So, Dark Side post a little bit later today, but there's a bit of a drama going on in the two public Incursion channels this morning. Since it's an easier post, I want to get it out first. Check back later for the follow up to yesterday's cute furry troll.
The funny thing about the Incursion drama is that I think it's really the long-time incursion-runner's first introduction to real null-sec style drama. To understand it, though, I'm going to have to explain the mechanics of the agreements in place between the two public Incursion channels. If you're familiar with how the mechanics work, you can skip the next three paragraphs. For the rest of you, I apologize: this is a little bit complex (yay CCP), but you have to understand it to understand the drama.
As I've mentioned on this blog before, there are two public Incursion channels, BTL PUB (for shield tankers) and THE DITANIAN FLEET (for armor). As I've also mentioned, these two channels are generally cooperative, and they have an interesting agreement in place. When a new incursion spawns, one third of the time, the new spawn will be designated as a "shield" incursion, one-third of the time as an "armor" incursion, and the remaining third are "contested" incursions: an incursion where either armor or shield fleets can operate.(1) Each incursion goes through a life cycle, indicated in the Incursion Journal entry. Incursions that have been running for a while are "Established". Then, over time, the incursion shifts to a "Mobilizing" state. Finally, the incursion goes into a "Withdrawing" state before disappearing entirely.
When an incursion first appears, a red bar indicates that the Sansha have a large degree of control over the constellation in which the incursion appears. As incursion fleets operate, that bar is slowly changed from red to blue. Eventually, in the HQ system that is part of the incursion, a new site will appear representing the leader of that particular incursion. This is referred to as a "mom site", and I've talked about running mom sites on this blog before (here and here). The mom site will usually appear while the incursion is in an "Established" or "Mobilizing" state, depending on how many of the lower-end sites in the constellation have been run. Once the mom site appears, that site can be run and if it is run successfully, the incursion will immediately de-spawn no matter what state it is in, taking all of the lower incursion sites with it.
As part of BTL and TDF's agreement, the mom site will only be run when the incursion reaches a "Withdrawing" state. This allows incursion-running fleets to continue farming the incursion until the last possible moment. When a particular incursion is "contested", both an armor and shield fleet will gather as quickly as possible. If it's a contested incursion, often, fleets will begin forming a bit in advance in anticipation of that moment when the incursion goes into "Withdrawing". The anticipatory fleet will usually run HQ sites in the same system (requiring 40 pilots) while they wait, gathering additional people into the fleet to wait until that moment, when the HQ fleet becomes a mom fleet (requiring 65-75 pilots).
OK, understand all that? If so, you're ready to understand the drama.
This morning, there were three high-sec incursions: one in Amarr space, one in the Sanctum constellation owned by CONCORD near the Gallente-Amarr border, and a third in Minmatar space. The Amarr incursion was expected to be contested, and as such, a shield fleet under the command of a pilot named HTIDRaver was gathering in anticipation. From what I understand, it was a good long wait. The agreement between BTL and TDF says that you don't "punch the gate" on the mom site until the incursion goes into "Withdrawing". This incursion had been in "Mobilizing" for several days (unusual in itself). Raver (as he's known in BTL) is a very experienced incursion-running FC. In fact, he'd run one of the first, if not the first, mom fleet to go into low-sec. As such, he was a well-respected member of the BTL/TDF community.
Except that Raver decided to have himself a little blow-up this morning.
What caused him to blow up, I'm not sure yet (maybe someone will fill this detail in in the Comments), but Raver finally decided not to wait for the incursion to go into a "Withdrawing" state. My understanding is that he went off about "BTL/TDF bullshit", but that might just be exaggeration. What's known for sure is that he ordered his fleet to punch the gate with the Amarr incursion still in a Mobilizing state. Maybe if it had been a shield-owned mom, this wouldn't have been a problem. But it was a contested mom and the TDF fleet wasn't ready yet. And they objected. Loudly.
As I understand it, that caused a conversation throughout the midst of the Amarr mom fleet, distracting Raver from the job at hand. While the BTL fleet was working the mom, the Amarr incursion went into a Withdrawing state, but it wasn't there long. The BTL fleet finished the job and killed the mom. From what I understand, Raver was completely unrepentant.
The BTL/TDF leadership responded by black-listing him from the BTL/TDF public channels.
Being black-listed means that you're barred from entering the two public incursion channels, which greatly diminishes your ability to recruit for incursion fleets. You're left with your own channels or the public channel created by the incursion itself. In addition, there are a large number of incursion-running pilots that keep track of those that are black-listed and refuse to fly in Incursion fleets with them at all. Being black-listed is a very big deal.
And the BTL/TDF leadership had just done it to an experienced Incursion FC.
HTIDRaver responded to this... badly. He ordered his fleet to the Sanctum constellation to kill that mom. A lot of pilots abandoned his fleet, knowing the rules and not wanting to get caught up in Raver's actions. Raver filled his fleet back in with members of his own alliance, which is made up primarily of Incursion-running corps. That fleet successfully destroyed the Sanctum mom, ending the Sanctum incursion prematurely.
The BTL/TDF leadership responded quickly: the TDF armor FC was given permission to finish filling in his fleet and take out the Minmatar incursion mom before Raver's fleet could get there. The BTL/TDF leadership then not only black-listed Raver, they black-listed his second-in-command, then proceeded to black-list Raver's entire alliance!
Several of Raver's alliance-members reacted to this... badly. They shipped into suicide battleships, followed the TDF fleet into the Minmatar mom site, and proceeded to attempt to grief the TDF logistics pilots by ECM Bursting and smart-bombing them. It wasn't particularly successful.
But it was enough to get all of those pilots black-listed, too.
Yeah, I know: there are a lot of you giggling like fiends right now. Is it bad to laugh at the troubles of some high-sec bears? Probably karmically so. That's OK, though. I'll give you a special dispensation: go ahead and laugh. Get it out of your system. ;-)
So, that's where we sit this morning. Get into game and look, and you'll find that there are no high-sec Incursions at all this morning. The drama is still roiling around BTL and TDF. This morning, one of the TDF leadership sent out an EVE mail to the public mailing list for Incursions filling in some of this story. The mail ended, somewhat ominously, that some people had "asked permission" to war-dec HTIDRaver's alliance (Screaming Meercats), and that people so inclined "didn't need permission."
"Do what you will," the EVE mail ended, even more ominously.
Raver is still unrepentant. He has promised to close all future high-sec incursions with members of his own alliance the minute the mom sites appear.
There are a lot of bored high-sec incursion-runners, many of them ex-pat null-sec PvPers, with nothing to do this morning. All of them are talking about this little drama.
One corp has already dropped Screaming Meercats. It'll be fun to do a WITL post about them in 6.5 days or so, I think. ;-)
(1) And yes, incursion-runners, I know that there's more to it. In particular, I know that it's the order that sites go into Withdrawing that's important for determining what order things happen in and whether an incursion is contested or not. I also know that incursions aren't necessarily "owned" by shield or armor fleets. But non-incursion-runners don't need that level of detail to understand what happened this morning. :-P