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, June 26, 2012

Successful failure

Well, that didn't take long.

After one last battle, Fatal Ascension is calling a halt to their Syndicate deployment:
I made an un-popular last call to instead hit Syndicate for a moon purge. Our goals were simple, to tighten up fleet compositions, get some skirmish FC’s to step up and coordinate logistics for long term deployments. All of these goals have been met, with varying success. Overall, the deployment has put us in a ready stance to do just about anything we’d like and has boosted our confidence enough to push forward with our bros in the north to shit all over the entire southern block starting with Delve.
As a result, I and the other residents of Syndicate can wave our handkerchiefs as FA cynos out between now and the weekend.

Now granted, it was amusing for me to make fun of the FA deployment here last week.  And no, their efficiency still isn't all that great.  The last large fight and a couple of others have pushed it over 40%.  But it was helped along a lot by both the occasional derp and the fact that FA pilot markie1994 whored on a huge number of FA Tempest KMs in that last fight, presumably with "smart" bombs.  FA is leaving Syndicate with many fewer ships than they arrived with, and when they pull out it's a good bet they'll swiftly lose whatever moons they managed to pick up.

So, on paper, the deployment was a failure.  Other than the obvious morale issue, why try to spin it as a success?

Because the deployment was a success.

Yeah, it technically was.  This gets into a matter of perspectives and points of view, though.  And it may be hard to plug your brain into the proper mind-set, but here goes.

The CFC, which is made up of the Goons and those friendly to them, is a huge organization with a lot of moving parts.  But it has a lot of non-moving parts to it, too.  One of the reasons the NC fell was because of complacency brought about by having things too easy for too long.  It was tempting for a lot of members of NC corps to treat null-sec as just another place to bear.  A lot of people joined the NC just so they could bear; the PvP part was irrelevant or an annoyance.  Such members would ignore fleets and ignore deployments if they could.  Hell, they'd positively welcome deployments because that meant that most of the pilots would be gone from their home space resulting in less competition for the bear sites.

The longer the things stay stagnant, the more the CFC alliances and corps will have to fight the same tendency in their members.  I've noted before that Goons in particular are in serious danger of becoming the very thing that they hated for so long.

One of the ways the CFC breaks up the monotony is with internal competition.  When a major deployment does happen, there's a lot of scrutiny paid to which corps participate and which do not, and which corps bring the requested fleet comps, ships, and FCs to the deployments and which do not.  And the winners are rewarded, oh my yes are they rewarded.  Those that contribute well are given title over valuable moons and more valuable space in which to live.  Those that sit out deployments or participate in only a lack-luster way are passed over when the spoils of war are split... or they are pushed out of the CFC entirely.

Between major deployments, CFC alliances are strongly encouraged to partake in their own mini-deployments, and that's exactly what we saw here from FA.  The purpose to these sorts of deployments is to demonstrate the ability to operate independently, with one's own fleet comps, ships and FCs.  It's a lucky alliance that can run a mini-deployment and then immediately jump into a major deployment.  Even if both are on-paper failures, the fact that good participation, good fleet actions, and independent operation was shown will put that alliance in good stead during the next round of distribution of moons, space, and assets.

That's why this deployment was a success from the FA perspective.  Even if they didn't achieve any tactical goals (they didn't), they achieved some strategic ones.  They've demonstrated that they can move hundreds of ships and a dozen or so supers safely, they've demonstrated they can form up something approaching an independent, somewhat coherent alpha fleet doctrine, and they've demonstrated that they can use that doctrine to smack down towers and (theoretically, at least) take territory in the next sov war.  And they've demonstrated that once deployed, they can occasionally harass the locals as well as try to push them out.

If they can keep it up, all of this will stand them in good stead in Delve.

Even beyond this, though, it's instructive to consider the perspective of the individual FA pilot.  The bulk of FA pilots will come out of this deployment feeling pretty damn good.  When I get smack-talked by FA pilots around Syndicate, they don't know that they lost.  And again, from their perspective, they didn't.  We'll use FA pilots dirk boos and JAY WRIGHT as examples.  dirk has had no major losses during the Syndicate campaign and has racked up 250+ kills so far in June.  JAY has lost a Tempest (which will no doubt be reimbursed) but has put more than 400 kills on the board during the month.

Granted, in both cases, the majority of those kills are POS mods.  But in a couple of months, nobody's going to know or care.  I'm sure both of them feel pretty damn good about this deployment.  Sure, both of them lost ships.  But they'll get some reimbursement ISK and in the meantime, both had as many or nearly as many KMs in a month as they've ever had.  And that's how things are for most FA pilots.

I chose dirk as an example specifically because he passed Ripard's number of kills this month.  I myself have been very busy (for me), with 84 kills so far in June (none of them POS mods).  dirk has nearly triple what I have.

Who is to say which of us spent their time more profitably?

So yeah, the deployment was a failure on paper, but that's the only place it was a failure.  For the alliance leadership and for the individual pilots, I have no doubt they consider the Syndicate deployment a success, and time and treasure well-spent.

