24 April 2005

My First 12 Months In Eve

I’d been playing a game called Mankind for about 2 ½ years and was in a guild/clan called Fight Club. The game was dying due to lack of decent development support and was about 4 to 5 years old anyway, so was getting a bit outdated in the graphics and game play departments. Many of the senior players in the game, Fight Club included, were actively looking for the next game to get into. I had three on my horizons Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies and Eve. So being the MMOG addict that I am I tried to get into beta for all three. Amazingly I got into two beta tests Planetside and Eve.

Many Mankind players were making the move to Eve and Eve beta had half a dozen mankind corporations in it, the largest of which was Xenotech, which the likes of Lungorthin and myself joined. I dipped in and out of beta for Eve because my Planetside addiction had blossomed by that time and I couldn’t quite get into Eve back then. I found myself on the command staff of the largest outfit in Planeside the 666th Devildogs and was playing that a hell of a lot.

When Eve went gold there was a huge exodus of Mankind players across to Eve and many notable corps were formed including Hooded Monk Mining Industries, Confederation of the Red Moon, Eye of God, Aquelia Stellaris, Xenotech, Clan black Scorpions and my own team from Mankind Fight Club Soap Industries.

Ghostwing and Tyler Durden from Fight club joined Eve immediately it went gold and set up Fight Club Soap Industries. The corporation settled up in the Citadel region and made the Kaimon system home. At this time I was still charging around in Planetside ordering hundreds of New Conglomerate Soldiers to their deaths and spamming the 666th forum in my usual style Wink

I kept in touch with the guys in Eve through our old Fight Club forum and at the beginning of July decided I would give Eve another go. I bought the game, created Blacklight (the name I’d used in Mankind since day one) and sailed on up from Kisogo my starting system to Kaimon to get signed up.

Fight Club grew to about 8 or so guys as more of the team from Mankind came over to Eve. Eventually Ghostwing, Tyler Durden, SingleJack, Fcfirststrik, Jackson Freeburn, FCFirstright, Skilo and myself all came over from Fight Club in Mankind to Eve. At about this time I bumped into a guy called Captain Fringe fighting NPCs at a gate in Citadel chatted too him and we ended up recruiting him and a RL friend of his MavericktheGreat.

My brother, Stevie, had never got into MMOGs when we used to play Mankind but had started playing Planetside with me and obviously hooked on the cyberworld and interested by my enthusiastic rantings about Eve also joined up. Two other gamers came over from Planetside at this time drawn by DG & I posting about Eve on the 666th forums, so NeoGhost and Powder came to Eve and joined us in Fight Club.

With Fight Club expanding nicely so began the dreams of world domination and we began to look for ways to strengthen and enlarge the team. We shared Kaimon with another corporation at the time and soon a merger was affected. So came Gupster, Joffa Fett, TKLONEWOLF, Ickk and LordSpliffsend into Fight Club. There we have it upto about mid-August of last year the formation of a core group in Eve that stayed together, at least in part, through over a year of gaming, a falling out of old friends, participation in alliances and at least 3 corporations…. but more of all that to follow Wink

So we’d built up a corp of about 25-30 accounts, all very close-knit, good mates and a relaxed atmosphere. We more or less had Kaimon to ourselves, had decent minerals in Kaimon (for a 0.8 system) and better minerals/npcs only a few more jumps north. We bought an infinite run Moa bpc from our ex-Mankind friends in HMMI (for a knockdown 15mill) and basically set about becoming a self sufficient empire based corp of carebears.

Gradually the corp continued to increase in size by the odd account here and there, people got skilled up more and more and the itchy feet started to set in. We made our first few tentative steps into 0.0 up towards Tribute and Pure Blind. Back in those days M3G4 corp, Space Invaders, Jokers and others were running riot up in the north and the famous Jan blockade prevented access to the North East. Needless to say we got ganked a fair bit on our initial forays out into 0.0. I remember us chatting about the fact that if only we could get 5 or 6 of us in our Moa’s out there then we’d be good to go. The first time we managed those numbers a M3G4 Apocalypse ripped us a new asshole lol!

It was about this time (late September early October probably) that “The Great Battleship Race” started. All anyone could talk about was whether they had the skills to fly a battleship or not and how we were going to build them. DG and I were the very lucky benefactors of a gift of an Apocalypse and an Armageddon (don’t ask!) at this time, which wowed all of us. We couldn’t believe the size of the things & felt invulnerable in them, oh the naivety! So off DG and I sailed in our shiny new BS with medium lasers on!

