Lessons From Brave Newbies


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. brave-newbies


In 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.

Image courtesy of Brave Newbies


Feeding Solutions

One bad alternative is when people attack the conduct of an FC because he lost a fight. There are people out there who complain about any losses, period. Many of them don’t have any original ideas, nor the gumption to lead a fleet. They just make noises whenever somebody loses a fight. These are the worst kind of assholes. They don’t contribute to the group, and they gum up the works making it hard to get anything done. This is basically smart talk right out of the business world, noise without action. I am not advocating that. The correct approach is to take appropriate risks while assessing to the best of one’s ability. I don’t think my Rifter can take on three Domis. I’m not going to fight them, because all that would happen is I would lose a Rifter pointlessly. My Rifter might be able to kill that Taranis. I will take the fight even though I might die because my Rifter is cheap, that Taranis is expensive, and I have a moderate chance of winning. Oh four more Taranis? Goodbye. Hey, there is a Cheetah over there. Die Cheetah. You cannot withstand the firepower of my fully armed and operational Rifter. If the risk fails to pan out, accept it and move on without recrimination. EVE involves risks and imperfect information. In many ways, it’s like gambling in a skill based game such as poker. When you lose in EVE, you lose fake money. When you win, you get some glory and whatever loot dropped off our victim. Solid rule of thumb: “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose”, can easily be applied to poker. Now imagine packaging the idea: “We will fight every time, even if we are sure to lose”, and trying to sell that to a poker player. Any good player will sneer at the idea. If they feel like illuminating the game they will instead tell you about numerically calculating various odds, bluffing, calling bluffs, and poker stuff about which I have no idea. Some responses to this will be that EVE is fun to play win or lose, and so one should bet every time for the lolz. Well guess what? HERO is not having fun right now. Go listen to the spy recordings all over reddit and you will find that they sound downright miserable. A win is more fun than a loss, and a close fight is more fun than getting stomped into the ground. Letting bad opportunities go past and leave is not going to lower one’s fun-per-hour. Bad opportunities tend to breed if you let them. On the other hand, if you put pressure on your enemies, even if that pressure comes in the form of blue-balls, you increase your chances of winning, and you increase the amount of fun you experience at the end of the day. If you offered to kick me in the balls because getting kicked in the balls is content, I would tell you no. I’d rather have no content at all. I might need my balls later tonight, and I don’t want them sore and bruised if it comes time for them to perform. Even CCP have gotten in on this idea. I mean the part about taking all risks, not the bit about kicking my balls. CCP advocates yolo risk taking without any kind of assessment. Well, okay. When the casino tells you that you should go all in every time and hope for the stars, I hope that you take that kind of advice with a grain of salt. Gambling can be fun, and taking risks can also be fun. Doing EVE PvP is fun. Being too scared to go out and PVP because you might lose your space pixels is kind of sad. But that doesn’t mean you should jump into anything without evaluating the risk. The correct way to do any of this stuff, is to risk things that you can afford to lose, take the best bets you can, and constantly evaluate your environment.
Tags: brave newbies, Mukk, pandemic legion

About the author

Mukk Barovian

Mukk is a long time skirmish FC with a penchant for overpropping his ships.

  • teamnodaughters

    Brave’s new motto should be “Keep my name outta your mouth”, seems everyone can’t stop thinking about Brave and they all have “advice” to give it while their own alliance’s fleet numbers are crap.

    Brave is winning eve

    • Bob

      Are they though?

      • guest

        with our members sudden surge of energy and the general increase of positivity -not to mention Hadrian is back- yea I’d say we’re winning eve

        • braveguest

          your fleet numbers are down, less are logging in and experienced helpful people are moving on. Brave screwed over some really helpful dudes with the evac, some were told to stay and have now effectively lost their entire net worth

          • Barandis Alarion

            TWO WEEKS AGO we had 1500 in GE-, when PL didn’t bother showing up. Fleet numbers are down? Yes, in other fights they were down. Because phoney wars are phoney. Who wants to join fleet when you know that the other side has 100% control of whether they want you to win or lose? Ask PL how phoney wars go as far as interest from the other side.

            I invite you to Aridia over the next two weeks to see how much our fleet numbers have dropped.

            And one more iteration for the terminally thick: Brave is not PL. For many people, we are the first stop – not the last – of many as they mature in Eve. Experienced people move on constantly. Unimaginative people simply have a difficult time coping when one group doesn’t have the same motivations as the others.

          • Jachim Soyer

            Oh, and this doesn’t happen to other alliances when they lose sov. All the renter pilots who piled into Brave when we took Catch left. Good riddance honestly.

  • Dunk Dinkle

    Respectfully, I don’t think you have any real idea how Brave operates or fights in any serious way. You don’t look at the history of how we got here in our fight with Provi, nor when we did blueball PL fleets, or the main driver of supercaps in getting our teeth kicked in.

