The Fate of Brave and HERO

A year ago, Brave Collective was entrenching itself in Catch, making GE-8JV it’s capital, and bursting at the seams with pilots and content. Today, Brave finds itself in lowsec space, still undocking, but in greatly reduced numbers. What happened? How did the newest player in the Great Game of Null find itself playing station games three gates from highsec? As a long time member of Brave, I’ll try to shed some light on what went down. While I’m not formally a part of Brave Leadership; I have helped fulfill some informal roles and had access to discussions and information that most members did not. I was party to some of the behind the scenes drama and decisions, but there was plenty that went down that I was blissfully unaware of, even today. Read this as my caveat if someone more knowledgeable steps up to speak. This is my personal view of what happened. Some in Brave might be unhappy with what I write, but I tend to think Matias would appreciate the transparency and honesty. So what happened to Brave? Here’s the tl;dr:
  1. Failure of leadership and communication
  2. Lack of a counter to supercapitals
  3. Inability to employ diplomacy
  4. Lack of focus: Fountain or Duality?
  5. The role of the infamous middle management
  6. Loss of the narrative

Failure of Leadership and Communication

First and foremost, Brave had repeated critical failures of leadership and communication. In the hyper-connected world of Eve, events don’t wait until leaders get a break from real life to update the rank and file. The clock is always ticking and fleets wait for no one. Time after time, the failure of Brave’s leadership to explain decisions and plans in a timely manner has caused chaos with long lasting effects.

Video by Peter Merkelis

The fall of HED-GP is an example. After a bitter struggle against Pandemic Legion, HERO and Brave found themselves with their backs against the wall in HED-GP after retreating from GE-8JV. A “mercenary deployment” several regions away had been announced, which made little sense to most as our homeland region of Catch was being roflstomped by PL. Billions in assets were lost in GE-8JV as an incomplete evac left huge amounts of assets stranded. If HED-GP fell, there was nowhere in Catch to fall back to and regroup. The old guard of Brave knew how long it might take to truly evacuate HED-GP and realized that we were up against a timeline that looked like even more assets would have been stranded. PL’s campaign had been continuous, with small Brave victories that slowed the onslaught from time to time, but the drain on pilots’ morale was increasing.
“…lack of communication lead to the fall of Catch and the chaos that ensued.”
Despite the mythology about what actually happened with the evacuation order of HED, the reality was quite different. Open discussion in general comms about the need to contract stuff and get it out of station was raging. Several of us got pulled into Command Comms, the part of Mumble not open to all members, invited in by Brave leadership. Several of us, including the department leads of freight and logistics, were asked when the latest date to declare an evac could be before we would get stuff stranded. The answer was: “It’s too late already”. So in the room with several of the department leads, the head diplo, and the second in command of Brave, the group decision was made to announce an evacuation. From what I’m told, there was a Lychton deal in the works to avoid the loss of HED, but it wasn’t communicated to anyone else in Brave. Hence, lack of communication lead to the fall of Catch and the chaos that ensued. Lychton is a good person that only wants the best for Brave, but he must share some of the blame for the cascade of drama that has ensued over the last year. I like Lychton a lot and look forward to hanging with him in person, but his RL simply didn’t allow for him to act like the leadership that Brave needed. People joke about “AFK leadership” at critical times, but this is exactly what Brave faced and it hurt us tremendously.

Lack of a Counter to Supercapitals

Close on the heels to blame is the inability to counter titans and supercarriers with anything other than titans and supercarriers. Repeatedly, Brave would find itself out-escalated, facing enemy supers and getting our carriers and dreads doomsdayed into wrecks. IMHO, this is a fundamental problem for nullsec and those who have dreams of owning sov. The entire map of New Eden can basically be drawn by identifying which supercapital fleets can protect which regions. Even in the Aegis sov beta on Duality, supers were a key deciding factor on PL winning the contest. Brave, at the time the largest alliance in Eve, could bring over 500 pilots to fights, but simply had no counter to 20 supers logging in and reinforcing objectives in 10 minutes. With the Phoebe jump changes, supers could be used with almost no risk of being countered by another enemy super fleet. The PL FCs knew exactly where possible opposition was and it was on the other side of the universe. ships1 Fast forwarding to today, with Aegis sov, not much has changed in this regard. Supercaps remain the must have requirement to hold sov against determined attackers. People don’t like losing fights and will continue to escalate until they reach a point they can’t escalate more. Yes, there are some areas where smaller groups don’t go to supers, but if you face off against a major group, you have to have your own super fleet or they will crush you in rapid order. Our ill-fated time on the Duality server showed that supers can play a powerful role in Aegis sov and continue to be a factor in Brave’s ability to stand against groups in nullsec. Perhaps the upcoming capital and supercapital changes will change this, but can Brave really wait until those changes occur before trying to tackle nullsec again? We thought we could wait until Dominion sov was done and be saved by our numbers and that didn’t work out so well.

