Header Art by Major Sniper
My first encounter with EVE Online happened many years ago, when I bought the game, played for an hour, and never booted it up again. Fast-forward a few years, and one night down a youtube rabbit hole, I found a fanfest video titled “A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online”. That’s really where it all started. After watching the video, I bought the audio book and was captivated by it, so naturally I decided to give EVE another shot.
How I Got From There To Here
So, how did I go from listening to Empires of EVE, to pissing in a battle-bottle? That’s a question I recently asked myself, and I think I have the answer.
You see, I started my gaming days back in Counter-Strike. I was in a pretty close-knit clan right off the bat, as most clans were back in those days, after the break up and eventual separation of that group I had never been able to recapture that spark. It was something that I had a deep sense of nostalgia for but had never been able to find again until recently and to add to it all , I found it in a place where it seemed the general opinion was that it would be the worst place to go looking!
I joined the INN discord with the intention of learning things about EVE from experienced players, and I have. To my amazement, there were several people in the discord who not only answered my questions but did so enthusiastically, and drew me into larger conversations about EVE. These people seemed interested in my progress, and I even got the occasional random ping while I was going about my daily life. They were asking how I was getting on with EVE, or pointing me in the direction of useful information.
The fascinating part of this whole series of encounters was that they knew (and I knew) that most of my answers could be found with minimal effort, but they provided them and more. After a while in the discord server, I was pointed in the direction of KarmaFleet.
The Fleet Situations
It took me approximately 2 months to finally pluck up the courage. After much gentle persuasion to just go ahead and join a fleet, I headed out, ready to make my newfound friends proud in my trusty frigate. But when the opportunity presented itself, I missed the first bridge and was left behind!
Undeterred after my first fleet failure, I joined another fleet and that’s when it really happened. I was nervous and trying to listen for instructions, but I started seeing familiar names appear in the fleet with me. These were the people who I’d been getting to know these past few months – they were joining the fleet with me unprompted, and it finally clicked that this is what I’d been searching the gaming world for. Those people being in the fleet made a newbee feel confident and comfortable doing this new thing, and that’s really what gaming friends are for, isn’t it?
However, there was a point in this structure bashing fleet when disaster struck.
The FC on this fateful fleet was none other than Sothrasil. For those who dont know this fine man, Soth doesn’t pull any punches. He will give you all the help in the world, but is also an honest and sometimes harsh critic, so you can see why a newbee on his second-ever fleet would want to leave a good impression. In a panic, I sent a message to one of the guys I knew on the fleet: “Do I have time to pee, I don’t know how long is left?”
After what felt like an eternity, and still with no answer, I did what any self-respecting new player wanting to make a good impression would. I used a bottle. Upon hearing this, my friend erupted into hysterics, and informed me that I had more than enough time to go. Had I made a fool of myself again? Well, it would seem not – strangely enough, it seemed to endear me more to this bunch of crazies.
Cutting To The Chase
I have seen many people try and articulate why this current war has swung the way it has, and I thought I’d throw the thoughts of a new player into the mix (admittedly with limited EVE knowledge). From what I’ve seen and experienced in my short time with the Imperium, this group seems like a throwback to the good old days of gaming; not just here for the gratification of winning, but being in fleets and flying for the pilot to the left and right of them.
That attitude seems present from the leadership down to the line member. This is evidenced by the fact several members of far more significance than I to the Imperium took time out of their lives to answer the new guy’s questions and join a fleet just so he didn’t feel alone out there. And that’s what I think the difference has been – that culture, juxtaposed with a culture whose leadership throws line members into the woodchipper so they can safely evacuate their own assets.
This thought is not new. I’ve seen others articulate it in their own words, and I’m sure that these words, too, will be treated with the same contempt. But until PAPI figures out the culture behind the Imperium, they will never be able to fully understand why they lost this war.