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Recently EN24 wrote a few articles about Brave that I am finally getting to writing about. I resisted many urges to write knee-jerk reactions over the last several days, but am now writing because I just don’t want to let these articles slide into Eve’s collective memory without some sort of comment. I’ve done some asking around and fact-checking, and as a line member in the Bearded BattleBears I do have some knowledge to contribute. The articles to be discussed are parts 1 and 2 of “A Brave Story” By Matterall and “Pandemic Horde’s 2 Weeks in Space” by Hona Chaginai. In my view these articles aren’t real journalism. I wouldn’t even assess their reliability to be on par with a horoscope. After reading them, I experienced many emotions, but at this time, after a week or so, my general reaction is one of dismay and pity. It’s generally been thought that while TMC is obviously a Goon propaganda outfit, EN24, if harboring a generally anti-Goon sentiment, is the closest thing Eve has to a neutral news source, even if only from the diversity of its opinions. In taking a look at these articles, I am alarmed at the lack of quality in EN24’s journalism. In order to display some of this lack of quality, I am going to offer a critique of these articles beginning with the Brave Story pieces and moving on to the Pandemic Horde article. This blog post will be a long one, as there are a number of issues to cover.

So beginning with the Brave Story articles, and before getting into details, it’s important to explain an issue of general principle that will reveal these articles as basically entertainment pieces of pure fiction rather than actual journalism. At the outset I would like to state that there is no Broker. I actually have some experience with “Broker” stuff due to some TDY assignments I took for INSCOM before my second Iraq deployment. Let me explain. The Broker is virtually always a method of turning damage control into an advantageous position in clandestine relations in which the Broker universally doesn’t exist. For example, say you have infiltrated an organization with a half dozen agents who are going about their business of collecting information properly, meaning that the organization doesn’t even know that they are there. During the course of events, and fairly closely in proximity in time, a couple of the agents make mistakes and now the organization knows it’s being targeted for collection. At this point you have three options. You can just soldier on making minimal adjustments. This is often a very dangerous option because the organization’s counterintelligence will likely step up efforts to find your agents, and they are in an increased state of danger. Your second option is to go to ground and cease collecting or minimize it greatly, changing and extracting compromised assets. This is a safe course and leaves the opportunity that the organization will return to complacency in short order, but results in greatly diminished collection, often for a very long time. However, if you have the assets and technology to keep collecting on your enemy even if he goes to ground, then a third option presents itself: “the Broker.” What you do with this option is leak to the organization that you do indeed have agents in their organization. In fact, you have thousands (although you really don’t). All these agents are being handled by some kind of Broker super spy type. Let them know that everyone in the organization could be the Broker. They need to be paranoid. They need to ramp up operational security so much that employees have to go to work naked and putting a thumb drive into a computer is a violation of national security. If you’re spying on the Soviets or Saddam’s Iraq, you’ll find important people being sent to the gulag or turning up dead in ditches in Kurdistan. Expert leaders will be excluded from decision-making. No one is looking for your agents anymore, because they think everyone is an agent. What I am trying to get at with this is that the Broker isn’t really a person, but rather a disinformation tactic. These articles are playing pure Hollywood by intimating otherwise.

With that said, let’s take a look at a real Broker that we all know and some people even love. Sion Kumitomo is the chief of staff for the Goonperium and a successful diplomat. He represents an organization with great resources. People care about what he has going on. He has a strong reputation. He most likely has a three-digit IQ and isn’t known to be stupid. And most importantly, people know who he is. Now Sion doesn’t get up at Fanfest and give talks about all the mistakes he has made, but he does make them. He gets his way a lot, but not all the time. He does in fact take a poop daily just like the rest of us. Anyone wishing to thwart him will have quite a task on their plate, but he can in fact be bested by individuals and organizations with less talent and resources than he has. In fact, he is most likely to be thwarted by parties who are too screwed up to play ball properly. This is an example of a Broker. Potentially formidable, but unequivocally mortal – most certainly identifiable. Trying to portray the various schemers in Eve as some kind of force for a supernatural Illuminati will at first glance reveal these articles as mere bits of fiction fit only for entertainment. Finally, it is also of note that the articles went so far as to insinuate that Mittens is a mere puppet that works for Sion. I bet those two had a chuckle about that.

