Monday, November 12, 2018

The Last Few Years

Most of the time I live my life these days honestly believing that I have quit EVE, that it is all over and done for me and I'm never coming back. Then EVE pulls me back in. Usually just for a few weeks and then I quit again. This is the story of my EVE career for the last 5 years or so.

My last couple stints back I didn't bother to update this blog, for various reasons. I always enjoyed documenting the stories of my EVE career in this way, and at one time I even had a certain number of fans who enjoyed reading them. At this point I'm quite sure that nobody reads this page. I don't even think anyone even really blogs about EVE in this way anymore.

When I started this page in 2012, EVE blogs were all the rage. There were numerous good ones, and numerous bad ones. They all fell into 2 basic categories - blogs about the game itself, in which the author weighs in on all the controversies of the week, and blogs like this one, about the specific gameplay experiences of the author. I've never had much use for the former category, as they are boring as shit and mostly just parrot the prevailing hivemind opinions emerging from social media at any given moment. To my mind, only the latter category of blogs was worthwhile, as EVE's exceptionalism among MMOs is in the great stories that emerge from its players. However, those sorts of blogs all seem to have died out, with the sole exception of, replaced by streamers and youtubers and what-have-you.

So nobody cares, and nobody reads this sort of thing anymore. Oh well, I'm going to update it anyway, and if goes on as only a sort of journal for my own benefit then so be it.

I've had maybe 2 stints in EVE prior to my current one that are worth mentioning, so I will briefly tell their stories before moving on to more interesting content in my next post.

2015 - Pandemic Horde
When I logged back in to EVE after a lengthy hiatus, I found, once again, that my playstyle of choice had been nerfed out of the game in another ill-considered update by CCP. The watchlist was gone, so solo and small gang wardecs in highsec were no longer feasible. In this new era, the only way to hunt war targets in any realistic way was to plant an alt in their corporation. This can be done, but it isn't really feasible to do it on any kind of sustained basis on a scale significant enough to provide steady content for an individual, much less a gang. So I began searching for a new niche, something else that would be just as fun to do. To date, I still haven't found anything, but am still looking.

The first of several false starts for me was Pandemic Horde. The Hordes and the Karmafleets were a new and promising thing at the time, making nullsec more accessible to new players than it had ever been in the past. So I thought I would see what they were all about. Someone told me, inaccurately as it turns out, that of the two, Horde was more PvP oriented, so I signed up and shipped out to Cloud Ring.

Now way back in the day, I got my start in solo PvP in EVE University, and I still remember my last few months there topping the killboard for solo kills most weeks. Once again, I was in a large alliance, and set out with the same goal in mind - to be the most prolific solo killer in the alliance during a week of game play.

I hopped in my trusty Merlin and went to work, succeeding in topping the killboard for a couple weeks. I don't remember most of the details but I'll share a couple of fun kills.

Ratting Legion
This one I'm particularly proud of. The mighty Merlin has always been my warship of choice. Across all the PvP characters I have played over the years, I have hundreds of solo kills in a Merlin, everything up to and including battleships. However, I have never succeeded in solo killing a strategic cruiser in my favorite frigate, although it has been on my list for years. So naturally, I attack every one that I come across.

When I spotted a Legion ratting in a lowsec anomaly a few jumps out from the current Horde HQ, I obviously had to try and kill it. I warped in, got scram and webs on it, and started pounding away with my light neutron blasters.

For a moment there, as I was tearing into its shields with Void S, it seemed that my day had finally come, that I would solo a T3 cruiser in my invincible Merlin. Sadly, it soon became clear that I could not break his active tank. The good news was that he couldn't kill me either, so I still had the upper hand. I tried, to no avail, to get him to pay me some ransom, then called in the Horde batphone.

Campy Tornado
After being driven out of Cloud Ring by Goonswarm Federation, Horde staged in Khanid lowsec for a brief, shining moment in time, during which all the local pirates came out to pop Horde "newbeans" on the station undock, providing a steady diet of content. One guy was perched off the station in a tornado. Fortunately, someone had made corporate bookmarks all around the station, so it was a simple matter to undock in a Slasher, warp directly to him and burn him down, then warp off before his friends could get me. An easy kill, but it seemed to impress everyone, and it is always satisfying to kill something a couple ship classes bigger than you.

Shortly after this, Horde deployed to Querious, which was a devastatingly boring region, where there was nothing to do but be an F1-monkey in giant fleets, or shoot NPCs for isk. Bored out of my mind, I started thinking of doing some highsec shenanigans for some space-money, but when I asked the directors for clarification of the rules around that sort of stuff I only got a holier-than-thou attitude from them on the subject, disparaging the play style. Horde had become a dull, unwelcoming place, and I was sort of burnt out on EVE again anyway, so I quit for another couple years.

2017 - Karmafleet
The next time I came back, after my traditional wardec, I decided that I hadn't been terribly impressed by the "Pan-fam" culture, and signed up to Karmafleet instead. In every way that matters it was a better corporate experience. "Pan-fam" really treats its line members like trash compared to the Imperium. There really is a feeling of being a third-class citizen while in Horde. The Goons are much more inclusive. Horde also claims to have no rules, but if you do anything other than nullsec PvP or shooting rats then you will catch attitude from the directors.

Goonswarm also has a much better solo PvP community. Once again, I set about trying to top the weekly killboard for solo kills, but where I had done so fairly easily in Horde, I found that in Karmafleet it was utterly impossible - I would need to play EVE 12 hours a day to keep up with some of the excellent kill artists in my new corporation. I couldn't even make top 10.

Also, where Horde had only 2 very specific focuses - ratting and F1-monkeying, Goonswarm federation was far more diversified. Ratting and F1-monkeying were still huge, as was mining, but they also had squads doing every EVE activity I can think of, including all the stuff that Horde directors look down their noses at.

Unfortunately, I was having a bad run of luck soloing at the time, so I didn't rack up any notable kills, but I did get to participate in a large nullsec war, which was a new experience for me, although it was far less interesting to be a bit player in the Mittani's EVE-story than it is to be the leading man in my own, but I am glad I had the experience. In the end I quit EVE again and got booted for inactivity, but one day I may go back to Karmafleet. It is a corporation of the highest quality.

Moving On
Another year or two went by, as I went about my business thinking that I had finally won EVE. Then I had a baby, so I'm spending all my days around the house carrying him. He doesn't like being put down. So what else is there for me to do but sit here all day every day and play a computer game with one hand while I hold him with the other?

So here I am once again, restarting my EVE online career with a few wardecs and highsec shenanigans, as is tradition. By now I'm practically the last OG Belligerent Undesirable still standing, so shenanigans are expected of me, and shenanigans I will provide. Read all about it in my next post.

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