Jim Bridger here again. Went out tonight in a second disposable destroyer, and this time I hooked up with the militia fleet that had spent half the day trying to get into Tama. The camp inside Tama tried an assault into Caldari hi sec just before I got there, leaving a ton of wrecks behind. Our fleet headed into Gallente space to capture some stuff, while Marlenus came on behind in one of his Cranes to pick up some salvage.

This was my first time ever moving with a fleet or using EVE voice, and I was clearly not the only one. Our commander was calm and clear, but suffering from lack of intel and from our poor coordination. Nonetheless, we cleared some FW objectives (we were light on small ships so I got to clear and capture a Gallente “minor facility” pretty much alone), shot a couple of random pirates who came sniffing too close to the fleet, picked off some out-of-position Gallente scum, and then (eventually) let ourselves get “found” by the OPFOR fleet.

That was my first big fleet battle, and it was chaos, but I did most of the damage on a rifter and helped pop the same “bait newbie” that lured me in earlier in the day (apparently he was working as bait and scout for the main Gallente fleet — no wonder I got pwned!) After that I got blown up again, but escaped in my pod. I’m not sure how the fleet battle ended, because I had to quit shortly thereafter and never got the intel.

All in all, it was a fun experience despite not having much obvious point. I did however salvage all the wrecks I came near, and Marlenus picked up a ton of stuff from the failed excursion out of Tama. In addition to quite a bit of T1 shipgear, we got four expensive pieces of T2 gear and six (!) bits of T2 salvage from player wrecks — more than enough, Mar says, to cover the cost of the ships I lost today.

Fleet combat turns out to be surprisingly fun, even when it’s chaotic and disorganized. I’m not sure I’d want to do it every night, but it was a refreshing change of pace.

Interestingly, there were a lot of pirates and Alliance guys sniffing around our FW operations, but they were for the most part flying smart and staying out of our way. Our guys were pretty trigger-happy, and we popped several neutrals just for making the fleet commander nervous. I really think that if there are militia fleets conducting regular operations in low sec from now on (and I’m pretty sure there will be, with or without rewards), the character of low-sec has just changed dramatically. The pirates won’t be going away, but their risk factor just skyrocketed, which means they’ll have to dial back on their WTFuberPWN shipfits and fly with a lot more humility and care. Result: more opportunity in lowsec for regular folks.

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