Brave at ThreeDunk Dinkle
Three years ago, DaBigRedBoat misclicked on a menu, the Battle of Asakai took place, and in a cascade of subsequent events, Brave Newbies was born.
At the time, I wasn’t playing Eve, but the news of Asakai hit my news feeds. Wanting to rejoin New Eden, I looked for a new corp, saw Matias’s posting about Brave Newbies on Reddit.
On the fifth day of Brave Newbies existence, I joined. I’ve been with the corporation ever since. February 5th was the third year anniversary of being SBOON.
Unfortunately, I’m one of the few left from those very early days still in Eve and in Brave Newbies.
I’ve never been a formal part of “leadership” but a kind of ombudsman in Brave, hearing what line members thought directly and also being witness to much of the behind the scenes drama of the corp and alliance leaders.
Today, after an excruciatingly hard and painful year, currently Brave itself is on the rebound, once again Having Fun, Being Brave, and attempting to Stay Classy.
On my second anniversary, Brave found itself catching it’s breath after fighting Pandemic Legion in Catch. We still controlled the region, amazingly. In no way did we defeat PL to get a respite. It was more like a cat being distracted by a shiny object in another region, while the wounded mouse tried to recover from wounds inflicted as the cat played with it.
“Thanks to the release of the This is Eve video in late 2014, we were the largest corporation in the game”
Thanks to the release of the This is Eve video in late 2014, we were the largest corporation in the game, with tons of new pilots and full fleets around the clock. The huge influx of players fueled us with the sheer numbers to keep up with what was thrown at us. Karmafleet was only days old and Pandemic Horde didn’t exist yet, making us the premiere destination for new players.
The break in the war was brief, enough to raise morale a bit, but soon Pandemic Legion and third parties reappeared and the grind returned. Large scale fleet fights were the norm, but the nights often ended with supercarriers reinforcing structures in 10 minutes or many hours mindlessly spent repping structures in carriers hoping to to avoid a drive-by doomsday.
It was demoralizing. We had no answer to the onslaught. Fights when we threw everything we had against PL were answered with an escalation we couldn’t match. If we didn’t fight, ‘punishment’ was done to create more timers.
As a fairly dedicated logi pilot, the structure grind was especially frustrating, even for me. In the Dominion era sov mechanics, stations, TCUs and other structures needed to be repaired to be brought back online. Millions of hit points to be repped. I would fly twin Nidhoggurs and even so, sit for hours and hours repping stationary objects, a giant target. Low fun per hour.
On a side note, de-entosising a structure, today’s comparable activity, remains a mind numbing task. While less time is required, it’s still an exceedingly boring task.
In my real life, my father was losing his fight against cancer and heading into hospice, and I was flying back and forth to handle various situations. At times I would go days between even thinking about Eve, at other times, I immersed myself into the game as a relief from the horror of losing my dad.
As war wore on, and we started to slowly lose ground, the stress started to take it’s toll on the internal cohesion of the group. Rumblings about how the war was being fought and how the alliance and coalition was being run got loud and we started losing good pilots out of frustration.
Lack of communication and coordination started to cascade into collapse as we started losing Catch, setting up a bad evacuation and attempt to redeploy to lowsec.
Many leaders were upset and it lead the infamous democratic coup of the alliance ousting Lychton, setting the scene for maximum Reddit drama. Personally, I was frustrated with Lychton’s absence but wasn’t willing to side with the Coupbois. I was contacted by both sides and several discussions were had. One plan was to have Lychton hand over CEO of Brave Newbies itself to me since I was ‘trusted’ by both sides. To be honest, the idea scared the shit out of me, I manage a lot of people IRL, and the last thing I wanted to do was manage space nerds. Still, I told both Lychton and the Coupbois that I’d do whatever they need to try and hold Brave together.
The counter-coup took place and the great purgeanation of the coup plotters and corps took place, once again losing strong FCs and leaders in the process.
On the heels of the counter-coup, came the offer to take Fountain from Goons. As usual, I complained about change vociferously for a day or so and then accepted my fate and got along with the program. My concern was that we had learned the hard way, they we could not stand against a group that could escalate to supers and titans. If a strong power wanted Fountain, we would find ourselves under assault again.
The planning of a transfer into Fountain got going in earnest, and I was relieved to see we weren’t planning to try to hold the whole region and were basing in an NPC station. Fountain is nice, but the choke points are real. Losing 7BX-6F means losing a critical mid-point for capitals in and out.