Now having set the tone with the above explanations of diplomatic reality and principle, let’s take a look at statements made in the articles that show them to be pieces of pure spin having no regard for honesty. I do believe that everyone reading noticed right off that the articles tried to pin the destruction of N3 on the fact that Brave was in Aridia. While everyone could see that this was nonsense, let me offer some perspective to bolster the opinion:

  • Brave took Catch by agreement with and the support of NC. and N3.
  • Brave and N3 fought regularly for many months of gudfights without a single supercap escalation.
  • There was only one incident of difficulty where some rogue pilots in Brave shot an NC. station. Brave dealt with this to NC.’s satisfaction, and no negative consequences resulted.
  • During the defense of Delve, when Brave was on its face and all of New Eden was crying ‘collapse!’, NC. hired Brave to assist in the defense.
  • During the break up of N3, not a single N3 alliance said, ‘hey, we are having problems, let’s keep ourselves in the game at Brave’s expense by poaching members.’
  • Recently, in an address to his alliance where he unveiled a unique program for success unrelated to other N3 members and unrelated to Brave, Sslink told his pilots in GCLUB to “stay classy” and “look out for the new bros.” He also said that his alliance would not earn greatness by kicking babies in the teeth. Obviously Brave is highly regarded for its cultural ethic by one N3 alliance whose leader has sympathized with Brave’s plight.

What this tells me is that if NC. or any N3 party needed assistance from Brave in order to keep the coalition together, they would have gotten what they needed from Brave. Merely existing in Aridia was in no way responsible for the breakup of N3. All public indications say that N3 was ready to break up, and the N3 alliances are forging their futures by adapting to the new meta in individual ways, absolutely none of them to Brave’s detriment. Why then would these articles make the absolutely ludicrous assertion that Brave ruined N3? Well, it’s either a part of a program in opposition to Brave, or it’s a lame attempt to entertain readers with lies.

So on to the next issue. I am a line member in Bearded BattleBears (J3B), a corporation discussed in the second article. The article gives contradictory presentations of J3B as some ultra-rich and powerful corporation exploiting Brave for its own benefit on the one hand while at the same time pinning J3B’s successes on the industrial expertise of a member who is no longer present. So which is it? Are we a big, rich corporation in Brave that is a threat to the alliance, or are we a bunch of impotent yahoos who can’t accomplish anything without Impala59? Not only are these assertions contradictory but they are false. Yes, J3B is a wealthy and capable corporation that has made ISK off of selling capitals to Brave. The article does not mention that J3B has its own SRP program within Brave and offers this program to Brave FCs, and that J3B has spent billions upon billions keeping that SRP going and those gudfights happening. What J3B took from Brave by its industrial expertise it has given back to Brave via FC support. As to Impala59, I’ve never met the guy. As an industrialist myself, I can affirm that J3B has no shortage of industrial expertise. J3B is a pillar of Brave, not a threat to it. When Brave gets hit, J3B gets hit. Obvious to me is that these rumblings about conflict of interest were reported to Matterall by parties disgruntled themselves in past dealings with J3B. I won’t name any names, but if you dig around reddit, I am sure you’ll be able to draw some conclusions.

Moving on, I’ll say that I won’t talk specifically about the DRF Rus Coalition and the beginning of Toasty’s involvement in things. I wasn’t there, and I am just a line member not in all the channels. What I can say is that I did a lot of talking to various people and that there are innumerable perspectives on exactly what happened and who made various things happen with that whole event. The details of this event are portrayed in the article with far too simple and unilateral understandings of causality. Again, I won’t speak definitively as to who Matterall was talking to in order to get this perspective, but I might deign to speculate. He seemed to offer a lot of details about the dealings of Lament Icarus, an individual who accused a J3B director of being a PL spy in order to form his own corp within Brave, was later censured for shooting an NC. station, and was finally purged from the alliance for some highly questionable chat logs that called his loyalty and agenda into doubt. Lament is now in PL, a group that has set its sights on perpetuating its locker room culture by poaching Brave’s members through attacking the quality of Brave’s leadership. Again, I have no definitive information as to Matterall’s sources, but this description of Lament serves as an example of one of many individuals with complex relationships with Brave and myriad agendas of their own who would have been glad to spin Matterall like a top. Matterall has not responded to me with the names of his sources, nor has he given indication of interviewing individuals currently in and supportive of Brave’s present government.

