A short time after Dentt was cloned back in 2008, I came to the realisation that the players of EVE play a very different game to all other games. New Eden is huge, beautiful and incredibly scary, and it is this fear of, and respect for the vast unknown that has created a new phenomenon in gaming, a community which has developed its own codes to live by – codes of conduct that can be as different from each other as up and down. These rules are not set out in any manual, but understanding them is essential for a player to thrive and make friends in the big, scary world of New Eden.
Months before I downloaded the client, I had heard about the huge fights, the espionage, the conspiracies and the treacheries of its players, and I was amazed. Like most pilots, I started by running missions in high sec space, but very quickly realised that I needed to risk more if I was to experience this game to the fullest. Through long hours ploughing through the forums and such I stumbled upon a corporation which ticked all the boxes for me: new player friendly, in an active region of space, with a ship replacement program, and so on. So off I went to join. This corp, The Yulai Guard, was based in the nullsec region of Providence. What drew me to this place was the sense of wonder I got from the people living there, the sense that they were somehow “the good guys” in an otherwise disjointed dystopia.
Being new to nullsec, I was quickly introduced to the shared code of Providence, the rule of NRDS: Not Red, Don’t Shoot. Any pilot with neutral standing towards Providence holders is welcome to operate within their space, without fear of interference from the residents of Providence, so long as they abide by the rules of Providence themselves. Choosing NRDS caused the region of Providence to bloom, as neutral miners and industrialists flocked to its relative safety; to this day, Providence is one of the most established and densely-populated nullsec regions of New Eden. It also sees a great deal of action – hostile gangs, fleets and solo pilots from rival groups attack Providence daily. Sustaining NRDS requires a fair bit of work on the back end, checking lists and resolving disputes; Curatores Veritatis Alliance and her allies, “Provibloc”, maintain the longest “Kill-on-Sight” list in all New Eden.
NRDS, however, was then and still is something of an eccentricity in New Eden as a whole. It was conceived as an alternative – and a rebuke – to the more widespread rule of engagement, NBSI: Not Blue, Shoot It. In NBSI space (which is nearly all the rest of sovereign nullsec), any pilot who is not recognised as friendly to the locals will be shot on sight. NBSI discourages neutrality, and tends to engender huge cluster-spanning coalitions between those who fly under it. As a consequence, ironically, pilots in NBSI alliances may have to travel far, or dive into low-sec, to find targets they’re allowed to shoot.
Until a few years ago, these two ideologies were the only well-known rules of engagement, but as the NBSI tendency spread the “blue donut” across New Eden, the thirst for enemies to fight gave rise to a third. NPSI, or Not Purple, Shoot It, derives from the mechanics of fleet warfare: when pilots form a fleet they become purple to one another. Under NPSI, then, anyone not in the fleet is a valid target. These fleets were pioneered early on by large player groups such as Redemption Road and Spectre Fleet, and to this day these player organisations roam frequently in public fleets, allowing almost anyone to join irrespective of your standing towards their group at other times.
So, why should a new player be concerned with all this? To answer that question, raises another: what do you want from the game? Who do you want to be? It can be a daunting question, but it’s an important one. I started not knowing what I wanted; all I knew was that I wanted to blow stuff up. I just happened to chance upon Providence and the NRDS way of life. But now, NRDS is more to me than a rule of engagement, it is a philosophy, a theology and a way of life; it is part of my identity within the Universe of New Eden. But which is yours?
NPSI is a great way to find action quickly; join a NPSI fleet and you can be sure of blowing stuff up before your session is done. NBSI, on the other hand, is the best way to see the big events of New Eden; the largest, most powerful groups are adherents of NBSI, and if you join one of these vast coalitions or their allies, then sooner or later you could be a small cog in one of those vast war machines that make news articles in the mainstream media. NBSI also includes the scrappy pirates of lowsec and the non-sovereign regions of NPC nullsec, who acknowledge few allies, and pick fights with anyone they meet. NRDS, in my view, offers the best of both worlds; like NPSI fleets, we see all the action we could wish for, but like pilots in a NBSI alliance, we have a strong sense of home, of identity, and of allegiance. Many of us love to fight – but it’s also important to have something worth fighting for.
Who, then, do you want to be? You’ll need to pick a race, a bloodline, and some kind of career direction – but your outlook on other players, who to shoot and who to defend, where you fight and what you fight for, are far more meaningful decisions – ones that will shape your life in New Eden. NBSI, NPSI or NRDS? Choose wisely.