Inability to Employ Diplomacy

When military might failed, the recourse is diplomacy, which unfortunately Brave failed to employ well. If you mentioned the “blue donut” within Brave you would often hear that we wanted an “orange donut”, meaning no real allies besides our own coalition, HERO. Great in theory; terrible in reality. With no one to call upon when help in needed, life is rough. With no ability to negotiate a way out of a losing war, life is even rougher.
“Brave’s refusal to “play the metagame” didn’t work to our advantage.”
Brave’s refusal to “play the metagame” didn’t work to our advantage. At no time in Brave’s history have we lacked someone to shoot at, nor someone shooting at us. The decision to reject the kinds of deals and agreements that were commonplace among other nullsec coalitions just added to the deeper and deeper hole that Brave found itself in, with no respite from the beatings.
While Catch was burning, Goonswarm and Pandemic Legion reacted to the problems shown in Brave by creating their own newbie-focused groups; Karmafleet and Pandemic Horde. These smooth running newbie corps leaned on the strong infrastructure and leadership these groups already had in place. Suddenly Brave was no longer the obvious choice for new players. Karmafleet and Pandemic Horde offered much of what Brave offered, and the tantalizing addition of a group of big brothers and sisters that meant they wouldn’t routinely get their asses kicked. Brave started to bleed numbers into these new groups. As Catch collapsed, a move to Aridia lowsec was undertaken. HERO moved, mostly intact, with TEST having left before the fall of Catch. Once in Aridia, the politics of Brave got worse. Disarray, disillusionment, and distrust continued. After losing/booting popular FCs from Apathy that expressed concern about Brave’s direction and leadership, several CEOs in Brave were feeling that they might have been right to want Lychton to step aside. Lychton’s speeches and limited involvement didn’t help, with line members starting question him. Soon plans were made and the coup in the middle of the night took place. I woke up to the news and Skype full of people wanting to converse. Brave While there were some spectacularly nefarious people involved, others (like Malanek) truly had Brave’s best interests at heart. People chose sides and things were handled poorly by many, buying into propaganda and making villains of each other. The coup was reversed and promises were made of change and improvement by leadership. Brave bled even more people as many in favor of the coup decided to leave even though only a few were kicked. HERO was offered the region of Fountain by Goonswarm and the decision to take it was made. Personally, fresh off the beating we took in Catch (which nobody wanted), moving to Fountain (which other groups wanted) seemed like a bad idea as a way to recover. I was told to be quiet and that we were going to be rich. So Brave moved again into Fountain, blue to the CFC (they weren’t the Imperium at that point), and we set up shop. In the beginning, life seemed good as moon goo towers were installed, Brave corps staked claims in various systems, plans for jump bridges were laid, and I even started building carriers to replace those lost in Catch. brave bl The good times didn’t last long as Black Legion did a little math in their heads:
  1. Brave couldn’t stand up to PL.
  2. Effectively BL is as strong as PL when compared to Brave.
  3. BL can take what they want in Fountain and get rich.
And so BL began grinding Fountain away from HERO. June Ting had planned for this and had realized early that we couldn’t really hold the entire region, so she had drawn lines around what we would defend and what we wouldn’t. BL quickly rolled up all those areas, including the choke point system of 7BX-6F. For those that don’t know Fountain, since the Phoebe jump changes, 7BX-6F is a chokepoint for moving capitals in and out of Fountain from Arida. Once 7BX-6F was lost, HERO’s capitals had no escape and replacement capitals had to be sourced locally. Faced with a situation we were unable to win militarily, the inability to use diplomacy to improve our position lead us into worsening situations that no amount of spin or morale boosting could counter.

Lack of Focus: Fountain or Duality?

As the endless debate raged on about what to do in Fountain, CCP was testing Duality and the decision to participate heavily was made. Brave leadership pushed hard for people to log into the test server and spend time there. For a second time, the line members were asked to go off on some sort of quixotic crusade while their home systems burned. As before, division and anger bubbled up and neither home defense nor Duality was adequately attended to. In the end we failed at both things. Soon, BL was taking all the money moons and HERO/Brave was unable to stop them. Even when employing triage carriers, BL was able to bring in titans and doomsday them quite easily. Even when bringing dreadnought fleets to fight BL capitals, BL’s ability to escalate to supers led to losses of entire dread fleets that were not easy to replace due to the supply chain issues. In a pattern similar to what happened in Catch, once Black Legion ran out of strategic objectives, they began trolling for fights, putting structures into reinforced. Supercapital Ship Assembly Arrays, previously covered under a non-interference pact, became targets. Once again, the pressure on pilots built and morale weakened.

