Intro and Early Days
June 25, 2011. The birth of Modern Inferno.
I had only played a few MMOs prior to playing eve, such as Final Fantasy 11 and Final Fantasy 14 (The 1.0 version, not the realm reborn one) but nothing on the scale of EVE. There were a few things that brought me to EVE over other games, the single shard universe, the space aspect, and two game trailers:
(EVE Online: The Butterfly Effect)
(EVE Online: Casualty)
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and absolutely loved it. I had a space ship, did two missions from the tutorials, subbed and decided it was time to learn the game. Here is where I learned about the learning cliff and learned a little about fitting a ship, but had no idea what I was looking at. Before this, I had never played anything with such depth. I was absolutely fascinated, excited for my future in eve. Within a few days, I tried to get my friend Cavalier Ditch to join the game.
He subbed with me on a recruit-a-friend and we split a plex. We screwed around, trying to learn mining and how to make ISK and joining a few corps in the process. Cavalier Ditch and I ended up sort of splitting up for a while to pursue different interests in the game, but always shared those experiences with each other. PVP is the one thing I had always heard about being the best aspect of the game. This is what ended up being my passion. At first, I had no idea how to get into it, so I tried to find a corp in the recruitment channel to help out. After joining some dead corps that didn’t actually PVP, I ended up finding a corp that was a part of an alliance with some very active and supportive players. This corp was Quadri-Tech. Quadri-Tech was a corp with one dude outside of me, the CEO CBIZZNUSS. I had never met someone in a game that was so eccentric, he would let me fly with him doing level 4 missions and split the rewards evenly while explaining to me why Amarr was the best race in the game. This was my first experience with EVE lore, and it was pretty cool! Though, to this day, I still think lore wise, too much is focused on Amarr drama. Anyway, Quadri-tech was a part of an alliance called Seventh Vanguard. Cbiz and I kept missioning, and trying to recruit.
At some point during missioning, someone in alliance chat had said that we needed to get to Dodixie and defend against the war targets. “We’re at war?!” I thought, I’ve always wanted to get into PVP. I was so excited to give it a try. CBIZ and I put everything we owned into an orca and jumped it to Dodixie to help with the war effort. At this point, all the other corps had come to Dodixie and we were all ready to defend ourselves. We had maybe 10 people on at once, and that seemed good enough to give these people who declared war against us a good fight. There was another corp called Empyrean Guard that led the war effort, with an FC. I had no idea what an FC was, or how fleet mechanics worked. I thought an FC was like some super badass player (which is sort of true) or some crazy rank in the game that I didn’t know about.
There was a time they wanted me to be on, for an “operation.” I could bring my Rifter! This was where we put up our stand, in Dodixie. We wouldn’t let these war targets bully us any longer! The time came for everyone to be on when requested, and there were 4 people on and ready. People were so disappointed, it sucked. We had a teamspeak that I didn’t know about, so all was not lost. I got on and chatted with the guys in the other corp. It was amazing, I’d never used voice comms before in any game. Any questions I had were answered immediately, and they were open about everything. It was great! This was where I met Zebediah Washington, (A very good friend that you’ll hear about later.) We decided to take out a wolf pack and roam low security space. I really had no idea what I was doing, the FC kept saying gates I’d never heard of, and I got lost for most of the op. I swore to myself I’d familiarize myself with the area for next time. This was where I learned about dotlan. I printed out all the relevant areas i needed and tried to memorize them for next time. So, I waited for the next op. A full week later of people being AFK waiting for the war to end, the war was declared again and people started getting very depressed about it all, so no op ever came. CBIZ at this point was sort of active, but not enough for me to keep any interest in the game. I decided it was time to leave.
