Sslinks Wall Of Text

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Sslinks Wall Of Text

Mega SWOT! Unread postby Sslink » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:04 am

I know for the last few weeks I haven't been doing my usual amount of posting. I can't believe how many people actually ask for more SWOTs. I generally assume having to read all the shit I write is a special kind of torture for most (lol), but you asked for it, here it comes:

I love to thoroughly communicate our goals, direction, and vision as much as possible. I appreciate those who care enough about our organization to want to know more of this kind of stuff. It shows commitment, dedication, and passion. I think it is important for people to understand some of the why we do what we do (when possible to share), and it is also helpful to maintain perspective because very often we get too bogged down in the day to day to really appreciate how far we have come in such a short period of time.

Throughout my time leading EICO/GCLUB, I typically tried to post some of the bigger picture stuff every couple weeks. Since the EICO blow up, in conjunction with a busier IRL, I have been pretty slammed. My play time is about 30-35 hours a week (down from 60-70 lol), and most of that is consumed with admin, mails, convos, firefighting, financial, political, etc... I haven't had much time to hang in channel, get in fleets, or post non essential stuff. I have been more in a "gotta do what is in front of my face" mode, which is ok sometimes, but it is critical to step back and keep an eye on the horizon as well.

As things start to clear up a little for me, I am going to make a concerted effort to correct that. So get your reading glasses, and get yourself a nice dose of coffee, energy drink, crack, meth, or whatever stimulant gets you through the Mega SWOT!

Deployment History:

We were deployed throughout most of the Halloween war. Between November and April we spent very little time at home.

HJ- (Scalding Pass): Announced 11/1/13. This was the very first time we (as an alliance) had an official deployment. In the month we were there, we did some SBU grinding in bombers, and we repped lots of towers in tech I logi blobs. We were in two big tidi fights in bombers, and 2 or 3 times we camped gates near big fights (in Ruptures). By today's definitions PVP sucked ass, but at that time people were excited and enthusiastic about what we were doing (the ones who weren't complaining about having to PVP at all). Many people had never even been in a big tidi fight (I had never FC'd in tidi), or taken part of a fight involving thousands of pilots. Hell many pilots were getting their first kills, first fleets, etc... We also weeded out a lot of useless fucks who didn't want to fight, and just wanted to make isk on the hard work of their brothers.

K76 (Kalevala Expanse): Announced 12/1/13. We were in one big tidi fight to save the station (with EMP). We were in a couple other misc. ops with EMP that didn't result in any major fight. We did a small amount of roaming (under our own FC's), but not even once a day. Again, by today's standards PVP sucked ass.

SAH (Etherium Reach): Announced 12/12/13. We had been spending more time in ER helping CUP, and ultimately I decided to do a split deployment to SAH. This was where we really forged a tight bond with CUP, which ultimately turned into a merger. Throughout this 3 week period... well we grinded the shit out of TCU's and IHUBs (mostly in bombers, sometimes in caps). We did a little camping in LXQ and L4X, and did some roams (maybe a roam of our own every other day). A few times we burned back to SP in bombers to assist Bloodline with their sov problems. 90% of what we did was grind structure. GENTS pulled out completely, and FCON barely formed. The number of actual fights we got.... zero. Only one time did we get even a half assed fight out of FCON when they brought AF vs. our bombers, and we re-shipped. By today's standards this was long, tedius, marathon sov grinds, almost no ship to ship combat, but our members were very upbeat, happy, and excited that we were accomplishing an objective for our coalition.

Otanami (The Forge): Announced 12/21/13. We deployed with EMP. Over the course of the first few days of the deployment we hit some shit, and got into a fight or two. We then (this was over Xmas) started getting problems at home with Solar hitting our towers. We kind of put the deployment on hold, jumped home and dealt with that. We spent most of our time repping towers, and reffing towers. Only once did we get a fight out of Solar (which involved them dropping us while repping a tower, and kicking our asses). By the time we were done with the Solar issue, the Otanami deployment had kind of collapsed (ultimately along with EMP), and we never really went back.