The Role of the Infamous Middle Management

A common refrain among the critics was that Brave’s “space democracy” and middle management was to blame for all the problems and that getting rid of this middle management was the cure to all problems. The truth was quite different. While never a formal part of the middle management, I did see much more into what was going on than the typical line member. This topic will probably be the most debatable one amongst Brave and former Brave members. In reality, most of the backend of Brave was being handled well. The IT team had a strong working infrastructure that held up to the huge loads. POS and structure management was smooth and quietly run by a small dedicated group. The logistics of moving ships and cargo was operated at low cost with a strong backbone of jump freighter pilots tackling huge amounts of courier contracts. These areas ran well, with a small group empowered to do what was needed, without a ton of oversight.
“At the core of the middle management debate is the Council of Newbie Management”
At the core of the middle management debate is the Council of Newbie Management (CNM). Consisting of the corp CEOs, the various department heads (and people who served as their seconds and thirds and etc), and four elected representatives of line members, the group often had over 20 people in comms. This quickly became unwieldy. The real issue was the endless debate and discussion that was allowed. Meetings stretched on for hours. Everyone in the room felt they could hold the floor and pontificate on every issue. I would get convos from participants mid-session complaining about the long and often toxic discussion that would drag on without end. When every person on comms feels like they can talk at length about every issue ad nauseam everything grinds to a halt and progress reverses. Combined with the inherent long-winded pontification that some enjoyed, this became the central problem with the CNM meetings and in large part, making decisions and getting stuff done. The discussion usually surrounded FC issues or diplo issues. The management and training of FCs has always been a difficult issue for Brave. Elaborate systems sprang up and crashed to pieces in succession. Rather than adopting other models, we kept trying to invent something new, with great complexity. Central to these models was what FCs and what kinds of roams would qualify for the ship replacement program (SRP), the minutiae of which stretched into the nonsense zone of bureaucracy.
“Brave’s ability to negotiate deals and even short term agreements became near impossible”
Diplomatic issues were another area where discussion and lack of empowerment lead to chronic failures and endless talks. Diplomacy is a real time activity and requires the power to make agreements, power to have members live up to agreements, and the backing of leadership to enforce the decisions of the diplos. The diplo process became contorted and difficult, particularly when combined with the lack of communication from leadership. Brave’s ability to negotiate deals and even short term agreements became near impossible, leading to even more drama over trivial events. In hindsight, both the FC and diplo operations should have been handled much more like IT or logistics: Areas with small, empowered groups who act as needed without needing to bring issues back to the CNM for discussion. Brave’s weakness for allowing endless debate was a key factor in the chaos that led to repeated problems. Contrary to the popular meme, Brave needed a small group of empowered middle management to focus on getting things done, rather than somehow removing this critical layer. Brave-Chaos

Loss of the Narrative

As this was going on, the pressure of social media and whisper campaigns grew outside of the Eve client as well. These had huge impacts on the outcome of Fountain. Lacking proper forums, Brave relied on the /r/BraveNewbies sub-reddit as a main conduit of information and coordination. In hindsight, this left Brave open to attack in a way that did a huge amount of harm. Some will say that the openness of Reddit allowed discussion and criticism, but it left us unprepared for a concerted effort to further destabilize the already unstable Brave community. Shitposting and serious brigading began to occur on the subreddit. Personally, I was for banning and deleting most of it since we lacked forums, but the decision was made to let people post whatever they want. A huge mistake, IMHO, as Brave lost control of the main communication tool to those that were seeking to break Brave. The number of actually helpful outsiders was tiny compared to the number of those working hard to hurt Brave morale. Excuses of “just wanting to help” were just a smokescreen. At one point I posted a ‘Cringy Morale Post‘ that got ripped apart and brigaded downwards. It was a poor decision on my part to post it. It came across as “everything is fine” when that was clearly not the case. After that I reached out privately to several other leaders in various Eve groups, both friend and foe, to get their opinion on what they would do. Many took a good amount of time to discuss the situation and offer valuable advice. It didn’t stop anyone from reinforcing structures, but it did give me a chance to check my blind spot. Losing control of the narrative helped lead to a destructive time as poaching of individual members and entire corps ramped up. It was a critical failure to have our main communications method completely public and basically unmanaged. Once the “I’m leaving” posts started and those individuals got upvotes from the brigaders, the internal pressures reached boiling points.
“Like hyenas circling a wounded wildebeest, various groups angled for people, corps, and schadenfreude.”
Outside of social media, various groups were reaching out to both cause division and poach groups; “Bovril is the cancer in Brave” and “Bovril, come join us…” Like hyenas circling a wounded wildebeest, various groups angled for people, corps, and schadenfreude. When TEST arrived with their relentless trolling, this accelerated even more rapidly. A word about TEST: When HERO began, I made a point to be on TEST comms and get to know them. I was warned by many that TEST was a mistake that Brave was making and would poison our culture. I like most of the individual TEST members and defended them on several occasions, but something happens when they reach a certain critical mass. They form a strange sort of Asshole Voltron and love to be the biggest annoyances possible. After the help and framework that Brave provided when TEST was still reeling from almost failscading themselves, with a shadow of their membership logging in, I never would have imagined the vehemence at which they came after Brave members. Again, I like many individual members, but TEST as a group are a bunch of assholes, just as I was warned. Lesson learned. Lychton resurfaced as things really got bad, and after a lot of honest discussions behind the scenes, made a State of the Alliance to pull out of Duality, focus on defense, and somehow regain our footing in Fountain. But it was all too little, too late. We still had no answers to Black Legion’s attacks, no allies on the horizon, and morale waning when promised changes didn’t appear in a timely fashion. Lychton, once again, inexplicably went AFK.
“All the signs of an imminent failscade appeared.”
Within a short time, leadership of the alliance was handed to Nancy Crow, who did the only reasonable thing and tried to get as much of Brave out of Fountain as possible to avoid even further chaos. HERO fell apart at this point and large, important corps like Bovril and J3B peeled off to join new alliances. Brave began hemorrhaging members as the evacuation took full effect. All the signs of an imminent failscade appeared. A few weeks later Brave finds itself in lowsec, a shadow of it’s former self, often unable to clear the undock of hostiles. Many in Eve were excited about Brave being in lowsec and the the idea of “good fights” so many lowsec entities converged on the reeling Brave, who was unable to muster the kinds of fleets that were commonplace only three months ago. The pressure and frustration continues, and even more pilots are bailing out, hoping to find something fun to do instead of the constant feeling of being punched in the face.

