One of the reasons I switched corps to Skyforger was that I wanted to see some of what goes on with 0.0 and with large fleet actions. I've got my wish.
Skyforger is part of the Tactical Narcotics Team (ticker TNT) alliance. This is, in turn, part of the Northern Coalition (NC). Some of the other alliances in NC are Mostly Harmless (ticker "-42-", which I love, by the way), and the Tau Ceti Federation (TCF), who are our landlords. Also are Morsus Mihi, Majesta Empire, RAZOR Alliance, Stella Polaris, and Wildly Inappropriate.
According to Evelopedia (linked above),
The Northern Coalition is non-expansionist, as it does not generally seek to capture territory outside the North. It's member alliances operate independently on a day to day basis, coming together only for large conflicts especially in defence of the north.
What we are currently engaged in is exactly that. There have been incursions by Triumvirate (TRI) into Pure Blind. SOV markers dropped, POS's anchored, and so on. We are trying to boot them out.
The political structure seems very loose and weak to me. On top of that we have been under a Call To Arms continuously for the last two weeks, and will continue to be so. This is somewhat exhausting.
The other night I logged in and an a couple of POS-bashing operations were scheduled. Considering that I wanted to see more of this kind of thing, I grabbed one of the Incursus tacklers I'd fitted and came along.
NC fleets accomplished all objectives that night. Two POS's which came out of reinforced mode were destroyed. A Tri fleet that attempted to raid the ROIR-Y
system was repelled in a very protracted fleet battle.
This kind of protracted campaign puts a lot of pressure on members, alliances, and coalitions. A lot of cracks were showing, both for the blues and for the reds.
On the red side, there was a Titan in a POS in Roir that we used to generate a jump bridge for all the non-capital ships in our fleet. However, the Tritan pilot was refusing to hand out the password for the POS force field. Instead he maneuvered the Titan close enough to the edge of the force field to allow ships to approach within the necessary 2000m. Some fleet members were unhappy about this lack of trust, the Titan pilot retorted, and not especially calmly, that he was tired of being bumped, which slows the whole process down by minutes.
During this and other friction points our FC chanted his mantra, "Don't stress, don't stress", and urged us to "help each other, guys". In general, he was good, if a bit irritable himself. Besides his tactical competence, the best other policy was his determination to keep sniping off of Teamspeak. "Don't spam my TS, don't spam my coms!" was a repeated call. And I appreciated it. When there are that many people involved (somewhere between 100 and 200), you need to just shut up and do what you're told, and if you can't do what you're told, find a way around the obstacle.
At another moment, when our fleet was picking up the loot/salvage from the fleet one battle, one pilot called another out for being a greedy salvager/looter. The reply was, "I'm docking up, you emo". Since I had been exploded and was only seeing coms, I'm not sure what happened, but I think shots were fired. We were under instructions to loot all, then dock up and contract stuff to people who had lost ships. I didn't x up as having lost a ship, since my loss, a frigate with no T2 gear, was insignificant, and easily covered by insurance.
The Red side had their fractures as well. But first, the fight itself. We had intel that a fleet of roughly 20 Tri battleships was headed our way, so we formed up at our side of the gate they would use to come into ROIR. And come they did.
FC gave the order "jump to G95 gate at optimal". "Jump to optimal" means pick the range that best suits your firing setup. As the red force hit the opposite side of the gate, the order came "bubble the gate". Then the gate fire came.
At that point there is the delicious suspension of time while the enemy fleet remains cloaked to load the grid, get everyone in, and pick the first targets before they uncloak. And uncloak they did. I just picked a target and tackled it. I lasted for maybe 2 or three minutes, I think a smartbomb was what did me in. But the fight went on for much longer. (I didn't get podded because people were way too busy to target capsules).
I didn't have second ship so I watched fleet chat and listened on teamspeak. At one point our FC got exploded, and passed off target calling to someone else. One fun quote was, "Switch off of X, he's being repped, oh, never mind, he's dead". The battle lasted for perhaps 10 to 15 minutes. Serious action. And I missed most of it.
In the end, we held the field. They were tough though, and killed more ships, I believe. And they sent in a few stealth bombers to try and destroy the loot and cause general mayhem afterwards.
One way to tell that the fight is over is the flood of "gf" (good fight) in local chat. However, just after the first or second "gf" was posted, their presumed commander, SuperTwinky posted in local the words "blue fail". Further chatter revealed that he was disappointed in the performance of allied non-TRI pilots. So the stress is getting to them, too, perhaps more significantly than for NC.
I've heard people say, "Hey, it's just a game, it's just pixels on the screen." Mostly they say that to justify ruining your day by ganking or scamming or whatever. It's clear that the game means a lot to the people who play it. Emotions can run high. In a sense, this is what attracts me. I recognize the importance of keeping your head in battle, but it's not an easy thing to do. It requires practice, mindful practice. Which Eve PvP will provide.
I'd like to be more involved in these actions, and I'd like to feel like I was a bit more useful. Maybe I orbited too closely (I used 500m). Maybe I just got unlucky to pick a target with a smart bomb. When the fight started, tackling was maybe a bit irrelevant, as they had come to fight us. Maybe I should hang back until the enemy maybe actually wants to run away. It's hard to say. But most of all, I need to keep my head.