If you haven't heard, EVE Online is on fire. Okay, well, not the entirety of New Eden is going up in flames. It's just the large swathe of northern territory owned by The Imperium. If you're not up to speed, I highly suggest reading the last Chronicles of New Eden to catch up to what's been going on. The gist of it, however, is that The Imperium, previous considered the biggest and most influential alliance in EVE Online, has finally pissed everyone else off enough that just about every major player-made empire in null-sec space has declared war on them. And if you've ever wondered what fighting a galactic-sized conflict would be like, now's the perfect time to find out.
Fortunately, getting involved in the wars of EVE Online is much easier today than it ever used to be. Over the past few years, massive player-driven initiatives have been set up to turn fledgling newbies into effective fighters, and today I'm going to break down some of your options so that you too can take part in the new conflict. All of the alliances and corporations listed below are geared toward new players, but you can also join them if you're returning to the game after a prolonged absence or if you want accessible action without all the hassle of actually finding and joining a corporate that suits your tastes. I'm going to break down your options, and, in fairness, will be listing corporations for each side of the conflict.
Karmafleet - Goonswarm/The Imperium
Karmafleet is The Imperium's newbie friendly corporation aimed at pulling in players of all experience levels and giving them a friendly and accessible introduction to the world of null-sec living. Arguably the biggest reason to join Karmafleet and, by extension, its alliance, Goonswarm, is that their years of living at the top have created a relatively painless and highly effective infrastructure. Signing up with them can feel like a daunting experience, you'll need to download third-party software including various chat clients, but once you work through the process you'll be well equipped to take part in battles.
Another cool feature of Goonswarm is their SIG (Special Interest Group) program, which is a cross-corporation way of grouping players by what interests them in the game outside of their affiliations with each individual corporation. For example, you might join a SIG for wormholes, which means when you're not fighting in wars, you can group up easily with other players who like flying in wormholes.
The Imperium, like most alliances, also has a host of services aimed at making your life easier. There's a ship replacement program for when flying on sanctioned combat fleets, free skillbooks for players just starting out, and some cool tech that makes things like tracking how much you participate pretty effortless in many ways.
If you're joining Karmafleet, you should be aware that right now Goonswarm is in a very precarious situation. While some might disagree, Goonswarm's strategy in this emerging conflict has largely been to retreat and avoid exposing any vulnerabilities. As a member of Karmafleet, you'll probably still see a some action, but just know that right now Goonswarm is heavily on the defensive and not looking to engage in a big fight.
Pandemic Horde Inc. - Pandemic Horde/Money Badger Coalition
On the other side of the conflict we have a large conglomerate of various alliances that have loosely formed up as the Money Badger Coalition. Within their ranks, the easiest corporation to join is Pandemic Horde Inc. Pandemic Horde is the new player alliance formed up by Pandemic Legion, notorious for being some of the toughest pilots in New Eden. Pandemic Horde can be a formidable force in certain contexts, but don't expect to join them and become and be flying with Pandemic Legion's banner within the week.
The best reason to join Pandemic Horde largely involves the fact that getting into the alliance is the simplest process ever. Find them in-game, send in an application, wait for approval, and bam, welcome to the Horde. Unlike other groups like Karmafleet, Pandemic Horde has absolutely no requirements in order to sign up, you won't have to download or work through complicated setup of various software or services. Just join up, head to a fight, and brawl to the death.
This has a negative downside too in that Pandemic Horde is structurally a bit more chaotic than Karmafleet, and you're going to need to show some initiative in meeting other players and learning how to play. The great news is that, being such an open corporation, you're free to leave and rejoin whenever you please.
There's some other things that you should consider about Pandemic Horde. Being the newbie-spin off of Pandemic Legion, there has been complaints (some might call it propaganda) that Pandemic Horde serves as a meatshield for Pandemic Legion. As a new player, you might not even care, but it's something to be aware of. The other thing is that Pandemic Horde largely lacks the infrastructure that Karmafleet has, so luxuries like ship replacement and SIGs aren't available. That said, the group is incredibly welcoming and helpful to new players, and you'll likely not want for anything while you play.
Dreddit - TEST/Monday Badger Coalition
Dreddit and their alliance, TEST, are major players in the war against The Imperium, but joining them comes with some large qualifiers that might not make them the best solution for a new player. The biggest is that Dreddit is first and foremost an alliance based around Reddit, and is largely meant as a place for users of the website to play together. In order to join, you must have a reasonably active reddit account over 45 days old or have a character with 15 million skill points (which means you've already been playing for a number of months).
That said, those qualified to join will find themselves playing from one of the most influential alliances in the game and one that has a very personal relationship with The Imperium as the two fought a deadly war a number of years ago. Like Karmafleet, Dreddit offers extensive infrastructure that makes flying with them as painless as possible. The alliance looks to support its members in any way possible, maximizing the fun will eliminating as much of the tedium of EVE as possible.
If you're looking to join Dreddit, you should be aware that, as I mentioned, this is an alliance for people who love Reddit and its culture. That means memes, shitposts, and that singular brand of Reddit humor are going to be in full force, so make sure that you're down with that kind of culture before signing up. That said, Dreddit is also big enough that you can definitely find a smaller group of people within it who will share your same interests.
Brave Newbies Inc. - Brave Collective
Brave Newbies aren't directly affiliated with the war, at least not in the same capacity that both Pandemic Horde and Dreddit are, but they still remain a great choice for new players to get involved with. Right now, Brave Newbies haven't deployed their forces to the north like the rest of Money Badger, and instead are still holding out in their home territory. That said, they're working closely with Pandemic Horde to form up fleets and project their power into Goon territory, so joining up with them will still guarantee some good fights.
Not being deployed in the north will change the dynamic of how you participate in the war, however. There's going to be extra steps to take in order to get yourself to the front lines of battle, and if you're hoping to log in and immediately join a fight, that might be a bit of a high expectation.
Brave Newbies used to be the biggest new-player friendly group in the game. It's even arguable that they were the ones who pioneered this new trend of newbie friendly organizations that are so common today. Unfortunately, due to some massive drama over the years, Brave has somewhat diminished in popularity and prowess, and while they remain dedicated to being the best new-player friendly group in New Eden, the wounds of their old conflicts can still be felt somewhat.
Join Brave if you're looking for an alliance that will participate in the war, but enjoy the idea of not being fully committed to the conflict. In many ways, this can be seen as a bonus as, with The Imperium currently turtling up to avoid fighting, you'll never risk boredom because if there's no fights up north, there's sure to be something to blow up further south.