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And that makes a year…

Nothing Endures but Change
—Heraclitus of Ephesus

A year ago I really had no expectation of ever playing Eve again. The game intrigued me, but I’d never lasted more than a month and a half and I felt like I’d figured out it wasn’t for me. I should just stick to reading Sins of a Solar Spymaster and leave it at that–more entertaining to follow the game than to actually play. But the F13 forum corp was recruiting in anticipation of an upcoming war and as always it piqued my curiosity. Eve was a game I wanted to like. And I’d received the email about the free reactivation. But still common sense was telling me that wasting my time and probably another $15 was a mistake. And they were in goons and, um, ugh. Me? Goons? Probably not.

Three manhattans later, I was logged in, accepted to the corp, and podding myself to Delve to join Goonswarm. Thus is proven the life changing power power of bitters.

A year later and I’m quite surprised to say I’m still here and even more enthusiastic about Eve than ever. The last year has been an incredible rollercoaster and the most fascinating experience of my gaming life.

I spent most of my first month just learning what was where, the ins and outs of how to actually fly in nulsec, use jump bridges, jump through a titan. It’s funny now to think about this. I was in awe at actually seeing a titan, now I’m one of the people who are all “what, I have to jump four systems? Really? There’s no titan?” You live in nulsec for long enough and your perspective shifts. You lose track of exactly how amazing some things are and how little of the Eve population really gets to experience them.

The crash course in 0.0 was overwhelming, but incredible. I started to rack up killmails as a little bee in a tackling rifter. I was having a fantastic time. Then two weeks after joining, Goonswarm lost Delve and was subsequently disbanded and my corp uninvited. The Goon empire in delve was reduced to a sov free alliance roaming syndicate and I was in worse shape sitting in empire. Of the entire year though, the bug out from Delve is probably the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. Five thousand pilots, pulling out and moving halfway across the galaxy, all within a few weeks with people shooting at us while we did it. I still have a Rifter that I flew out of Delve sitting in a station and I have every intention of flying it back when we, or TEST, or whomever retakes Delve.

We set about rebuilding and getting back into a nulsec alliance and March brought me to the low point of the year, my time with Mostly Harmless. I think of as The Time of Dexter, since I watched several seasons of the show rather than bothering to log in. This was an exercise in corporate culture and its importance. MH is a very old alliance. They hold a lot of sov. They have a lot of members. Like every alliance, there are those who will put them down, but 2800 members and 40 systems isn’t shabby. But simply put, there was absolutely zero compatibility between my own view of what makes a game fun and the MH corporate mentality. The corporate culture was essentially Vogon and elitist. I’d read the forum while logging in and then just quit the client and go watch Dexter. Leadership shouted at and berated members for never measuring up and told us if we didn’t like it, we should leave. So I did. I wasn’t alone.

That marked a return to the small low sec corp life and trying to claw our way back into nulsec. I know there are people who love the lowsec life, but I just don’t get it. To me, I’ve just never liked the notion of looking over my shoulder in any game. There are times when it can be thrilling, but only as a temporary means to an end. As a day to day thing? When I’m trying to service a PI installation or something? It’s not exciting, it’s just annoying. Add that to being in a failcascading pseudo-alliance with delusions of nulsec grandeur and it was just a disaster.

But it was politics, not frustration, that got me back into nulsec. A war was on and my corp was moving to rent in the south. I couldn’t take the idea of being in Southern Coalition space nor of missing the war. I decided to leave my F13 friends and find a new home and started what really was a desperate search for a corp, pretty much scoping out every single corporation and pet in the north.

Let me tell you, for a relatively low SP pilot, there are not a lot of options in nulsec. I knew I could fly and contribute, but that’s not enough. You need to fill a specific role and probably more than one. That wasn’t just a problem for me, it’s also a problem for the game in general. The CSM and CCP recognized this, but are considering asinine things like removing jump bridges to make logistics more frustrating. Somehow making the game more time consuming and irritating will help newbies come into nulsec? Not from my perspective and I’ve been there.

There are a few, a very few, corps that occasionally take new members and I couldn’t have gotten luckier in finding Senex Legio, the armed wing of Get Off My Lawn, a small alliance in the NC as a guest of WI dot. This was like winning the lottery. Ok, for a variety of reasons I’m a Goon at heart. So I never really got over the hope of returning to the swarm. But in terms of what it offers, LAWN is one of the best groups I’ve ever flown with. It was just a great combination of friendly people, a small corp atmosphere where one could go and rat with a couple of corp-mates, combined with the ability to get in on large alliance ops as well. They’re also all mature and sane. And for once, no drama meant no drama.

I was really happy and I got to take part in defending the north against the bad clowns, but after a month the only thing that could get me to leave happened. Goonswarm had a significant political change with The Mittani taking over from Darius Johnson as CEO and a reformed version of my corp was allowed to rejoin Goonswarm as long as we promised to kill lots of ships and not engage in bad posting.

Since then things have been fantastic. Nora gave me very little time to play for quite a while, but I’m more or less back and finding more early evening ops that I can manage to go on and we’re becoming more active on weekend eurotime. CONDI seems to be going really well. We have space and a nice new war going. I’m on the top ten in kills for my corp. I don’t watch the killboard obsessively, but that’s my main self imposed goal.

Most of all, fleets with Goons are just always fun. Fun. Something a lot of people in Eve don’t quite get. I’m not sure what it is, but every time the lemmings jump through the gate and the FC bitches, it just cracks me up. Like anyone can have that kind of blind faith that people won’t do what they do every single day. And I never get tired of the simple amazing grandeur of a game where 1500 people can be slogging it out in one huge battle. Or where my little alt grinding out robotics is somehow connected to someone somewhere refueling their POS so they can mine something that might someday end up in a ship I fly in one of those amazing fleets. Despite CCPs best efforts, Eve is something really special and unique.

It’s been a very good year.

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