Disclaimer: Some of the quotes in the following text are transcripts from unrecorded voice communication. The exact wording can therefore differ from the original statements, but I did my best to preserve the intended meaning of each.
Are you a new player with no idea how to find the great PVP action you keep hearing about? Maybe you are a veteran who is bored of fleet ops where you wait on a Titan for an hour to be dropped together with 150 others, lock, press F1 and go back to starting positions? Have you had enough of primadonna FCs who rage at you if you can’t keep up? Has your mission-runner corp just disbanded because they were hunted by griefers and now you have nobody to play with?
Don’t despair. There is crew who can help you with those problems: Redemption Road.
This social group organizes public NPSI (Not Purple Shoot It) roams on different days of the week and in different timezones. The NPSI philosophy is summed up like this by the Redemption Road founder Greygal:
NPSI fleets provide content that you can schedule around, that doesn’t require a lot of prep work, and gives you action almost from the moment you undock, that isn’t “serious bizness,” provides socialization and (usually) no drama, and lets you do something your “home” corp/alliance may not allow or may not provide.
Their regularly scheduled activities are the Sunday Sinners roam at 19:00 EVE time, the Down Under Roam on Saturday 08:00 and the MATE roam on Friday 10:30. In addition to those, Redemption Road has irregular events like PVP training sessions. All activities are publicly announced on their forum and EVEmail announcement list (see below).
Redemption Road is an initiative started about seven months ago by Greygal and a group of her friends. While the public roam organization is comparatively new, Greygal knows her stuff. During the five years of her EVE career, she lived in wormhole space and then worked for two years in a leading position with the well known Agony Unleashed PVP University. She left Agony with the desire to do things more her own way, but they parted on generally good terms. Several Agony members are active participants at Redemption Road.
The “official” joke reason for me leaving was that I had slept with the Boss – Greygal on leaving Agony Unleashed
Being a community person with all her heart, Greygal got ample support for her initiative. Fellow small-gang PVPers and other NPSI crews like Red vs. Blue and Spectre Fleet helped actively. There is no rivalry between those different groups. They see themselves as affiliates who each offer their own specific version of fleet roams to the players of EVE.
We like to roam through nullsec because many EVE players will otherwise not get an opportunity to do so. The RvB Ganked roams often end up in big fleet fights with capital ships and 10% TiDi. There is no other place in EVE where an unaffiliated new player can experience that. We try our best to schedule our events so that we do not compete with each other – Greygal
Despite being a US citizen, Greygal developed good ties with the AUTZ community because of her late-night lifestyle. That group of players often falls by the wayside because their active hours rarely overlap with the majority groups of EVE players in the US and EU timezones. Here, they can find a group to fly with at convenient times.
Redemption Road does not specifically target newbies as participants, but their roams are designed to be very newbie friendly. The majority of their fleets will use cheap ships like frigates and destroyers. Sometimes they step it up a little and fly cruisers. In any case, nobody will be turned away because they can not fly some specific ship or lack skillpoints.
I have a deep, unabating *love* for new players and older players new to roaming! I get the biggest kick turning people on to the heart-pounding, hand-shaking joy of a Good Fight, showing them that there is so much more to Eve than they ever realized! – Greygal
To get an impression of their practices, I joined one of their Sunday Sinners roams. You need TeamSpeak3 to get on their voice-coms and join their in-game chat for a fleet invite, that’s all. You can bring your own ship, but you can often buy suitable ships from them at reasonable prices.
The operation was run by Greygal herself and her steady partner-FC Onslaughtor. I immediately felt welcome and at home with that team. Every fleet is started with a clear and concise briefing on best practices. Their conduct on voice-coms is civil and casual without becoming unprofessional or sloppy. They clearly know what they are doing without being pompous about it.
FC rage is actively discouraged. If people make mistakes, the intended reaction is to tell them how to improve and avoid the same misstep next time. Blunders are inevitable, because many of the participants are new players or people who have little or no PVP experience. The attitude of the Redemption Road crew is, that nobody should feel bad about doing things wrong.
If someone does something wrong they usually already know it. It helps nobody if we would call them names for making a mistake. – Onslaughtor
The mix of experience levels in the fleets is welcomed rather than seen as a problem. Newbies get an opportunity to learn and veteran PVPers can enjoy a casual atmosphere where fun PVP is more important than killboard stats and grand objectives. It helps bridging the gap between those with experience and those who lack it. Above all, there should be no pressure for the participants.
We consider a roam a success if we had a good fight and at least killed one of the other fleet, even if we lose all our ships – Greygal
I can testify first-hand about the success of the concept. We had several great fights, including one where we were outnumbered and outgunned. We managed to get away with a few kills and only one loss after some tense moments for the logistics pilots. Mind you, I even ended up with positive killboard stats for the night, despite flying a logistics ship for the second roam.
With enjoyment as the main objective, Redemption Road also go for the occasional gimmick fit to annoy the big boys. In one notable episode, a fleet of ECM-burst Tristans was used to troll a Pandemic Legion fleet. They were successful in driving the PL FC crazy with frustration.
For another example of the lighthearted wit of Redemption Road, listen to this hilarious pre-fleet briefing for a patrol with Police Pursuit Comets.
As an added bonus, roams are accompanied by prize draws. I lost one frigate and a pod, and I had to buy one Scythe from them for the second round, but I got lucky in the draw and actually ended up with prizes worth more than what I spent.
For the last New Eden Open, Redemption Road assembled a team to join the tournament. While they didn’t make it through the first weekend, they universally felt that they had a great time. The success of that endeavour kindled the ambition to also participate in the Alliance Tournament. To do so, they obviously needed an alliance. Drawing from the pool of regular participants, Greygal rallied more than a dozen small PVP corporations into Affirmative. alliance.
Putting together a number of fleet compositions for the Alliance Tournament does not only require PVP experience and training, it is also a significant financial challenge. For the NEO, they ran a fundraiser among their roam participants and collected close to 9 billion ISK. Alliance Tournament can easily require more than that, but Redemption Road can draw on an active community and some friends who are willing to donate ISK. They are confident that they can collect enough to get into AT-XII.
With an alliance in place, Redemption Road can now offer more than just public roams for the players of EVE. You can even become a steady member. If you are looking for a great PVP experience with a crew of nice people, there are certainly worse choices for a small corp or solo player than Affirmative.
For more information, check out the following:
In-game chat: Redemption Road
EVEmail announcement list: redemption roams (case sensitive)
Affirmative. alliance site: http://www.affirmativealliance.com
TeamSpeak: ts.affirmativealliance.com (password YES!)