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...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Risk

Growing up, I was a big fan of strategy board games, and one of my favorites was Risk.  For the seven of you who haven't played it, it's a turn-based strategy game the objective of which is to conquer the world.  It's about two thirds strategy, one third luck.  Individual battles are decided by dice rolls where ties go to the defender.  As a result, a weak player who is lucky can still hold off a much stronger player.  That said, strategy plays the larger part and sooner or later a good strategy will overcome a lucky opponent.

When I played Risk, I nearly always tried to control North America first.  Two players would usually brawl over South America.  Two others would fight over Australia.  Me, I was content to conquer one or two lightly-defended territories on the top left side of the board per turn, collecting a card each turn, until I could trade in a set, collect a surplus of troops, and try for a final push through Mexico and/or Greenland around the fifth turn of the game.  If the other players were fortifying elsewhere, it usually worked.

By this time, the exhausted victor in South America usually hadn't consolidated yet and wasn't much of a threat.  So the next turn or two, I could push south with the North America troop bonus and then fortify my position with only three entries into my domain.  From there, I'd try to set up a buffer -- usually in Iceland, ironically enough -- to absorb attacks.

Once that was done I knew that if I could hold both North and South America for four turns, the game was mine.

And that brings me to the latest GSF CEO update published by The Mittani.  When I pointed out on the blog before the update that CFC owned the entire west half of the galaxy, a couple of people were quick to say, in effect, "true, but in terms of system density, it's the smaller half of the galaxy."  And just like Risk's western hemisphere, that's indeed true... and at the same time not particularly relevant.  There are fewer systems in the west than the east, that's true.  But they're easier to hold, fortify, and defend.

Hell, on the latest influence map the GSF holdings even look a little like North and South America.  And there are indeed three natural ingress points, and so three places that will need to be defended.


Meanwhile, the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere alliance acts as a lovely buffer to absorb attacks.  Sure, people could invade the heart of GSF space through Pure Blind or Venal and bypass this buffer... but will they?  The level of threat in the rest of the galaxy strikes me as remarkably, historically low right now.  Mittens even jokes about already beating "Literally Everyone Else In Eve."

So what happens next?

The rank-and-file Goon presumably will get bored in a few months time.  They've been fed on constant warfare and conquest for quite a while now, with the need to pull back and defend their home space coming less and less frequently.  Say you're CFC leadership.  Once you consolidate North and South America and the troops are piling up every turn and your bonus cards are stacking up... what do you do with them?  If the goal isn't to push east and close the circle, what is the goal?

I've joked about Goons winning EVE before.  But now it feels like that nothing short of a Haargoth Agamar level betrayal is going to dislodge them.  Or maybe forgetting to pay a sov bill.  Or another game coming along.  In the meantime though, what next?

49 comments:

  1. And you are surprised by the current situation? As much as I hate the sociopaths, there is little doubt they are the most organized, cohesive group in the game. When you play the game for real money, you are a little, or a lot, more motivated than groups that don't. (Not that the other cartels don't play for real money).

    And of course, CCP is providing them with even more tools to defend their territory (portable cyno jammers), and ever greater ISK flows (high sec POCO's). I can hardly wait to get onto Sisi Monday night and see what else CCP has handed nullsec, that has yet to be announced.

    Seagull has made it clear her vision of the game is a dystopian galaxy where there are no NPC empires, and likely no Concord, only player empires. Well, guess what, when you are the largest, most evil, most organized group in the game, chances are you will conquer the whole damn thing. There won't be some plucky rebel alliance using The Force to conquer the evil empire. No, we are far more likely facing a reign like the Roman empire.

    The only group that will unseat the goons are the CCP accountants, if sub rates fall far enough, and they have enough sense to start firing null sec devs, and start listening to the bulk of their subscription base, and implement game mechanics that limit the size of empires, as opposed to helping them grow larger and more powerful.

    goons have won Eve. Everyone knows it. So let's blow it up and start over. If these guys don't RMT, then I would imagine they would welcome the challenge. If they do RMT, then then I am reasonably certain they will have some resistance to the concept of game mechanics that make maintaining a massive empire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah but look at what the romans did for us...

      Delete
    2. I find your RMT conspiracy theories fascinating - please, don't ever change, and keep posting comments. I do agree that the game in sov needs changing - you've got that exactly right.

      Delete
    3. "And of course, CCP is providing them with even more tools to defend their territory (portable cyno jammers), and ever greater ISK flows (high sec POCO's). I can hardly wait to get onto Sisi Monday night and see what else CCP has handed nullsec, that has yet to be announced."

      So organize a high-sec coalition, carebear. Nobody's stopping you from getting a bunch of guys to band together and fight. Goons have a lot of people F1ing at targets, plus retard-herders who can pull all the useless neckbeards together and point them at a target.

      Fundamentally, that's a "people" thing - not a game mechanics thing. Moreover, the usual nullsec alliance advantages of enormous (super)cap fleets don't apply in highsec, which gives newer coalitions much more of a chance to fight. Everyone whines about the goons being terrible people who are terrible, so you'd think someone could figure out such a basic human behavior as "organizing a diverse group of people." It's just the fundamental basis of civilization.

      Well, that is, if they would fight. Which they won't. Because you and all your whining friends are stupid, inbred carebears. When the solution is, basically, "be more socially functional people than goons," you know there's something wrong with the picture.