Having said all of the above, and really only being able to speak with first hand experience about certain details of J3B, I won’t make any long commentary about Toasty, the coup, or the issues that lead up to them. Suffice it to say that the things I have said here – that there is no such thing as a superhuman Broker, that any idiot could see that an assertion of Brave’s destruction of N3 is ludicrous, and that the characterization of J3B was hostile, inaccurate, and irrelevant – should be enough to convince anyone that these articles are nothing more than flippant reddit posts made to look official by being put on EN24. Now while it would be one thing to call these articles sensationalist and sloppy journalism, one has to wonder if people at EN24 have some sort of agenda to push.

After all, these two articles came on the heels of “Pandemic Horde’s 2 Weeks in Space.” This article offers slanted statistics, not speaking directly about Pandemic Horde’s current combat statistics other than to compare them with Brave’s statistics of years ago. That can’t be anything other than highly tendentious salesmanship of Pandemic Horde. “Our shitty killboard looks better than back when someone else’s killbord was shitty.” Really? First, this tells you more about Pandemic Horde than you’d think. Brave has never cared about killboards. Frankly most rational players only care about killboards for their intelligence value. Pandemic Legion, however, has for years insisted upon fantastic killboard statistics, refusing to take on players with bad killboard statistics regardless of the circumstances that created the killboards. Apparently Pandemic Horde is catering to the killboard nutty types. This will pose a problem for them in the long run because their alleged target audience, new players, aren’t going to reap awesome killboard stats. They aren’t going to want to be pressured into providing awesome killboard stats either. The advertising slogan of, ‘come to PH rather than Brave because our killboard is better than theirs….was….years ago….’ is not going to forge any positive identity for their group. Nonetheless, it is an advertising slogan. The second slogan mentioned in the article is ‘We are just like Brave, only without the mediocre leadership.’ This ‘mediocre leadership’ thing has me rolling my eyes. We have the only Alliance Executor in Eve’s history who defeated a coup by pure class. We have my CEO Kelnon, Patriot, Nancy, Blue Ice, Cagali, and many other fine Eve players and leaders who do a stellar job. No leader is immune to mistakes. All have made them. What gets me is that this mediocre leadership thing seems dreamed up in order to take down Brave. I mean the Goonperium with PL support slammed into N3 and caused the entire coalition to collapse in days. Where are all the articles talking about how Vince and Progodlegend are crappy leaders and N3 fell because of ‘mediocre leadership?’ There aren’t any, because we know Vince and Progodlegend aren’t crappy leaders. Really, there aren’t any because PL already poached all the NC. members they wanted a long time ago and has no need to break them down anymore (Van Diemens Demise?). We know that no leader is perfect, and that alliances and coalitions rise and fall, change direction, etc. But with Brave, for some reason, everything is the responsibility of some phantasmal ubiquitous failure of leadership. Really it’s time to call that bullshit what it is. Brave’s ‘mediocre leadership’ is just an anti-Brave propaganda campaign.

So now with everything stated, I’d like to know if EN24 has just lost touch with its journalistic responsibility and taken to publishing any and all sensationalist crap submitted to it, or if there is actually some sort of anti-Brave sentiment in that organization. Are we going to be getting more of this junk?

