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The Largest EVE Online PVP Free For All Event Is In Jeopardy Thanks To Opportunism

Joseph Bradford Updated: Posted:
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The largest player-run free-for-all PvP events in EVE Online is now in jeopardy thanks to the opportunism of one of the MMO's most notorious Alliances.

Full disclosure up front so there isn't a sense of hiding something: I am a pilot in Stay Frosty myself, though I have not taken part in any of the events in this story for this reason. No one on either side contacted me to write this on behalf of Snuff or Stay Frosty, rather I reached out to report on what seemed to be an interesting look into EVE's player politics in Low Security Space.

The story comes to us from A Band Apart's leader Rixx Javix via a blogpost, detailing his side of the event. A Band Apart hosts the largest player-run PvP Free For all event in EVE Online, giving new players a chance to get their feet wet at blowing up other capsuleers without the pang of loss that can come from losing your own ship. Each year, thousands of ships are manufactured and donated to the event to be given out freely to interested players looking for their first kills.

The event itself is hosted in the Low Security system of Ouelletta, but even so, while it's a full 19 or so jumps from one of the most populous hubs in EVE,  Jita 4-4, thousands of players make the trek to take part. Last year's event eclipsed the previous years, setting in-game records and giving those players who take part a great chance to learn PvP without feeling the sting of loss. 

However, in October, issues started to brew in Stay Frosty, one of the Corporations in the A Band Apart Alliance. Stay Frosty, according to Javix's blogpost, has a "lax" recruitment policy, instead letting players who join make a name for themselves and prove they belong. It came to pass that one new member wasn't really working out, though he started all sorts of trouble on their way out the door.

EVE Online Triglavian Ships

As Javix puts it in the blogpost, this problematic member had let loose the idea that Stay Frosty held sovereignty over Ouelletta, which is not the case, and this meant "militias were not allowed to plex there." One group, Percussive Pizza Time Diplomacy, took exception to this and launched an attack on one of the holdings in the system owned by Stay Frosty.

"The folks in Percussive Pizza Time Diplomacy didn't take kindly to his rants and decided to attack our Athanor in Ouelletta," Javix says in his post describing the event. "We can argue all day about this decision, but I think in hindsight we can all admit this was not a good idea. For those of you reading this and not familiar with structure mechanics or the current state of affairs in Low Sec - a structure timer is a red flag that pops up on certain people's radar. Now that structure timers are only a [2-step] process, once the shields are gone - this group can swoop in on the second timer and pop the structure without having to inconveniently wait."

As a result of this attack, Stay Frosty formed up and set up to defend their system. However, when no attackers showed up, Stay Frosty attacked one of PPTD's structures. This could likely have been the end of it, as the diplomacy between the two factions played out behind the scenes. However, because of how structure mechanics work in EVE Online, it resulted in two of Stay Frosty's hitting timers, effectively being fair game to anyone willing to attack. 

Snuffing Out The Enemy

Every good story needs a villain. In EVE Online, stories of players and their escapades rise and fall, filling literal history books of the MMO. While depending on who you speak to one big null bloc or another are labeled villains thanks to the complicated, interwoven politics of New Eden, a smaller, pirate band of players like to cast themselves in the role.

Snuffed Out is a corporation that, as pilot Alyssa Severasse tells me via Discord DM, has an ethos of simply finding good fights. But like any good villain, especially in the wild west that is New Eden, it's a bit more complicated than that, and those complications led to the attack that might have some reverberations around New Eden.

According to Rixx Javix, the structure was flipped by Pizza but the two sides were able to come to terms before there was any more escalation of hostilities. However, one party in the mix was not appeased: Snuffed Out. Rixx claims to me in a Twitter DM that Pizza pays Snuffed Out "protection money," a bit like the organized crime bosses in American cities during the hey-day of the Mob. However, it seemed that as a result of the attack by Pizza, and then the subsequent attack by Stay Frosty, Snuff was out for blood.

"Pizza pays Snuff protection for their structure in OMS," Javix says when I asked about the timeline of events. "The people I spoke to in [P]izza made it clear they had access to people in [S]nuff, it was clear to me early on last week that the end result of this incident would be snuff destroying the structure."

Javix alludes to this in his blogpost in the aftermath, stating that they refused to pay the Mafia their "protection money." This was backed up by statements in a public EVE discord with player Hyke MaxauJL, who claimed in the thread that he would "kill the citadels if he didn't pay rent."

Snuffed Out has a reputation in EVE Online for being a force for trolling players. They seek out fights knowing full well it might land them in the spotlight as the villain in the story, something the alliance seems to relish. This isn't the first time this year I've heard of Snuffed Out being involved in an attack that, like the potential cancellation of the ABA PVP Frigate Free-for-All, but also an interesting scenario where Snuffed Out attacked the Space Pope.

