When I was in Brave Collective (during Catch and Fountain in 2014) I thought I had found content paradise. It was a glorious time. After leaving, though, I ran into some people who clued me into another perspective about Brave and other new player groups such as Pandemic Horde and Karma Fleet. While they thought these groups were over all cool, they felt they did a lot of damage to small corp recruitment in Eve. I’d say overall that the majority of startup corps and small corps you find in the recruitment channel end up being a pretty crappy introduction to Eve Online for the new player. However, like watching Barnes and Noble swallow up the small, quaint corner bookstores, I couldn’t help but lament that it was indeed harder for smaller corps to form and grow and become something great because Newbros get so effectively funneled into groups such as Pandemic Horde. These groups are very high profile, and players have no trouble finding their way to them. As a counter to that, I wanted to write a post about an environment that may be taking a back seat to nullsec with the advent of PH, Brave, and Karmafleet. Back in the day, Faction Warfare was considered the ideal proving ground for every up and coming PvPer, and in truth it still is, but players are missing out on that these days, and I wouldn’t want the next generation of Eve players to wind up like me and discover Faction Warfare after being in the game for years.
So I’ve been in FW for a couple of months now and am having a blast, learning things that I never knew, particularly in the area of solo PvP. I can’t claim to be good yet, but I can easily see that I am in the right place to get good. As of right now, I’d say that FW is the best system that Eve has in place to guarantee quality content. Don’t get me wrong, there is always room for improvement, but Eve is a game that is always improving. Nullsec’s mechanism for generating content centers on structure warfare, and with the advent of the new structures Nullsec may just take the crown for the best system toward the end of the year, but for right now, FW is where it’s at, since the mechanism for generating ISK at an individual level involves staying vulnerable in space for a set period of time. Now please don’t think I am saying that FW has a way to point ships at each other for fighting. As it stands, players in the FW sites who are paying attention and want to get away from you generally can. So quite a number of fights in FW involve people who are NOT paying attention, or they involve parties that choose to fight each other. This is not a flaw in the system, however, as Eve is a sandbox, and fights should not be absolutely forced on everyone. Plus, the current system requires attackers to use bait, stealth, speed, decisiveness, and trickery in order to get kills – in other words the fun stuff. Given that caveat, FW is easily the best place in the game in order to fight solo or in a micro gang because there are all sorts of other solo players in combat ships in space earning ISK.
ISK is often a problem for the new PvP player with just one account. In nullsec, actually making ISK is not too hard, but getting the stuff you need at acceptable prices can often be very difficult. Since FW is a lowsec environment, the hubs are not very far away, and since it uses a type of war dec mechanic, it is possible to do lowsec fighting without losing so much sec status that you can no longer get to the highsec hubs (which is a problem for standard lowsec pirates). The ISK from running the sites in FW is actually quite good, being on par with entry-level nullsec ratting and far more profitable than highsec mining. To make comparable ISK with missions requires exceptional knowledge about maximizing loyalty point value, lightning fast salvaging, and a super-skilled mission runner. So FW is a great place to make ISK with a combat toon on a single account. While hub access is not perfect, since rival factions occasionally camp the hubs, these rivals normally have such bad standing with your faction’s hub that these difficulties are nowhere near like those of being dec’d by a standard war dec corp. For a new player to go straight to null they will invariably encounter difficulties obtaining their ships and modules unless they are in the most established groups. These groups normally have very high expectations of what ships you will be training to fly and what sorts of fleets you will be in.
Not only is FW a great place for the individual player, but it’s also a great place to take a new corp to grow. For both the new player and the new corp, you get access to the militia chat, and most militias have a common teamspeak. Players and corps can benefit from meeting other and getting connected through the militia mechanism and recruits are easy to find there. Also, in the various militias there are the more established and dominant corps and alliances who add their own levels of competence and organization to the militia. I happen to have the pleasure of being in the Amarr militia at the moment, and our central alliance is Local is Primary (CTRL V). Now I wrote a post a while back trash talking a guy from this group, so I’d like to say that post should be taken more as a comical presentation of a personal experience (I do get into trash talk sometimes), and should really not reflect poorly on that alliance. CTRL V is actually a great group. I chided them for being like a “male locker room” but in all honesty I never really experienced any truly hazing behavior. They’re just a rowdy and funny group of folks that have a good time on comms in their eternal quest to reveal to the world the most perfect of dank memes. They add an incredible amount of fleet content to the mostly solo and super small group content that FW would be without them. They have some excellent FCs that mix in the occasional nullsec roam and other forms of content beyond what the FW mechanics provide, and they provide a link between the militia and the lowsec Good Guys Coalition that is waging an exciting war throughout Minmatar lowsec space. They also support their members and the militia with a loyalty point cash-out program which makes ISK making even simpler and have a corp, Thrasher Attacks and Replacement, specifically geared to train new players that provides every resource available to to someone who joined Brave or PH. Overall, the Amarr militia is doing as well as it is because of these guys, and I encourage anyone interested in FW to join this alliance. Their recruiting methods are actually fairly standard and consistent with the more advanced alliances that use core authorization services. And for the record, Tristan, the guy I made fun of, is actually a cool guy.
So when I was a new player, I made my way quickly to nullsec, got overwhelmed and returned to highsec for a good while, then went back to nullsec after getting some experience. I’ve had good times along the way. I did a fair amount of PvP in nullsec, though PvP was never really my main deal. When I did it, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I was basically a number in a fleet and didn’t really have the opportunity to develop on my own. This of course is not the experience you’ll have in every nullsec group, but it is an all too common experience. Also, every nullsec group I went with had a different doctrine and I was always required to train different ships. I mitigated this problem to a degree by flying a lot of interceptors and scouts and dictors and whatnot, but the pressure never fully went away. Now, after three years in Eve, I’ve made my way to FW through a haphazard set of circumstances that I have been chronicling somewhat in blog posts. My overall conclusion is that I can’t believe I missed this part of the game. It has so many elements that a single player needs in order to get good, and frankly, most of the PvP gods that I have run across have told me that they learned to PvP in FW. The opportunities to gain knowledge about fighting in this game are nowhere else greater than the solo and small group environment of FW, and when a militia is supported by a strong lead alliance like CTRL V that integrates the various parts of FW together so well with other forms of Eve content, it’s easily the best place to be for a new player who wants to see what Eve is about. And if you’re a more senior player like me who hasn’t done it yet, you really need to check it out. For the Newbro, please don’t think Brave and Pandemic Horde are your only options. FW is the best option in my opinion.
I hope to see you guys in the zones.