The Frigate Swarm


Me Against Eve

That's me in a Thanatos during last year's FF4A trying to stay alive against the other 977 pilots in local. It did not go well for me to say the least. Over the years (much to the eternal detriment of my killboard) I've undocked Marshals, Nags, Thannys, Nightmares, and much, much more during these events for the entertainment of the participants. And, I suspect, I'll do so again in March. As will others. It's a tremendous amount of fun. For many players it might be the only time they ever get a chance to lock up a Carrier or a Dread and pew it. 

Eve can be a dark and formidable place. Back in 2010 I decided to try and host an event called the DeathRace. I ended up hosting three DeathRaces and along the way started hosting these Frigate Free For All events as well. While this upcoming event is the 9th in a row under the banner of Stay Frosty & ABA, there were four other FFA's before that. Three under the Tusker banner while I was with them. All in all I believe this upcoming event will be the 15th event I've hosted in New Eden since I first had the idea. And those first players showed up to race each other through Providence.

The key to that kind of long-term success is simple - honesty and integrity. I tell it like it is and I keep my word. Despite being an evil pirate inside of Eve, out here in the real world I'm not actually a pirate. And inside of Eve my word, our Code if you will, is one of honesty and integrity. When people donate to these events, the isk goes into the event. When people donate ships, the ships get used. There is a fund that gets refreshed every year and is used solely for these events. It isn't a huge fund, but it works. Donations are what drive the ultimate success of these types of events. And the fact that people can trust me to mean what I say and deliver what I promise. My word is extremely important to me.

Having hosted so many events over the years I can tell you that it is more complicated than you can imagine. It takes planning and months of preparation to get ready. Last year Johnny Oxford stepped up and decided to build and donate 20,000 fully fitted frigates to our event. What you might not know is that he contracted those to me in High Sec, next door to Ouelletta. So it was me, in a Bowhead, moving 150 or so fully fitted frigates one jump at a time into Low Sec. For an entire week. Others helped of course, but I made the majority of those trips personally.

That's just one example. Another thing you might not know is that the FFA events used to draw hundreds of players back in the day. When we started we'd be lucky to have 300 people in local at a time. We'd build maybe 2,500 or so frigates. Back then we'd have "fitting parties" and fit each one - one at a time! It would take hours for 4-5 of us to fit up 2,500 or 4,500 frigates. Thank Bob for multi-fit!! But there was one other thing that kept the event from exploding in popularity back then. And that problem was the NPC stations we ran them out of. The arrival of the "tether" was what made the FF4A events explode, if you'll pardon the pun.

The arrival of structures saw the event turn from hundreds of participants into thousands of participants. It is what allowed the event to become the record-breaking phenom that it became, the largest battle in all of Low Sec for the past three years running. The impact of the tether and universal access can not be over-stated.

Not only do the structures provide tether on the undock they also provide universal access to all players. In March, when we host the event again, our fellow CalMil pilots will not be able to access the stations in Ouelletta. The closest system they can dock in will be two jumps away in Agoze. There is literally nothing I can do about that. Nor can I generate a safe undock for our participants. We will have instant undock bookmarks available in local for everyone, but I know from experience that not everyone will use them. And eventually all fights break down into brawls anyway. Which is all part of the event. This is Eve after all.

So no, the loss of our structures in Ouelletta is not the end of the FF4A events. Of course not. But when it happened I was the only person who could see what it meant for the event, what the loss of the tether and the access meant to our participants. The impact it would have on the nature of the event and the ability of our players to enjoy themselves. And while I'm certain the event will be a lot of fun and it will go off without a hitch, or at least with the normal amount of hitches that anything you do in Eve comes along with - please pardon me for giving a shit.

Eve can be a dark and formidable place. But it doesn't always have to be.