How to Save the Alliance Tournament

If you are like me and recently read thru the CSM minutes you probably noticed a significant non-committal from CCP regarding the return of the Alliance Tournament. This was not the answer most of us were hoping for and I was more than a little disappointed that more pushback wasn't forthcoming from the CSM. Frankly I expected more. I, for one, believe the AT is an institution of Eve Online, a cornerstone event that needs to be saved and returned. Granted, there are roadblocks to doing so and many of those have an impact on Dev time and resources. But this is the Eve Community! So let's look at some ways in which the AT can be saved.

Like Eve itself, the AT is often a victim of the same old response loop. This is the way it has always been done, and that way doesn't work anymore, so we should stop doing that. As any intelligent business person will tell you, that kind of thinking leads to stagnation and eventual entropy. It is moments like this that call for innovative thinking and solutions that are often radical. The point of this is to bring the AT back, in some recognizable form, so that the institution itself remains a vital part of Eve Online. I personally believe this is critical.

"So Mr. Smarty Pants, how do we do that?"

Look, I'm not being paid to develop a proper business plan here (although I'd welcome the chance), but I think we can start by making some assumptions that could help us start along the right path. My first inclination would be to develop the AT as a profit center that is capable of tracking income, costs, and resource allocations. One way to get that started, and this isn't the only way, would be to move from a Plex based system to a direct cash system. Instead of plex, participants would pay CCP a fee to participate. (And yes I know Plex is Cash, but the origins of that are complicated. This would provide a direct method that introduces 'new' cash into the system.) 64 teams of 20 players each at $29.95 for example would result in nearly $50,000 in income to help pay for Dev time. Which is essentially 300-500 hours worth. This would help eliminate the "volunteer" argument.

But I wouldn't stop there. Additional sponsorships could be sold, perhaps even 'team' sponsorships like many eSports tournaments do today, could be considered. This would result in additional revenue streams, as would Twitch subscriptions potentially. There could be Merch tie-ins available at the Eve Store. Perhaps exclusive AT themed Skins available for viewers. Perhaps one lucky high-bidder gets to comment live during one of the matches? Maybe multiple bidders do?

I wouldn't necessarily support all of these efforts at commercializing the AT, but let's face it, either we move in that direction or we don't have an AT? I'll pick the commercialization route.

Perhaps yearly Alliance Tournaments are a burden on CCP? Maybe we need to move to a different schedule? Maybe the AT only happens once every two years? That kind of move would help alleviate the Dev pressure at CCP and also increase the enthusiasm for the event amongst the players. One problem with previous Alliance Tournaments was always the flexible schedule sometimes meant that the next AT happened less than a year from the previous one. Which was not only weird, but also time consuming.

One problem not addressed is the production itself. For the past few ATs production was handled by my friends at Eve-NT in England. This helped to also take a lot of pressure off of CCP having to run the production out of Iceland. Plus the additional cost associated with flying people in, since most of the Eve-NT commentators live in and around the studio location. What that situation is today is unknown to me as I write this quick post.

I formed A Band Apart primarily so that we could fly in the Alliance Tournament. I know when the last one was cancelled a lot of players left the game, or silently disappeared into the ether. I know of entire Alliances that dissolved because of it. The Alliance Tournament is important. Important enough to be saved and returned to the community.

How can we help make this happen?

Updates & Whatnots

Stay Frosty/ABA Black Ops
I haven't posted much this week for a very simple reason. I've made the decision to move forward with starting my own creative studio full-time and I've been busy working on building a new website, networking, and all the hundreds of other things that need done to make that happen. It has been an interesting journey these past two months. It started with a rich investor, some potentially incredible offers, my Wife taking a new and exciting position (which is going incredibly well), the end of the road for 14 years of horrible stress, and ends as it began - with me taking the plunge once more.

TLDR: It has been a busy week.

Last Saturday we joined in on Tovanis' anniversary celebration and managed to execute some hilarious Black Ops attempts along the way. Who knew you could jump a Phoenix from the Eve Gate all the way up thru Low Sec space about 20 jumps before finally getting it killed two jumps from our home system? Eve is so weird sometimes.

Fun was had. For our very first Black Ops we did surprisingly well. Lessons were learned and I think we'll be much better at it next time. We once jumped on a Drake at a Gate and lost a third of our bombers to gate guns. That was funny. We did end up catching him.