C-J (Insmother): Announced 1/14/14. We actually did almost exactly what we are doing with the Maila deployment right now. We stayed battle ready in Otanami (in case things heated up), and pulled our primary ships and members close to home. By this point all of N3 had condensed and both NC and Nulli were within a few jumps of C-J. During this deployment we defended Insmother systems from Red Alliance, helped with the attempted 0-W breakout, and did a ton of camping in C-J and surrounding areas. We did very little roaming, and only got a handful of half assed fights. We had a couple nice fights (mostly with Triple A), but nowhere near as good as most of the fights we have seen on the Maila deployment. During this deployment we had tons of fun, and people were really enjoying the more fun PVP we saw (this is where we developed the Tackle core concept, and started harvesting ceptor tears). However, our best day of PVP in C-J was probably not as eventful as some of our worst days in August.

5H- (Wicked Creek): Announced 3/2/14. This was our forward deployment when the N3 went back on the offensive. We hit some towers with our own ops. We supported coalition ops (including the re-taking of CKX), grinding TCU's, cover fleets to IHUB, etc... This was a short term deployment, but I don't think we got a single fleet to fleet fight, and we didn't do any roams because there wasn't anywhere really to roam to. Some bored guys may have done a gate camp or two.

IV- (Impass): Announced 3/12/14. As we gained momentum, and most of the south started to fall back into the hands of N3, we pushed our deployment to Impass. This was partially because for a while we thought we were actually going to be moving to Impass (as our new space). In Impass there was very little to do on the sov side, so we mostly spent our time grinding towers, grinding some sov, and doing a little roaming. I would say by this time we were probably to the point where we had some form of op (roam, camp, or major op) most days, but not necessarily every single day, and typically not several a day. We did get a few nice carrier kills, but then HOD made a deal with Nulli and our ability to engage them became severely limited.

New Home In Immensea: Announced 4/8/14. After weeks of discussing possible new homes for us, we finally settled on Immensea, and began to move in. The first couple weeks were all about moving and carebear shit (grinding indexes, etc.). By early May we were pretty well settled in, and roams really heated up. We were probably as active PVP as ever. We were having 2-3 roams a day, almost every day (sometimes more). We spent a lot of time on building the JFC team up, and pushed for activity. We were getting a LOT of PVP action in Catch, Provi, and sometimes Curse. During this time we also had some sov work to do. We re-claimed 0-W liberating hundreds of billions in assets, evicted some renters, helped defend some SBU'd systems, etc...

EICO Fall > Rise of GCLUB: On June 24th, Kr0nin decided to crawl out of his hole, try to act like some kind of leader, and blew up the alliance. Though the road to full financial recovery has been (and continues to be long) within 10 days of the blow up, everything else was basically back to normal. Our fleet sizes barely changed, we were still fielding 100 man fleets, we were in the same space doing the same shit, mostly with the same people. Basically we lost about 60b isk, strategic indexes, and got rid of 300 whiney ass carebears bitches. Good trade! In terms of day to day PVP, other than a short hiccup, daily roams (typically 2-3, sometimes more a day) continued.

Maila Deployment:

Announced 7/15/14. Throughout June (prior to the EICO blow up), Rhae and I had been discussing the fact that we really need to do some form of deployment. It is important to keep our military force mobile, and we can't afford to spend months on end without doing any form of force projection. Literally less than 3 weeks after the EICO blow up, we decided that we were already capable of a serious deployment, and we pulled the trigger on Maila.

Basically Razor had been operating freely in the US TZ. By reinforcing the nulli numbers we put an absolute stop to Razor's ability to operate in the US TZ. We also wanted to get some good fights. During our ~6 weeks in Maila, we had roughly 20 large scale (>50 v. 50), real fights (not just a drop, blob, chase, etc..). Our EU guys (those who showed up and joined fleet) got some nice action for a change. We have done very little structure grinding (which the last time I checked... that is a good thing). We have had multiple roams a day most days, and there has been some pretty steady camping in the Maila area throughout.

