Editor’s Note: Here we have a piece from a new writer, CiXiang Reyzenstein. He’s here to talk about his first five months in Eve and why he’s spent it in FW space. Enjoy!

I started playing EvE on August 12th, 2018. Like every other rookie I started with zero clue of, and infinite wonder at the new world I was thrust into. Armed with nothing but an Atron called “Shotgun Wedding”, whose fit I had shamelessly stolen from Eve Uni, I set off into the unknown.

After running level 2 missions in said Atron, dipping my toes into nullsec exploration, and figuring out market trading in Dodixie was just too spreadsheetey for me, I get invited to a private chat with a “Koizumi Taira” after asking some questions about wormhole explo in rookie help. She gives me advice on exploration, and asks me whether I want to check out Faction Warfare on the promise of good ISK and good pew pew pew. Rescuing rookies from high-sec is what she calls it.

Given the tales of traps and grand cons that had drawn me to Eve, as well as my desire to keep training exploration skills in case faction warfare doesn’t work out for me, I decide to roll another character, and CiXiang Reytzenstein is born that evening. After fitting up a Merlin, I pilot it down into lowsec, accept the corp invite and get told to make my way to their Citadel. I’m part of Amarr militia now.

I’m told to wait outside, as several ships undock, one of them yellow boxing me. “This is the ‘getting murdered in a dark alley’ in low-sec I was warned about.”, I think to myself as I panic warp to a nearby celestial. “Huh, first rookie to run from the fireworks” somebody chimes up in corp chat. Turns out it was fireworks, thank god.


After docking up, and setting my medical clone there, I’m given some advice for surviving down in lowsec and a Coercer to go capture some plexes. And, well, I go out to capture some plexes. Somebody links me an LP exchange tool, I do some rough math, and find: “Yep, that’s some good ISK”. So I keep at it.

I also participate in some of the small skirmishes we have with war targets that decide to come into our system. One cruiser drops on the grid, and completely misunderstanding instructions in fleet chat, I decide in a panic that “Get away from him” is “Get him” and geronimo into him to get scram. Despite dying ignobly to the cruiser, I’m hooked, and given a corp uniform. “You’re one of us now”, I’m told.

Four days after joining, I catch an oddly fitted slasher defensive plexing in our home system and get my first solo kill. I’m oddly proud of myself. “Look ma’, no gang.” A week and 7 alpha injectors bought with sweet oplexing ISK later, I’ve got tech 2 guns trained and kill my first PvP fit Rifter who attacked me in the outpost I was running, and I’m completely pumped on the feeling of victory for the next 2 hours. “Who is murdering who now!?”

August passes, as does September, and sticking to my “Lose 1 Coercer a day” rule, I regularly get fun fights and feel myself improving with each one. I almost kill a Confessor, betcha he didn’t expect that from widdle ol’ CiX… I learn how to hunt deplexing farmers. I participate in hub bashes and we take systems. I get more comfortable keeping an eye on d-scan and local. Things are going well in CiXiang-land!

In October, our small coalition of corps and alliances decides that we’re going to take the Minmatar mission running systems in order to provoke fights. After a prolonged siege, we take Floseswin. Then we start attacking Hadozeko, but we’re locked in a stalemate for a week. We plex the system up by 20% in EUTZ, and Bullet Anarchy with his multitude of alts plexes it down again by night. The elders decide to rouse one of the Ancients, and Templar Dane returns to Eve. Now when it comes to Amarr Militia, Templar Dane is one of its legends. The Coercer fit I was so fond of, the fit that has now been passed through 4 different corps, well, it was his brainchild. This was a man who had been Amarrian for longer than there was an Amarr militia.

