For every low-life scammer trying to steal your hard-earned ISK, there are helpful individuals working to counteract scamming. For every war-mongering pirate preying on new players, there are hundreds of people willing to teach new players to defend themselves and stay safe. Despite all the talk of EVE's anti-social element, you'll also find a rich and diverse community, built around forums, chat channels and dozens of blogs. Programmers even spend their free time to provide the community with free tools to aid play. These are all people I would call heroes of EVE, either because they work to prevent the wrong-doings of outlaws, or because they selflessly enrich the EVE community.
In this opinion piece, I look at a few of the people and groups I consider to be true heroes of EVE. Who are your heroes?
Chribba -- Third party service and more
In last week's article, I talked a bit about Miz Cenuij and the fortunes he made from scamming people on mothership sales. This worked because motherships are unable to dock at a station, and so the trade had to be made manually by ejecting from the ship. By insisting on payment in part or full before ejecting, Miz was able to get money out of potential buyers without handing over the ship. In response, long-time community supporter Chribba stepped in to fill the vital role of third party handler.
In mothership trades, people now routinely request that the ISK be given to Chribba, who holds it until he can confirm that the ship is now in the buyer's hands. The popularity of his service has almost entirely eliminated scams on mothership sales. He's been contracted to act as a third party handler in a huge range of trades, from corporation transfers to titan sales. Emulating his success, many players with a good reputation have begun their own third party schemes. If you're using one of these services, make sure you know who you're dealing with and trust them implicitly. If in doubt, always ask for Chribba.
EVE University -- Preparing pilots for war
More often than not, the victims of piracy could have avoided their fates if they had known more about EVE's PvP mechanics or had a little more practice evading pursuers. No group has done more to help educate new players and provide them with that practice than EVE University. Founded in early 2004, the university has remained EVE's most respected training corp, helping over 10,000 players find their feet in New Eden to date. The University wiki is a free resource that even people outside the corp can access, providing a wealth of knowledge aimed specifically at new players. This includes detailed guides and even audio recordings of EVE University lectures.
The corp is free for new players to join, and provides free ships, modules and skillbooks to all members. Should you inadvertently lose your ship, they provide free replacements of cruiser size and below. Over the years, many corporations have declared war on the university in the hopes of killing waves of helpless newbies. Unfortunately for these aggressors, EVE University is always prepared to fight back. During wars, strict rules are imposed on industrial and PvE activities to prevent the enemy getting any easy kills. PvP gangs are set up throughout the day, which are used to train members in survivability and PvP tactics. Older pilots wishing to learn to PvP might be better served by paying for one of Agony Unleashed's famous PvP courses. Although they cost several million ISK, they're reportedly well worth the money.
Tool Programmers -- Making everyone's lives easier
Back in 2003, there weren't many tools for EVE or websites full of information. It wasn't long before players began releasing spreadsheets to automate industrial calculations and work out profit margins. These soon evolved into full-blown tools, helping players with everything from ore refining and ship construction to damage-dealing and tanking. Today, we are spoiled by the huge array of free applications and web-tools available. Possibly EVE's oldest and most famous app is the EVEMon skill planner, a useful program which is still being maintained to this day. Another essential app is EVE Fitting Tool, which allows players to build theoretical ship setups and share them quickly with friends.
To support players in their tool-programming endeavours, CCP released the EVE API system. A player can provide an application with his API key, which gives the program access to portions of his data directly from the EVE database server. Thanks to this, web-based tools have really taken off in EVE. Killboards can now automatically register the kills and losses of an entire corporation, and programs like EVE Fitting Tool and EVEMon can download your skill list in seconds.
In addition to his third party service, Chribba has provided EVE with some of its most useful web-tools. EVE-Search provides the only useful way to search the official EVE forums, and doubles as an archive of forum posts. Whenever a thread is being moderated heavily, players will often look the thread up on EVE-Search to read some of the deleted posts. Another incredibly useful service that Chribba runs is his universal file host EVE-Files. This acts as a download hub for anything and everything related to EVE Online. Anyone can upload EVE-related images, videos or other documents to the server, and then share the link with other players.
Through starting the third party service market, Chribba has personally eliminated a huge number of scams from the game. EVE University works tirelessly to prepare new players for PvP, and tool programmers make all of our lives a little easier. These are some of the people and groups whom I consider to be true heroes of EVE, but there are many more. In a world where the anti-social elements are allowed to persist, and are often even encouraged, it's more important than ever that people form strong social connections. Does it follow then that bloggers and community leaders like CrazyKinux are a strong force for good? Or do you think Cat 'o' Ninetails is a hero, raising the profile of anti-piracy with his Rancer Defence League? Who are your EVE heroes?
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column post or guide or just want to message him, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org