Brave-Chaos

Brave Chaos – A View From The Inside

 

I’ve been asked, though beseeched would be more accurate, to write about what is currently going on in Brave. Here’s a view into what an actual member is seeing, opposed to what outsiders think is going on.

I like almost everyone in Brave. It’s rare that I bump into someone that I truly dislike, so it’s no fun to watch my friends argue, fight, and take sides. I’ll try to shine a little light on the reality of it, but it will be viewed as spin, of course. And it is. Like every other article written in Eve, everyone has a bias. However, as someone who has been a member of Brave since the 5th day, I can claim a bit more authority on what goes on, than the FCs of enemy corps that fight against us.

I’m not part of “leadership” per se, but I am one of the old guard that works behind the scenes to help keep the drama at manageable levels. For fans of Banks’s Culture novels, a kind of Interesting Times Gang.

I can’t speak to the diplomacy aspects of what went down; what deal was or wasn’t on the table. To be honest, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that aspect of the game. I get enough of that elsewhere.

In my honest opinion, the timer cascade of GE-8JV/HED-GP, Fanfest, a deployment announcement, and an utter failure of communication led to the current debacle.

BraveVsPLImage from Peter Merkelis EVE Snowglobe video

After a long, relentless war against Pandemic Legion, people in Brave were getting worn out. The FCs were tired of it. The logistics team were tired of it. The line pilots were tired of it. Even I was tired of sitting in my Nidhoggurs. We were repeating the same fights over and over, against a force we could not counter, and that could reinforce the entire region in a day if they wanted to. There was no end in sight. Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Change was needed. The drama increased in both frequency and severity. Comms recordings and chat logs were leaked. PL and others are experts at this part of the metagame, and it had the desired effect of producing the narrative that the reason for Brave’s problems was its leadership, not the fact that PL were relentlessly bashing them and harvesting tears for their amusement. I have to admit that other, older groups are also good at these kind of psyops.

The GE-8JV station was reinforced on a whim, using our own defensive SBUs, starting the cascade of events. Of course, just before this, I put an Orca into the cooker in this station. Orca for sale in GE-8JV if you are interested.

Through backchannels, I heard that the diplomatic discussions at Fanfest about deployment didn’t go well, and that “we need a different plan”. Confusion started to take hold as people were expecting clarity after Fanfest, not more conflicting information.

Then, in a gigantic clusterfuck of poor communication, non-existent planning, and failed diplomacy, a half-hearted deployment was announced with vague instructions, and confusion truly set in. Blame can be placed in many places for this. When line members asked if we were evaccing Catch, they were told “No, we will defend it,” which, of course, was complete bullshit from my point of view. I was busy repping stations and getting my carriers doomsdayed at this point, and saw that we simply could not hold this militarily.

At no point was there any discussion of how we would hold Catch, when dreads were told to GTFO, sub-caps were moving out daily, and carrier pilots were told to stay put to “defend.”

catch_Join

Behind the scenes, some of the old guard saw the impending chaos and started speaking up publicly, which lead to some tough discussions with the leadership team. Finally, a real evacuation was announced, but it was too late. The panic had begun, and it took everything we had to try and save as much of the assets as we could before the inevitable flipping of the stations. Lychton is a good guy but he wasn’t available to answer the valid concerns of CEOs and line members alike. There was no direct guidance that I, or anyone else, heard regarding evaccing versus leaving stuff behind for a temporary deployment. When the people that lead sov logistics and hauling don’t know what’s going on, the communication problems are severe.

PL could not resist the momentum. There were simply too many kills to be had and tears to harvest. They dropped any hesitation to “overfish” Brave, and started creating timers for maximum chaos and drama. And they got it.

A few leaders stepped up and simply started making decisions and giving the clear instructions that Brave is hungry for, often without approval of anyone. Stepping up and doing what’s needed is a core Brave attribute, and in this case it was what was needed during a failure of leadership to act.

After finding myself the lone logi trying to save timers, getting blown up by supers or being forced to dock with titans logging in, I give up trying to be the last line of defense and got busy getting my carriers and space junk out to a place safer than GE-8JV or HED-GP. Thanks to Phoebe, this meant hours of leapfrogging and fatigue timers. I did insurance fraud one carrier rather than move it.

