Lasker Emanuel is primarily known for his solo PVP videos on YouTube, where he pilots anything from Magnates to Dreadnoughts. He is a member of Curatores Veritatis Alliance. Lasker brings us his new interview series, talking to PVP-oriented individuals from across the game. Stay tuned to New Eden Report for more of these in the future.


In EVE Online, it’s fairly easy to undock and have nothing happen, or undock and have a complete disaster happen, but if you want anything in between these two extremes, someone will have to put in a lot of work. Someone will need to figure out what ships you are flying, against who, arrange logistics, come up with plans, gather intel, and then ultimately respond as reality comes into contact with the plan. That someone is a content creator, and I find their role in New Eden fascinating.

My guest today is Chance Ravinne, the CEO of Wingspan Delivery Services. He does a lot of solo PVP as well as small gang fighting on occasion. Many of his experiences are documented on his YouTube channel.

 

Lasker Emanuel

Hello and welcome!

WINGSPANTT

Hi Lasker, thanks for having me

Lasker Emanuel

It’s my pleasure

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got started with EVE online?

WINGSPANTT

Well the reality is I first played eve in 2009 for about 2 months, and the learning curve was so steep, I just quit.

Lasker Emanuel

I actually did the same when I started.

WINGSPANTT

I couldn’t figure out how to leave a solar system for a week haha.

Lasker Emanuel

What do I do? Yeah!

WINGSPANTT

So I biomassed and uninstalled, and kind of forgot about EVE until 2014 or so when I saw the Rubicon trailer and really loved the look of the SOE ships and hopped back in

It was my personal goal to fly them, so I jumped into exploration right away. Joined an exploration corp, started heading out there in my Imicus, and generally spending lots of time learning how to probe, get around gate-camps and bubble traps, etc.

Lasker Emanuel

Do you think having the clear goal made it easier to stick with?

WINGSPANTT

That was definitely half of it. The other half for me was I was posting my adventures to YouTube and, for whatever reason, these new EVE videos really blew up, 4x more than anything I had done before. So I thought, I must be doing something right, or at least interesting. And that following really made me want to see what kind of content I could produce for everyone watching at home

Lasker Emanuel

What did you start to get into next?

WINGSPANTT

So at around summer I had gotten really deep into following Chessur. I don’t know how many people remember, but before his elite nano solo days, he actually ran an EVE blog called Confessions of a Stealth Bomber Killer. It’s amazing.

Lasker Emanuel

I actually got into EVE reading Confessions of a Stealth Bomber Killer and other blogs around that time.

WINGSPANTT

It was all about how you could hunt people in wormhole space with a bomber and maybe a hauler alt. And I already had so much trained into covert ops, I wanted to try it out. I asked my corp, which was a Goon rental corp at the time about it, and they thought it wasn’t really viable. “Bombers are for fleet bombing runs, Chance.” 

So I decided to start my own corp, WINGSPAN Delivery Services, and kind of take everything I learned from Chessur and mix it with a little RP for kicks.

Lasker Emanuel

So you started your corp pretty early in your EVE career.

WINGSPANTT

Yes, maybe 5 or 6 months in. I didn’t really expect it to take off at the time, beyond maybe 20 or so people, so I figured having a joke bomber squad would be fun.

If I really thought thousands of people would apply, I probably would have tried to learn more about how to run an EVE corp first!

But it blew up pretty fast, and soon we had this whole corp of relatively untrained pilots who wanted to hunt for targets in w-space

Lasker Emanuel

How did it go at first?

Were your guys catching targets pretty quickly, or was their a sort of paying your dues period?

WINGSPANTT

So this last week on /r/eve I saw someone describe WINGSPAN as the “plecos” of j-space. That is to say, the catfish that clean up the easy detritus. And I think to some extent that is true. But when we started, there weren’t really any corps like us. There still aren’t. 

What I mean is, covert ops corps that aren’t based in any one place, jumping through hundreds of wormhole systems at a time. So even early on we caught things pretty easily, because nobody was really used to what we were doing. Nobody actually thought 5 guys in bombers would camp a single w-space system 24/7 for a month straight!

The hardest part early on was more corp admin stuff. What are the rules, how do we manage new applicants, how do we do things like split loot when most of the corp plays solo the majority of the time, with some small ad hoc fleet stuff as necessary.

Lasker Emanuel

One of the things I love about EVE is how despite being a 16 year old game, people can find a new way to play.

WINGSPANTT

Yeah, there’s just so much freedom in EVE, not just in what you can do, but in how you can interact with other players. And as a result there isn’t a system that’s constrained by optimal choices. In some games, when you see an enemy the optimal choice is “kill the enemy as fast as possible.” But in EVE, where there are no real goals or limits or rules, you can do so much more. Kill the enemy. Bait them. Befriend them, bribe them, or just trail them for weeks and figure out what you can get out of them later. It’s nearly unique in that regard.

Lasker Emanuel

Completely agree, I like seeing the various social structure that arise from people trying to work together in the game world

WINGSPANTT

I think that’s a big part of what makes any kind of solo play interesting in EVE, too. In most games, you have preset solo engagements. Whereas in EVE, you can be dogpiled at any second, so playing solo means balancing risk and reward to a grand degree.

