Ten years tomorrow I reset my home station, undocked in my pod, and self-destructed in order to death-clone my self to Deklein, which I used to pronounce as “Deck-lan” back in the day, but which I am reliably informed should be pronounced like “Decline.” I’m much more accepting of that second pronunciation now that I no longer live there.
It was after the Cruicible expansion hit the game when CCP, despite insisting that everything the did in Incarna was great and wonderful and that all player complaints lacked merit, went back to the drawing board and began to fix the game mechanics their subscribers actually used rather than trying to cater to players who were not actually customers yet. There were a lot of solid items in those patch notes, with more to come… this being the days when an expansion might see more than a few revisions and updates. And it was very pretty.
After having cancelled my subscription due to Incarna, I came back to see what Crucible had to offer and, while there was a lot good there, I was still kind of bored with high sec life and missions and industry and all the stuff I had been doing for the nearly five years I had been playing up until that point.
And then my friend Meclin said said I should come out to null sec. He had asked before, and I had been tempted, but the idea of moving myself and a whole ton of stuff was a bit too much to ask in the past. Now, though, feeling no investment in my stuff in high sec, I said yes and self-destructed myself into the station at CU9-T0, which is where his corp had their HQ.
I was now in the BSC Legion corporation, which was part of the Tactical Narcotics Team alliance, and there was a war going on. My very first alliance mail, which I still have because apparently I never delete anything, announced that war was upon us.
I was a bit worried about showing up just as a war was commencing, since I had no idea what was going on, but it was probably the best time to join. War unites a community and gives in a sense of purpose. I just had to get on board the train.
I had 70 million skill points, which allocated correctly would have made me a formidably capsuleer. But I had spread mine out all over the place and there were huge holes in my combat skills, especially around gunnery. I couldn’t even fly the Tech I version of the Maelstrom fit for Alpha fleet. I still had basic skills to train.
But as I got myself setup with comms and APIs and what not, I found that there was a Drake fit I could fly. It was in something of an anti-support role for the Maelstroms, but that was fine with me. The one ship I had skilled up more than any other was the Drake.
Within a few days I had seen capital ships and super captials, taken a titan bridge, been to a POS bash where we destroyed a CSAA and somehow survived.
I even got on my first kill mail. All of that was completely new to me.
I also lost that Drake a couple days later, the first of many combat losses.
The whole first few weeks was an introduction to null sec and bloc warfare, including propaganda… and propaganda backfiring, including the source of the long famous “VFK by February” meme that resurfaces every war, along with “not winning fast enough.” (Also, if you get to the end of that post I mentioned PLEX selling for 500 million ISK. Those were old PLEX, before the 1 to 500 split. That is pretty cheap by today’s standards.)
And I found that war gave me a sense of purpose, a reason to log into the game that had been lacking in me for quite some time. The big fights, the attacks, the wins, the losses, and the ongoing story of null sec is what has kept me playing since that day a decade back.
Since that day I have gained a lot of skill points (I’m past the 230 million mark now and have been training up other characters on my account of late), learned how to fly various ships, been in wars both won and lost, slugged it out on the field in soul crushing tidi, seen the servers crash more than once. But the story carries on, and I count myself lucky to have “been there” for events that have become part of the history of the game. The map of null sec has swirled with the various colors of sovereignty in my time, but it all weaves together into an ongoing narrative that is colorful enough to write books about.
For me, peace is dull. Roaming to shoot people for the sake of shooting people doesn’t inspire me. I don’t like to rat and CCP has worked to make mining a chore. New Eden is full of things to do and explore, but it is only when we’re under attack or invading somebody’s space that I feel alive in the game.
So I potter about, reading the patch notes and the dev blogs and wondering when the next big fight will come. That is what keeps me subscribed.