Pilgrimage to the EVE Gate

There are games rich in lore. The richest is without a doubt LotRO, because it can tap into back story filling tens of thousands of pages. Games that have been running for some time also tend to collect quite a bit of lore over the years. I was told Everquest has an impressive amount, but I’m not knowledgeable enough about that game.

In contrast, EVE Online’s back story is paper-thin. At some point, people developed interstellar space travel, by through a wormhole that opened close enough to earth. It was called the EVE Gate, and it led into the New Eden system. (As far as I can tell, the EVE Gate wasn’t a stargate in the game terminology, but rather a wormhole). At some point, the wormhole collapsed, took most of the New Eden System with it, and left the humans on that side stranded. From that point, the factions started to develop.

The remains of the EVE Gate.

Or something like that. It all seems a bit hazy to me.

Anyway, I had spent a week in the Uni’s Low-Sec Camp (LSC), practicing PvP in small ships. I managed to offset my embarrassing loss of an Industrial hauler with many kills of small and large vessels. What I missed though was large fleet travel. The LSC is mostly about small skirmishes, rarely more than 10 people. So the event last weekend came as a welcome change. The Uni organized a trip to the New Eden system in Low-Sec. The tradition is, once you’re there, to burn away from the entry stargate towards the collapsed wormhole as far as possible. You can never reach it because the object doesn’t actually exist, it’s merely a background texture. Once you think you’ve gone far enough, you anchor a can with a personal message at that point. (The anchoring means it’ll stay there for a couple of weeks instead of hours before it goes poof.)

[More text and pictures after the cut.]

The interest in that event was huge. At some point, we had well above 150 members in the fleet. And that is a sizable number, even if it is all frigates and cruisers. Fleet doctrine was “nothing larger than a cruiser”, so losses while going through lawless Low-Sec wouldn’t hurt much, and everybody could move fast on the 30+ jump trip.

The sheer amount of people meant that Leadership skills were in high demand. With that, I mean the skill that you can train in-game, not the soft skill. Even though mine was only at 3, I was asked to command my own squadron. Not that this meant a huge amount of work, but I felt important, and that’s what counts, right? Later than planned (like always), the fleet left Aldrat for New Eden.

A part of the Uni fleet on its way. (I'm roughly no 37 from the bottom left!)

The trip to the gate was mostly uneventful. We met a couple of Reds, but they fled as they realized the size of our fleet. So it was mostly a warping and jumping, warping and jumping kind of trip.

Fleet, jump jump jump.

Of course, the EVE Gate isn’t the only sight we could see on the way. By taking one jump off the route into the aptly named “Dead End” System, we found a prop that had gone missing after the shooting of a famous movie.

And now, all ships, dance the waltz!

My (almost) private picture with me in my beloved Blackbird and the Monolith.

Finally, we reached the EVE Gate. And like always, I seem to forget making pictures when interesting stuff happens. I only seem to remember my Print-Screen button when I’m bored and have nothing else to do. So you will not get any picture of my dropping my can. I decided to tag it with a Swahli text, just because I’m currently infatuated with the language. And because I always have to different from all others, and we had more than enough “X was here”s in the fleet.

On the way back, the fleet split. Those that wanted to head back were escorted to the border of safe high-sec space. The rest of us took the Low-Sec route back. And this time we got a few kills. (I wonder whether that’s really behavior befit for a pilgrim. I guess PvP is always befitting in EVE.)

One of the kills was quite memorable. At some point, our scouts told us that Hans Jagerblitzen was over in the next system. For those who don’t know, Hans is currently a member of the CSM, and as such qualifies as an EVE VIP. Part of the fleet jumped in and went around baiting a bit. They happened upon a friend of Hans, and promptly engaged. The friend called Hans for help against “a couple of frigates that are tackling me”, the rest of our fleet jumped into the system, and this was the outcome. Hans took it with good humor and we cheerfully continued our way.

I have to say, I like the large fleet roaming. It feels vaguely raidish to me, and I like the fact that the groups can be so large. It also takes a lot of the things out of PvP that make it less appealing to me. The fight is less of a one-vs-one that ends in smack talk and “you suck”. Since you’re part of a big group, you don’t easily get singled out. The risk of getting hazed and shamed is much lower. My lesson from the roam was: large fleets are fun.

I’m currently training Leadership up to V.

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