On Wednesday a few of us flew around Pure Blind with local fully operational again. It certainly does change things a bit, but generally didn't have a huge impact on our operations. The region was surprisingly busy compared to other weeks, so that's good news. We managed to have a few good fights, but nothing compared to the work we did together to capture a Kikimora. He was flying with two cloaky Tengus and a Retribution, so it took some positioning off the gates, some clever flying, and manipulation of warp distances to finally get him out alone away from his support. But it worked and there are few things as satisfying as killing a ship right in front of its support.  We even managed to grab the Retribution when it finally made it to the fight.

But the highlight of the week had to be earlier that day when I logged in to accept a contract and got pinged for a fleet immediately. Daniel, Kasal, and Fire had managed to probe down two ships running a site - a Dominix and an Orca. Not knowing anything about the situation I decided to jump into an old Raven I keep around, which I had recently re-fitted from Cruise to Rapid Heavies. We suspect that these two ships were being controlled by one person given the weird way they acted, with the Orca hanging around a bit longer than it should have. Either way, this Domi kill made my entire month. Then add in the Orca (which is rare enough in Low Sec) and that day got off on the right foot.
All of that happened within ten minutes of logging on.

If you've been reading this blog for any time at all you know I often do the dumbest things just for the fun of it. I'm the first to admit that I don't play Eve like most people. If the mood strikes me I'm as likely to put anything I fly into harms way, just for the chance to win a good fight, for the lols, or just to try something. It's that attitude that got me into a 1v1 with a RvB Thorax on a gate in my Jaguar. Thing is, I would have won that fight if it hadn't been third partied by an Ishkur. So I lost the Jaguar.
But, like all good stories, this one has a happy ending. Because Kasal and I made sure the Thorax didn't make it home.

One last story from this week. Sometimes you can be waiting on a plex gate in a Gila for your buddies to find a Vexor in the next system, when out of nowhere an Algos lands right on top of you. I guess this pilot hasn't learned the benefits of d-scanning yet. I don't enjoy killing ships grossly outclassed, but I also won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

I have no idea why some people seem to find Eve difficult or boring. Mine isn't.

Incarna Level Event

When I was at Fanfest last year part of the charity auction was key-art from each of Eve Online's expansions. I wanted to do my part and help charity, so I bid on just one of them with an eye towards ensuring I won it. The one I chose was for Incarna. And, with some crafty negotiations with several players, I made sure I did win it. Today it sits above my head and reminds me of many things.

Someday when someone writes a real history of Eve Online the Incarna expansion will be seen as a turning point in that history. For good and for bad. CCP learned several important lessons from the experience. They learned that they can't trust their own player-base. They learned that hubris alone wouldn't save them. And they learned that "Jesus" features can go horribly wrong. The players learned lessons as well, although I often wonder if they learned the right ones. No doubt that any potential of "golden ammo" in Eve is a bad idea. And certainly monocles and pants can be over-priced. But killing an entire thread of development and trying to humiliate those trying to make Eve better... I'm still not convinced that was a good idea.

The long-lasting echoes of Incarna still reverberate today. Now we get slow, drawn out expansion and developments. Although those have been building in scope over the past two years with Citadels, Drifters, and Triglavians coming into their own. The days of the major expansions has been behind us for a long time. These days I'm likely to hear from new players, "Why don't we have walking in stations? That would be so cool."  All I can say in reply is, that is a long story.

Essentially WiS was simply a case of extremely bad timing. Eve is a game about spaceships and that alone is enough of a problem for CCP to realize sometimes. (Just look at the lack of spaceships in their merchandising!) Focus on space. In the final analysis that is the most important lesson from WiS and Incarna. And technology. Let's not forget the technology upgrades that CCP has invested in since Incarna as well.

So where does this all leave us, the players? Personally I think something big needs to happen and happen soon. Since Seagull left we've lost any semblance of a roadmap to the future. No one has mentioned player built gates in forever. Or new space. Or anything that was on that old roadmap. All the updates, new races, abyssal space, everything has been solid. We can argue about the details and disagree about the ultimate impact that Citadels have had on space - but progress has been made. But I once said that the "big dream" was gone. And it still feels that way.

Eve Forever is not enough. We need to dream big again. We need it to shut up the "Eve is Dying" crowd, to attract new players and bring back old ones, to generate excitement for a game that is getting long in the tooth. All of which sounds logical.

But will it happen?

There are as many ideas about where Eve should go as there are players. Everyone has an opinion, a pet theory, or a simple guess. This however, is not our job. I can write all the words about where I think Eve should go next and nothing will happen. All I know for sure, is that something needs to happen. Something big, exciting, and powerful.

As someone who has spent a lifetime offering marketing and business advice to clients - that is my two cents worth. Regain the edge. Claim the big picture. Share the excitement. And ensure that it goes as planned. That will inject this aging game with some new found vital energy.

