Header art by Cryo Huren
The last few weeks have been a wild ride for me. I’ve completely jumped into a side of EVE Online I’ve never been in before; hell, I didn’t think I even WANTED to be in. I joined the Imperium and moved to Fountain.
Let me back up. I’m Aradus. I’ve been playing EVE Online since July of 2004, and have spent the majority of my in-game time in Low Security space. For years, I was involved in Amarr Faction Warfare and even ran a podcast (TEN EVEning News), focused on FW and Dust-514 content. I have always enjoyed the lowsec lifestyle; small gang fights, hunting prey, and generally not being aligned to any major power bloc. Being my “own man” and running a small corporation while pursuing my “meta game” activities (podcasting, blogging, etc) was enough for me.
Get your motor running . . .
In 2020, I co-founded a new corporation focused on helping players experience lowsec space and expand their access to the vast amount of content found in New Eden. As a military veteran, I decided to try and grow a community for other active duty/veterans, since it would create a link outside of the game for us to develop relationships aside from just shooting pixels. The response was great and we started to grow. While not all of our members have a military background, many do, and it has helped us develop a corporate culture that transcends gaming.
Eventually, we were approached by a few different alliances and offered membership and we decided on a group associated with Rekking Crew in Providence. They had a nice lowsec pipe that my guys could live in, and we were excited to move into an area with expanded content that we could “own” and start building a base of operations. However, after about seven months there, we found that it was getting harder to finance our activities; the alliance we were in simply didn’t have the same cohesion/friendship that we had in our corporation. We felt like a clique; while we got along with our alliance mates, we really didn’t have anything to create cohesion outside of EVE stuff. We tried. We really, really did. But, it always felt like we were a puzzle piece that just didn’t fit.
Head out on the highway . . .
This July, we made the move to Providence and became nullsec pilots. This change went against the general consensus of our members, who had voted to stay in low security space and continue our piratical ways. We were feeling pressure from the “higher ups” in our alliance to commit to the growth and defense of Providence and I caved. We saw a decline in activity in our corporation due to a general lack of support within the lowsec Area of Operations from our alliance. Our members had absolutely no confidence in the coalition due to numerous incidences of blue-on-blue aggression, shady dealings that undermined the ability to generate ISK, and association with Dreadbomb’s budding rental empire, which seemed to be taking up more and more of the time and resources of the whole coalition without any value to non-DB members.
Most of our members didn’t feel a sense of community within the coalition. We were numbers only and second-class citizens. It wasn’t an environment that appealed to us.
Looking for adventure . . .
The Board of Directors of our corporation committed to attending EVE Vegas this year and we had an absolute blast. For some of the guys, it was their first EVE meet-up. For all of us in the corporation, it was our first time meeting each other in real life. It was cool to see people I haven’t seen in years, as well. Putting faces to names that you’ve interacted with for almost two decades can be a powerful feeling. This definitely helped cement our friendships, reinvigorating many of us to be a little less “bitter vet” and a lot more positive with our outlook. Sitting down with CCP Nocturne and CCP IceCream and talking about some of our favorite aspects of the game with the people responsible for the creation of the environment we play in was inspiring, as well.
The most exciting part of EVE Vegas, however, was having a sit-down meeting with one of the most amazing men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Carneros, leader of The Bastion alliance, took the time to sit down with us and discuss the possibility of our little, military-focused, corporation coming over to his well-respected alliance and becoming part of the Imperium. We were astounded. His genuineness and desire to develop a culture within his alliance was exactly in sync with what we were cultivating at the corporate level and his enthusiasm for looking after the PEOPLE within The Bastion was instantly contagious. We talked; we were introduced to the numerous members of the alliance who were in attendance and we were hooked. We weren’t even “in” yet, but we were already being treated like a member of the alliance. We were being treated like family (and I don’t use that term lightly).
While in the US Navy, I was a submariner. We are an extremely small community within the greater structure of the military. Due to the nature of our service (fast attack subs have only slightly more than 100 men serving), trust and dependability are deeply ingrained in our collective soul. You HAVE to be able to trust the person next to you; your life depends on it every moment of the day. This isn’t unique to submariners. Combat infantry, fighter pilots, and many other sub-communities within any military around the globe have this familial culture. Many of us carry that into our civilian lives after we retire; I know I sure did and many of the guys in my corporation did, as well. It is amazing how that need/desire for that interpersonal connection bleeds over into our EVE life, and makes us seek those people/groups that can cultivate that trust.
In whatever comes our way . . .
By the time we left Vegas, we felt that The Bastion members we partied with were more concerned with the people behind the keyboard in our corporation than the pedigree of our in-game characters. That is something I’d never encountered in a computer game before and it was an eye-opening experience not only for myself, but also for my corporation members. After returning from Vegas, we immediately got to work on liquidating assets (had already begun anyway, since we felt that the writing was on the wall with our members requesting separation from our current alliance), getting our guys in a position to safely and efficiently move across the map to our new home, and preparing for an aspect of EVE Online that most of our lowsec-focused members had never dealt with before – living fully in nullsec.
Most of our members have under two years of experience in EVE and are generally players who started off in highsec and then joined us to experience lowsec piracy. Now, we were leaving our comfort zone and jumping in with both feet as members of a major coalition that is in the process of rebuilding their empire after a legendary conflict.
The Mittani likes to refer to the Imperium as a “Space Tribe.” For those that haven’t experienced this kind of camaraderie, the concept may seem like bullshit, but for those that are exposed to it first-hand at one of the Meetups, you cannot deny it. EVE Vegas was coordinated by a Goon. The majority of the people I interacted with were Imperium members and anytime someone seemed to be wandering around and generally looking lost, a Goon would go over and pull them into the conversation. Didn’t matter what corporation or alliance or whatever they were from, they were welcomed and encouraged to join in the party.
Heavy Metal Thunder
We have been part of The Bastion for a couple of weeks now and I can say that the honeymoon is far from over. Sure, we are learning some things as we go, but the fact that from day-one we have been treated as part of the family motivates us all to merge our culture with the alliance and coalition. Fleet Commanders are (generally) patient and helpful; fellow alliance CEOs have reached out and are working with us to get settled and used to the rules and procedures, and I’m seeing my members integrate and work with people from all over the coalition. Activity levels are higher than they’ve ever been, and I’m getting positive feedback from every single one of our guys. I’m totally blown away by the sheer amount of content generated by the Imperium and I am kicking myself for not exploring this avenue sooner in my EVE career.
It took 17 years of playing EVE to find an alliance that I can honestly say ‘fits’ for me. I know that I’ll catch some hate from people, saying that I’m shilling for the Imperium, but I honestly do not care. We are now part of a family and nothing any outsider can say will take that away. Insert Fast & Furious “Family” meme here, haters.
To Carneros and the crew, thanks for accepting us. We look forward to the future as part of The Bastion. When we sit down at Eve Vegas ’22 for our first glass of wine together, we can look back on all of the great things that will have happened over the next year.
Aradus Gunnell runs 1.EYE, a corporation for active/veteran military. He is also the host of EVE LOW LIFE, a bi-weekly EVE Online podcast focusing on news about low security space, as well as being a co-host on DOWNTIME, an EVE Online talk show live-streamed on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/joeyporkroll. Aradus loves to research and discuss the culture of EVE Online outside of the game, and focuses the majority of his content creation around that aspect of the EVE community.