Scammed and Fired
On the 19th of September, 2013, I was convinced by my younger brother to try out a game called “EVE Online.” I had seen it once before years earlier and had watched him pilot a coercer through a bubbled expanse of nullsec on his way to a lowsec destination. He regaled me of tales about how he had been “given” an Apocalypse Navy Issue and though he hadn’t had the weapon skills to use the battleship guns, that was fine, because his alliance gave him Ammatar Navy Mega Heavy Pulse Lasers instead.
Right out of the gate, as I started my life as a capsuleer in Dresi, I was scammed. I figured that as a new player, there would be tons of helpful individuals in the “new player” zone who would be willing to teach me how to play the game. One such individual promised such an experience as long as I acceded to make an account using the buddy invite system. The invitation was sent, I subscribed, then asked him about the game and what sort of weapon systems were available to an Amarr pilot. He never spoke to me again.
So, there I was, 45 dollars (I had subscribed for three months) invested into a game that I had no idea how to play. Ironically, that foolhardy decision to trust someone grew into a goal: I was going to play EVE Online and make enough ISK a month to overcome this initial investment.
The first step, my brother–who was no longer active–told me, was to find a corporation to join. Being completely new, I used the in-game recruiting system to find a corporation that was welcoming to new players and I immediately started my career as a Venture pilot. I was perturbed that there were people willing to send me millions of ISK while my own income stream was less than 3 million an hour. They assured me, that as I got better at mining, I would eventually be able to fly a mining barge and then I would be able to use the minerals to build my own ships and ship construction, as they said, was where the money was located in EVE Online. Mineral you mined yourself, after all, were free.
Several nights later, having been wardecced by a three-person highsec corporation and ordered to remain docked by the CEO, we had a conversation about ISK in EVE. Yes, manufacturing was where the money was, our mining and production director told me, but there was another way to make ISK on the “business” side: contracts, buying/selling items, moving items from one station to another. He also admitted that he had no idea how any of that stuff worked. At any rate, they told me, I needed to be a billionaire in EVE to get involved in the market system.
With a little bit of economic background (and with an understanding of opportunity cost that rendered their analysis on mineral harvesting incorrect), I immediately delved into the world of trade. I invested in a Bestower and immediately began plying the NPC trade routes to have starting currency. Within a week of that date, I grew my modest wallet to fifty million ISK, purchasing the expensive Trade Skill books as I went, and, after looking at the wiki on station trading as provided by EVE University, I began my life as a station trader in Amarr.
Within two weeks of that day, I became an EVE billionaire. In less than a month, I had fulfilled my goal of reaching the billion ISK mark through sheer determination and a general distaste for mining. In fact, I did so well that I was made the trade director for the corporation and was subsequently fired because the CEO couldn’t understand my spreadsheets. With a little wealth in my pocket and a bitter taste of carebears in my mouth, I continued to trudge along on my EVE career.
Almost half a year went by as I meandered through corporations looking for fun things to do in EVE. I learned about PVP through highsec wardecs, then became determined to learn how to PVP properly. A few like-minded corporation mates thought that was a good idea so we briefly moved to Domain lowsec. After the alliance grew out of the small pocket we had occupied and moved to Molden Heath, we decided to try our luck in the Amarr/Minmatar Faction Warfare zone.
Back then, the warzone was actually populated. Pandemic Legion still called Amamake their lowsec capital, dropping carriers on cruisers, destroyers, and frigates alike while the main FW groups brawled it out in the safety of plexes with Augoror Navy Issue doctrines. I was fortunate enough to be present for three separate “Burn Huola” attempts, though the only ones of note were the first two when Ice Fire Warriors still possessed an Erebus of mythic proportions that swung frigate and destroyer fights in their favor against the unlinked masses of less-than-well-equipped-but-incredibly-eager Amarr pilots.
For those of you who do not know, Huola is the closest system to the Amarr trade hub in the Amarr/Minmatar warzone. Its strategic importance is not lost on most people, which is why it was particularly egregious that the Minmatar had held it for nearly 1000 days before finally being uprooted by the Scorch OP coalition in 2014 (uprooted only because the major Minmatar alliance at the time, Smile N’ Wave was actually a member of Gallente Militia while old guard Minmatar alliances left for other areas like Snuff Box or wormhole space).
During my time in Faction Warfare, I wrote as the Amarr correspondent for Factionwarfare.com, which was a fantastic resource for keeping up with news and developments on the warzone. It was in this capacity that I was invited to the “Cerra Manor” channel hosted by then-executor of Imperial Outlaws, Shalee Lianne, to commence my foray into the roleplay and lore enthusiast communities.
Oftentimes, I look back upon those simpler days with a fondness that I fail to elicit as a pirate capable of multi-boxing battleships, capital ships, and links or logistic. There was something mythical about the PL deathblobs and the hammers and anvils that served as resonance points on comms that caused pilots to panic. There used to be a sense of dread to fly through Amamake–nowadays, it’s almost a ghost town in comparison. It was a different time in EVE and I hope that the developers at CCP who are striving to breathe new life into the game with recently announced changes will be able to reinvigorate the system that forges the PVP identity of so many.
The Rooks and Kings videos that you can still find on YouTube are awe-inspiring documentaries of the feats and triumphs of the few against the many. It’s difficult to find places in EVE that are capable to performing similar victories in the current state of the game. Now, a lot of people hate the alliance that I’m a part of–Did He Say Jump–and will say that we overblob/batphone/etc. as bad as the worst of them. But then, those people weren’t there when local spiked by seventy in the system of Bosboger at four in the morning.
There’s quite a bit that I’ve failed to recount in this little summary of three years: The early months of dealing with highsec wardeccers or my time in nullsec flying in Triumvirate just as the “Fozziesov” changes arrived. But, at the end of the day, the best fights in EVE are the ones where both sides have a decent chance of winning, and, barring that, are the ones where the few still have a chance of victory against the many.