Yes, the Maila deployment was a bit different than our usual Modus Operandi. This was the first pure "assist" deployment, where we are filling fleets for objective oriented ops. In the past and future, we will typically be deployed independently (even if only a couple systems away), and we will be running our own major ops with our own objectives, etc... However, sometimes we will deploy in an "assist" role, and there may be times in the future where other alliances do so for us. This is part of being in a coalition, and sometimes (though not typically) it is how we will deploy.

Further, this was almost a purely defensive deployment. Our goal was to cock block Razor, and we were specifically trying to avoid escalating the region into a full scale tidi-fest war (something that hopefully the entire Eve community will try to avoid). It was also the middle of summer which by definition is the slowest time in Eve, and we expect roughly 60-70% standard participation and activity levels. Despite all of that, here are the stats:


As you can see both July and August rival the preceding two months of heavy PVP at home, and the last 4 months are each FAR better than any month during the war. This is particularly true when you take into account that a much larger percentage of the war time kills were structures, not ships that shoot back. The quality, quantity, and consistency of our PVP has been excellent for 4 months straight, and the best it has ever been (both before and during the Maila deployment).

So what is my point?

Well, it is this. I love the fact that we continue to steadily and rapidly advance as a PVP organization. It is great that we have so many pilots who want to do a lot of PVP, who want to field shinier ships, who want to be in big fights and be challenged, who want to field capitals more and more, and in combat, etc... These are all good things, and they are all evidence of our tremendous growth and development. This is also the drive and energy that will continue to propel us into the future.

At the same time, there is some down side of exponentially increasing expectations. They tend to advance much faster than reality, and ultimately lead to unattainable expectations, which then leads to inevitable frustration and disappointment. It is human nature to want more, and typically the more you get, the more you want. For me it is frustrating to have pilots asking for more more more, when we are literally in the middle of some of our best months to date. Unrealistic expectations is a disease, the symptoms are frustration and disappointment, and the cure is perspective!

So... sure, let's keep pushing toward bigger and better things. However, let's also take a moment to appreciate how far we have come, and how good things really are, right here, right now. I will restrain myself from getting all Zen Buddhist Philosopher on your asses, and just leave it at this: Chop Wood Carry Water / Carpe Diem / STFU & Chillax Bitches! (pick one and use it).

A Bit About Nulli and GCLUB:

I know some of the frustrations that have been voiced to me during this deployment revolve around the attitudes, comments, and statements made by nulli members and FC's. I want to take a few minutes to address some of that.

First, I want to be very clear here. We are NOT Nulli. We don't want to be. We don't pretend to be. We don't try to be. Nulli is a great alliance, and we are absolutely their brothers. We have their back, and they have ours. However, we have our own alliance for a reason. We strive toward a very different culture and atmosphere. Largely, our members just need to thicken their skins, and understand that sometimes you will be yelled at by an FC, and/or trolled by people when you do stupid shit (and sometimes even when you don't). GCLUB strives toward a constructive and productive environment. We emphasize self improvement and patience with our FC's. We discourage the tendency to scapegoat, and we try to avoid being elitist about our accomplishments. We just have to remember A) those are OUR values and OUR goals, B) even we won't always live up to them, and C) most of the Eve PVP universe is very harsh, and thinks you should just quit being a fucking pussy and fly your ship right! Simply put, you are all just a bunch of useless faggot, nigger, fucktards, that are too fucking retarded to pull your heads out of your asses and fly your fucking ships right! The FC is always right, you are always wrong. If you died, your ship was fail fit. Anything you don't know, is because you are fucking retarded, and everyone else in the Eve universe knows the answer to your stupid fucking question. Every good thing you do will be completely unnoticed, but your mistakes will be publicly ridiculed. So when we fly with other alliances, suck it up, take it with a grain of salt, and take a moment to enjoy the unique culture we work very hard to maintain.

