Creating a community in ANY space is a daunting task. It takes planning, resources and skills. There’s lots of blood, sweat and tears that goes into it as well. However, in true GamerGrrl fashion, I blundered into a game and once again accidently created an online community.
Before Eve Online There Was Everquest
Creating a community in Eve Online isn’t the first time I’ve done this. Back in the day when I played Everquest, I did the same thing. There was an expansion called Planes of Power which introduced a flagging system for raids. This caused a bit of a problem for people who wanted to join guilds…they were required to have certain flags.
The only way you could get those flags was to be a guest in a raid. Sometimes the guild you were interested in would allow people applying to come along to get flags. Sometimes guilds allowed a friend or two of guild mates to come along. However, at the end of the day a lot of the flags needed were unobtainable by casual players.
Creating a Community in a MMO
Until I came along. In the early 2000s walk throughs of the different raids were on the internet. So I printed out all of the material for the flags people needed and advertised on my server’s forum to “stage” at a certain place and time. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone was going to come.
I had almost the max raid size (72 players) wanting to join.
There’s not much left about my public raids on the internet, but I did manage to find this glowing review from 2004.
The clearest memory I have of this time was going to an Everquest Fan Festival in New Orleans with some of my guildmates. One of the DMs saw my name tag and got all excited. Pretty soon I was being introduced around as the Druid who started doing pick up raids on the Innoruuk Server.
It’s funny because looking back, I realize that people would get flagged but keep coming back to help. They chatted together in my in game channel and I think MSN messenger together. This was me accidently creating a community a long time ago. Turns out, it’s my thing.
Playing Eve Online
Late January 2020 I started to play Eve Online (read more about my Eve Story here). Both my husband and I had signed up for an account in 2015, but I rage quit while he kept playing. However, something really clicked this time.
Communities in Eve Online
In typical MMO fashion, Eve Online has its own in game communities. Instead of guilds, like other games, players join corporations (corps for short). Player corporations can band together to make an alliance. Groups of alliances (often temporarily) will band together to form coalitions of allies.
Every player is part of a corporation at all times. As a brand new player coming into the game, they’re put into a NPC corp. At this point, they can stay in the NPC corp or go on to join a corporation created by players. If they leave the player corp then they’ll go back to an NPC corp. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Often new players will go and join player corps that (supposedly) specialize in newbros, i.e. brand new players. Sometimes this works out and their needs are met, often they’re lied to and scammed out of all their stuff. Don’t worry, without looking at any sort of in game ethics, this is perfectly legit via the game TOS. It’s a pvp game after all and life in New Eden is often harsh.
However, when I started playing I already had the opportunity to watch my husband and his struggles with player corporations. If they went to war (and where they lived in space, this happened often), then their CEO (guild leader) would tell everyone they could no longer do the PVE thing they enjoyed doing. Often players have to set timers to get up in the middle of the night to participate in defense or they’d have to join so many fleets (kind of like groups or raids in other MMOs).
This didn’t set well with me. I didn’t want anyone telling me how to enjoy myself in a game. So I vowed never to join a player corporation.
The NPSI Community in Eve Online
About 1.5 months into Eve I discovered the NPSI or Not Purple Shoot It community. In Eve Online, when you’re in a fleet with other people, they turn up purple on your screen. Everyone else shows up as white and enemy NPCs red. So in NPSI, you literally shoot anything that isn’t currently flying side by side with you.
The NPSI community was exactly what I was looking for in Eve Online. The groups that put on the fleets allow anyone one to join regardless of age, pvp experience, or allegiance. As long as you’re willing to shoot anyone that isn’t purple, you’re in. This is basically your common pickup group in any other MMO. The only difference is fleets are usually scheduled ahead of time so people can plan to come along vs. someone LFM (looking for more) in local chat.
Call me strange, but in every MMO I’ve played I’ve loved pickup groups. So of course I jumped into the NPSI community with both feet and never looked back.
Becoming a Fleet Commander in Eve Online
So the next step to creating a community is to establish yourself as a leader. At around 8 months playing Eve, I started leading fleets of my own. This is largely thanks to my husband who mentioned I used to be a raid leader in EQ and wouldn’t mind trying my hand at FCing.
The CEO of the NPSI corporation I joined, had me take the corp out on fleet. It went well, we destroyed around 3 billion isk (the in game currency) in ships. He then decided it was good enough for me to “get my wings” which is Eve lingo saying I could post public fleets.
