Monday, June 24, 2013

The Bitter Taste of Success...

~or, Noob to Bittervet in 2 and 1/2 Years...

I have never understood what people like Ripard Teg meant when they used the term, Bittervet. Ripard even has it in his Bio at the top of his blog, Jester's Trek;

“I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about five years. One of my three mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure. ;-)”

I have read about bittervets. The term comes up with older players occasionally and there are many references to players who have come and gone and then come back to EvE, and the ‘leaving’ times are mostly attributed to bittervettedness… but I simply never understood what they were talking about… until recently, and last night and this morning’s blog readings have sorta gelled in my mind to where I feel I may have caught the Bittervet disease, or at least a bittervet headcold. And I now think what ‘bittervet’ means is, the Thrill in PvP is gone. I used to HATE/LOVE/FEAR/WANT PvP.

I hated and feared  it because I sukked at it and lost ships I could ill afford to lose… because I got yelled at by corpmates and Allies when I got lossmails on our killboards… because I would get all confused and mentally overamped… I would get the shakes so bad I couldn’t use the mouse… and I was… afraid. I was afraid of pissing off my corpmates and Allies, I was afraid of losing a ship that would take me weeks, or months to make the ISK back for… but most of all I felt ‘fear’ during the fight. Real gut wrenching fear… in a game.

But I also loved and wanted it badly because the few times I had been on the winning side were such an incredible adrenaline filled RUSH! There was nothing that felt like winning at PvP in EvE pure and simple.

But, because I did suck at PvP I avoided it when possible and I often just caved to it when I couldn’t. There were, a few fights, that first year… when I actually took my hands off the keyboard and mouse before it was over and just let it all go… because I knew I was dead, I knew I couldn’t win, I sucked too bad and did not know how to effectively fight back and “he” (whoever) was soo effin good, orbiting me and scramming, webbing, neuting me and tearing my defenses off like tissue paper… and all the while laughing in local… at me. I’d never be that good. I’d never learn how to keep it together and not lose my shit and actually somehow ‘think’ of all the things you are supposed to think about while in a fight.

Then I got past the hump… a little. I joined RvB as Tur for a while and I have had an alt in there for over a year. That was where I learned how to get a grip on the shakes. I was flying cheap T1 frigs and Tur could afford, every now and again, to shove a few mil ISK to Hiril’s wallet and buy 10 or 20 pre-fit Rifters on ‘tract from Blue Rep. So the losses were not hard on me and being in fleet and one of 20 or 30 frigs, well, you were guaranteed not to be ‘primary’ every time, or even a lot… simply too many lemmings on the beach… so you could get in on kills and start to learn how to fly your ship in a fight. If you are not even targeted and yet flying and targeting and pointing and webbing and firing on ships… many many ships… you eventually learn how to think in the heat of battle.

And when you do get targeted and start taking heat, as you are in control of yourself already and the loss of one T1 fit Rifter (when you have 9 more sitting ready to go 2, 3 hops away) is nothing to you, then you learn how to respond with your head, not your adrenal glands, and even if you die (and once primaried in an RvB Frig Fest you usually do) the experience is not overwhelming. You find yourself planning on which gate to warp to when your ship pops… because that gate leads back to your station and mebbe, if you burn hard, you can reship and rejoin the fight before it is over.

So losing Rifters was not the ISK belly blow that losing my Loki was when we brought Mab into the hole that first time. Oh I was the one who decided to Leroy in, I dint have to. But, once again I just went in straight for the hostile, no thinking, no tactics, no working out what he was flying and its capabilities as compared to my Loki’s… I just went straight in and died. I still didn’t KNOW how to PvP and it was months before I was back in a Loki again.

But, I had learned that I could keep my self control and I had learned how to ‘think’, at least a little, during a fight. But as a corp, we still weren’t really a PvP ‘centered’ corp. We did live in Anoikis, and we did get PvP… but we focused more on running sites and making ISK and skilling up and keeping the POS going… than actively seeking out PvP. We sorta just let it come to us… and when you do that, you are always on the defensive and always at a disadvantage. When you let the PvP come to you they have scouted you and know your ships and fits and your online times and playstyle… and you know NOTHING about them… until they uncloak or warp in, and by then, it is hours or days wayyy too late… like when SYJ camped us.