I'll have a bit more to say about this topic later in the week, because there's one more perspective that's been interesting about this FA visitation to Syndicate.  But this post is already quite long enough.  Just wanted to wish our new pet overlords good success in Delve and I for one will be sorry to see you go.  ;-)


  1. He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

  2. Moral is often more important than raw prowess is it not? We are defeated in our minds before we are defeated on the battlefield.

  3. Writing anything interesting about FA or Syndicate alone is hard enough. This post illustrates that even writing about both of them at once doesn't help. TL;DR Good Morale Is Good

  4. You make a good point about individual pilot impressions. FA have definitely been creamed in the isk-war, but morale is still probably high given that most pilots will feel like they've had a significant impact.

    Either way, I look forward to breaking their morale when we meet down in Delve...

  5. Fights were had in syndicate. Everyone won.

  6. Thanks Jester. You continue to provide good insight and analysis without being partisan.

    I am in agreement with you and all of the above posters: morale and activity are critical. Arbitrary stats and isk wars less so.

    Love them or hate them, Goons and their pets are at least proactive in providing game content for their members. And as a side effect content for plenty of others too.

    1. You're exactly right. The tech moon that funded these (likely) reimbursements directly provided a good time for Syndicate residents.

  7. There are lies, damn lies and statistics.

    If you kill a ship 1 v 1, you get a kill.
    If you kill the same ship 1 vs 100, you still get a kill if you manage to get 1 point of damage.

    His killboard increase is nothing but bad statistics. For the second case you should get 0.01 kills.

    1. May the power of christ compels you to crawl back in under the bridge!

    2. Never underestimate the ability of bad statistics to make people feel good. Those FA pilots don't give two hoots that they didn't kill things by themselves, or that Gevlon doesn't think they should count, or that in an objective universe that they probably don't count. They care that they got to fly out with a bunch of internet space ships, pew some things, and not expend too many personal resources in doing it.

      In any event, the killboard increase is not just bad statistics - it is a record of a person playing a game and presumably having fun. The killboard is just a trail of happy memories that happens to have some numbers on it.

      Don't take a crap in FA's corner of the sandbox just because the castle they are building doesn't match the architectural style of the castle you think everyone should build.

    3. "Don't take a crap in FA's corner of the sandbox just because the castle they are building doesn't match the architectural style of the castle you think everyone should build."

      Wait...isn't that the whole point of EVE? PvPers shit on carebears. Nullseccers shit on hisec, and to a lesser degree, lowsec. "l337" PvPers shit on "blob-drones"... everybody hates everybody who's not them, and in that, all is well. >;-)
      Or something like that.

  8. I actually had this discussion with kaeda, how I was a little bit :smug: about FA's operation steamroll syndicate. I fully understand and grasp that from FA's perspective this was operation success.

    However, in that same vain, for many of the syndicate usuals it's also operation success. For our goals are different. rnk, umad, rote, agony, 7th, fite, CAS and all those other lovely corps and alliances that live in syndicate, the goal is having good fights, and preferably winning them.

    Just speaking for myself but probably a sentiment shared by many in syndicate. There is nothing better then going against a fleet twice your size and winning. That was just what FA was giving us, again and again and again.

    Whether or not their ships get reimbursed, or if they make more money off moons in an hour then we can destroy in a day. *shrug* Hardly matters, we had a fight and we won. goal achieved. :smug:

    1. Is this the kind of thing you're talking about?


    2. For anyone who cares (but doesn't have access to the Agony internal killboard), the public link is:


  9. This is exactly why killboards are not relevant. The game would be better without them.


  10. It's kinda sad Jester, I was hoping i could have one of youre corpses in my hangar before we left.
    But alas, i will just have to stay up late and come down to dine in syndicate once we are done in delve!

  11. FA's dread losses in their final major battle are also counted as kills in their campaign stats due to smartbombs, etc. Even with PL, Goons, test etc. called in they only have 38% from that fight, plus the way they were outplayed in the end.

    But even if they lost battles, they had fun and syndicate delivered. Why be bored at home?

    So Zagdul isn't lying: wanted fights, got them. Has enough tech to cover all the losses, and then some.

  12. I always love discussions about "tactics" vs "strategy"...I myself see this more as a way to improve tactics, seeing as how the strategy would have only been a success IF they had that 'training' objective in mind...except i'd argue that strategy isn't really the word i would use for such a goal.

    Of course, we all know how large alliances work and how they decide to adjust their 'strategy' to match what objectives they can glean from the jaws of defeat.

    I digress. Improving tactics i see as improving an alliance's motions. FA went through the proper motions of a deployment, however poorly they faired; In the area of blooding their pilots to avoid stagnation that involved enough 'motion' to get that goal sorted.

    I do not really see 'Strategy' as anything other than improving an alliance's possessions. Did FA really have a good strategy in mind, based on hindsight on what they attempted to accomplish in Syndicate, as far as gaining new possessions in an intelligent rational way?


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