EVE was real

Last night some Washington DC and N. Virginia EVE players met downtown and I decided to track in from Maryland to see whats it like meeting fellow pilots.  Chaoticc from Adhocracy Inc had set it up and even CSM member Alekseyev Karrde appeared with a tray of his famous cupcakes.

Delicious cupcakes prepared by a friendly CSM member.

Alekseyev Karrde’ s famous cupcakes.  Distortions courtesy of Apple Inc and Gimp.

I was not sure what to expect.  This was the first time I met EVE Players in a blob and I had no idea of the etiquette.  Will people use real names (fine-ish by me) or will they use game names?  Will there be pilots from opposing nullsec factions engaging is fist fights?  Will the wormhole guy quickly sit in the corner,  eyes darting worrying about getting decloaked in the masses?  Will a low sec pirate appear with grand swagger, a belt full of pistols and a parrot on his shoulder?  Will  be waylaid by a Goon on the way pretending to need change and scamming me out of $20?   Will the industrial guy appear with 15 identical copies of himself, all synchronously lifting their glasses?

So, I walk to the little bar and see guys milling outside.  They look normal and therefore I don’t think its my group so I pass them.  Until I hear the word “tweetfleet” which made me walk back.  Yes, there is tray of cupcakes and yes, these normal looking guys are EVE players.

Introductions.  Aleks’ needed none, guardian of the cakes and with “Noir” corporate shirts.  Others did and man, EVE names are hard to hear and remember in the ante-chamber of some rowdy bar.  Of course everyone also introduced themselves with their corps and Alliances.  And that’s where the other problem came up.  I know nothing about EVE.

Let me rephrase.  The game EVE Online is so big and so deep that you can happily live in one corner and never venture beyond a few core systems and core activities if that is your thing.  I have spent most of my time in Wormhole Space – specifically C2 and C4 and am blissfully ignorant of any other space people live in.   Most of these guys are hardcore nullsec veterans with corp and Alliance names that mean exactly nothing to me.  Once guy flies with Fatal Ascension.  I think they are allied with Goons, right?  (its a safe bet, most people are).  Somebody else mentions the name of his corp and has the look of a puppy on their face that brought a newspaper.  He wants to be patted now.  But I have no friggin’ idea what that corp is / was / where they are and what they do.  Should I say “oh cool, I heard about you, awesome”?  While lying comes naturally to me its risky.  EVE Players ask questions and I would not be able to answer.

So.  I nod.  And ask.  And then they stare at me first with this slightly hostile look, “how dare you not know my corp,  I shall furnish my killboard with you, carebear!” but then resign into “noob education mode”, taking pity on me and list the regions of nullsec they live in. Which again means nothing to me.  But I nodd.  They have exlained, I understood.  We are happy.

And then they ask me what I do – thats where it gets slightly depressing.   For >1 year now I lived in a single wormhole.   The EVE veterans ask me “which corp, which alliance, what WH class?”.  But we are not Transmission Lost.  We are not Exhale.  We are “Illusion of Solitude” of which nobody has heard of and we live in a C2 and a C4 which nobody cares about.  That confirms that I am total noob in this game and my veterans mutter polite things about their time in the lower class wormholes.   “oh yes, I used t enjoy living there until I flew with [insert famous corp name here] and we evicted [insert some other famous name] from their C5 – 200 pilots, had a blast.”

Its not that they are mean or lying (I believe them), it just our lifestyle in the C2 is so far below their radar that they can not envisage it as anything else but a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  I fire a parting shot.  “Our corp used to be Jadecougar’s corp, you know, Jade from the Podcast Lost in EVE?”.  Blank stares. Nobody (even Aleks) had ever heard of Jade.

Ok, I assume the position.  I have been in this game for >3 years (January 2010 was “birth of my main character but that was not my first) and been fairly active.  But last night, I proudly carried the noob flag and listen into their conversations about hot-dropping 50 Blackops ships, opening a Titan bridge, reinforcing entire regions and being involved in fleets with so much time dilation that you could get a coffee between shots.  None of which I have experienced in 3 years of flying.  I feel totally inadequate. I mean, what have I been spending my time on?