We take Hadozeko two days after he returns, and through late night plexing sessions with him, Templar regales me with war stories of olde. Valiant stands against superior numbers, backbreaking sieges and campaigns where a hundred Coercers were but a rounding error. How we, outnumbered from day one, make that difference up through grit, smarts and fearlessness. It was during that time, that I learned the joy of the suicidal gamble. I remember, one morning, when I was the only person still online, running plexes in Eszur, when suddenly local went from 1 to 10, 9 of them Minmatar. Now I knew 4 of them were mission pickup alts, but the other 5 were there to plex the system down again. 4 damp Condors, 1 Breacher. I vacated my plex as they came in, knowing I couldn’t take all of them on my own, and hopped into a beam coercer at the Raitaru we had anchored as staging in the system. Then, I sat in tether, keeping an eagle eye on the remaining plexes. There! One of the Condors split off to run the medium. I waited a minute to let them get comfortable, then pounced on that lone Condor, liberating him from his ship before he had time to react, and jumped back into tether, seconds before the other 3 caught up to me.

THERE I WAS SITTING, GRINNING EAR TO EAR THAT A SINGLE 3-MONTH-OLD PILOT COULD KEEP THE 5 OF THEM BALLED UP

Now did that prevent them from running plexes? No. But they decided that splitting up was not a wise decision with me in local. And there I was sitting, grinning ear to ear that a single 3-month-old pilot could keep the 5 of them balled up in a single plex.

But by November, our advance stalls. With the imminent shuttering of Serenity, a number of Chinese players had arrived in Tranquility, and had joined a Galmil PLA feeder corp. Since Calmil had rolled over and died in the months before, they decide that the few systems we had taken made for perfect farming grounds. During October, we took systems and fought mission runners trying to defend them. Now, we were suddenly stuck deplexing and hunting million ISK catalysts that were explicitly told not to fight. We later found out that they had a list of who not to fight. We were all on it.

And it was taking its toll on our PvP pilots. We needed more people, and we needed them fast. Now up to that point, I had helped run recruiting for our corp, wading through rookie help looking for people that met our standards, which we thought we could turn into skilled pilots. But every recruit needed to go by Koi, and she had recently gone AWOL due to work issues. Recruitment for 44th Recon was closed.

So I decided I’d start my own corp, “Amarr Strategic Capture”, with little more than 20 deplexing Ventures fitted for maximum annoyance, and a rough idea that I’d fill in the rest when the time came. And with a few more recruits hungry to make some ISK, we were able to take a few more systems, almost enough to take Amarr into Tier 3.

Of course, then the bots happened.

Now, in Faction Warfare you can almost always beat your foe by being more persistent; by flying smarter, or simply rushing onto the breach with suicidal abandon. These are qualities that we try to instil in our pilots. But trying to fight off bots? That’s a losing fight. They don’t get tired, they don’t get upset. Even if you kill them a hundred times, they simply flow back into the warzone like water. Botters simply don’t care if you kill their 300k ISK alpha Atron.

And we tried fighting them for the longest time. Hunting them in warp speed rigged Dramiels, placing rookie ships on acceleration gates to mess with their dscan logic, or simply running all the novices to deprive them of plexes to run. In a way, there was an odd solidarity between the militias during that time since the issue hit everyone. Whereas before we’d shoot each other on sight, we’d see an enemy Dramiel zip about, and we’d wave. They were doing God’s work, Minmatar or not.

But we could only stall, and as every system in the warzone hit vulnerable, or was slowly inching there, we did the only thing we could and took to the forums to expose what was happening in Faction Warfare. And to the community’s credit, first the CSM responded, and then CCP did. Suddenly, the bots were gone, and we could go back to shooting each other. Plus my corp mates gave me the title of “squeakiest wheel” for creating that thread, so that’s gotta count for something!

Spending 5 months in Faction Warfare, I’ve found that despite the ongoing meme of “FW is dead”, it can be crazy fun at times. I got bite-sized PvP to sharpen my teeth on. I met experienced pilots to learn from. I found glory, long nights, good fights, and victories snatched from the jaws of defeat. I’ve made a corp filled with people I care about. I got to watch players that were afraid of undocking develop into adorable little murderers. And I don’t regret a second of it.

 

Featured Image Credit: CCP

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