I think the easiest place to start will be from a piece I wrote about a month ago detailing my first experience with a low-sec mom. One of the challenges I mentioned in getting a fleet together to fight a low-sec mom is the fact that only a small percentage of the people that participate in BTL/TDF will go into low-sec. As I put it in that piece:
But despite bringing in hundreds of millions of ISK per month -- if not billions -- almost none of these high-sec bears want to go into low-sec, even if they have a fleet of 65 or 70 people around them.Given that the people in this group won't go into low-sec with 65 or 70 people around them, you can just imagine how they feel about going into low-sec with a 10-person Vanguard fleet. ;-)
That, in itself, makes the low-sec mom more difficult. Since very few fleets will go into low-sec to do the lower-end incursion sites there, by the time the mom is confronted, the resistance nerf that is part of the incursion experience is still very much in effect.
Hold that thought for a second.
In my incursion guides, particularly in part 2, I go to great lengths to describe the fact that many incursion FCs will shun less-expensive, less "shiny" ships in favor of T3s, pirate faction battleships, and like ships. The idea here is to maximize the income of an incursion fleet given the amount of time that incursion fleet has to spend. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but elitism has definitely set in. There are a lot of mid-range incursion FCs would literally rather have two or three missing ships in their fleet than invite a T1 battleship. They'll actively continue shunning less "shiny" ships, saving those open slots for the first more expensive ship to come along, and only then issue an invitation.
In my guides, I recognize and accept this elitism from a purely practical stand-point. My purpose in the guide was to tell you how to make your own ship more appealing and useful to incursion fleets. That usually means a little bling. In short, I accept this elitist behavior as a given and just skip to helping explain how you -- as a player -- can benefit. I'm not trying to explore the underlying implications. No doubt Ian Malcolm would remind me that just because I could do that didn't necessarily mean that I should. ;-)
But again, hold that thought for a second, too.
Among the most "senior" BTL/TDF incursion FCs, there's a growing frustration with the high-sec ISK-grubbing monster they've created. Remember, many of them are null-sec ex-pats or alts just trying to make some ISK. They didn't have any interest in creating a new wave of high-sec bears. They just wanted to introduce a little bit of organization and process into the previously somewhat chaotic incursion fleets. To this, they've attempted to add the occasional low-sec PvP roam and related forays into low-sec incursions. But the wheel is turning in the other direction.
I've personally observed the high-sec incursions become so over-crowded that it's literally impossible to get into a Vanguard fleet without a very expensive T3, command ship, or pirate faction battleship. While this happens, you've got literally dozens of people forlornly posting fits for T1 battle-cruisers, battleships, and the like. But when an FC -- even a very senior BTL FC -- offers to take a bunch of these pilots into low-sec and do incursions there, suddenly, all of them go quiet. ;-) They would literally rather do nothing than risk even an inexpensive ship in low-sec.
Now granted, a lot of these pilots are relatively new players trying to make the hundreds of millions of ISK they need for early EVE career skill-books and the like. But a lot more of them are long-time players with very expensive ships in their hangars and hundreds of millions, if not billions of ISK, in their wallets.
So high-sec bears is what the senior BTL/TDF FCs are getting.
As a result, a lot of the most senior members of this crew have been grumbling about what to do next. A few of them have gotten frustrated and dropped out of FCing. A few more are looking for ways to redirect some of the energy they've created into other pursuits (like the low-sec roams that I mentioned). And a couple are getting frustated enough that they've started openly talking about prematurely closing down some of the high-sec incursions to force some of these bears into low-sec incursions if they want to make ISK.
Into this murky amino acid soup, Raver fell like a lightning bolt.
Now, I'm not saying I condone what he did. I'm not saying that I disapprove of it, either. I'm also not saying that his motivations were anything like this somewhat-more-noble aspiration to encourage high-sec bears to at least try low-sec. Chances are, in the end, he was just in it to grief some people. But I do find it ironic that the senior BTL/TDF people are being forced by the rules that they created to punish someone that at least a few of them have sympathies toward. Talk about being hoist on your own petard!
The irony hit a new level a couple of days ago when it was discovered that another long-time incursion FC, starfire angel, took part in Raver's two mom kills. Again, by a strict interpretation of their own rules, the BTL/TDF leadership were forced to add him to the black-list. I don't think they wanted to. And apparently, they resisted it for several days. But they've since given in and starfire is now black-listed. starfire is, if anything, more respected by large blocks of the incursion-running community than Raver is, and I include myself among that number. I believe he's every bit as methodical and aggressive as the best null-sec PvP FCs I've flown with, though I recognize that FCing style isn't for everyone.
It's going to be interesting to track this one going forward. There's already a certain sense of "ownership" about the high-sec incursions among the BTL/TDF leadership... as if anything happening in "their" incursions has to have their sanction. It's not quite that bad, but it's close. But with the BTL/TDF leadership being forced to exile respected incursion FCs... it'll be worth watching to see if those exiled FCs have any luck stirring up some competition... and if they do, how many will follow them.
And if some of the normal BTL/TDF crowd start following these competing FCs, it'll be even more interesting to see how the BTL/TDF leadership reacts to it. Will they start black-listing people who join the fleets of black-listed FCs? What if those black-listed FCs start completing mom sites and "prematurely" ending high-sec incursions? Will the BTL/TDF leadership start black-listing whole fleets?
Even if, by doing so, those exiled FCs are taking the actions that they themselves sympathize with, but can't bring themselves to take?
And what happens if these exiled FCs start accepting less-valuable ships into their fleets en masse, or are successful in leading fleets into low-sec? Wouldn't that pull a lot of people who aren't having any luck in the current system into the arms of the exiles?
All in all, interesting times are ahead, if you're an incursion-runner.