week; the other was retracted a few days after it renewed for week #2. Not because we did anything exceptional to make them run away, but more likely because their war with EM was offset a few days from all the secondary wars they had going with our allies. In that sense, it made good tactical sense to continue the war for a few days so we couldn’t act as neutral Logi support for our friends against them. These two wars kicked off an almost automated response from me, and I’m realizing now that there are some very specific things I have done in the past (and was planning to do again) in response to high sec wars. So, without giving away any trade secrets, let’s have a look at the 4 stages of high sec wardec response I personally employ. It’s entirely possible that most experienced pilots react like this, so I might be just be talking to myself, but I’m going to post it anyway.

Stage 1 – Initial Reaction
This stage is the one you hear about the most; How to react to a wardec. You sit down, log in, click on that flashy envelope and… “Crap, we’ve just been wardec’d.” The smart pilot sees this and immediately begins adjusting their plans and operations to ensure their security. You’re going to wrap up your mission running and park that faction-fit Battleship. You cancel or move up that planned freighter trip to Rens. Basically, you end up shutting down nearly all of your highsec carebear operations. Hopefully, your Corporation or Alliance has plans to fight back, in which case you might need to move some combat ships to a staging system, maybe restock you ammunition reserves. At the very least, you should be learning what you can about your new enemy. It doesn’t matter if that means you go dig up the information yourself, review any intel files your corp/alliance might keep, or use a site like EveWho(Note: I haven’t used EveWho personally, so I can’t offer any comments as to its quality). The important thing here is to have some idea of what you’re going to be facing. Once you’ve finished all this, it’s time to lean back and take a deep breath, because next it’s war!

Stage 2 – Engagement and Avoidance
OK, your war is “live”, time to start shooting people in the face! Your corporation is running fleets and is engaging the enemy. You’re being smart, traveling in groups and using proper scouting techniques. Oh look, the new guy just lost another Rupture ratting in a belt, FLEET UNDOCK, IT MUST BE AVENGED!!!! When the fleets are out hunting, you’re doing what you can to prepare yourself for the next fight. Maybe you need a replacement ship, so you’re moving carefully, or contracting with independent shippers to get that ship in to the warzone. The important bit here is, you’re not running around alone, thinking you’re invincible. If you’re not killing the enemy, your goal is to avoid the one-sided engagement. I believe the colloquial term is “gank”. Even when you move on to stage 3 and 4, Engagement and Avoidance will continue to be your Standard Operating Procedure until the war is completely over.

Stage 3 – ISK Replenishment
There are any number of ways that you can generate income without using your primary pilot. Maybe you have a stable of PI alts, maybe you’ve got a market whore, or maybe you just buy ETC and sell PLEX whenever you need ISK. But some of us still rely on our mains for a significant percentage of our ISK or, shock of shocks, only have one account/character. My preferred method for income generation during a war is to just move to low security space. I know what you’re thinking, “But Thansoli, lowsec is a dangerous, scary place!! There’s pirates wearing funny hats waiting on the other side of every gate to shoot me and take my cookies!!” Well, that’s not really true. The pirates are around, sure. But with a little prior planning, you can mitigate those risks and still make acceptable cash hiding out in lowsec. 

Personally, I have several lowsec hidey holes I can make use of (and have). One is a quiet corner that doesn’t see lots of traffic. It’s a constellation that’s good for exploration, the cash isn’t superb, but it keeps me in Exotic Dancers. Some nights I find combat sites, some nights I end up gas harvesting. (Yeah, gas harvesting.) One of my other options is to move out to a well-protected, friendly lowsec pocket where I can run level 4 missions almost as though I was in highsec. A move out to lowsec can also be refreshing, especially during a long war.

Stage 4 – Recovery
The war is ending, hooray!! There’s not really a whole lot to this stage. For some pilots it involves unplugging for a few days and getting some sun (always a good idea). Otherwise, it’s time to resume your normal operations and dust off that faction-fit Battleship. If you’ve lost ships during the war, it’s a good idea to get them replaced as soon as ISK allows and get them reset in your common staging system. Because you never know, the next war could be right around the corner!!

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