Scattered and demoralized, Brave attempted to reorganize to Aridia. Tired, over taxed, and under the relentless drumbeat of drama, the alliance again made a series of bad decisions based on poor communication and non-existent planning that further shook confidence in all directions. Switching our new home system within 15 minutes of being announced is an example of the total breakdown in planning and communications.

Complaints continued fast and furious. Even my excellent infographics and realtalk couldn’t stop the freak out factor. There were still no real communications from Lychton. Malanek started giving guidance, which everyone was hungry for and which I have to admit was good advice.

But once you start giving out answers, there are even more questions.

Several industrial corps were fucking pissed as they saw themselves getting lied to and sold out in the evac, that they were told wasn’t happening. I was not part of those conversations, but have heard enough versions to have no doubt about that being the case. The grumblings about Lychton and leadership grew louder and louder. People started asking if Malanek was in charge now.

Lots of secret conversations were held. Even I was asked hard questions. My response was generally the same: “Yes, shit is fucked, I’ll do what I can to help if asked, I don’t want to be in leadership, and I’m not personally asking anyone to step down.”

tJCnY3y

One morning I woke up early to find that the corp CEOs had voted Lychton out as alliance executor. I hadn’t really considered that as an option that could be taken. I spoke briefly with Malanek and said I was willing to help if needed to bring stability to the situation. I reached out to Lychton as well, but didn’t hear back. If I was him, I wouldn’t wanted to talk much either.

At that point I honestly had no idea what was going to happen. Lychton remained head of Brave Newbies Inc, my corp, and he could have dissolved it easily and walked out as many have done in the past in other alliances. To my great relief, he didn’t. He handled it with more grace than I could have mustered in a similar situation. He stayed classy, for which I am grateful.

Having no idea what would happen next, I went to bed, hoping some sort of détente would break out while I slept. Unfortunately, I woke to even more drama as well-meaning individuals took it upon themselves to attempt to explain a fluid and complicated situation in a disastrous way. My brief conversation with Malanek this morning was about this being an unexpected treat to deal with.

I headed off to work, swearing to myself that I would not look at the interwebs until my day was done, in hopes that some reasonable accommodation was found. Of course, my vow lasts about 20 minutes when I found myself on the ferry replying to Reddit trolls. The shame. The rest of today I found myself being sucked into internet arguments (which is always a mistake), and actually being surprised about revelations of deals, broken promises, and failed diplomacy.

Now I find myself writing this at the office, well past work hours to assuage the demands of my insistent editor.

brave-newbies

Where do I stand on the whole thing? Uneasily.

Did Lychton deserve this?

In some ways, yes. A large number of people got severely fucked over by the deployment clusterfuck. The need for clarity on deployment, PL, and evac was asked for repeatedly and through formal means, but simply not given. This isn’t the first time Lychton’s failure to act has forced others to step up and do something.

In other ways, no. Having the vote in the middle of the night surely comes across as a back stab. The concerns could have been handled in a less dramatic way. While I understand the fear that those wanting change faced, I think there was an underestimation of the backlash that the manner the vote was done created. Look, if you do something that even TEST thinks is unclassy, you’ve lost the PR battle.

What happens next? I have no clue.

Leading Brave is a huge fucking task. I sometimes wonder if it’s simply too much for any one individual to handle. We don’t have the experience that the older groups do. I look at how Sion & Elise handle shit and realize we aren’t even in the same league in many critical areas.

From what I hear, the conversation is toxic and unproductive in both the leadership channels and between line members. This makes me the saddest. In a time of crisis, we should be helping each other, not fighting each other. All of Eve is weighing in on the interwebs and munching popcorn, including CCP devs. It’s humiliating to everyone.

After writing most of this last night, I heard from Lychton, and what he asked me was this, “I need to know that you are committed to the original idea of Brave. What we stand for, and who we individually swear to protect: Our newbies.” I told him I was.

I still believe in the Brave ideals of Staying Classy, Having Fun, and Being Brave. Matias set us on the right course and will always have my thanks for that. I’ve tried to not take a side in this, but I will fight and fight hard against those that work against those ideals. I think each side is trying for the same thing, but going about it in painfully different ways.

I believe we can recover from this, but it won’t come from further anger and hate. It will take kindness, listening, and a little empathy on every side. Doing it in public makes this ten times harder due the insatiable schadenfreude of the rest of Eve.

