Lowlife: Denizens of Lowsec – The SoldierNiden
Introductions now aside, Niden is ready to jump into the first of a series discussing the different careers available to the denizens of lowsec
In last week’s column, I told you about my totalitarian (and hence unquestionable) division of the inhabitants of Faction Warfare lowsec into five types of pilot: soldier, privateer, opportunist, outlaw and farmer. We’re going to delve into that list over the next few weeks and perform an analysis on each to see what makes them tick, what the pros and cons are of espousing such a lifestyle, how they make a living, and how they fight. Perhaps you’ll find one that fits you.
Nowadays, this is arguably the most common dweller you’ll find in lowsec space – thanks to Faction Warfare. Amongst my archetypes of pilots, it is also in the soldier group that we find the most new players. At the end of the PvP tutorial, these young lambs are sent to the slaughter, marching wide-eyed into the meat grinder. Still, the majority that fall into this category are not unspoiled babes fresh out of the academy; many have chosen the life of the Faction Warfare soldier late in their EVE career because they’re looking for a change.
At any rate, FW is a crash course in small gang PvP and produces more hands-on experience than probably any other area of New Eden.
The soldier is a member of one of the empire’s militia and engages war targets exclusively. Their positive, or at least close-to-zero, security status allows them free movement in highsec outside of enemy territory. It also allows raids into enemy highsec, but that is a subject for another day. In case you live under a rock, or are new to internet spaceships, it is important to note that the Gallente are allied to the Minmatar and the Caldari are in cahoots with the Amarr. The war zones are configured as such: Gallente vs Caldari and Minmatar vs Amarr.
Veni, vidi, vici
“Another glorious day in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal is a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation a parade! I love the Corps!”
– Sergeant Apone, “Aliens”
As a soldier you do yourself a great service by joining one of the numerous corporations enlisted in Faction Warfare. Corporations, along with any alliance they may be in, will provide you with fleets, intel on war targets, comms, help with fitting, and hopefully logistics. Most importantly, they will provide you with fleet commanders, and perhaps the means to become one yourself.
Another important aspect of being in a good FW corp is that the leadership will be tied into militia-wide intel and strategies. Most outsiders seem to think that FW soldiers just drone out of stations and mindlessly F1 the first target they see. A lot more goes on behind the scenes, where strategies are discussed and months-long campaigns are set into motion. An active corp with some clout in the militia-level debate allows you to be a part of something greater and affords you insights into what is going on across the war zone.
Show Me The Money
As a grunt in the militia your primary source of income is simple: loyalty points. The LPs will net you shiny hulls and implants, among other things, that can then be sold at your closest trade hub. Logistics in your case is a relatively simple affair, given your close-to-neutral or positive security status. Find a station to trade in your LP for goods and then have them shipped over to the trade hub for sale. Some corps even have LP to ISK services that require minimal work for your part.
LP earnings from running complexes are heavily modulated by your faction’s tier level, however. So when the call comes from on high to upgrade systems, you do it. It will cost you some of the hard earned LPs you’ve scraped together in the current tier, but the returns are easily worth the investment – that is, if your faction manages to make it to the next tier. A higher tier means that the complexes reward more LPs.
Lock ‘n’ load
There are a few things you need to keep in mind as an enlisted pilot engaging war targets exclusively.
Just because you only shoot at war targets doesn’t mean your FC shares your impeccable moral fibre. You may end up in a situation where the fleet engages neutral targets. Very often your involvement in an engagement may mean the difference between victory or defeat, forcing you to choose between your sec status, principles, and orders from your FC. As you get familiar with your faction’s militia, make sure to note which commanders have a penchant for shooting neutrals and which don’t.
“Fix your damn overview!”
– Countless pilots to new recruits
Unless you want to look like a fool, be called an awoxer, get kicked out of fleets, or start civil wars (yes it has happened) – fix your damn overview. Many of the people that are members of your militia are dirty pirates as well as FW pilots (I call them privateers) and unless you arrange your overview properly they will be flashy red to you – let’s just say, that can end in tragedy. The order in your overview settings should be: legit targets, corp / alliance / fleet / militia mates, then pilots with a sec status of below -5. The overview is a bitch, I know. There are plenty of guides though, so don’t be a lazy cunt.
I’m not too proud to admit I have made this very mistake; I had just joined FW and was still in the Federal Defense Union, running my third plex ever in a Wolf, when a flashy red Atron pilot came in. ‘Cocky bastard,’ I thought as I lit him up with 200mm autocannons. He was slow to react (naturally) and it didn’t take long for him to die… Luckily, I didn’t manage to catch his pod. He was not happy and I ended up paying him 15 mil for the damned Atron and the inconvenience on account of my FW noobness.
“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
― Oscar Wilde
Mind your manners! Unlike the real world, where you will be frowned upon for not conforming to unwritten laws, a disregard for etiquette will likely get you shot in Faction Warfare. When entering a FW plex occupied by a friendly in a system where there is no obvious threat, unless specifically asked to stay, it is polite to leave. The reason is that LP rewards get divided amongst all occupants in a plex. So it’s first come, first serve. I’ve personally shot people for not respecting this (after warning them several times – I’m not a total dick).
Thirty Pieces of Silver
Amongst the militias there are plenty of awoxers (an awoxer basically means traitor). Occasionally, entire corps use the guise of militia membership to get the drop on unsuspecting targets. As their reputation grows in a certain area and people learn to avoid or kill them, they move on to greener pastures. Don’t even consider being one unless you know exactly what you are doing; awoxing but a few times runs the risk of your character being set to red throughout the militia, and people tend to leave standings of that sort as they are.
Be mindful of friendlies you have never seen before – you may just be walking into a trap. If you are awoxed, make sure to report it to your corp, alliance or even militia. The faster the intel gets out there, the faster the awoxers will be dealt with, and forced to leave.
The Faction Warfare soldier career choice is the easiest way to get into lowsec fast. Although the lessons are many, the rules are simple and it’s a great way to enjoy fast paced PvP. So what are you waiting for? Go enlist!