The Battle for B-R5RB will be remembered for many things. It was the most destructive battle in EVE's history. 75 titans exploded in the battle. Over 7000 players participated. 11 trillion ISK was destroyed. The servers held together despite 18 hours of fighting. Spooky skeletons and airhorns.
Wait, you don't know about the spooky skeletons and airhorns?
That means you weren't one of the 13000+ people who tuned in to Nick Fuzzeh's stream of the battle. The stream propelled EVE Online to the 3rd most watched game on Twitch.tv at the time and for good reason. For 16 hours, Nick entertained thousands of people as they watched the battle unfold. And now you get to read all about it.
But a little bit about our host...
Nick Fuzzeh first started playing EVE Online back in 2009. Having made three trials before and forgotten all the passwords, he created the intrepid NickFuzzeh4, but found himself unable to get into the game until he joined a player corporation in 2010. Formed around users from 4chan, the corp was part of TEST until it eventually imploded.
The first big fight he remembers taking part in was the “hellcamp” of 6VDT and the invasion of Fountain by Goonswarm and TEST (remember when they were allies?). Those weeks of action solidified his love of EVE and has kept him in the game since.
Over the years, Nick moved between corporations until he eventually found himself as a part of Pandemic Legion. This allows him to indulge in his love of large fleet battles as well as small gangs and late night drunk fleets. It also led to him streaming the Titanomachy.
Before it was cool
Nick has actually been streaming since 2008, back on Justin.tv. In those early days, the audience for streaming wasn't very large, and getting even 200 viewers was a big, big deal. Today, of course, those numbers are miniscule in comparison to games like League of Legends or Hearthstone, which regularly pull in tens of thousands of viewers or more. Over the past few years, Nick had only really streamed console games such as Grand Theft Auto or whatever else he felt like playing.
Cut to the past year. Nick had been wanting to stream EVE fights, but found it difficult as part of a large alliance with things like operational security and the like. Hiding things on screen and via audio are incredibly hard to do without obstructing the view, so he saved streaming for big, big fights. He mainly only streamed when supercapitals were involved or if there was a good chance of escalating to such ships.
As a member of Pandemic Legion, he had the opportunity to take part in and stream such fights. All he needed was someone to drop the ball.
The Ball is Dropped
There have already been plenty of articles written about how the battle in B-R5RB went down. Nick first got wind of what was going down when someone in the IRC hangout Zulusquad (irc.zulusquad.org:6667) posted a link saying N3PL had lost a station without a fight. He was shocked, since that very rarely happens. He immediately checked the Pandemic Legion IRC for confirmation and a few minutes later the pings began flowing by the hundreds. Everyone was being urged to log on everything they had.
From the very start, Nick realized the battle would not be an ordinary one. He knew it would last a long time and, being quite tired, briefly considered bowing out of the fight entirely. Luckily for all of us, he needed the kills, so he logged in. As he surveyed the situation, he climbed into his Revelation, considered that if he undocked he wouldn't be able to get back in station, and (after orders came down from command) clicked the button that sent him out into a minefield of expensive ships and lasers.
Let's Stream It
From the very start, Nick realized the fight was going to be huge. The sheer number of players, both in local and visible on field, was a clear indication that things were about to go down and wouldn't stop going down for a long, long time. He couldn't pass up the chance to share.
Of course, he didn't realize from the start that it would become such a bloodbath. Though he realized his side was fighting from the weaker position, he had full belief that PL's FCs would pull off some magic and cause the enemy to pull out before Titans would be dying by the minute. But we'll get to that later.
Nick's stream was different from most others from the start. Operational security is somewhat low priority when everyone and their mother already knows where fights are going on, but there was still sensitive information to cover up. He could have put up garish overlays and cluttered his screen with unrelated gifs or other items. Instead, his stream took inspiration from the news outlets he knew regularly covered large EVE battles.
What would EVE look like if it were being broadcast as a live news feed on television? Prior to the fight breaking out, Nick had found an amazing tutorial on After Effects that featured a free news template. After a few adjustments, he turned it into PL News! Much like on a real news channel, there are tickets that scroll across the bottom of the screen to show the most important news stories not being featured.
Unfortunately (or perhaps for those with a sense of humor, incredibly fortunately), Nick isn't super in touch with all the goings-on in EVE. As the fight in B-R was getting underway, he couldn't exactly go and look up real top stories to post. Thus he decided to make the viewer chuckle a little and created fake and amusing news stories to scroll across the bottom of the screen. With the help of a program called Stream Control, he was able to add a headline section that gave him the ability to update the text on the fly.
