Escape from Envy – A tale in 4 Acts

Here follows a personal view of our glorious fight for our home, J150859, lovingly known as “Envy”.  The narrative is personal and written by me, a high-powered marketing executive with decades of experience in Fortune 100 companies. Consequently, it is saturated with exaggerations, lies, self-aggrandizement and bristling with meaningless expressions for no other reason other than to vividly illustrate the author’s (=me) intellectual, physical and moral superiority over his worshiping readers (=you).  If you want an honest account of what happened, go away and read this, this, or listen to this.

To rephrase the last sentence for the benefit of the illiterate trolls and village idiots from Reddit (meaning no disrespect to actual village idiots), the following is a pisstake, a persiflage, a joke, you dumbnuts.  PS.  Writing this on a hot Sunday afternoon, so (mucho) beer may have been involved.  There will be typos.  I am proud of them.  

Act 1.  Invasion

The enemy knew they were up against the most experienced wormhole fighting force that had ever settled J150859 since 2013.  Our corp, N0MEX has a fearsome reputation for destroying ships, rocks and planetary resource layers and on solid days, we can muster 10s of experienced, square-jawed, steely-eyed fighting machines willing to give their all in the service of our Supreme Leader and the glory of our Juche.  Dying under the command of our blessed fleet commanders is every line-members ultimate goal and when hundreds of thousands Russians oozed through our high sec hole like a thick stream of yellow puss out of an engorged abscess we knew that we had been granted our wish to honorably lay our life to feet of Bob and ask for a speedy route into Sto’Vo’Kor.

We watched the enemy, oh we watched.  Our zeal and lust for blood was unbearable and many times we had to hold a comrade back to launch a Banzai charge into the breach with his combat Epithal.  We employed all the patience we had since we had planned for this contingency.   We had put a Keepstar in our home deliberately to paint a target on our muscular, manly & hairy chests, imploring hapless foes to brave their terror and “come at us” as the vernacular goes.  We would fight with a solid tactic, worked out in countless hours, fine-tuned by our fleet commanders who are very stable geniuses, military tacticians that make Sun Tzu a naive peasant, using the iron fist of dozens of brand new ships, manufactured and spit-polished by our industrial team. We were a death machine sharpened like a razor, determined like a salmon going upstream and hung like a mythical donkey.

The trickle invaders slowed to a stop.  We counted a few hundred, nothing we couldn’t manage.  Of course, Inner Hell are the best in Wormhole space but we are trained for this, we are born for this!  No uncoordinated horde of unemployed, vodka-swilling, shoe-less peasants whose only source of heat are their chattering teeth can match our unblemished war machine!  “This is all??” we cried?  “Where is the enemy?”  Itching for a fight, we let them anchor their structures, hoping it would lure them deeper into committing their resources so we may have a more glorious battle.  When the wormhole flashed again and Hard Knocks and Lazerhawks came forth, we rejoiced.  “Now”, we screamed, “it will be an even battle”.

The fight started like all wormhole skirmishes with establishing dominance over hole control.  Inner Hell was highly effective in this, using a tactic that gained them even our respect.  We sat cloaked and watched their efforts, even cheered when they rolled.  Respect for your enemy before you crush him, drive him before you and hear the lament of their women is the the greatest we can give and we solemnly prayed for their souls.  More and more ships entered, flashing a re-assuring “red” before we were joined by several waves of friends and allies who begged to join us.  Of course, we had thousands of allies waiting in K-space wanting to enter the valiant fight but honor demanded that we keep our numbers low, not to outcrowd the enemy on our battlefield.  So we chose only a handful of highly trained and occasionally sober mercenaries lusting for glory.