Well, I have seen plenty of sleepers, way too many Command Centers, mission rats, WHs close up standing guard and recruit’s APIs.   I helped to build a couple of corporations in their Wormholes, know a lot about theft and team management and have always been on the brink of “almost” going out of business.  I have seen a handful of smart ambushes.  I have dropped on a few haulers and enjoyed the assassination-style PvP.  I am a (relative) expert scout and generally link human nature with in-game activity.  I have had my backside handed to me a few times but not as often as one might expect.

In other words, I am pretty good in what I do, just what I do is so niche in this game that in last night’s blob, it didn’t really matter.

And later night, the chats turned really interesting.  We had a very detailed and smart discussion about EVE Industry and economy. Aleks’ listed a total overhaul of the resource management as his primary “Jesus Feature” going into quite some details on a vision for “Farms and Fields”.  It struck me as odd coming from a Mercenary until I recalled that resources underlie every and all aspects of the game, the very nature of warfare and conflict which if course is the core of the game itself.  An overhaul of that would change the game entirely, could redraw the maps of the powerblocs and either royally screw up the relationship between the players, CCP and the CSM or strengthen it.  Thats why its a big deal and I am very glad at least one CSM member is interested in it.

POS design came up as well, which strikes me less of a big deal – odd considering I am the only one living in a POS full time – but the entire topic of player-built structures needs to be looked at, true.  My argument, POS life is so painful, it keeps the goons out of Wormhole space….

I missed my chance to ask the veterans about their greater view of the game and the social aspects with real life.  What does the game mean to them?  How do the relationships and friendships they form feed into their real life?  Do their work colleagues, family, friends know about their ambitions to conquer vast stretches, blow up helpless mission runners and steal everything they do?  Are they representing themselves in real life like they do in game?

I missed asking these questions because I became fascinated by the dynamics of this group.  Smart, highly educated folks speaking their own language  (the non-EVE players seating on the tables behind us perked their ears when Alek’s relayed that his corp has a hangar full of corpses.  I expected sirens and police cars based on that comment alone…) but there will be a next time soon.

So, thanks Chaoticc and the others for setting this up, it was a great experience and I never need much encouragement to go out and drink beer.  And even better if it is with fellow space cadets who teach me an entirely new game.

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19 responses to “EVE was real

  1. Very nice post Epi. I am jealous that I live nowhere near and could not attend. This post touches on why I like EvE so much… it is just so damn big and complex. I can look back on my journey in EvE and remember several times when I thought, “now I’m bigtime” only to fast forward and take pause to giggle to myself, when I remember how pumped I was when able to sit in my badger so I could move my lvl 4 mission loot to Jita. And now I live in a C2 in a alliance… and I can’t imagine it any other way but, I know there is. (got some excellent screen shots in a C6 so stay tuned) One other aspect that you mention briefly but is very key. A lot of the time it seems to me that it’s not what you’re doing in EvE, it’s who you are doing it with. Oh and that hot drop thingy… I’m working on it.
    -Skip

    • Hey Skip, yes it was lucky, Chaoticc organizes it and it was real fun. I agree, we are growing as a corp and alliance and we have many exciting things ahead of us. I’d rather fly with my friends in a C1 (brrrr….) than with guys I dont know or care about in the most amazing nullsec fight…

  2. Met where? Downtown DC? Gods dammit I wish I had known… I am only bout 2 hours from there. I wish I had known, not so I could make it, I couldn’t have, but so I could have emo raged over not bein’ able to. I would have greatly enjoyed it if I had been able to go to the meetup (BTW where didja hear about it?)

    As for the whole buncha Big time, Big name corp, Bigger name Alliance types lookin atcha like yer a noob… eff em. I have lived full time in holes since I was 6 months ingame and… (1) wouldn’t live anywhere else in EvE [I noobed in Hisec, transit, go on roams and generally mess ’round in Lowsec everytime I need to go to Empire and I lived in Null long enough to know it is “NULL” for me… IE “devoid of interest”… and (b) I am not, nor would would have been, ashamed nor even a little embarrassed that I would not have ‘known’ them, their Big name corps or Bigger name Alliances… I don’t care about them any more than they care about me.

