New Eden is a universe of war. No matter where you go, someone is fighting someone else. Whether it is two corporations battling for a Customs Office over a valuable planet, militias dueling inside a complex to capture it for their favored faction, alliances in a border skirmish, or two massive powerblocs deploying hundreds of supercapitals to contest territory, war is perpetual. Two corporations have taken this to its logical conclusion.
Red vs Blue is one of the longest standing institutions in EVE Online. Rather than war for a goal, they have made war itself a goal. Engaged in an endless conflict, the Red Federation and Blue Republic allow anyone who is interested to sign up and engage in good fights and easy PvP.
The genesis of Red vs Blue can be traced to 2008, when a few pilots had the idea to set up two corporations that would be at permanent war, with no rules on who could or could not join. As long as they wanted to destroy or be destroyed by the opposing side, anyone was welcome. They named the corps Blue. and Red. For a while, explosions happened and good fights were had.
But then Factional Warfare was released, offering the eternal war that many RvB pilots had craved. Combined with leadership inactivity, the first RvB experiment came to an end. However, that was not the end.
A year later, a few of the original pilots of the RvB experiment – most notably Plave Okice – decided to give it a second go. This time it would be harder, better, faster, and stronger than the first go around. On September 25, 2009, a new RvB war began between the forces of the Blue Republic and the Red Federation. After a week, 2800 kills had been registered, firmly cementing their place amongst EVE’s legacy. In the coming months and years, it only grew. By the end of the 1st year, they had reached 50000 kills, and now (4 years later), they have comfortably passed 500,000 kills just in the “Forever War”.
The rules and regulations of RvB are fairly simple. The two constituent corporations, Red Federation and Blue Republic, are in a permanent mutual war with one another. Contrary to popular belief, they do more than just PvP in cheap T1 frigates. Although some members choose quantity over quality for their ships, especially when just learning PvP, players can fly any ships they like outside of special events. It just so happens that shiny ships attract a huge horde of opposing ships to kill them.
Most typically, fleets are cruisers and down, because it’s faster and more manuevable PvP. Plus, it’s much lighter on the wallet, a boon for their younger members especially.
With regards to joining in and taking part, it is as simple as applying to whichever corp needs members. The corporations are open to everyone and the leaders of RvB try to ensure a good balance of active pilots on each side. Once the application is in, players need merely to move some assets to the staging systems of each corp and then undock into the chaos of battle.
There are some basic rules to follow for members – such as no podding – but they are mostly straight forward and simple. If someone breaks one of the rules, a Team Leader or Director will give them a warning and ask them to reimburse the victim. Very rarely do they have to go as far as kicking and banning someone; it only happens a couple of times a month at most, which given the size of the organization is an impressive feat!
Keeping each side roughly equal and ensuring a fun fight is a bit more of a balancing act. If one side seems to have fewer active numbers, RvB will funnel apps that way for a short period. For the actual fights, FCs are encouraged to communicate with each other to keep fleets roughly balanced and even lend pilots to the other side for a fight or two if it’s going to make the battle more interesting.
RvB’s belief is that fights that are fair for both sides are more fun for everyone involved and tend to happen in faster succession than one-sided ganks. They don’t always succeed in providing a perfectly balanced environment, but they always strive for it.
Of course, once a third party gets involved (which given RvB’s reputation is not an uncommon occurrence), all rules go out the window! Such people are spared no quarter.
PvP in RvB is unlike much else in EVE. They take the concept of “constant” PvP and ramp it up a few notched. They have such a large player base active in such a small area (effectively 4 systems, although people can roam anywhere they like) that a lot of the tedious searching which comprises most PvP is removed. Targets are right at your doorstep, they are hungry for kills, they are ready for combat, and they have guns.
RvB members don’t have to wait for roams or certain times to PvP. Whenever the EVE servers are online, there are RvB members looking for fights. It is possible for RvBers to achieve hundreds of kills a week with casual playtime or, in the case of mass events, thousands. If RvBers then want to occasionally join forces and roam low- or null-sec, they can do that as well. The very few rules they have are simply to promote sportsman-like PvP behavior and those rules only apply to fellow RvBers.
Additionally, as said above, the perception of RvB being PvP in cheap T1 frigates brings many, many new players looking for quick, fun PvP.
