In addition to the main events presented by CCP at Fanfest, there are generally also some interesting player presentations on a variety of topics. One of these at Fanfest 2018 was a presentation made by Elise Randolph and Hedliner, titled “The History and Legacy of EVE’s Fleet Commanders”. Elise is a member of Habitual Euthanasia and is the “leader” of Pandemic Legion, while Hedliner is the CEO of PL corporation Sniggerdly, so I expected a presentation that was slanted towards their point of view. Instead, I was graced with a well-constructed presentation which would catch the interest of any capsuleer who is interested in the history of EVE’s FCs.
The Old School
The presentation started with an introduction to the group that the Elise called “The Old School” FCs however, I personally prefer the name “The Grand Daddys of Fleet Commanders”. The list included Lord Zap, a member of m0o Corp which were infamous in the early days of EVE and live in legend as the group who tanked CONCORD. The second FC was KIAEddz – one of the first to ally with an industrial corp in order to get a stable supply of battleships. Elise mentioned that KIA’s big battle was in Syndicate, when a huge number of people (45 pilots) showed up to fight and broke the game. TWD was the third name they mentioned, a Band of Brothers FC who revolutionized theorycrafting and planted the seed which would eventually lead to the birth of fleet doctrines. Evil Thug was the founder of Curse Alliance and a precursor to any FC/Alliance leader hybrids (think gigX), and then Shamis Orzoz, the founder of PL, was the last name on the list.
The first half of this presentation was certainly my favorite. Since I joined the game much later, I always enjoy hearing about what happened pre-2010. If you are a fan of “Empires of Eve”, many of the names and anecdotes provided may sound familiar and might even help paint a more intimate picture of what was going on at that time. The presentation slides were also a good example of making the information that was being provided more digestible, and provided a good visual aid to help make sense of who was who. As the presentation moved into the second half the bias I expected from the presenters started to show a little bit, but not in such a way that it diminished the quality of the overall presentation.
The Golden Age
Elise and Hedliner started off the second group of “Golden Age” FC’s with one of their own, Shadoo, whom they call the planner. Aside from the obvious reasons, they included him on the list because of his talent in planning and preparation, and specifically knowledge on how to run a campaign. Shadoo’s ‘playbook’ of theories and tactics are something that PL FC’s still use today. The second name on their list was the famous Mister Vee or “the tactician” as they called him, whom they remarked as a great defender and communicator. They said his specialty was in dancing around the field and how he pioneered the use of combat scanner probes. Imperian was mentioned next as a great FC and leader, a man with a knack for getting people into fleets and inspiring the line. Vince Draken is an FC who still plays to this day, and they call him “the brawler”; he is an FC with a fearless, aggressive and unpredictable style. The last FC they mentioned was MACTEP, otherwise known as “the crazy Russian” who they determined was a good mix of all the previously mentioned FC’s. MACTEP was known to be good at taking multiple doctrines and maintaining fleet discipline in order to make those doctrines work effectively together.
Elise ended the presentation by trying to show how each generation of FC can influence subsequent generations. He used the example of Vily, an ex-GSF and now TEST FC who came up and learned under Vee, and talked about how Vily’s style is slightly more aggressive but still highly reminiscent of Vee. A good analogy of the point they were trying to make is an NFL coaching tree. The style and methods of today’s coaches can be traced back to those they worked under in the past. While they have made changes to suit their own personal style, they were still undoubtedly influenced by those they served and learned under. The same can be said about EVE’s Fleet Commanders.
While the presentation was interesting, I couldn’t help feeling like it was cut a bit short. I like the idea of the FC coaching tree that was touched on near the end, but Elise didn’t really spend much time expanding on the idea, nor did he provide enough anecdotes to support the theory. This could have been due to time constraints, but the presentation would have been better if they had done a better job at supporting that point. It would have been very interesting to hear more comparisons between different generations of FCs and delve into how they influence each other but the presentation just stopped short of the great idea that was being presented. Nonetheless, they did a good job covering the FCs from the early- to mid-life of EVE, and I would recommend watching this segment of Fanfest on Twitch or YouTube if you missed it, especially if you are a fan of EVE Online history.