    That’s their game… not mine. It’s like this… I am an American. I live in Virginia. I have lived in only one other state, North Carolina (for 3 years from when I was18 to 21, I was a bartender and a carpenter…) so I have no idea what Kaliforniya is like… and I don’t care, even though I am of the impression many in Cali would find it absolutely astounding that I feel that way. It’s the same thing to me…

    All those guys who felt your game, W-space, was ‘meh’ as evidenced by …oh yes, I used t enjoy living there until I flew with [insert famous corp name here] and we evicted [insert some other ‘famous’ name] from their C5 – 200 pilots, had a blast.”… who cares? I mean I am glad they had a blast and enjoyed their game, but just because not everyone is interested in ‘their game’ or know ‘their’ names, or their ‘uber’ corps or Alliances doesn’t reduce or demean MY game in the least. And I am GLAD they don’t know, or like, ‘my’ game… means they’ll stay out and that’s just how I like it.

    And yes… I would have been (to correct the quote) “A wormhole guy quietly sitting in a corner watching the interplay of the others with fascination.”… and I would have enjoyed it the same way I do EvE… decloak and been seen and interact when I choose to, cloak up and warp any when I don’t. =]

    • Hey boss, thanks for the comment (and correction! Can I hire you as proofreader / editor?). I think I did not frame my impressions of this evening right. Let me try to explain:

      1. The nullsec guys I met yesterday were just really nice guys. They did not express any resentment about my C2 life, they just could not relate – the same way I cant relate to the wars and shenanigans of sovereignty. I have never been to nullsec for an extended period of time but it sounds (from blogs) to me nothing but a highly bureaucratic way of either sitting in huge ball of fleet members on some gate for hours getting screamed at by some FC until your name comes up on the enemy’s FC list and you are blapped away. Oh, or you have a CTA at 2am to shoot at some structure for 4 hours. I, like you, find nothing appealing about that part of the game. But then again, mine is all hearsay, I have never really been in nullsec. So, the guys I met last night live and breathe this stuff and they are good at it. Of course, their perspective is different.

      2. I personally spent a lot of time helping to build corps, recruitment, training, checking APIs and so on. I really wanted to (and still want to) build our alliance up into something epic but it is hard work. When I hear the guys talk about covert cyno ops, I am jealous, this is the kind of stuff I want to do with my friends – dropping out of a WH into Null, BM some miners and then call in a massive Blackops fleet, blow everything up and vanish back through the wormhole? Awesome! I want that! But I dont want to leave my Alliance and have to fly in Nullsec (see 1.).

      3. I spoke to Chaoticc about C5/ C6 life and it seems to be quite awesome – they have big brawls, strong corp logistics, industry and they swim in ISK. I learned that nobody in C5/6 worries about PI simply because nobody needs it. But in order to get anything done you need a real fleet and we are back to CTAs and “structure & organization”. I am jealous of their ability to pull it off but I don’t think this is my style.

      So, overall, my comments were not negative, cool dudes with great chemistry, very smart, very focused guys. Alek is also a really nice guy, clear in his head and speech. I really had a good time and am looking forward to the next encounter. You should come! One of our guys is in VA, you can carpool 😉

      • Well we need PI just as much as anyone. I was inferring that we dont get the number of pi running kills as you do in the smaller wh’s. May be because we are spoiled more then anything however.
        -Chaoticc

        ps. I am already thinking about the next one. Probably going to be at a hard times type pool hall place.

        • Ah, I misunderstood. I thought you guys stopped doing PI because the profit is pathetic compared to the sleeper loot. For me, PI was nearly 80% of my revenue and paid for my T3s (two of them sadly gone, one stolen, one blown up).

          However, I did scan a few C5s (and 1 C6) and found very few command centers on the planets compared to the reported number of corp members. So, PI seems at least less frequent if not totally absent….