Eve Online is a tough game. The strong prevail and the weak die.

Brave Newbies brought a new kind of attitude into the game and changed it. Where new players were once mocked, they are now coveted with groups like Karmafleet and Pandemic Horde fully supported by the strongest groups in the game. But Brave Newbies also brought out an old attitude of punching someone when they are down. The weaker Brave got, the more other groups joined into the pummeling. Brave talked about facing an orange donut and not entering into the kind of agreements that many on the interwebs complain about. By taking this position, Brave opened themselves up to having all of Eve pile onto them and grind them down in-game and out-of-game.

What happens next?

Honestly, I have no idea. If you expected an inspiring “rah rah” speech about rising from the ashes, I apologize. Numbers of pilots are terribly low and Brave remains without a long term objective. For new players, the other starter corps look far more attractive, with Brave no longer offering the numbers, access to nullsec, or constant activity of the past that once made it the obvious landing spot for newbies. Most recently, the decision to move into Faction Warfare with the Brave Newbies corp is being positioned as our step toward healing. The Brave Collective alliance is being used as holder for wormhole corps and other groups not enthralled with the promise of orbiting a button. At least one critical corp, Jebediah Kerman’s Junkyard and Spaceship Parts Co., was so frustrated over this decision that they’ve decided to leave the alliance completely.
Lychton Kondur has formally transferred the CEO role to Nancy Crow, and a huge purge of inactive members is underway that will likely drop the member count from over 10,000 to under 2,000. A sad sign to be sure, but probably a necessary step. Listening to Lychton give his farewell speech, I was struck by a way he phrased an early Brave concept. Repeatedly, he mentioned “undocking and getting blown up and having fun”. He didn’t mention winning. He mentioned getting blown up and not caring about the loss. This was an early Brave sentiment that made sense when we were truly newbies with only frigates and destroyers to fleet in. Two years later, that sentiment is deadly to Brave. We are not flying arty Thrashers anymore. We need to move past this thinking and work on doing things well and winning. Let other groups wear the “we are bad at Eve” mantle, it has no place in Brave.

  Stay Classy. Have Fun. Be Brave. These are the mottos of our group and they don’t include intentionally whelping fleets and trying to convince pilots that it’s fun. No one likes losing. Perhaps moving past these early rationalizations will help Brave avoid the fate of some many other groups that have failscaded into history previously. Will Faction Warfare be the thing that reverses the trend? Mercenary work didn’t do it. Lowsec (twice) didn’t do it. Fountain didn’t do it. And they were all promised as the solution to our issues. Not to be Debbie Downer, but I’ve heard “this time will be different” before. There is a core group of players that remain that are Brave at heart, but New Eden is a harsh place with no gifts. To rebuild Brave is a hard task, as some have done after facing similar collapses, but realistically, most have failed. Some argue that Brave should simply disband and avoid a slow spiral into oblivion, calling an end to this experiment. I have to admit, I’ve pondered this more than I ever thought I would. I will continue to undock and fight, but I can’t help but wonder where we will be this time next year. For now, Brave struggles on, trying to find a new objective and new niche that once again makes it a place attractive to pilots. Only time will tell the answer. hpT7fRe  
Tags: brave newbies, Dunk, hero

About the author

Dunk Dinkle

Dunk Dinkle has played Eve since 2008. A life-long gamer, he's played MMORPGs since the first days of Ultima Online. In Eve, he's taken a path from high sec mission running to factional warfare to null sec. After the battle of Asakai, Dunk landed in Brave Newbies where he annoys FCs with an extensive soundboard.

