Refreshing my memory – Returning to EVE Online
It’s been a while hasn’t it capsuleer comrades? About six months ago I published a piece that was essentially me expressing my desire to hop back into the grand space opera that is EVE Online. We ran through some of my earliest experiences in the game going back to 2008 and beyond. How I failed miserably at PvP and nearly every other aspect of the game. I bumbled my way into and out of New Eden several times, before landing in NullSec for the first time in 2014. And that’s where we are picking up this particular story.
When we wrapped last time, I promised to tell you dear reader all “about NullSec politics, personal drama and other space-based nonsense,” well strap in because we’re going there.
The Black Expanse
New Eden is a foreboding place. It’s also this wonderful and horrific microcosm of the human condition that lays bare so much of our insecurity, socio-political tensions, and just generally fascinating characteristics. There’s a reason EVE Online has developed a reputation for having the most intense and competitive meta-game on the internet.
And it’s that meta-game and my fascination with human behavior that has lad to my personal obsession with EVE. The accelerated pace of information, news and opinions in the digital age has led me to realize something, I’m addicted to a constant flow of stimulus and information, and I suspect I’m not alone. Even when consider the dire political and environmental conditions developing across the globe, I cannot look away. I suppose that’s why I find myself looking back at even the more tumultuous parts of this part of my EVE experiences with some element of happiness, rather than boredom or disgust. And even though some of the things I’m about to talk about are absolutely cringe-inducing, I still enjoyed them in some way.
Let’s Get BRAVE
Those of you who followed this blog back when I first began may have noticed some of my early postings about EVE that were more opinion than news. I look back at some of that and just have to wonder, “What the hell are you doing?” Looking back at the drama machine that was that stage of HERO coalition, I’m still confused about it to some degree. At least I have some clarity that the chaos was due to a mixture of narcissism, incompetence and maliciousness. Pretty much like everything else in EVE.
It was that nest of vipers, lost children and hapless leaders that I unknowingly jumped into in 2015 when I joined BNI proper after bouncing around HighSec space doing low-level missions and mining. I had built up a fair reserve of ISK and made the jump into NullSec without regard for coming back to HighSec.
Just to give you some insight into what the game looked like back then, here’s the influence map that showed player-owned sovereignty at that time in NullSec.
This period of NullSec was one of stagnation, then chaos, very much the quiet before the storm for me. The Phoebe changes had dropped shortly before this, causing many NullSec groups like Pandemic Legion to ditch their rental empires and downsize their holdings. The ensuing wars for territory saw a game very much in flux. For HERO, that meant fighting a moving war against Pandemic Legion, whose superior Capital numbers and willingness to use more inventive tactics saw HERO usually a step behind. Anyone who played with HERO during this time saw the over-reliance on Eagle and Ishtar fits, which nearly every group we encountered had developed a strategy for beating. HERO still managed to win some fights, but the status of being on the losing side in many engagements was hard to shake at times.
The constant stream of content for me was punctuated with a bit of PvE and industry experimentation, although I never really got too deep into this side of things as most time was spent being the typical F1 monkey on fleets. I enjoyed this time, but it was draining to say the least, and we’re about to find out why.
If you want a more comprehensive history of BRAVE around this time, their wiki actually has a pretty great list of all the major events. But let’s shift gears into what is probably the most well-known event from this time period.
Coups, Drama and Departure
2015 is arguably the most infamous year Brave Collective ever had. And a big part of that was due to the infamous coups against the leadership of Lychton Kondur. These events happened fairly regularly, and made the alliance rather unstable for both the leadership and outsiders. Of course a lot of the impact prior to the big event I’m about to discuss was overblown. Most line members could have happily ignored the meta-game, until April 2015 when everything exploded.
Late one night that month, a coalition of corporations within the BRAVE alliance used an oft-ignored mechanic to vote Lynchton Kondur and his executor corp out of the role of alliance leader. This kicked off a wave of speculation and panic that culminated in what can only be described as pure bedlam. The lead-up to this event was one characterized by almost constant complaints of “AFK leadership”. In essence, people felt Lychton and certain elements of the upper echelon were hopelessly mired in bureaucracy and procedure rather than leading the alliance, which is still being questioned by some to this day, so take that for what you will.
The resulting removal of leadership, and replacement with what many thought to be a puppet administration, was another chaotic period. But it turns out that decisions by some people behind said coup had damned BRAVE before they even got a chance to bounce back.
An ongoing war with Pandemic Legion had been going poorly, with several important systems to BNI under attack. And it turns out that PL and BNI had a background deal that BRAVE would have been able to keep their space in Catch if they kept fighting. The coup threw those plans into disarray, and BRAVE started bumbling around LowSec for a while.
Eventually a deal with the Imperium saw the remnants of HERO moving into the very dangerous, but lucrative, region of Fountain. You see, Fountain around this time had a very interesting distribution of resources, but one small problem. A core constellation within the region is NPC controlled, meaning anyone can live there. This constellation was home a dedicated PvP group known as Fountain-Core. This group had brokered deals with the Imperium after sustained warfare not to attack strategic assets like R64 moons. No such deal was in place with HERO, so a war was inevitable. And for those of you who have never lived in NPC Null, it’s completely different to SOV Null. The logistical and industrial challenges of these areas make it hard for many players to survive. Fountain-Core had conquered these issues long before HERO showed up, so their experience saw them winning multiple fights.
The situation only got worse from there when Black Legion started showing up. Very much acting like a shark who smelled blood in the water, BL began interfering with HERO operations, kicking off an even more difficult and one-sided war for us. After just a matter of weeks, HERO had been evicted entirely from Fountain.
I found plenty of fights during this time, although the constant losses definitely wore on my patience with BRAVE. What I saw as a sluggish attempt to adapt to changing times, combined with a lot of member dissatisfaction, caused me to drum out of the organization within days of leaving Fountain. I quit playing shortly after that.
The infamous burning of the northern regions of the Imperium, otherwise known as World War Bee, kicked off around the time I returned to EVE after a year-long break because of this conflict. In the bloody aftermath I joined with a corp based out of Branch at the time, although I was rather inactive at this point due to both boredom with NullSec and obligations in real life.
The Season of Skills that’s been going on this last little bit, combined with the incredible NullSec blackout, offered a golden opportunity though, and I’m jumping back in whole hog now. I’m going to be playing a bit more actively over these next few weeks as well, so check back with ISKMogul in a little while for part 3, where you can actually see what I’m up to now.
ISKMogul is a growing video game publication that got its start covering EVE Online, and has since expanded to cover a large number of topics and niches within the purview of gaming.