The war in Catch has been raging for almost a month now. In December, Test, Circle of Two and friends were evicted from their home in Vale of the Silent, and deployed to the South, and in January, they began an invasion of Catch. I sat down with Apple Pear, a Fleet Commander (FC) in Hogyoku, part of the Goonswarm Federation. The following is a transcription of our interview:
Dracos Rhaghar: So, Apple, thanks for joining me today, could you tell me, and our audience a little about yourself?
Apple Pear: I am Apple Pear, I started playing in 2014, and spent my first few months in high-sec. I joined a null-sec alliance in Fountain, and when the alliance collapsed, we were presented with an opportunity to move our corp into Goonswarm, which is what we did. We relocated to Deklein, until the Imperium was forced out of the North, and are now living in Delve
When it comes to FCing, I am a Bloc FC, so I can take out any subcap fleet to the strategic objectives. I don’t generally FC capitals, we have much better Capital FC’s for that. Before stepping up to command Fleets, I was a logi anchor, for almost a year before I started FCing, and still sometimes operate in that role.
D: So, for those of us not familiar with the Imperium, you describe yourself as a Bloc FC, what does that mean, where do you lie in your Coalition’s hierarchy of Fleet Commanders?
A: So I don’t like to talk rankings, but we have a few levels of FC’s:
- Skirmish Commanders: This is anybody who wants to FC. if you want to take a fleet out, this is your level. Skirmish Commanders have access to a few doctrines, and are limited to those doctrines.
- GSF Ops Level FC: If you are a successful Skirmish Commander, you will eventually reach the rank of a GSF Ops Level FC. These FC’s can take out bigger and slightly more expensive Fleets out into the field.
- FC Level: After proving yourself as a competent GSF Ops Level FC, you become trusted with more expensive fleets, such as Battleships and T3 Cruisers.
- Bloc FC: A person at this level can FC any subcap fleet, and, if necessary, can operate as an FC of multiple fleets, ensuring each fleet is being run correctly, and operating competently on the battlefield in big fights.
D: As someone who has also acted as a Logi Anchor in fights, do you feel it helped you to develop your FC skills, as you see the battlefield from a different perspective?
A: Yes, I agree, one of the things it did for me was enable me to have an overall overview of the grid, because as a Logi FC, you need to be able to understand the grid, keeping in range of your friendly fleet, to provide logistics support to your fleet.
One of my favourite fights was in Pure Blind, there were 2 or 3 groups against us, and we had our Triage, and our DPS fleet on field, and I, as logi anchor, had to keep both of these things in our range, while avoiding the enemy fleets.
D: So you are used to the big fights, the large ones. How many people would you say you FC at once on average?
A: It depends what we are doing, and what our objective is. So in the big fights, we generally have an FC who will manage all fleets in system, there are times I will operate at that level, if Asher, and our other big FC’s aren’t around. If we have big fleets, you can be commanding 256 men at once, and if there’s multiple fleets, that can expand to 2 or 3 fleets.
D: So, the main reason I am interviewing you today, is that I want to discuss the war between Stainwagon/Imperium and COTest + Friends, a war that is swinging in favour of COTest. How do you feel the war is going?
A: Well, we had some great points in the war. We won the battle of F4R2-Q, the opening battle of the war. It set TEST and CO2 back in their war effort, and made a difference. The battle was long and excruciating, but it affected their plans. In the end, I think people saw the war differently from what it was. It was a war between Stainwagon and CO2 / Test and friends. We are friends of Stainwagon, and so helped our friends. In the end though, I think people saw it as an opportunity to fight Goons.
One of the big blows that swung the war in favour of CO2 and Test was losing the V-3YG7 I-Hub, it wasn’t the biggest setback, but it didn’t help the situation.
Our biggest blow was when the Fortizar in 36N-HZ was sold to Test, it enabled them to stage caps, and fleets closer to our systems, and made their logistics, and their offensive position much better than it was previously.
