On November 23 2023, P I R A T alliance declared war against University Holdings. UH is part of KarmaFleet University, KarmaFleet’s high sec corporation.
This article covers the five-day-war between the two as we are joined by Broodin, the Dean of KarmaFleet University. He offers us some insights from KFU’s perspective on the conflict and what it means to be a corporation focused on education within New Eden.
Who is P I R A T?
P I R A T are operating out of the relative safety of high security space and the CONCORD police umbrella. They count around 100 members across 8 corporations. They have been around since 2011 and have participated in over 29,000 finished wars, with 255 so far this year. Their modus operandi seems to be targeting corporations with easy to reach assets, attack them and hope they are inactive or afk so they can score some easy loot.
The problem this time around? Their target wasn’t asleep.
Friday, November 24 the second day after war was declared: A goes out to all members of the Imperium. A fleet is forming at 1DQ1-A. It reads: to “[…] help the new bros in KFU who were attacked this week”. In less than five minutes over 100 Imperium capsuleers joined. They undocked ten minutes later.
Even though I had tried my hand at EVE a few times over the last decade, I never really got into it until recently. At the time of undocking with this fleet I have been a member of KarmaFleet for a grand total of 15 days. This would be my first real outing in a mission to leave friendly space with the goal of kicking someone’s teeth in. Naturally, I was kind of nervous and didn’t fully understand what was going on. Flying a doctrine ship? No chance with my skills. All I heard was some people talking about range scripts and shooting structures. So I jumped into the best structure bashing ship available to me: My trusty Slasher.
The fleet burned at high speed through the systems along its route, taking gates and bridges as they were called out. When we anchored at a friendly structure a few jumps out from our final target system, I had a moment to check the galaxy map and was taken aback: We just rounded almost half the galaxy in our mad dash for revenge. While we were on our way, our fleet commander gave us a rundown of what happened: Some guys decided to attack KFU, damaging their space stations and disrupting the day-to-day operations of the organization.
One of the first pieces of advice any veteran in EVE gives to a new player is probably ‘Don’t undock what you can’t afford to lose!’. That is easier said than done for someone new to the game. They do not have deep pockets full of spacecash and they have very limited ways to generate money. This is why new player corps like KFU are so important: They teach a new generation of players the ropes of the game in the (pretty) safe environment of high sec. They are mostly disconnected from their parent alliances, so new players will not get dragged into the wars of the big boys. Once a member of such a corp has found their footing in the game, they are free to stay, switch to a corporation of the parent alliance or move on. Many players, no matter what they do in the game, share the idea of ‘leave the new players in peace until they are ready to fight’. Needless to say, the big bees are not happy when someone tries to bully those who could eventually turn into little bees. And P I R A T did exactly that. In short, quoting someone in voice chat recapping the FC: “They fucked around and they are about to find out.”
Interview with Broodin
I am joined by Broodin, the Dean of KarmaFleet University, who has graciously agreed to give us some more insight into the war from KFU’s perspective.
INN: What damages have been done to KFU assets in this war?
Broodin: University holdings had 7 structures reinforced by P I R A T and none of them have reached their final timer.
INN: Did the war have any impact on your members living in high sec?
Broodin: The war had little impact on the new players as individuals are deliberately insulated from the effects of highsec wars through holding the structures outside of the main corporation.
INN: What was KFU’s response to the war declaration?
Broodin: The response of the corp as a whole was one of uneasy confidence. There are a lot of unknowns with any wardec but the faculty kept everyone calm and organized. The stockpiles of combat ships and resources which are held in reserve of normal operations were almost untouched due to the decisive blow dealt by the Imperium. Work is underway to restock the resources that were utilized.
INN: When the fleet that finished off the War HQ reached it yesterday the structure was already damaged. Can you give us details on any prior retaliatory attacks?
Broodin: The initial reinforcement of the P I R A T War HQ was done by KarmaFleets 1st Division pilots mere hours after Goonswarm Federation joined in the defensive war. KFU itself, due to the nature of its operations as a teaching organization, is not suited for direct conflict. While capable, the University was not a part of the war mechanics and did not have the ability to reinforce the structure without CONCORD intervention.
INN: Do you have any general thoughts on the role and importance of new player corps like KFU for the game?
Broodin: KFU provides various benefits to the community as a whole:
Reduction of turnover – The open nature of KFU means that new players and returning old players are pulled into a strongly led and moderated EVE community. I would estimate that about half of the newest players that join KFU and actively engage with the community remain in the game after 30 days. If this is anywhere close, this evaluation would blow the overall estimates of EVE retention out of the water as compared to CCPs most recent (long time ago) statistics.
Development – There have been a large number of pilots who have joined KFU as high sec miners, only to join the PvP fleets and classes and decide that they want to be ruthless killers or at least carebears with teeth. Given the PVP nature of EVE, this evolution is very necessary.
Confidence – KFU offers new and old players a chance to catch their bearings after a loss or losing their previous group. It is common to find members who have recently left a corp after a bad experience turn to a recognizable name for support. Having a solid reputation helps to build players’ motivation to move into low, null, or wormhole life.
INN: What do you think of attacks on new player corporations?