Mooring Supercapitals

Today I’d like to take a break from my last two atypical posts that have ventured into the area of the Eve metagame and return to my usual practice of writing harmless little posts that you’d normally find in the Features and Ideas sections of the Eve Online Forums. I do have another metagame related post in mind and this month will prove to be an unusual month of mammoth blogging for me. However, today I’d like to talk about the subject of mooring. At the outset I’d like to say that I have not done any particular research on the subject. I have read the structures devblog, and like most of us I watched a few of the main fanfest streams where there was talk of structures. I have also read CCP Ytterbaum’s thread on mooring with all of its replies. I have not listened to the Soundcloud of the structures roundtable at fanfest, nor have I scoured the community for blogs, podcasts, and twitter comments on the topic of mooring. This means that I will be writing from a position of relative ignorance. This is intended. At this phase a lot of the issues around structures are conceptual only. While my posts about various ideas about balancing tend to be very specific and detailed, they are usually rooted in a fundamental concept that I am trying to advocate. While my post about the Nestor included many details about fleet hangers, covert cynos, cargo volumes, etc., the fundamental point of it was to make the Nestor a better base ship for exploration groups and a better nullsec explorer. In my post about supercarriers, I included myriad details about specific bonuses and skill usage, but the fundamental point was to make the supercarrier a ship that can inject an aspect of invulnerability into Eve’s tactical situation. This post will build on that concept, as mooring is fundamentally a dimension of invulnerability.

Now maybe there is a tendentious metagaming aspect of this post. I clearly do not approve of tiny alliances of super pilots ruling over Eve. At the outset I’ll say that my approach on mooring involves two angles. First, it is my hope that mooring actually increases the options for supercapitals to be used in tactical situations, and even increases their ability to be deployed with ease. Once supercapitals are appropriately repurposed, I would like to see them used. I am not excited about the idea of motivating alliances to train, build or buy, and own supercapitals only to keep them logged out 364 days per year. It is my hope that when supers are rebuilt into something other than I-win buttons, their actual use won’t ruin the game and mooring should increase their use in battle. The second aspect is something quite different, however. I believe that supercapitals should be flagships deployed in small numbers to support large fleets. I believe entire fleets of supercapitals go against the concept of the ships. On that note, however, fozziesov will involve 6 areas of space in each sov flip. Therefore fleets of dozens of subcaps supported by 4 or 5 supers in order to flip a system would involve 25 or 30 supers, and would give the supercapital powers something to be happy about. This holds even more true if a power wants to be able to flip multiple systems at once or in multiple areas. So the benefit of having 300 supercaps is still there. They still need repurposing not to break the game. Mooring can supplement this though by making supercaps extremely difficult to maintain. That’s the second aspect. Supers should be easy to deploy, easy to employ, but difficult just to have and keep in the dock. Now a point I want to make before delving into details is that mooring, or aspects of mooring, should be connected to sov. Something needs to be done about the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ crowd. Therefore sov will be discussed in these proposals.

Now I want to mention the logoffski mechanic. If this mechanic is not done away with, the first aspect of mooring, that is mooring for the employment and deployment of supercapitals, will still exist, but mooring as a limiter on the possession of supercapitals will disappear. Personally, I like using the mooring concept as a way to make storing and owning supers more difficult. Therefore, I recommend that a supercapital pilot that logs off while piloting remain in space. Phoebe had already crushed most of the objections to this very old proposal and I believe it needs to be revisited and implemented. Mooring, however, will change how supercapitals are stored and kept safe, so the effects of not being able to safe a super by logging off will be different than what exists currently. Also, supercapitals should be able to be given passwords and then pilots boarding them should be required to enter passwords. Therefore, supers can be shared among pilots and players, giving the community the incentive to train supercapital pilots without each player actually having to own a super. They can truly become alliance assets with trusted members piloting them. I have some more ideas about supers, such as allowing them to have an ‘owner’ even while undocked and unpiloted, allowing them to be traded with the trade mechanics, and other ‘little things’ that can change things about supers, I think for the better, but those should probably come in a later post. I just mentioned the issue of passwords here because this mooring idea is a more radical adjustment to using and owning supers than a lot of us have even begun to comprehend. Things I will say here will undoubtedly set people on fire with all the problems they will create. These problems can be adjusted and eliminated with various additional mechanics. Mooring is a radical overhaul and effectively a supercapital balance pass without directly touching the ships themselves.

So with the long preamble complete, let’s get into details, which will consist of series’ of bullet statements interrupted with commentary.