D: So, looking at Catch on Dotlan, the region is burning, and it looks like Test / CO2 has won the region, what is the next logical step for Stainwagon and the Imperium?
A: Stainwagon aren’t defending as much anymore, but when they form, we form to help them too. Realistically, the Russians are moving into Stain. I think Catch will be divided up soon, but I see Stainwagon resorting to guerilla warfare, making it hard for CO2 and Test to stay there, harassing the enemy wherever possible, and creating timers. I can’t see any more big fights in Catch. It will switch to a much more guerilla-based type of warfare.
D: Guerilla warfare is a different type of warfare, you are no longer fighting to defend your home, but are fighting to make it as hard as possible for the people who now call it home to live there, so it’s an interesting set of challenges, but do you think it will have an effect on Catch?
A: I don’t know how Test and CO2 membership is feeling. CO2 has lost a few corporations to other alliances. Guerilla warfare does work, we have won timers with Interceptor fleets, and harassing enemies. It does work, but Guerilla warfare is a way to make life more painful for them, and if they aren’t showing up on their A game, they will lose timers.
D: There have been several battles where Stainwagon and the Imperium have lost more ISK, but secured the objective, what do you feel is more important, ISK victories, or objective victories?
A: In the Imperium, we are not there for good fights, or content, we like to build nations and secure objectives. You can see how many citadels are already in Delve. We have goals we want to achieve. If you win the ISK war, it’s a nice bonus, but for me, it’s about the objective, securing what we want to secure.
D: There has been lots of propaganda on both sides, how do you feel Imperium propaganda has helped to lubricate the gears of war?
A: The Imperium doesn’t mind doing work, we explain why we go to war, and when you tell people the truth, they will follow you. People have a huge hate-boner right now for CO2, Test, and FCON, and we are driving that hate forward.
We feel hate towards our enemies. If months ago, I had pinged to kill FCON, I would get more numbers. The Mittani is very good at picking up on the feelings the line members have. He knew that line members have a hate-boner right now, and he directs that hate towards our enemies. It’s not just about him though, all directors and fleet commanders reiterate our narrative, and make our goals a true goal of the community
D: You mentioned Citadels, since the release of Citadels, Sov warfare isn’t just about entosis anymore, you can take the enemies station from them, but if they have a Fortizar anchored in every system, it would be a lot harder to remove them from that space. Aegis Sov has been criticized for removing large fights from the game, would you agree that citadels have helped make those fights possible again?
A: Yeah, it’s a way to do that. I love Citadels personally, they are great to work with. One thing that’s irritating is the week between the second and third timers mean that the whole of EVE can be batphoned. They make forward deployment so much easier, we were able to deploy to Citadels, which made taking part in the war so much easier, and yes, you can also get large scale fights over them too.
D: Recently, CCP also implemented Alpha clones, have you noticed any difference in your fleet sizes, and Alpha clones getting involved?
A: I love Alpha players, and I love E-War. Alpha clones are great in E-War, flying in frigates, they can make it a lot harder for the enemy fleets to fight us. We used to have 50 people in our E-War fleets, now we get 100-150, which is great, it makes life so much harder for our enemies.
D: What advice would you have for an Alpha Clone?
A: I say, find yourself, and what you want to do in the game, and find an organisation that supports what you want to do. Find an organisation that can help you get into Null-Sec if you want the big fights, and get introduced to PVP. There are a lot of groups that roam around fighting and doing small gang PVP, including here in the Imperium.
D: If a newer player wanted to PVP, and found no-one in their organisation active in PVP, what advice would you have for them?
A: It depends on the people you surround yourself with if those people don’t want to PVP, find a group that does it. Find an organisation that fits with you. If people prefer to mine, and not PVP, and you want to PVP, find yourself somewhere that supports what you want to do.
With more new players joining the game, and the EVE having two major wars one after the other, there has definitely never been a better time for new and old players alike to discover PVP, whether in a large coalition or a small PVP alliance, find somewhere that suits you and fly dangerously