Act 2.  Engaging the Enemy

As the timers tick down, a dance ensues with smaller ships to establish hole dominance while the bulk of the defense fleet rests in our Keepstar.  Finally! Our glorious combat FC  Cryostassiss gives the order to engage in a dashing frontal assault and chooses my alt to lead the charge in an Interdictor.  I feel giddy, being selected for this vital mission from which there can be only one outcome – glory!.  But the days and months of grueling combat training kick in, my body is ready, my mind is calm.  Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds, I feel the vibrations of my trusted Sabre pulsing in near-orgasmic anticipation.  I race out of the safety of the docking ring into the path of millions of missiles, aligning and initiating the warp tunnel that faithfully carries me to my end.  We land.  The wormhole shines ahead of me, virginal, untouched, unblemished.  I align my steed, overheat everything, willing it across the 10km chasm when red Interceptors fall out of the sky thick as hail.  I bubble, I jump.  I link the high sec route allowing our allied fleet to engage their warp drives and race toward me.  A deep calm overcomes me, my mission is done, I have fulfilled my role.  But through the wormhole, I hear the clash of weapons as a major engagement is on the way.  My brothers! Fighting to keep the hole open at all costs.  Trumpets sound.  Without thought, I race my ship back to the hole and jump to be and die with my comrades

Death welcomes me with gentle embrace and as my body floats in the emptiness of space, my mission is fulfilled, the relief fleet enters the system in un-catchable ships and beelines to the Keepstar to swap into ships of the line.  Leading the charge – if I may be so humble – was my main character, Epigene, who came in 10th or so.

Epigene Warp In

Act 3.  Skirmishes

My fleet now hands out ships, sanctified by Bob and we accept them humbly as Sacramental Bread.  Our overall strategy is handed to us by our all knowing fleet commanders, simple yet effective.  “Undock and kill all the things“.  And so we do, I have received a Drake, often a laughingstock among pilots but in my experienced hands, this piece of rain gutter turns into a fearsome death machine.  At the docking ring, I aim at a random foe and select the microjump function (thinking it was microwarp but jump/warp, all pretty much the same at this point) and land 50km behind him.  I  activate the launchers and when my missiles crash into my helpless target and scratch nearly 0.1% of his shield, I rejoice briefly before my faithful Drake disintegrates.  My capsule swims clear and I decide not to dip into the treasured corp pool of defense ships but take a ship from my own ample stable.  My mission now is to survive, harass, kill and slow down the foe so that our inevitable victory can come sooner.

A second FC, the indomitable Artimus Arbosa from Noir. takes charge of the little ships and starts a phenomenal harassment campaign.  With incredible skill and elegance, he warps his shrinking band of Cormorants hither and thither and I follow cloaked my my own Manticore, scoring a couple of solid hits myself.  However, Cormorants have a different engagement style from my Manitcore and I am veering off, this will get me killed needlessly.  I need to stay in the fight and select a worthy target.

Which happens to present itself when the foe engages a hapless POCO. I see the alert flashing and decide to see if the attacker is worthy of my attention – i.e. afk.  Turns out he isn’t really afk and engages before my torpedoes land but I surely gave him the fright of his life!

Epigene POCO Escape

And so the skirmishes continue all over the system when finally our Keepstar succumbs to the relentless assault of our brainless foes.  It had a short life but a worthy one, cradling us in his (?) bosom, projecting our might across the galaxy and beyond.  May you rest in peace, sweet prince(?ss), knowing thou shall be revenged!

Act 4.  Man all the Guns!

With the Keepstar down, the guns don’t fall silent and our small ships score many more vital points.  Har!  If the enemy thought they had won just because they downed this random, meaningless structure, they have a thing coming.  Onward to Round 4 where the fight to death occurs on the smaller citadels.

The next day the timer for the Astrahuses and Athanors comes out but without the Keepstar, our friends and foes already declared the fight over.  Not so fast. “As long as we draw breath, we owe it to the ones we loved and lost to live out our lives without wasting them on regrets”.  I log into the system in my Manticore and saw things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. Citadel debris strewn about, vultures picking on the dead remains of our sacred temple – this is hallowed ground, how dare they.  The time has come for the last citadels to make a stand and as the only N0MEX pilot left standing, I select the Athanor with 6 minutes on its timer.

