A couple of months ago I was solo roaming in an Armageddon and after a long uneventful roam had found myself in Hagilur. Warping around between planets, I finally found on scan a small gang consisting of a Cerberus, Drake, Dominix and an Ares. Also on scan was a neutral Hyperion which I assumed was part of their gang. I quickly decided that if I could split them up well enough I had a chance of taking out the Cerberus and Drake before I died.
So after warping in at range on their Dominix that was sat at a gate, I turned and warped to the sun at a range of about 70km. Sure enough in a few moments their Ares landed on grid with me at the sun, but from a different angle and so had to burn at me with its MWD. It was smart about approaching at an angle though and quickly had me pointed and fell into a smooth 20km orbit around my bulky, propulsion-less battleship. My massive lasers were unable to track such a fast and small ship. I had a trick up my sleeve though, I deployed Warrior II drones and zapped the Ares with my heavy neut. It took a little bit of time, but sure enough with the little interceptors MWD cutting out regularly with each cycle of the heavy neut my drones soon popped the Ares just as his gang landed right on top of me. Fighting everything at close range was not ideal for me however, so I warped away before any of them could get a point on me.
Once I had left the battlefield, the Drake followed me to give chase and the Cerberus warped off to some other celestial while the Dominix sat at the sun. I warped around to different planets and stations for a little bit and then warped back to the sun at 100km. The Dominix was still there and a few moments after I had landed the Cerberus arrived back on grid, but about 80km from me. I quickly picked a celestial that seemed a good warp in point to try to get on top of the Cerberus, and warped away to it and then back in at a different range. No luck though, the Cerberus had moved. So I tried the same thing a couple more times. Eventually I made a mistake though, and one of these attempts to get the Cerberus ended up landing me 30km off the Cerberus, but within 20km of the Dominix. The Dominix quickly pointed me as the Cerberus began hammering me with missiles and the Drake warped back in, as well as the neutral Hyperion I mentioned earlier. At this point there was nothing to do but fight and the Cerberus had burned away to about 50km range, so I locked up the Dominix and was about to start brawling him when suddenly both Drake and Dominix launched ECM drones. They jammed me for the entirety of the “fight” and I quickly went down in a blazing fireball.
At this point I am ashamed to say, I lost my head a little bit and started insulting them in local for using ECM in an already easy win (prior to this I had a string of losses to gangs where every member of the gang deployed ECM drones). When the Hyperion pilot claimed in local he was not with these guys and was just a third party I considered it bullshit and called him a liar. After self destructing my pod and returning home though, I soon calmed down and decided to check the Hyperion pilot's combat history. Turned out he had never flown with those guys before and so I mailed him to apologise for calling him a liar. The Hyperion pilot's name was Presidente Gallente and we began chatting via mail about the different way in which we both interpreted that event.
I was frustrated with the gang for what I perceived as cowardice. It is a difficult thing for people who don't solo much to understand, but when you summon the courage to engage something you have very little chance of beating and you know you will almost certainly die during the fight, it is incredibly frustrating and painful to then be jammed by Falcons or drones. It is why I never fly with ECM drones while I am in a gang, I understand all too well the pain it causes solo pvpers and the way it degrades the game for those people.
Presidente however, saw things a little differently. He readily admitted that he mainly flies in gangs, and explained to me how he justifies the use of ECM. I won't copy/paste the mail he sent me as it is far too long for this blog, but his basic arguments and thoughts went something like the following:
He believes that solo pvp is pretty much dead. Falcons and ECM drones are an inevitable and unavoidable part of the game and the only way to deal with them is through counter-jamming. He explained that he has no love for ECM and would not mind if it were removed from the game, but as long as it is in the game and other people are using it, he will make use of it himself, so he is not at a disadvantage. He does not think badly of the gang that killed me, as there was a possibility I had a gang of my own ready to jump in. He also expressed his surprise at my behaviour in the Armageddon. To him I had thrown away my ship pointlessly, persevering with a fight I could not possibly win. He also made a point that Solo PVP is only possible these days if you put a lot of ISK into it, citing Gods Coldblood as an example of a modern successful solo pvper, but that is an issue for another blog post.
His seems to be a philosophy of adapting and doing what is necessary to survive and win. I used to share some of this philosophy until I grew bored with the sort of gameplay it created. I completely disagreed with most of what he said to me, but I found it an interesting insight into a mindset very different to my own, yet one that is apparent in almost every opponent I battle against every time I go solo roaming.