Second, we are much earlier on in our progression as an alliance. When EICO recruited Abinus and I, and we took our first Sov, Nulli had been growing and developing as a sov holding PVP organization for well over 2 years. Some of this stuff simply takes time. It takes time to train to advanced subs and caps. It takes time to build a war chest as an alliance, and for members to build fat wallets able to lol about expensive losses. It takes time to train to and build supers, titans, and a strong meta game network (which is a HUGE part of an entity's success). It takes time to earn respect from other alliances, especially when all of them think their own shit doesn't stink, and we are a bunch of useless scrublords. To be where we are in a year's time is phenomenal. In fact, we have really been at this for less than a year, because honestly I didn't have the authority to begin the serious PVP crackdown until November, and until then it was dancing around Vasper and his retarded half baked bullshit.

Third, I want you to understand the difference between random comments from a few scrubs in a fleet, or a frustrated FC in the middle of a fleet, and how we are actually viewed by the people who matter. We are VERY much appreciated by Nulli and N3 leadership. Our presence in Maila was pivotal. Our ability to field in the US TZ is viewed by Nulli (and the N3) as VERY important and useful to the coalition. Our rate of development is very much respected, and as long as we keep doing what we are doing we are going to steadily earn more and more respect. Ultimately we aren't here for that anyway. We know who we are. We know what we have done, and where we are going. That is really all that matters.

Fourth, some of what our members were called out for... well they deserved it. How it was said notwithstanding, some of you needed to hear that shit! It is the same shit CLUB FC's deal with. Talking WAY too much in comms, asking questions that should not be asked in open channels, bringing Caracals to armor fleets, having 12 GCLUB guys who can't fly shit they should be able to fly, or fucked up fits, or don't have the ships ready, etc... This is shit that we do need to work on, and some of you... maybe you do need a little more harshness for this shit to sink in.

Finally, though GCLUB brought a share of derps to some Nulli fleets, the truth is so did plenty of Nulli members. It isn't just us. Everyone has new pilots. Everyone has the guy who wants to bring the Drake. Everyone has the lemming, the DC boy, the fucker who won't shut up in comms, etc... So even though I want for us to shoot for a higher standard, and look forward to dramatically minimizing this kind of shit as much as humanly possible, let's not kid ourselves. There will always be someone...

Winter Is Coming:

OMG, that works so well for Eve warfare. Ok guys, I need you to thoroughly understand what this next couple months is all about. Expect a war to break out by winter. Timing, nature, location, players, motivations, etc... these are all things that are anybody's guess. It could be next week, it could be mid November... who knows?

What I do know is that our next stage of development is going to be all about how strong we field for the next major war. Last war we were largely a bunch of carebears with severe lack of experience, almost no caps, and fielding very low level shit (bombers, Ruptures, Brutix, etc..). By the end of the war we had stepped up our game considerably. We were fielding ANI's, decent amount of Tech II logi, RL Caracals (which was a solid success), Talos, and we were capable of fielding a pretty solid dread/carrier fleet. Over the last few months we have dramatically increased our cap capabilities, we are seriously starting to work on supers, we have improved some on the tech II logi, and we are currently reaching critical mass with both an AHAC and a Tech III doctrine. Thoughout this entire time the experience and competence level of our average fleet member has improved steadily (I said average, not every single member lol). Our goal is to be able to seriously field Loki's and Zealots consistently for subcaps, to be able to effectively field caps both with coalition and independently, and to get serious about building a formidable Super fleet.

These kinds of things don't happen overnight, but we have come a LONG way in a short period of time, and I need to make sure we keep our eye on the prize. The stronger our sub fleets, the better our numbers, the more caps we bring, the more supers we have, the stronger we are as an alliance, the more we will bring to the table.

To the victors go the spoils: The stronger our contribution to the next major war, the bigger our slice of the pie will be when it is over. The last war moved us from the worst space in Eve to close to the best (and more systems than we currently use). Our moon income more than tripled. Our ability to rely on our coalition for support increased exponentially. Our primary goal was to take that increase to our resources, and leverage them to expand our PVP capabilities so that we are ten times the fighting force we were last war. This will in turn increase our resources, and on goes the upward cycle. So let's keep our eye on the prize. The universe isn't going to dominate itself!