  • Doomchinchilla

    Pandemic Horde is recruiting Dunk ^^. Honestly we all play this game for fun, and people stopped having fun in BRAVE BECAUSE of all the overhead and ‘non’fun stuff that BRAVE made people do.

    CCP make us do boring stuff already and at times make EVE feel like a job, BRAVE just further reinforced that EVE was a job to them. Noone should have to sit in an EVE ‘meeting’ for more than 30 minutes let alone hours.

    You’re correct in your assessment that KF and PH are far more appealing than BRAVE, I would argue that not only are they far more appealing but they’re much better than BRAVE for noobies as a whole, not just in appeal but in practice as well.

    • Kamar Raimo

      One mustn’t forget that BRAVE started as this weird grassroots project of newbies going their own way. It lead to all kinds of disasters but it was a great experiment. We can all look back on this and say “that was a genuine piece of EVE history”.

      Karmafleet and Pandemic Horde are great, but they are also have well established backing. Making your own mistakes is a great way to learn EVE, and it has been missing a bit from the game for a time before BRAVE. Don’t forget that all the people who are now behind KF and PH once made their very own fuckups and learned from them.

      TL;DR I guess I just love to see when something new happens, and BRAVE managed to provide that, in good and bad ways.

  • toobadsosad

    At the end of the day, it was all of the spais/fifth column people who wore you guys down. That was what all that toxicity was. Those people who remember the data dump from whats-his/her-name could see clearly just how many alts from other alliances were on the inside. And those were just the lazy ones.

  • yomato slayer

    dunk join the war against the gallente scum

    • Kamar Raimo

      Speaking as gallente scum I second that call to arms 🙂

    • Niden

      Hear hear.

  • Kamar Raimo

    Not to blow my own horn, but I did predict quite some time ago that there is a big chance Brave will be ground down by the lifestyle and metagame of sov null. I think I used some phrase to the effect of “Brave might not want to play the metagame with others, but that doesn’t mean others will stop playing it with them”

    That being said, it probably was a learning experience for everyone involved and hopefully everyone is wiser as a result. 2K members is not all that bad if they are active and dedicated. A lot can be done with numbers like this if the priorities are set right.

    • Talvorian Dex

      That’s not a particularly bold or insightful claim, seeing that all alliances eventually fail.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Sure, but I did very much warn against exactly some of the problems Brave encountered along the way. Particularly the diplomatic failures, the leadership problems and the cultural differences with TEST. Reference:

        • Sapporo Jones

          That article you linked kind of demonstrates you don’t actually know much about TEST. And more to the point, the friction with TEST was TEST reacting to things BRAVE was doing.

          I feel like if you were honest with yourself about what actually happened in HERO you would see that.

          • Kamar Raimo

            In what way? TBH I never had TEST in high regards, and after they restrctured themselves they may have changed, but even during the time they were in FW they were just absolutely terrible in every way.

            I do admit that I hardly know anything about the post FW TEST and by what I hear from the outside it has become better.

          • Sapporo Jones

            Our time post fountain was rough, our lowest point was G-0 in curse. FW helped us a bit, but we had no money and no real doctrines and we didn’t quite know how to fix that. All of the things we learned about how to be an alliance didn’t really apply in FW. FW taught us a bunch of things, how to differently monetize space you live in, how to live cheap, how to do smaller gang activities rather than 750+ man fleets and more. SkierX made the right call taking us to FW and our time in FW and in TEMP fundamentally changed how TEST approached the game. We stopped accepting being shit. We worked to restructure our leadership, come up with cohesive doctrines that weren’t ‘jack of all trades’ doctrines, how to work with allies and took a lot of advice from external entities to help us with the rebuilding.

            The TEST of today is night and day different from Fountain era TEST. Our success at present is in no small part because we have corps and line members and people in leadership who are all working hard to make TEST improve every day.

            I will say that it’s probably still fair to say TEST is shit, but we are always working hard to improve and every day we become better than we were.

    • Saint Michael’s Soul

      I remember a CZ (from about 2 years ago?) where Xander and Jeg chatted about Brave considering sov whilst in Barleguet and suggesting that it could go very badly. There was a lot of worry around.

      I think what everyone forgets is that for a while it was working …but ultimately the Supercap button wins.

      • Kamar Raimo

        I sure wasn’t the only one who saw potential problems in the future. Thing is, everyone who has played this game long enough and been involved knows that you don’t just yolo sov on numbers and enthusiasm alone.

        Look at what happened with TEST and the HBC, or even further back, even the Goons once collapsed because of internal drama and outside pressure, and their sustained success as a sov-holding alliance began only with the current technocratic leadership cadre.

        Staying in the sov game for extended amounts of time requires many different roles and qualities within an alliance. Even supercaps are not the lynchpin. If that were the case, NC. and PL would still hold sov. It’s also a thing of culture and social engineering that goes beyond mere military strength. BoB thought they could rule through force alone, and they also ended up being wrong in the end.

