Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Magic of New Eden

I have been sitting here drinking coffee and reading several articles and blog posts on the destruction of the now legendary battle in B-R5BR when a thought occurred to me: What drew me into the magic of New Eden?

I remember when playing WoW (yes, I was one of THOSE people) seeing ads for EVE on sites like TenTonHammer and Wowhead and being intrigued.  I also knew a few WoW addicts who played and said the learning curve was stupid high in comparison.  It was on of my guild mates in my raiding guild that finally got me to try it in 2008.  Now we all remember how the game was 6 years ago, at lest those of us that have been around awhile.  The graphics, while amazing at the time, cant hold a candle to what we have now.  I still remember being engrossed by the scope of the game.  I remember joining E-UNI because I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing.  I remember the 8 jumps from where I was based at (Poinen I believe) to Korsiki and thinking it was the longest travel of my life.  I remember thinking I was going to get lost and never find my way back.  I remember training up a ton of skills to 3 and then starting the learning skills.  Now I had no intention of ever pvping when I initially started.  That didn't come until a few years later.

Now the thing that drew me in was also the most intimidating.  The size of the galaxy, the shear number of things one can do in the game, the ability to NEVER be pigeon holed into one set thing like in other games: You are only restricted by your skills and the time and isk you are willing to invest into what you want to do.  All these things appealed to me. The one thing that terrified me to no end was losing a ship that I couldn't afford to replace.  Like most new players, especially missioners or PVEers in general, I wanted to get into where I could make the good money and have the most fun the fastest.  This meant rushing into a Drake for us Caldari folks. And rush I did. I was able to fly one at the bare minimum in less than three months.

 I will never forget the Unista who bought it for me, Neville Smit.  I remember station spinning in it and being so excited! I was in a Battlecruiser! It sounded so awesome to me at the time.  Now obviously I had no idea how to fit the ship, let alone fit it properly.  It mattered not. I did L3s in it anyway.  The first few days were great, albeit slower than I expected for a ship that sounded to me like it should be wrecking havoc on the battlefield of missions. Then it happened. I got L3 Worlds Collide.  I still didn't have a huge grasp at what I was doing.  I still didn't have a FULL T2 shield tank, it was close but not close enough.  I was about halfway into the mission when I realized my ship had bitten off more than it could chew.  "it is okay", I told myself. " I will just warp back to station, dock, repair, and do it again.  I aligned to my base and hit the warp button: Nothing happened!!! That is when I noticed I was warp scrambled by one of the frigates.  I frantically locked him up and started flinging missiles at him. I heard my low shield alarm going off.  I was frantic.  Why was this frigate not dying? I didn't understand it. Half armor now and my palms were sweating. I hit my armor alarm just as I got the frigate into structure. I had a T1 DCU equipped and thought I was going to be okay. I was wrong. Just as I killed the frig and mashed warp I heard the final scream from my structure alarm and BAM.  I was in a pod.  I couldn't believe it.  Just like that my beautiful Drake was gone.  I couldn't fathom or understand how it happened. I was in "Mighty BattleCruiser" and I was destroyed by inferior ships.  I frantically told people in the UNI chat about my loss and if anyone had 8 mil isk to lend so I could buy a new one.  I only had like 10 or 11 mil at the time and Drakes were around 18 mil in Jita (those were the days). a few people had me link the loss mail in chat.  I did and was immediately ridiculed for my tank and mods.  I was then told something that has stuck with me ever since (and yes I have broken the rule a couple of times since and paid the price, but sometimes the high risk high reward gets you lol): The Golden Rule of Eve- Never fly something you cannot afford to lose.  I was devastated.  I didn't like the Caracal or L2 missions.  It devastated me so much that I quit the game.  I did some mining until my account expired and went back to WoW.

I went back to raiding full time in my guild and rode out the rest of Wrath of the Lich King.  I had a few RL issues happen that year: My marriage hit a huge hurdle and we separated for almost a year, I broke my back at work and was on disability, and right before my guild finished Hardcore Lich King my PC died.  I didn't get another computer until late 2010 when Cataclysm came out.  It was a shitty one i bought for $150 from my nephew. But it played WoW and I was happy.  I was back at work at this point and the wife and I had reconciled. Then it happened. A friend of mine was telling me about Eve.  He said there were a bunch of changes and new ships. Alliances had fallen and rose form the ashes. I was bored with WoW and the constant gear grind that I didn't really have time for.  I said WTH and had him send me a link for a buddy account.  I couldn't remember my information for my original account which had Rylia on it at almost 9 mil SP. This is how my alt was born.  I chose Amarr this time around and started from scratch. The UNI had an amazing wiki up this time around, and I took it upon myself to read everything and anything I could to insure my drake mishap never happened again.  It was during this time frame that Neville told me I could get my account back by putting in a ticket. I did so and after some questions and a change of email address Rylia was back i action.  By now I had invested a ton of time into my alt. He could fly Amarr cruisers and BCs at 4 with full T2 armor and shield tanks.  I had decent support skills(most at 3) and was starting to put in T2 energy Turrets. I had drones( the one thing that would have saved my drake was I couldn't field drones and therefore couldn't kill that frig fast enough). I wasn't paying for WoW anymore so could afford two accounts and was working on Rylia's tank skills to get her up to par with my alt.

This is where my focus would change forever.  My friend in the UNI who got me to come back encouraged me to join a battlegroup and try some pvp.  I still didn't like the concept of it: If I died I lose my ship and maybe my pod with my implants(albeit cheap ones, thank god for no more learning skills!).  It was a true risk to me.  To help out he bought me 5 Blackbirds and 5 griffins, since I had expressed an interest in ECM since I was an Avionics Tech in the Navy and had worked on Radar and ECM aircraft in the Navy.  I fitted them up as the Wiki suggested and watched the Battlegroup channel for X ups.