And being actively, effectively and quite professionally camped by SYJ was why we asked to join them. We knew we had to be on the side that brings the fight, not the side that gets ambushed. And so we joined SYJ and it has been the (second) BEST thing that has ever happened to Tur, or HBHI (First was creating HBHI with my sons).

Now I am one of the reasons Anoikis is “deadly space”… I am one of ‘them’, the Orange (neut) then Flashing RED (killing you) icons streaming into the middle of your Sites Running Fleet and orbiting, scramming, webbing, neuting you and tearing your defenses off like tissue paper… I no longer get the shakes, ever. I no longer worry about losing ships, any ships… I have many. I have several of each type I regularly fly already fitted and in not just our POS but a full set in Empire too. Losing a Faction fitted Loki is now just a logistics issue of when can I bring in one from Empire and as for replacing the hull… I have that already in the wallet, or I will in a day or two at most.

I can’t remember the last time my hands shook during PvP… I have lost my fear… and in doing so, I have lost the Thrill. Yes, it is still ‘fun’… but the difference between Thrilling and just fun is really huge. I don’t like that difference… and I am somewhat, bitter, about it… and I guess, at two and a half years ingame, I can lay claim to the title Veteran… so, am I too, now a bittervet?

SYJ is a damn good PvP Alliance. We are a successful Anoikis Merc Alliance and in my time, limited though it is, we have yet to default or bail on a contract, and as Mal, said, “I do the job, then I get paid.” and we do. But this has meant, I feel, that our reputation may precede us a bit. It did for HBHI when SYJ camped us in our old C3. When we saw who we were up against, we made the decision to ransom, instead of fight, due to SYJ’s killboard and reputation.

So now I am a salted PvPer. When anything ‘happens’ I ship up asking what to bring, I am getting a rep for hero tackle, Hvy. and Lt. ‘Dictors… Devoters, Sabres, and tackle Loki’s, and I fleet up with some excitement, the hope of PvP, but, it is not like it used to be… I used to fear losing ships I could not afford… no longer, I used to fear getting killed and PODed… no longer, I used to fear being embarrassed, no longer… my only fear now is that they won’t be ‘there’ or they will be smart and have a cloaky scout and they will POS up or run or log off when he calls out…

“Ships landing on the hole!”
“Loki, Loki, Loki, Devoter, Tengu, Tengu, Sabre, Oracle times 4, Guardian times 5…”
“Surely You’re Joking Alliance.”
“Warp to POS, warp to POS.”

Of course, anytime a ‘Fleet’ lands on your hole, it doesn’t have to be SYJ to get that response… But there are them as know us… and seeing one of us in local or on grid is enough to get the same response…. because they know the other 15 or so ships are out there… somewhere.

I miss the hand-shaking-rush and the pit-of-your-stomach-fear… I miss playing my game our way only, even if that meant we got hot dropped occasionally. Instead now I often, not always, but often… (mebbe just a little too often for my taste…) find myself sitting on Mumble, listening as my Alliance mates shoot the shit or play DotA.

So I sit and listen, being a good little soldier, all safed up or docked up or cloaked up or even logged off … waiting… waiting… waiting… for that moment of opportunity when the ‘targets’ are open to attack. When our chances of winning are optimal and our appearance in local or on grid won’t end with them all slipping out of our grasp and leaving us with… the bitter taste of our success.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


  1. Hmmm... Just a thought: Start flying smaller fleet, less logi and bring some 'friendly' ewar instead if you like, like tracking disruptors or sensor damps. You can have 2 fleets instead of 1 out. Rebuild the rep you have so that the 'stain' or what you want to call it (scout in local->dock up) will get removed and you will potentially find more fights.