  • gf

  • Rashid Alam

    “After the help and framework that Brave provided when TEST was still reeling from almost failscading themselves” MY SIDES, jUST STAHP,

    I remember sendaya era brave comms and framework, they didn’t work, TEST taught brave how do actually do stuff. but hey who remembers draleth, lack of any auth and comms where every one in fleet were taking. SPIN FOR THE SPIN THRONE.

  • Messiah Complex

    I don’t like saying this, but it’s time *everybody* starts preparing for life after Brave. It’s no good having people just leave the game because their whole experience of the game has been in one group. And it’s no good to exist in a zombie state. It would be better for a small core of altruists from among what’s left of the leadership to find new homes for what’s left of the member corps. GENTS could be your model for that.
    I’m genuinely bummed about this. There was a time Brave was something to be admired. Now it’s something else.

    • Kamar Raimo

      As the old saying goes, a candle that burns twice as bright burns only half as long. Brave was a great inspiring force for many. Even I as someone who is pretty bitter about sov nullsec did at some point want to believe that they can actually make it, and I am sure I wasn’t the only one.

      I think the main thing we can all learn from this is that it’s important to manage your expectations and set your targets according to your goals.

  • Playos

    “narrative”… I wanted to choke every single one of you who used this word the entire time we were in Catch

  • Random

    I was a member of the CNM the entire time it existed. The early meetings were full of toxic yelling but that was mostly Motre. Once he was gone those mostly ended. For the last probably year it mostly served as a discussion and information sharing body. Both of which are good things that we needed.

    IT and Logistics ran well because they had good people running them. Diplo and PvP ran poorly because they had shitty leaders and shitty members who made shitty decisions and Lychton refused to ever fire anyone ever. Most of the time the CNM was yelling, it wasn’t because we wanted to interfere with doctrines, or try and stop diplo from making allies. No, it would be because we wanted Lychton to fire the guy who was supposed to do a doctrine but instead went afk for three months leaving no one to do it or because we were frustrated the diplo was unwilling to do their jobs and talk to people.

    The CNM was, essentially, an ineffective advisory board that tried to get Brave leadership to make the decisions they needed to while as powerless as everyone else to do anything about it. When Lychton disbanded it, the masses cheered at the removal of “toxic middle management” but really it just meant that the people not doing their jobs had even less pressure on them and did even less, so hooray I guess.

    • Dunk Dinkle

      I don’t disagree. Never understood how removing the CNM fixed anything.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    Perhaps most importantly we’ve lost a load of new players, possibly forever, that had the potential to do long term good for the game.

    • Kamar Raimo

      I’m not sure how many of them unsubbed. Pandemic Horde and Karmafleet seem to have caught quite a few on the way out.

      Edit: The positive thing that comes out of all this drama is what Dunk also says: There are now new organisations that welcome newbies who want to try nullsec life and the attitude has changed.

  • Triptee

    As a group Brave has burned extremely hot for a relatively short period of time.

    Kudos! You went there, did that, and got the T-Shirt! You all should be very proud of your accomplishments.

    Looking forward to what happens next.

  • theseconddavid

    Test was the worst possible ally for Brave. Test is only good at one thing, collecting the worst people in eve and putting them into one alliance. Mittani said it perfectly, Test is poisonous.

    • Sapporo Jones

      He didn’t say TEST is poisonous. He said TEST had poisonous leadership and he was talking about the leadership we had in Fountain. You should go back and listen to the recording.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Yeah, you are right about that. Mittani is being misquoted there.

  • Sapporo Jones

    Couple few things I wanted to say about this article. First, good write up. I like the tone you use and your narrative voice isn’t over the top with bias. It’s a fairly objective piece and I wanted to commend you on it.

    With that being said, there are a couple issues I have with some of your points.

    To start, TEST isn’t a group of assholes like you say. We certainly have our moments, and when we choose to unleash our autism at a target you can definitely see that we aren’t friendly to those we are fighting. However, our antagonism of brave was not something we started. TEST was really hype to start working with brave at the start of the HERO organization, and even hype to work with brave on the pre HERO formation ops we worked together on. Brave, on the other hand, treated us like we were subhumans. You talk about throwing us a bone but you didn’t. PGL gave us all the chance, not brave. Brave spent much of the early months of HERO spending as much time as possible shitting on TEST. This created the animosity that we had towards brave because it really never let up during the entire time we were in HERO. Any time we made a suggestion, any time we brought complaints to brave leadership, any time we talked to Blue Ice about something he was doing, it was always “shut up TEST brave is in charge”. At a certain point the frustration trickles down to the line member and what you are left with is a divide in our coalition. One that brave created and TEST responded to in kind. Let’s not forget depotgate. Remember that the reason that became a sticking point for TEST is because BRAVE’s attitude regarding GE-8JV was that brave owns it and everyone else is a guest there. So brave would setup depot art on the undock, but whenever anyone else did the same you guys yelled about people cluttering up your undock and behaving like shitty guests. That’s an attitude that is FAR MORE DESTRUCTIVE than any perceived metagame threats. Heghegheg, the BOLD nerds, Blue Ice, all of these people and entities created such a divisive environment I don’t see how you could expect us to enjoy working with you.