I started reading the recruitment channel trying to find a corp that would be active, as well as help me learn to PVP. After a few days, I ran across an ad for a pvp alliance called “Flying Dangerous”. I was recruited by someone named “Sloppybob” and I was instructed to get my candy ass to Masalle asap for an op in null security space. I had never done null before! I was so excited, I printed out more maps off dotlan and got ready. Docked station, logged on teamspeak, and was welcomed by 10-20 other people. I was given a fully fitted cruiser for free and told to wait for FC to say undock and if I had any questions type in chat. Oh man, I was so fucking excited. This was my first real PVP experience. I had butterflies in my stomach. This particular FC’s name was Blorgg. He spoke clearly, and I understood everything he said. FC said undock and warp to the Anelle gate. I did so and waited. Here was where I was told to go over my overview settings and was given step by step instructions how to do so. I no longer saw friendlies on my overview, and was ready for the fights to come. I was told about primaries, secondaries and tertiary targets, how to do a jump-back and we went on our merry way to syndicate. (There was no use of target broadcasting, so you were forced to learn to read the overview) The idea of this fleet comp was to have cruisers for everyone to fly. They were all super cheap t1 fit, t1 brawly cruisers. It came to be known as “Cruizah Frenzies” and served as Flying Dangerous’s platform to train new FCs. Over time, this type of fleet comp bred, in my eyes, some of the best FCs, scouts, and pilots in the game.
I attribute a lot of my PVP knowledge to this particular FC. He was patient, willing to answer questions, spoke clearly and willing to admit mistakes and explain why things happened the way they did after the op was over. The time to go over what you did right and what you did wrong among your peers is something I do not see enough of these days, and really helped to solidify the FC culture that group had. If you wanted to FC, go right ahead. If you felt like you could do it regularly, the alliance offered a JR FC program where you could run the cruizah frenzies free of charge, and with plenty of people willing to support you learn, offering help after the op.
What made this alliance different was that it was split into 3 corps:
- Southern Cross Empire (SCE) – “Starter corp” that had fully open recruitment, and was the main bulk of warm bodies wanting to PVP.
- Southern Cross Trilogy (SCT) – If someone in SCT felt that you were skilled enough to become a member, they would nominate you for promotion. Once you had 3 votes in support, you were asked to go on a “walkabout” to get 10 solo kills in any ship.
- Southern Cross Incorporated (SCI) – The leadership of the alliance, and where the senior FCs and rest of leadership resided.
In each of these corps, there were internal promotions on teamspeak for FCs to decide when was appropriate to put that pilot up “to the next step”. This, in my eyes kept people motivated to get that next step, and helped solidify the meritocracy the alliance tried to maintain.
From here on, I was on every night going on cruizah frenzies. It was crazy, every single night there would be one. After a couple weeks of doing this, I eventually had the balls to try one myself. I spoke with Blorgg, and he set one up for me. The amount of support I got from the other people in this alliance was crazy. So, I took out a cruiser op, not a whole lot happened, we got a kill or two and ended up heading home without all dying. Many would call this a success, but the whole point of these cruiser ops was to kill more than you lost, which I did but traditionally you bash head first into a fleet that’s bigger than yours and try to kill the shiniest ships on field before everyone blowing up. I kept doing this, multiple times a week, and became rather good at these. Eventually, I made myself known enough to get a nomination for SCT.
This was such an honor for me. I was doing what I loved to do, and was good enough to finally be recognized by my peers. Then, I was asked by the leader of the alliance to go on my walkabout. Finally, I got my kills. They weren’t great but I made it in none the less. I’d seen such great kills by others who were nominated, I felt like solo was my biggest weak point in EVE. Sure, I had done fleet stuff, understood the mechanics. My time doing solo was by far the most frustrating experience in the game yet. I still consider it one of my biggest weak points in the game. Solo PVP is a totally different ball game.
Nothing really changed for me except rank. I was now a “core” member of the alliance. Due to my love for the cruiser ops, I ended up helping fit them, buying the mods and getting them moved to our highsec staging.To this day, I see this as my most fun time in eve. I was totally oblivious to the meta, politics, and all that. I had tried other fleet comps, but they never really hit the spot for me fun wise. During this time is when I was on my first battleship op. We had a defensive timer to show up to on a tower we had set up in Y9G. There were a few groups who would try to reinforce it from time to time, but this was one we were actually worried about. PL ended up showing up and we just let them take it.
At this time, the groups in Syndicate had outgrown us. We were always fighting losing battles, and needed a change-up. We ended up moving to Curse. During this move, I had learned about moving an entire alliance’s assets along with all members ships and garbage they didnt want to sell. I lit my first cynos, learned how capitals moved, helped with organizing logistics, and keeping track of contracts and assets during the move.