No enemy opposes me as I enter the scorched structure, no hostiles on grid as I make my way the command center and “take control” of the structure.  I have never done this before but I clench my teeth, A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.  The time for the Athanor runs out, 2 hostiles are warping in. Well, Let them come,  There is one Athanor yet that still draws breath in Moria Envy.   I man the guns, 3 ECM batteries and other stuff I have no idea how it works but I SHOOT ALL THE THINGS and let lose a barrage of something that looks dangerous but I don’t know the name of.  My corpmates sitting in their clones in cursed K-space cheer me on and tell me I have Fighters to deploy.  After only 5 minutes I figure out how to launch them and they too find a glorious end in combat.  My structure’s structure is running low but also its cap – I did not know that citadels even have a capacitor but its never too late to learn.  Well, for this one, it is.  

My capacitor runs out.  The structure dips.  Only death awaits me here without the glory of taking an enemy with me.

I race to my Manticore and eject from the burning structure, surrounded by hundreds, thousands of enemies, their eyes glazed in bloodlust, their warp scramblers fecklessly scratching for a hold on my hull.  Bob be blessed, my Manticore aligns and warps away while income missiles miss their targets and harmlessly empty into the eternal ether.

Athanor Explode_ManticoreJPG.png

An artist’s rendition of my famous last stand.  Image inspired by action movie heroes who calmly walk away from an exploding building. 

 

The Athanor blows up in a spectacular display or hard radiation and destruction.  Other structures follow but they are mere trinkets, the fight is done.

The fights we sought, the death we craved have come.  We are victorious in challenging a worthy foe onto our battlefield and taunting them for content, death and destruction. We vanquished the weak, the fearful and meek and the fires of our citadels hardened the rest of us, forged us into One.  We are again a weapon, ready to deploy, ready to strike fear into the very hearts of our enemies.

Victory is ours!

 

The Fall of Visteen

Just to keep my last two readers updated, I am collecting screenshots from our fights / eviction and writing my observations in to a blog post, probably tomorrow or Tuesday. In the meantime, I copy/paste Seraph Essael Reddit post and video below just in case Reddit dies. Seraph is one of our main FCs and has really the full “Director’s view” of what happened.  I couldn’t write a better AAR, so I shamelessly copy his.

If you want to see the post on Reddit (and read all the comments), go here.  All content below comes for Seraph.

So, before this all gets out of hand and people start to speculate how, why and what happened in J150859: The home hole of N0MEX. Codename: ENVY

Back in January 2018 a few of us in N0MEX decided that we wanted to build a Keepstar from scratch and so began our long and arduous task of doing it. There was only about 7 of us that were actually involved in the planning and building of all the bits and bobs. And keeping it quiet from the rest of the people in the corp to avoid a leak was actually done rather well…

Why did we build a Keepstar in a Class two hole with a Hisec and C4 static? Because we could. We’re not about to allow others to dictate how we play our game. It was a gargantuan task and we wanted to see if we could do it. And here’s the thing, we had the balls to do it. So we did.

After the IH Keepstar loss and the eviction of HK and their Keepstars, a lot of groups who may have thought about getting one, decided against it, and other groups decided to take theirs down. The funny thing is, that the three main group that lost their Keepstars, are the three main groups currently evicting us now.

But I digress.

About three quarters of the Keepstar was built by the time Null came for HKs and a few people involved seriously considered not doing this. With the majority vote we decided to go ahead with it. I personally had put in far too much time and ISK into this endeavour and I would be damned if I was going to let someone take away my fun. This though was mirrored by the majority of people involved. Many hours, lots of ISK and so many corp mining ops and buying of salvage off members, all the while whilst trying to maintain a healthy dose of PvP. As I am 100% PvP driven in this game, for me keeping the PvP going was paramount. Same with the others.

Originally called Project Dellingr the name of the Keepstar changed just as we were about ready to go when we tragically lost one of our members on the 30th Dec 2018. Thus the name changed to Visteen in his honour.

And so we locked down the hole. We had previously unanchored The Red Queen, our main Fortizar, to make sure we had a cover for locking the hole back down and having max dudes on to protect it if necessary. Carriers on mega bubbled holes, rollers on standby and an assortment of other goodies to throw at people.