Primary Areas To Focus:

More Tech II Logi: We need WAY more dedicated, properly skilled logi (Guardian and Scimitar). This isn't just about flying the ship, or having half the guys in Scythe's instead of Scimi. This is about having Logi V, max or near max cap skills, and experience/training. As we reach the point where we may start fielding our Lokis and Zealots regularly (when appropriate), the growing concern is that we will not have sufficient logi for the fleet. A 100 man Loki fleet should consist (roughly) of 60-65 Lokis, 20-25 Scimitars, and 15-20 support (boosters, Huggins, Lachesis, Dicters, tackle, etc..). As I crunch numbers in fleet up, I actually think we are far closer to this with Loki pilots than we are with logi. We need more, dedicated, well skilled, experienced logi pilots in properly fit Scimitars repping like a baws! We need to be able to call a major op/CTA, and EASILY have 15-20 such pilots (on that given day and time) ready willing and able to fly Scimis, that are properly fit, sitting in their hangars and ready to undock!

More Useful Support Options: One of the things we have seen with the Maila deployment is too many guys in ceptors, or basic CBwT shit. This is acceptable for our newer pilots, but honestly our veterans need to be aiming much higher. We need more pilots with more options: Dicters, Combat & Cloaky Recons, Boosters, GOOD combat scanners, etc... I have spent a lot of time drilling the alliance about the mandatory minimum ships. Perhaps I haven't spent enough time talking bout what comes after that. Anyone who has been here for more than a few months, should already have done all the minimum required shit (and if they had before Zealot/Loki was announced, should be just about done with those). We work hard to maintain a new player friendly environment that gives time and direction to those who need it, but we also don't want an alliance of bare minimum pilots. So if your new, keep it simple, focus on the main list. If you have been here for a while, step it up, aim a little higher than the lowest bar!

Primary Ships & Backups: We aren't a bunch of poor scrubs living in shit space. We have good space, we have had ample opportunity over the last few months, and probably for the next several weeks to make tons of isk. We joke about carebear shit, but the truth is that ISK makes the universe turn. You should be able to easily afford two of each of our primary doctrine ships. You should be able to buy Carriers and Dreads. Hopefully a good number of you are starting to seriously think super/titan. There is a huge difference between being a bunch of greedy carebears sitting around and making isk on the hard work of others, and being a bunch of good pvp pilots who know how to make isk efficiently, and can easily afford to buy and maintain a hangar full of quality ships. So, in the appropriate way, at the appropriate times, and in the appropriate places... isk it up bitches! Stockpile a reserve of isk, and try to have a back up ship of every major doctrine (more than one for cheaper ships).

Dreads & Archons: I want to be clear about this one (again). When we use dreads we will use armor dreads (Moros preferred), and those armor dreads will be supported by Slowcat Archons. The N3 will likely continue to field Archons as a "go to" doctrine for some time. We are NOT going to get rid of Archons!

Chimeras & Wyverns: Looking to the future we ARE going to ALSO field Chimeras, and Wyverns will be our "go to" supers. What you are likely to see develop over the next 6 months or so (as we reach critical mass with our Wyvern fleet), you will see Dreads/Archon used almost exclusively for POS bashing, and Wyverns/Chimera used for most other structure work (Stations, TCU, SBU, IHUB, etc...). However, to be effective we need critical mass (15-20 Wyverns, with as many Chimeras), and currently we need to be focused on building our numbers up. So, without starting the "zomg, we aren't using Archons" anymore BS, I would like to put a little more emphasis on pilots getting into Chimeras, and for those who can... Wyverns as well.

Titans: For those who are starting to think Titan, here is our order of preference: Levi > Rag > Avatar > Erebus. Obviously at present we are happy with any active bridge monkey, but long term, as we consider actual combat applications, Levi, Levi, Levi. Nuff said.

