Header and inset art by Cryo Huren
Dunk Dinkle, the CEO of Brave, recently held a State of the Alliance (SOTA). He updated Brave members on the alliance’s move into Querious, urged them not to get too frustrated by the losses in Catch and Impass, and exhorted them to avoid reddit drama while getting in fleets rather than waiting for the enemies to “fly into our mouths so we can eat them.”
Dinkle, attired in an emerald green T and festive St. Patrick’s Day jacket, began by toasting a salute to Brave, saying that “The state of Brave is strong and the Beacon provides.” 0:11 [all timer locations will mark the end of the quoted passage]. He continued by saying that “Querious is going unbelievably well. It’s hard to fathom that we have over 40 systems in Querious now under our control.” 0:32
Putting the move into perspective, Dinkle noted that “Many [in Brave] aren’t used to moving. This is the longest Brave has been in one place, in Catch, but in the past we moved often and we packed light.” 1:00
Dinkle then noted, at length, that the current war has caused some problems for Brave: “Let’s talk about Catch and Impass. The truth is we’re losing stuff, and yes it sucks, and I really can’t spin that. 2:09 We’ve been caught over-extended and we are paying the price in this war. You’re seeing that on all sides. People are getting hit, structures are being destroyed, stuff is going uncontested simply because we can’t win those fights sometimes.” 2:25
Rather than bemoaning what cannot be undone or changed, Dinkle told his line members to “focus on getting in our new home and getting into fleets. The thing I’ll ask of you is, don’t go onto social media and start up with the “We didn’t want that anyway,” or “That didn’t matter,” because that’s just not true, right? 3:08 I would have liked a much different transition to Querious than we’re getting right now. But it’s EVE; it’s war. So please don’t go on Reddit and argue with people about things. Arguing on Reddit is like punching water in a swimming pool. It just does nothing. 3:31 Let’s focus on the game; let’s focus on our new home. We still have a lot of work to do in Catch and Impass. There’s things going on there. There’s going to be fleets and timers. I need you to make sure you have combat readiness there. But we need our eyes forward on Querious as our new home; we’re very strong there.” 3:57
Dinkle assured his line members that the Imperium still had the power to fight back, saying, “The Imperium is tricksy and they will probably try some things. As I’ve said over and over, do not underestimate them or be overconfident that the opponent is not gonna fight in this space, as we’re seeing in Catch and Impass. They still have the power to reach out and hurt people.” 4:54
Like he has in recent months, Dinkle then went on to exhort his troops to get in fleets. “I need you to join fleets. This is the number one thing you can do when they are pinged. Numbers are critical. There have been a number of occasions where if we had just had more people, we would have won the fight. 6:35
So, I need you to join fleets. I know sometimes you’d rather just wait for the lone roamer to come through, but these fleets, these strat op fleets, these defense fleets are absolutely key to making an orderly transition into Querious.”
Dinkle wanted his line members to know he shared their frustration and that they were encouraged to talk to others in Brave who might have a broader and longer perspective of tough times: “So, a lot of drama and there is a lot of frustration, which I totally understand and I myself have been frustrated over some of the things that have happened. 8:13 But like I said, we’re out of time machines.”
“So, what I want you to do is remember: it’s a game; it’s supposed to be enjoyable for you and a respite from real life. So, I don’t want you to stress over it. Everything can be rebuilt. Everything can be moved. For those who have been in Brave long enough, we have been through this kind of transition many times. This is one of the more smoother transitions we have had.” 8:36
“But for some of you who have joined us in the last three years, this feels very different and very uncomfortable and I get it; I understand it. You can talk to me. You can talk to other people who have been in Brave about your feelings about this. It’s totally reasonable to be frustrated about this. But you’ll get through it. I don’t want this game to stress you out. I need you to stay healthy; maintain your chill and get that vaccine if you can.” 9:03
After giving shoutout kudos to specific individuals, Dinkle ends by telling Brave members he’s proud of them: “You are doing very well during this long long war. This is a war that will go down in EVE history books and it’s difficult to see and imagine that Brave is stronger in the number of people that we have, in the amount of power we can project, and the kind of improvement in the way we operate. It feels very frustrating right now with the amount of structures we are losing in Catch and Impass and that’s probably going to continue for a little bit, but I believe that in the end we’re going to come out stronger than we were going into this war.” 13:44
What stands out in this SOTA is how similar it is to Dinkle’s last one and the one before that. The structure of the last three Brave SOTA’s has been virtually identical, as if Dinkle is using the same notes each time:
- Praise the line members and say Brave is doing phenomenally well
- Have a shot
- Explain that Brave is not doing phenomenally well and is, in fact, having a hard time because Catch is burning down and there is almost nothing that can be done about it
- Exhort members not to panic or get frustrated, even though it’s frustrating to lose structures
- Explain that it’s ok to get frustrated, because Dinkle is himself frustrated
- Have a girl scout Thin Mint–damn, these are good!
- Condemn social media, especially Reddit, as arguments there are useless and a waste of time because . . .
- Line members MUST get in fleets
- Please get in fleets
- We could have won some fights if we had more people IN FLEETS!
- Praise individual people and then the line members again
- Drink a final toast
As an outsider, I watch the SOTAs and I wonder what Brave line members are doing or not doing, since Dinkle keeps giving the exact same speech. Maybe they are like my composition students. I tell them over and over to put the thesis in the intro, but do they? No! Similarly, Dinkle has spent large portions of the last three SOTAs trying to get people into fleets. More than anything else in the SOTA, these exhortations are the most telling as to the real state of the alliance. Do large numbers and even increasing numbers tell the state of the alliance? Maybe, but possibly not. Brave may be a location for those who want to sit out the rest of the war, because Brave doesn’t require paps. We know that most of their increase in membership, much of which has happened in the last four weeks, has come when other current Legacy members have moved from some very troubled Legacy corp to Brave.
Therefore, the repetition is key; it tells us something that goes beyond the mere words – get in fleets. Yes, Brave stuff is burning, even while they are trying to move, but it’s hard to do two things at once, even if everyone were involved, but when people aren’t involved or following orders, well then, it may well be hopeless.
Perhaps Dinkle is right to be concerned, as we look at the numbers of active participants involved in the war. According to the study done by Normann Tivianne, and published on reddit on March 20, 2021, every alliance involved in the war has had consistent numbers throughout World War Bee, except one: Brave, that has seen falling numbers in participation. Tivianne ends with this conclusion: “Here is only the indication that the PvP activity of Pandemic Horde, TEST and Northern Coalition is rising in the last four weeks, but the pvp activity of Brave does not show an increase.”
I would be remiss not to praise Dinkle on his understanding that the war has been long and, evidently, stressful for some in Brave: “So, what I want you to do is remember: it’s a game; it’s supposed to be enjoyable for you and a respite from real life. So, I don’t want you to stress over it. Everything can be rebuilt. Everything can be moved. For those who have been in Brave long enough, we have been through this kind of transition many times.”
Beyond the war costs, the ISK lost, the structures blown up, the ships destroyed, Dinkle understands that (at least for Brave, perhaps only for Brave) behind the pixels are people who may get so caught up in the events of this war they don’t take care of their physical or mental health. Of course, that advice is easy to give, I suppose, when you are in PAPI that has the three to one advantage, and specifically for Brave folk, who, while Catch burns down, at least have the hope that Querious might be the answer for their current distress. I’m sure Brave leadership, including Dinkle, will excuse the Imperium for not sharing in their joy, but who do look forward to them living right next door.