    Just a thought :)


  2. This post was kinda just an exploration of the downsides and the differences from our days as lone corp, then in an Alliance that failscaded to now finally being part of a strong, healthy and proactive Alliance that plays the game we have always wanted to play... Anoikis Mercs.

    When HBHI, "Hiigaran Bounty Hunters Inc." was formed the 'Bounty' stood for L3 & L4 mission and rat bounties... but our dream was always this... getting PAID to kill players... and collecting REAL bounties... which we do now every day. =]

    This post was prompted by a number of recent Ops which involved a helluva lotta hard work on the part of our Alliance Leadership team, FC's and scouts. Those guys do a tremendous job of checking out, planning and prepping for Merc Ops we are offered. Our part, as the 'line troops' is often the military standard hurry-up-and-wait and the inevitable, and time honored, Soldiers Right to piss and moan about it.

    I have, since joining SYJ, for the first time played my game by shipping up, warping many hops to a staging system and being ordered to log off... (wait WHAT!?!?) then logging back in on cue minutes or hours later, warping to the Target hole, "jump jump", "warp to xxx", "LogOFF" (WTF!?!?!)... and not logging back in until the next day... late the next day. While I understood it, the tactic, reasoning and advantage it gave us, it did not sit well with me. But, needless to say when we did logon surprise was on our side and we mauled the Targets and it was damned lucrative to boot.

    I was to told "Just log on an Alt and do something else, or play DotA Tur." Many in the Alliance now play DotA together and remain on COMMS while doing so which can also be frustrating when you hear someone say "He's coming around, GET HIM!! GET HIM!!" and you get all excited and ask where the Pew Pew is and... it’s not even in EvE.

    And, my choice granted but, I don't play other games, this game is THE ONLY game I play and I only have one account, period. So to 'play EvE' by 'not playing' was an not-so-pleasant eye opener for me. And I don't really play the 'alt' game either. Yes, I have my 2 alts, one is used for (mumble mumble) and the other 'was' in RvB but... as I now get all the PvP I want in SYJ as Tur, I found I was not 'using' her at all. So she is currently being, re-tasked to do (mumble mumble)... and neither of my alts 'activities' are ones I can do for 'casual' fun...

    That plus the many nights of shipping up and traveling hundreds of light years just to spend hours at a safe or a planet in a system 1 to 2 hops out, aligned to a gate just to watch the fleet string out fastest to slowest over several hundred KM... bored out of my mind but knowing it 'can' be worth it, 'if' all goes as planned, which it 'rarely' does... =]

    As we are a part of SYJ, these are part and parcel of some of the things we have to do for the payoff of logging on in inside a hole that the owners believe is totally safe as they have rolled their holes and not popped the new static... and then;

    "CRAP, lotsa ships!"
    "DAMN it's a fleet, they are landing on us!"
    "We're bubbled and under attack!"

    Surely You're Joking... =]

    As for our, SYJ's, 'reputation' (not a 'stain' by any stretch) it is exactly why we are in SYJ... and it may have its down sides, all things in life real or virtual do, but the upsides are so much better than not having that rep. =]

  3. The only difference is that you have gained confidence and now know what you are doing/up against instead of every situation being a 'hope hope hope'. I rarely get the shakes in fleet when its not one of those 'we may not make it out' situations. Even when I am being launched into a situation I may die I'm to busy thinking and making decisions to do what needs to be done.

  4. Agreed... and yet... I miss the shakes. I miss the incredible stress and adrenaline high that combat was when I was but a nubbins... I am more seasoned now and far better at PvP than ever before, but like IRL, gaining competency in anything also brings a certain boredom... it loses the thrill...

    However, and I don't know if you know this but, SYJ is going to be in Alliance Tournament XI and I am enjoying greatly our practice sessions over on Duality (even when they degenerate into us all undocking in tragically bad fits, such as my All Gank No Tank Macharial LOL!)... and really looking forward to the day we warp in to our first fight... I am sure win or lose that will be a memory as sweet as my first PvP win in EvE so long ago... =]


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