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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, July 26, 2013

E pluribus unum

Not long after I first started playing EVE Online, a buddy of mine who had been playing for a year or so by that time joined a large sov-holding null-sec alliance.  He soon reported that one of the membership requirements of his alliance was a monthly tax on all members.  I don't remember the exact amount... but at the time, it seemed like a lot of ISK.  It was probably about 20 million or so per month.  He further reported that the tax was payable per character in the alliance.  I remember thinking at the time this seemed somewhat unreasonable to me.  After all, wasn't the alliance getting the benefit of additional members to defend their space?  I was assured that this was no big deal and raising the ISK was quite easy.  All one had to do was a couple of hours of null-sec ratting, or it could be done even faster by joining one of the alliance's weekly mining ops and turning in your mineral take.  After the membership tax was paid, all mining or ratting beyond that was pure profit.

If memory serves, the alliance in question -- which I won't name -- was about a thousand or so characters at the time, which meant that the alliance had a monthly income of some 20 billion ISK per month or 240 billion a year, which struck me as almost other-worldly amount of ISK.  I was then informed that was only part of the alliance's income and that there were also mining taxes, refining taxes, ratting taxes payable to one's corp, et cetera.  Again, I was told that this was common-place in null-sec and every alliance did it.  And indeed when I joined Gentlemen's Club myself sometime later, they did indeed have a monthly per-character membership tax and so I dutifully paid it.

Does this sort of thing still go on?  I haven't heard about it in several years.  These days, the largest alliances finance their operations with more efficient and reliable means than membership taxes.

So you can imagine the amusement and surprise when it was declared that "TEST is broke" and they'd be asking for donations to maintain their ship replacement program for members.  And to the continued amusement of their enemies, quite a lot of people ponied up, to the tune of some 300 billion ISK so far.  It's not insignificant money and it will fund a goodly number of fleet battles... assuming that TEST fights on after yesterday's embarrassment.

Still, it's been interesting to watch the propaganda war flow back and forth over TEST's finances.
(6:11:40 PM) directorbot: FYI: Letting Baki Yuku into your alliance is almost as hazardous to its health as letting Gevlon Goblin manage your finances.
Mittens in particular has been having a good time with it, but he's not the only one.  There have been pretty funny propaganda images about it, including this one...

This is quite possibly my favorite thing so far this year

Goons have always been excellent at propaganda, of course -- it may be what they're best at.  But it's been kind of entertaining and amusing to watch the war of :words: over an alliance-funding technique that's far older than the method the Goons have chosen.  The Goons, meanwhile, have everyone believing -- hell, even including me and even including TEST themselves! -- that such a donation drive is ample proof that the Fountain war is lost, almost regarding it as pitiable... and almost pathetic.  So you have TEST members and people giving donations struggling to justify their participation.

The irony of course, is that all of this is happening while the CFC wages a war whose entire purpose, you'll recall, is so they won't have to resort to such financing means themselves!

So yeah, I see the humor in it.  It's kind of fun to watch and kind of fun to get caught up in.  What CCP thinks about it, I couldn't tell you.  They're staying (rightfully) carefully quiet and neutral about the whole thing.  Meanwhile, the propaganda continues...
(6:08:14 PM) directorbot: A TEST Logi director just went rogue and stole everything in their Logi hangars in Karan, NOL, K-6 and 6VDT, all gone. It seems like the leadership of TEST are officially abandoning ship and grabbing everything not nailed down.
One data point makes a trend, I guess...


  1. "What CCP thinks about it, I couldn't tell you. They're staying (rightfully) carefully quiet and neutral about the whole thing."

    Carefully quiet? What? Why would they give shit how an alliance funds itself?

  2. You know what I noticed about goons? They've become the spitting image of that which they rallied against and hated when they started.

  3. Want more funny things in finance? Check out the price of Neodymium, the No1 moon material of Fountain at the point when Goons started the war. Compare it to today's value.

  4. Also, mentioning TEST in the same sentence as "embarrassment" is a serious error. Check out test killboard: https://zkb.pleaseignore.com/ on the top of it listed the most expensive losses.

    Ridiculing mistakes of other members is the most important tradition of TEST (and Goons too)

  5. Dinsdale PirannhaJuly 26, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    I am not the only one saying this, but may be one of the most persistent. This war was all about RMT income, nothing more, nothing less. goon leadership recognized that in the short term, at least, that their utility bills and mortgage payments would not be made with moon goo and other taxes on Eve players unless they moved fast to grab the new allocation of moon riches.

    So they did it. Now, when soundwave hands them T2 mfg they will not only control the means of production, but an even larger amount of the raw materials. The economy is worth conservatively 7.8 million dollars at 12 dollars per billion RMT rates (CCP economists pegged the Eve economy at 650 trillion). Right now the cartel leaders are seeing something like 10% of the number flow through their hands. That number is going to spike hugely between now and the December release when phase one of the removal of T2 mfg in high sec starts.

    And CCP figures it is good for business for this kind of RMT oligopoly to exist. Logic indicates that the reasons CCP turns a blind eye to this are kickbacks, or they harbour an absolute terror that goons would somehow destroy Eve if CCP tried to stop the RMT operations.

    Any way you cut it, the null sec cartel operations are no different in nature than any other organized crime syndicate. goons are evil, but far from stupid. They will continue to rake in huge amounts of ISK and convert it to real money, because they simply won't have anything in game they can spend it on.

  6. I've never understood why CCP don't implement an income tax system where a corp/alliance can just tax all (or defined transactions) ISK that enters your wallet.

    That would make it easier to kick off the bottom up income they keep yapping on about.

  7. Funnily enough the only major alliance in the game (to my knowledge) that still uses a member tax is Li3, the awful alliance that the CFC poached from the HBC.

  8. f-con still uses membership taxes

    1. All CFC alliances has membership tax and/or ratting tax

  9. After that amazing first image you write:

    'Goons have always been excellent at propaganda, of course'

    Just wanted to point out out that image came from my boys in Gentlemens' Agreement so CFC, not Goons ;)

    Interesting side point: some of the propaganda this time round from all sides in this war has been astounding well done. Seen some great images from Test too.

  10. Propaganda is important. After all, TEST's main problem isn't ISK - it is morale.

    Since even before the war actually started, TEST has been purely defensive - the leadership took the stance of trying to hold ground and survive, until a peace can be negotiated, rather than going all out and trying to win. As everyone knows, the TEST leadership doesn't believe that TEST can actually beat CFC and, having failed to avoid the war, they want to do what they can to come out of it with as little damage to the alliance (and their own) wallets as possible.

    In the end, we all know that the leadership is just going to make a deal with Mittens to give up a certain number of moons, in exchange for ending the war. At least, that is what they are hoping will happen - they are already spending more time trying to broker a deal than they are planning any retaliatory battles.

    Well, dammit, who the hell wants to belong to an alliance with that sort of chicken-sh*t attitude?

    This has been Mittens' plan, as well, from day one. He doesn't want to expend any more resources in the war than necessary - which is why he announced at the beginning that this was a war for resources/ISK, rather than a sov war.

    Any wonder why a lot of TEST folks are jumping ship for the Goons? Smart leader vs. cowardly leaders, ie. winner vs. losers - not a hard choice.

    So, CFC will end up getting both moons and a lot of pilots. And, a much diminished TEST will probably become easy prey for some other alliance.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.