At first, things went smoothly as we got used to our new surroundings, and the met the locals, Fountain Core. Space was divided up and HERO spread out into systems, waiting for jump bridges to come online. Mining in a bait Procurer in F-88 was good fun, as was building capitals from the cheap minerals that Bovril was pouring onto the market. For a while, I actually thought we might be here for the long haul.
Things changed when the nomadic, “no fucks given” Black Legion decided to become sov renting grindlords and began taking southern Fountain. HERO didn’t really defend the area, as BL didn’t hesitate to use supercarriers to reinforce systems, and we had seen this all before.
BL sent fleets up into northern Fountain, alongside Fountain Core, and caused a number of good fights. A tenuous agreement was in place to not hit each other’s construction arrays, where super caps were being built. Of course, this agreement fell rather quickly for some reason or another, and the assault on HERO begun.
Unfortunately, at the same time testing of the new sovereignty system began on Duality, and Brave leadership encouraged heavy participation, further sapping HERO and Brave fleets of pilots and FCs. Confusion reigned as the timer board was mixed between Duality and Tranquility and ‘real’ assets were getting hit while pings were going out to attend fleets on the test server.
Needless to say, there were lots of fights, third parties, and as usual, I had carriers doomsdayed out from under me as I repped structures. As we started to lose, morale dropped and the infighting reached a fever pitch. With no constructive plan from HERO leadership on how to deal with the situation, internal relationships began to fracture. TEST/Dreddit began a serious shitpost/recruiting campaign, and as previously documented, we lost control of the ‘meta’ on Reddit and the dogpiling got worse and worse.
“Everything seemed to get worse, the sov situation, rage in comms, arguing in leadership channels…”
Lychton returned after being a bit AFK due to real life, but gave a State of the Alliance speech that made pilots concerned rather than uplifted. Everything seemed to get worse, the sov situation, rage in comms, arguing in leadership channels, and especially the general attitude of the rest of Eve toward Brave.
Since I was someone that people felt they could talk to, I heard a lot of the frustration and knew several of the CEOs were looking at their options. I commiserated with them, but hoped we’d find a way out.
After some hard discussions, Lychton announced he was stepping down and Nancy was taking over. While I have enormous trust in Nancy, the situation was horrific. We were losing all our sov stations and being forced back into the NPC zone. In the NPC stations, we were being camped continuously, and morale was bottoming out.
HERO was disintegrating and corps I like to fly with were bailing out and joining other alliances. An evacuation to lowsec was announced and a general panic ensued. With a multitude of options open to them, pilots fled to other corps, and one after another, I watched my friends leave Brave.
I had a carrier cooking in 1-5GBW that was timed to come out, just a few hours before the final station timer was up. Hoping not to lose it, as I had lost an Orca in GE-8JV, I waited to evac until it was almost too late.
I assembled my stuff, once again cursing my hangars full of junk and unused ships, stuffing my carriers full and sending my jump freighter off, out of harm’s way. Surrounded by hostiles, planning an exit route for carriers from Fountain is hard. After discussing things with some of my remaining closest Brave friends, Kiu and n0rman, I got a bit risky and came up with a plan where I was jumping solo into systems without stations to deep safes, hoping no one would notice the cynos and carriers appearing. Waiting hours for an empty system, timing the self destruct, jumping to a cyno in open space, hoping to cloak quickly and recharge capacitor had my stomach in knots. They are only space pixels, but it’s hard not to stress when you know your loot laden killmails would be used as even more propaganda against Brave.
“Instead, we went to lowsec and joined Factional Warfare. I was dismayed.”
Once I had my assets fairly safe, I refocused on the bigger Brave picture. We were scattered and without a direction. Continuing to hemorrhage pilots, we had to do something. I wanted to go carve out a small piece of null, even NPC space, where we could lick our wounds. Instead, we went to lowsec and joined Factional Warfare. I was dismayed. I had done Factional Warfare, and it held no interest for me personally. IMHO, it’s full of cancer tier ships and lame tactics, rarely ending up in a ‘good fight’.
Nancy decided to undertake the Great Purging of inactive members, and in one night, Brave Newbies went from being the biggest corporation in Eve to tiny blip on the radar. As we moved into Factional Warfare, Brave Squids was formed and we fractured even more into smaller groups.
In real life, my job role was moving from the US East Coast to the West Coast, so I was flying back and forth weekly, managing two teams, and trying to arrange moving and apartment of stuff back home. I felt like I was redeploying in both Eve and real life. Consequently, I wasn’t joining fleets very much. When I did log in, Brave was a ghost town. We couldn’t form fleets of more than 10 pilots to clear our home station, let alone roam merrily around Placid.