To my fellow Brave pilots, I ask you close your web browser, fleet up, undock, and go shoot things. 7o

Tags: brave newbies, Dunk

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.

  • Angus Adalwin

    I disagree with some of what you’ve said (namely, the “close your web browser” part) and feel that you didn’t address perhaps the most concerning part of this whole affair: the new leadership, and their past histories, including one previously failed coup attempt.

    Having said that, I do respect you as a person and see you as a valuable and honestly helpful individual. If BRAVE is going to survive this crisis, it needs people who are willing to commit to what’s best for the line members, not what’s best for themselves, and I respect you for being willing to stand and fight.

    • Jak Spratt

      If you think you are going to become better informed from all the chaos churning around on Reddit then you are delusional.

      Most of the information ‘leaks’ being put forward to explain recent events are more of the meta-gaming trash that precipitated this state of affairs.
      As theseconddavid commented previously “PL had an agenda from the moment they arrived in catch.” Every powerblock in EVE has an interest in preventing BRAVE from growing big enough to become a threat and so they all have been trying to sow the seeds of doubt and misinformation so that they could unpick their threads when the need arose. PL applied pressure and most likely they and others seeded discontent internally to force a crisis.

      Do I have any answers? F*** NO. I haven’t a clue, but I am wise enough to realise that.

  • Angus Adalwin

    Also, brilliant image for the article, whoever put that together.

  • paid2spin

    The spin on this doesn’t feel like it’s holding to the truth. I’ve been with brave for 2 years and I can tell you that what has happened in the past few days is NOTHING that I was ever taught to love when I joined Brave.

    • …what spin? You’re basically in agreement. He said things are a mess and many folks are being particularly un-Brave. It would be good to get back to being Brave. 7o

      • Drakkenstien

        The guy is literally named paid2spin. I think we can assume “Troll.”

  • Altrue

    Well written piece Dunk!

  • theseconddavid

    Two things critically wounded brave in sov null. One is that you can neither have bloated and confusing leadership or absentee leadership. Leadership must be both present and decisive. Braves was neither. Still may not be either.

    Second, brave liked to think they were above the meta. No one in eve is above the meta game. You can embrace it or you can fight it, but you can’t ignore it. PL had an agenda from the moment they arrived in catch. Instead of finding a way to use the pl agenda to their own advantage, brave took to showing up at timers like the eloi showing up at the morlock’s siren. In eve, the meta is the game. The spaceships part is a side game.

    • Jak Spratt

      I find this comment the most relevant and honest of anything seen in the last few days.
      I am just a BNI grunt who logs in to escape from RL after work and in it for the Spaceships not the Meta – but the Meta is all encompassing and touches everything with its insidious corruption. I am glad others feel up to playing the Meta on my behalf as I don’t want to do it. Hell, I don’t even expect my leader to be right most of the time, just present and decisive.

    • Kamar Raimo

      “It is often said that things you do in EVE will stay with you and might
      eventually come back to bite you in the ass. BNI and their HERO
      coalition might want to stay away from the sov metagame; but the
      question is: Will the sov metagame stay away from them?”

      I wrote that in a blogpost exactly one year and one month ago.

      So much for that.

  • Messiah Complex

    +1

  • GrouchyOldGamer

    Brave does appear to have become political bag of ferrets. It’s less about organizational maturity and more about the inability to have actual honest conversations both internally and externally between the people so keen to be space important.

    As much as it likes to portray itself as something new and fresh pushing your CEO out the door when they are fast asleep and unaware is the hallmark of the worst traits of dead Eve Alliances. How they handle him now he remains the CEO of the largest corp is going to be interesting. If I were him I’m not sure I’d trust the people who apparently where unable to tell him straight they wanted to replace him with that corps future.

    Externally they just as untrustworthy and whilst they pretend to be above the meta they are entrenched in it but equally awful at it. Breaking their agreement with the CFC is going to be a costly mistake for minimal gain.

    Brave has a honest problem which if they don’t address will be terminal.

    • teamnodaughters

      Dude that was Anna and his band of marry men, with shit teir corps using votes in the night to backstab. No one takes them seriously, the term middle management is a joke now

      • GrouchyOldGamer

        The fact they have a middle management team makes me giggle like a girl at a one direction signing.

  • callduron

    7o Dunk.

