As both of my remaining two readers may remember, I live in Wormhole Space, more specifically, a C4 with a static C5 and a static C3. Just in case you don’t know what that is, this means that we have two connections at any given time plus whatever other holes spawn into us. But it also means that every day we have new neighbors and since neighbors in Wormhole space are generally armed to the teeth we tend to fly with the assumption that everyone is out there to kills us. And vice versa, of course. But we do like our C3 connections since it is generally our supply line to empire space where fuel and sundries are brought in and PI and gas products are shipped out. And thus, the other night we open a new connection and commence a little scouting before we commit the haulers when our scout reports a second set of Sisters probes and a T1 Imicus on D-scan. That generally indicates that a brand new player just had come in from High Security space and is looking for hacking sites which arguably are by far the most money a an Alpha clone can make / hour.
But there are no hacking sites in the system and I D-scan him at a planet. A tad unusual but so be it and in short order, I warp my Stratios into his vicinity while jumping my main character from our home system into this C3 system in a Heretic Interdictor. I hold cloak for a while until my Stratios is comfortably nestling onto the Imicus who just launched Core Probes 1 (yes, this means the Sister’s Probes are not from him at all and hence we have another party in here. This could be interesting and my friends at home are shipping up). Anyway, I drop my Interdictor on top of the hapless scanner boat and violence happens. As usual, I check if the player is new and finding that he is, transfer ISK vastly exceeding the value of his boat to him with an offer to talk to me about EVE, spaceships and generally just be sociable. Getting killed in EVE – especially as a new player – does not have to be a traumatic experience and our new friend joins our channel, chats and generally appears to be a nice guy with ambitions in EVE. We wish him well and are looking forward to guide him along.
In the meantime one of our team is being convo-ed by someone entirely unknown to us, asking if we used overkill in our little assassination. We assert that dropping 4 or 5 combat ships on a T1 Scout frigate is prudent and we that see nothing wrong with it. The chat continues to argue the finer points of the EVE Wisdom that “overkill is underrated” but I shall not digress. The main news is that we are getting getting the hunch that this new C3 system is actually owned by a corp that consists mostly of ex Corp and Alliance members. While technically not “blue” to us, we would not engage first and it also happens that Oreamnos and I hang out in their Discord occasionally. We contact them with the information that a) we whacked a hapless scout and b) we have a Tengu (since seen on D-scan) who is being a smartass in their system.
Turns out that our hosts have knowledge of the Tengu pilot for he belongs to a corp that has reinforced their Industrial Complex and brought in a team to finish the job this very night.
We opened up our connection into a friendly hole that is harassed by someone? Well then!
We put a gentle call out. The Industrial Complex “comes out” in 3 hours, so our EU team taps out, leaving me and some of our US-based alliance mates to filter in. We are given access permissions to the Citadel and are parking a few favorite boats there, all under the watchful eye of the hostile Tengu-pilot and at least 1 active Stratios. In addition, yet another ex Illusion of Solitude pilot joins our make-shift defense fleet. I shall not name him since he is a member of a very large and very vicious Wormhole PvP corporation now and his ticker alone should scare the crap out of anyone. But it is generally bad style to use one’s affiliation for entirely personal purposes (I never swung my Mercenary Coalition ticker around for example) but our friend cleared it with his leadership and was all good.
So, instead of 3 or 4 guys, the hostiles now see 14 plus characters from at least 4 different corporations, all of which have an active PvP record, one of which is downright scary and our host opens a convo with the hostile Tengu pilot asking how the evening should shape up. Now would be a really good time to have a fight, after all, we don’t really know what they have here but since we crushed all the incoming connections (except the brand new one to our own C4 home which I want to keep open as supply line for additional ships from our stash) they can not bring in reinforcements. We are in a pretty decent Armor fleet with Stratios-es, Guardians, Armageddons, Dominix Drone boats and more. I am bringing a Damnation for Armor boosts, been itching to use it on-grid as a real PvP boat for a while, just never had the chance. Our local friends chat amicably with the hostiles and decide to push the issue a little bit more by dropping a Kronos Marauder into a site and killing sleepers. Talk about tasty bait, eh? The hostiles are not biting.
It turns out that the hostiles live in a C2 and a while ago came upon our friends running sites in Rattlesnakes, the go-to boat for literally every Wormhole PvE operation (even I have one but never used it, the most expensive hangar Queen I have). Our friends did not have the courtesy to die to an ambush and the hostiles commenced to reinforce the Industrial Complex in order to provoke a fight. In principle, this is a sound strategy, one that we would use or should use. The more I learn about our opposition, the more I like them which of course is what this game is all about. They have watched a small PvE-centric corp stand up a rather nasty little defense fleet within an hour or so and appropriately called it a night, they would be suicidal to engage with their existing fleet.
So the evening ends with me heading back to my home hole and logging, having been reminded that having friends in EVE is much more than entertainment. It is – for lack of a better term – a matter of live and death, success or failure. This is the crucial difference between EVE Online and so many “multiplayer games” which are really nothing but single player experience with shared chat channels. In EVE, people – yes humans – matter.
And thus, happy Christmas! And Hanukah or whatever is your holiday of choice and conviction!