We had waited for this moment. In January 2019 about a month or so after HK had lost theirs and everyone else took theirs down. N0MEX anchored their Keepstar. Not because we wanted to brag about it; there was no reddit posts, there was no praise bob comments etc. but simply, just because we wanted to.

We had been updating our homedef fleet constantly whilst other evictions were happening. We had ships to counter Machs (which was the flavour of the month when we first began to build Visteen and before we started doing this), Counters to boosh Ravens (seeing how effective they were against HK in large numbers). Leshak Counters. And a whole load of shit to hand out. Overall, we just needed the pilots to man them. I won’t go in to detail about our tactics or the reasons for the ships and Keep being fit the way they were but it was all planned well with testing done to ensure it worked. So we will leave everyone wondering on that one.

Of course, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. We had been betting on someone that was not IH to come knocking…

What can I say, Inner Hell are on a whole different level. Their attention to detail is like military precision. Almost surgical. The way they hold hole control the way they have their timers and their fleets set up. Honestly, it’s damned impressive. And something not many other groups in Eve can match, certainly not us.

However, that being said, we still wanted a fight. We wanted the people rolling for us to be able to get an entrance. We wanted to hand out the armada of homedef ships we had built, and we wanted to employ our tactics to see if they worked. Overall what we wanted more than ever, was to be able to go down swinging with our dicks in our hands. If we lost, so be it. If we won, fucking great, so they’d come back the week after, but we knew we’d given a damned good fight.

For all the spin about people doing evictions for the “good fight” and in the “hope the defenders put up a good fight” mentality. That is not the case. And I 100% agree with the fact that: just do an eviction because you can and because something is shiny to kill. Don’t try and spin it so that you spout all the nonsense about a good fight. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we wanted, win or lose, we wanted to give you one hell of a fight that you would never forget.

When 15-20 real people with 30 chars are faced with a fleet of 150+ chars and around 60ish possibly more actual people. There isn’t a lot you can do to get people in. HK, LZHKS and a lot of other people learnt this the hard way when they were outnumbered during the HK invasion. Also, it didn’t help some of our main people were locked out of the hole getting stuff sorted for another story.

But regardless, know this: at the end of the day we’d rather go out with a swing instead of SDing all the crap on the undock. Because let’s face it. Eve is a game and we don’t give two buggers about the killboards.

There is also some confusion about the killing of Jonathan Lennellucs Rattlesnake. The dudes 1 year Anniversary is today and so he wanted to go out of Envy in style. We granted that. So please wish him a happy anniversary. All the best matey.

We also allowed most of our members to speak up if they wanted to give the DD a go, because lets face it. How many people can say they have actively fired the main cannon of the biggest, most baddass structure in Eve during a fight. Not many.

Truth be told. No one in N0MEX is sour over this, the good majority have taken this pretty well. There are a couple who were blamed for it that took it real hard and a couple that have just decided a little break is necessary. But generally spirits are good.

This is not the end for N0MEX, most certainly not for the core group of players who have played the same games with each other for years. The morale is not broken and it won’t be any time soon. We don’t just play Eve. We play a multitude of other games with each other. APEX. PUBG. Sea of Thieves. Forza on Xbox. Long story short. We bullshit on comms about RL issues, politics and our better halves. And we meet up IRL to have food and drink. Even if some of our members go elsewhere after this, they will still be on our comms and having a wild ride.

To everyone that tried to roll for us. To everyone that offered aid. To everyone involved in that. Thank you.

To Inner Hell, fuck dudes the shit that you do is mental. No one was expecting Polarised bombers spread out around the grid. Clever. Your timing is immaculate.

To Lazerhawks and HK, we honestly didn’t expect you guys to join in with IH we thought the days of Quazerknocks was over, but we understand you guys needed to remember what a Keepstar looked like.

For real though, no hard feelings.

Oh…and btw… N0MEX is recruiting.