  • Bagehi

    Watching this happening in BRAVE reminds me of the implosion of Test. The infighting, factionalization, and just ever increasing levels of drama… this is why I left Test. I really hope BRAVE can pull it together and not nose dive off that abyss. 7o

  • Tycho VI

    I believe that the best direction for brave to recover and become stronger of these trying times is to relax, lay low a little bit in aridia for a short time taking merc contracts, payments, having fun in the general area. However, Brave is a great newbie entity, one that should hold sovereign space in eve. Minerals are being rebalanced, nullsec will be much more lucrative and allow new players to grow in such a way that Catch allowed them to.

    My advice would be to eventually look to the north. Geminate and Vale of the silent to start. One day, call for every single player in the alliance with a cyno alt to go to the highsec trade hub, and stock up on cyno supplies, and seed the route to an area around Taisy or in that general area where there is fast access to these regions. Prepare for it and all the things in place to make it painless and fast.

    The timing of this would greatly affect chance of success. To do it during fozzisov? or to do it while the CFC are greatly occupied in delve? To do it after we have stockpiled some isk from contracts for such a campaign? Should we make sure PL are greatly occupied as well so that hopefully they wouldn’t follow us there right away to help the CFC…

    Geminate and Vale are very close to jita, and Venal(guristas space). M-0EEB is the gateway kind of like HED but being a lowsec connector rather then Keberz which was a real bitch as our capitals and logistics had to use a longer route to get to Derelik. The area could be very lucrative and it would be a much better sov position where as places like catch and delve are literally the middle of a sandwhich between the most powerful powerblocs in the entire game.

    I am just a line member of brave that has played the game for a long time. I lived in these regions back when Morsus Mihi was a thing, they had a real empire there at once time, the former Northern Coalition. Now it is mostly just CFC renter land. And they are very occupied at the moment many light years away.

    Just personal opinions here from a simple line member of brave. =)

    • Tycho VI

      EDIT: I should add that Tribue is a great region as well that I would consider attacking as well when timing is right, that is actually the connecting region to M-OEEB, the great gate.

      • Tycho VI

        This kind of move would actually create a huge relief point for the N3 coalition, which is under fire by 1500 pilots, half of them in supers. CFC can defend on 2 fronts within a certain range. But if the CFC were taking attacks from delve, and the complete other side of new eden hundreds of LY away from their southern fountain staging, they would have some real issues. It would make a nice talking point for a potential contract 😉

        I will admit that I am somewhat biased and I am grr goon to the max and I just want to see them eradicated at some point.

        • Necromonger

          Uhm Triumvirate / Black legion / n3 tried that last year and failed so hard that the invasion turned from war to gudfights in a matter of 2 weeks.

          They got slaughtered like lams on every front, unless PL goes in guns blazing there is no point attacking the CFC and expect to gain ground.

          People tend to forget that behind the CFC forces lives the best logistics and campaign planners and FC in the game.

          While its easy to say we can attack on this front and do that and kick their ass, the reality is that CFC is a well oiled war machine once its getting steam.

          They have not lost a war since ever and have the longest stamina and strongest fleet participation ever seen in Eve.

          You dont beat that with a few fleets and victory’s.

          • Kamar Raimo

            The CFC have not won so many wars militarily. They usually win because their leadership is extremely good at delivering a cohesive narrative and leverage the internal strife among their opponents to their advantage with relentless propaganda and psychological warfare.

            Only an opposing force who beats them at that will be really successful against them.

          • GrouchyOldGamer

            lol – the CFC win most of their wars, what are you smoking and can I have some?

          • Kamar Raimo

            I didn’t say that.

  • Man da f@&$ up, shut da f$&’ up, one person issue orders, get it fucking done, stop crying, get Brave, wtf!!! Hoorah!

    Waaaawaaa, PL laughed at us, waaa. Go cry to your mama or regroup, get it together and go bravely kick your enemy I’m the nuts!

    Shit happens, unspeakable shit happens, this is Eve, people kick other people around and laugh at them. It’s ok to follow whatever principles you follow (undock T1 frigs or whatever) it’s ok to operate in chaos (which happens without solid leadership that knows Eve), it’s ok to loose regions as long as you don’t loose each other (awwww <3) but man da fuck up and get real.

    Shieeet, who gives a shit who's fault it was/is, just get it done Brave and do it right!!