Struggling to get access to any 0.0 space without dying a lot we started to migrate to Gehi and down into CFS space every weekend for Sunday mining ops. We’d head down with 8 to 12 of us on a Saturday evening and on Sunday we’d do a group-mining op for Bistot and Crokite. Then I’d haul our weekend’s load back to Kaimon and we’d spend the week mining commons to build BS. We were up to about 2 or 3 a week and thought we were the bee’s knees! DG and I also started experimenting with NPC hunting in 0.0 and even managed to fit large guns to our battleships!

I can clearly remember the nerve wracking intensity of trying to hunt Sansha’s NPC or cover the corp mining ops with just DG and I in our BS, barely able to fit large guns and really looking back on it being barely up to the task! How we managed to keep that Geddon and Apoc for so long (we literally had them months before they died) I do not know!

So we approach the end of the year, many of us in Fight Club have really started expanding our horizons and really want to get into pvp. There’s more and more of us flying around in BS even becoming moderately competent in them and looking for some adventure. We NPC hunt in Syndicate and down south below Khanid quite a lot, LordSplifsend starts an amazing trading career and coins his piratedodger nickname for constantly running the PF/FD blockade and things are generally moving out towards 0.0 but as a corp we remain firmly based in Kaimon.

The guy that really broke the mould for us was Maverickthegreat. Mav was always one of the wildest and most adventurous and would frequently get into places he shouldn’t and places we still considered too dangerous. One weekend he upped and headed off through PF/FD and into Syndicate and the Outer Ring in his Thorax. I can just remember how nervous I was about us all following him down there. At the time I can remember that we were forever losing cruisers, like 5 to 10 a week because people were trying to stretch themselves and explore. It felt incredibly reckless to have a few of us go trucking down to the Outer Ring to hook up with Mav who was reporting how great the resources were down there.

So DG, myself, Mav and some of the other more adventurous members of the team upped sticks and moved out to 4C-B7X, which was the beginning of the end for Fight Club. We soon made a load of friends amongst the locals, mined it up a storm and learnt to chain spawn NPC’s in our BS. We’re all having a ball out in the Outer Ring whilst half the corp is still in Kaimon “not feeling ready for 0.0 space” (when they had the same or better skills etc as those of us out in 0.0 – you can see the rift coming already!).

Then one day this guy called Umlat appears out of nowhere in 4C with some other guys from the Geeklab corporation. Umlat asks in local who is up for forming a “no strings attached, informal society” of corporations in the Outer Ring to provide mutual protection against pirates. Almost to a man everyone in the area thinks this is a good idea and The Outer Ring Society was born.

Needless to say those of us out in OR think this is wonderful, DG and I are well excited because we’re in a real alliance, in 0.0 space no less!! The stay at home types in Fight Club are less comfortable and the rift between the adventurous and conservative halves of the corp begins.

ORS goes from strength to strength as more of the area’s legitimate corps join up and both DG and I agree we need to be at the forefront of this fledgling alliance. We therefore wade into the politics, organization and generally participate wholeheartedly in the development of ORS. Almost immediately Umlat’s desire for ultimate power in the region becomes apparent, he declares himself de-facto ruler of ORS and controls the alliance with threats of violence.

Most of us go along with Umlat, to be fair to the guy much of what he did was good for everyone back then, we’d have been a badly organized rabble and easy pickings for m0o, c0w and TLBC who are the notable pirates in the area. However, Umlat made as big a mess out of his interpersonal interactions and his approach to running the alliance as I have ever seen. So needless to say despite the fact that the alliance is growing and developing bitterness and resentment starts to grow.

It was at this time, the early days in OR, that we got our first real taste of pvp i.e. not the one-sided “shit I just got ganked again by ten bad guys at the jump in point to Obe” but actually fighting back. The sweaty palms, shaking hands, thumping heart and general feeling of panic I felt in my first fleet battle with m0o is well documented elsewhere so let’s just say I loved it!

Back to the tale of the ORS banana republic and the Umlat style of management culminates with him declaring that ORS is only allowed to exist under Fountain Alliance’s sufferage and that he has the backing of Evolution and Fountain. Declaring that it’s his way or suffer the consequences Umlat really starts to lose it. Crowning moments at this time were the way he booted Thaibog out of ORS for not doing as he was told (he was told to gank a guy he had been chatting to for 10 mins and who he was asking to leave the OR area peacefully, Thai refused and Umlat’s toys went sailing out of his pram!), threatening the whole alliance that if we disobeyed him Evolution would come and blow us all up and him declaring war on Arcadia despite us not really having the muscle or experience to pull it off.