It was about two days later when I got into my first fleet. I was so beyond nervous it hurt.  I had done a ton of reading on how to fly ECM (thank you to my now good friend Eion Xis for his amazing ECM guide) and thought myself ready.  We had a typical UNI blob of about 100 and were headed to Rancer to play around with pirates.  I was so nervous as we landed on the gate and sent scouts in.  I listened to comms with anticipation, noticing that my adrenaline was pumping while they tried to find a target.  Then I heard it "Point on Apoc at Planet 5 belt 1" followed rapidly by " Fleet jump jump jump and warp to XXXX". I mashed the jump button and right clicked on the pilots name in fleet and clicked warp to at 50 km. I landed in chaos.  In the time it took us to land on grid the Apoc called for back up.  50 Ships were on the field, including 2 Archons! I had never seen a cap before and forgot my bearings as clicked look at to take a closer look! Someone yelled where are jams and I jolted from my euphoric state and started locking jam targets.  I had a few ships jammed in my griffin and was thoroughly enjoying myself, when I heard an all too familiar alarm.  I was targeted and in armor!  We had a couple of Ospreys with us and i caught a few reps. I tired jamming out my aggressors when my Griffin finally succumbed to the onslaught and popped.  A second later I was back in Aldrat in a new clone.  I was shaking from the engagement.  Never before had I thought that a game would be that tense and that exciting.

I was hooked.

Over the next few weeks I was active in the battlegroup forums and read up on everything pvp related I could get my hands on.  I joined fleets and jammed people.   I worked on my ECM skills and started working towards interceptors.  I was having more fun than I thought possible. That is when it happened.  I noticed in Poinen local (I still based here for missioning to fund my cheap ecm boats) a new corp starting up that was specializing in PvP and was in the Yulai Federation Alliance.  I was intrigued so sent a convo. After brief interview we talked it over and it sounded like a good fit.  As much as I was having fun in the Uni I wanted to experience null sec space and the pvp there.  I said my goodbyes in the Uni, dropped roles and joined Syndax Corp.  I moved from Poinen to Isazawa and sent a Jump Clone to our base in null at M-M in the Great Wildlands.  I adjusted nicely over the next couple of months and went on some roams as an inty.  It was a blast and i loved it ( i even managed to rat in a drake to make extra isk, and even managed to lose one to being dumb and not checking dscan lol).

I was having fun, pew pewing in null, carebearing in null, and generally just having a good time.  I still felt something was missing though. I couldn't put my finger on it.  I had been back in game for almost 6 months and was finally learning how to focus my character's skills. I had hit a few financial issues in RL and couldn't always keep my alt account open and wasn't making enough isk to plex it. finding what was missing happened by accident. I logged into TS and the game one night to hear that an Agony roam was coming our way and to ship up and meet at a rally point. I may have been generally new to pvp, but even I knew Agony's reputation and was excited for a chance to see it in action. I grabbed my Crow, joined fleet, and met up at the rally. I was asked to +1 with a couple of other inties and we started hunting for them.  We jumped a few systems ahead and found a few agony in local.  The order was given to hunt them down and grab one. I hit my dscan and found a drake sitting at a planet at 0 I mashed the warp key and landed 15km off of him! I quickly targeted him and called point. Just then (all drakes = bait drakes!) local spiked on both sides as Agony and Yulai jumped their respective fleets in. I was taking heavy fire from the drake and popped just as both fleets landed. I quickly got my pod out, went back and reshipped into another crow and made best speed back to the fight.  The battle was somewhat of a stalemate, with my catching a couple agonites as they started trying to warp off of field.  We gave GFs in local and made our way back home.  I then got the convo that would change my eve life forever.

I had read Glepp's guide to interceptors daily. I ha absorbed it into my being and lived by it. So when I got a convo from Glepp, I about shit myself lol. He told my I was a decent inty and gave friendly advice to the mistakes I made.  He also suggested I drop an app to Agony. I was floored! Here was someone I considered to be one of the best Inty pilots in the game, saying word for word "You are decent, let Agony make you great"  I was in shock.  I let it sink in for a few days, when he hit me up again "Y u no app???"  So I did what every self respecting pilot would do: I Apped to Agony Unleashed. Not a week passed between my app, my interview, and Carver sending me the convo: "You're in.  Welcome to Agony, Brother."  I couldn't believe it! Here I am as green as can be, and now accepted to on of the premier pvp corps in the game!

Most of you have read my Agony blogs and know I was fairly successful there. You also know I have now moved on to Wormholes. My adventures in New Eden started small just as any pilot's.  My love for New Eden has grown.  The ability to see any region on any given day, to make new friends...and new enemies, to not do the same thing twice or hunt he same targets from day to day to talk to people all over the world and learn about different cultures.  For me that is the magic of Eve.  It is what has me log in daily. It is what now has me at 4 accounts, only one of which I pay for.  It is what has shaped me into the pilot I am today.  The complexity of the game and the community is what has made Eve successful the last 11 years, and will hopefully allow it to thrive for another decade.

So I say unto you Pilots of New Eden, both old and new.  Enjoy everyday you can log in. Don't be afraid to take AFGs to keep from burning out. Try new things and explore all you can. It is a big universe after all, the largest in any game world.

Interested in Wormholes? Join FCFTW Public and give a shout out.  US and EU timezones are closed except to exceptional applicants. Pop in and say hi anyway!

I hope to see you in space!

Fly Dangerously o7


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