Lasker Emanuel

The open world engagement instead of an instanced “fair” engagement is a wildly different thing. It’s funny how the possibility of unfairness adds an element that is lacking in arena style games. I am not a game designer, but I would not have guessed “unfairness” could be a positive element for a game.

WINGSPANTT

I think EVE greatly prepared me for battle royale games haha! Getting randomly third and fourth partied by enemy squads at any time… except the item loss only sets you back 20 minutes, instead of however long it took to put a ship together in EVE.

Lasker Emanuel

You have done a lot of different stuff in EVE, can you think of what activity or project that you enjoyed the most?

WINGSPANTT

The whole “GOING SOUTH” series/movie thing was by far the most fun I’ve had in EVE, both the operation itself and making/sharing the results of it.I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see it, but it was just the perfect storm of spying, merc work, hilarity, salt, intrigue, epic kills and losses, and just an amazing EVE story overall.

I always have people asking me, “When will you make another GOING SOUTH?” As if I could just make something that insane happen all on my own!

It really brought the corp together both as an op and as an endless source of memes and references. We still have Discord channels named stuff like “Ramora Fleet” to this day.

Lasker Emanuel

Lots of my best EVE memories are from working on a project with a group of friends. Often the individual tasks are not all that exciting necessarily, but being part of a group of people you like working towards some end feels so fantastic.

WINGSPANTT

Yeah! In some other ways, it’s also detrimental. For instance in this case, everyone was so excited about this op that people wanted to repeat it. And I think for a while, before I kind of changed the rules, people in corp were trying hard to provoke evictions or go out of their way to find insane targets in the hopes of stirring up a grand month-long event. And that isn’t really what we’re about.

And that’s really one of the things that has been hardest in this game for a niche group like ours. Holding onto our identity. Knowing what it is and avoiding the temptations to chase after something shiny for a bit that could be fun, but could also dilute our mission and jade pilots who joined us because they love cloaky solo/nano hunting.

Lasker Emanuel

I think probably one of the most important parts of leading any organization is creating the right culture, who are we? What do we do?

WINGSPANTT

Yeah, and that has been a constant struggle. I think in WINGSPAN it helps a lot that everything started with my very experiential videos, because they serve as a model for people.  But what we do is also kind of narrow, and from time to time that leads to self identity struggles we have had to navigate.

Lasker Emanuel

Can you give me an example of a challenge of that type, and how you navigated it?

WINGSPANTT

The best example is that in WINGSPAN, we have a rule against anchoring permanent structures. While today that’s tied to wardecs, it was originally intended to make sure the corp never becomes a “log in, scan our home chain, log off” kind of group. I didn’t want people alarm clocking for defense. I wanted people scanning scattered chains all over the place.

But at some point one of our directors anchored a Citadel on an alt, which I didn’t really know about up-front, and couldn’t stop. And soon people were hanging out there, ratting sometimes, etc.

Which doesn’t matter in theory, but then you have 2/3 of the corp start resenting that 1/3 of the corp isn’t pulling their weight scanning, updating tripwire, finding targets, etc.

It caused a lot of drama. And ultimately we had to ask this director to leave, which caused more drama for everyone who didn’t really approve, or maybe at that point was more loyal to what he was trying to do than what the core of WINGSPAN was doing.

And it really is painful to some degree, but I’ve had to learn, and we’ve had to learn, that this kind of stuff has to be nipped in the bud as early as possible, because once people have something, they don’t want to give it up, even if that thing is against the rules or spirit of what everyone has previously agreed to.

Lasker Emanuel

Definitely easier if you don’t have to roll things back later.

WINGSPANTT

I’m sure this seems obvious to some people out there, but it’s been a long and hard lesson for me. Yeah, I JUST WANTED TO MAKE A MEME CORP!

Lasker Emanuel

And yet here you are with 400+ people. 

WINGSPANTT

It’s insane really!

Lasker Emanuel

If someone was interested in your play-style, and wanted to learn more, in addition to your youtube channel, are their resources you would recommend?

WINGSPANTT

I remember when CCP shared the data that in 2016 WINGSPAN had the most kills in j-space, and I thought holy shit, we actually did it. Absolutely insanity.

Sure, well obviously we have our corp website torpedodelivery.com where I literally wrote an ebook on it. But I’d also recommend going back and reading Chessur’s blog.

Lasker Emanuel

He does a great job of capturing the excitement.

WINGSPANTT

Yeah! Plus his philosophy on how and why some wormhole players play the way they do, it’s entertaining and enlightening. Few people know this, but Chessur was actually in WINGSPAN for about 3 weeks. I ran into him in lowsec one day, told him I made a corp based on his blog, and invited him.

HE HATED IT!

Lasker Emanuel

lol, not his thing huh, what did he not care for?

WINGSPANTT

Mostly how bad we were, but also the roleplay.

Lasker Emanuel

Well, we all like different things.

WINGSPANTT

Of course, I like the roleplay AND the being bad.

Lasker Emanuel

Wingspan thank you so much for taking the time today.

WINGSPANTT

Lasker thank YOU for having me on, and good luck hunting out there!