I think my first fleet I had 40ish people join? We killed more than the fleet was worth, I ultimately killed us all off, we all had fun and that was it. I was bitten.
Creating a Community in Eve Online
Now that you have the backstory, here’s how I ultimately created my community called Eve Rookies.
Streaming Eve Online on Twitch
One of the things that I did from the beginning was stream my Eve gameplay on Twitch. The reason I started was just to see what Twitch and streaming was all about. At first vets were teaching me how to play. However, I started to notice something interesting. Another brand new player would jump into my stream chat to ask me a question.
Why? Because all of the “big” Eve streamers were busy doing their thing and their newbro question would get lost in the quick moving chat.
Being a marketing professional, I quickly identified this trend. Also being a marketing professional, I couldn’t help but try to gain traffic in the new player niche. So I started (and haven’t stopped) streaming specifically for new players to the game. My titles invite them in so that they can ask their questions.
This lead me to meeting a big personality called Princess Abbie.
Nova Prospect Incursions – a Rookie Friendly End Game Fleet
Princess Abbie was another Eve Streamer who noticed my streams. He liked what I was doing with the newbro roams (i.e. fleets specifically for new players) and asked me to come out and help run something he was trying to get off the ground. Nova Prospect Incursions.
In Eve Online incursions are PVE endgame content. They’re kind of like the end raid or trial everyone is trying to complete in other MMOs. In Eve incursions take a lot of character skill points, a lot of isk and a dedication since they move around the map. This means hauling VERY expensive ships to the new incursion site while players try to blow your expensive ship(s) up.
What NPI was trying to do was bring the bar down on the easiest of the incursion sites. This would allow players around 30-60 days be able to join. The group had its own ships that it lent out which meant new players didn’t have to buy or fly their own to the incursion site.
Unfortunately due to the mechanics of this particular in game event, the groups that did the higher tier incursions kept despawning it well before it was supposed to. Why? So that they could get the loot from the mother ship before the other groups. This made scheduling fleets (like with NPSI fleets) impossible. So we both focused on our own NPSI pvp fleets instead.
The Birth of Eve Rookies Incursions
In January 2021 I created the website Eve Rookies. It was just meant as a site to find articles about how to play Eve in a way that new players of the day could understand. I hated the long articles and Youtube videos that took 30 minutes to get through to just find one little bit of information.
By March of 2021 someone told me I should try to start up the incursion group again. The headquarter groups (hq’s are the name of the highest tier incursion site) that ran public fleets all came to an agreement on popping the mother ship. They’d all wait until just 2-3 hours before the site would despawn naturally and take turns.
NOW we’re talking. With this agreement, I’d be able post that we’re going out to do incursions on Tuesday at 18:00 Eve time! Maybe we’d miss a day due to the incursion despawn time, but it’s much easier to work around this way. Someone else suggested that I should name the group Eve Rookies, after my website. I decided to go for it.
What I Thought Would Happen With Eve Rookies
To be honest, I didn’t think that this group would go anywhere. The few fleets that NPI flew was basically 7 or 8 friends going out and enjoying themselves. No real random people like a real pickup group came along. So I thought Eve Rookies would go the same way. Except it didn’t.
One of my leadership found a BIG group in Eve called Eve Linknet. It’s a coalition of new player corporations that share a calendar and resources. He had Eve Rookies (which is a corp, we just don’t accept members) join as a partner corporation with the intent to run incursions anyone from Linknet could join.
So for about 3 months I ran a fleet every Tuesday night at 18:00. At first it was just me and my friends using multiple accounts to get the fleet to 13 characters. Then suddenly we were dropping boxes and putting real people in those positions.
Then I had to start doing a fleet on Friday at 18:00. Then Sunday…
Where Eve Rookies is at Today
A year and a half later I went from about 50 people on the Eve Rookies Discord in the first 3 months to being very close to 1,000 right now. We have 8 incursion FCs and 2 more that do other PVE activities in 3 different time zones. We went from 1 fleet a week to an average of 7 a week if not more.
The other day someone mentioned to me that we’ve been acknowledged by the other public incursion communities. I see Eve Rookies talked about by other people on Reddit, the Eve Online Forums, Twitter and other community’s discords. I found out that there are employees of Eve Online who’ve come flown with us.
When people ask me how I set this community up, really, I shrug and say I don’t know. I just like creating a community in MMOs by accident!