Words have consequences

Just a quick post with a paste of an EVE mail I just sent to my corp.  (I fixed some typos)

 

Dear All

as you may have heard, my blog has been cited as reason for our invasion. Specifically, two posts are being talked about, one dealing with Hard Knock’s eviction and the other with our relationship with Blue-Fire. (links below)

I won’t go through a justification, backpaddling or somehow saying “I didn’t mean it”. That is not my style. At the time when I wrote it, these posts reflected my thinking. My only regret now is that I didn’t distance the blog from our corp and made clear that the opinion was mine and mine alone. That was a mistake.

So, I don’t apologize for my blog, I have been writing for nearly 10 years and always said what I thought. The blog is as much “EVE” for me as stalking wormholes. Without the blog I wouldn’t play and without the game, I wouldn’t blog. And I won’t change my style. I don’t want to play a game in “fear” of some bully who doesn’t like what I say.

But, words have consequences and whether the invasion was caused or even fueled by my posts is not important to me, I’ll lose pretty much all the assets I have left, but that is the risk I took when I moved to WH space. Assets in WH space are always considered lost.

What is important to me is that you know how much I respect N0MEX, every damn one of you. And if you decide that it is time for me to quit, so be it.

See you in Sto’Vo’Kor.

Epigene

Blog links below
https://splatus.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/and-so-it-begins/

https://splatus.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/the-eviction-of-hard-knocks-and-why-it-could-be-good-for-wormhole-space/

And so it begins

My remaining two readers may recall that I fly with Anomalous Existence (N0MEX), a storied WH corporation with home in a C2/HS/C4.  I joined N0MEX because they focus on small gang PvP, acknowledge that real life is more important than PvP and – yes – because the corp has core ethics that appeal to me.  No shittalk, no screwing anyone over, honor your word, come to the defense of others etc etc. Yeah, my kind of people, no regrets at all.  Solid dudes, all of them. Continue reading

Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back!

As my last remaining reader(s?) may recall, I recently took a break from EVE and played No Man’s Sky exclusively.  There was really no drama involved, “my” EVE (=low class Wormholes)  have not experienced any changes in years and the “blackout” or PvE content has not had any impact on my play style at all.  And the NOMEX team I fly with is awesome, nothing wrong there either.  I just felt like exploring something brand new, learn new skills, really discover something that I had never seen before and No Man’s Sky delivered every time I logged in.  New planets, new alien worlds, new stuff to see after every warp – its an incredible game when played solo and – so I heard – with others.  Last week, a massive update dropped, full with base-building, quality of life and multiplayer features that sounded incredible (one can tame and ride the weirdest critters now – and yes – milk them).  But for some reason, the same update patch turned my interest off entirely.  Its sort of like WoW for me in 2009 (or any game other than EVE since…), once I “get” it, I lose interest.  NMS has phenomenal breadth but very little depth, i.e. I can warp to a huge variety of planets but once landed, do pretty much the same thing.  Most players seem to go down the base-building path and painstakingly assemble gigantic, floating castles or go the team route which – thankfully in NMS – is quite controlled and allows small groups of RL friends to do quests together, sort of what Elderscrolls Online should have been instead of a WoW clone 10 years too late.  I am not into multiplayer (outside EVE) and never really got the “building” bug – not in EVE or Space Engineer (never tried Minecraft).  So, I logged into NMS the other day and realized that I’d really like to play EVE for a bit. Continue reading

The Comeback Kid

As both of my remaining, loyal and handsome readers know, I play and write about EVE Online, a spaceship multiplayer game where real people matter.  I created my first character sometime in 2009 and have been subscribed pretty much continuously since then. EVE is – needless to say-  an awesome game, in fact, the best MMO(RP)G still on the market.

However, sometimes, when Real Life goes busy, my patience for EVE- or any MMO –  is just not there.  Especially in Wormhole Space where the connections vary and hunting – while amazing fun, is never done in 1 hour, it takes time to scout, assess the situation, set up the ambush, call in the team, spring the trap etc.  And while there are many other facets to EVE, I have never been able to “get into it”, not the massive Nullsec fleets, RvB, industry, mission running etc.  No, “EVE” for me is “WH” space and its just a time sink at the moment I can’t really afford.