And then maybe, just maybe, Incarna will no longer be the turning point in Eve's storied history?

And my Incarna print will be worthless.

Eleven Years Redux

Eleven years ago my Son called me into his room and showed me a spaceship spinning in a station. He then undocked that spaceship into the dark vastness of space and what I saw hooked me for the next eleven years.

Together we flew in Wars as both defenders and conquerers. We helped save Providence and helped to destroy it, a few times over. We took Sov, both by force and by intent. We logged in simply to make sure skills kept training. We gate camped, we died by Titan area of effect weapons, and we watched as Wormholes, T3 ships, and more entered the game. We started corporations and closed them. We had a blast trying new, bold, interesting, crazy, and weird things - just because it would be fun to try.

I was once asked to prepare a proposal for my company to run the social media and PR efforts for CCP Games.

One day I decided to start writing down those adventures in an online journal I called EVEOGANDA. A place to share our adventures, and some of the weird propaganda work I had started doing for Alliance forums.

I created ads and wrote stories for a print magazine called EON. I was paid in iskies.

I believe that in the past eleven years I've literally spent millions of hours staring at spaceships in space, in station, and in real life. It didn't take long before I started drawing what I saw. One Summer I went insane and drew a LOT of spaceships trying to learn how to do it better. Those illustrations garnered some attention and before long CCP noticed. 

I went to my first Fanfest in 2015 where I met the first other person who played Eve. Soon I met hundreds more. I had dinner with Seagull and lunch with Torfi. I gave a player presentation about Fan Art and sat with Andrew and Spitfire at a round table afterwards. I was on Eve TV live sitting next to CCP Guard. And I spent two days signing autographs on posters I illustrated that were being sold at the store! 

During the Summer of Rage (Incarna) I started putting hats on my Twitter avatar and before you knew it I had put hats on over 500 other player avatars.

When the Stabber model was updated an Art Director at CCP forgot to include the frills on the Vagabond. I helped organize a community protest that resulted in them being added back, where they remain to this day.

I organized and ran several Death Races in-game, the first one ran thru Providence and maybe had a hundred pilots attend. The last one had over 400 attendees.

I organized and ran several Frigate Free-For-Alls that created extremely large red dots of destruction on the Eve map. The last one resulted in over 4,000 ship explosions. And Stay Frosty handed out over 1,000 FREE fully fitted Frigates that day.

I helped someone create a browser based side-scrolling Eve game. It worked for about three days until CCP made us take it down.

You can't travel around the Eve community without bumping into my work. In every corner you travel you are probably looking at something I created. That's pretty awesome.

I've been to three Fanfest in Iceland. I stood on top of a volcano. I've been all over the island, to the far east and far west. My wife and I have traveled to Amsterdam, Vegas, Toronto, and Alaska. And we consider hundreds of Eve players to be our dear friends. Some we've met, and some we have yet to meet.

And one day I decided to start a new corporation called Stay Frosty. Soon that grew into an entire Alliance. For the past almost seven years that group of misfits has been my pride and joy in-game. We may be "idiots of no consequence" as a trust-fund baby once described us, but we've accomplished a lot in those years. We've had solid runs in the Alliance Tournaments and in other Tournaments that have resulted in some of the most fun I've ever had in-game. We've taken Sov for fun. We've annoyed the Hell out of certain people. And we've outlasted every single one of our enemies who at one time or another promised our failure, or defeat.

For fun once I played a major role in starting a major war. For fun once I wanted to see how hard it would be to manipulate the person in Eve that everyone seems to think is the game's best manipulator - it turned out to be comically easy. So easy in fact that I lost interest in the so-called "meta" game and haven't been interested in it since.

We've had Eve players over to our home. Four times.

Funny. I didn't start writing this with the intention of listing off things I've done or experienced in the last eleven years. I truly didn't. But eleven years is a long time and I've done a lot of things I'm proud of. And a few that I am not proud of. I've made many mistakes. I also often let my depression and anger over my real life situation bleed into my game. It is challenging to keep the two apart. As much as we try, real life and Eve life are truly one and the same. I haven't always been the best version of myself. I realize, looking back lately, how unlike myself I have been from time to time in the past. Out here in the real world I had a rough fourteen years, a run that started well before I found Eve and this great community of ours.

If, at any point during the last eleven years, I've said or done anything to offend or hurt you - I sincerely apologize. That was never my intention. 

Except for a few people.

I wanted to learn what an MMO was. And I wanted to find my place. And have fun. And help others. And live life to the fullest.