Umlat makes DG & I official officers of ORS at this time (just prior to Christmas 2003) which we accept thinking “holy shit someone needs to keep this lunatic under control and influence the situation”. The fact that we accept the position creates a rift with some of the stay at home in Kaimon carebears in Fight Club and things within the corp really start to deteriorate. Some of us were thinking “we can put up with this idiot in ORS until we’ve mined some more rares and found a better place to live in 0.0” others wanted to over throw Umlat and still others just had their panties in a knot about being anywhere other than the safety of Kaimon.

The good times back then were when Umlat was not online or was on an even keel and we used to do a LOT of pirate hunting. Lots of the more capable pvpers in NORAD now are the same guys who back then used to go and camp PF/FD hunting m0o, c0w and TLBC. Happy days ganking pirates J

The internal pressure in Fight Club finally comes to a head with SingleJack accusing DG and I of putting ORS and our own personal interests above that of the corporation. A couple of days of mudslinging occur and eventually DG and I leave Fight Club to start Tranquility Drinkers Club (still love that corp name!) as joint CEO’s. Half a dozen FC pilots, mostly those who had originally come to Eve from mankind, remain with SingleJack in FightClub and Ghostwing takes over as CEO. Approximately 20-25 pilots come to TDC to join DG and I.

If truth be told the difference in playing styles between Singlejack, DG & I really broke the whole corporation back then and even after forming TDC it wasn’t quite the same. We lost a few players out of the game and enthusiasm dipped.

Two TDC pilots really start pushing back at Umlat about this time, Lungorthin and Kiruren. They constantly challenge him and stir up a shit storm. In the background DG and I are being approached by ORS CEO’s and members constantly to do something about Umlat. Myggan in particular is conversing with DG in secret and we are all hatching plans and conspiring all over the place. Eventually on one fateful evening the bubble bursts and I take the floor in the alliance channel, declaring that Umlat was out of order, that I withdrew my support for him and so on. About 6 or 7 other CEO’s all speak up most notable of which was Ariakas the then CEO of Black Nova Corporation and all hell breaks loose.

ORS continues under Umlats rule but the 6 ‘traitor’ corporations form the NORAD alliance. Both groups occupy the same territory in the Outer Ring and there is friction between the groups, amplified by more and more corporations adding replacing ORS with NORAD in their corp descriptions. NORAD is a true democracy borne out of the tyranny of a dictatorship and all the CEO’s vow that history will never repeat itself in the Outer Ring, hence NORAD’s strong adherence to the one vote one corp democratic approach to decision making.

I took the best part of a month out of Eve at that time to get a break from the game and from all the politics and shit that had been going down. The break up of Fight Club was a personal blow as the guys I fell out with had been mates in Mankind for over 2 years and I’d met some of them in real life. I’d really wanted ORS to work (the name’s cooler than NORAD!) and I had to a certain degree betrayed Umlat’s trust in the way I helped to dethrone him. I needed a break and took one, as did DG, in fact we had 3 weeks of partying and skiing over Christmas and New Year which was the real life fun and games needed to take the sour edge off the cyber world stuff!

When I came back to Eve in January NORAD had absorbed 90% of the ORS corporations and there was an uneasy truce between NORAD and ORS with little temper tantrums flaring up between the two here and there. As a consequence of our involvement in the overthrow of Umlat a lot of dialogue and cooperation went on between TDC and BNC, friendships started to form between DG, myself and Myggan, Ariakas, Melchior & Cell. It didn’t take long to work out that a merger of TDC and BNC would be to everyone’s advantage. Early in 2004 the merger happens, 90% of the active TDC members join BNC and I become the Director of Diplomacy for BNC.

BNC had recently merged several other corps including Swedish Vikings into the team and adding TDC seemed to give the corp some serious critical mass. I remember us growing more, adding some really good people and having more and more influence in NORAD. We spent a lot of time fighting Geeklab, hunting pirates and leading NORAD’s defense.

CCP then introduce player owned stations and everyone in Eve decides they need one! We make arrangements to have scouts out hunting all over the map looking for them as soon as the game comes back after downtime. As it turns out there were none in the Outer Ring, Cloud Ring was taken by Arcadia Alliance who lived there, which left Fade as the next nearest opportunity. Typically we missed the boat, of the three capturable stations in fade Arcadia grabbed one, CHON grabbed one and a few local corporations banded together to take the refinery in C4C-Z4.

