Adrenaline Rush (Blog Banter 51)

Hull Breach

Kirith Kodachi and Druur Monakh ask this for Blog Banter 51:

What was your most nail-biting experience in EVE Online so far? It could be PvP in a 1v1 or 1000v1000, your first fight or your latest one, a scam so close to being uncovered too soon, a trap almost sprung on an unsuspecting victim or the roles reversed and you desperately try to escape.

One of the things that kept me coming back to EVE for a long time was the thrill of “the shakes”. Especially in Lowsec, this is a frequent experience. As someone who roamed Metropolis and Molden Heath in EVE University, effectively lived in Essence Lowsec in Noble Sentiments, and who roams everywhere we can as part of Sleeper Social Club, I’ve experienced that feeling many times. You and your small thin ship, firing madly and hoping you’re the one who leaves in your ship rather than a pod.

For me, it has to be the unknown, solo or small gang to get “the rush”. Big fleets just don’t have it – there you either have more time to think and react (because you’re not primary) or no time (because you are). You also tend to be in larger hulls with better tanks in fleet battles. Similarly in gank situations, you have the upper hand and you know it from the start. You might be hurrying, but you don’t get that visceral rush.

Picking just one is very hard.

Maybe my first, horrible fit (that’s right, dual tank and civilian guns!) fleet death in nullsec, a 1-month old wet behind the ears newbie. I flew out in a pack of Rifters with other rank newbs and discovered my first bubble. Or my first trip sightseeing in a wormhole, where I learned that Sleepers are not to be gawked at, much less trifled with. Or my second trip to a wormhole, where I was summarily executed for not understanding bookmark mechanics. But I died so fast in those cases that they can’t be my biggest rush.

Maybe my first trip to Jita. I was terrified of gankers. Of course with cheap crappy cargo in a cheap crappy T1 hauler, nothing happened. Maybe some of the bubble camps I had to run as I visited each of the shattered planets, particularly EAWE-2. But no, in neither case was I really in any danger if I played carefully, which I did. The rush was momentary.

I’ve had loads of great bloodlust fights in Sleeper Social Club. Maybe this one, about going all-in with no escape route. Or this one, with siege laid and revenge served. Yep, definite rush, but a different kind – one with confidence and urgency, but a choice made consciously to take a big risk with potential matching reward.

But the biggest rush? The one I got on a path I chose not to follow, before I knew the mechanics, and before those mechanics got nerfed. I’m talking about my lone night of ninja salvaging in a gunless, untanked Vigil. There’s something empowering about taking something right out from under the nose of a big, powerful fleet with a tiny, unarmed frigate. Even if you know that you’re unlikely to get popped, that first time knowing you are one shot from dead as you scoop things while they yell at you in Local is an undeniable pulse pounder. Today it probably wouldn’t faze me much, nor would I find it that fun or very lucrative. But that day it was almost cause for replacement pants.

Now over three years into Eve, I don’t experience the rush as much as I did. I risk things with intent, and what used to be panic is now more often calculated decision. I’ve started to wonder if I’d lost it all together.

Then I logged on last night and there were a small handful of SSCers out in frigates and destroyers terrorizing Faction War plexes. Blowing up and getting blown up. I dropped into a plex and grabbed a Breacher in my Thrasher (a ship I had dug out of the leftover barrel from my Lowsec days), figuring him for an easy kill. But he turned out to be an excellent pilot. Much more experienced than me at solo, I learned later. As I hit half armor, and watched his shield bounce back almost to full for the third time, I realized … I might actually lose this fight.

Just when I thought I was going to explode, he popped first. I let go of my held breath, not realizing I had my talk key on. My corpmate lands in the site and says, “You all right, Rhavas?” My mouse hand was twitching. Good fight, HippoWhisperer, and thanks for the reminder.

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