Header art by Cryo Huren
In EVE, the choices you make shape the outcome of events. So goes a video released by CCP over a decade ago. But out of the 20,000-30,000 players online at any one time, is it really true that a single pilot can affect the game? Yes! Even just one pilot can change the map of New Eden. You can make an outsized difference in this game. You don’t need a titan or have to risk tens of billions of ISK in arduous tidi fights either. Interviews with fleet commanders spell out how you can make a difference.
The Entosis Link is a high slot module that allows a single pilot to attack or defend the sovereignty of a system. Meet Ban Syrin, an Imperium Fleet Commander who often leads entosis and ADM fleets. I asked him what inspired him to command so many entosis and ADM fleets. Ban said, “Well, I really got my start looking for areas of high need and Goonswarm Federation Offensive Entosis (GSFOE) really stood out to me. When the Special Interest Group (SIG) launched, I realized how important it could be as a critical part of the war effort. So, I joined Skirmish Commanders and saw that there were options to lead Activity Defense Multiplier (ADM) fleets which make a real, tangible improvement in the defense of the Imperium.”
Some of the other fleet commanders get a larger response. Their fleets fill up quickly, and while sometimes these fleets get into historic fights, a typical line member can only expect to get in on a few kills and maybe get yelled at. Unless something turns into a significant battle, or there was an obvious structural objective, those pilots won’t really know if they have made a difference. Rather, pilots are usually left begging the FC for “storytime” on the flight home.
I asked Ban how the average line pilot knows if they made a difference on his entosis fleets. He replied that if a hack is successful, the results are immediately clear: it changes the sovereignty map of New Eden on Dotlan. Other times, Ban noted, “Success for us is forcing our enemies to show up for timers they want to defend but they’d rather be somewhere else.”
If you are not familiar with this aspect of combat, entosis is all about defending (or taking) sovereignty, which allows the placement of infrastructure such as cyno jammers and jump bridges. Sovereignty also allows capital ship production and determines how much fuel structures require. A properly-fitted ship is able to “hack” the command nodes or infrastructure hubs to get the authority in system to change from one owner to another, one side to another. These nodes function on a timer, and the other side gets a notification saying, “The Infrastructure Hub in this system is under attack.” I asked Ban what was the minimum number of pilots required to make such a change on the sovereignty map.
Ban Syrin: Any single pilot can create a timer fight anywhere on the map.
Shocku: Sign me up! What kinds of skills and ships would I need?
Ban Syrin: As far as piloting skills, we have some fits with really low skillpoint demands and some with higher requirements. The only major skill gate is Infomorph Psychology, ideally skilled to 5 so that a pilot could use a T2 entosis link. Bring one of those ships, and a willingness to learn the relatively simple mechanics, and you’re pretty much good to go.
As this fleet commander made clear, any line member can make their mark on the sovereignty map of New Eden. An entosis fleet, often protected by other fleets, can change the map overnight.
I spoke with Grath Telkin, of Amok corp, about what a typical experience is like on an entosis fleet. He replied, “Generally speaking it’s the FC’s job to keep something like that light and fun, which is significantly easier than keeping 10% tidi brawls light and fun. It allows a really granular level of effort to be put in by a line member that some might not feel . . . in the big F1 10%-speed fights. Pilots can immediately see their influence on a larger campaign. At other times your small gang gets 120 Eagles dumped on its face.”
Another type of fleet also allows a single pilot to make a difference, even if hacking isn’t your thing. Maybe you have a mining or ratting ship on mothballs during this war. The primary purpose of an ADM fleet is to raise the Activity Defense Multiplier; however, according to Ban Syrin, they can be a “useful way to mine safely and run [ratting] sites with a group to generate some ISK.” Participating in these fleets makes offensive hacks take longer and prevents hostile forces from dropping citadels, so you know you are doing something good for your alliance.
As these fleet commanders have illustrated, line members can make a huge difference in both entosis and ADM fleets. Not only that, but as Ban Syrin points, out, they afford “a more relaxed and social environment where players get to hang out and make friends while accomplishing goals.”
If you are interested in making your own mark on the map for the Imperium, join the Special Interest Group called GSFOE. But almost every alliance has its own similar special interest groups. No matter what side of the war you are on, get involved!