    Our FCs get attacked after losing fights? I don’t think you’ve been on a single Brave fleet. How can you make that an issue?

    You expect Brave to operate like some leet PvP group, concerned about killboards, ISK efficiency, with no concern for sov issues. That’s not who we are.

    Presenting the idea that Brave would have had a different outcome in Catch if we had just ‘chosen when to fight’ better, with some math used by small gang PvPers is naive.

    • see the logs first, then reply

      he is not talking about your average member attacking fc’s, its your mildir and general ld that fuck fc’s up. No wonder you have lost so many.

      • exDD-grunt

        What was wrong with their former mildir?

        • Andy

          I hope that sometime in the near future PK releases the 1600 page collection of #FC logs from BNI, the man is/was the example of what’s wrong with BNI leadership.

    • Pepizaur

      I hate to break it to you but we actually have a pretty good idea of how your fleets are run and how you guys respond to various threats. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

      I also think you are completely missing the point of the article. The point is you’re playing a game where proper risk taking and decision making are rewarded heavily and punished almost to an equal degree. Drawing a line in the sand and screaming “This is BRAVE, we do it for lolz fuck your meta game” also happens to have the effect of chumming the waters around your space.

      • Jachim Soyer

        And yet that space is gone. Brave is not strong enough to beat PL, as proven. It has nothing… ZERO THINGS to do with the fact they fight when they perhaps shouldn’t and everything to do with PL having trillions of isk more to work with and not wanting to fuck with CFC after B-R.

        • Rathje

          That just means you played the diplomacy game wrong too.

          The same thing happened with TEST. They said “Screw your meta – we do what we want” and then acted shocked when half the organized players in nullsec decided to kick their teeth in while the other half sat by indifferently and watched.

          That’s the thing when you say – screw the rules in a game. People who know the rules win.

  • Guest

    Interesting article! I do take exception with this part of it though: “CCP advocates yolo risk taking without any kind of assessment.”

    As you can see in this slide and the next, at least I don’t think it’s a good idea 🙂 https://youtu.be/35Vyue6QC3Q?t=19m48s

  • Guest

    Interesting article. I am going to take exception to one part of it though: “CCP advocates yolo risk taking without any kind of assessment.” This slide and the next one 🙂 https://youtu.be/35Vyue6QC3Q?t=19m49s

  • CCP_Manifest

    Interesting article! I am going to take a bit of exception to one part though: “CCP advocates yolo risk taking without any kind of assessment.” Check out the first two slides at 19:49 here: https://youtu.be/35Vyue6QC3Q?t=19m49s That having been said 7o.

  • callduron

    Mukk, you don’t get Brave. If Brave were trying to become a sov power the way Test did in 2013 then your analysis would be correct. But we’re not, we’re much closer to RvB where they advise people to fit 50 frigates then go out and lose them.

    One of our most popular FCs is a newbro who doesn’t know what half the ships do and whose main priority is not dishonourably headshotting the opposing FC. Winning is nice but it’s probably not even in her top 5.

    You’re also not seeing the positive side of feeding. By feeding we attract people to come try and kill us and get a never-ending stream of people to fight. Sure we bit off more than we could chew in Catch but Defsunun already is a pvp hotspot with unceasing action on our undock. The home defence fleet is really effective and fun.

    It’s also very hard to assess BRAVE as an enemy because we have people who welp on purpose mixed in with some very tightly run effective fleets. For example a FC attacked Lowsecnaya killing a 1.5b Sin and some other bling, losing a few frigates and dessies. It was a spectacular and one-sided fight. In between us reshipping an idiot welped a 1.2b Sin into the same gang. From their perspective the fight probably seemed pretty even.

    There certainly are effective pvp fleets in Brave but you’d never know from the killboard because people are in the alliance who don’t care about loses. One corp-mate recently just decided to sit on a gate, sentries out and kill things with his carrier as long as he could survive. It wasn’t awfully long. How do you assess an alliance like us from kb stats?

  • Afk

    People who play poker strictly by using the mathematical assessment of each hand are called professional poker players. The game becomes literally…a job.

    • ombro

      ‘Professional’ is a much misused word. It implies that you have a body of knowledge to impart. A man paid to fry bread is not a professional simply because he gets paid. The space rainmen of eve maximise numbers, be it mining yield or kill stats or sov holding, at the expense of every other aspect of the game except that maximisation.

  • Nicolai Serkanner

    Another who thinks he knows best what BRAVE should do and what we did wrong. We had a fantastic time in Catch. The only thing that really went wrong was the way the evac. was announced Big fucking deal!

    I really wish all the others in Eve would stop trying to think they know what we want.

