And now, an EVE term definition for the newer EVE players. You vets can move on to the next post.
The term "POS lottery" is not one that you're likely to hear unless you're in a good-size sov-holding alliance, or an alliance holding valuable moons. If you're in either of these types of alliances, sooner or later (probably sooner) you will get tapped to participate in a POS bash, which involves destroying an enemy or neutral POS near a moon. POSes are established in enemy territory for a variety of reasons -- most often they're used as safe staging and resupply points -- and most alliances will actively destroy POSes that are established in or near their territory. Alternately, if there's a valuable moon nearby being held by an enemy or neutral alliance, your alliance may choose to preemptively destroy that POS in order to take control of the moon.
Destroying POSes is one of the worst experiences in EVE Online.
It has all of the likelihood of getting your ship destroyed as a good size fleet battle, combined with the sheer boredom of a roam where you find no targets, combined with the lack of kill-mails of such a roam. In short, it combines every bad element of EVE Online PvP into one grinding, freakishly long experience. Unless you have a large super-cap or capital contingent along, you can expect a typical POS bash to take anywhere from one to three hours.
And a lot of alliances multiply the boredom by stringing two or three or even more POS bashes in a row in succession.
By the end of even a single POS bash, you're likely to be a zombie. The problem is, your FC knows that POS fleets are easy targets for roaming gangs or bomber fleets, so he has to try to keep you and the rest of the fleet alert. There are lots of ways of doing this, and one of the ways that's common as a POS bash is concluding is to have a POS lottery.
The lottery works by setting a stake amount -- 10 million ISK is typical. Each person who is "in" will send the stake amount to a trustworthy member of the fleet, for each of that person's characters that is involved in the bash.(1) Whomever gets the eventual kill-mail for the POS takes the collected stakes, winner take all. 10 million ISK is a small enough amount that most pilots will pony it up without grumbling too much. But if there are 50 pilots involved in the bash, that makes the total stake 500 million ISK... significant money!
If you have a large enough group bashing the POS, there are relatively even chances of any type of ship winning the stake. By the end of the bash, dreads are unlikely to be sieged, reducing their impact, and any Titans and other super-caps may have well have already left the field to reduce their risk. There are different strategies that players follow to increase their likelihood of getting the KM. Some prefer to leave their weapons grouped, hoping that the larger alpha will give them a better chance of getting the mail. Others like to split and stagger their guns to increase their chances that way. Others load expensive faction ammo for those last few shots, and a few people even overheat.
To prevent people not involved in the lottery from getting the KM, the FC should order them to cease fire as the POS approaches 5% structure or so. Once the POS is destroyed, the winner posts the KM, it is verified on the alliance kill board (usually by a corp director), the trustworthy party holding the stake money confirms that the winner actually did put in a stake, and then the winner is paid off.
As a POS bash approaches a conclusion, it's an amusing way to wake up the fleet, and the chances of winning a POS lottery mean that people might show up for the next one. ;-) So, give it a try on your next POS bash, if you're not using this idea already.
Occasionally on Sundays, I will be defining a common EVE term for those who might not have heard it. If you have a suggestion for such a term, please drop it into the comments.
(1) Multi-boxing is quite typical in POS bashes.