I still do.

If you've read this far, thank you. Thanks for reading and for following along on this crazy adventure. If you are new here, then welcome aboard. I have no idea where the next eleven years are going, all I know is that I'll still be playing Eve. If it is still here. And if I am.

Keep the courage.

An Epic Day

The funny thing is, I didn't really have much time to play Eve yesterday. I hopped on at lunch for about thirty minutes and then again in the evening for maybe an hour or so. Which is exactly the kind of scenario that benefits the Pirate Lord's casual play style. I decided to just hop into my new Wolf fit that I've been working out and warp around the neighborhood and see what kind of trouble I could get myself into. What unfolded is one of the best days I've had in Eve in a long time.

Fight #1 - Jackdaw

Stay Frosty kills a LOT of Jackdaws. We have a couple of pilots who have become rather skilled and proficient at popping these ships. The Jackdaw has become the de facto choice for pilots running those Left Hooks, Reprisal, Dead Man plexes in Low Sec. The damn ships are everywhere and they are notoriously difficult to catch. They sit about 150k off the button and they warp away immediately. Usually.

This one was sitting right on the button. At least he fought back, most of the time they just curl up into a fetal position and wait to die.

Fight #2 - Tristan

I gotta give Rima credit here for trying. This is the kind of fight I like to get myself into, so total respect for giving this a shot. It isn't as crazy as it sounds on paper. The MWD driven Tristan is fast, has drones (something my Wolf doesn't have), and is an accomplished kiting ship choice. Given the right circumstances and the right target this fight might have gone the other way. In fact, it was a bit tricky. Luckily my Wolf is also extremely fast. Surprisingly so.

Fight #3 - Jackdaw, Jaguar, Merlin, and Garmur

For some reason zKill is lumping an earlier Jackdaw kill that my corpmate FireSequence scored into that Battle Report. What happened was that Fire entered a plex to attack that Jackdaw (which he exploded nicely) and when I landed on the gate I was pointed by a Merlin. This Merlin was the vanguard scout of the Jag and Garmur pilots who would show up shortly. So I stuck on the gate killing the Merlin while he was inside killing the Jack.

That's when I saw another Jack on scan at another plex and warped over to say hello. And that's when the Merlin's buddies decided to join in. So I was already engaged with the Jackdaw, who was fighting back to his credit, when the Jag and then the Garmur landed. Ok, fine. I knew, based on experience, that the Jack would explode pretty quickly, so I focused fire on him while also trying to position myself for the Jag next. I also needed to keep an eye on the Garmur to figure out what kind of Garmur it was. He started pulling range, so I figured he was probably the light missile version.

I love the Jaguar. But it has a flaw or two. The DPS is not awesome and it usually comes shield boosted, so charges are an issue eventually. The tank can be amazing, especially when combined with the ADC. But eventually it can become paper thin to incoming dps. I have to admit here that this fight was not looking good for your friendly neighborhood Pirate. The Jag's tank was holding and mine was slowing failing. I finally had to admit to myself that my Wolf had seen her last fight and the best thing I could do was try and save my pod. I OH'd everything and aligned out. Spamming the warp button. Waiting for death.

And I did warp out, except I wasn't in my pod.

I was in my Wolf!! 2% STRUCTURE LEFT!!!!

The Jaguar had exploded and the Garmur was probably holding his point to try and snag my pod, so I warped away because I was aligned already! EPIC!

The Garmur pilot called it luck in local. I'll take it. The God's know it often works against me.

Fight #4 - A Comet, Another Comet, and an Atron

You'll notice that the Atron above doesn't have a link. That's because it didn't die. That's right true believers, they finally got me. Turns out that three incoming blaster ships DPS is what it takes to explode my epic Wolf. But just barely and by the smallest of margins. In fact, given one more volley from my guns, I think the Atron would have been the one exploding. That is how close it was. (See above about "luck". The wheel turns for all of us.)

Still, a great fight. And I learned a few things that I will perfect further in the next generation. Perfection awaits!

Fight #5 - The Gila

Warping my pod back to station I couldn't help but notice the Gila on scan. I waited at the undock and did a quick scan. Sure enough, there was a Gila in a belt. To be fair I grabbed my own Gila and undocked to go say Hello. I didn't know it then but the poor Gila ratting in that belt had zero chance of living. We learn these things afterwards. Still, I got to use my Gila. That's a win.

