In two hours I was part of the ‘end-game’ in EVE Online. In two hours and about fifteen minutes, I was pretty mad at myself for waiting this long to return to EVE. I also have a dozen blog posts swimming around in my head right now, more ‘stuff’ to talk about than I have had in years.
Applying to Karma Fleet was easy thanks to the detailed instructions they provide. It was extensive in terms of having to provide all APIs and other info, plus once you get accepted there are a bunch of things you also need to setup (Mumble, Jabber, Forums, etc), although the alliance has clearly put in a lot of work to make this as easy as possible.
But once that was done, getting out to the staging system was a rather simple trip into lowsec, though I did get my T1 frigate popped in high-sec, much to my amusement, and made the rest of the trip out in the free rookie ship. The EVE UI has had a good number of changes since I really played four years ago, plus in that four years you tend to forget a lot of things, so the trip out was a good general refresher.
Docked up in our staging system, Saranen, it wasn’t long before a ping went out for a fleet forming that needed Clownshoes (tech 1 haulers designed to be tanky and to use an entosis link). I bought one fully fitted off contracts, got into the fleet, and took my first titan bridge out to our area of operation.
Once there the entosis help channel the alliance has walked me through what to do, and soon I was cycling my entosis link, playing my part in claiming territory for the Goons. I even got attacked by the locals, though the tank held and the fleet defenders came to chase away the bad guys. Yes, I was basically an ‘F1 drone’ in a pretty simple fleet op (that itself was part of a larger multi-pronged initiative), but again, about two hours into being a member of Karma Fleet, here I was, deep in null, directly helping the war effort on the front lines with 30-odd others in an ‘end-game’ fleet.
There is a lot to say about the factors to make all of this happen, both in the work Goons have done, and in the design and tools CCP has provided. Because make no mistake about it, without the unique sandbox that is EVE, the massive entity that is Goons wouldn’t exist as they do. Who needs Jabber pings about responsive fleets if Onyxia never leaves her cave? Why do API checks if spying plays no real role in your meta-game? When you can learn the end-game content by watching a ‘how to dance correctly’ youtube video, and there are clear and obvious BiS loadouts, why would you need to create dozens of internal wiki pages and assistance groups?
At the same time, while all of that wonderful complexity does exist, as I wrote above, it’s not a must-do for the average player. You can jump right in, pick a spot to fill, and be part of the big picture. And when you are ready to branch out and do more, there are plenty of options in a dozen different directions.