For a number of years Brave has struggled with their identity. They are eager to present themselves as being a new-player-focused group, interested in the game for the “fun per hour,” with a desire to “stay classy” and engage in “good fights.” However, what people say sometimes differs from what they do. This piece is likely to draw ire, but my intentions are good; I would like to see, in New Eden, a truly new-player-focused group.
Brave must accept a number of truths: deeds done and deeds planned.
Brave were instrumental in the largest blue donut (PAPI) ever formed. Brave leadership openly supported PAPI, making their desires known. Dunk Dinkle had frequent “not a SOTAs” to stir the troops. He appeared in glee as Brave, along with all of PAPI, had initial success in blobbing the Imperium, an outnumbered foe. Brave was the aggressor in this recent action. The icing on the cake in this bit of history is that the initial drums of war were beaten to the tune of stopping “Goons from playing the game.” Brave, at the time a member of Legacy, remained loyal to Legacy and PAPI despite the fact that Progodlegend and Vily voiced these sentiments. Indeed, at that time Brave members were shouting very loudly about how much they were contributing to the war effort to destroy the Imperium.
Leadership issues have plagued Brave’s ability to set a direction and to then keep to it. This fickle behaviour does little to instil confidence. We heard, over a period of months during the war, “We are staying in Catch”; “we are staying in Querious and Catch”; “we are staying in Querious but not in Catch”; and so on. This inability to plan a future has led Brave to now reside in NPC Pure Blind. Their intent is to displace smaller groups, with the permission of Volta and Winter Coalition, to secure nullsec space in the region.
Corporations joining Brave in 2021 have, in the main, come from former “valued allies.” These were alliances were also part of the now failed Legacy Coalition. Brave grows by picking at the rotting corpses of alliances that should have been thriving.
Some corporations are leaving Brave and they are going to Panfam and Winter Coalition in the main. We even see one instance of a Brave corporation joining Pandemic Legion (PL). Given the long and storied history between Brave and PL, this latter move is something of a surprise.
Brave line members need to stop playing the victim card. No one is buying it any more. Brave was a 16k member alliance that has involved itself for years in nullsec politics and wars. Much of its time, it has been a willing meat shield and/or a proxy for others. But Brave is more than happy to blob whenever possible and have done that repetitively in the last year alone.
Brave Legacy in Tatters
My understanding of Brave is that it was supposed to be a haven for newer players. This also includes all the support that such a newbie-friendly group requires, in the form of having some more experienced players. They would then organize and scamper about nullsec doing things that would benefit the newer players. Being a force in nullsec politics was not something with which I had personally identified them. My opinion, formed many years ago, has since changed.
It changed as a result of what I was seeing. The formation of KarmaFleet (KF) came about through unaddressed dissent within Brave. Some of the Brave leadership had given up trying to fix things internally, and so started the KF project instead. Brave continued to suffer at the hands of elite players, to the point where Brave were even paying to be beaten.
After the last beating Brave suffered at the hands of PanFam, they joined Legacy Coalition. In this move, Brave’s ability to decide its own future was clearly eroded. The boss of Legacy was TAPI and TAPI has always been keen to ensure that “lesser entities” know their place. In this move to Legacy, Brave achieved nothing more than pet status. For such a large allliance, did they have a voice at the PAPI leadership table? Were they in the echelons of power? If not, why be in PAPI at all?
Probably one of the best indicators of how far Brave has wandered from their founding principles can be seen in their current desire to be a landlord. Shattered Armor, Military Director of Brave, has stated more than once that Brave intends to take space in order to rent it out. There could be nothing further from a healthy new player experience than renting.
Once upon a time Brave was considered one of the best places for new players to go. Other nullsec entities saw the potential of the Brave model and emulated it. Not happy with just being a copy of Brave, these other groups often improved on the model. They offered better training, better SRP, more opportunities in combat and better markets.
Now there are many alternatives with some interesting new groups turning up. Pandemic Horde is still new-player focused, as is KarmaFleet and Ascendance within the Imperium. But we also see new highsec groups taking up the challenge of providing new-player-friendly environments. BlackRose is the new player alliance for FIRE coalition, with WhiteRose being the highsec wing. Fraternity University is also growing quickly. In the simplest of terms, competition for new players is increasing rapidly.
With these other options available, new players may choose to connect themselves to a new-player-focused group that doesn’t have “issues” hanging over their heads. I am not sure why anyone in Brave thinks that the stench of what they did in the Beeitnam War will do anything but linger.
Hope Springs Eternal
Luckily for Brave, helpful advice is readily at hand. The Mittani has stated a number of times that Brave needs to reform. And to do that, Brave must face reality and remove the dead weight of inactive players. Then, Brave can truly assess their capabilities and plan accordingly. Brave also needs to focus on the core principle of being new-player focused. The pretense of being new player friendly, while simultaneously pursuing rental ambitions, creates a disconnect that reasonable observers will find hard to resolve. Other quick-hit advice: Brave doctrines should be based on Slashers and Thrashers, not over-priced gimmick Tengus. The goal should be to teach and encourage players to go and make their own stories. The journey should start with Brave, but not end with it.
The options that currently present themselves to Brave are limited and dangerous. Should they hitch themselves onto another alliance or coalition, as they have so many times before? Will they seek a truly independent path? This is a choice Brave members must make. Many are already doing so. But it is not too late to stem the flow of departing pilots and repair the damage done. In that effort I wish Brave the very best of luck. The life of the game is dependent on new blood and Brave used to be a good place to foster it.
Will any of these words be heeded? Hard to say. But at least some of us will be able to say, “At least we tried.”