Fight #6 - The Executioner

I have a lot of ships. Many times, when people retire from Eve they will contract me their ships so that they can be used in combat. (Always remember the Pirate Lord accepts donations and all ships, mods, and ammo will be used in combat by a certified Stay Frosty pilot!)  I don't fly Executioners very often but I seem to have three of them fitted in my hangar. So I grabbed one and undocked to fight the Executioner in the Novice. What I didn't notice until I landed in the Plex was that this ship had an AB fitted... and not the MWD I was expecting.

As you would expect, that fight did not go well for me.

Fight #7 - The Executioner

Just to end this epic day on the right note, I did remember to fit a MWD on my Slicer! This wasn't an easy fight, but the pulse MWD slingshot trick worked and the enemy Executioner exploded nicely. I did manage to win that isk war in that exchange. My Executioner was worth about 4m and theirs was more like 15m.

Always remember kids, never take the second fight.

And Stay Frosty!

11 Years of Eve Online

To be perfectly frank I was dreading writing this post. Last year was my 10th year anniversary and that seemed monumental and important, whereas 11 years...? I dunno, it's just the 10th plus One isn't it? But then I started to think about all the things that have happened since last September, Eve Vegas, Eve Amsterdam, Eve North, Alaska, Steel City Eve, that's five major Eve events in the last twelve months! Not to mention the horror show that was our attempt to get to Eve London in an ice storm and the subsequent weekend living in a hotel room. Not to mention that at all. So, almost six Eve Events in the last twelve months. Whew.

Inside of the game we've started down this Chaos Era path, local is gone, local is back, cyno changes, and all the associated stuff that has changed in the past year. But all that has done is make the lack of a plan more apparent than ever. When was the last significant change/upgrade/addition to Eve Online? Citadels? That was 2016, almost three years ago. In the past year the "Eve is Dying" crowd has ramped up their cries across all media, it became so bad that the Eve Online Facebook group moderators banned posts about the subject.

I exploded 411 ships in the last twelve months. Stay Frosty purged half of our membership and worked hard to become even more active and engaged over the past year. I trained and flew my very first Capital ship (Not counting my alt's Archon which I've had for eight years) and promptly lost it the first time it undocked in anger. I went months with very little time to play and I've gone months when I've had more time to play. The usual. I've made it eleven years because I learned a long time ago how to manage my Eve playing time properly.

My favorite thing from the past year has to be this:
CCP Guard Rock God Poster
Click to embiggen
Being able to quickly decide to go to Eve Amsterdam and hand deliver this piece of art to CCP Guard has to be the highlight of the year for me. The way everyone came together to make that happen is epic and just goes to, once again, prove how incredibly awesome this community truly is.

In the final analysis it is the friendships that we've made that keep me going. Whenever my mind wanders over the idea of quitting or stepping away from Eve it is our friends that make that unimaginable to contemplate. My friends in ABA and Stay Frosty, my friends in the greater Eve Community, at CCP, and across the globe are what makes this experience worth living. And I honestly can't imagine walking away from that.

As nutty as it can be at times, as weird as some people seem determined to make it, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Anything less than a million dollars at least.

Eleven years. I never would have imagined it. And now I can't imagine life without it.

Eve Forever.

A Week of Good Fights

Click to embiggen
In my line of Pirate Lord work the good fights come and go like the tides of the solar winds, some days you get the bear, somedays the bear gets you, and some days there just ain't any bears. This Summer, as you may have heard from some of the more negative corners of the community, has been rather sparse at times. For those of us who have been playing for more than ten minutes, this is not unusual. Summer is brutal. Darn people and their vacations, outdoor activities, family time, and whatnots! Sports!?

Instead of panicking and spouting off about how Eve is Dying© again, us veteran players hunker down in anticipation of the return of September, school, college, and cold northern weather to force more people indoors in front of their toasty warm overheating graphics cards and more Eve Online! The hunting has been good this week. The bears have returned.

Here are some highlights from this week.

2v1 Comets versus my Wolf
I bumped into one of these Comets on a Gate and we mutually yellow-boxed each other. I can't shoot first because of Gate guns, so I waited for him to make the first move. He didn't. Which means one of several things, 1) He doesn't want to fight, 2) He does want to fight but doesn't know how, 3) He does want to fight but is waiting for back-up to arrive, or 4) He forgot to turn off auto-lock. More than likely it is option 3, so I warped slowly off to a Small Plex and waited for him to make up his mind.

