Returning to EVE Online Part 4
Laser bolts are flashing over head, explosions litter the air like confetti, and I rush through the middle of this battle like a beacon of white, bright hope. My ship hurtles at a frightening speed towards an enemy, dodging loose shrapnel and stray charges – my eyes slightly narrow, my smile inches to one side, I simply utter “Eve this mother-effer” and then I click to launch missiles. The empty space around fills with fiery death; the proud vessel that once stood arrogant and defiant is claimed by the flames. Now smiling broadly I say into my microphone “Looks like that got really heated.”
Without pausing for a second I eye the area and search for another enemy to destroy, zoning in on ally I decide to lend fire support – whizzing through more tense situations like the hero I am, I speed through space to save my comrade. In the distance I see them like two laser-beam shooting butterflies (the best kind) engaged in a balletic display of battle. “Hold on Billy!” I shout, pressing my boosters for more juice.
I gain momentum, and I grow ever-closer, within seconds my targets will be in range, and then it happens. Billy, my buddy, my guy, his ship is blown up! “Noooo!” I scream as I fall to my knees suppressing the tears. “You bastard! I’ll destroy you!”
The murderer comes to a halt, “Muhahahaha! I have killed the one you call Billy! And now it will be you! There can only be one!” A missile is launched towards my ship, and I narrowly avoid it, my cat-like agility saving my handsome form. Locking targets with this monster I throw everything I have at him. His shields melt, only to be recharged at an alarming rate. “Do you think you can beat me? The warlord of Eve Online!? Muhahaha!”
Gripping onto my remaining nerves I try one last manoeuvre; activating my boosters, I know that I have just enough energy for one more attempt. “You’re crazy man!” comes a voice over my head phones. I toss the set to one side – this is a one way ride baby, and I’m just the right kinda’ crazy! I start hurtling towards my enemy, his laughs replaced by a look of anguish, I smile once more, “This is for Billy, this is for the corporation, and this is for the mine cans you flipped!”
The ships collide, once more an explosion of nuclear proportions mushrooms through space, and I watch from the safety of my space parachute. I have won. I hurry over to Billy, “Hey man, you’re going to be alright,” I say through red-faced sobs. “I’m spent bro! I’ve a bum ticker! I’m on a one way trip to croaks-ville and there ain’t no time to square it with the Man – tell little Jimmy... tell little Jimmy that we’ll make it to New Reno one day.” And then he died in my arms, rain pouring down upon my tear-stained form, I arch my body towards to the sky and let out a primal scream of sorrow. War is hell.
Back to Reality
Alright, what I just wrote wasn’t entirely true; in fact it was a down right lie. There was no Billy, no Little Jimmy, but I am that heroic - honest. At the end of last week I joined a corporation and then inadvertently caused a war between factions. It was a tense time, nobody knew that I may have well caused this conflict, and I definitely wasn’t telling. Instead I became a mouth piece that touted pro-war propaganda all with the hope of seeing some action.
In Eve Online once war is declared by one group, there is a 24-hour cool down before the hostilities can begin. It gives an air of fairness and civility to the situation, while also allowing the mustering of forces and the marshalling of troops. My corporation wasn’t really doing much of this; instead we were taking the Anne Frank route and hiding in our secret headquarters. “They won’t find us in Ghesis” he would whine, his cowardly form cutting through me like glass – corps members would concur and I would dip into the conversation, stirring the pot. “I heard they called you a Gaylord” I would say; most would laugh, others would call me a fool and applaud me on my well timed comic relief. I couldn’t believe it; those tactics worked in the school yard.
We were forbidden to publicise our position, and told to keep on constant guard for any mean looking pilots. I would take any opportunity to drop my current location into “Rookie Help” but nothing ever came of it. I was starting to think that our aggressors were more docile than us, I was probably right. One of my corps peers believed that the war was nothing more than the Eve Online of gaining status, others agreed, and I sunk into disappointment like a fat person seeing the “closed” sign plastered on the local sweet shop.
So my first taste of online war was becoming a boring and mundane trip through the familiar. The laser filled battlegrounds of my dreams were nowhere to be seen, and it was back to business as usual, the only difference being that now was that I had access to another chat channel that every so often would say, “Enemy sighted!” then a brief pause “No, wait, just an NPC... false alarm.” Absolute time wasters.
With all of this talk of would-be war, I had neglected any nods towards progression. I had been flying my Merlin ship for some time and ever since becoming a member of the corporation I was constantly told to upgrade. Sensing that I could use this situation to my advantage I would continually bemoan my lack of funds, complaining that the ship they deemed a more suited vessel was just so expensive. Secretly I had ISK numbering into the millions but they weren’t to know – it seems that this friendly organisation had invited a newbie into their fold, and accidently recruited a cad, liar, and warmonger.
After one or two days of moaning, finally the kindly CEO of my corporation mailed me around 5 million ISK and I purchased a Caracal on the prompting of my peers – I did dabble with taking the money and running, but then again there was a war to be fought and who can cop out now? I promptly bought this fancy new ship and took to the skies. I looked awesome and had the arsenal to prove it. I started flying level 1 missions and before long I was rolling in the space dollars, while at the same time scamming for any freebies I could find - I was like a crack addict.
Another development was my tendency to leech onto others missions. I would openly ask the chat channel whether anyone minded if I tagged along on some higher levelled missions, and more often than not a kindly member would let me in on the fun. I would warp to their destination and promptly sit back, reclining in my seat as they cleared up whatever resistance that they met. The spoils and wreckage were mine to pilfer and the money rolled in without much effort, I was enjoying my life as a sponging vagabond.
The war issue was really bugging me though. Here I was, days into a conflict without so much as drinking the blood of slain enemy or wearing an appendage around my waist as a trophy. I had a decent enough ship, I even had adequate skills, I just wasn't getting into the action and it was getting to me. But of course, like most things, this was about to change.