Of course, a bit of hilarious text scrolling is all fine, but it's what came next that really set the stream apart.
As the battle proceeded at a breakneck pace of 10% real time, the hours began to churn past. As more and more people heard about it, viewer numbers on Nick's channel began reaching heights he had never expected. It crossed the 8000 person threshold and never dropped, peaking for several hours at 13000 people.
Knowing that there were 13k people sitting at home, watching every mouse click and movement Nick did was very daunting. At one point, he almost had a mini panic attack. But he didn't want to let people down. He knew he had to entertain them and he decided to spice things up a little.
It began with a simple attempt to spook his viewers. At first, it was just brief flashes of a skeleton popping onto screen (WARNING: link may be too spooky for some viewers [also, the link is not an air horn. No more of those. I promise]. People in the stream chat started reacting to the spooky skeleton tremendously and soon, even people in B-R5RB local chat were commenting whenever he popped up!
At about 10 hours into the stream, he was beginning to fall asleep. In order to keep himself alert, he decided to begin playing some hype music. Then, he began to move the skeleton, now branded Skelly, around to the beat. Soon, Skelly was dancing all over the stream! Players immediately took to the sweet moves of Skelly, overlooking his spookiness for how hilarious it was. Even Nick admits he couldn't stop laughing himself while doing it.
As the battle continued, Nick went one step further to help his viewers remain alert. He had been playing music throughout the stream, such as video game soundtracks and some epic Space Jam remixes, but he decided to kick it up. Nick himself enjoys making music and even has his own Soundcloud page. So he decided to play a few of his remixes on the stream.
Now, these remixes are not exactly normal. Instead, you must know that Nick is known for not using his microphone on voice comms. Since he doesn't use a mic, he needed some way to communicate, especially saying “yes” or “no”. So he got himself an air horn. One toot for yes, two for no. It soon became his gimmick, communicating solely through an air horn.
Which leads to the remixes, where Nick took a few popular songs and remixed them with air horns. The results were... well, it's best to simply check his Soundcloud above to see! The air horn remixes definitely kept the energy on the stream high and probably helped wake a few viewers up after they had fallen asleep at their keyboards.
Streaming for almost 17 hours straight was a marathon for Nick. He could feel himself slowly going insane by the end. The grind of running EVE at 1-2 frames per second with the chance of it crashing at any moment put him on edge the entire time. Put that on top of the huge number of people watching and asking what was going on and answering all those questions was slowly driving him nuts. So nuts he thought a dancing skeleton was funny.
But eventually, the call for retreat was sounded by the N3PL leadership and players began to pull out. Many were caught, however, and Nick was among them. Rather than simply give up and call it a (well-earned) day, Nick decided to die as he lived. He set his dread on a course for the nearest Titan and accelerated to full speed! He would ram the Titan in revenge! Of course, with time dilation, it would have taken him well over an hour to reach his target.
He unfortunately fell short of his target. His Revelation eventually succumbed to the fire of the CFC and he exploded gloriously. Having been given the clone express back to station, Nick finally logged off to sleep (after one final Skelly dance party), having helped make history.
If you haven't watched the stream of the fight, you watch the entire thing in full glory on his Twitch.tv page. For those who don't have time to sit through 16+ hours of footage, you can also check out his highlights for choice moments, such as the air horn remixes and Skelly dance parties.
NickFuzzeh helped keep thousands of players entertained during the fight, including numerous members of CCP's dev team. Nick wants to thank every single person who joined the stream to watch. Were you an EVE vet, a CCP Developer, Twitch Admin or Staff, or even a person who was just slightly interested in the huge fight, he thanks you. You all helped him through the 17 hours of no sleep and numb rear ends. He also wants to give a shout out to all of the amazing Eve Online Twitch streamers who stream nearly every day. You guys are the life blood of the Eve Twitch community. Keep up the amazing work.
He specially wants to thank CCP Manifest for staying in his Twitch stream for what felt like 10 hours, answering questions, helping people out, and keeping Nick sane (though this last one is questionable).
He also wants to give a shout out to both sides of the fight for providing an epic moment that he hopes will eventually happen again. For those new players wanting to try EVE, you can use Nick's buddy code for 21 days free!