Setting The Stage

Back at EVE Fanfest 2022, I was able to speak to Max Singularity about how it's been running one of the biggest neutral alliances in EVE, especially during the pandemic-ridden months and years we all spent in lockdown. For many players, EVE was an escape, a way to enjoy something with people in a time where going outside to meet up for dinner was literally forbidden in some places.

While EVE Online will sometimes mirror life a little too well, holding up the reflection of some of the worst in our society, it can also be a herald of some of the best. The Space Pope's Sixth Empire is an example of a player organization that is there to help other players, regardless of creed, profession, or background. 

One of the ways this was possible, especially given the Sixth Empire had its own Keepstar that acted as a neutral freeport for players to dock in whenever they needed, regardless of alliance affiliation, was that the major powers in EVE had declared the Sixth a protectorate.

Fast forward to a point where World War Bee 2 raged on and both major alliances were busy doing war things, and an opportunity arose for the villains to take center stage. Snuffed Out, with their leader Yonis, declared that Max Singularity was not the real Space Pope, rather Yonis was.

What we had here was a veritable Pope and Anti-Pope in EVE Online.

It was another instance where Snuff admitted to wanting to ransom a player structure for some gain, in this instance, the Sixth Empire's Keepstar.

"With all the big alliances being torn up with the war, and with all the Supers far away, what is there we can blow up locally?" Severasse told me during an interview at Fanfest in May. "And then, Yonis from our alliance just wanted to be Space Pope as well. So we figured if we tried to ransom [the Sixth Alliance's] Keepstar, then Yonis might get a chance to be Pope instead of Max. But apparently, it's community votes that count for that, not bribes."

Snuff took advantage of the fact that the Sixth Empire was vulnerable, no longer enjoying the protection of the massive empires that were busy burning each other to the ground.  They deployed and, after some good fighting that was celebrated by both sides, they were able to burn down the Sixth Empire's Keepstar, scattering the Space Pope's followers around known space. The most interesting through point from that event to this one is that in both instances, Snuffed Out was perfectly okay and willing to cast itself into the role of the villain. 

"It was one of the most fun things we've done in quite a long time," Serevasse told me.

It also has a similar feel in the community, with many feeling that Snuff was attacking a pillar that does some good for EVE players. Much of the criticism at the time surrounded Snuff for attacking the charity work that the Sixth Empire is affiliated with, Broadcast4Reps. However, for Snuff, it was pure opportunism: they were vulnerable, it was a target, and they had some fun. Even Max, during our interview at EVE Fanfest, seemed to look back fondly on the fight, even though it was a hard pill to swallow at the time.

"It's a sandbox, [Snuff] kicked my sandcastle and we all laughed," Max said when looking back on the event in our interview at Fanfest.

Opportunism strikes again

Fast forward to now, where it looked like the station that housed the Free For All ships was in jeopardy after Pizza put it into its timer. Rixx, naturally, eager to save the event in its current form, sounded the alarm. However, while the RF flag was enough to bring players to bear on the structure, eager to get their name on a juicy killmail, it also makes what you're trying to protect an even larger target for those opportunists looking for a fight.

"[W]e made plans accordingly," Rixx tells me. "The tweet and blog post were part of that preparation. I decided it was in our best interested to make this incident public. And Snuff was nice enough to walk right into it. What else could I do[,] but try to make something positive come of it?" 

Javix would reiterate that Snuff demanded payment and that if ABA didn't pay up, they had the "right" to destroy the structure. Javix also detailed this in his blogpost in the aftermath of the event, stating that he "freely" admits that some of the mistakes made in the diplomacy of this story were also on the side of ABA.

"So yes, in order to ensure the survival of this structure, I sounded the alarm on Twitter and on Discord. I knew what was going to happen. And I was right. We can argue that the egg came before the chicken, or that the chicken came first, but the fact is that what happened was going to happen either way. This is the reality in Low Sec these days. The Mafia wants their protection money and if you don't pay they will remove your structure and there is literally nothing you can do about it. The red flags went up and they were noticed."

On October 30th, 2022, the battle over Toothpaste Fish, the Stay Frosty player structure, commenced. Both sides brought the heat, with players from all over EVE Online from many other alliances such as Brave, Critical Effect, and Get Off My Lawn joining up to protect Toothpaste Fish from Snuffed Out. According to Serevasse, it was a great opportunity to pop some big ships, get some kills and live out their ethos of finding a good fight.

Machariel EVE Online

"We got intel there was an Astra in RF and decided to wander over and see what was going on, hoping for a fair fight," She tells me. "Saw there was a decent-sized defense fleet with some [juicy] Leshaks to explode so decided to go drop some [HAW Dreadnoughts] and a bunch of [Machariels] on it. Battle went in our favour pretty quick as we dropped HAW Dreads on Leshaks which makes them explode very quickly. Despite having a numeric advantage and a backup wing of bombers from Brave, ABA ran off and hid at the station."

The battle saw kills on both sides, as players struggled to get the upper hand. But in the end, despite the effort by ABA and its defense fleet, the Astrahus was destroyed, sending into jeopardy the future of the next Frigate Free-For-All.