  • Harry Canyon

    I recall a number of personalities commenting on the fact that Brave is perceived as a threat because of the numbers they can bring to the field. I believe many recent actions are motivated by this simple observation. If you are a more established corporation, and you’re trying to increase the login rate of your bored kingdom dwellers, what better treats to dangle than a bunch of easy kills? Pile on while the piling on is good. From what I’ve seen from the Brave leadership, they work hard to keep the learning environment positive, and are trying to get more experience for their pilots, and have fun doing, and not in the order I listed. PVP, learn from your mistakes, and try to never make the same mistake twice. Keep at it long enough, and the untrained newbies will find themselves to be experienced veterans.

  • EinGast

    When I see a brave pilot in local I think “Awesome, I’m probably going to get a fight, and it’s probably going to be fun.”
    Is that feeding? Maybe. Does that mean the brave pilot is doing it wrong? I guess it depends if they have fun too.
    I’ve been in fleets that ‘won’ easily, and it isn’t always great. Sometimes it’s even a fucking chore for everyone other than the FC. I’m still glad Brave are in EVE and hope they continue to resist becoming just the same as every other bittervet.

  • Abbadon21

    They did they same thing in the Brave VS Usurper war. No matter how much they lost their leaders kept telling them they were winning. In the end Usurper was the most “fed” it had ever been.

    Also, Mukk you should contact me. I’m still interested if you are.

  • lowrads

    Brave pilots would rather lose the fight than ever weaponize boredom. Other pilots can choose to dry their tears with their inflated killboard stats, but we’d rather be getting experience.

    However, we will eventually learn that we are largely a subcap alliance until we can work out some semblance of opsec and organization. Brave should just stick to it’s strengths while BNI should reform internally into a more flexible organization with more diversified risk. There’s little point holding territory in null without the ability to legitimately hold ones own against the other powers.

    The strongest army will founder if given the wrong mission.

  • Aeron Neit

    I am fairly new to brave, on my third attempt at Eve. Yes I have lost a lot of ships in catch. Guess what I am having fun. The moment our leadership starts suggesting we stay docked as its not a fight we can win that is when I become bored. I don’t play to spin ships in safety I play to see explosions….often my own. Killboards are worthless and only used to stroke the ego and make people think they actually matter.

    While I am having fun as far as I am concerned Brave is the place for me.

  • Andy

    To be fair to BNI, they can pass up roaming gangs with no reprecussions, but we trained them pretty early that they could either form up for timers or lose their space. They stopped forming so we followed through on the threat.

    I don’t think any comparison to Proviblock would be favorable since they’re the bottom bitch of EVE and the only reason they hold sov is that noone wants to live in Providence so they grind it back in stealth bombers 3 months later.

    • Jachim Soyer

      Oh please. Keep pretending you ‘trained’ anyone. You were out to kick teeth in because you’re too pussy to take on CFC.

      • Andy

        I mean ‘trained’ in the sense of using a shock collar (supers) to discourage bad behavior like blueballing us.

    • Speedy

      When I flew with provibloc, we always blueballed nearly every PL fleet, and enjoyed doing it. Because we despised you.

  • Chvatil

    While it’s nice that you’re giving advice to brave (even if that advice is “Be more boring!”) from my perspective you’re focusing on entirely the wrong side of the conflict.

    For a brief, shining moment, there were two regions of Eve which were fun to roam in. Then PL fucked it up for the rest of us.

    When fozziesov hits, maybe we’ll go back to having two fun regions to roam in. So before then, what we desperately need is a three part series of articles on how PL can NOT FUCK IT UP A SECOND TIME. All the rest of us managed not to take Brave’s sov – maybe there’re lessons PL can learn from us?

    We could hold seminars – we could fly through one of the remaining entertaining systems in eve, and the PL members could do their best not to launch a sov campaign designed to drive out the locals. Obviously we’d have to start on the test server until they got the hang of it.

  • Angus Adalwin

    Good article with a lot of excellent points. I really believe that BRAVE can become great again, which is why I haven’t left, especially with the lessons we’ve learned. The fact seems to be that we as a group outgrew our leadership’s capabilities, and it’s been difficult for them to figure out what to do and how to handle us.

  • Rathje

    You know, it’s interesting seeing another “screw your meta – leeeeroy jenkins!” coalition going to Arridia to lick its woulds. Back when I was brand new to the game subbing my trial account that had sat dormant a year, I made my way out to Arridia to do solo exploration in relative peace and quiet and isolation. That lasted all of a week before my quiet was interrupted by TEST Alliance evaccing right next door to my staging system.

    I pulled up stakes and left town and ended up joining a small wormhole alliance for about a year. Then had to go dormant again. And here I am joining the game again, and even messing around in the old stomping grounds of ignore-sec, and once again, another yolo-alliance is moving in next door.

    Time to move again I guess.