Welcome to the first in a series entitled “New Eden Explorers”. In this series I hope to introduce explorers from around EVE Online: What drives them, how’d they get started, and where are they now. Each one brings a different perspective to exploration that I think you will enjoy. These are the folks that go beyond the Exploration sites of the game. Rather, they dive into the lore, seek out the beauty of New Eden, find the hidden treasures, or create their own content.
First in the series is Black Claw. A New Eden explorer who started out on a similar journey as my own which is to visit each star system in the cluster. Taking the difficult route first, he’s been exploring off and on for as long as I have and so far has completed 768 systems in 11 regions, all in Nullsec. You can visit his blog at “Touring New Eden: An EVE Online Adventure” for more details.
What attracted you to EVE Online and how long have you played?
I’ve been playing for 8 years now, having joined in April 2006. It feels like a very long time. I became a pilot because I wanted to be part of something that was unpredictable and spontaneous and huge. I’d read about the activities of the Guiding Hand Social Club infiltrating a corp and gaining their trust for over a year, before assassinating its CEO and taking all the assets and money. While that was not something I wanted to do (and I’ve never done anything like it in all my years of playing), the idea that I could DO that was something that greatly appealed to me. I decided to start playing Eve because it aligned with one of my strongest values in life – freedom of choice.
How would you describe your characters career path?
I first joined a Black Ops corp. But they weren’t very good so then I joined an anti-pirate corp and, as a result of various conversations I had with their CEO about how they could be better anti-pirates, I quickly became his Strategic Operations Advisor. This gave me an element of confidence that made me decide to start my own anti-pirate corp, Black Scorpion Ltd. It was mostly an industrial corp that supported anti-pirate activities. That was a great period, but was also when I started to get itchy feet about wanting to travel and see the galaxy.
I set off on my journey only to be called back by a big war the corp had gotten involved with. This was a huge thing at the time, and it ended up being that one of my trusted directors had paid a merc corp to attack us because he didn’t like how I was leading the corp, so in his mind it was better to pay mercs to destroy the corp than to talk to me about his concerns. I don’t understand some people and what makes them think the way they do…. Anyway, we won that war, the mercs withdrew, and I kicked out the director.
But that war made me see the value of a focused combat corp, so I disbanded Black Scorpion Ltd and created a corp focused on combat. I named it Scorpion’s Sting, as a combat-focused legacy of Black Scorpion Ltd. However, I didn’t focus on getting members for it, and instead ended up deviating from my original intent and using it as a corp for my solo activities. Those activities initially were about travelling some more, but I lost my way out there in the darkness. I ended up becoming a pirate.
Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun for a while. Between you and me, I don’t really like PVP, and never have, so I sought out how to avoid PVP as a pirate, while ensuring that the only times I engaged someone was when I considered the odds overwhelmingly in my favor. It didn’t always work out that way, but I became a specialist in stealth operations. I could travel the stars and evade others like you wouldn’t believe.
And then one day I got the bright idea of teaching others how to do the same. I formed OUCH, the Open University of Celestial Hardship. It was a play on ‘the school of hard knocks’, and I created it to teach people how to PVP while also being able to travel safely throughout Nullsec. It was great fun and very successful, and I even became a -10 pirate while leading the corp, but after a couple of years I decided I needed to move on. Those itchy feet again.
This time around, I vowed to continue my travels around the galaxy. I handed the reins of OUCH to people I trusted, and rejoined Scorpion’s Sting to continue my travels. After a period of time, however, I decided to formalize my travels into a travel-focused corp. I formed Touring New Eden, and started promoting it to others who also wanted to travel, explore, or just do their own thing. I banned PVP and created training material for members to read (if they wanted to), that would help them travel Nullsec without dying, by teaching them what to look out for and avoid, and how to get out of tricky situations.
That also went well, and within a few months I got a lot of interest and over 150 members. But I got distracted by real life (getting married, moving cities, looking for new work, starting my own business…), and let interest fade. I’m back into it now, and I’ve kicked out over 100 inactive members (I have a policy of removing anyone who hasn’t logged in for over 3 months), and I’m starting afresh to get more people involved.
That’s my career so far. Where my path takes me in the future is anyone’s guess.
What attracted you to explore New Eden? What is your goal and have you achieved it?
It’s huge. It needs to be explored. I originally wanted to visit every single system in the galaxy, and document my travels and adventures, and maybe get myself noticed by the Jovians, who would then invite me into Jovian space so I could explore and document that too. Hey, a guy can dream, right?
I’m still interested in achieving that goal, but it’s not something I’m obsessively driven by. I’m happy to take breaks, try different things, keep the concept of ‘variety and excitement’ alive as I explore a life in New Eden.
What ship do you enjoy flying the most while exploring? Why is it your favorite? Would you mind sharing your fit?
My favorite ship was once a Tech 3 Strategic Cruiser, because it allowed me to fly cloaked while ignoring the effects of warp bubbles as I travelled through Nullsec. But then they invented the technology to allow Interceptors to ignore warp bubbles too, so that’s my favorite ship now. It’s much cheaper too! I can potentially lose 20 Interceptors for the same price as a single Tech 3 Cruiser, so the cost/benefit ratio is much better for travel. It’s much faster, and almost impossible to catch. Fitting its low slots with Warp Core Stabilizers to help prevent being caught, while having an align and to-warp time of less than 2 seconds is a Godsend.
During your travels, what has been the most interesting fact, amazing sight, or other aspect of New Eden that surprised you?
The single most interesting fact I’ve discovered is how freakin’ empty Nullsec is. You hear about massive alliances in operation throughout Nullsec, but when you’re out there travelling, most of Nullsec is empty, and you’re alone. Those alliances congregate in a select few systems, rather than spread out across entire regions, and you’re mostly alone when you’re travelling, save for the occasional patrol or war fleet you stumble upon.
I like being alone out there in the quiet. It’s relaxing. Much better than Highsec.
What have you learned that you would share or what advice would you give to someone who’s interested in exploring New Eden?
I’d recommend interested people come and talk to me about joining Touring New Eden, and I’ll be able to help them learn how to travel all of New Eden without dying. It can be done, and it’s easy to do. Just takes a bit of practice and knowledge, which I can provide. /end plug
Do you have a favorite image that you wouldn’t mind me posting and sharing from your explorations?
Most of my travels so far have been in Nullsec, and to be honest I’ve zoomed through most of it to try and get as much done as I can. Stopping and taking photos just hasn’t been on my mind that much. There’s a few landmarks out there in nullsec of course, and I took a few photos, but I wouldn’t say they’re worth sharing. I want to see wrecks of Titans! And all the other amazing things out there that I’m yet to find. That’s what I find so exciting, the variety of amazing sights and adventures.
That concludes this installment of the “New Eden Explorers”. I’ve got several more lined up and plan on posting one a month over the next few months. I hope you find this series interesting and enjoyable, please let me know what you think. If you’re an explorer or know of someone that would be a great candidate to be featured, then please let me know. The only requirements are they be an explorer that’s active in the community sharing their experiences via a blog, podcasting, twitter, etc.
Fly smart, fly safe!