War of Words

Since the attack on the Keepstar, Rixx has taken to his blog, EVOGANDA, to detail his side of the events, as well as talk about the future of the event. But that hasn't stopped the theorycrafting or some in the community from reveling in Stay Frosty's loss here.

One massive important note is that while the Astra housing the 13,000 frigates fit and ready for the event are no more, those frigates themselves are safe in what's called Asset Safety. This allows players to recover items and ships in a station that was destroyed and transfer them to another station to carry on from there. So the ships that many community members spent countless hours preparing aren't gone and the event still has a chance to go on as a result.

Destroyed Astrahus EVE Online

Serevasse acknowledged this too, stating that Reddit "exploded" because they "blew up" the station associated with a "random FFA event" and as such, Snuff was cast as the villain. 

"I mean, we are the bad guys," Serevasse admitted as an aside.

Snuffed Out is known for being a villain in EVE, with Redditors simply stating in response to the news that "Snuffed doing Snuffed things." However, not everyone is necessarily against Snuff, with some stating that this is the way in EVE. Don't fly what you can't afford to replace, kind of thing. Many are also stating that Stay Frosty shouldn't have put all their frigates in one basket, just asking to be blown up.

This is something Javix himself acknowledges, stating that the player structures that were there were only there to host the event. ABA, as a pirate alliance, doesn't necessarily need the structures themselves outside of the FF4A. Additionally, some in the community are afraid that this will lead to calls by Rixx and other more visible members of the EVE world to start calling for consensual PvP in Low Sec.

"I'm a -10 Pirate, I'm the CEO of Stay Frosty; what part of that makes me want consensual PvP?" Rixx told me in response to the statements on Reddit.

Additionally, like most things in real life, the discourse has devolved some into real-world accusations against the player and not the Pirate Lord character they play. It's turned into an ugly situation that can cross the border of acceptable discourse for a video game. 


Rixx hasn't let up on the blogposts, either, in the wake of the event. And players in the Reddit thread are also worried that these types of attacks could explain why EVE itself is dying in their eyes. Javix also alludes to this in his initial blogpost after the battle, stating that the era of being "cold, heartless EVE Online players means you also have to assholes" is gone. 

"The continued existence of these forces is what keeps EVE from achieving its full potential."

It also hasn't stopped the shooting war, though both alliances are simply low security roamers, a kill earlier today has seen Rixx reveling in a way that reminds you that the wound here is still a bit raw. Snuffed Out is also playing things up, stating that the Athanor coming out of RF today will be safe if Rixx pledges loyalty to Yonis as the "lord and saviour Spacepope Yonis I first of his name," among other demands.

What's Next For the Frigate Free-For-All?

So what's next for the PvP event that is at the center of all of this? Rixx isn't entirely sure. While it's a player-run event, CCP has promoted it in the past. Neither CCP Games nor Rixx have spoken to each other about the event, and Rixx has told me that he neither has plans to nor expects anything from the company.

"CCP has not been contacted, nor do I expect anything from them. This is an in-game issue," Rixx confirmed. 

Speaking with Peter "CCP Swift" Farrell, one of the MMO's community developers, this sounds like it's the approach the company is taking as well. 

"I would be sad if it went away," Farrell said. "If sadly it does die out, there will no doubt be something that kind of fills that void. It is kind of just the lifecycle of EVE, when you're going to experience some sort of situation where something you love is gone."

Farrell also confirmed that CCP won't be giving Rixx and ABA a permanent structure to run this event, stating that it would be "sacrosanct" to meddle in the sandbox like that.

While the event isn't scheduled until March of 2023, there are already discussions going on about how to put on the event in time. While it has been run from NPC stations before, it's not ideal, which is why the player stations with tethering was so ideal. However, Rixx isn't sure if A Band Apart will be dropping any more structures in Low Sec. 

"We will likely be forced back into using NPC stations again, which is not ideal and causes issues for the event due to station camping."

However, it seems as though ABA, should they want to, could drop another in the system thanks to the multiple offers coming in according to Rixx to take care of the costs of a new station. He has also stated that there have been multiple large "[null sec] alliances offer their protection." However, the Space Pope can probably attest to how much that helps, especially if another massive war were to be sparked.

Rixx isn't making any concrete plans right now, though the propaganda war has waged on. Last week another one of Stay Frosty's holdings was attacked, an Athanor named Joffy, where many of the frigates used in the FFA are made. Rixx has alluded to the fact that he's often wondered what a structureless Stay Frosty would be like, unencumbered and able to wreak havoc in Low Sec without fear of this type of reprisal. This could afford them that opportunity now.

They have until March to decide how things move forward. Thankfully, Snuffed Out seems on board with helping to make sure it runs smoothly. You know, for a fee.

"Heck if they contact our [diplomat] (Trottel Elf) I'm sure we can negotiate some protection for the next event..." Serevasse says.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore