#tweetfleet: How it’s like to be a military coordinator in the largest alliance of EVE Online

It’s been a year now since I made my entrance into the higher ranks of the Imperium. One of the largest (if not THE largest) player-run organizations in an online game ever seen. The Imperium is a player coalition in EVE-Online. An MMORPG settled in the endless reaches of space. And as unique the setting among all the other competitors may be, as unique are the organizations of people playing this game.

Flying the widow was one of the goals I set myself in EVE Online. I am still stunned by the beauty of this ship design.

EVE Online

Outsiders may know this game from the various appearances  it made throughout the years in the news of several gaming websites. One of those short articles may not even scratch the surface when they are trying to cover the sheer endless possibilities of this game. Everything here is player-run. The market, the corporations, the alliances and the coalitions. There is no incentive the developer CCP-Games makes to fuel wars. If there is something happening in the game, it basically is one spacenerd deciding to go against another one and thousands of loyal, fellow spacenerds following him.

My first impressions of fleet fights

When I joined EVE Online, I always wanted to be the lone wolf. The one merciless spaceship warrior hunting through the vast riches of space. Always in for the money and valuable loot. I never got successful in this career path. When I joined up with Sorry About Your Face a small wolfpack style corporation hunting in lowsec faction warfare space, I immediately felt like home. Flying alongside your friends is the best thing you can do in this game.  War was declared to Sorry About Your Face by several big players in lowsec, so we decided to live in Syndicate (NPC nullsec) for a while. Here we made some good money ratting but we wanted more. So SAYF ended up joining Stella Nova, a small alliance based in the Great Wildlands – which eventually ended up joining Triumvirate a large scale warfare alliance and part of the Vanguard Coalition, which – back in the days – held huge parts of the eastern part of the map. This was the first time, I was able to stop being a poor pleb in this game. I made my first billion ISK ratting in a Heavy Assault Missile Launcher Tengu, running 10/10 DED Sites with my friend from SAYF – Brutus Elementus. After a year I left SAYF because I wanted more. So I decided to join Goonswarm Federation. An alliance I always hated because other people indoctrinated to do so. But when I finally made the move I never felt happier. I never lost contact to my buddies from Triumvirate which is unique for a game of this genre. Usually if you make friends in a game, those friendships don’t last for very long, but those you make in EVE often end up lasting. Some of them even enter your real life, when you meet up with them once in a while at one of the player-run EVE-Meetups such as Evesterdam.

This is my Cruor. It’s a ship I fly when I go out on ops. It never died since Goonswarm Federation moved from Saranen to Delve.

My first days in the Goonswarm Federation

The first impression I got in Goonswarm Federation was the following: I set up everything. The out of game services such as Jabber and Mumble allow you to communicate with the swarm, even when you’re not logged in currently. This develops to a point at which you are always available to your fellow spacenerds. And on this day the first call didn’t have to be awaited for long. The ping said Cawk fleet – which was of course a penis joke that described a fleet doctrine used for this special operation. So we ended up in this Cawk fleet assembled from Hawk class assault frigates and other small stuff, led by Sothrasil a German FC and were called to help tackling everything on the field. A field of capital class vessels that were trying to kill one of our titans. At the beginning of the operation this wasn’t public, so I was surprised when I saw my first titan in battle, the day I join up with GSF. That – on one day – I may be the person planning these kind of big operations was something I didn’t even dare to imagine.

In my time in Deklein – a part of the northern regions of New Eden I spent most of the time running after my corpmates training for all the doctrines that are being used in the Imperium. The most important ones at that time were Jackdaws, Feroxes and of course capital class ships with the Chimera, a carrier, being one of the most important ones. At that time carriers were still able to use the triage module, so it was a normal type of operation to drop several Chimeras on a tower to repair it’s shields. So I decided to start training into capitals.

War was beginning

When the casino war broke out, basically all of EVE was trying to hunt goons down and evict them from their homes in Deklein. We pulled out of nullsec in the very early stages of this war to save our wallets and our supercapital fleet and eventually ended up in the lowsec system “Saranen” which borders with Pure Blind – also Imperium Territory back in the days. First the region of Fade was lost. It was held by the Spacemonkey Alliance SMA which fell apart during the war. When we decided to make a strike back and M-0EE8 the capital of our former allies CO2, we were backstabbed by them. They joined the enemy forces and went against us. We decided to slowly take Pure Blind back from our enemies which – in the end we all got to know – was a test for a new strategy which we would apply soon after on a more serious scale. I took part in this strategy trying my hand on coordinating objective based activities on these operations which was very successful.