  • Kamar Raimo

    Consolidate with the people you like, trust and can work with. Build from there and forget about leadership.

    One thing I have learned from nullsec existence is to always have an exit strategy and to never depend on leadership to get it right for you because most of the time that is where the real problems actually start.

  • TL;DR — Go out and blow shit up. Actually have fun. The drama hit ludicrous speed, and it’s pretty much irrelevant anyway, in the grand scheme. Going out and blowing shit up, ratting, mining, or whatever it is you glorious newbies do on an individual basis is the only way to beat this meta.

    TEST got out too early to make it a proper failscade, of course. One that would have combined the utter failure of communication, bungled evac, loss of sov, alliance executor switch, and what would likely have been a sperg-ridden bitter exodus. I’m sad we didn’t get to see a “perfect storm”, though what actually happened came close. It took a little while longer than I expected, a year ago, for BRAVE’s enemies in Catch to finally turn up the dial and for everything to unravel, but it’s difficult to account for back-room diplomacy that the CEO keeps to his chest… to the detriment of everyone.

    On the other hand, all of this hatred directed at Anna is, well, not actually that surprising considering the lynch mob capacity and echo chamber group-think of a group this large. I have some experience with that. It doesn’t hurt that Seraph is so vocal in his personal vendetta. (It *is* a bit mystifying that anyone believes anything he says, ever, especially from burner accounts that are clearly his, but meh.) The conspiracy theory factory is running at 110% capacity. It’s to the point that a failure of internet-wide SSL certificate validation services turns into “the head of IT threatening the CEO”, and divesting your own roles while stealing nothing is a coup.

    In case anyone missed it, I’ve attached the structure proposed a year ago, unmodified from the final PDF. In this particular instance of communications failure this structure would hopefully have encouraged Lychton to actually communicate more closely with the other directors—as there would only be three. (Having my name in any of those boxes wasn’t even a consideration of mine at the time: the priority for the change a continuing cycle of communication failures, and streamlining leadership in this way was an attempt to correct that by providing clear chains of command and an agile directorship.)

    Of course, if the cycle of BNI history is any benchmark, this latest “restructure” may help a little for a short while—something which could well be an illusion as anything would look better than the last week—but time will truly tell.

  • TL;DR — Go out and blow shit up. Actually have fun. The drama hit ludicrous speed, and it’s pretty much irrelevant anyway, in the grand scheme. Going out and blowing shit up, ratting, mining, or whatever it is you glorious newbies do on an individual basis is the only way to beat this meta.

    TEST got out too early to make it a proper failscade, of course. One that would have combined the utter failure of communication, bungled evac, loss of sov, alliance executor switch, and what would likely have been a sperg-ridden bitter exodus. I’m sad we didn’t get to see a “perfect storm”, though what actually happened came close. It took a little while longer than I expected, a year ago, for BRAVE’s enemies in Catch to finally turn up the dial and for everything to unravel, but it’s difficult to account for back-room diplomacy that the CEO keeps to his chest… to the detriment of everyone.

    On the other hand, all of this hatred directed at Anna is, well, not actually that surprising considering the lynch mob capacity and echo chamber group-think of a group this large. I have some experience with that. It doesn’t hurt that Seraph is so vocal in his personal vendetta. (It is a bit mystifying that anyone believes anything he says, ever, especially from burner accounts that are clearly his, but meh.) The conspiracy theory factory is running at 110% capacity. It’s to the point that a failure of internet-wide SSL certificate validation services turns into “the head of IT threatening the CEO”, and divesting your own roles while stealing nothing is a coup.

    In case anyone missed it, I’ve attached the structure proposed a year ago, unmodified from the final PDF. In this particular instance of communications failure this structure would hopefully have encouraged Lychton to actually communicate more closely with the other directors—as there would only be three. (Having my name in any of those boxes wasn’t even a consideration of mine at the time: the priority for the change a continuing cycle of communication failures, and streamlining leadership in this way was an attempt to correct that by providing clear chains of command and an agile directorship.)

    Of course, if the cycle of BNI history is any benchmark, this latest “restructure” may help a little for a short while—something which could well be an illusion as anything would look better than the last week—but time will truly tell.

    — Draleth

    P.s. whoever develops Disqus should be ashamed. Who writes a web app that requires no confirmation on delete buttons?!