2020 should have been the year were I set foot on Iceland for the first time in my life. Due to Covid, it did not happen. Instead, I achieved something I thought I never would.
I was a veteran of a war that was only covered as a side note. While Pandemic Horde destroyed what was left of Guardians of the Galaxy in the North, WinterCo’s European timezone was heavily outnumbered in Detorid. The fight against Legacy during 2019 had taken it’s toll on my motivation to participate in the daily nullsec-business. They said we should rebuild. Rebuild from what? We had pulled off a flawless evacuation.
No, I didn’t want to rebuild. I didn’t want to go krabbing. If I undocked my DED-Loki, it was because there was just nothing else to do.
During my time with Blades, I wrote a bachelor thesis, graduated from university. Found a job, moved town, and settled into a new live. Eve and you where a constant during this time of change.
I wanted explosions. I wanted to roam, tackle. Bite and not let go. I wanted to fight these roaming gangs that came through our space. I was intrigued by the wormhole groups that showed up out of nowhere and somehow managed to kill the three carriers that got dropped on them one by one and with a third of our numbers.
Soon, I started to follow them around in my Malediction, posted them in Intel-channels, sometimes tackling their slower ships to annoy them. But without backup that was pretty much all I could do to them: Being an annoyance. That wasn’t enough.
I’m leaving you with a shimmering, bpo-colored tear in my eye.
But also with a lot of fond memories and a smile.
Thank you all for everything.
I greatly enjoyed my stay, but now it’s time for me to move on.
It made me sad to admit it, but the group I fought with over Tenerifis against RAZOR (shout-out to them) and later over Detorid against the whole lot of Legacy and FI.RE could not provide the kind of play style I was looking for anymore. I just did not care to build another sandcastle here in the Drone Lands, far from anything. That’s when I began to read through recruitment posts.
The first group I joined was a disappointment. After the usual X-Ray procedures I had to find out that their European timezone consisted of two people that rarely joined voice comms at all. Never trust recruiters from another timezone.
A Single Line
At that point I had been listening to the <10 Podcast since it first launched in June 2019. I can’t recall when the Podcast got it’s own Discord server. Sadly, I could not find the original post. But I remember it wasn’t more than a single line.S omething of the like:
New C2 small gang corp looking for pilots to PvP with.[OWL.] TIn Beren
A single sentence. But it included everything I was looking for a the time: A fresh start in a very different setting. I gave it a shot. After an interview on Teamspeak and a formal login into SeAT, an invite to the corporation Strix Ridens popped up in my in-game notifications.
I moved my stuff, wrote the previous recruiter a short farewell-notice and clicked the button. With that single click I became a chaotic neutral: Indifferent to nullsec politics and eventual diplomatic agreements. We had and have no blues. And I have zero regrets.
The First Few Months
My first insecurities about naming bookmarks, saving in the correct folders and rolling our static nullsec connection got replaced with a confidence you eventually get by just doing things. Again and again. Over time I dare to say learned most of the meta. Managed to survive on a difficult grid better and better. I got even better at dual-boxing and evaluating situations; When it’s time to take range and when it’s time to ram; And still learning that.
Due to the first waves of COVID ravaging over Europe, a lot of us were stuck inside. Every night we got a strong group together and had an amazing time over Spring and Summer 2020. We roamed through the lands of plenty. In the process, I had become what I once feared.
This time produced such memorable moments as the fight over Alex Meyer’s Nyx (some members of the German community may remember the name). He got himself into trouble be clicking “yes” on a fleet-invite and the following fleet-warp to a site, far off his cozy Keepstar-tether. We held the grid for almost an hour, constantly defanging and re-bubbling the Nyx. Two FAX warped in to it’s rescue, but only one landed close enough for reps. The other managed to land in a drag bubble. Together with the kitchen sink, a small Hurricane and Caracal fleet showed up for defence.
Even a Smartbombing Rokh MJD’d on top of the Super Carrier in a desperate attempt to clear bubbles. In the end, Volta showed up with a full Sacrilege fleet to finish the job. The killmarks on my Zealot fondly remember me of this day.
The Horns of War
In late 2020 Nullsec prepared for war. The Non-Invasion-Pact ran out, got broken, or cancelled. Whatever. The result was the same: Everyone an their mom packed up and went to Delve. As a result the places once full of players going after their daily business of mining, ratting, logistics and the defense of those activities died down. Nobody was home to play with and we experienced a drought of content opportunities.
After a couple of months some groups got tired of waging war and pulled back from the front lines; Began to resume their money-making activities. But the biggest blocks still fight in Delve and it’s surrounding regions. In spring 2021, Querious had become an interesting space to roam through. The fact Legacy is trying to establish itself in the area brings again people out looking to raise ADMs. Even in European timezones, one may find smaller scaled opportunities for PvP – if one can avoid the roaming fleets of hundreds of capsuleers formed by the warring factions.
But we can’t have a good wormhole connection every night. Just as we don’t get good connections to trade hubs for days. Eventually, one has to work with what one gets. And occasionally, that may be very little compared to the summer times of 2020.
Change lies in the air like a thunder storm in August. It first came with the blocs going to war. Then a patch changed the Encounter Surveillance Systems dramatically, offering some interesting new mechanics. Also changes to HACs, Marauders and Interdictors happened. Now CCP is looking to shake the foundations of Industry. It will make some of our beloved toys very expensive. Others less so. Time will tell.
While writing this, I’m listening to the episode 43 of the <10 Podcast with Amelia Duskspace. I come to think what kind of change would benefit the small gang playstyle the most. Right now it seems to be one thing to me:
How groups centralize themself. I believe Eve would be an overall better game if their players would have more reasons to split up into smaller groups more. It hopefully would result in less “big blobs or nothing” situations.
The adaptation of the Dynamic Bounty System was a step towards that. I hope this goes even further. Maybe the frequently mentioned resource-redistribution can add to it soon™.
I’m carefully optimistic.
Thanks @Leadershits for giving me chance to fly and learn with this awesome corp.
Thank you, Strix Ridens.