Luckily for me he came early before his back-up buddy had a chance to slide into the Plex with him. I couldn't have asked for better timing on their part, if they had landed exactly together I would have had a much harder time of it. But they were staggered slightly which gave me a slight, very slight, advantage. These hull tanked Comets don't die quickly, but the first one exploded just as my Assault Damage Control spun down. I had timed that perfectly to absorb the maximum damage from both targets, I hadn't even had to use my Ancillary yet. So that gave me a full set of Nanites to deal with his buddy, who exploded even faster than his friend. I'm guessing that remote armor rep in his utility high didn't help much.

Imperial Navy Slicer versus my Atron
Ask any solo PvPer how to get good at solo PvP and you'll get a wide spectrum of answers. But somewhere in there will be two things that are critical, 1) Know your spaceships inside and out, and 2) Learn how to manually fly (Also key commands!!) Manually flying in a fight like the Wolf versus Comet fight above is not as critical (My Wolf is MWD fit so most of that fight I spent scrammed anyway.) as it is in a fight like this one. In fact, it is the only reason I won the fight. It also helps to know every spaceship you are likely to face inside and out. The critical piece of knowledge in this instance is that Slicers don't have a lot of cap. They get tired pretty fast.

I have 400 kills in a Slicer, so I know the ship very well. The key here is to stay calm and let him kite you comfortably. Meanwhile you act like a target that is going to be an easy kill. All while waiting for the perfect moment to slingshot into him for that all important scram. If you don't get scram you die, or he runs off safely. People tend to get very focused when fighting and often forget that they can just leave at anytime. That's what you are counting on. This fight went as textbook as they can. I was so dead. And then suddenly his cap started running out. And slingshot, manual piloting, and boom he was caught by my scram and it was all over from there.

That was an insanely good fight. Kudos to him for sticking to it. Well done.

Hecate versus Crows
I'll mention one more that wasn't the same kind of solo fight that the other two were. Some Stay Frosty pilots have been exploiting the lack of Local in Null this Summer to great effect. So yesterday I finally had a chance to go down and join in the fun. I lost one Crow hero tackling a Kikimora which we managed to bring down. But it was this Hecate fight that really got the blood going.

One thing I quickly learned roaming around Null is how much Citadels have truly changed the fundamental environment there, much more than they have in Low. Citadels are everywhere, just as in Low, but in Null they provide a much safer protected perch in local. We don't use them that way in Low Sec very much. But watching them clustered around gates in Null Sec and how ships perch tethered waiting made me realize how important this lack of local really is. Citadels have truly made a lack of local in Null critical in my opinion.

So between a Gate and a Citadel the enemy has a relatively safe zone from which to perch in safety and swoop in to assist in kills. If that Citadel is manned, even more so. Add bubbles and it becomes even more challenging. So we'd been working on this Hecate for awhile, trying to figure out where he was and when we might be able to grab him. The locals also had a few other ships around sitting on the Citadel. An Arazu and a few others. We finally managed to get the Hecate off the Citadel a few hundred clicks and grabbed point, while the Arazu and a couple Gnosis warped in on us. Luckily for us we managed to pull off the perfect "under their noses" operation and killed the hecate before they could grab us.

Whew. That was a close one.

These are the reasons I continue to play Eve Online.

Guest Post: The Final Place

Hot Pursuit 5k Wallpaper
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Today we have a Guest Post from Stay Frosty pilot Thunderdomebaby


I have been a Capsuleer since 2006, with a rather long break in 2016, I returned early 2019 to the wonderful world of New Eden.

However, I found myself quite alone in space. My old corporation was just an empty shell of what it had been. Friends were gone, and I thought to myself “Is this it?” – Is this really the end of EVE for me?

Shortly thereafter I started looking around for news, and there was this one guy who kept popping up around the community. The self-proclaimed Pirate Lord of Low Sec. At first, I thought that he was probably just all talk, and no action. But something sparked my interest. Deep within my pod I heard, what can only be described as … a yarr?

Did I just hear that? Was it just my imagination?

Fast forward a few more months, and I decided to finally contact him directly, Rixx Javix – The Pirate lord of Low Sec. He immediately welcomed me into their comms, and told me what system they were based at.  I quickly took all the spare ammo I had and loaded the old trustworthy Comet and set the course for Ouelletta. What a weird bunch, I thought to myself, trying to navigate through Gallente space, avoiding the police. I did after all have a small bounty on my head and wasn’t that welcome in High Sec space.

It only took a few days for me to be accepted as a part of Stay Frosty. It seemed so odd. They were just so welcoming – so – friendly? Wasn’t this supposed to be the much-feared Pirate Lord and his gang of buccaneers?

Hours became days, and days became weeks. I mailed my sister, not that she would care, but I thought that it was a nice thing to tell her where I moved and what I was doing. After all, we did have some fun back in the day, hunting in Tama together. I didn’t really expect to hear from her, after all, we had lost contact during the last few years.