Broodin: High sec war is a necessary thing for the game. The ability for players to police the bloat of structures that occurs naturally as corps grow and develop is necessary for the servers to not get overloaded by citadels as happened just after their release. Mechanics like wardecs are unpopular to most, but they represent the same general function as high sec ganking, it balances an equation. Creating a risk/reward question is a very purposeful way to keep everyone from using citadels as giant floating mobile depots just as it creates a balance and choice of fits on mining barges. This doesn’t mean it’s any more fun to be on the receiving end of said wardec or gank, but this is EVE and risk is a part of the game.
For an educational group, war presents a number of challenges beyond the scope of a standard corporation or alliance.
Most of the organizations in EVE, partly because of KFUs’ continued work in focusing on growth and development of all types of playstyles along with a neutral stance toward other organizations, are generally accepting of KFU as part of the community. We have had many, many handshakes and warm greetings IRL at meets from members of most major blocs and groups because of the way we carry ourselves and what we teach and represent. While this is never an exception from hunting, as we are neutral to almost everyone in the game (including the Imperium) we often find ourselves greeted warmly when we run into null on a roam in addition to being hunted. This is nice because it lets us explain mechanics like bubbles or safety settings even in the midst of combat.
Primarily, as we build new and returning players into confident and proficient pilots, they tend to join larger, more established groups that live in null sec, low sec or wormholes. Regardless of where these pilots go, (as, despite pre-conceptions, we don’t promote any group directly) they generally leave us, sometimes dropping in alts as a social butterfly but taking their main pilot(s) and going deeper into the more profitable and adventurous parts of the game. This leaves KFU itself vulnerable, with a reliance on a larger organization to intervene in the event of large conflicts. Thankfully for the new and returning pilots who make up the bulk of KFU, KarmaFleet and Ascendance, along with many in the Goonswarm Federation and the Imperium have been quick to lend diplomatic and military aid when it has been needed most. While attacking groups like KFU is natural, being a resident of high sec and holding a star system as home, it is definitely disruptive and frustrating to operations due to the added pressures on the staff. We are perpetually grateful for the aid that is given so generously by the Imperium and the goodwill of many others. Attacking KFU or any other educational group may have a profit margin, but I ask you to balance that with the content being generated in the form of new players, potential friends or targets, being grown in these groups. We continue our work, let us work.
INN: Thank you very much for giving us this insight into a corporation focused on education within EVE. Keep up the good work!
What happens when you mess with the little ones?
We are on our last few jumps into high sec, aiming for the enemy War HQ. Neutrals in low sec scramble as we enter their systems. The mood in voice chat is getting better the closer we get to our target. We lost a couple of members to Gallente NPC military forces and CONCORD when we finally reached high sec. I guess they were a bit naughty towards the Federation in the past and did not check their standings, but it did not slow us down. We are told to switch the safety settings in our NeoComs to yellow. I may or may not have excitedly said “Yellow alert!” to myself while doing so. We will never know.
Finally, we reach our target. Local chat almost immediately descends into chaos. Creative copypasta propaganda slogans and taunts are posted along with links to funny memes and gifs. More blues not part of our fleet enter the system: KFU members and other allies. As the system is getting more and more crowded, messages by the confused natives pop up between the memes: “What’s happening??” “Is there a war going on?” “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”.
The bombardment begins as soon as we drop out of warp next to the citadel: “Anchor up on FC!”. The guns roar to life and send their payloads ‘Made in Delve’ towards their target. Drone bay doors open and hundreds of autonomous vessels stream out, following the first volley of missiles, rounds and laser fire. The station sends a few fighters towards us, but they meet their fiery end within a few seconds after launch. Some neutrals warp in and start watching at a safe distance. This is a spectacle one cannot observe every day in high sec after all.
It felt a bit like being in a zoo, with so many people watching. The mood is great and the citadel is losing health quickly. The only thing missing from this whole picture? Any P I R A T capsuleers. Apparently they really aren’t interested in actually fighting the wars they start. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ doesn’t seem to apply to them. Or maybe they actually got going and just went really far away from their HQ. While we keep on shooting the station, I start giggling to myself. Being in that blob felt more like a rave party than anything else.
Once it was clear no huge firefight would break out and we would take down the citadel quickly, some of the observing neutrals got brave and flew in close. Really close. “Those guys want to grab the loot. Tackle, get on them! As soon as the station goes down, nail everyone down who turns suspect!”. Finally, I got something to do. Me and a few others close the distance to the circling vultures. Some of them turn tail and run, while a handful keep close to the citadel despite us orbiting them. I use the chance to slam some bullets into the station, just so I can say I helped as well.
PIRAT’s war HQ goes down and a neutral Ibis is the first one to flare up orange because looting the wreckage gave them a suspect timer. Moments later, the Ibis gets tackled and turns into a capsule. This repeats a few more times to other opportunists trying to get their hands on the loot, until the ones left over decide they do not want to try after all.
To P I R A T with love, The Imperium
As the fleet burns back to our staging system, I get an in-game notification: The enemy War HQ was destroyed and the war is about to end. ‘The war HQ Du Annes – Anus Du is no more. As a consequence, the war declared by P I R A T against University Holdings on 2023.11.21 17:06:00 has been declared invalid by CONCORD and has entered its cooldown period.’
It is now Saturday, November 25. The war has been officially closed in the books of CONCORD. KFU’s staff can once again focus on doing their important work for the EVE community. Fly safe, KarmaFleet University and all new and returning players joining us in New Eden!
Here is a video a fleet member made of the station getting shot to bits:
Goonswarm Defends Karmafleet University | EVE Online (fucked bitrate)