    Another thing I want to point out, is that brave is absolutely awful at narrative. To such an extent that current brave don’t seem to actually know what a narrative actually is. In your article you mention narrative in terms of control of the narrative. The simple fact is brave never tried to employ a narrative at all because it spent like 90% of it’s time talking about the metagame boogeymen. Getting your line members to jump at shadows and fear other entities in the game for simply talking to you is not a narrative. A narrative is a reason for doing something. Traditionally brave’s attitude is simply “theres a target go shoot it” and when people ask why the response is usually “because it needs to be shot”. There is generally no “why” explained. The Mista deployment is a perfect example of this, rather than tell people why they should get excited about the deployment, you pretty much left it at “because theres dudes to shoot so go shoot them”. While that isn’t incorrect, it’s not a narrative. You need to provide people with a reason to log in and do something. Brave doesn’t narrate, it orders, it demands, it points at something and feebly flails at it till it starts to die or gets bored and fucks off. But your pilots are left questioning why they would do something, and the longer you spend not explaining it to them the more people will leave to alliances that treat them like people and not like a meatshield or a bloated and ineffective military apparatus.

    There’s probably a bunch more but I doubt people want to read through any more of my ramblings so I will just stop there.

    Like I said, good article but has some flawed perceptions.

    • Dunk Dinkle

      I understand where you’re coming from. Seems like many of TEST problems were with Brave Leadership, not most line members. There were several moments of Brave autists vs. TEST autists, but for the most part, day to day stuff was fine.

      I wasn’t party to much of the Brave/TEST leadership discussion, but it appears that most voices, inside and out were told to “shut up”.

      Hopefully you can see how many regular Brave pilots were surprised when the relationship changed.

      Personally, I appreciated TEST in HERO and hung out quite a bit, hence my shock at what happened at the end of Fountain.

      • Sapporo Jones

        The only real problem we had with line members as far as I know was the acceptance of the concept that losing is somehow fun.

        The lion’s share of our problems stemmed from an inability to resolve any issues that cropped up either because it took far too long to get issues resolved or because we were simply ignored when we raised them. Middle management largely told us to fuck off when we brought up issues.

        Brave has a bunch of skilled pilots still, just as they did before, and I am confident that FW is not the end of brave, nor is the end in sight for brave. But there does still seem to be a fundamental lack of structure and the things that make other alliances effective. Whether this is still a willful thing or just an implementation issue I don’t know. But there is still huge potential in brave.

        • Kamar Raimo

          TEST had the attitude that losing was fun way before that too. It was very much a carryover from the old Goon attitude that welping didn’t mean anything.

          • Sapporo Jones

            We absolutely did, you are absolutely correct. It wasn’t really until SkierX took us to FW that we started really working to not be total shit. There has been so much work put in, and so much dedication from our pilots and fc’s and middle management to affect change that the TEST of today is wholly unrecognizable to those who remember exclusively Ye Olde TEST. But this is because we listened to people, we took advice, we stayed adaptable and agile and made changes when necessary. In short, we started really focusing on resolving our problems and making change for the better. I think somewhere there’s even a SOTA from our FW days where TEST leadership really came down hard on the whole ‘losing is fun’ thing.

            The goon attitude we learned when we were formed was that “we are shit” is a good thing to hold because it shames your enemies when they lose and marginalizes the enemy when they win. But it’s not supposed to be a concept you embrace. You aren’t supposed to ACTUALLY BE SHIT. The problem we had was people thought it was ok to lose and be shit and be proud of it. That’s just not acceptable. From FW on you can absolutely see day by day positive changes in TEST and us tangibly and measurably improving. Sure we still make mistakes, and sure sometimes we do dumb shit, but by and large we don’t want to be shit we want to win.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Thanks for the comment, it told me a lot about TEST I didn’t realise. (not a troll, seriously it was an eye-opener)

    • Herp Derpison

      nevermind that TEST treated every other HERO member alliance like dirt.

      • Sapporo Jones

        Except for the fact that we didn’t. We like bloodline, we were frustrated they refused to use coalition voice comms for fleets as this created issues on more than one occasion. We liked NAGA, I honestly can’t think of any issues we had with NAGA nor a time where we treated them poorly. We liked SOUND, but holy crap 3 of their members were insufferable. Admittedly we didn’t like XPLICIT because of how they entered the coalition and the shit they stirred, and we didn’t really like BPA from the start because we told Lychton it was a horribly idea to bring them in and he did it anyways.