  • Mooring should initially apply for supercapitals only. Allowing capitals, or certain capitals (mining ops with moored Rorquals?), should continue to be considered and implemented after the initial structure launch and be a part of the transition phase or follow it.
  • Mooring should be tied to a structure. It should not be a structure fitting or a role bonus for certain structures.

Supercapital powers living in NPC stations should be able to moor: limiting mooring to player outposts will screw too much up. However, limiting mooring to stations/outposts limits tactical employment of supercapitals. Also, allowing mooring at any station whether a player outpost or NPC station will contribute to the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ mantra that I would like to do away with. Mooring should be better in sov space than NPC space or lowsec, a point I will address below. Allowing mooring on any structure or any structure fitted to be able to moor will be a huge headache and open tons of exploits for players, and all structures in the game will have to be designed with the consideration that they may be moored with supers. Perhaps mooring could be a role bonus for certain structures, but then supercapital tactics will be defined by the capabilities of structures that are originally intended to do things unrelated to supers. We are going back and forth between too open-ended and too restrictive. The best solution is to design a structure that is some kind of a super dock for supers and then it can be dialed and adjusted as needed as a part of the supercap meta, rather than having to jack around with all kinds of structures every time the players find a way to inject the structures into supercap usage. Following bullets will assume the existence of a dock structure that is the sole structure impacting the supercap metagame.

  • The dock structure should be relatively quick and easy to anchor and unanchor. I am thinking like a 10 minute anchor from a DST or larger. This of course can be contemplated and adjusted.
  • The dock structure should primarily be fitted for tank, EWAR, and weaponry. It should have a lot of hit points and be tough to fight. Other additional fittings could be related to making it harder to scan, not show up on overview or DSCAN, etc. The additional fittings should not be available at launch but should be added during or after transition, with these capabilities implemented in line with other structures intended to provide or degrade cloaking or scanning capability and whatnot.
  • The dock structure should anchor at a moon like a current starbase at a predetermined point. It should not be ‘generally anchorable’ like a deployable or a container. It should be contemplated whether or not there should be a limit of one per system per alliance or some other limitation similar to the current limitation on player outposts per system.
  • Generally, destroying a docking structure should be a hitpoint battle. There should be no reinforcement period or timer period associated with it. You get through armor, shield, and hull and it’s gone. Of course it can fit reppers and be remote repped. However:
  • If a docking structure is anchored by a corporation or alliance holding sov in a system, destroying a docking structure should be an entosis battle involving reinforcement and timers.

What this means is that lowsec and NPC null supercap powers will be able to moor supers, but they’ll have to fight for them constantly. Supercap battles will be able to be staged out of or into lowsec and NPC nullsec, but if you want to be a supercap power and hang on to your supers long term and with acceptable levels of defense and security, you’re going to need sov. Sorry Stain Russians, Solar Fleet, Pathetic Legion, and all you guys. You’re going to need sov. And not just one system for your 300 supers, as they’ll all be visible and attackable, but a network of systems in order to properly place and divide up your super force in a way that you can defend without offering the most juicy target in Eve. You can anchor a docking structure in any system (not highsec of course) for the purpose of moving supers through space and for staging for battle, but it will just be too difficult to comfortably keep your supers in a system where you don’t own sov. Once in sov, though, there is now ANOTHER entosis battle to fight in addition to the sov battle. Even more numbers and fleets will be needed to unseat a supercapital port system. I’m not saying this entosis fight should spawn additional nodes like a sov flip, however.

  • Docking structures should be able to fit Cynosural Field Generator Is.
  • Service fittings should include fuel bays to refuel the supers.
  • While a moored super generally cannot do anything, it should be able to cyno or warp into or out of its mooring area, effectively leaving and entering its docking station with impunity.

There are a couple of things I want to hit on with this. With the Crius changes and the skill point loss removal CCP talked about removing bad complexity and options that weren’t really options. The idea of a cyno ship staying in space for 10 minutes is a cool tactical idea, but 99% of the time you are just undocking an alt, lighting your cyno, cynoing through, getting popped, and buying another ship. There are a lot of retards that call shooting station cynos PvP. It’s not PvP, it’s not tactics, it’s not options. There’s no other way to do it. The current system contributes to alts online and is just an annoying situation we live with. Now if a griefer wants to tango with an armed and powerful docking station, so be it. That’s PvP. Second, most supercap kills are not actual tactical losses, but somebody moved a lone super from point A to point B. A smart super mover has to use downtime to move his super in an annoying process of jumping at downtime over the course of days. Other than that, you have to be Pathetic Legion and move a hundred supers at a time with a full support fleet. Using downtime to move a super is not lore compatible, but just a mechanics exploit. Phoebe has succeeded in preventing teleporting supers. Supers should die in tactical situations by enemies who have planned to kill them in their tactical element, whether moored or fighting on field. The current system would be like Japan bombing Pearl Harbor by monitoring the sleep patterns of the battleship commanders and killing the ships as they snuck individually to Midway. Taking out a super move op should be like bombing Pearl Harbor the way it was really done. Making supers moored and visible is already a serious nerf to supers. Adopting any portion of my ideas about making the mooring of supers tied to sov would be another serious nerf to supers. Repurposing of supers in the coming months, regardless of how cool they become or how powerful they will be, will be seen by many as a nerf (since the goal is to remove I-win buttons from Eve, the current I-win button owners will see anything less than an I-win button as a nerf). Therefore, let’s add a little buff and make the things easier to move.

So this post has already gotten long. There are many other things to think about (can they bridge while moored, for example), but I’ll leave things open ended, having satisfied myself with the introduction of the idea of a separate structure for mooring supers, tying mooring to sov, and giving some ideas about how that should look. I may write a follow on post about this same subject, but I am doing a lot of blogging this month and I am seeing I may need to write another post about Brave and metagaming. It is my hope that this post will fuel some creativity and comment. Thanks for reading.

The Meta, the Narrative, and the Metanarrative

I don’t normally write too much, but since Brave is in a period of transition, and we are at a point where what beats in the hearts of our Braves will be more important than the regular day to day stuff, I am moved to write a followup to my Tales of Bravery post. There I talked about the importance of the narrative against what a lot of our more cynical and veteran players tend to believe. In that post, however, the backdrop was the name change of the Goonperium and their embrace of a lore-based platform: the ascendancy of the Max VI guy or whatever. Because of that, I am concerned that the point I was trying to make was not entirely clear. Narrative is more than just roleplay, and in my position I was not intending to advocate that because we are Braves we swear allegiance to some Navajo chief in order to make our culture more immersive or whatever. The narrative applies to how we actually interact as players as well, and so here I want to take a different approach in order to make the same point and develop some solidarity and perspective among our members.

So we’ll begin with what Grath Telkin wrote on Twitter today: “Man after the way BNI has been acting this last week, I cant WAIT for them 2 go back to 0.0. We’ll be waiting for you ladies, with a hammer” (He forgot the period, not me.) Now my first reaction was, ‘can these guys comprehend that Brave is not the only source of content in the game?’ However, on a long drive today I got to thinking that there is actually something behind these nerds following us to yet another corner of the galaxy. It’s pretty clear that numbers will be the new meta in fairly short order. Following the sov changes, PL’s I-win-buttons will be “repurposed.” The way of life of the 2,500-man alliance with 100 players and 2,000 Titan alts will be going the way of the dodo. In response, PL has formed their meat shield group, Pandemic Horde, which grew rapidly with Brave’s travails recently. However, with announcements of a return to nullsec, Brave’s hemorrhaging has turned around and excitement has crept back into the alliance in a way that Defsunun did not accomplish. Now the Eve player base grows slowly, but Fozziesov is coming quickly, so those that need numbers now have no other choice but to poach them. The best source to poach from is a single group with large numbers, particularly one with senior members who have ambitions to grow more senior and quickly run off to some dying alliance like PL because they haven’t figured out that PL’s days are numbered, and junior members who only know they want to be friends with the big boys more than they want to carry the torch of the idea that a new group can become great if they pay for it with blood and commitment. The logical conclusion for PL, before CCP nerfs I-win-buttons, is to use them to make it as painful to be Brave as they can. Therefore, no matter where we go, if we stay in Defsunun, or we go to Fountain, or we decide to turn into a mining alliance in the Forge, Pandemic Legion will be there harassing us, trying to make our guys hate to be Brave and long to join them.

