Fair warning: it's just possible that Garth got to my keyboard and edited portions of this post between final draft and publication. I apologize for anyone who is offended.
Over the weekend, while participating in an op that I'll describe in a moment, Rote Kapelle was approached by a fleet under the command of John Revenent, an FC in Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive (I-RED). The fleet was composed 12 ships: five Zealots, two Lokis, a Damnation... and four Guardians.
No, I am not making this up. You can't make shit like this up.
Rote Kapelle has a problem right now, and that problem is Syndicate and almost everyone in it. In a game full of risk averse EVE players, Syndicate has become a hiding place for this particular breed of whiny cry-baby. It's really rather pathetic. And it's turning what was once the finest PvP region in all of EVE Online into a forest of ganks and coward-fleets that run away at the first sign of danger. In this particular case, I'll be charitable and credit the I-RED fleet with about 3500 outgoing DPS. But on linked Zealots, four Guardians is capable of repping more than three times that... more than 11500 DPS.(1)
What the green hell is an opposing fleet supposed to do about that? If we bring enough DPS to apply the requisite 12000 DPS or enough alpha to actually have a chance at damaging ships in that fleet, we'll be accused of blobbing. If we bring a couple of Bhaalgorns or a few Curses to try to break all those reps, the fleet will run away. If we decloak Falcons to jam the Guardians, after the fleet runs away we'll be accused of :ecm:. When one of our FCs asked "Should we take this fight?", my response was an immediate, sarcastic, and biting "Are you serious?" And yeah, I felt kinda bad about that afterwords, and yeah, I apologized saying it but... cripes.
Needless to say, the fleet aligned away as a unit and warped off as a unit to prevent us catching stragglers, either.
Rote routinely roams through Syndicate in logi-less fleets. We limit ourselves to ten ships. We limit ourselves to one Recon. We put five billion ISK on the field supported by one Scimitar. It doesn't matter. People flee from us like forest animals from a fire.
This is what small-gang PvP in EVE has come to. And it's about to become five times worse. But more about that tomorrow.
On Babylon 5, much of seasons three and four revolved around a philosophical debate between two of the oldest races in the galaxy. Each of these two races had a question for those younger than they. And these were the big questions. One asked "Who are you?" The other, "What do you want?" In season four, a third race even older was introduced and that race asked the biggest question of all: "Why are you here?"
If you live in Syndicate and you're not here for small gang PvP, why are you here?
Syndicate is shit for missions and sites, shit for mining and moons, shit for ratting and for PvE in general. It's a great region to go broke in if you try to rely on it for an income. But Syndicate is supposed to be about small gang or solo fights. LOL-T1 cruiser gangs. Equal number BC brawls, no-ECM-no-logi. Camping "FD tack" if you get bored. Or just straight up small gang traditional roaming with fleet sizes in the 10 to 15 range or so, maybe 20 on a weekend day 'cause there are a few more people around. But these days, if you dare show your face in Syndicate in a fleet of more than five ships potential opposition will flee in fear. If you show up in one, you'll get ganked by a dozen. Or you'll get ganked by one Tornado 175km off with mids full of Tracking Computers and lows full of Signal Amplifiers.
It's a cancer and it's got to be stopped.
As a result, Rote Kapelle's leadership has decided to take an unprecedented and untested step of doing our damnedest to drive out of Syndicate every cry-baby whining ganking-or-running-away alliance that we set our eyes on. Outside of Syndicate, fights happen only because strategic objectives are threatened. And if that's what it takes to start a fight, sure: we're willing to give it a try.
So we're going to do our level best to wipe out every strategic objective belonging to these alliances in Syndicate, one or two a day until these alliances leave, or they give us a damned fight. First victim? Damned Nation, who don't seem to understand any sort of PvP other than "gank" or "run away". And in one of the worst moon regions in New Eden, they seem intent on moon mining... a lot! That gives a lot of strategic objectives.
My alliance-mates Anderson Williams and Namamai have both done fine jobs of summing up the problem and what we intend to do about it on Failheap Challenge. Can this even be done? We're going to find out.
Rote Kapelle is in this for the long haul.
If we clear out pockets, I'll be happy to advertise them to entities that would like to try out null-sec life, but for Heaven's sake, bring your small gang, will you? 'cause until people do, I don't think we're interested in playing nice any more.
EDIT (16/Oct/2012): I underestimated the amount of DPS that four-Guardian fleet could tank. I forgot to apply the Damnation bonuses to the Guardians. It wasn't almost 8000 DPS. It was almost 12000 DPS. I regret the error.
(1) One meta 4 armor repper applied to 84% average resists is 722 DPS tanked, so 16 such reppers are 11552 DPS.