Art by Major Sniper.
As the war in the north takes a hiatus, we will take a look at some of the major players on both sides of the conflict. First up, Killah Bee, of the Shiva (SHVA) corporation, within the Northern Coalition(NC) Alliance.
Gray Doc (INN): How did you create the name of Killah Bee?
Killah Bee (KB): I didn’t create the character, so I didn’t choose the name at all. I got it from my older brother. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the old hip hop crew Killah Bee, back in the 90s. He started playing his character for two years, but he never really got hooked. I started playing this character in 2008.
INN: How did you make the journey to be one of the FCs of NCdot?
KB: I was a line member for a long time in different alliances and then I started FCing in 2013. I did some small scale shit. Because my corp at the time had no huge FC, I was basically thrown into the cold water and went from an Interceptor FC to a strategic-level campaign commander. I skipped a bunch of steps, which was nice. [Eventually] I was with Pandemic Legion (PL) for a very long time, almost two years. Then, at the end of 2017, I decided to leave PL for Northern Coalition (NC) because I have an easier time with the NCdot leader than I did have with the PL leader at the time.
“When Goons still lived in the north”
INN: So in those early days of being an FC, how would you describe your experiences?
KB: It was just roams; it wasn’t that exciting. We just went around and killed ratters. This was back when Goons still lived in the north before we kicked them out, and we just did Interceptor roams and we went for Ishtar ratters or VNI ratters.
INN: Any stressful ops, where you felt the pressure?
KB: I never really feel much pressure during fleets. I can’t remember any fleet that was hard. The way I fight, the battle is usually decided before the fight anyways. It’s just a matter of “Can I get the enemy to engage me, or not?” Then, it comes down to executing the fight, which is a matter of practice. Of course, you have a plan before you go into a fight. Then it comes down to how well you can execute the plan.
INN: What have been some of your most fun accomplishments in your time playing EVE?
KB: Well, I only really measure my accomplishments by what I accomplish in my alliance that I represent. My peak in terms of reputation and accomplishment was obviously 2016-2017, because 2016 was all World War Bee, and then the whole aftermath of World War Bee was [the Northern Coalition] creating our big renting empire and collecting this huge amount of tribute. There were a series of campaigns. We just crushed, without any real losses. We won for an entire year. It was obviously a very good time. That was my best year in EVE.
“When everyone tasted the blood . . .”
INN: To what do you attribute those successes? Endless cash flow?
KB: Money had nothing to do with it at all. The money was a catalyst. I mean, a lot of people were too lazy to get an invasion of the north started. There were always people around who wanted to do it, but none of the big players in PL or NC wanted to do it, mainly because of the effort involved. Then, the money came along and it was like, “Well, it might fail, but even if it does fail, if everything goes wrong, we at least made a bunch of money.” So, that was the catalyst to get all the groups going. Once we were really invested, the money didn’t really matter anymore. When everyone tasted the blood, I think everybody was like “OK, we can actually do something.” And then we just won. We used the money to get a lot of people motivated, but the money had no real influence on our ability to SRP or our ability to field fleets because PL and NDdot are pretty rich alliances. We had way better FCs at the time. We did have the massive number advantage, of course. It was pretty much the entirety of EVE against CFC, so we outnumbered the CFC. In sum, we had a huge numbers advantage, we had better FCs, we had pretty much everything on our side, including Reddit propaganda, so there was no way Imperium was ever going to win that one.
INN: What have been some of your most discouraging moments in your time playing EVE?
KB: None. There is nothing. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t lose a fight and then sit there and think, “Oh my god, I just lost this fight. This sucks. I hate myself.” I don’t do that kind of stuff. Wins happen. Losses happen. When I lose, usually I know why while it’s happening, but sometimes you can’t extract at the moment. I analyze the fight after it’s over, then I don’t make that mistake again. I’ve never really had a huge whelp or anything. There was never a fleet that I FCed that lost a huge amount of money. The biggest whelp I ever had was one where I lost 40-50 dreads or something, and that’s really nothing in the grand scheme of things. If you want to count the X47 fights as whelps, I guess the second one was pretty bad too because we didn’t really accomplish anything at the second X47 fight. We lost a bunch of ships, and that was me FCing too, but none of these [losses] crushed me in any sense. The one thing I didn’t like about X47 had nothing to do with the fight or anything around it. I realized that the way I’d like to play the game isn’t really possible, because we are limited by the performance CCP provides us. That’s the only thing that discouraged me a little bit.
“There’s plenty of things CCP could monetize”
INN: That segues into my next question. With the recent purchase of EVE by Pearl Abyss, do you think EVE is going to see some changes regarding performance issues, or is this game fading out?