One of the more popular activities RvB is involved in is their Ganked Nights. Coming on the heels of the death of Failheap Challenge’s Gank Nights back in 2011, former RvBer Tim Pest came up with the idea to revive the concept. He began organizing a series of public roams using RvB’s community presence to get as many participants as possible. Eventually, he passed the idea off to Mangala Solaris, who turned RvB Ganked into EVE’s largest weekly public roam. Around 5000 pilots have attended nearly 100 roams since July 2011, with numerous occasions of informal participation in Dev Roams and other public events.
Ganked’s 100th event will be on the 18th of January! All of EVE is invited to drop by and attend. There’s sure to be massive fights, massive explosions, and massive fun for everyone.
Any entity as large and prolific as Red vs Blue will have its amazing stories. Simply reading off a list of statistics is amazing enough. Over the past 4 years, pilots in the RvB Forever War have killed each other over 580,000 times for a value of 7.2 trillion ISK. That is an average of 350 kills per day. On top of that, RvB has killed 58,000 pilots outside of RvB in wars, ganks, and roams. Over 30000 pilots have passed through RvB in the past 4 years.
Fights happen from as often as every couple of minutes (mainly small skirmished on gates or stations) to every few hours for large fights (50+ people per side in large ships just brawling each other down) to every couple of months for organized, large scale fights that result in a huge “red dot” over the Forge with 10s of billions of ISK exploded.
The most interesting statistic, one which they pride themselves on, is that RvB is responsible for around 10% of all daily PvP activity in EVE.
One of the larger events RvB participated in was a members-only frigate FFA in October 2013 that featured 100,000 fully fit frigates. While only 50,000 ships managed to explode, it was still the largest free for all in the history of EVE and one that’s unlikely to be surpassed any time soon. RvBers donated hundreds of hours to haul, fit, and build the ships used. The prize donations from players resulted in over 5 billion ISK worth of ships and PLEX being handed out for everything from being the final dead pilot to the person who killed the most Kestrels.
Another amazing fact about RvB is that it has its very own LP Store! Thanks to the income from the RvB Customs Office empire created after Rubicon, they have set up a loyalty program to encourage members to try their hand at FCing. For every hour they FC that scores kills, they earn points. Those points can be exchanged for things like frigates, cruisers, or even shiny faction battleships!
While RvB is not a training organization, they have developed a love-love relationship with EVE University, the number one school for new pilots. So far, they have gone to war with EVE Uni four times, providing high sec with the largest & bloodiest fights it has ever seen.
The RvB community is strong enough that it can even influence the CSM elections. When a member proposed getting a member on CSM8, Mangala was the first suggestion. Four months later, he was elected to the 8th CSM.
Behind the Scenes
Of course, no organization can function without people putting in hours of hard work behind the scenes. RvB is lucky enough to have an excellent command team who are all dedicated to making it the number one place to be for fun and constant PvP in New Eden. There are far too many to spotlight here, but a few were able to take the time to tell a bit about themselves.
Fallentitan is the Blue Republic CEO. He spends about 70% of his time running the RvB community and 30% on PvP. He has no time for additional characters besides the ones who associate with RvB. Whenever he has spare time (ie, driving to work), he’s constantly racking his brain for new concepts, ideas, or ways to improve RvB. He values FCs and recruitment as the two most important areas of RvB. Outside of the game, he runs his own architectural photography company and spends any other spare time outdoors or at the gym.
Professor Clio is an RvB director. He spends all of his game time on RvB these days. As a university professor in real life, his schedule is fairly flexible, allowing him to log on in various time zones. He spends much of his game time cat herding and handling complaints, but he still manages to get a lot of PvP in. He particularly enjoys FCing the large Purple fleets that are fielded against 3rd parties and to take down POCOs.
Northern Misfit is another RvB director. She has other characters, unlike the others, who both live in wormholes. She considers RvB her home and remarkably similar to her real life job of managing. The only difference is that emails at work rarely result in her giving out replacement ships. She believes her role in RvB is the most rewarding of all the departments. While a lot of it is listening to whining, moving things around, stressing out because she can’t find a missing Osprey, or answering silly questions, she enjoys giving people things that she knows will probably be scrap metal by the end of the day. Her PvP time got cut in half by taking on the role, but she interacts much more on a personal level with players in both corps now.
Red vs Blue has managed to secure itself a permanent place in the history of EVE Online. As mentioned before, RvB is always open, RvB always has fights going on, be is small skirmished, large brawls, low- and null-sec roams, suicide ganks, and even super capitals on fishing trips. Anyone interested in quick, accessibly PvP should give RvB a look!