writing about war in EVE - the extremely serious business of
pixelated spaceships blowing each other up in hopes of controlling an
imaginary galaxy - I often find myself adopting a tone of glib
nonchalance. After all, the whole enterprise is tremendously silly,
regardless of how many hours we collectively invest in it.
Unfortunately, a tragedy in the real world has managed to breach the
boundaries of New Eden, and my usual flippancy can't address what
happened without bordering on gross disrespect.
On May 22nd, 2009, PFC Roy Mason of Fairfield, California href="http://cbs4denver.com/local/Fort.Carson.Mason.2.1017693.html"
target="_blank">took his own life.
A decorated Iraq war veteran of two tours, Roy's unit was set to deploy
to Afghanistan when Roy left his base at Fort Carson, drove to a senic
overlook in Santa Cruz, and shot himself during the Memorial Day
holiday weekend. He left behind several notes, and called the police
before his suicide and requested that they 'clean up the area' so that
no children had to witness the scene. A href="http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_12456410"
quickly grew in his honor.
Roy was an extremely well-known member of Goonfleet, known as
'RoyofCA'. He was a fixture in our teamspeak lobby for years -
sometimes from Iraq over a shaky satellite connection, sometimes from
his home. He had a habit of buying forum avatars of his cat, Dr.
FatWhiskers, for people on goonfleet.com; at one point it seemed as if
half of the posters had Dr. FatWhiskers under their name. There was no
doubt that his experiences in war had left him with serious emotional
problems; to many of us, this was no surprise at all, as he had href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/69123" target="_blank">openly
discussed taking his own life
Since his untimely death, I have been repeatedly asked by EVE players
to tell the story of RoyofCA: how one man - alone - undertook a
campaign to bring down an entire alliance of the Swarm's enemies, and
succeeded. To speak of RoyofCA is to chart the demise of RISE, an
alliance which once held the best space in Feythabolis.
It was August of 2007 and the First Great War (in which Band of
Brothers [BoB] lost half their space, as distinguished from the Second
Great War, where BoB was disbanded and lost the rest of it) was at the
height of its carnage. By March, Lotka Volterra had been annihilated
over mere href="http://eve-search.com/thread/486825/page/1"
and - after a desperate defense of the newly captured LV territory
against BoB, which culminated in the first destruction of Sir Molle's
Avatar Titan - the coalition (Goonswarm, Red Alliance, Tau Ceti
Federation and Pandemic Legion, on this front) was steamrolling through
Omist and into the BoB-controlled region of href="http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Feythabolis" target="_blank">Feythabolis
and href="http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Esoteria/" target="_blank">Esoteria.
style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">
What awaited the coalition was a territory absolutely littered with href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/67277" target="_blank">pets,
renters who had paid BoB for the right to mine and rat in stations they
had not conquered for themselves. BoB had farmed out control of
Feythabolis and Esoteria to such illustrious forces as Gods of Night
and Day (GONAD - no, really, they actually chose that alliance
abbreviation of their own volition), Confederation of the Red Moon
(CoRM), Southern Connection (SoCo), Anzac Alliance (ANZAC), Digital
Renegades (DFC), Executive Outcomes (EXE), Interstellar Starbase
Syndicate (ISS), and - the largest of the lot - R i s e (RISE).
Of these renters, RISE had the best constellation in the region, but
was only allowed to rat and mine within those seven systems; to do
otherwise would violate their contract with BoB. RISE also had the
advantage of holding three stations, where the other pets only were
able to rent one or two per pet; this meant that RISE would benefit
from constellation sovereignty, rendering their 'RIT Triangle' much
more defensible from hostile invasion than the other pet
systems. The invading coalition opted to leave RISE for last,
the final pet targeted for destruction in Feythabolis, after snapping
up the low-hanging fruit elsewhere.
But that timetable did not sit well with RoyofCA. Roy was a member of
Goonswarm's Black Ops group, famous for using cloaking recon ships to
lock down hostile systems. Goonswarm deployed Black Ops to erode RISE's
morale and soften them up while the coalition focused on other pets.
Untraceable due to their cloaks, and willing to go afk yet remain
logged into the game for days at a time, the enemy could never be
certain if a Black Ops fleet was active or not. Bottled up in a single
constellation with only one exit, RISE quickly found itself unable to
mine or rat, and their alliance income plummeted. As one RISE member
put it, after the war:
Cloaking gangs " style="font-style: italic;">...prevent[ed] RISE
members from being able to easily make isk to replace ship losses with.
Also brought a halt to most ratting/mining in the area severely
hampering RISE's ability to generate positive cashflow. This caused an
elimination of the 'ship reimbursement' program that had previously
allowed RISE to quickly replace lost ships for it's pilots. While this
didn't really affect the more hard-core pvp pilots in the alliance it
did put an almost immediate stop to the more care-bear oriented pilots
dotting up, thus severely depleting fleet sizes when called."