The Curse Days
At this point, I had become very good friends with almost all of the active members of the alliance. The friendships I’ve made through those “syndicate days” continue today. While those friendships have been tested, they’ve remained very strong. A lot of my personal experiences were directly tied with the alliance as a whole. It’s sort of hard to explain. We WERE Flying Dangerous. We are the embodiment of that culture today. My experiences with the members of that alliance can’t really be summed up as my personal experiences. It was a huge group effort that solidified the bonds that we have now, and I know that line is blurred when I’m speaking of myself. I honestly feel that Flying Dangerous history, is my personal history.
In Curse, we did a lot of the same. We recruited, we did cruiser ops. The main difference is, this is when our group started to use much more rigid fleet comps. An old friend of the main leadership of the alliance named “Ippxe” had left AAA and wanted to help grow our still small alliance. We started running Tornado ops, and Oracle ops with his help. I personally had little interest in these kitey comps, and still have little interest to this day. They’re fun to be in, but I never liked to FC them. Here is where a dear friend of mine, Zedediah Washington had come into his own as an FC. Looking back, and seeing people find their calling is fucking awesome. We continued doing roaming fleets such as cruiser ops, and shield battlecruiser ops, but these kitey fleets started becoming more and more popular in eve due to their success. During this time, I had taken a short break from the game because I was simply burned out. We remained in Curse for quite a while, until the alliance leader (Triple Manny) stepped down and named another to head the alliance. This change had brought me back, in full force to make sure all was well.
We had all wanted to try out sov in some way, with much push back from leadership whom had done it before. The new leader (Warlord) had shared in this interest, and started reaching out to sov entities to see if we could get in on some action.
The Esoteria Days (Dinner Squadron)
We were invited by Sort Dragon to come and help in the war effort in Esoteria against the Stain entity at the time. Here is where I had learned about much larger fleet compositions, and how fleets worked on much larger levels. USTZ was rather quiet with the Russians sleeping, and the main fighting took place in EUTZ. Our role in USTZ was to assist in killing SBUs and repping TCUs when appropriate. Most of our small group were capital capable, but never really had much of a chance to use them until now. I had a shitty skilled dread and carrier pilot, that i was finally able to use, and I was super excited about that. I also saw my first titan, and paid my respects to Steve (The first titan killed in Eve) in his resting place afterward. So, time passed killing SBUs, repping towers, but there was very little actual PVP to be had. We were involved enough to get our own pocket in Paragon Soul, and learned how to set up POS towers. It was a super quiet pocket, that a lot of people in the alliance ratted in, but I had never ratted before and really had no idea how to even begin, so i did not spend a whole lot of time there outside of fueling the poses.
I was in the leadership channels of the coalition at the time, and since I didn’t really know a whole lot about sov mechanics or the strategy involved, I kept my head low and just tried to learn as much as possible. Time had passed doing a lot of SBU killing, I remember there being a big scuffle on Jabber about a large corp leaving Unclaimed. Basically, from then on, the coalition was fighting a losing battle. We ended up moving the coalition staging to an NPC station in Stain, and focused our efforts closer to there. The Russians had taken what they wanted to take, and the coalition more or less disbanded.
Personally, I was rather relieved we no longer had sov, mostly due to the efforts I was putting forward to keep the poses fueled and running. The take-down was a nightmare, and while we didn’t lose anything, it was rushed and never really feels good to have to take down something you had built. I was still relieved that the stress involved with a defensive sov war was over. Warlord had also stepped down due to RL reasons, while Triple Manny came back as alliance CEO.
In that NPC station in Stain, we stayed while the Russians moved in. Here is where I have the fondest memories of PVPing with my friends. We found that large entities like AAA really do not have a whole lot of strength in their smaller timezones. We had decided to stay in the old Dinner Squadron staging station, while DD and AAA moved in to the same station. Station games, and hit-and-run tactics that we learned in the small gang environment were ridiculously effective!
Here is a video showing that:
It’s funny, you can see and hear so many of those friends I made during my time in this alliance in this video. This is the main core group that I still love to fly with to this day. We stayed there for a good few weeks with many kills, and eventually left.