Up until arournd the half of 2017 we always held a grudge against CO2 and it’s leader gigX which finally paid off, when The Judge – the co-CEO of CEO turned against gigX and sold their Keepstar class staging citadel to the Imperium – effectively locking all CO2 heavy assets in one spot for days. When gigX was stupid enough to make real life threats against The Judge life on stream, he was banned eventually killing the whole alliance. They disbanded shortly after with gigX confirming that tickets to CCP to unban his accounts were rejected. 

How I became a coordinator

Anyways. Long story short – when we admitted that the war was pointless to be fought – we relocated to Delve and evicted the local entities there in a matter of days. Since I – as I said earlier – was very successful applying the strategy while we took over Delve, Apple Pear an FC in Goons and the former Director of the Coordinators Special Interest Group poached me. I ended up being one of their ranks. Since 8th of August 2016 I am now part of the team that controls fleet operations – sometimes several simultaniously – on their way to victory.

What is a coord?

As a coord you need a good overview on the political situation that is currently developing all over New Eden. That involves always being up-to-date with all the gossip, as well as being in contact with all the important deciders in the Imperium. Coordinating basically means, that you notice possible objectives and think about if it’s needed to cover an upcoming objective with a possible fleet operation. And if so, which doctrines the fleet commander should most likely use. The coordinator then gets in touch with all the other entities that might have an interest in the operation and tells them to be ready and prepare for the event. This doesn’t sound like much is happening for the coord, but trust me – it can be a pain in the arse.

A typical op

Let me give you a short example of a typical operation – one like it is planned every single day: First you get out of your bed and make sure you infuse yourself with the right amount of coffee. This is the stuff that makes you function for the things you are up to today. Next step is to turn on your computer and – if you don’t already have it open on your phone – open the Jabber client and check in with the coords from the other timezones. What has been accomplished? What is currently running? All those details are precious for you.

Timerboard.net – Upcoming sov timers all in one place.

Next you are going to check the ticketing system if there are objectives that need operations planned for. If so good – go ahead. If not, then you need to check several more things to make sure you’re not missing out on something. Let’s say the objective is about an offensive sovereignty timer – a TCU and IHUB somewhere in hostile territory. The job of the coord is now to decide which doctrine or doctrines you are going to use, who is going to FC those fleets, when do you have to start assembling, when do you have to leave… All of these things. Then you contact the logistics boys and ask them if they can be available as soon as the old infrastructure is destroyed. It is needed to place your own piece of hardware in this newly aquired territory, otherwise the enemy will just drop one themselves. This is covered by another organization in GSF and has to be coordinated. During the op, the coord usually tells the individual line member that has an Entosis Link equipped, which nodes to hack. That way nodes are not hacked redundantly and the op goes by more swiftly. This alone has burnt out people in the past because it is such high effort. As a coordinator you sometimes coordinate 2-3 or even more of these timers simultaniously while keeping track of them all using out of game tools. While doing that, you command FCs around in the area to save or help out your other fleets or even allies – WHICH might on top of it all not even on the same voice comms or don’t even talk in your language. You also have to make sure that your fleets are not shooting at possible temporary allies which are still shown neutral or even hostile on the overview of your line members. And in addition to that all, you of course still have to have an open ear for the higher ups who might in any stage intervene with your operation and demand the chasing of a different objective anytime.

Why am I doing this? Am I insane?

This is by no means a crybaby post. Doing coordinator work in a spaceship game in my freetime is definately one of the best things I ever did in my life. To experience this made me overthink things in my every day real life as well. As a coord you have to be always on the edge, ready to decide, defend and argument your decisions and of course – make the right decisions at the right time. But in the end, all that matters is, that you make a decision in the first place. In the past I often passed decisions on to someone else, but taking control of something is not always bad. It is effort, yes, but in the end you are in control of the outcome. And seeing that the outcome ends up being positive is a good thing. Also you train to be good with people. Since you are interacting with all kinds of people over the time. Some of them come and go, others you may work together with for extended periods of your life. You get to know them, find out how they work and achieve positive outcomes together with them.

Conclusion

Since I joined Goons I never looked back. I had so many great experiences with those guys. To be honest: If I think about it, I guess I would have quit EVE by now, if I wouldn’t have joined the Goonswarm Federation. Between the extremely rare logons to EVE I am doing these days, I play other games with the same community or just shitchat with them, talking about other things in life. I am happy that I’ve found this crazy community of so many different people and I love to hang out with them. That I am now a part of the strategic wing of this community is an addition that is an honor to have aquired. I am looking forward to the future!

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