  3. Hey, it’s Rabbit (Gurista Pirate TShirt) I had a great time last night. As for someone all angry about talk about nullsec and such, this is how any meet up goes.
    1. Swapping of war stories and “I was there!” moments
    2. Ribbing of each other of various alliances everyone is in and playstyles. Pirates calling someone carebear, carebears saying I can’t hear you over ISK pile and such. Include :LOLCCP: moments here.
    3. Talking about various stuff in game. Serious bizness here. Discussion of various aspects here. Economy came up along with Farms and Fields of NullSec. How various corps are structured and such.

    Epi, after you broke off to catch the metro, We ran back into RedLoc at Metro station and I talked to Alek about various ways he keeps in contact and run Noir. Interesting stuff to say the least and he’s got them pretty organized. I’m sorry you missed it as I was just prodding him because I find that stuff interesting but as non director doesn’t really help me personally. Sorry you missed it.

    • Hey, thanks for the comment. For me it was fascinating to see an entire different part of the game – really enjoyed that. Its a different language, thats for sure.

      Bummer I missed the subsequent chat on corp stuff. I bet that was interesting and I cant wait for the next meetup. I think CCP should spring for the drinks or that amazing iceminer with 15 accounts. He is awesome 😉

      See you soon, fly dangerously

      Epi

    • The name’s Redlack lol. The overbearing pirate from low sec.

      Great great Epi I really enjoyed reading this. You are all right, this is what really makes playing EVE so much fun. There is so much to it you can never keep up with it all. I wish I could have been there for the whole night but it was a great time, I’ll make sure I have another Cyno ready for the next one. Don’t hesitate to contact me in EVE.

      Fly it through structure
      Redlack

  4. Nice relay of your impressions. Each time I read something like this I have those two voices in my head. The one taunting me with scenarios of how I could be this really incredibly cool ice queen who can have smart conversations about things and just blindside everyone by being all enigmatic and stuff. The other speaking about the horror of being out-of-place, feeling no connection at all and generally reacting with the defensive aggression of a stray cat caught in a corner.

    The second one always wins.

    You are a much braver person than I am.

    • I know exactly how you feel – I get this every tradeshow where I present or get thrown in. This means, I have years of experience of being out of my depth or league, depending on the meeting. I actually have formal training in that. We practiced giving talks on the fly on topics that we didn’t know ahead of time. My last one was the “Backwards flight of the Canadian Bumblebee”. Pure, 100% bullshit. It can be practiced. If you analyze the fear and where it comes from, really, like you analyze a bug in a systems diagram, you quickly come to a solution. The most common trick is to set yourself an objective before you go into meetings like that. By doing this, you automatically replace the need to show off, which is where the insecurity comes from. So, if you want to be enigmatic and stuff, ask yourself, what is your ultimate purpose?

  5. Uh… I feel I was badly I misread… or mebbe I really can’t write at all.

    Splatus, I had no desire to correct or … well anything like that man! No rage nor anger nor anything negative… I just don’t give two shites about null is all. It is NULL to me. I was just commenting on exactly what you said… their (nullbears) inability to ‘relate’ as W-space is not their game any more than null is ours… only it’s just that so many in null don’t ‘relate’ to ANY other form of gameplay in EvE… not all, just many.

    Your impressions of the evening actually were about what I felt they would be if I had been there too. We, you and I, play a very very different EvE from most… be they in Hi, Lo or Null. I do not expect anyone except other wormholers to ‘get’ my game, part of why I like it so much. I do expect (and have had) many act like you said… surprised that not everyone in EvE knows their corp and Alliance. So many think that null is the end game of EvE and the truth is, there is NO end game in EvE.

    I know and TS daily with the Null corp we used to be in. Really great buncha guys, “L” (of a Scientists Life in EVE) was one of them and a good friend. But he was freaked at just the ‘idea’ of no local. I mean it… really freaked him… it was kinda funny.

    I am glad you had a good time and your post surely made it sound that way… I hope one day to mebbe get to join you… then there would be 2 of us!! Mebbe I put too much of my take on things nullrelated in my response… for that I apologize.

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