You're well-known as being a member of Body Count, part of the now-defunct but legendary alliance Mercenary Coalition. Were you into 0.0 warfare when you began? Are these large-scale fleet engagements the highest level of gameplay for you, or are you happier roaming with small gangs?
Back when I first started EVE, I initially started by forming my own corporation with some real life friends. We made some friends with other corps in our constellation, and when my real life friends moved on I joined up with one of those, Colossus Technologies. It was an industrial corp by nature, so there was a lot of mining and building happening, but we joined up with Xetic Alliance and I got my first taste of PvP with them.
When I got into Body Count and Mercenary Coalition, EVE became a whole different ball game for me, basically shedding my prior life for the life of a full-on PVP pilot. Right from the start I tried to attend ops as much as I could, and these would be anything from mercenary contracts in empire to 0.0 ones. As EVE and 0.0 combat evolved, so did we, eventually becoming what was arguably one of the most skilled capital fleets at the time.
Myself, I find that larger fleets are interesting, but overall I find the biggest adrenaline rush, sense of accomplishment, and overall FUN for me comes from smaller gang warfare. You're a lot more mobile, which means you'll probably find action faster, and falling on an unwary target like a pack of hungry wolves never gets old. Or, supporting a capital fleet by keeping a system locked down during some sort of operation. You're not the big guns, but you're still very, very important.
"Myself, I find that larger fleets are interesting, but overall I find the biggest adrenaline rush, sense of accomplishment, and overall FUN for me comes from smaller gang warfare."
I've been playing the game since 2003, and I absolutely love flying an Interceptor. It's a small tech 2 frigate, something even a newer player can easily get into, but you're usually the first on the scene to scramble a target's warp drive. Doing that, getting target locked, then watching a horde of your friends swoop in out of warp to back you up is an experience only this game can give you.
The EVE community has grown substantially over the years you've been a part of the game. You mentioned this recently when you wrote about the separation between the developers and the community in EVE Online. Do you think this was inevitable? Could things be different than they are now?
As a game like EVE grows, so does the developer. CCP's now huge compared to where they were when EVE launched, which means that structured, controlled communication is important. So in that way, yes I think things like this are an inevitability.
I watched CCP go from a company where even the top guys would hit the forums to answer questions and generally goof around with the players, to a company where now even developer blogs can be a rare event. It wasn't abrupt, but it was noticeable.
The bright side is, I think that CCP is its own worst critic. They're always looking at what they're doing and seeing whether it can be done better. Efforts like the Council of Stellar Management are very innovative in this industry. Some in the community pan it as a marketing stunt, and it would be stupid to not acknowledge that aspect of it. However, they've given the players the ability to market themselves to the community to be on the council, collect issues from the community, and take them to CCP in Iceland personally for a face-to-face discussion with the developers themselves.
CCP's Fanfests, which I've had the great fortune to attend two of, are not only awesome from the standpoint of getting to see what's coming for EVE and drinking your face off in beautiful Iceland. It's amazing because you'll see tons of people running around in CCP shirts, sitting down and having a drink and a chat with the players themselves. They really do put themselves out there at these events, not hiding back at CCP HQ.
I think most would agree that you're officially "EVE famous" -- do fans of your podcast and comic often get in touch with you in-game? How does it feel to have that degree of recognition among your fellow gamers, and is there a downside to this recognition?
I receive a lot of evemails from folks for the comic and the podcast, and I read and respond to every one I get. I'll usually get shoutouts in Local chat as I pass through systems. Sometimes I'll miss it, but I'll usually send a mail or PM to someone to apologize for not saying hi back.
"I don't think I've ever gotten used to it fully, but it's definitely the best part of doing the comic and podcast for me, in that it affords me the opportunity to connect with people that I'd probably never get a chance to speak to in the game otherwise."
I don't think I've ever gotten used to it fully, but it's definitely the best part of doing the comic and podcast for me, in that it affords me the opportunity to connect with people that I'd probably never get a chance to speak to in the game otherwise.
I've got through gate camps because of it, and I've been chased for a dozen systems because of it. Both are awesome, of course.
This one time after I started doing the comics, I was autopiloting around in Empire and walked away from my PC to do a load of laundry or something. When I came back there was this group of ships bumping me around next to a gate, and Local was full of folks doing shoutouts at me, going "it's the comic guy!". That was very surreal, and truly was one of those moments when the full scope of how the things I've done get out there in the community really dawned on me.
You've been involved with E-ON in addition to writing about EVE on a few of your own websites, plus the WDA comic and podcast. You seem to have a lot on your plate, but do you have any plans to get involved more or try anything new related to EVE as time goes on?
One of the main things is to get back to Nature Vraie, my bit of EVE fiction that's been sitting there for far too long without getting updates. In addition I've got a couple of story ideas I'm working on that should see the light of day pretty soon, so I suppose getting back into writing is one of my short term goals.
Maybe I'll crash a Massively Speaking podcast one of these days, who knows. :)
As with everything in EVE, you have to adapt. The comic's changed over time, the podcast has changed over time, and new and interesting opportunities for getting involved in EVE and its community will no doubt present themselves. I'm definitely looking forward to that.
Thanks for speaking with Massively, Winterblink.
You're totally welcome!