The player populace in EVE is largely served up on two heaping entrees: the player Pirates and the affectionately dubbed “Care Bears.” The names make it simple enough to distinguish between the carnivores and the herbivores. The herbivores enjoy a steady diet of leafy high-sec mining operations and vegetable-laden agent missions. The carnivores likewise sharpen their canines on NPC pirates, but -- for a slice of juicier meat -- they grab their steak knives and chow down on a steamy plate of Care Bear.
A measurable portion of the player base hugs the safe lanes. They keep CONCORD (essentially the EVE police) on speed dial. They steer clear of the zero-security, pirate-infested hinterlands. They invest their time and their wallets into increasingly expensive ship modules and they want to keep them, thank you very much. Raise your hand if you think this is an unreasonable philosophy.
But who protects the casual, law-abiding EVE pilot? Who hunts down the predators? Who turns the tables on the organized crime syndicates?
Enter the Card Sharks [again, not their real name], one more corporation of Caldari State loyalists who operate with the same deadly efficiencies and tactics that player pirates themselves employ.
To concentrate their anti-piracy objectives (and to step up their game) the Card Sharks recently consolidated the entire body of its corporation into a low-sec frontier. A bold move considering that, on average, pirates have more experienced players flying ships with more advanced hardware in these types of borderlands.
But there’s no better way to learn how to fight then to get into a fight.
We muster our online forces and tonight it’s an impressive fleet of eighteen ships, and they’re a good spread amongst the hull types. But many of us rank as “young” pilots who’ve less than three month’s experience in EVE … and no experience in PvP. Fortunately, the senior officers, of which there are four online tonight, chalk up nearly five years’ worth of experience between them.
We go hunting in the next system over, 0.4 security space, which is free of CONCORD’s watchful eye. And it’s a good night. We lose a couple frigates, a couple destroyers, nothing big. TeamSpeak is “radio silent” except for the officers calling out orders. We take down stray pirates. We take down small pirate gangs. We sink enemy cruisers, battle cruisers, and battleships with a force of predominantly smaller-sized craft. We dock after several hours, having chased out any and all characters with a negative security rating (the “bad guys”) and pass out compliments to one another like fortune cookies after some Chinese take-out. This was a set of stunning victories and an important first step in our aspiration to become a full-fledged anti-pirate firm.
The next day, war is declared on the Card Sharks.
The Inversion alliance, 100 members strong, is a collective of four pirate corporations working in tandem. The Card Sharks stepped onto their porch and additionally stepped on their toes in last night’s hunting party. Inversion threw down the gauntlet. Per EVE regulations, there is a 24-hour cold war period after war is declared. We’re safe to move around in our new system headquarters nestled in (relatively) safe 0.5 space. We spot members of the Inversion alliance and compile lists of names, ships, and times spotted. We add them to our address books in order to track them logging on and off. We also block communications with them so that any privately messaged smacktalk is ignored wholesale. We drain the local markets of ships, modules, and ammunition, each pilot pre-fitting ten and twenty ships to idle, newly unpackaged, in their hangar.
Because if there’s one thing we can expect in the coming days, it’s losses.
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