The Hydra

The Hydra, a mythical serpentine monster which possessed many cruel heads atop long, writhing necks, each of its breathes exhaling deadly poison. Its body is covered in hard scales, and should a hero with monstrous strength penetrate such a hide, he or she will be bathed in virulent blood that boils the skin and corrodes armour.

The true strength of the Hydra, however, lies in its seemingly magical ability to replace a severed head with two others, a gift that rivals immortality.

Many people I’ve talked to since getting back into Minmatar FW have been saying things like “this is the most disorganised we’ve ever been, we need to do something about it.”

In fleets, the main problem is finding more people, ending in “if we had x more, we could do y.”

If. If. IF.

You see, I’ve come to learn that EVE can teach you about some of the fundamentals of life because it simulates real life sometimes, but without the added complexities society has layered on to protect us from each other. In New Eden, you’re safe from no-one. There is no ‘law’, no Yulai version of the Magna Carta stating that no capsuleer is above the law.

The elimination of the judiciary (hell, and any form of overruling bureaucracy whatsoever), combined with the intense social element of EVE, is what makes it so sticky; you just can’t get enough of the experience, and why it’s so hard to win EVE.

Anyway, what it has shown me is that talking only does so much. Thinking about doing things only gets you so far. It’s a lesson I should take to heart, because in real life I enjoy musing about what it would be like if I was organised enough to complete all my homework and be up-to-date with everything, but I never actually try set my schedule up to allow myself to do so.

I turn to EVE, and I see the same hesitancy to do anything to organise the militia in FW. So I attempt to break it down. Why?

It’s the same as me not doing my homework. What benefits do I get out of it? By nature, human foresight is short-sighted. The rare few who are gifted with the ability to understand how their actions today impact their lives in a year’s time are either brilliant… or insane. The rest of us are able to party today and neglect homework, or selfishly o-plex, never donating LP to hubs and never d-plex, not clearly seeing the consequences of our actions in the murky future.

In the end, the answer to such a conundrum is always the same. You never know until you try.

The doers get places in this world. I’ve been doing it wrong the whole time. I live in my head, my fantastical worlds, and scoff at mundane reality. The real skill lies in bringing the worlds in your head to life.

Baby steps. All journeys start with a single step, right? It all sounds so simple, but taking that first step, for me at least, is like wading through a few meters long wall of thick honey.

Not just that, the steps have to be enjoyable. I’m not a picky eater but by god am I a picky ‘doer’. If I try something new and it doesn’t give me immediate results or captures my attention, I lose interest quickly. Fickle, I suppose, describes it. At the extremes it could even be seen as disloyalty, unwillingness to work hard.

I fear for myself in the future if I truly have such a trait.

Anyway, back to EVE. There is a disorganised militia, there isn’t anything being done about it. Ushra’Khan, an old-school RP-ish Minmatar FW alliance has quietened down since most of its FCs have left to graze elsewhere. How do we rectify this skill gap?

Interestingly enough, it feels like I’m in a similar situation to when The Black Sails alliance was just starting out, and I had a whole bunch of eager pirates willing to PvP, but not knowing where to begin. The process I underwent to train them was not to teach them to obey the FC. I don’t like that at all. I think it was Lao Tzu who said that leadership is best when the people do not even know the leader exists.

I spent months making the alliance members the leaders of their own PvP. And that’s why when the alliance more or less died early this year, instead of following their leaders, my members forged their own paths. They asked me to come with them, of course, but that independence was all I wanted to awaken, and it’s probably something that will give them the most satisfaction out of EVE, because now they have the fundamentals to forge their own stories.

Now, I must do the same on a bigger scale, for the militia. The process involves making PvP comfortable for the members. FW players are generally more experienced with PvP, but in a more… well, I hate using this term, but I guess it’s applicable: risk-averse way. They know more about PvP, and hence they’re better at telling themselves why they SHOULDN’T fight.

Losses will occur. But we are immortal in New Eden, and losing ships shouldn’t crush a strong spirit. If I can somehow make PvP natural to the degree I think I managed to do with some of the old alliance members, it wouldn’t matter if there was no leadership, we’d become a formidable, fluid force without any clear heads. A hydra.

I see groups like this all the time in EVE, and it’s marvelous to see them in operation. A common trait I’ve found in these groups, though, is if they aren’t all dedicated to the game and already friends from the beginning, then they’ve come together independently after each member finds their way up the learning cliff themselves. Essentially, they’re already ‘elite’ when they form these groups.

An FW militia is not composed of elite PvPers. It comprises of the whole range, from day-old newbies to bittervets who haven’t read the last few months’ patch notes.

The approach I intend to take is to form solidarity and camaraderie in addition to the comfort in fighting even in the face of fearsome force. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll manage it yet, and even if I did, I don’t want to write it down unless my methods are proven completely wrong.

What I will let out, though, is that I want to try do this without putting in gargantuan effort. I don’t want EVE to become un-fun again.

Concluding on a slightly different note, I think the hydra is a wonderful beast to describe the Matari people. The numerous tribes may appear to outsiders as fractious, and that may even be the truth, but give them a common goal and the heads are suddenly linked, and such a formidable monster could be born.

Artwork by sandara on DeviantArt.
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I'm just a poor boy, but I'd like some commentary~

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