Thursday, March 31, 2016

War, Baby! (Or, War For Eve Babies)

I joined the game just slightly after the Battle of B-R. The hype over the biggest fight in video game history was still fresh in everyone's mind, the ClusterFuck Coalition was still riding high over establishing themselves as the premiere power in Nullsec, and everyone who was joining the game at the time had visions of being part of the "next big thing". What nobody knew then was that there wouldn't be a next big thing for the next two years. Certainly there were minor conflicts and events but nothing that truly changed the game in any significant way. There were big fights but nothing gigantic and headline worthy outside of Eve specific media. By and large, the game was just in a holding pattern, with no one willing to pull the trigger on the next big war.

As we approach the cusp of the next major set of changes focused on sovereignty and warfare (namely the introduction of new player structures and a re-imagining of capital ships in the Eve: Citadel expansion on April 27), the gears of war have been churning and grinding themselves into a frenzy that culminated this week in one of the largest battles in the history of New Eden, the Battle of MOE. Headlines are being made, both in game related media and gaming media in general. Fantastic videos of the battle have exploded across YouTube, and epic screenshots of bubbles and battleships are dotting the internets as far as a mouse can click. And we all know what (hopefully) comes with a lot of hype and exposure: newbros.

If you'd like to read up on how the Eve universe wound up at the Battle of M-OEE8, Matterall has a pretty great write up here. For an overview of how the battle looked and went, check out this dev blog by CCP Manifest.

Unlike B-R however, MOE isn't the climax of the last great war, but it is (fingers crossed) the first major escalation of what is set up to be the next great war. Unlike all the newbies that signed up in the wake of B-R, there's actually a chance to get in on the fun if you're getting in right now. But it's not like you could just start an account an YOLO it out to the frontlines of a freaking war on day one, right? Eve is supposed to be this long ass waiting game where you first start out by mining for six months just to afford your first good ship right. Screw that, get your ass out there and kill stuff!

There are several groups currently involved in this war who will gladly take your fresh, delicious newbro brains and throw them into the fires of war while laughing maniacally teaching and encouraging you to be the best killing machine you can be. What's more, they help you learn to make some money on your own, and help you get into ships and fleets in order to take part in all this content raining down from the heavens. Let's look at a few options for newbros to get in on the action. These are presented in alphabetical order to keep it simple.

A Band Apart -  A two year old alliance founded by the three year old lowsec PvP group Stay Frosty, ABA has always operated under an open door recruitment policy. Simply send in an application to one of the member corporations (I'd recommend Vagrant Skies first), and you're in. Currently, the alliance has players of all ages and skill levels deployed to support the Low Sec Voltron coalition, with more members joining the fight every day. Once the war is over, ABA will move back to lowsec and do what they do best, undocking and fighting everything that moves. The Alliance also has groups living in various other parts of space, so there's opportunity to try your hand at different things.

Brave Newbies - At one point, if you mentioned "new player" and PvP, it was assumed you were talking about these guys. While they've fallen on hard times as of late and aren't nearly the force that they once were, they are still the first major entity entirely focused around helping newbros get out there and start fighting. In the current war, Brave is filling in a support role for the other major players deployed against the Imperium, using their members to fill in fleets when others need more numbers and assisting in defending others' homelands. These guys have been training new players since day one and through everything they still find ways to have fun. Once the war is over, they'll just go back to learning, growing, being chaotic, and wearing the "We're bad at this" badge with honor. At least until the next coup, of course.

Dreddit - this is the primary newbie friendly corp of Test Alliance Please Ignore, one of the bigger members of the Money Badger Coalition and a long time adversary of The Imperium. Dreddit started out as and continues to exist as a group mostly focused on socializing through, and focuses more on community and recruitment (when not shooting internet spaceships, of course). These guys are very well established at helping new players get on their feet and into fights out in Nullsec, and they've got plenty of war experience to boot. Once this war is over, TEST offers plenty of ways for its members to find fun, regardless of the outcome. Be warned, TEST is pretty well known throughout the Eve universe, so expect to come across plenty of shit talking as you dive into the game.

KarmaFleet - If you want to get in on the Goonswarm (google them if you don't know them) side of things, then KarmaFleet is where you'll want to go. Essentially adopting the Reddit-centric newbie friendly recruitment strategy of Brave Newbies (who basically took the concept from Dreddit first), Karma is easiest way to get hooked up with the largest organization in the game, The Imperium. While The Imperium is basically seen as the villain by everyone else in the game (a role they enjoy), inwardly they view themselves as being the underdog against the rest of the world. All members get access to some great resources, including unlimited free small and cheap ships for PvP, plus a wealth of knowledge from one of the best sources in the game. These guys are on the defensive right now, though, so expect to be fighting early and often because right now it really is them versus everyone else. The only downside it once you're a Goon, its hard to wipe that from your record. Fortunately, these guys offer playstyles pretty much anywhere you can imagine, so you probably won't have to be anything else.

Pandemic Horde - Pandemic Legion is known for being one of the more skill intensive groups in the game, especially when it comes to capital ship warfare, but that doesn't mean they didn't want to get in on this whole "Use Reddit to recruit lots of new players" thing as well. Enter Pandemic Horde. In addition to all the usual trappings of a newbro group like free skillbooks and ships, Horde also has a unique "mentoring program" with their big brothers in PL. The Pandemic Family ("Pan Fam") is very well known for getting content to its members, with or without holding sov themselves. While Pandemic Legion currently backs up the rest of the Money Badger Coalition in taking on The Imperium head on, Horde is charged with a harrassment campaign on the other side of Imperium space, essentially ensuring that the war exists on all sides for Goonswarm and co.

Spectre Fleet - In the lexicon of Eve, "NPSI" basically means anyone who is not in your current fleet is someone worth shooting. Ordinarilly, this was reserved to informal groups who only got together every now and then, but Spectre Fleet has made it the core principle that they built themselves around. Their whole goal is to get people into ships and ammo onto hulls. While not specifically a new player focused group, they will take anyone they can get and force feed them fights to their hearts content. Currently, Spectre is deployed against the Imperium, but if they need to shoot others they will whenever and where ever suits them. When the war is over, they'll go back to doing what they do: fleets every day looking for fights anywhere they can find them.

A few other options - If you're not really wanting to jump head first into this war, but all the hype has you wanting to give the game a try, there are a few places to go. The first is Eve University, who are probably the oldest new player organization in the game. Styling themselves as an actual school for players, they offer classes and training on practically anything you could even possibly want to learn about the game. If you still want to get out where the fighting is, but don't really want to pick a side, consider Affirmative., a null sec based alliance who are happy to take wide eyed newbies out on a hunt, be they fellow members or otherwise. And if you're really not looking for the whole PvP thing, but still want to get out where other players can shoot you, you might be interested in Signal Cartel, a newbie friendly group focused on exploration and general silliness (yes, it's a shameless plug, its my blog :P).

Don't listen to all those comments on the articles you've read that say new Eve players can't get into the fun stuff. There has never been a better time to be a new player in New Eden because there have never been more groups focused on getting new players out into space experience the game. So don't just read about it, get in here and get going, baby!

***NOTE: If I missed any new player friendly groups currently involved in the war, please let me know and I will gladly add you to the list***

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