She had always been this goodie two-shoe, highly respected by the Caldari Navy – and she didn’t really approve of my career. Last thing I heard, she was working for the Corporate Police Force in Inaro, but that was years ago.

As time flew by, I started enjoying the pirates in Stay-Frosty. Even had a chat with the CEO of Lucifer’s Hammer – Starfire Dai. I’ve never met anyone that welcoming and heartwarming in New Eden. Must be an innocent little girl I thought. Now knowing what space was all about – hiding behind her asteroid.

A few weeks later I got a reply from my sister. Turns out, that she had also talked with Starfire Dai. My sister was stuck in a dead-end escort job for Rapid Assembly and was looking for new opportunities. I was told that she didn’t care much of my mail in the beginning, but then started looking into the alliance that Rixx had brought together – Vagrant Skies, the roaming corporation. Lucifer’s Hammer, the industry focused corp, making the foundation of New Eden. And not to forget Voodoo Children, who had started a base in Anoikis. Something was awakened inside her. A sudden flow of blood to her veins. What was that?

Star contacted me again – and started interrogating me. Turns out she wasn’t a sweet little girl after all. She wanted to know everything, and I mean everything. To this day I still don’t know how the devil she discovered who my father was. We were always so careful when we communicated? A veteran of the Caldari Navy couldn’t be seen dealing with a pirate like me. But Star knew. How? It seemed like she had eyes and ears all over the entire galaxy – and beyond.

I didn’t have anything to hide from my new band of brothers, so I came forward and told her what she wanted to know. I decided to come clean, it seemed that I could trust her. So I told her about my family, and my heritage – and hatred for the Gallente Federation. That’s when she went all silent. Days went by, and I didn’t hear from her.

About a week later I got the message.

My father had joined Lucifer’s Hammer and was now based in Atreen, he had already moved the first 3 loads with his old Providence class freighter. He sent me an image of one of the largest mining fleets I’ve seen. Three orcas, and a dozen of exhumers mining off one of LH’s structures.

My sister also joined Lucifer’s Hammer, now located somewhere deep in the Anoikis galaxy, in a wormhole system they call their own. Flying around in cloaked ships, protecting what is theirs. A job made for her – fighting a common enemy, where CONCORD and the Caldari Navy can’t see what she’s doing. I knew she had it in her. Daughters of a war hero. We were born to fight.

All was bliss, I really enjoyed flying in Ouelletta – even though it was a few close calls for my pod here and there, but I learned like I never did before! The veterans were never angry when I lost a ship, instead, they tried to teach me what went wrong, and what to improve for the next setup.

Was this the long-lost family I’ve been looking for all those years? 
Have I found the right place to live in New Eden now?
Have I finally won EVE?

Two months later, an urgent message comes from Rixx. Call to arms, a former member of the alliance had been playing a little Grand Theft Spacestructure, and now was the time for revenge.

From the outlawed Ouelletta.
From the depths of Anoikis.
From the foundries in Atreen.
We all joined forces. The family was complete again.

It lies within our blood. Fighting, defeating the common enemy. Protecting the family. A Band Apart – but all together. After 13 years as a Capsuleer, I have finally found my resting place. Whether it’s the never-ending veldspar roids, ransoming innocent pilots, or exploring the vast unknown. This is the place we all belong.

This is the final place for me. For us. The biggest, weirdest, most loving space family one could ever wish for.

To all Capsuleers in New Eden, new or old. This is truly an alliance who flies the Friendship.

A Band Apart!

Why So Negative?

“Negativity is a tendency to be downbeat, disagreeable, and skeptical. It's a pessimistic attitude that always expects the worst. Negative outcomes are bad outcomes like losing a game, getting a disease, suffering an injury, or getting something stolen.”

One of the first things I heard about Eve when I started playing almost eleven years ago was, "Eve is dying", why bother playing? The game won't last much longer. CCP is determined to kill it. They don't know what they are doing. Look at the server numbers. You'd have to be an idiot to believe otherwise. That was eleven years ago.  And I suspect it has been there since the beginning.

This is a lot like the supposed intelligence of Mittens, if you say something long enough, people will start to believe it. In fact, it is even worse than that, the human brain is predisposed to believe negative information over positive information. It is part of our biological past, inherited from our prehistoric ancestors. Negative information requires an immediate response, an action, or some emotional trigger. Positivity on the other hand means things are ok, chill, steady, no action is required. And so they tend to filter toward the back of our lizard brains.

