When I flew with Waffles we would often arrive in a heavily populated area, such as Black Rise, Fountain or more recently, Catch. In the first week to a month, there would be heavy amounts of killing. Back in 2011, we called this the Waffle learning curve. Being a relatively unknown alliance, many low-sec and null-sec entities would try their hand at the newcomers, only to be sent packing back to their stations. Eventually, the long-time residents would move out, seeking safer places to farm and live in relative peace, knowing they couldn’t defeat the Waffle menace.
This reaction isn’t unique to Waffles, and is likely experienced by many PVP focused groups that live a nomadic lifestyle, moving from region to region in hopes of good fites and PVP fun. As players learn more and more about Thera, this same sort of learning curve is taking place. Fits and gameplay styles are adapted to conquer the shattered system of Thera.
On December 9th CCP released Rhea, bringing about the final expansion for the 2014 year. Thera was finally released onto Tranquility and within the first day, over 44 billion isk worth of ships were destroyed, and at the time of writing, that number had increased to 198.55 Billion. (according to Zkillboard.com).
Many EVE-related news sites covered the initial bloodbath, which seemed to have no end. Curious explorers haplessly jumped into Thera only to meet a bright blinding light and a pod express back home. Within the first week, Thera was ranked the 303rd most dangerous system, a number that has since climbed to 75th. Ships of all sorts ventured into the dangerous wormhole space. Travellers ranged from pimped out Nestors, to laser fitted Hurricanes, to covert ops and brave industrialists trying to bring weapons of war to the new market. Almost immediately there was a land rush of eager pirate corporations jockeying for offices in each of Thera’s four stations. By the middle of the second week, Thera was ranked as one of the top three deadliest systems, falling just below Tama and HED-GP. It was also apparent that capsuleer Longdrinks, of Love Squad in Confederation of xXPizzaXx, was the reigning ‘King of Thera.’ In fact, his title clearly states that.
I took a moment to sit down to Longdrinks and discuss Thera and his take on the new wormholes. Being the premier killer in Thera, he seemed to have the best vantage point to explain what worked and what didn’t.
Georgik Sojik: Hey, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer some questions about Thera and how you became the top killer of the system so quickly.
Longdrinks: Im not good with long interesting answers but ill give it a go.
GS: How long have you been playing EVE? Did you come back because of any recent patches? What’s your opinion on Thera, and the Rhea expansion in general?
LD: On and off since 2007 with varying success. In 2012 i saw garmonation9. I cut my beard, started doing solo pvp and small gang stuff, and have basically been perma-active since then. I just really enjoy the gameplay, the people i play with and that its a game i can put everything from 5 hours or 50 hours a week into and still have meaningful experiences and things happen.
Thera is small gang mecca and makes it really easy for wormhole noobs like me to find connections to the other side of the galaxy for roaming.
As for the Rhea expansion it felt bad when they took away my precious UI color sliders gave us some dark bland presets that all look alike. Cant do this anymore http://puu.sh/dl5pG/e40df518b8.jpg :'(
GS: Did you practice any on SISI before Thera went live? How did you end up in Thera? Any future plans to make Thera your kingdom?
LD: I stay away from the test server before patches to avoid spoiling myself, so patchday was my first introduction to it. The first WH to Thera was given to me by a random guy in goonswarm who fleeted me so i could warp to the entrance. Big thanks to him. As for moving in probably not since its so easy to get access there anyway and i have to be home and ready to grind POS with wheniaminspace.
GS: How does it feel to be the top killer in Thera? Was it your intention to be as successful as you are, or did you just think it would be a good bit of fun for a week?
LD: Feels pretty good to go headfirst into new content and seeing something brand new in Eve take shape. I didn’t aim to be top killer, only plan was to form a fleet right after downtime on patch day and find Thera to see what it was like. From there we just happened to be the dominant force from downtime through euro-prime while a ton of people from all over Eve came for an adventure in the new system. For most, that adventure ended in one of our bubbles on Thera XII – The Sanctuary Institute of Paleocybernetics.
GS: What ships do you usually fly, and which do you think are the most effective in Thera? If you were to advise someone planning to travel through Thera, what would you tell them? (Feel free to put as much disinformation in this as possible. I’d hate to ruin your kill streak.)
LD: I fly long range interdictors like eris and flycatcher that work well with a bubble launcher fitted. Catching pods with the bubble is just too satistfying 😛
For Thera I would advise anyone to fly kiting stuff for solo or small gang since you have no idea who’s in local. Baiting and killing ships that go in scram-range is super easy. For getting into Thera i usually fly fast frigs with a free high for offline probe launcher. Slicer is my goto ship for this.