I’m working from home one afternoon about 2 or 3 days after the capturable stations are released and log onto Eve. Myggan and I are bored so in typical myggan style (and I did kind of have a reputation for resolving diplomatic incidents with cruise missiles) he suggests going and taking the station in Fade not currently owned by an Arcadia or NORAD alliance corp. myggan, Thaibog, myself and about 5 or 6 others set off to Fade. We group up on the C4C-Z4 gate in L-C307 and jump into C4C. Myggan immediately declares in local “we want the station, move away and you will not be harmed” or some other more mangled English declaration. Before the words are even typed we’re on our way to the station to find a group of locals camped around it in battleships. They engage as soon as we come out of warp and a fight ensues. We royally kick their arses and gank half a dozen ships.

So commences the RSA war!

The official standpoint from NORAD on Fade was that as the North of Eve was so plagued by pirates at that time we needed to safeguard the route into Cloud and Outer Rings for both NORAD and Arcadia. We decided with Arcadia that holding the stations and holding Fade would help keep the pirates (Forsaken Empire etc.) out of our home territory. That’s all true and that is the political reason why we made the move. However, it kicked off the way it did because myggan and I were bored and wanted to blow some shit up!

BNC then take up occupancy in C4C-Z4, move our assets up, set up shop and start mining & NPC hunting. We set minimal fees on the station and impose the same mining rules that we’d used so successfully down in the Outer Ring on all the local corps mining in the area. To be honest we really did try to help organize things, make the area safe and profitable for all. We also didn’t really see any evidence that there was any kind of alliance working in the area. Melchior Zaal (then a BNC Director) invited a Swedish corporation called North Star Networks up into the area to work with us & that’s how the friendship between NSN and BNC was born (even though they are PA atm I am still mates with the likes of Graltok, Bamsefar etc.. from NSN).

Many of the local corporations were genuinely appreciative of what BNC were doing in fade and we didn’t really anticipate problems but they occurred. A number of the local corporations lead by the ebil Phonix and Sweatysack (who were BNC public enemies number 1 and 2 for doing this) formed the Rising Storm Alliance and attempted to remove BNC.

In order to counter the fact that BNC was quite numerous and prosperous (this was the first golden age for BNC, we were on a high) the RSA made a pact with Forsaken Empire to help remove us. One fateful evening FE attacked a mixed BNC and local fleet decimating it. As it turned out members of our fleet in supposedly allied corps had been passing intel to the enemy fleet and betrayed BNC, that was really the night of long knives and the start of a low point for BNC.

We ended up with many of us scattered and trapped all over the north west of Eve, in Fade and down in Cloud and Outer Rings. There were BNC players trapped in the station in C4C-Z4 who could not get out without being ganked by FE and RSA pilots. We had a very low week or two trying to recover and regain Fade. In the end two daring night raids one led by Sledgehammer, not sure who led the other rescued the trapped pilots and a lot of BNC hardware.

This was a low point for the corporation though. We lost several key personnel and the corp lost momentum after taking a licking from FE. Ariakas stepped down as CEO and left Eve to deal with some real life issues, Sledgehammer left at the same time as did Michael Cybermac and our then military director Tealnye - four of the senior management team including the CEO gone in a matter of weeks. So the corp had a period of reorganization and recuperation.

Following Ariakas’s departure the remaining Directors discussed his replacement and stitched me up with the job Wink I think this must have been around March time but can’t remember at the moment. With DG as Chief Operating Officer (a position he’d taken to support Ariakas as CEO) we set out to appoint a new management team, to deliver on the goals the corp had set itself and to regain the corp’s honour by kicking the shit out of RSA.

There is a long strategy document I’ll have to dig out sometime that deals with our long-term aims for BNC, we started developing it before Ari left and it was the template for a lot of what’s happened in BNC over the last 6 months. You’ll all laugh when you read it and hopefully it will illustrate just what we’ve achieved, there really was a plan all along Wink

BNC then spent weeks fighting tooth and nail up in Fade against RSA and Forsaken Empire, it was always more about proving we could not be kicked out and regaining our pride than actually winning Fade back. To a certain extent Fade and owning a station had been a fun experiment but wasn’t the be all and end all for us.

We soon bumped into Reikoku, Deathstar International and Celestial Apocalypse who were all also fighting FE and therefore RSA by association. Out of this conflict was born the strong friendship between BNC & Reikoku and more personally my friendship with DB Preacher and Galavet.

That was a new high time in Eve for me and the birth of BNC’s second golden age. A combined BNC, NORAD, Reikoku, Celestial Apocalypse and Huff fleet engaged FE in one of the largest and longest fleet engagements of Eve. I had the honour of commanding a total of approaching 120 people that day and I believe that battle was the first time the elite pvp corp Forsaken Empire had ever been driven off the field of battle.

