Deathrace 2010


My first public event in Eve Online was a Deathrace. The idea was to gather a whole bunch of Eve players at one entrance to Providence and then race each other to the other side of the region. In the screenshot above you can see the starting gate and all those that showed up ready to see if they could make it to the other side.

I had no idea what I was doing. I'd never done anything like this before. So it was truly a live learning experience. Luckily back then I had the full support of the community and my Corporation at the time. Everyone was excited for the event and, even though it was full of flaws and miscalculations, it went off rather well. Lots of prizes were awarded and I think everyone had a good time.

Being a notorious perfectionist I was not satisfied however. And while I would host another three Deathraces in the coming years, the last of which drew over 400 entrants. The event never really manifested the excitement that it would seem to demand. What I mean is this - the "idea" of a Deathrace is much more exciting than its actual execution. The entire thing is counter-intuitive. It seems like it should work until you really start thinking about it. Especially with the game mechanic changes that continued to change the entire dynamic of travel in Eve Online. It became harder and harder to justify the event and the effort it took to host it.

What I needed was something that worked "with" the Eve mechanics, not against them. Even before the Deathrace came about, internally many of my early corps would hold internal PvP matches between members. If you are reading this I'm sure many of your own corps have held similar events internally over the years. These were always a lot of fun. I would never even pretend to have invented the concept of a Frigate Free For All - to be perfectly honest I have no idea where the idea came from. I believe it was much more of an organic response to those smaller internal competitions. And I know for sure that plenty of other groups and players have held FFAs over the years. 

Those first few FFA events were small compared to what will be happening tomorrow. In those days fitting ships was a huge barrier as each ship needed to be fitted one at a time. We'd hold hours long fitting parties and work our asses off just to get maybe 2,000 ships fitted in time. Hundreds of players would show up. And the event would usually run for an hour, maybe two. But they slowly and surely started to gain traction. And then two things happened that changed everything for us.

Multi-fit. And Structures. Suddenly we could fit massive amounts of ships at once, which allowed us to accumulate thousands of ships instead of hundreds. And we suddenly had a place to put them all, with the added benefit of tether. Tether was huge, because it removed the potential for one of the worst parts of our events up until then - station camping. This is why I made dozens of agreements with all of the major powers in our region regarding our structures in Ouelletta. We are not an empire building group, all we needed those structures for was the FF4A event each year. Surprisingly everyone agreed. Even those groups that you wouldn't believe would agree. They did. And so, for three years, we relied on those structures as the foundation for these annual events.

Turns out we didn't need them. The event itself has gotten so large that it exists on its own mass now. Over the years I've learned that the event needs very little management beyond planning and prep. After that it runs on its own fuel. It just happens. And letting it happen, on its own, is why it succeeds. It isn't a manufactured event as much as it is a party in local. A party that everyone is invited to. And if some of the guests who show up are asshats - well that is on them. The event is public, streamed, videoed, and experienced by thousands of players. Let Eve be Eve.

What will happen tomorrow? No one knows. All I know for sure is that we have 10,000 ships on hand. I know there are players planning special events and I know I have some special ships to undock. I know I have a lot of skins to hide in wrecks, cans, and other places. I know some people will show up with the intention of ruining the event and I know other players are showing up to ruin the ruiners attempts to ruin the event. (If that makes sense) And, most of all, I know it will be a lot of fun. Insanity. Craziness.

After all, it is a party. So let's party!