I’m mentioning this plan because I want it to be clear that Pandemic Legion is playing the meta in order to win Eve. This needs to be said because I have heard the talk from Pandemic Legion: ‘we’re just having good fights; trying to make you into a better force; don’t sweat that we kicked your asses, it’s a game, and we’re all friends in the end.’ A lot of people think we shouldn’t worry about PL. We should be friends with PL. This is just Eve, and we shouldn’t hold a grudge. They are saying this because they are believing what PL is telling them. Have no illusions, however, PL is playing to win. They are about to become irrelevant. To win they need our numbers. They are doing what they have to do to get them, which is follow us to Fountain, war dec us in Jita, or basically harass us no matter where we are or what we’re doing. It isn’t an idiotic refusal to comprehend that there is content in Eve besides Brave. It isn’t a delusion that the only war left to fight is a Phony War. It’s an actual strategy to survive in the post alts-online-I-win-button Eve that is on the horizon.

That being said, just know that Fountain will not be a bong party. Our leaders were smart in committing to NPC space and nothing more. Don’t get too wrapped around the axle concerning plans to divide up the R64s. We may get some of them some of the time. Come June, sov will be easier to challenge. Most of the older parties are toting the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ line. The only one that isn’t is the Goonperium, although they are pulling back to what they can reasonably defend with their insane numbers. The Goonperium isn’t exactly threat number one, as their program is to prevent the birth of a second numerically superior power. They will always third party against us to prevent us from being a legitimate threat, but they don’t need to siphon us in order to keep going like PL does. The point, however, is that after Fozziesov, we’ll take sov over and over only to have it taken away in a massive back and forth. I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if Fountain became a bunch of entities living in NPC space with nobody really owning anything with any stability. None of this should dishearten us. That’s just going to be the way it’s going to be until PL is nerfed into irrelevance. The future is still ours. We still have the idea, and we still have the players. So the plan should essentially be at this point to undock and die and have fun. Fountain is a definite step up for Brave because we can see the future and the goal. But don’t get your hearts set on swarming into Fountain and claiming the region right here right now. The battles are not being won in the fleets. They are being won by the recruiters. We will ultimately get to where we are going, but the move to Fountain is step one in a metagame that will be played over the course of the remainder of the year. We should not see ourselves as trying to accomplish a goal that is constantly being thwarted with the result being our broken hearts. We are climbing the Everest of our place in Eve. Let’s not shit the bed. We do not lose when we get blown up. We lose when we give up and join the alliance that dumped all over us.

Sov is the goal. Even the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ crowd understands that their dominance and relevance depends on their ability to take sov from those who do want it. You don’t see Mittens giving up sov because it’s just so damned worthless. However, while we will eventually rule, the battles are going to be many, because the narrative is not, ‘don’t worry about Catch, PL are our friends looking for gudfights.’ If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eve, despite being a sandbox where everyone can set their own goals, is a game people play to win. PL is playing to win, and their victory is our loss. That’s the narrative.

Tales of Bravery

So the CFC is now the Imperium. This is an interesting development. Far more interesting in my mind than all the drama that has beset my alliance as of late, though not entirely unrelated. While many of you Eve cynics have always thumbed your nose at roleplay and think the new direction of the Mittani’s coalition is just gay, let me put some stuff into perspective.

