Low sec faction warfare has a lot of wrinkles any time engagements start. An interesting twist to many fights is that allies in one moment are you foes the next. Amongst faction warfare pilots, you have those who have hit pirate status (pies) and those who either haven’t by choice or those who haven’t simply because it takes some time to drop your sec rating. I joined FW with a shiny 5.0. As I write this, one month in, I stand at 3.8. Yep, I’ve become that evil bastard that shoots the innocent. Sometimes.
Tonight we had a nice little fight that showed how all of these mechanics work. My corp had meeting to discuss various things, and then we decided the proper way to conclude business was a gate camp in Akidagi, on the Ichoriya gate. For those who are unaware, Icho is a HS Caldari system jumping into low, so it gets s moderate amount of consistent traffic from both Militias, neutrals, and pirates. It’s a good place to catch those who are not taking the proper precautions when entering low sec. It’s also a really nice place to catch Caldari Militia loners who don’t bother checking intel.
We sat there for a while, and although we snagged a few kills it was mostly boring. Break was called, we wandered back to Nennemaila, and I emptied my hold. Then, after some slight reshipping, we started to go back. Any time a decent small gang gets together in the Gallente FW scene the process of going somewhere without a set target means a bit of scouting, baiting, and general cat and mouse tomfoolery to try and get a fight or some kills. We saw some cruisers and BCs on the Enaluri-Nenn gate, and tried to catch them. Our initial attempt lead to failure, although I think one or two guys bagged a kill. We had one pilot almost get caught out in a Tornado. I warped to follow, and we both made it through with our paint jobs nicely nicked. A third warped to the gate at 15 out, got a kill and then fell.
Upon returning to Nenn again, we noticed a nice fleet forming up, gave them the enemy composition which included Drake, Drake, Falcon, Tornado, Harbinger, Talos, and assorted cruisers and frigs. Reship again, and the fleet warps to the Enaluri gate, about 25 strong. We land to find a nice chunk of neutrals from Phoenix Co. we don’t know jumping gate into the Caldari. Everyone starts landing, and the neutrals join the Federation. I’ve been playing with an odd long-point rail fit Incursus for fleets, and manage to nab point on the Tornado. But the trade-off between Warp Scramblers and Warp Disruptors ends with the Tornado warping off. The field is slowly clearing of Caldari as we bag the Talos and the Falcon, and sundry other ships.
Let’s take a moment to reconsider the various people who fly in low sec. Due to the way aggression and security status mechanics work, some pilots are always free targets, and it is very easy to become a target as fights progress. This means your neutral allies might realize that the previously untouchable pilots in your fleet are suddenly ripe for the picking. It also means a savvy group can ignore one side of a conflict, only to turn on their erstwhile allies once a common foe is cleared from the field. Many of my corpmates left behind the safety of non-pirate status long ago, and our “friends” from Phoenix Co. took the this opportunity to try to score a few more kills.
I’m not sure how many Phoenix Co. pilots started in the engagement, but we took down three once the second phase of the fight started. Due to superior numbers and quick responses, we held the field. The results of the battle are a mess. But based on that report, we held the field with 16 kills and no losses. That might not be completely accurate, but I’ll take it. My hold held the remnants of a Harbinger, and I picked up a flight or two of spare drones left on the field.
All in all, a fun little fight. Just remember that in low sec, you always need to be aware of how engagements can shift as a fight progresses.