In a little over one month, Red vs. Blue will turn five years old. Over the summer I am writing a fortnightly series about the place I chose to call my home in EVE. For this week’s column I look at the culture of RvB.
While RvB is a part of the wider EVE sandbox, we do have our own ways. From how we talk about the “other side”, to how particular play styles are frowned upon and even to how FCs should comport themselves in fleets.
Plave Okice’s Fun House
When the first iteration of RvB was created back in 2008, it was done so as a place where pilots fed up of CTA’s, AOE doomsdays and Falcon alts could PvP in the ways that brought them the most enjoyment. There were no rules, no one was prevented from joining and good times were had by all. However, people moved on as costs mounted, groups joined up that took it far too seriously and leadership flamed out from trying to balance all these competing forces.
Simply put fun, as it turned out, wasn’t enough to keep folks fighting.
The second iteration started in 2009 and began with the same ideals of fun, constant PvP for all who were interested. Again there were no rules, just the expectation that people would not be a dick. The majority of the pilots who flew in RvB at that time were experienced veterans who really did see the rest of EVE as a tad boring, or too blobby. To them RvB was a mecca for good fights for all.
As I discussed in an earlier column, low SP alts and new players began to find their way to RvB, but being farmed by vets in shiny toys / podded by anyone at will, was not something they enjoyed at all. This led to the first of several rules being added to RvB:
A number of the veterans from the founding baulked at these additions and left, sometimes quietly, sometimes amidst a ton of drama. Despite this, these rules ensured (and continue to do so) that the core component of fun was maintained for all pilots fighting in RvB, regardless of experience levels. Word of this spread and we became the defacto recommendation for people looking to learn about PvP in a forgiving, yet enjoyable environment. A place where cheap fits are not looked down upon, no question is too stupid, and every pilot matters. As well as a place for for pilots who simply want to be able to log in and find a fight with minimum effort.
All’s fair in love and war
While the initial rule changes were good for the population as a whole, as it increased rather than stagnated, by necessity FCs found themselves required to think of the enjoyment of pilots in all fleets, not just their own.
No more could an FC run kitey ships to tear up a less coordinated enemy. Nor could they break out the battleships, or a shiny to encourage a fight. More rules got added, a set of guidelines on how best to operate were brought in. It all focused on making things as fair and as balanced as possible. Totally the antithesis of EVE, and how the rest of you fly. The ‘forever war’ was no longer about fighting for the glory of your corporation, it became solely about participation badges for all.
Some of our FCs took the need for the perfect fight too far, the frequent fights RvB is famous for began to drop off. Fights had to be balanced in numbers, ship types and even levels of pilot experience. To get a fight one practically had to seek the advice of lawyers to negotiate terms and conditions before they could happen!
However, while having a group of FCs eager to get fights, and willing to work towards those fights being fun for all, is a Good Thing. The major downside was that RvB began to lack FCs capable of fighting the third party wars that came our way.
We went through a period where our war targets would run rampant, killing anyone, anywhere and with impunity. This got so bad we actually imposed ISK fines on pilots that died in Jita; to prevent anyone from leading (and losing) fleets against these third parties we set up special channels that excluded many others. Like all other groups in EVE we began to take opsec seriously.
You know what? This worked. By taking on a little something from outside our own corner of the sandbox, we improved the experience of those flying alongside us. These days, third party wars are welcomed by all. Now our FCs will stop mid fight, turn on any interlopers, and then get right back to fighting the forever war by any means necessary. The Jita fines are gone, in fact Jita is now more dangerous to third parties than it is to us.
The *rain* in *Spain* stays *mainly* in the *plain*.
Every sub culture has its own variation on language of its parent culture, often incomprehensible to those outside this group. For example Goons have the term “pubbie”. Used to refer to anyone not a Goon, not from Something Awful. So often taken as an insult that it has de facto become an insult, even in groups with little or no connection to the Goons.
Within RvB we have a particular set of terms that are always confusing to new members of all experience levels. These are “war targets”, “third parties”, “reds”, “blues” “oranges”. Across EVE those you are at war with you usually refer to as war targets or reds (or anyone undocking anywhere if you are a Provi resident!). RvB uses “third parties” to mean those outside RvB with whom we are at war. “Red” and “Blue” are used by the respective sides when talking about the other. For a while referring to each other as oranges was popular, but as more people learn about the magic of overviews, that is falling by the wayside.
Those times when we have an outside war, and new members are talking about reds, or “war targets on the undock”, always result in a flurry of requests for intel from my fellow veterans, and immediate talk of special fleets for third parties.
Until we get our eyes outside and just see Reds or Blues.
These aspects of our culture, these differences which sets us apart from the rest of you, did not simply happen following the first kill in RvB, but evolved slowly over time. Sometimes this evolution was painful, other times it just happened, or we simply copied what we saw outside our walls. Suffice to say the RvB of today is all the better for what has gone before.
Yes, as a consequence we have many rules, some of which seem ridiculous to the casual observer, but within our organisation, they matter. They make the lives of everyone involved that much easier, by keeping things fun for all and staying true to Plave’s vision.
Without that, RvB would not have made it to five years.
Tags: mangala, rvb
Mangala Solaris has been playing EVE since 2006. In his time in EVE, he have been a missioner, a miner, a scammer, a trader & even a null bear, however over the past 4 years or so Mangala has been heavily involved in Red Versus Blue, and more recently has become one the key figures in the NPSI communities of EVE. Somehow in addition to all of this, he finds time to represent the players as a member of CSM 9.