Combat Philosophy: Gallentean Valour

Late last year I wrote an article on this blog covering the governing philosophy of the Amarr and their warships. I really enjoyed writing it (and for whatever reason, it remains one of the most viewed articles I've posted), as it provides basic principles that I wish I'd understood when I was starting out and identifying the particular strengths of a specific race.

The Combat Philosophy of the Gallentean race

The Gallenteans are the Western market liberals of New Eden. Seriously, reading through their introductory description, this is basically some kind of distorted notion of capitalism and multiculturalism in action together (as a Canadian in real life, I hear this verbatim a lot in domestic politics). I would hestitate to refer to the Gallente Federation as a true democracy, it is a liberal democratic capitalist state, which means that personal autonomy is promoted, but political participation is limited in order that those in power may still filthy rich and no serious challenge to the dominant ideology of the Federation is forthcoming, which probably goes a long way to explain why the Caldari, an illiberal, collectivist group, felt the impulse to secede. To be Gallente is to revel in the ostentatious, the heroic, and generally being ingenious, flexible and resourceful. Some would also include foolhardy in that list. In short, being space cowboys. Their basic motivation is to spread the fire of freedom to the autocratic, nasty places of Eve. A Gallentean genuinely believes he is just a little bit better than everyone else because he/she lives in the most wonderful empire in the cluster, and wants to share their freedom, and Quafe, with everyone else, either diplomatically or with the barrel of a neutron blaster. The fundamentals for the Gallente are thus:

1) Personal autonomy and glory are paramount. It is through the ingenuity and heroism of individuals that victory is acheived.

2) The Gallente will use their flexibility, cunning, and genius to overcome their enemies, as well as by having tough, well-built ships that use the best of Gallentean technology

These are the basic principles that guide Gallentean starship design and combat essentials. The 'cowboy' tendency of the Gallente has tended to lend itself a balls-deep approach to warfare. This manifests itself in a large part of the ship lineup having a do-or-die combat style, epitomised by the wonderous blaster turret. Blasters have, unequivocally, the highest damage output of any weapon system in New Eden, surpassing lasers, projectiles, missiles, and railguns in sheer firepower. This, however, does not come without costs. First, as is the nature of hybrid weapons, they are limited to a varying split between Thermal and Kinetic damage (although, in practice, one or both of these are usually reasonably effective against most targets, Thermal vs. shields, Kinetic vs. armour). The second, is that blasters have an effective range of "up-in-your-face." Although usually some range is possible with most turret setups, pulling range is rarely ever a priority. In a Gallente gunboat, you want to get in as close as possible (blasters have superior tracking, giving them the capability to fight at zero with minimal consideration for angular velocity) and melt the face of your enemy. However, at that close range, there isn't really an option for disengaging, so when you do go in, one way or another, someone's going to die. This also leads a rather popular misconception that some Gallente ships are terrible (Brutix, Deimos, Hyperion). This simply isn't true, it's just that because of their fighting style; if you misjudge the strength of your opponent, you are unlikely to survive such an error. Futhermore, because you tend to be the highest dps ship on field and you're likely to be within the optimals of the enemy, you're more than likely going to be called primary.

Another factor that plays into the individualistic streak of the Gallente, is that, for the most part, and with obvious exceptions, the Gallente ship lineup is not very fleet-oriented. This is demonstrated by the use of active armour tanks (and in fleet setups buffered tanks are usually prefered), heavy drone use (again unwieldy in many fleet situation barring capital fleets), and usually an even balance between tank and gank, rather than the tendency of Caldari or Amarr ships to lean more heavily one way or the other. All these traits however, can generally stand you in good stead in solo and small gang combat situations, where the aggregate dps of your enemy is relatively low, and possibilities for support ships are more limited. An excellent example of this, in fact, can found in one particular Gallente support ship, the Oneiros. It is based on the principle of providing reps without the benefit of cap chains (which would be highly recommended if you were using Guardians), and thus acts as a soloist, limiting its capabilities in larger fleets. I would generally recommend Gallente ships for solo or small gang PvP, but would probably elect for something else for fleet combat, although this does not mean that the Gallente cannot be effective fleet ships. On the contrary, in large pitched battles, having a Thanatos, with its obscene dps output, remains a mainstay of capital fleets throughout the star cluster, but that, by and large, most Gallente ships are superior solo/small gang performers.

In conclusion, what is Gallentean combat philosophy? It is the confidence that you are the burning light of freedom and happiness for New Eden, and will pwn your enemies with your unsurpassed firepower and adaptability. You are a space cowboy, and the bandits are scum that you wipe off your windshield as you cruise through. For you, when you arrive on the field, someone is going to die, and if its not them, you will make them hurt before you take them down. Your heroism and testicular fortitude will overcome your foes, and you will be the most ostentatious mofo this universe has ever seen.

Signing off,



Life away from New Eden

My vacation from Eve has dragged on longer than I expected.

It's not that I have become disinterested with the game, I actually still check other people's blogs from time to time and check the latest patch notes. Part of me imagines eventually returning.

 Oddly though, I may not return as Edna. While I realise this will cue comments from the peanut gallery pointing out the loss of all the time, work and SP that I've put in going to waste because of my vanity, and they do have a point. Edna represents the culmination of nearly two years of play, and in light of that, to start anew does seem really silly. However, playing Eve for me was never, at a fundamental level, a matter of skills and ships, but of the shaping of a personality, a being in the world of cyberspace. Edna is, representatively, a copy of my own personality in real life, as is the case most of the time when forming virtual identities. Edna isn't me, but a reconstituted conception of how I wished to represent myself in playing the game. Edna has a personality, ideas and attitudes, that are at once my own, but also Edna is in a sense autonomous from myself in that she is different from me and is unique.

However, in considering a return to Eve, I feel like the virtual identity that I built around Edna is no longer one that I identify with. Things have changed for me in real life that fundamentally change the way I would choose to represent myself online. One way I know this is through a game that I have been playing a lot of lately, Planetside 2. PS2 is great, not least because it's the first time I have been able to play a first-person shooter that runs smoothly on my somewhat meagre rig. For any interested in finding me, my primary alias is GreenTitan - playing as the Vanu Sovereignty on Helios server. However, GreenTitan, another virtual identity I have made, is ostensibly not of the same kind of personality as Edna Ironsides. I talk less on comms, I take a more responsible, leadership role when I'm out in field with others, and I downplay my subtle love for trolling, as well as my excitability in large combat situations. However, I am far more vindictive, exacting, and cautious. I also find myself more concerned with in-game logistics rather than the full frontal combat that was emphasised as Edna. PS2 has actually made me more carefully consider how I interact with others online, not least because PS2 mechanics demand more cooperation among players than Eve Online - it virtually punishes you for playing alone.

I feel that now, if I were to return to the world of New Eden, I will need a new persona to represent the new way in which I choose to produce and reproduce my virtual identity in-game, and the associations I want to build with other players. Sure, I will be set back tens of millions of SP, but in the end, it is more important to have a virtual identity that I can invest in than it is to have T2 autocannons.