A couple days ago I had a fun chat with our Euro FC who was wrapping things up for the night and getting ready to log off. We were discussing general Minmatar tactics--what system to take next, what systems the Amarr seemed to be pushing hard during that day, and what kind of coordination we would need between the two time zones. Afterwards, he said excitedly out of the blue, "we actually have to plan a war now, Susan. We've never had to do that before!" I could tell he was having a lot of fun.
One of the hardest challenges in going from a day-to-day pew for the sake of pew lifestyle, to fighting for a goal lifestyle, is that you always need to think beyond the moment. Sure, the battle in the here and now is fun, and good fights are why many of us are here. However, all the good fights now fit into the puzzle of a lot bigger purpose--one we have to take into consideration when we start making choices about where, when, and how we fight.
I've seen a lot of tactics, and trends start to occurr on both the Minmatar and Amarr sides--tactics that most of us would have never even considered using or thinking about before CCP announced their changes for Inferno.
Double Back - One of the most successful tactics I've seen the Amarr us I call the "Double-back." They may not even be doing it on purpose, but it has caused us to lose a number of fights, and is something we are quickly growing more aware of.
In the past, especially big fights usually meant pilots on both sides going their separate ways afterwards to take a break. In most cases, both sides needed time to reship, take a breather, reform and etc.
Instead of doing this lately, the Amarr have occasionally hit us a second time immediately after a major fight--completely taking us unaware. Usually people are idly picking up loot from the last battle, or half the fleet is reshipping or getting ammo--chaos usually ensues, and several of us are picked off before the rest can get out, or get organized.
Systems - Other tactics emerging on both sides are choices as to what systems to take. Before sovereignty had a purpose, what order or choices you made in what systems you took was not really a necessary consideration. Now, it is.
Recently, the Amarr have been pushing hard for Kourmonen --a grave mistake in my opinion that might further cost them space. While taking a central location for the purpose gaining a foothold is a sound tactic, it isn't the 'right' one in this situation for several reasons:
1. Being a central location and critical to the Minmatar, we will fight for it tooth and nail --a lot more then other systems the Amarr would have chosen.
2. We have home court advantage. Many USTZ Minmatar live in Auga, Kourmonen, or Huola, making it one of the easiest 'pipes' for us to defend. Since the Amarr completely moved out, this is actually an advantage they essentially gave us before the war began.
The Amarr would have been better off moving to an out-of-the-way system within the warzone that they already owned, and fortifying --defending surrounding systems and not worrying about the 'primary' Minmatar systems where we were setting up bases.
The Minmatar would have had a harder time taking the system due to not being able to reship as quickly to adjust for different size plexes, any our numbers would be less strong as many people would not be as motivated attacking something so far away.
Then, come Inferno the Amarr would have been in an even better position, having a small group of systems that they could more easily defend --us not being able to dock in them.
Electronics - One of the other tactics I've noticed is the tactical use of electronics within plexes, especially ECM. At one point a couple nights ago, the Amarr had five blackbirds on field. This essentially caused us to concede one of the plexes to them, as there was really no way to get around it that we could ship into before the plex closed.
I think that as pilots begin to see how powerful different types of electronics can be toward an enemy --from ECM, to sensor dampening and tracking disrupting, we're going to see a lot more of it used on both sides.
Straight up DPS brawls are going to quickly become a thing of the past --especially now that fights are taking place in plexes that restrict ship sizes. This is actually to the advantage of the Amarr, as high DPS gank fleets has been a Minmatar signature tactic.
I'm sure that a lot more tactics and trends will emerge as time goes on. There are still a lot more good fights to be had --and a lot of time to see where all of our decisions lead us.
However, in the end, I think that changes to Faction War come Inferno will make better PVPers out of us all.