The last year or two of the blue doughnut have definitely made some strong statements about Eve. Every new player deigning to take their Iteron into lowsec and gotten mercilessly destroyed before they knew what happened has been familiarized with the general risk aversion present in Eve. Eve players do genuinely love gudfights, but they tend to only undock when they know they are going to win. The blue doughnut taught us what this phenomenon looks like on a very grand scale. All the parties involved basically got to the level of the apex predator, at which point they decided to no longer fight anyone who could fight back. The pre-fozziesov, pre-Phoebe blue doughnut world was the last chance for the greatest forces Eve has or will ever see to go toe to toe. Asakai and B-R were both accidents that were not an organized or intended part of a legitimate campaign. Mittens offered us one last chance at this with the invasion of Delve, but said invasion ultimately resulted in NC. taking the path of their predecessors Pandemic Legion. PL learned with Phoebe that the absolute end game of the zero-risk-only-fight-when-you-can’t-lose philosophy is to not only have the largest supercapital force (apex force) in the game, but to also not have any assets that can be attacked. Having convinced xXDeathXx to pay them money to let them live in the East, PL can keep its coffers full without ever really doing anything except farming content off of parties they outclass militarily. With NC. now following in their footsteps rather than risk losing, Mittens gets to end the pre-fozziesov era with the last successful campaign of one apex predator against another.

Not only has the CFC ended Eve 1.0 on a victorious note, they have postured themselves properly for Eve 2.0. Part of the problem PL has, according to Manfred Sideous, is that there’s nothing really challenging to do for them anymore. They just do stuff just to do it out of rote. (This is from his Cap Stable CSM podcast). What PL really wanted, if you remember the movie Spinal Tap, is an amplifier that goes to 11. Fozziesov, however, just makes 10 louder. Well the new Imperium has to have heights to set their eyes upon as well. They’ve chosen immersion. Victory for the CFC now is to have CCP design rats intent on killing the forces of Maximilian VI. They’ve always excelled at winning via the metanarrative. Now they want to join CCP’s narrative. This is something that new players, who are the new meta, will respond to. Alts online is going to be taking a hit this summer, and the Imperium aims to be the new player force of the future.

So with all this lauding of the Imperium, am I no longer grr Goon? Well, I used to hate them as Something Awful players with the mission of ruining Eve players’ game via their ganking and their jump freighter scams and their recruitment deposit scams and all that. Now KarmaFleet has happened, and I don’t really know what the status of the recruitment scams is at this point. I do know they’ve chosen a lore-based raison d’etre, however. So where do I stand with roleplay? Well, Jan Irvam is a Khanid member of the Unionist party, a supporter of the Amarr Empire, and empress Jamyl has given the Khanid Kingdom unprecedented power within the Empire. Coman Saraki, although a mystic who thinks above typical lines of patriotism, was a flagship commander in the Caldari-Gallente war, and empress Jamyl greatly invigorated the Caldari economy. Paynus relishes his status as one of the few Ni-Kunni holders in the Empire. The Ni-Kunni are a former slave race much maligned for their preference for trade to glorious battle. Empress Jamyl recognizes the legitimacy of the fragile and few Ni-Kunni holders, and Maximilian VI has said nothing of the Ni-Kunni. Stepping back from the lore for a second, I as a player have been since my youth a fan of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern mythos about an alcoholic test pilot battling internal demons in order to save the galaxy. (= all hail Lychton Kondur!) Jan himself is a Khanid who failed at a life of mediocrity only to embark upon a mostly vain attempt to find nobility in his life as a capsuleer. Is he really the type to ally himself with some Emperor Palpatine threatening his kingdom and empire? So from the roleplay angle:

GGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRR GGOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

With all that being said, and regardless of the comments about PL and NC., the praise of the new Imperium is intended not as some mindless fawning, but as an adjuration to the skeptical and cynical Eve community not to discount the power of narrative. My concern is that the veteran pilots running things in Eve don’t respect the power of the narrative as they should in this new era that is coming where players are more important than alts. Some of these players are actually wanting to play a space game. They want real friends they really love and real enemies that they really hate. They don’t want to find out that all of their fights against their arch enemies were arranged by their alliance executor and the enemy executor over Skype. They actually want to identify with their toons and their ships and their corps and alliances. And they aren’t bored with everything yet. As my own alliance moves into the future, it is my hope that our leadership leads us in a way that is consistent with our standing narrative as a force for fun and content, who always undocks, etc., but also that we expand and form our narrative in a way that is superior to that of our competition. The Imperium is something that should be noted and bested, not laughed at.