It was working with the likes of DB Preacher, Galavet, Toulak, Bandit and Frakri that taught me a lot about pvp and fleet commanding. Undoubtedly the RSA war was where I really earnt my fleet spurs.
After many weeks of fighting RSA finally agreed to terms that ended the war, RSA died and Fade Union was born. Again I was lucky enough that the likes of DB, Galavet and Toulak allowed me to represent our little coalition in negotiations that ended the war.

So I find myself as CEO of quite a large, now battle hardened corporation on a high from winning a war that’s been away from home in the Outer Ring off and on for months. That’s when we entered our major growth phase, when I really started thinking of us as being in the big league and when, for me at least, I felt we could call ourselves a pvp corp.

I then concentrated on maintaining our image as a pvp corp, growing the corporation and working towards the goals we’d set ourselves in the strategy for BNC.

When we returned home to the Outer Ring we pretty much helped finish Geeklab off once and for all. Where they had been ganking the odd euro miner from NORAD who was having a late night in game the geeks suddenly found themselves faced with a returning BNC with a larger US time zone contingent and a thirst for pvp. To be fair Geeklab's guerilla tactics had been succeeding against NORAD but they couldn’t handle us. Geeklab logged on less and less, lost more and more ships and eventually faded away.

It was also at this time that I started talking a lot more to some old friends from Mankind currently in HMMI in Stain Alliance. For various reasons the HMMI folks felt that it was time for something different and time to leave Stain, we had renewed close ties and so HMMI left SA on good terms and came to the Outer Ring and NORAD as BNC’s sister corp. My goal was always to complete a full merger but I guess sometimes baby steps are needed!

BNC and HMMI therefore shared a chat channel in game and used that as our corp chat and gradually came to do more or less everything together. The inevitable happened and after a couple of months of this HMMI merged into BNC. The merger kind of coincided with some other BNC directors becoming inactive and another management reorganization happened with HMMI Directors taking up Director positions in BNC.

As a corp we then continued to sally forth to anywhere other than in NORAD space, hunting pirates, the remnants of FE and CA.

BNC started aggressively recruiting pvp oriented and experienced pilots from other NORAD corporations. DG and I took an even more active role within NORAD, helping to continue shaping the alliance with the recruitment of corporations like Snarling Halibut, ORC and TheMM. We conducted a lot of successful merger activity in this period as well, in fact we really raped a lot of NORADs other corps in a drive to make BNC the biggest and best. Not sure how ethical all of that was in hindsight but did it achieve the goal and as the CEO would I want to do anything different – yes it did and no I wouldn’t!

I guess that really brings us more or less up to date. After 6 or 7 months of me being CEO of BNC we finally took the final step in the strategy document that a group of Directors agreed to back when Ariakas was CEO – we went independent! Funny that we first planned this before I was CEO and then I got the opportunity to help make it happen.

That’s pretty much the story of my life in Eve and funnily I guess that reading back up it’s also a history of Black Nova Corporation since Tranquility Drinkers Club merged back at the start of this year. I love this game, it has its highs and it’s lows but it’s simply the greatest MMOG ever invented!

That's copied from a post I made quite a while ago now and doesn't cover all the events from the start of the Great Northern War onwards... so more to follow later!

3 comments:

Earthan said...

Great read Blacklight, nice nostalgia of these days.

I was Ceo of my own small corp when i found OR and moved there, but i virtually moved there with another more pilot, rest was to afraid.
I remmber my first fight against MOO , not sure if it was same you wrote.I was hapless running aroudn with dominix with antimatter ammo, not being able to shoot anything as everything was at 60 km+ lol.

I left with Tahibog when he was booted , had a big argument with Umlaut the big sick asshole...

We had like a few month of triipign around Eve hilarious stories, i was dreaming and very unsecsefully trying to form my own alliance , he got away to join BNC.After some time he convinced me to joinj to...:)

Earthan said...

Lol reminded me now of my first minign in 0.0 we tried to mine ore from Fountain alliance territory, dark ochre from the system near the aridia end i think last + sys is hohip..

I had to convince my corp mates for ages so they did it lol...

We had no bs, had like 2 thorax , 1 moa as defence, and soem other ships.

All was great till FA dominx crashed the party lol.I didnt even try to fight was prolly fiorst time i saw a bs closer , we bugged out while our defence moa bravelyy sacrificed hiimself lol.

We got like , i still remmber, 4 milions out of the whole minig wich seemd really great then...

But next tiem i was scouting OR i was left for long time alone dont knwo why lol

thaibog said...

Great read BL......brings back some great memories..especially the attack on C4C...was a lot of great times eh earth? catch you all laters