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.