Art by Savvy Kneel
If you’re taking the time to read this, then you already know EVE is a special game that extends well beyond the moments between login and logoff. And in this special game, there are certain special individuals – those who have an out sized impact on their fellow gamers. Some are the leaders and influencers within their corporations or alliances. Some, such as CSM members and other key figures, have found a role in impacting the broader gaming population.
And then there are those rare individuals who, over the course of EVE’s 17 years, have had a profound impact on the course of the game itself.
New Eden lost one of those rare souls this weekend, when BRAVE Newbies announced the passing of former CEO Lychton Kondur.
Lychton was not the founder of BRAVE Newbies, a distinction that belongs to Matias Otero. But he was involved from the beginning, and it was under Lychton’s leadership that BRAVE grew into a newbie-driven powerhouse built on Otero’s vision of helping new players navigate the game’s famous “learning cliff.” It was Lychton whose success in attracting new players prompted CCP to blow away the old limits on corp membership in 2014. And it was Lychton who brought Otero’s famous metric of “fun per hour” rather than “ISK per hour” into the political hotbed of nullsec.
Any new pilot who has sought out advice on the official EVE forums or other discussion boards about how to earn ISK in the EVE sandbox has likely been urged to “just do what you have fun doing,” and to relish the destruction of ships and materials rather than hoarding them in an attempt to avoid risk and expense. Regardless of who is giving the advice, it is offered in Lychton Kondur’s voice, still resonating throughout New Eden to this day.
Perhaps the best example of this mindset was Lychton’s boisterous presentation at Fanfest 2014, in which he bragged that “since BRAVE was founded we’ve lost 194,000 ships, totaling over 3.2 Trillion ISK. That’s roughly one ship every three minutes since we formed.”
It is incredibly telling that the original founders of both the PanFam new-player corp, Pandemic Horde, and the Imperium’s newbee corp, KarmaFleet, came up through Lychton’s BRAVE Newbies. Horde, KF, and BRAVE together make up the “big three” corporations geared toward easing new capsuleers into the world of nullsec. But it all began with BRAVE, and much of that can be attributed to Lychton Kondur. In a very real sense, it is largely thanks to Lychton that new players in EVE have any place in nullsec at all.
Merkelchen, a CSM 14 member and the current leader of KarmaFleet, said that “Lychton was ahead of his time and helped set into motion a new pilot renaissance in EVE Online that has had lasting effects throughout the years. His contributions not only helped shape a young BRAVE Newbies organization, but groups like KarmaFleet sprung up in the image of what Lychton had set out to do with his space tribe.”
Merkelchen added, “The EVE Online community has lost a pillar today, and his family, his friends, and all of the capsuleer community are in our thoughts.”
BRAVE’s Dunk Dinkle, also a member of CSM 14, shared a moving tribute to Lychton, calling him “a force of nature.”
“Helping to found Brave Newbies, literally on the first day of its existence, he helped set the tone for not just Brave, but for an entire generation of EVE players, who stopped worrying so much about killboards and started to focus more on having fun.” And with that focus, and the drive to perpetuate it throughout the game, Lychton has had a profound influence on all of us who fly around New Eden, whether we realize it or not. And many do realize it, as evidenced by the outpouring of remembrances from both within and outside of BRAVE.
“May his lust for life live on among all of us who knew him and were influenced by his work,” Dinkle wrote.
A game with a lifespan as long as EVE’s, and a community as close-knit, is bound to see losses. Some of those losses will be among the names most well-known throughout the game universe: Vile Rat, Swet Mags, CCP Blaze, and now Lychton Kondur. They are not the only friends who have left us here in the cold vacuum of New Eden space, and they will not be the last. One can only imagine – and hope – that they are even now reuniting on the other side, forming up together to light a cyno for the rest of us to follow one day.
In a 2015 Reddit thread posted to honor a permanently fallen capsuleer, Reddit user Dranchela posted the following tribute, in the spirit and meter of “The Watch,” a poem commonly recited at naval retirement ceremonies. It is sometimes overused and has turned into something of a meme; however, it is fitting to repeat here.
Eyes forward, capsuleer, the cyno is not yet lit.
Consider your modules, your rigs and ammo before you undock, for the cyno is not yet lit.
Break free of the station and witness the universe before you, For the cyno is not yet lit.
Set your ship to fly through the vastness while you wait, For the cyno is not yet lit.
Pay attention, capsuleer, for those who have gone before you call for you to join them.
The cyno is now lit.
Farewell, Lychton. The cyno is lit.