No Place Like HomeMangala Solaris
Once upon a timeI started playing in late 2006 and for a long time I remained in the starter NPC corp. Eventually, like many others, I moved on out to an industrial corp in high sec, yet never felt totally at home there. I started reading about the wider politics of EVE – massive null battles and the like – and found that Scrapheap Challenge was a particularly good place to find battle reports on these events. Over time I became a regular reader of that forum, and in early 2008 I read about an initiative some of the members there had created, something called Red vs. Blue. This was a pair of corporations, Red. and Blue., that would fight each other constantly. I thought to myself, “this sounds like a great way to learn all about PvP”, so I created an alt and flew there for a while. However, this iteration of RvB did not last. Many factors contributed to its downfall, not least of which was the release of the Empyrean Age expansion, which introduced faction warfare to EVE. This was a great expansion for me and I placed my corp into the Caldari militia, fighting off the frogs and local pirates in Black Rise, for what was a really good summer. Eventually I tired of FW, and seeking new adventures moved on. Fast forward to autumn 2009 and the guys who had formed Red vs. Blue back in 2008 started talking about doing it again. When RvB 2.0 went live on September 25th, I was there with another alt and the start was so much fun. Both the RvB corporations were top killers across EVE within days, the constant carnage was seeing thousands of ships killed every week. I learned a lot about small scale combat from some brilliant pilots and FC’s. However, using an alt never felt “right”, especially when I had a main gathering skill points and doing whatever seemed fun that week. In July 2010 I was part of a suicide op on a jump freighter, my alliance at the time took umbrage at that, so I moved Mangala in to RvB and a new stage of my EVE life began.
The Art of ViolencePutting my main into RvB, rather than a low SP or non-combat alt, turned out to be a much better decision. I had access to a wider variety of useful toys, and could free my alts up for isk generation, logistics and other support duties – while I had all the fun. Going from an environment where I was limited in what I could fly (thanks to others making those decisions) to somewhere that left it to the pilots’ discretion what to fly, where to fly it and who to fly it with, was simply eye-opening. I had found a facet of EVE that was perfect for me then, and remains so, four years later. RvB never set out to teach players how to PvP, command fleets, or anything else for that matter. Using my main and being constantly active, I learned much (and continue to do so) just from paying attention in fleets and watching my fellow pilots at every opportunity. Especially basic skills, like how to correctly fit a frigate for tackle, or how to properly kite the enemy (even though I do love a drop down dirty close range brawl more than anything). Everything I gained in those early days was learned under fire and with no concerns as to whether I won or lost, just that I and others had a good fight. It was thanks to this rather forgiving combat environment that I learned about fleet command, scouting, uniform damage envelopes, and all the things that have made me the pilot and FC I am today. In RvB those who FC are usually those tapped up for command roles, and so it was with me. I was surprised by RvB command. I had been in leadership in a couple of corporations before this, but in RvB things were so different. In those corporations it was about generally enriching someone, but in RvB I found a group of people primarily concerned with simply making the best PvP environment they could for the general members. And to this day, that is still our mission. Even before I was promoted to RvB leadership, I had a natural propensity to both lead and create content for those flying alongside me. However, my promotion really brought that to the fore and my imagination ran wild with the events I could create.
The Highlight ReelOver the past 4 years and change, I have been heavily involved in many of the events and wars that have really put RvB on the map. I started off creating large scale events around previous RvB birthdays, and moved on from there. I like events that take the pilots in RvB out of their comfort zone, be it my solo PvP focused “Somewhere, out there”-series, or the large scale battleship fights I organise as part of my “Battle of” series (to date it’s 2-1 to the Blue Republic)
Such events are always a huge draw, and often end up with the patented RvB BIG RED DOT covering a large swathe of the in game map. However, my most notable event was the recent RvB Spring Cup. A team focused, double elimination tournament for members of RvB. This was a huge success, but unlike other tournaments it was held live in Empire space on TQ. To say it went well would be typical british understatement. Thanks to contacts inside and outside RvB, the Spring Cup showed just what a group of dedicated players can do without the need of any tools or support from CCP, something which RvB has been doing for nearly five years. Check the footage here and here. In addition to the events that I organise for the members of RvB, I also perform the role of wartime FC for RvB, especially when it comes to wars that feature large scale battles and large fleets. Over the past few years these wars have either been against Eve University or Brave Newbies. Despite not being fought over anything more than a pos, or for killmails alone, they have easily been my most memorable wars to FC while in RvB. Thankfully, targets like these groups actually undock and fight. The best thing about leading RvB fleets in a wartime environment, as I found out when I first started doing it for large scale fights back in 2011, was and is that no one said I could not, or that more experienced FC’s should handle it. It really was a case of “Just do it, we’ll be right there with you”. And there we have it, a short look back at the time I have spent in RvB, four years of good times and good fights. I really would not want to live anywhere else.