KB: All the doom and gloom is bullshit. People have been saying this game is dying since EVE was released. I think this is the fourth or fifth time since I’ve been playing EVE that people have claimed that EVE is definitely dying. That’s never going to happen. I think the purchase by Pearl Abyss is good because the former owners were not gamers. They had no clue about the gaming industry or what gamers want. Now, the new company is a gaming publisher, so they understand the industry and I think that’s good. I hope that Pearl Abyss encourages CCP to monetize the game a bit better. Obviously, I don’t want any pay-to-win shit, but there’s plenty of things CCP could monetize. I think everybody would love to see alliance skins. There is plenty of money CCP could make with cosmetics that would have no impact on the actual gameplay.
INN: I was surprised when I joined the game with how little merchandising is connected with the game.
KB: They have the shop, but the shop is pretty garbage. I tried to order a shirt once, two years ago. The shirt was like 20 bucks, but the shipping was like 50 bucks. I was like, “This is obviously bullshit.” Maybe they can learn something from Pearl Abyss about how to do [merchandising] and hopefully they could use the money to get more developers in so they can actually improve the game.
INN: Did you enjoy making that instructional video posted on YouTube?
KB: I only made that one video. I don’t enjoy teaching people that have no clue about the game. That’s why I don’t FC in Horde much, because it’s very painful for me to have to explain what “aligning” means, or where to broadcast for reps or stuff like that.
“I used my experience as one of the best large-scale FCs”
INN: Are you enjoying serving on the CSM?
KB: Yeah, so far it has been a great experience. The CSM summit was very fun, a very good experience. I’m hoping that with more and more changes that will be announced publicly—that CSM has worked on together with CCP—the community acknowledges that we actually do want to help. The community is kind of torn on the CSM. On the one hand, when Gigx gets banned, the community claims, “They got Gigx banned because there are seven goons in the CSM.” The next day the community is saying, “The CSM is garbage. They don’t accomplish anything.” We, on the CSM, are like, “You’ve got to make up your mind. Either we control CCP and make them do stuff or we are absolutely useless and can’t accomplish anything.” But, I’m hoping when the CSM minutes get released, and when more and more changes are made public, the community will recognize what we do.
The CSM doesn’t tell CCP what to do. They present to us what they want to do and we tell them what’s good and what’s bad about those things. None of the CSM are game designers. It’s not our job to come up with ideas about how to fix the game. That is the job of the people who are being paid to do that. Our job as CSM members is to consult with CCP on their ideas and maybe sometimes we can throw in something like, “Have you ever considered doing this, or that?” They can come back with, “Oh, that’s an interesting idea. OK, we’ll have a look at it.”
At the CSM summit, I used my experience as one of the best large-scale FCs. Whenever there was a topic where I could use my experience I told them my experience and how I perceived the problems, and then I explained to them, “This is why I think the game experienced these issues.” And then they told me, “OK, we have this data that would suggest that this did it.” And we kind of talk back and forth and we tried to pinpoint the problems. The same thing with ship balance.
“I expected all the Keepstars . . . to die.”
INN: A year ago, on Reddit, you said, “No one has ever attacked an online Keepstar that is actively being defended so it’s hard to calculate how the fight might go. I am willing however to lose some stuff to make it happen.” Are you pleased, on some level, that you have now seen this happen within a year of making that statement?
KB: Yeah! I don’t really know what the context of that Reddit post is, but there is a very big gap between groups that can kill Keepstars and groups that cannot kill Keepstars. Basically, if you are able to field a big supercap fleet and a big titan fleet, then you can kill any Keepstar that you want, assuming you can handle the opposition. For example, the Imperium has a huge supercap and titan fleet. They played both X47 fights very well. Then, there’s nothing the defender can do to stop the Keepstar from being destroyed. But if you are not able to field anything like that, then you are not going to kill any Keepstars unless they are completely uncontested. Skill Urself (INGME) killed a whole bunch of Keepstars over in Drones. Those were pretty much all uncontested. If the defender puts up a real opposition and you are not able to outnumber them by a huge number, there is no way you are going to kill an active Keepstar. That still hasn’t changed. That’s not really true for war on a scale like the Imperium versus the north, because both sides have the capacity to kill Keepstars. But for smaller entities, it’s just not possible to kill a Keepstar.
INN: Was the first fight for X47 all that outnumbered?
KB: Actually, X47 wasn’t outnumbered, no. Both X47 fights were fairly even on numbers. By fairly even numbers, I mean 300-400 titans on both sides. So there is no way we are going to be able to kill 400 titans until downtime hits. You only need five titans to constantly shoot the Keepstar to put it into reinforce, so there is no way you can stop that from happening.
INN: So, you were not surprised at the outcome there?
KB: No, not at all. I expected all the Keepstars that the Goons seriously went after to die. My goal was to inflict as much damage as I could. I think I did.
INN: How would you sum up your experience in EVE?
KB: It’s a roller coaster. It can be the ultimate fun. It can be a piece-of-shit game. It’s a very big sink of time. I’ve certainly spent most of my free time playing EVE the last couple of years. I don’t regret it. I think it was a great time. I had a lot of fun; otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. It’s a very unique game and it’s very hard and it’s very delicate as well. I’m very curious to see the future of EVE.