CAP Alts: Obviously this isn't going to work for everyone, but I want to say that it is ideal when a player has a sub cap focused main, and alt(s) in caps. For those with multiple accounts who can do this, you will find it is VERY nice in the long run. Honestly, making the decision to split my cap pilot training away from Sslink's queue was one of the best decisions I have made in the game. Now, obviously when I talk about stuff like this it isn't going to apply to everyone, or be a requirement, but it is very much worth mentioning as a goal. The more pilots we have that have a main PVP toon focused on subcaps, and an alt on a different account, the stronger we will become, and faster. Not only does this accelerate the training, but it also provides numerous options, and opportunities, and makes for the smoothest transitions for escalations.

Triage: Finally, I would like to mention that I would like to see us develop a group of dedicated pilots who can fly triage (particularly chimera). This is an ideal progression for our dedicated logi pilots to progress to triage carrier. We don't need many, but the day we have the ability to reliably drop 2-3 triage carriers with a sub fleet, our combat capabilities have tremendously improved. Much like logi, those who go this path will need both excellent skills, but also really good player knowledge and training. This is one of the more skill intensive roles in the game, and a really good triage pilot is a very good thing to be!

WOW That's a Lot!

For those who read the above and your eyes glaze over and you say "zomg that's a ton of shit", please remember that this is a big picture, long term post. We have PLENTY of pilots in this alliance who should be at a place where they should start thinking about a lot of the above. However, there are plenty who need to build a more solid foundation before they proceed to the next level(s). So to re-iterate... here are the priorities we need from our players:

  1. 1 - You should focus on getting ALL TEN mandatory ships listed HERE. You should go through the list in order, starting at 1, advancing to 2, and so on until you reach 10. First and foremost you have the skills AND OWN every single ship on that list. If you don't, you should be actively working on it. This applies to EVERYONE!
  1. 2 - Once you have completed the mandatory list, we do want you to continue to advance your PVP training queue, but this can be more balanced. You may want to fill in some PVE skills, you may want to train to some commonly used roam doctrines, or train to a booster (though leadership toons are also much better on an alt), etc... All of this is fine, and once you finish the mandatory list, it is expected different pilots will take different paths. We do strongly encourage most members to train into sub cap roam doctrines and quality support ships, and the more that do, the stronger our fleet comps will be.
  1. 3 - AFTER you have covered primary doctrines, or IF you have a dedicated cap alt, you should start working on basic caps. At present you should train Amarr Carrier IV, then Caldari Carrier V. You should get your Archon first, then your Chimera. Then focus on either Dread, or Super. Over time you may see a gently increasing emphasis on Chimera and Super over dread, but for now Archon First, then Chimera, then Super or Dread.


Well this has gotten pretty long, and I want to finish this up and get it posted. I actually have another whole section that I was going to write about the role of corp leadership vs. alliance leadership, but instead I will just throw it out as a teaser for the next Mega SWOT....

So to wrap this one up, I want to say that I am very proud of you guys, and what we have done both during, and before the Maila deployment. I know I haven't been hanging around in channels, or on fleets as much as I usually am, but I want to make sure you know that I appreciate everyone for your continued growth, development, hard work, and advancement. I am very proud of what we have built, and what we are building. I know it has been summer, and activity levels have been down. I know that some people were a bit frustrated with some aspects of the Maila deployment for a variety of reasons. All of that is fine, and par for the course. The main thing I want to make sure of is that we continue on the right track, that we remember what we are working toward, and that we continue to prepare so that when the next war does start, GCLUB is ready to step out onto the universal stage as a major player.

I also want to say that there have been many in corp and alliance leadership who have really stepped up. With Rhae virtually AFG, and myself with semi reduced play time, and face buried in alliance admin, things have been maintaining pretty well. We have a number of FC's, AC, and corp directors/CEO's who have done an excellent job keeping people on track, pushing asses into cockpits, and dealing with the trivial day to day stuff that tends to consume our attention sometimes.

Great work all, keep up the good work, and full steam ahead!