We went into the New Eden Open for two reasons. Primarily to have fun and enjoy ourselves. And secondly to learn. The first reason is, of course, the heart of being Stay Frosty. We strive to enjoy Eve at every turn. So that one is easy, it just seems to happen no matter what we are doing. The second one is the trick.
I strongly believe that we all learned a lot. About how the tournament system works, about counter-programming the established Meta, and about ourselves and each other. Our experience will serve us well as we move forward toward our ultimate goal, which is to win future tournaments. No secret there. As one of the most active PvP/Pirate corporations in all of New Eden we want to build towards active participation in all tournaments. And to challenge for the title in each one. Why not?
I want to take a moment and give a shout-out to all of the pilots that participated in the NEO.
Oma Lorche - For being one of the most fearless and daring pilots I've ever known, for flying a Cynabal like nobodies business, and for always being so willing to help.
Eoghan Gorthaur - For being the first fully certified Stay Frosty Logistics pilot! (Thanks to Oma for that one.) You are awesome in our book mate.
Angelina Molou - For being so enthusiastic and willing to pitch in, be on comms, and support your teammates.
Watson Crick - An amazing pilot who is always eager to learn and challenge himself in everything he does.
Prda Prda - For always bringing a smile to our faces with your insane enthusiasm. You are the best back-up pilot ever.
Draiv Solregard - For always being honest and challenging our comps for all the right reasons, your advice and wisdom are invaluable.
Bogdan Yassavi - For your help in building our comps, challenging our assumptions and being an all-around awesome guy.
Joffy Aulx-Gao - Joffy is the most awesome because he is so enthusiastic and supportive, and insanely pro Stay Frosty. He keeps us all going to be honest.
John Wildcat - Another rock and a great pilot you was willing to fly just about anything, I'll always remember him as the pilot who would have flown the Immolator to glory!
SKINE DMZ - And last, but never least, Skine. One of our best pilots, always willing to do whatever it takes.
That was our Stay Frosty NEO Team ladies and gents. A scum-sucking group of misfit pirates if ever there was such a thing. Kudos and appreciation to each of you for putting aside your time to help build a crazy team. Thank you.
So what did I learn?
The pressure of performing is extremely high and not something you want to underestimate. Nerves, stress, pressure, all of these are abundant and ever present. But as I kept telling our team, it all boils down to PvP. Something we do every single day, we undock and we fight.
More importantly however, I learned that the Meta is something to ignore. The pressure to conform is extremely strong and powerful. But it is critical to play to your strengths, to ignore the general tide of the meta, and go with what you believe in. It is easy to say this in hindsight, but I feel that I personally and ultimately failed our team in this critical regard. In our three matches we ignored the meta once, and that one was the match we won. When we tried to build a meta comp, and compete on equal terms, we lost both of those matches.
We are not conformist. And trying to be what you are not is a recipe for disaster. When we went for it, when we flew what and how we know to fly, we did very well. I had never flown an Eos or an Astarte in combat before. And many of our team pilots were also flying ships for the first time. Heck, Rixx was never intended to be a boosting alt and I've been furiously training Leadership skills since NOVEMBER just so I could fit links!
This speaks volumes about our core issue in general. The overall age of our corporation and our team is young. Many of the potential comps we could have considered had to be scrapped because we couldn't field the ships or the mods needed. Again, I don't make excuses, this is simply our reality. And nothing but more time is going to fix that. Which it will.
This experience has also reinforced my disdain for blaster based comps in these situations. Don't get me wrong, I love blaster boats. But I have no faith in them for tournament play. Both our losing matches were blaster based. In both matches a more projected, control based comp would have prevailed. The reason we ended up winning the match we did came down to projected damage, taking down ships from range, before major engagements.
These are all valuable lessons that we help us in the future.
Most of all however, reason number one - to have fun! And we succeeded in that goal far above our expectations. I had a blast. And I enjoyed every minute. And I'm already looking forward to next time.
Thanks to everyone who rooted for and supported our team. We are not done and we will be back again. We learned a lot, about how the tournament works and about ourselves and who we are. Those are lessons that will travel with us as we go forward.