I may not be part of Crazy Kinux's Blog Pack yet, but this month's installment of the Blog Banter is making me want to tell my own story, which these days is a lot easier on a keyboard as I'm nursing one of the worst colds I've ever had; last time I had it this big I was roommates with Letrange... small world eh?
Like every good Gen-Xer, I got hit in the face by the phenomenon known as Star Wars in 1977. I was 7 years old. Already crazy about planes from having lived near a Canadian Air Force base since age 3, that craziness took on massive proportions the first time I saw capital space ships shooting at each other while fighters were dogfighting all around them. So that got me immediately addicted to Sci-Fi. At around the same time my uncle showed me the new toy he got: a Coleco Telstar console that played a few variants of only one game, Pong. That got me immediately addicted to videogames. Soon after the videogame industry started to crawl out of its crib and it wasn't long before Video Arcades started to grow on every street corner, but I had a slight problem: only a very select few allowed kids my age to go in and play as most of these places carried bar permits. But Casse-Croute De Lyon, a local diner about 5 minutes by foot from my house, was this little place that had 4 or 5 of the big classics like Asteroids, Tempest, and eventually Pac-Man and Donkey Kong as technology got better, and this place did not turn back 10 year-olds. Needless to say I made my parents a bit less rich :)
Fast-forward to 1995 when the Montreal Virtual World Center opened. I was still big on video games but Arcades were slowly dying, games weren't as interesting or as fresh, but VW wasn't you typical Arcade. This was my first taste of multplayer gaming as I was racing 7 other people in the martian canals in Red Planet, or battling 'mechs in Battletech. It was there I met Robert "Mage" Rolland, known in the EVE universe as Letrange. We became fast buddies, he taught me tons of computer gaming knowledge, and once in a while we'd step into each other's universes, which meant sometimes me playing a strategy game or him racing, flying and fragging. When the big MMO thing started, Mage was a bit more attracted to it as he was already into RPGs. I was busy doing the Clan thing in Quake and I was happy with that. Some time passed, the Clan got quiet, I switched from Quake to flight and race sims, and Mage was big into Final Fantasy XI Online. I saw it at his place: cool, but not my thing. Things stay like that for a bit when one day Rob asks me "r3d, do you know of a game called EVE Online?". My answer is "Yeah man, but I know that if I get into that it's gonna be like heroin and crack put together". He then said "Dude, YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE EVE !!!".
I have known of EVE's existence ever since it's been revealed to the world. I've actually held the S&S boxed version in my hands and told my then-girlfriend "THIS, is heroin and crack put together for me" and held off getting it, never even considered it for a long time afterward. When my relationship finally unraveled and knowing I would have more game time all of a sudden, only then did I go to Rob's place and said "OK, show me what this thing's got". I was floored by the complexity of it all. I've flown military aircraft in sims that, even though complex in themselves, are pure examples of simplicity compared to EVE. But the call of space was strong, and now knowing of those regions called 0.0 I knew I had to get in there and prove myself as the hardcore gamer I am. I then proceeded to download and read all the guides I could find, from PvP to mining, from trade to fleet command. Soon after Cozmik R5 was born as a single-minded PvP character, with a few tweaks because he did have to trade and haul on his own at first.
Cozmik was barely 3 weeks old when Letrange brought me in contact with Arancia Detto of the Clown Punchers. When informed that the Bozos are PvP only and asked if I can handle it, my answer was that I am a pure Quake Deathmatcher and I expect nothing else; I only have to get used to this stupidly complex UI! Even my first fleet op with them was a bit of a shock as I was welcomed on their Ventrilo server by one Cerui Tarshiel; he's an Islander so imagine the accent of singer Bjork, make it come from the vocal cords of a burly Viking type guy, and thicken it up a bit... that's how Cerui sounds like. I could barely understand a word he was saying but i had to figure it out if I didn't want to look too much like the noob I was and if I wanted to stay alive. But I listened, I survived, I took a few hits (ratting ship loss anyone?), found ways to make the game more profitable (thanks Madcoy!), and I stuck to my guns.
On January 20th 2009 Cozmik will be 1 year old, and he now has a PvP sister in the form of Demonia Gardens who is even more single-minded as she's making a bee-line towards RR Battleships. There is also two trade alts who make sure ISK is coming in to buy all the fun ships to pew-pew in, one alt who hauls stuff across Empire space, and one suicidal dude whose job it is to poke his nose directly into enemy fleets, lose Reaper and pod, rinse, repeat. I'd love to train those alts to do just a little bit more, but I understand the balance issue of too many trained characters (*cough*SWG*cough*). There have been times where I was just about ready to throw in the towel and go back to FPS and sims, but then a briliant op would make me see the beauty of EVE. And now it's only getting better as my character is becoming more serious SP-wise, and I as a person is starting to learn the trade of Fleet Commanding. And each time I FC I try to remember what it was like a year ago when I was told to do something and wasn't sure how to do it. I always take that into account when I give an order and try to be as clear as possible. And if someone asks me a question I do my best to help as much as Letrange, Cerui, Teister, Quebnaric, Arancia, Madcoy, and many others in and out of Bozo have helped me. Will that make me an FC to the level I expect of myself? It sure can't hurt.
As I am writing this I don't see myself leaving EVE or the Bozos yet. I have passed what I call The Hump (see Letrange's article about that) and now things are getting really interesting. Case in point, yesterday night we were preparing a Frigate gang when one of us comes across a neutral Hyperion and tackled it. We got a fleet going as fast as we could to take it down, and once we engage it we notice something is up as the BS is melting in front of our eyes. In an abrupt surprise the pilot ejects and tells us he prefers to let us have the ship than having it destroyed. FREE BATTLESHIP !!! Stuff like that can only happen in EVE.
Fly hard and never hold back,