Black Ops had typically adhered to a policy of silence in local
channels to confuse their prey about the fleet's activities. RoyofCA
chose another path; he was going to shatter RISE's morale with a
relentless onslaught of propaganda. Cloaking his ship in the capital
RISE system of RIT, he began his chant. " href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/69119" target="_blank">PEOPLE
OF RISE! YOU ARE BEING
PEOPLE OF RISE! YOU
ARE BEING MISLED AND I CAN PROVE IT!
I know you do not want to listen to an enemy, but there is no harm in
listening to a view that is different than your own and I offer only a
civil and fact based argument. I give you the truth because it is the
best argument I can make. Rise, let me start by showing you the most
recent statement by BoB's leadership to it's members:
That's right RISE, BoB leadership has ordered their men to move back to
within 12 JUMPS of their capital! You may ask why this is being done,
and I will tell you.
The war is going badly for the Band of Brothers, RISE. ED- has fallen
and remains in the control of your enemy to the west. Thousands of
active members from the Red Swarm Federation have overrun entire
regions to the north and east, and continue to gain ground unchecked.
BoB's capital fleet is now outmatched and outnumbered by the combined
might of the alliances rallied against it.
Once again I remind you, these are not my opinions; these are facts
that can be verified. Do not trust the BoB leadership, do not trust
even me, but instead verify these facts through 3rd parties,
non-involved bystanders and war observers, and the very stats of the
As you can see, recorded by eve-maps.com, you have recently lost over
200 members and your numbers continue to fall sharply. We have reports
that your leaders wish to leave your current space, RIT, within a
matter of 3 weeks at most, sooner if possible.
Why would they do this? Because BoB is misleading them, brave PvPers of
RISE! The BoB leadership claims to want to help you, they claim to care
about you and have your interests in mind, but it is all a lie and,
once again, I CAN PROVE IT!
I ask you, RISE members, where is Hegemon's titan? I will tell you, it
was taken by BoB's CEO, Shrike! Shrike's titan was destroyed by a
combined fleet of the Red Swarm Federation, and to further his own
gameplay wants and needs, he FORCED Hegemon to give up the most
precious item in the game. He took the one thing this man cared about
in eve online simply so he himself could play and have fun.
This was a member of BoB, RISE members. If they treat their own this
badly, what makes you think they care anything of you? They have used
countless alliances and corporations in the past to further their own
gameplay and will do it again without a care in the universe.
Where is the alliance LV, rise members? I will tell you the TRUTH! It
fell to the swarm of enemies at its doorstep because BoB did not care
for them. BoB charged them money for space they were unwilling to help
defend! LV collapsed without BoB support, RISE members, and they were
stronger, wealthier, and controlled more space than you. The enemies of
BoB were but a fraction of what they are now at the time, so what will
become of you, RISE members?
Do not be so foolish as to not listen to REASON, rise! Trust the truth,
verify the facts and you will see that I am right!
Why does BoB make you pay for space you can not make money from, RISE
members? They know we camp your systems every day and night. They know
you can not mine or rat without a high risk of dying. They know you
will have the weight of the largest alliance in eve history pushing
down on you soon. They know these things the same as you and I, but why
have they ordered the withdrawal from your region? Why have they not
brought you supplies, POS fuel, or capital fleets for your defense? Why
has BoB not even so much as used a titan to jump bridge one of your
members to make a tiny bit of profit somewhere, anywhere?
style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">
This barrage continued without pause, day and night. Roy's capacity for
reinventing his propaganda was legendary; while the refrain always
began: "PEOPLE OF RISE", his arguments changed frequently in response
to new situations in the war, and included items of leaked GIA
intelligence from RISE's internal forums. He even had his own website
for the express purpose of converting RISE, where his message was
augmented with graphs and embarrassing chatlogs. In particular, Roy
became the prophet of the opening of the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/69116" target="_blank">Eye
of Terror, the jumpbridge
link which would connect the heart of Goonswarm territory to the
doorstep of RISE's constellation, rendering the subsequent invasion
In response to these imprecations, BoB sent Yaay, one of their fleet
commanders, to give a ' href="http://images.tentonhammer.com/eve/bobpeptalk.mp3"
This was a disaster, not only because
Yaay was a terrible public speaker, but also because Yaay and the RISE
leadership repeatedly dismissed the growing fears of the RISE
membership about the Eye of Terror. RISE and BoB had an opportunity to
try to prevent the Eye's opening; it takes four weeks for sovereignty
to hit level 3 and allow jump bridges. Yet in the face of Roy's
ceaseless proselytizing, RISE pointedly did nothing. Their inaction
spelled their doom; after four weeks, the Eye opened, and RISE was
In his later EVE career, Roy helped expose one of the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/63139" target="_blank">biggest
in EVE, the R64 duping scandal;
Roy (who posted as 'a big ass goku' on
had a grudge against the Es and Whizz
drug-manufacturing alliance, and discovered that Es and Whizz was a
target="_blank">front for laundering isk
generated by R64 duping.
RoyofCA, you will href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/69120" target="_blank">be
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