GS: I noticed that a lot of the fleets you’re with are typically Talwars. Do you think this is a better comp than say the bomber fleets that are more typical in wormhole space? What do you think the best ship in Thera is?
LD: Talwars are just very powerful ships with long reach and easy for people to train into. And veteran players get really flustered when their 200 mill hacs get slamdunked by 18 mill destroyers. Bombers are only useful for ganks or bombing other peoples fights and I get bored very quickly when I try to sit cloaked and have to watch all the fights i can’t take 😛
The best ship in Thera is friendship.
GS: Well thanks for taking the time to sit down with the myself and the readers of Crossing Zebras. Is there anything else that the Long Dong of the Law would like the readers to know about you and your iron rule of Thera?
LD: EVE is a fun game and you should have fun playing it. Shoutouts to pizza FCs who make the magic happen every day.
The New Meta – Laser Canes!
As I was preparing for the interview, I was baffled by some of the terrible fits that the denizens of New Eden tried to throw at the system dubbed “Jita for pirates.” While I won’t call anyone out for their Iteron V with scan probes, there was a peculiar set of kills that had me baffled. Hurricanes aren’t known for their capacitor strength, and certainly have no bonuses to lasers, so when several Hurricane kill mails came back with medium lasers fitted, I had to investigate further.
Reaching out to who I thought would be a likely culprit, I asked Dirk Magnum of RvB to help explain. It seemed like the type of fun fleet idea that Red vs. Blue would fly in one of their Ganknight public fleets. I was wrong, but not far off, though; the orchestrators actually were from CODE.
In a show of support for the Star Wars trailer release, Arden Elenduil of CODE. started a fleet called “Star Destroyers” after the famous Galactic Empire battleships in Star Wars. Obviously, the most similar ship that would fit this was of course the Hurricane. To perfect the look, the fleet was instructed to fit medium pulse and beam lasers, and off towards Thera they headed. As this was a fun fleet with no real purpose other than to sacrifice their ships to the capsuleer-gods of Thera, the fleet was a remarkable success.
This fleet, and many like it, are organized by Arden as part of his series of fleets called ‘The Belligerent Undesirables’, a semi-public fleet operating along the same lines as RvB Ganked, and Spectre fleet. If you’re interested in flying out to glory on a horribly fit ship, I’m sure anyone in CODE will be able to point you in the right direction.
After finishing the interview, and trying to figure out what the current meta was in Thera, I went about attempting to find my way into the abyss. The fact that it’s a wormhole means that it’s entry location changes every day or so. However, with several wormholes connecting K-space to Thera, it should have been fairly easy to locate an entrance tunnel, right? I mean.. how hard could it be. The answer, is quite difficult. Thankfully some others had anticipated this problem.
Eve-Scout and Intel
One thing that I hadn’t expected with the release of Thera was the player-based initiatives to aid other players in their attempts to find the shattered wormhole. Almost from the get-go there were Twitch streams being run by the people at Furtherance. Meanwhile the more tech-savvy G8Keper and Johnny Splunk went ahead and built a site dedicated to locating and reporting Thera wormholes, called EVE-Scout.
EVE-Scout is a pretty straight forward website that allows users to report the location of wormholes, and also discover where the nearest Thera wormhole is. There is currently an open call for scouts to help probe down the new and existing wormholes to ensure that access to Thera remains public knowledge.
While I applaud the efforts of Eve-Scout, it does bring about an interesting point. Since Thera is a wormhole system, that has multiple connections, is it really a place that should be known, or should its location be kept in the dark. Obviously, the efforts of EVE-Scout are one of the reasons that the kill count has been so high in Thera.
After the past 28 Days, Thera is turning out to be about as successful as many had anticipated. There is a vibrate community of locals, live feeds similar to many of the FW systems, and always plenty of things to kill. However, as with most everything, interest does appear to be waning on the unique wormhole system. While the first week saw billions of isk being destroyed, that amount seems to be dropping as people learn to adapt to wormhole life. With any luck many of my fears and hesitations as explained in previous articles will have been for naught, and Thera becomes the hive of villainy that everyone hoped it to be. Will the markets finally be seeded by adventurous industrialists looking to capitalize on the shattered wormhole markets? Will one group, or an oligarchy of groups unify to lock-down the overly large system? It will be interesting to see how Thera is after 3 months time, to see the changes, and similarities to the first month. But for now, we will all just have to wait and see how this emergent gameplay plays out.
Tags: Georgik, Thera
Georgik is a Sniggwaffe graduate and Habitual Euthanasia member who dabbles in wormholes and industry to support a disturbing obsession with kpop which prevents him from investing any more time than he has to in funding his mediocre PVP activities.