Art by Cryo Huren
[Editor’s Note: This part one of a four part series about fleet commanders in EVE who have played a part in World War Bee II, or World War Bee as it is known to Imperium members. This interview was completed prior to the M2-XFE fights.]
Sandrin Stone is a fleet commander with Test Alliance Please Ignore. He previously FC’d with Brave Newbies.
You’re an FC. What can you tell us about yourself, who you fly with, and why you FC?
I’m relatively new to the game, for an FC at least. I made my account back in 2017 and played for a month or two before quitting. Then I picked up the game again in July of 2019 and have been playing near enough daily ever since. I originally joined Brave Newbies back in 2017 and stuck with them for the most part, hopped corps a bit within Brave before creating my own corp, “Disorderly Vagrants” or DI VA, named after my dog Diva. We’ve built what I like to believe is a solid group of reliable and hardworking people that all excel in their own fields.
I picked up FCing around November 2019 since Brave had quite a sparse FC team at the time. I thought, “Well, if you want something done right you better do it yourself.” I’ve kind of run with that ever since. I learned to love FCing and all the parts that come with it. Similar to raiding in WoW, there’s a lot of boring drudgery, like bash fleets and uncontested entosis, but when you finally get that big pay off it makes it all worth it. Whether it’s anchoring a Keepstar within Delve, dunking those stupid wormholers that wont leave your krabs alone, or a variety of other things it makes all the time invested worth it.
Recently my corp made the switch over to Test. There’s no big drama involving the swap and, despite what most people believe, we weren’t poached by Test. In fact Progod repeatedly advocated for us to stay within Brave. We made the swap because of a difference in visions for the future and found that Test aligned more with our view than Brave.
What do you think motivated this war? Either politically or personally or both.
The geopolitical situation pre-war would always result in a war one way or another, whether it was Legacy + Imperium vs Panfam, Imperium + Panfam vs Legacy, or any combination of the three, it was inevitable. Everyone was avoiding being the one to stick their neck out until the prime opportunity. War is always inevitable, a lot of people’s main reason to play the game is fighting other people or leading others to fight people. The situation before this war was unhealthy where no one was willing to risk a large engagement at risk of having the remaining third party come to fight against them.
I believe, originally, Vily contacted the Imperium to work alongside them against Panfam, but there was hesitation and no hard committal, so instead Panfam was approached to fight the Imperium.
What are your favourite battles or recollections from this war?
By far my favourite battle of this war was the G-M4GK / TCAG-3 capital brawl [and] managing to sneak my fleet into system and cut off the Imperium supers right in the nick of time to save Test’s armour super-fleet was a great feeling, one of the big pay offs I was talking about earlier. The screams on command comms when Progod and Vily figured out what was happening are permanently etched in my brain, it was a great feeling.
Other than that I had great fun at the start of the war when we were staged in FAT-6P with the nightly visits from [Imperium FC] Elo Knight and INIT. bringing fleets across the border where we’d get a nice scrap each time. Non stop content it felt like.
Is there anything you would like to have accomplished which you haven’t?
The main thing that comes to mind is getting mentioned in a CCP video of some sort, whether it’s a mention of a major battle I lead, jumping instead of bridging with my titan to kick off a big battle ala DBRB, or anything of the sort. That’s something I aspire to achieve.
What have been some of the challenges faced by your FC team or leadership during this war?
The hardest part when it comes to a war of this scale is keeping everyone on the same page. There’s so many moving pieces, so much information that needs to be shared around. It’s really hard to keep track of it all. When you’ve got five form ups, minimum, every day, making sure FCs know what they’re forming for, who to talk to, where to have cynos, what to form, where to have eyes, etc. is a mess. We’ve spent a lot of time ironing out how we plan things and disseminating information, but I think we’ve got it at a good spot now.
How has this war differed from others you’ve participated in before, if at all?
Since I’m a relatively new player in EVE terms this is the first full on war I’ve participated in as an FC. I took part in the last Frat war as a line member and lead a few small campaigns for Voltron / Brave before the war, but nothing quite like this. The main difference is we have absolute capital supremacy here. The majority of my fights have been with evenly matched or weaker capital numbers than my opponent. It becomes more about “How can I bait out this fight?” than “How do I win this fight?” which presents it’s own unique challenges.
If someone is thinking of becoming an FC, what advice would you give them?
Ask questions, a lot of them, even when you think you know something, double check and ask someone who knows more.
Be a sponge, show up to every fleet you can and just observe. Watch what the FC does, think about why they do it and what other options they could have chosen, and then why they might not have made those decisions. Then at the end of the fleet, ask them about it. Record your fights, watch them back and analyze them the same way you analyze other peoples fleets. Think about what you could have done differently and how that could’ve impacted the outcome.
The main thing is to accept that you know nothing. You can be the most knowledgeable FC in the game, but there’s still countless things you haven’t done, haven’t tried and don’t know how to respond to. So never settle with what you currently know. Strive to learn more.