Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Didn't want that space anyway

I'll make this quick.

Now that my vacation is over (very restful, thank you), I've been spending the last couple of days becoming familiar with what was going on in EVE while I was away.  Not much, it turns out.  Looks like most of you were on the same vacation I was.  Even the fight up in Branch seems to have moved the lines on the map only a few inches, if at all.

One of the items that I've read today was this piece focused on IRC's problems going into the new year.  The piece is labeled as "analysis", but honestly, comes off as being written by a bitter ex-IRC member.  Still, speaking as someone who's been a frequent opponent of IRC over the years -- I don't think I've ever been in an EVE alliance that was friendly to them -- I have to say the piece is truthful in a lot of respects.  If the fleet I'm in is disciplined at all, I feel very comfortable taking on an IRC fleet that is three times larger than my own (if not larger) because I know that once an IRC fleet starts taking losses, their fleet members and their FC will start to panic.

And panic is contagious.  Once it spreads, it'll turn a defeat into a rout.

Still, it's not my intent today to beat up on IRC.  Even the piece itself grudgingly admits that the IRC command recognizes the issues within their own alliance and are looking to fix them, and I wish them luck there.  Still, it speaks to a larger issue.

CCP is no doubt making their plans for 2012, both large and small.  But winter is here, and the biggest problem facing EVE in 2012 is the same as the biggest problem that was facing EVE in 2011.  And while it's tempting to call that problem "stagnation" (and I've done so in the past), I'm becoming increasingly convinced that it's incorrect to refer to the problem that way.

After all, if you look at the map as it existed at the beginning of the year, you'd have a tough time finding parts of it that didn't change hands.  The Goons started the year in Deklein, of course, and that's where they end the year.  Red Alliance, Solar Fleet, and Legion of xXDeathXx are also pretty much where they started the year (though of course their influence has greatly expanded).  And IRC is where they started the year; they've held Cobalt Edge for almost exactly two years now.

But every other part of the map changed hands this year, from locations as diverse as Tenal in the far, far north, to Period Basis and Feythabolis in the far south.  So, in that way, you can hardly call EVE "stagnant".  Stagnant isn't the right word when that much change happened in a single year.  So I won't be using that word to describe the EVE political scene any more... except in a very limited context.

I say the piece about IRC comes off sounding like it was written by a bitter ex-IRC member because parts of it seem to invite attack on IRC!  It really reads in part like the author wishes someone would come along and kick IRC out of their long-held region.  Maybe the author hopes they get kicked out of their space.  But maybe... just maybe, he hopes that they'll get kicked out of their complacency.

Because that's how every single part of New Eden that was lost in 2011 was lost... and it was lost to alliances who had already held space.  NCdot, White NoiseDOT, and RaidenDOT went from holding regions in the south to holding regions in the north.  Morsus Mihi went from holding space in the north to holding space in the south to holding no space, losing it to GSF, who went from holding space in the north to holding space both north and south.

All of it was due to internal rot.  Loss turned into panic.  Panic turned into a rout.

But there haven't been a lot of new faces in 2011. Unless I've missed them, there hasn't been a hungry new alliance taking space and spoiling for a fight. The same faces that held space when the year began pretty much hold space with the year ending, though they've changed names here and there.

As many people have pointed out over the last few years, sovereignty in EVE is never won by the victor.  It is lost by the loser.  Whether through complacency and rot, mismanagement, oversight, or flat-out idiocy, it is never grand strategy that wins campaigns.  Even well-loved truths of war such as striking for the center of gravity are of absolutely no use in EVE.  To take space in EVE, you strike for the edges, not for the center.

If CCP is looking for a big picture item to fix in EVE in the coming year, that'd be a good one to look at.  I know that sovereignty is again on their minds.  It'd be nice to be able to read about an alliance that lost their space only after a grand campaign filled with glorious battles, wouldn't it?


  1. Welcome back Jester, good to hear you had a great time away.

    Certainly you've heard that Zulu is no longer at the helms since you've been gone? Can't wait for that post...

  2. As the author of the article id like to say:
    1) I like YOUR analysis and look forward to reading your blog in the future.
    2) Not bitter-i promise. Certainly critical and sadly not balanced (there is much to be said about IRC and its high command, but this was not the focus of my analysis.
    3) You are right. This article is intended to inspire a little instability and in the unlikely senario that all the points i make reach a critical mass someone other than IRC could exploit. However, like u have said there is some hope that IRC can rectify these 'problems' and grow much stronger (believe it or not i hope they do and think that they deserve to).
    4) If i wanted to really put the cat amoungst the pigieons then i would have added details and names about more serious issues and disagreements within IRC HC, corp directors, FC's and certain diplos. I have not done this (nor will i do so in any further reference/detail, out of respect to a truly.welcoming and friendly alliance).

    I wish them well.

  3. If you like EVE, check out Perpetuum.

  4. Well apparently the theme for 2012 is "War"...so chances are something is coming. Having a new FW "main" myself, I'm kind of hoping that theme translates to lowsec/FW iteration... but realistically given all the hard looking they've been talking about with respect to nullsec, that's where it's gonna be.
    It's really too bad that nullsec is so much the "end-game" for them that they really don't bother with lowsec at all. After all, if lowsec got a buff, we wouldn't have our incentives to move to null and be part of the "end-game" right? ;-)
    And hisec, well, that just keeps getting buffs to keep the ever growing "WoW-in-spaaaaaaace" bear populace happy and paying up.

  5. http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=11951758 Speaks for itself. Every single IRC maelstrom kill was done by a bombing run. They went 26 jumps to help support WN., and then blobbed and got bombed. They really need to work on reworking their entire command structure and FC's if they want to be successful. They have the numbers, and a lot have the heart, just the level of intuition for leading large groups of people isn't there. Another thing worth noting regarding not having good FC's, is that recently they have taken to kicking FC's who welp fleets out of the alliance. Really promotes people wanting to step up and lead them to success /s

  6. "Unless I've missed them, there hasn't been a hungry new alliance taking space and spoiling for a fight"

    I don't remember WN before 2011. Granted, it is only one example, where the game could benefit from dozens of new faces harassing the established ones.

  7. WN and TEST were 2010's new faces. TEST popped up in the summer, WN in the early autumn.

  8. I wonder whether a lot of the 'stagnation' is because it is easier for up and coming FCs and alliance bigwig types to set themselves up in existing large sov holding alliances than it would be to establish a fresh alliance in highsec or lowsec and then make the push out to nullsec. When new nullsec sov holder do appear on the map it is usually a result of fragmentation of existing alliance rather than a genuinely 'new' alliance.

    Plus, as we all know, the large sov holding alliances tend to be bitterly anti-competitive. They will generally crush any sprout of potentially competitive change that comes up on their radar - be it a new game mechanic, an industrious player stepping on their toes or an emerging alliance.

    The goons are probably one of the best examples of this; Despite holding what can only be described as almost unilateral dislike from the player base at large they manage to maintain a healthy section of nullsec which also happens to include various 'bottleneck' resources like gallente ice. This is because at the end of the day, displacing such an organised group would be extremely difficult and ultimately costly to all involved.

    I'd love to see a slight shift away from "organised alliances win, disorganised alliances lose" to a more strategic device where it is easier for alliances to aggressively capture nullsec space rather than the current mechanism of waiting till a competitor has an internal coup and then exploiting the disorganisation to nibble on their periphery.


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