It has been proven that successful relationships need at least a 5 to 1 balance between positive and negative inputs in order to thrive. 5 times the positivity in order to thrive. Get that out of whack and you break up or get a divorce. This is one of the main reasons I recommend players stay away from Reddit (All humans should) and other bastions of negativity. Your input ratio can get out of whack quickly and you'll start to feel the stress, the worry, the negativity overtake you. It might manifest itself in different ways, but for the sake of our topic today - you might just quit playing Eve.

And because Eve refuses to actually "die" as predicted, the rest of us get to experience you and your negativity hanging around afterwards. This is one of the weirdest behaviors that puzzle many players, why do quitters continue to hang around? Why do they not move on? Why continue to harangue the rest of us? 

All of which is not only bad for Eve, but also truly bad for you. Emotions are contagious, just like diseases. Take a moment and read this Wired article on that very subject.  In fact, spend any amount of time googling and reading articles on the subject and you'll quickly start to understand what I'm getting at. Articles like this one in Psychology Today about Negative Bias are excellent places to get started.

Look, eventually Eve will die. So will I. So will you. That is gosh darn sad. I don't like the idea anymore than you do. However, I do choose to live those days being realistic and balanced in my approach to my life, my hobbies, and my personal relationships. I'm not an overly optimistic person, in fact I'm rather prone to horrible bouts of depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, and dozens of other weirdo mind-fuck things I can't control. Much like you I bet. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I do strive towards balance and I do try to learn from my mistakes.

Eventually the negative people will be right. Their self-fulfilling prophecy will come true. On that sad day they won't be happy about it. Oh sure, they will be impossible to live with for a few days, but then they will move on to the next thing. What they will leave in their wake will be thousands of once happy Eve players who suddenly have to live without Eve.

Is it any wonder people aren't playing Eve?

Think about the environment we're asking them to join. Is it 5 to 1 on the positive side?

Sadly the answer to that is certainly negative.


(Please Note: This is a personal real life post written specifically for those readers and friends who care about such things. If you are sensitive to people sharing things that are important to them, then please do yourself and others a favor and skip this post. This post contains feelings, emotions, and other human expressions that certain people may find offensive.)


As of today, September 4th, 2019 my 14 year odyssey of pain has officially ended. My balance is zero. Zilch. Nada. The last payment, made four months early, was received and I no longer owe anything.

For those of you that have been along on this journey with me, thank you for sticking around and for caring. For constantly hitting me up on DMs, emails, and other messages to check in on us. For your support. But mostly just for caring. You deserve a HUGE shout out. We can't possibly thank you enough. And we will always remember. In so many ways our Eve family has seen us through the worst of it and we will be forever grateful.

To the haters I say this - I did get a fucking job. I did take care of this myself. Every single fucking dime of the money paid came from our own hands. In a few instances family members helped us over a few rough patches. No money from anyone else was ever used to pay this debt. Ever. The important thing you will never understand is the scale and complexity of this 14 year journey. I honestly hope that you never do, because it was in no way anything close to being normal.

Having said that I would like to specifically say thank you to all those that helped us through the darkest most desperate hours of that journey. There were a couple of moments along the way when the situation got away from us, things that could not be planned for, prepared for, or anticipated. And at those moments this incredible and compassionate community of ours saved us. Not from the debts, or the payments, or anything associated with that issue specifically - but from the real life turmoil that sprang up around us. And for that, and in deep appreciation for that, I have dedicated my efforts these past years, doing what I can to give back. I cannot stress enough how much you all mean to us. And just how much we appreciate you all. Thank you.

I was not always who I am. A long time ago I was a troubled and confused young man from a small town in the middle of nowhere. At the end of a long stream of bad mistakes, I made another one that would haunt me for over thirty years of my life. But out of that mistake would grow a new person, a stronger, more confident, more self-assured person. And a small miracle, a Son that I would raise myself. Together we would face life together and one day, when we were alone building a new life together, that young man would introduce me to a stupid video game called Eve Online. Together we would fight multiple wars in Providence and across all of New Eden. Together we would learn to become Pirates. And one day, that young man would turn to me and say, "We should call it Stay Frosty." And so we did.

I want to encourage you. Even the worst of stories can have happy endings. Despite all that has happened I found the love of my life during the last fourteen years. Despite all that happened, my Son has grown into an incredible young man with a wonderful wife of his own. Despite all that has happened we've traveled around the world and made incredible and real friends with people we never would have known otherwise. Despite all that we've been through, I would not trade those wonderful moments for anything.

Another chapter has ended. And a new chapter has begun.