        So please elaborate where we treated other “HERO member alliance” like dirt.

    • Niden

      Wow, thank you for that, good read. +1

    • Servalan

      Just something to add about this early leadership friction. At the start of the Catch campaign there was a big schism between our Mildir Motre and the rest of the FCs. This somehow evolved into our FCs versus Motre/TEST, because Motre was the way our FCs interacted with TEST FCs/leadership.

      Even after motre was ‘retired’, nothing got better…By mid-catch there was basically no communication between two. we would have stratops with separate BNI/TEST fleets and the FCs would not talk to each other.

      It was so stupid. I would sit in the BNI command channels and hear BNI FCs talk about how shit TEST FCs were, and then join TEST fleets (so I could fly my proteus) and here TEST talk about how shit BNI FCs were. It would have been quite funny if it were not so counter-productive.

  • Former Line Member

    I quit BRAVE because the assholes kept consolidating their grip on control of the organization by kicking all of the fun FCs (Travis, Malanek, etc.) and blaming problems on the few people who were doing most of the real work. They wanted everyone to go “fight” unwinnable fights in order to satisfy diplomatic demands for content instead of a focusing on being newbies and kicking ant piles.

    Lychton became the biggest asshole of them all because he lost the faith, but held onto power. He sacrificed all of the most excellent people because their success made him look incompetent or irrelevant to what he started.

    EVE was a terrible game, but BRAVE made it fun. It was easier to quit EVE than swallow one’s pride and become the shadow of Goons or PL.

    Die a HERO, or live long enough to become the villain.

  • Druik Arbosa

    This was one of the best and most mature articles about the politics of EVE.
    As a terrible player of the game, I read these articles as a means to see the deeper aspects of the game.
    Thank you for writing it.

  • JZ909

    I was in Brave for a short period of time while they were still in Catch. My perception at the time was that most of the pilots in Brave were exceptionally terrible. They lost tons of ships, even when they vastly outnumbered their opponents, but no one seemed to care and try to get better, because they were still winning fights.

    However, outside of small skirmishes (where Brave simply threw a much bigger blob at the problem), most of the victories I saw were more often due to fortunate third-parties than anything Brave pilots were doing. Supers certainly beat Brave, but so did a lot of other things. I don’t know if other alliances hated each other, and were using our timers to fight their own war, or if they just felt Brave was too cute to die. Either way, even in the heady days of GE-8, Brave was alarmingly weak.

  • Harri

    You only need one bullet point to tell what happened to Brave. Brave stopped being what Brave was built to be. Period. End of story.

    Some of us in the podcasting community had early on discussions with people from Brave at the very early onset of them announcing their intent to enter null. We told them this would happen. And like all children who think their parents are stupid they did not heed any advice and here they are.

    Obviously all children need to learn on their own and make the mistakes. And mistakes were made. But I ask you, dear writers and readers- can we stop talking about Brave now? Every other day there is another story written about why they failed. Who cares anymore? Do this many people care? Brave is the most self-important entity I’ve ever seen. It’s a constant barrage as if Brave is/was/can only be/ the only greatest thing ever to happen to Eve.

    Please, for the love of Christ, put Brave to rest and let’s all stfu and move on. They’re over. Not the fist, not the last to be so.

    Good day

  • Kenny Dalglish

    oh jesus. woe is me. when null alliances lose their sov they seem to lose their reason for existing, but it isn’t so.

    There’s a lot of isk to be made in Faction war, and as much or as little pvp content as you want. There’s no sov in FW, if you don’t want to fight dock up and chill, if you want to train FC’s give them some cheap t1 doctrines and let them welp until they get good. In null caps and supers are top of the food chain, in low they’re mostly redundant unless you want to fight over moons. There’s probably more isk to be made, and way more content for ordinary line members in faction war: 3-400mil an hour from running missions if you can push calmil to t4 or t5, solo/small gang fights all day in the plexes if that’s what they want, lvl5 low sec missions that can pay even more if you have the skills to run them, money moons and planets, jita, high sec and low sec incursions a few jumps away… and all of it without the stress of holding sov. You think brave were exiled to the wilderness, but really they just left the wilderness, and it will still be there when they’re ready to go back.

  • AFormerBrave

    Very good, neutral, accurate article. Thank you for summarizing the recent history of BRAVE without bias. I was there in Catch, participated in the bug-out, and was there in Fountain until the Great Collapse as well. BRAVE is an ideal, a vision, a golden city on a hill to many of us. It is not dead yet.

  • #gmayorgac280

    Recently, as a new player, i joined Brave. I was looking for help and one of the leaders sent out a message to the entire alliance asking for someone to mentor me – not one person responded. I quit after a few days.

    • Brave admin

      lol metagame. There was no such alliance mail ever sent – go away, silly person.

      • #gmayorgac280

        I didn’t say mail message. A jabber ping was sent to the entire alliance. My point is this: right now Brave Newbies is not for newbies.