Well then!  Other games have always had their place in my life, a quick pickup in Planet Side 2, a side quest in Fallout 4, Skyrim, a skirmish in Destiny or cleaning out an outpost in Far Cry – all of these games I have played, enjoyed and eventually put down, they served a temporary, quick fix for 30min and then I can move onto other things.  The exception to that rule had always been No Man’s Sky, one of the two games I purchased pre-release when it was – officially – terrible.  I recently came back since Hello Games had pushed quite a few serious updates and screenshots / reports from the game looked pretty good.  So, I thought, whatever, I already own it, may as well reinstall and try it out.  Nothing to lose.

And what a game it is.  Unreal.

So, let me back up – when I bought the game in 2016, I really wanted a solo-SciFi, space exploration game.  Basically like EVE but without irritating hostile players, without industry grind or repetitive missions and just exploration of “stuff”.  Just me, my small ship and the universe to explore.  That was what I really wanted from NMS and while it didn’t deliver at launch it really has done it now.

By now, I am 50 hours into the game and have most of the basics figured out.  I follow the story arc fairly closely with a few side quests here and there.  I am not a dedicated “base builder” (yet), the story is interesting, has good rewards and I have not seen a planet to really call “home” yet.  I am sure this will come but I do also like the nomadic nature of zooming around star systems, landing on an unknown planet, hop out of the spaceship only to be nearly roasted to death by the environment and chased around like Benny Hill by overly ambitious drones.  I had to build a couple of bases for the story arc but they are unloved collections of modules thrown on the ground without care, they are not permanent by any means.  Nah, there is too much to discover.

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Just me and my tiny shuttle landing on an unknown planet, taking a look around.

Right now, the story had me land on a planet with fairly hostile drones who kind of make my life miserable on land but don’t follow me under water.  The quest-line made me discover a (space) ship wreck under water and asked me build a small, globular submarine that I am to pilot beneath the surface.  The graphics and sound effects are incredibly well done and the experience of slowly gliding through an alien reef is incredible – in fact far more interesting than flying through space.  I had sort of known that underwater construction was a thing but I had no expectation just how well thought through it was, how immersive (sorry, couldn’t resist) the underwater environment was and how punishing some of the mechanics could be.  For example, the quest asked me to pilot that little submarine to a new location but by attempting to take a shorter route, I got thoroughly lost in a network of underground caves.  I tried to blast my way out, creating a tunnel, was chased by hostile drones, stung by jellyfish, poisoned by exploding plants, pinched by a fat clam and scalded by a hot vent.  All of that while running out of air and resources.  I had to give up and restart from my last “Save” which is in No Man’s Sky not that straight forward. Basically I lost 45 min worth of progress, something that has not happened to me in any game in a long time…

So, No Man’s Sky is back on my list of games and to judge from the interwebs, it has fully redeemed itself.

Here is to the comeback kids – the guys who were pronounced dead but miraculously pulled themselves up, surprising everyone.

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By the way, big shoutout to Twitch Streamer “TheManAnimal“.  What a legend  – chilled, easy going, knowledgeable, funny.  You, Sir are the Man.

 

 

Mindful Visteen – Chapter 1

EVE Online is the last remaining computer game where the interaction between players actually matters.  Within EVE, the smaller and the more ambitious a group is, the more the actions of one man or woman impacts the success of the whole team.  Wormholes with their resource and mass limits attract smaller groups who relish the complexity of transient routes, danger running even the most mundane activities and the uncertainties that this lifestyle brings.  Wormholers are tight group, even by EVE standards for those reasons and many of us can not imagine anymore flying in the anonymity of a large k-space alliance.  And when corpmates become friends, the transition from “game” to “Real Life” is complete.

On December 30th 2018, our corpmate Mindful Visteen died while logged into EVE.  He was scanning an unknown signature when he suddenly disconnected and dropped off voice comms.  Nobody knew what happened, people attributed his sudden disappearance to a computer or network crash and only later we found out from a friend what happened.  It hit us like a sledgehammer.  Some of the information can be found here, some other details stay with us. Continue reading