So, I am apparently “Wanted”.
When I first log in to EVE I have to fight my way through multiple chat invites and a torrent of EVEmails. It has been about two hours since my Reddit thread was posted on CCP’s Facebook page. The traffic is becoming insane. I also notice a message from CONCORD that someone has placed a bounty on my head. That one really catches my attention, so I open it.
100 Million ISK.
I forcefully eject a nontrivial quantity of Mountain Dew from my nose, and laugh at the absurdity of it. I now have a bounty on my head worth probably 50 times what I have earned in my time on EVE to date. I click on my portrait in Local and laugh again at the gigantic WANTED notice across my character’s face. I have no idea how the Bounty system works. If I fly outside of my station will I get immediately jumped by people wanting to make a quick buck?
My wallet is blinking. Some people had messaged me to say they were sending me some ISK as a donation. I click.
There are so many numbers that at first, I can’t tell if I’m looking at millions or billions. I count.
1.8 Billion ISK
I swallow and read it again in utter disbelief. 1.9 Billion ISK. Someone else has donated me 100 million in the time it took for me to read the figure. Little do I know at this time, the figure would increase by another Billion before the night was over. My wallet journal is full of donation notices and kind notes from people. I feel immense gratitude but also immense guilt since I know how hard people work for their ISK in this game.
Someone asks me what I’m going to spend my ISK on. A couple of days prior I had been in Dodixie to pick up some module I bought and I visited the Noble Exchange, and its insane prices for vanity fashion items (which is why i know about AUR now). I joke and say that I’m going to buy PLEX with all my ISK, convert them to AUR and buy some glasses and a sweet Gallente military jacket for my character so she looks good on her Wanted poster. I can’t tell if they think my joke is funny, or if they secretly would like to punch me instead.
Right now, I buy nothing. Its not like I can just purchase a Battlecruiser, I have neither the skills to fly or fit one. So, I undock in Rising Star II and take a brief four jump tour around Gallente space.
Nobody shoots at me, which I can only assume is a good thing with regards to my bounty.
I dock at home again, to more messages. Many conflicting messages, many friendly messages. Many invitations.
Are you interested in joining our corporation? Let me tell you about us. Do you need help? Ask me anything and I’ll be happy to help you! So how much ISK have you gotten? The curiousity is killing me! I politely decline invitations and thank people for their generosity. One conversation I’m having takes a slightly different tack after some chat and helpful answers to my questions.
“We’re putting together a mining fleet right now. Do you want to come?”
I’ve never been in a fleet before. I’ve never done *anything* with another playet in EVE before, until now it was me against a cold, unforgiving void filled with scammers and gankers. I’m hesitant. I think of some excuses as to why I don’t want to do this right now. They aren’t good excuses and honestly, I don’t know why I’m making them.
“Do you have Teamspeak?” he asks. I do, after about 3 minutes of downloading it and installing it. I can’t use my microphone yet as I’ll disturb others in the room, but now I can hear my conversation partner at least. Others join the chat. The fleet is forming.
I agree to go. My first fleet. Where are they? I am given a system name. I put it into the search box on the starmap and take a sharp breath.
I’ve never gone more than 5 from the University of Caille station I call home. I follow the line; it takes me away from my home in Gallente space, up through Caldari space and then loops sharply back with a huge jump to Amarr space, wherein lies my destination. Its so far!
“Lei, where are you right now? Are you coming?” they ask. I have already undocked and begun to warp. I am on my way.
Happily, my journey is mostly uneventful. Fleet chatter is plentiful and I take time to admire the sights. Having only been in Gallente space I have no idea that almost everything looks different elsewhere, even down to the nebulae and the stargate designs. The steel blues of Caldari space and rich golds of Amarr space are fascinating, and I am thoroughly enjoying my trip until about 3/4th of the way there. I am still in a perfectly good high security system when someone attempts to scramble my warp drive en route to a stargate. I am glad that I was flying a Venture and hadn’t removed my additional point of Warp Stabilization since my last trip to lowsec, because the Scramble fails and CONCORD descends on the perpetrator like the wrath of an angry God. But it shakes me a little, and makes me remember my bounty. It happens once more before I arrive at my destination, but I arrive unscathed. By this point, I am using my mic. Its good to be able to talk.
I’m one Stargate away from the fleet and I see something that startles me. A purple contact on my overview. Green = good, Red = bad. This I understand. Purple is foreign, new and alarming to me. I ask urgently over TS what a purple contact means.
I feel pretty stupid and laugh nervously at the reply. A purple contact is a member of my fleet. I jump to our mining system and warp to the fleet’s location. They are already on station, working.
I drop out of warp, and I am awestruck.
A wide ribbon of asteroids twists into the void, and the fleet fills my view. Hulking shapes silhouetted against the burnished gold vista, they slice at the asteroids with lances of brilliant sapphire light. Combat drones patrol in wide arcs around us, while the enormous, flattened bulk of an Orca passes beneath my ship. My Fleet Commander is talking, explaining what I need to do and how my Mining Lasers will be augmented by the Orca somehow, but I am not listening. I command Rising Star to orbit the Orca, and just marvel at the spectacle.
I apologize and express my admiration. “This is nothing”, they say. “This is a small fleet.” I pass the Mining Barges, take up a station in my ridiculous Venture, and begin to mine. I create a jetcan and fill it. Tractor beams stretch out from who knows where to retrieve my ore. Time passes. Conversation is casual, we talk about the game, and about personal things. The Fleet Commander mentions that everyone is entitled to an equal share if they contribute to mining tonight. I mention my recent windfall, my pitiful mining yield, and how the advice they are constantly giving me is payment enough.
The Fleet Commander is adamant. Everyone gets an equal share, this is how it must be done. I say nothing more.
Abruptly, the mining stops. Why? I realize just before someone speaks on the channel. The belt is…gone. We mined it all. I am impressed. Usually I’m lucky with my Venture to mine a single rock before my ore hold is full.
The Fleet Commander orders the fleet to align to a new target, and I comply after stumbling through exactly where I am supposed to be aligning towards. In unison, the fleet converges and enters warp. I move the camera and absorb the sense of scale. My Venture is now truly just a Rising Star; a twinkling point of light, hanging amidst its immense companions as we slide through warp to a new asteroid belt. I am a mere child amongst wise, powerful elders.
The night continues as something of a blur. I get a message from a kind soul who has informed me that he has donated me some asymmetrical ships. I laugh, because of the sheer number of people who have messaged me regarding their feelings for or against symmetry in ship designs. So now with the help of my new fleet friends, I learn about contracts and how to take ownership of this gift. I receive dire warnings about reading contracts carefully, and all the scams out there. I look in my Contracts window. I have TEN contracts outstanding that I need to accept. All gifts.
Over 80 ships. Mostly frigates, but also Barges, Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships. A fully fitted Gallente Myrmidon Battlecruiser. My fleetmates seem as stunned as I am. Again I am humbled, grateful, and feel extremely guilty.
I notice someone has gifted me 20 male exotic dancers. I once again laugh and project soda from my nose. I need to work on that.
At this point it is pointed out that I can’t accept any of these contracts with a trial account. This is true, as I fail to be able to accept my Male Exotic Dancers and this vexes me greatly. I reluctantly ask permission to depart the mining operation, and return to civilized space with ISK in hand, ready to buy a PLEX and make my marriage to EVE official.
I call things a night shortly after this point, but if I post again I will talk a little about where I got my PLEX, namely my first ever journey to Jita IV. This will include my joining a Corporation, and some not-so-nice people with whom I interact…