Believe it or not, for most of my time playing EVE I only knew one person from the Netherlands who also played the game and she refused to accompany me to EVEsterdam 2014. I knew that Deirdre Vaal – the organiser of the event – is Dutch, but I never hung with his crowd. I knew of Corebloodbrothers, but my dealings with Providence have been more at the end of a weapon turret than anything else. Recently I became acquainted to Bobmon through some work I did for EN24 but he was rather busy during the event.
So when I went to the Netherlands’ third player gathering (there was a really small one in Utrecht once and another EVEsterdam last year) I was pretty much on my own. Jeg and me had not gotten to the point where he could ship a Crossing Zebras t-shirt to me, so I wasn’t wearing “the colours” to be readily identifiable and a coveted target for attention as representative of the best CCP certified podcast site of all times. Still, already at the line in front of the entrance I ended up chatting with a guy who lives in highsec but likes his PVP excursions into more lawless regions. Quote: “Whenever I fly into lowsec I eventually meet Shadow Cartel and then I die.” While we waited to be admitted some Northern Associates renters supplied wisdom for the benefit of the wayward highsec dweller. I mostly smiled sagely and held my piece.
Once inside I made the mistake to identify myself to Bobmon who took every opportunity after that to remind me that I have failed to create any contributions for EN24 in a long time.
Feeling awkward for a bit I hid in the mass of people taking seats in the rented auditorium and listened to Deirdre Vaal giving his introduction followed by the first presentation by TheSmokingHertog. He talked about economics and market PVP. I am not an economist like the presenter himself, but sociology is close enough to the subject matter and so I was actually quite captivated. We had some more conversations later and I would love to sit at a table talking shop with the man. Some people later complained that the presentation was boring, but while TheSmokingHertog isn’t what I would call the most skilled lecturer in a language not his own (all presentations were done in English by Dutch people), he did his job well enough for me to gain some insights. I especially liked how gleefully he talked about the dirtier tricks of market manipulation. The problem with that is of course that you can only tell so much. Like with the spy business, you don’t want to make people aware of all your cunning schemes lest you lose the edge.
After that, Bobmon was showcasing Evenews24. What can I say? The British have Apothne, and in the Netherlands we have Bobmon. If there were more girls playing EVE we would have vicious forum wars over which one of those two boys is cuter. In broad strokes Bobmon mostly beat the drum for their website, but he did it in an endearing way. He simply seems incapable of the bitter smugness which usually turns every attempt at self depreciating humor during Mittani presentations into veiled insults. Just read Bobmon’s contributions on CZ Minutes to get an impression of him speaking his piece. I would like to point out that he showed a screenshot of the three major EVE publishers: EN24 themselves, The Mittani and Crossing Zebras. The logo of the latter site was prominently displayed at the centre, outshining the mediocre banners of the other two sites, and rightly so. I feel confident to say that I speak for every member of the CZ staff when I express my appreciation for the fact that Bobmon humbly presented the EVE media landscape as it truly is.
The next presentation was done by Corebloodbrothers and he was basically preaching to the choir. Being a Provibloc member at EVEsterdam seems to be the equivalent of being a Goon at EVE Vegas – your own crowd is overly represented. There were even quite a few Germans who had just come to meet some other Provi members. I was not even aware that there were so many Dutch and German people dedicated to that coalition. Corebloodbrothers talked about Providence and Volition cult a bit and then focused on the life inside CSM. A nice presentation, but of course nothing new for me since I am writing for a site that is run in part by a CSM member. If you are regular readers of Xander’s CSM reports, then nothing in this part of Corebloodbrother’s appearance would be new for you, but he also talked about his almost entirely positive view on the upcoming changes in Phoebe. I asked him about his response to Sion Kumitomo’s statement that “0.0 CSM delegates are unified in their opposition”. He phrased his reply cautiously, but it was abundantly clear that Sion had overstated his case.
Red Frog Freight followed with a witty presentation on the way of the space trucker. It offered an interesting glimpse into a world that is alien to most EVE players. A playstyle where people actually get kicks out of flying freighters through highsec. Apparently they can even overdose on that. It was not quite clear to me where the boundary lies, but it seems to me that they need to watch out for people who create six freighter alts or more in a short time. Also remember, professional freighter pilots are not carebears. The carebears are those who hire them because they are afraid to fly through highsec with almost 3 billion of cargo. This is what I took away from that particular presentation.
I never even knew Helicity Boson was Dutch, but he was also present to talk about Hulkageddon. If anyone on that day superficially fit the style of pompously playing the e-celebrity it was him. There was mainly the boasting about tears and kill statistics interjected with some sarcasm and black humor. That act turned into a much more personal exposition during the end and the Q&A session. He talked about the cathartic effect EVE can have and used himself as an example. The things he unexpectedly set in motion in-game gave him much more confidence in real life and helped him to develop as a person. He expressed his feelings about CODE going too far by targeting people who are really helpless instead of those who should know better. I asked him what he would do if someone brought him the killmail for Chribba’s Veldnaught. He said he would be impressed but he would not want to put it up as a a Hulkageddon prize to encourage an attack. Certainly he was also the focus for a lot of hatred over time. Apparently he even had to file a report to the police because someone dropped a handwritten and personally delivered death-threat to his mailbox. He also talked about how everyone is a roleplayer in EVE and the importance to come to terms with that. A view I share very much.
The event then proceeded to the prize draw which started with random swag – I won four limited edition prints of T3 ship models – and then progressed further into PLEX and ship prices funded by the organisers themselves, EVE News 24 and EVE-Bet.
Unfortunately I did not make it to the social drinking night later because I first wanted to bring my newly won ship pictures to safety, then I cooked some food, got sidetracked by reading some EVE blogs and then heavy rain started which made me decide that I am too lazy to go back out. Instead I sat down to write this.
Still, I had a few nice chats here an there. I traded verbal jabs with some Razor Alliance people who assured me they will eventually learn how lowsec PVP works and I sympathized deeply as a former nullsec pilot. Among other things, we shared stories about Pasta Syndicate really not understanding that ISboxing a bombing run and ISBboxing a destroyer gatecamp are not the same thing. People from Circle of Two explained to me that life in the CFC is really nice. I have never heard that story before. They were friendly people but – to my shock – had never heard of Crossing Zebras. I was assured by people from Sniggwaffe that they really do not use Pandemic Legion hotdrops to get out of fights and had fun talking about Razor being burned into the ground by Balkan Express. I told stories about lowsec bogeyman Santo Trafficante to a Kadeshi player who erroneously thought that you can not lose pods in lowsec and a Rooks & Kings guy cryptically hinted that troubled waters are ahead for the Gallente Militia. Of course I responded with joy to that promise of more fights, as vague as it was.
Alltogether it was a nice event and worth getting up for way too early for my taste on a Saturday. I didn’t get to talk to Falcon or Leeloo about anything and only said hi to Guard in passing, but then again I could not really think of anything I’d want from them. All the issues which would be worthy of discussion would probably just get rolling eyes and heavy sighs from them anyway.
Maybe next year I can do a presentation on the most efficient PVP organisation in EVE, the Gallente Militia.
Tags: EVEsterdam, tarek
Former nullsec spy (no not under that name of course) and current failure at lowsec solo PVP, Tarek spends his time not logging in to the game as much as he keeps thinking about its social and metagame nature and sharing some of those thoughts with the CZ readers.