Lessons From Brave NewbiesMukk Barovian
Editor’s note: This is the first in a three part series by Mukk Barovian on his views concerning recent events surrounding Brave Newbies.Lights are going out all over Catch. In the twilight of the panicked evacuations, it actually became important to ask, “What went wrong? Was it leadership, or a failure in fleet doctrine? Was there something inherently bad about the HERO culture, or were the attackers simply overpowering? Ultimately, is EVE a broken game?” Each possible answer in turn implies critical needs. The organization needs to come to grips with its damaging behaviors. If that does not happen, crisis risks turning into a failing cascade. It is true that from an outside perspective, there isn’t an immediate need to analyze this particular problem set. That does not cheapen the value of asking these questions. The events that happened to Brave represent a particular event. Any EVE player can look to the Brave experience for lessons instead of going out to learn the hard way. Given its costs, it is eminently more practical to let somebody else spend the months of effort, billions of ISK, and rivers of tears reaching for those gems of understanding. So what did Brave do wrong, or what went wrong for them? There are really two categories of mistakes that Brave themselves made. The first is simply a large number of play errors. Everybody makes mistakes, but newbies without veterans guiding them have to make all the old mistakes at least one more time to learn the lessons embedded in them. They didn’t blow up this SBU or understand how that kind of sovereignty mechanic works. They didn’t know the ins and outs of some specific ships, and they simply did a few things wrong from sheer lack of experience. One recent awful play error was shooting SBUs in CNC instead of the ones in GE-8. You will not hear me say anything further about any of these mistakes specifically. These mis-plays aren’t responsible for the situation HERO finds itself in. It isn’t even a reasonable claim that HERO should not have made these mistakes. It just happens any time a new group is learning how a system works.
FeedingIn MOBA games, feeding is where you die pointlessly to an enemy, making him stronger and yourself weaker. The enemy gets experience and gold for killing you. This lets him make his character more powerful. An enemy that is fed enough can eventually wipe out an entire team. In EVE, there isn’t that experience for killing an enemy. The loot most of the time is negligible. In place of gold and XP there is morale. It is fun to be fed. It is fun to wipe the enemy off the field. On the other side of the coin, it is terrible to lose. It is disheartening for members of the fleet when the FC takes them out and whelps them for no reason. A fleet that is fed will have more numbers next time. Pilots that were whelped pointlessly might not come back for round two. HERO has done a lot of feeding while it has been in 0.0. For the last half a year Brave space has been the place to go for easy content. This draws predators that start off small but grow in strength while the HERO member base loses motivation. Let us try to make this phenomenon a little more accessible. Imagine the thought process of a roaming pilot in a fleet facing off against 100 T1 frigates. In the same general situation he might have two different lines of reasoning about the upcoming interaction: Feeding Defenders
“These guys are idiots. They’re going to whelp all their stuff head first into us at some point soon, and we will go home with 100 killmails.”Tough Defenders
“I’m not going to kill anything but a handful of T1 frigates. If one of us disconnects or someone gets caught behind he’s going to lose an expensive ship really fast. 100 T1 frigates can hurt. I’m worried about losing my ship. I better not pilot badly.”In practice, the guy who is fed is much more likely to come back than the guy who was stressed out about losing something shiny to the enemy. The guy who is fed may decide to show up every single night expecting 100 frigate kills. He may decide to reinforce some structures and see what kind of kills that will get him. The roaming gang problem of feeding carries into sovwar, too. HERO has fed PL an incredible series of fights over the last several months,and have shown up for timers. They have been mauled in big brawling fights many PL line members love. Rinse and repeat as soon as the next timer comes up. I want to take a moment to discuss Providence to the north. Proviblock is weak compared to the major sov blocks. On occasion, they have taken a beating by one or more of those large blocks. They do not have a capital fleet that can stand up to the major powers. Their leadership is fractured and not entirely cohesive. The difference between Proviblock and HERO is that Proviblock doesn’t feed. They fight when they can, and will even make a decent stand when one of their systems is hit in the same way that Brave made decent stands at the beginning of this mess. If things go wrong and Provi starts losing battles to better organized and stronger opponents, they adopt asymmetric warfare and they stop feeding. Instead of contending against heavy firepower, a Proviblock FC may stage 300 T1 cruisers one jump away and pounce if the attacker makes a mistake. Maybe they find a disconnected carrier or a straggler. Proviblock will restage to nearby NPC space and wait out the siege when things get really hot. The enemy eventually leaves, and the region is retaken; then the process begins again. Take a moment to compare that behavior to the Brave model. When Brave leadership sets the cultural tone that feeding was fine, they made a terrible mistake. This is the behavior that has brought the world to Catch. This is the behavior that has stirred up predators. Brave has suffered a great deal because in the past they have undocked when they shouldn’t and taken fights that were hopeless.