To be honest, I thought Brave was done. I thought it better to simply close up shop than wither away to nothingness. Friends in Goons, PL, and other places reached out, offering me a new home. I have to admit, I was tempted to restart my Eve career somewhere else.
We rallied a bit when Dropbears Anonymous was getting evicted, and tried to help, but it didn’t seem to rekindle Brave as there was acrimony even in the aftermath of those fights. Soon Dropbears left Brave altogether, shortly followed by the implosion of Desolate Order, leaving the Brave Collective alliance basically full of holding corps and a plucky group of Frenchmen in BE-FR.
“I wondered if this was the end of my Eve career, at least this round.”
Fallout 4 was released and Eve basically became Skill Queue Online for me. I wondered if this was the end of my Eve career, at least this round.
Meanwhile, a new group of FCs had started to emerge, thriving in the Factional Warfare game. People were having fun and enjoying Eve, at least a little bit. BE-FR showed what a focused small group could do and actually started taking sov and stations again, under the new Aegis sovereignty system. First in Etherium Reach and Cloud Ring, and then heading into Querious, carving out a new space for Brave, fairly quietly, even brokering some deals with neighbors.
With progress in Factional Warfare stalled, Nancy Crow made the decision to move into Querious, where BE-FR had carved out a niche. Soon, Brave Newbies was once again part of Brave Collective, and the migration of boonies to Querious began in earnest.
I had pared down my belongings into two jump freighter loads, sold all my capitals, positioned my cyno alts, and headed into Querious.
Querious is split up to several areas, with basic agreements designed to generate ‘good fights’ without moving into total war and sov grinding. Other Querious residents are pretty much open game, but if an outside group appears, the separate groups band together to repel the invaders. Like a sort of Querious Voltron, or Queertron, a temp coalition is formed to fight third parties. Goons stopped by recently, and many enjoyable fights went down with former enemies now temporary allies.
The situation in Querious is probably what the dev team would see happen in nullsec. No single group controlling an entire region, fluid and rapidly changing group dynamics instead of a “blue donut”, and the Aegis mechanisms of needing to use your space or lose it come into play. All groups ping for people to rat and mine to keep indexes up to make troll entosising a painful task.
“…most are interested in having fun rather than serious sovereignty grinding.”
We have yet to see a lot of serious escalation into the supercarriers, as most are interested in having fun rather than serious sovereignty grinding. The larger groups such at Imperium/Goons and Pandemic Legion seem to enjoy the less serious feel of Querious and remarkably a lot of good sportsmanship. Not a lot of salt, mainly ‘gf gf’ in local instead.
People are trying all kinds of doctrines out with various levels of success. Nothing is really dominant. Lots of kitchen sink fleets are sent out by all the groups, no matter the discipline shown in other regions. Of course, there is always much rejoicing when a cancerous Svipul is caught. The use of command destroyers to Micro Jump Field Generator ships away from the safety of a station or fleet is routine and greeted with grins by all involved. The first time someone jumped my Scythe off to get tackled, I was seriously “WTF is going on” as people in comms were already saying “RIP Dunk”, before I knew what had happened. Really fun gameplay and a new dimension to keep in mind.
While there is a lot of ‘grrr’ in other areas, especially ‘grrr Goons’, Querious has a minimal amount of that kind of stuff. Personally, I don’t really get the ‘grrr Goons’ thing, seems to mainly come from older grudges that I wasn’t a party to. The Karmafleet and other Imperium folks seem to be having just as good a time as anyone, even as Queerton works to prevent them from getting a sov toehold to base out of.
Brave’s situation in Querious maybe be different than others due to the fact that former Brave pilots are in most all of the groups we tangle with regularly. Karmafleet and Pandemic Horde have lots of familiar names and local often is a place where former allies are chatting amicably. I don’t think this happens in a lot of other regions, where it’s either silence or salt.
I don’t know what the future holds for Brave in Querious, but I‘m enjoying it personally. When the changes to capitals arrive, I expect everyone will want to get into some delicious slugfest of big ships, and Querious is the place where it could turn into a battle of many armies with a large butcher’s bill.
Fleet numbers are up. The amount of people in Mumble is up. New players are once again joining Brave and being helped through the learning curve. Overall participation is up and several ex-Brave have returned and re-joined. It’s fun to log in again.