At this point, I had been very burned out, and only really showed up for ops that really wanted to go on. This was usually to see new FCs, and help them when needed. Being burned out, I was not very friendly at times. Looking back, it was rather a dark time for the alliance, not just myself. A couple of long-standing, and liked people in the alliance were kicked for various reasons (mainly for culture worries). There were people very mad at an AFK leadership, Triple Manny was in a position where there were two immediately obvious replacements, and I advised him a little on this eventually. The two main camps Triple had come up with were Vyle Feelings, and Zebediah Washington. I was pretty close to Zeb at this time, both of us being FCs around the same time, we worked together a lot on things. In my mind, Zeb had more experience, and was the clear choice, but I was clearly biased in this. He was far better of a friend of mine than Vyle, whom I did not know very well outside of PVPing together.
Triple eventually decided on Vyle. I think every alliance comes to this kind of crossroad eventually. The culture, by no fault of Vyle’s, was failing to provide the inviting attitude to newbies it once had. Partly due to the constant toxic behavior of one individual and the previous kickings, a schism was created between members of the alliance that took a very long time for the alliance to recover from. This was the sort of thing no one could fix, so I took a break from the game. Many others did as well. Vyle is still the leader of what remains of that group today, and is someone I consider a very good friend. He is a natural leader, and took very good aspects of the alliance and grew them while slimming the alliance down to a corp while keeping most of the same structure.
Here’s when I started playing games with Cavalier Ditch a lot again. He had been in Flying Dangerous as well, to varying degrees of activity.
I actually ended up moved in with Cavalier Ditch, a long time RL friend and we created our own corp and started live streaming EVE on twitch. I don’t think many people understand how much work it is to stream EVE. EVE isn’t a pick-up and play kind of game. It’s a roam for a full hour before finding a fight you can actually engage kind of game. It’s super boring to watch, for less than a minute of action. Though, we had a lot of fun doing this. During this time, we didn’t have gambling site sponsorships or any of that and skirted the edge of being completely broke many times. Both of us did this for around 6 months, streaming multiple times a week.
Toward the end of those 6 months or so, streaming every chance I got, I had become lucky enough to gain a small following. Many of these are people I will never forget, and remain in touch with to this day. Over time doing solo PVP constantly, there’s a possibility of becoming bitter about constantly dying or being hunted down. This happened to me, and I tried to hide it all I could. We tried public fleets, tried to change up everything we could. Both of us were burned out from EVE in general by no fault of the community. This is what I remember as my favorite time in eve. I got to talk about eve politics, theorycraft, and explain what I was doing all to my friends who watched me play all on a public forum. I’ll never forget this experience, and it taught me a lot about how good the EVE community is. I stopped streaming over time and ended up taking a full on break from EVE. Again.
World War Bee and Now
Many people will tell you that, when you are away from EVE, you sort of get this itch that other games don’t really scratch. I had received multiple requests to rejoin the game over the year and a half I was gone. Many changes happened that I had not kept tabs on. One night, I get a steam message from an old friend that some of my old friends from Flying Dangerous were creating a new corp and playing the game again, I declined politely at first. Over time, I kept hearing stories of my friends going to war against Goonswarm in an alliance that I had never heard of called The OSS. At this point, I had to help. Goonswarm and allies had controlled the north for about as long as I had been playing, and had always felt as if they needed to be evicted for the good of the game. I resubbed and got in on the action.
The night I resubbed was actually toward the end of the war, my friends had already made a name for themselves among the late USTZ for leading entosis ops, cleaning up the sov that Goonswarm had left behind. I started my first night learning the sov mechanics by helping entosis the last bit of Deklein. It was super fun changing the sov of a place that I thought would not change during the time I was playing, and doing it myself and being a part of that felt really good. It’s something that I will never forget, being with the people I had PVP’d with since I was a newbie, coming so far to change the sov of a place where we would regularly come to hunt ratters. That brings us to now, where I share a corp with my best friends and will continue to play with them.
I’m happy to say that I was a part of that time, though brief. It completely refreshed my passion in EVE and see myself playing it for the foreseeable future. The people I’ve shared my time with in this game will always have a place in my heart.
Here’s to a bright future for all of us.
Thank you for your time,