Monday, December 4, 2017

Salute to a Pioneer

Although I am currenly inactive as a capsuleer in New Eden, there are some names that I cannot forget. These names come from many sides, mainly from Anti-Gankers, Gankers and a few Lowsec assassins.
My favorite EvE players are those that not only draw outside the lines, but manipulate game mechanics in such a way that results in one or more of the following occurring in their victims interactees: Surprise, Shock, Anger, Tears, Financial Loss, Knowledge Gain.
          -Feyd Rautha Harkonnen 

As we are approaching his 5th birthday, this post will be about an architect of emergent gameplay. A memorable Anti-Ganking figure who perfectly fits Feyd's description above.

An inspiring Biography indeed, but when I want to learn more about an EVE player, one of the first things I want to know is what his enemies have to say about this player. So let's start by reading what 
gankers have said about him:

"my personal nemesis is The Saint Tsaro. That dude gets inside my head and counters my counter moves."
        -Bing Bangboom

"I never see him any more, but a guy called The Saint Tsero used to cause us some trouble in his Falcon. He was amazingly good at figuring out which miner we were going to gank even when using cloaky warpins. There were a couple of others, but since he was always around when they were, I assume they were his alts, but could be wrong. But if The Saint was around, ganking miners was going to be a lot tougher. 

I think his secret was that he was just as dedicated as we are. He wasn't thinking about the isk/hr he was losing by sitting in his Falcon for hours. He didn't start watching youtube videos just because there wasn't any action for 10min. And above all, I think he did it because it was fun, not because he was really interested in helping miners."
       -Malcolm Shinhwa

"Praise for The Saint Tsero" 
         -Jebediah Phoenix

"I remember some months ago, having to haul ass and get an Orca gank off real quick because The Saint was 10 jumps out and closing. That guy was awesome."
       -Winchester Steele

"I have had to also deal with capable White Knights like Jennifer En Marland, Soonja Giriea and, the most difficult for me, the Saint Tsero"

Bing Bangboom

On December 17th 2012,
The Saint Tsero was born as part of the Caldari state. He quickly realized that some player-driven opposition could be organized against the gankers. He has taken the game tools and created a philosophy for his actions: The Three M's - Miners Must Mine. 

He would
use the ECM tool to prevent the ganks. The idea was to jam the ganker before CONCORD arrives. Then a difficulty of miner-protection gameplay appeared: he had to find possible gank targets and be there before gankers arrive.

As a player who has done it for years, I can assure you that it is not easy.
Imagine: you enter the system with the intention of saving miners. There are known cloaky gank-scouts in Local and D-Scan shows multiple Retrievers and Hulks in different corners of the system. Gankers will be in system within minutes and you have to figure out which miner will be targeted by them. I am not saying that protecting miners is rocket science, but in many cases, it requires situational awareness, concentration, reactivity, patience, good timing and of course some luck. As Malcolm said, The Saint was amazingly good at it.

For many gankers, Faction police is actually a bigger nuisance than CONCORD. The NPCs of Faction Police follows them around all the time which results in a constant anxiety of minor level. But The Saint’s activity took it to a much higher level that cannot be achieved by the NPC Police of the game:

    "the ability to stay cloaked can make it an unseen threat, that affects gankers at a psychological level."

-The Saint Tsero, April 10th 2013

His Griffin fit often included a cloak that brought an element of constant uncertainty and a moment of surprise to any ganker in his area. A gank scout would spot a lonely Hulk sitting at some random secluded belt, but the Catalysts would see multiple Griffins decloaking as they landed. This is emergent Highsec content at its finest. Needless to say, this resulted in fun interactions so many times, like in these distant memories from Piekura.

Another reason for the use of cloak was probably to make sure that he creates that moment of interaction with the gankers. An intelligent ganker will not try to gank a barge if he sees two Griffins orbiting it. By making his Griffin invisible, the sudden, adrenaline-filled moment of encounter between the Triangle of Content was almost guaranteed to happen. (Some veteran gankers used to leave the system completely upon seeing him in Local, which is why I said "almost")

Having chosen an agile and humble ship like the Griffin, the Saint quickly became one of the most active Anti-Ganking figures during the 2013 Caldari Ice Interdiction. His efforts, combined with other Anti-Gankers, were forcing the ganker squads to adapt, change or fully cancel their operations. One great example was Goon gank fleets who started bringing suicide Griffins to counter the ECM of The Saint and his friends to prevent them from jamming the Catalysts. In other cases, the gankers were seen bringing double, even triple-ECCM Brutixes.

"they ganked his 2m griffin with a 15m Catalyst"
          -The Saint Tsero, April 4th 2013 

The Saint and his team used to cause so much trouble to some gankers that a few criminals switched their target from miners to the cheap but effective Griffins. 
"We have had a number of successes with Griffin/kitsune most notably saving this Orca in Outuni from a gank of 12." 
          -The Saint Tsero, April 4th 2013 

In addition to mining barge gank attempts, the larger scale Orca ganks were being stopped as well. It is also believed that a dedicated Anti-ganking channel was created by himself prior to the Interdiction, which made the communication easier.

The Saint suddenly stopped playing on October 2013. Who knows, maybe he was an alt of some Lowsec dweller or he was just a casual player who just happened to discover and master this particular game style. There were certainly other players interested and engaged in the counter-ganking gameplay in the early days of 2012 and 2013, but it is safe to say that The Saint was probably the first player to effectively and actively use ECM to stop ganks daily. (He wasn't the stupid kind of player who posted Catalyst killmails where he whored on without saving the miner) Personally, The Saint's and his friends' gameplay made me say  "Stopping ganks is indeed possible, fun and it contributes to emergent gameplay, therefore to Highsec."
"What does it take to be a champion? Desire, dedication, determination, concentration and the will to win."

-Patty Berg
o7 to you.


Two recent videos are now added to the Media page:

AG saves another freighter / Grand Design

Saving Haulers / High Sec Militia Thomas en Chasteaux

Two perfect examples of successful actions showing how tricky it can get to stop a gank: patience and situational awareness followed by effective actions and very precise timing.

At the top of the Media page, what I call the Highsec Rocket was added as well. It's something that I suddenly wanted to create just for fun. It represents every single thing that has affected & contributed to my Anti-Ganking gameplay for years: the names that made Highsec better and funnier, the stories that made us laugh, the concepts that made me learn and enjoy the game. Of course, it will be updated if I remember other relevant things!

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