      Delete
  2. And that's the problem with sov warfare. It really is just a game of Risk in space and as anyone who's played Risk knows it's a very, very simple game.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting that we have identical preferred Risk strategies. I have yet to find another that is as effective. I wonder if this one is a favorite among Eve players. Anyone have a better one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It so depends on your starting position and your objective card. This may be feasible if you want to prolong the game or just build up and then sweep across the map to kill off an enemy but if you only have 1 or 2 "lands" in NA to start off with and/or you don't need to be there at all objective wise it's not even a smart move, hardly a fail-proof strategy.
      You just don't want to be involved early on in any tid for tad exchange over a continent because a 3th party is likely to crash your party.

      Delete
    2. I do the same thing in Star Wars Risk as well, control one of the smaller easier to defend regions and build from there, however I'm very unlucky and tend to roll low on the defense and get my empire blown up by one dick that kamakasis into me. Risk does apeal to the type that are attracted to eve because of this.

      Delete
    3. My preferred RISK strategy is to play Diplomacy instead.

      Delete
  4. I never liked Goons. I despise SA, their culture, their way of playing.

    But holy damn, a part of me want to see them astride the entirety of 0.0 space... maybe just so I can say "Well that's impressive" while, at the same time, holding the hope they'll implode so hard they'll get wiped off the face of EVE forever.

    Right now I don't think even a high-level treason would seriously hurt Goons. BoB was on the way out by the time Haargoth delivered a coup de grace. If something similar happened to CFC right now, they'd just be pissed off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would they want to take over all of null?

      What do you do then? There's no one to attack anymore... They'd likely just get bored, and move to another game. It's self-defeatist of the goon philosophy.

      I think they'll likely sit pretty, stacking up their defenses and filling the coffers, just waiting for someone to come along and try and take it from them.

      Delete
    2. Molon Labe. mention the moon goo and this was the usual response on Eve-O. I can not recall anybody ever taking up this offer. At least no one that generated any impact if they did. At the beginning of the year when elements of the HBC talked about conflict, the actual purpose of the game - the propoganda went into overdrive. Conflict isn't bad really. but the people proposing it were hilighted as unstable or acting out of hate.

      You don't need defences when you have bribes.

      Self Defeatist? I doubt it. On several occasions Mittans has said; we don't need industralists whilst we have cheap goods in Jita and jump freighters to get from there. At the same time they are happy to invade high sec for highjinx like Burn JIta or Ice Intradiction or Hulkageddon.

      What's that core philosophy? Not out to ruin the game, just yours? Sadly the missing point is that its player driven content, when you ruin a player's game it remains an attack on the game itself. The two can not be separated.

      Delete
  5. We know that laissez-faire ends in monopoly. There may be some factors keeping Goons from growing large enough to own all of null, and if so, good. That's what's keeping the game alive.

    Otherwise, CCP will have to take deliberate steps to destabilize Goonspace (and that would be a bit cheesy). Allowing them to own large chunks of high, too, is exactly the wrong direction.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The CFC was very far inded from beating "literally everyone else in EVE". Whilst the Fountain campaign was going on there were at least 2 other campaign (TDS vs Stainwagon, N3 vs SOLAR) which were producing significant battles. When the CFC was 'merely' facing N3 plus PL plus TEST all actually fighting, with BL/401k chewing at their rear they were very much on the back foot. If "Everyone else" had actually attacked the CFC, the CFC would now be a memory.

    A combination of skillful diplomacy and the (lucky? timely?) disbanding of the Nulli renter alliance, combined with TEST's innovative strategy of disbanding their bloc as the prelude to starting a bloc war, saved the CFC's campaign.

    Taking mittens' propoganda at face value exposes you to making foolish mistakes. That's why he puts that propoganda out there. I have little doubt that the CFC is gearing up for the next war vs N3, and they are preparing for the possibility of the Staintrain joining on N3's side.

    Incidentally your RISK metaphor rather falls down on the fact that RISK armies can't cynotrain across the board in one "move", or stage out of convenient lo-sec systems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From the outsider's perspective, it looked like they were on the back foot for about 36 whole hours. Then they bribed BL and they weren't on the back foot any more. I assume that's what you meant by "skillful diplomacy." Why would you discount its impact?

      Delete
    2. The meaning of the comment was not that we beat everyone else in eve at once, it was that we have faced off (and won) against nearly everyone remaining on the field in EVE at some time in the past. Just about the only people we haven't are in the CFC (and even that isn't true - EXE was a BoB pet once upon a time), are certain russian entities to whom we have extremely longstanding ties, or are PL... and the last one is arguable.

      Delete
  7. And just think if there had of been a permaban instead of a wrist slap for death threat to another player two years ago. 9000 lemmings would have gone over the cliff as well. I'd chance to say that in the intervening two years of revolving door NPE trial accounts would have been significantly worth more than made up for it. but thanks to the vitriol culture of goons poisoning eve, only the thickest of skins survive.

    regardless of what happens, I can still look back in game history at the largest slice of humble ever served.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me tell you how much the ability to log in matters to Mittani leading the CFC:

      Okay done.

      A permaban over that incident would have changed nothing.

      Delete
  8. in risk you get more and more soldiers, while the enemy gets less and less and the enemy has only very few possible areas to attack. both is very different in eve. i think it would be REALLY hard to control all of 0.0

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would say you can't win EVE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only way to win is to not play.

      Delete
  10. Why does that map depict all the territories as much larger than they actually are. I mean just the southern part of the Northern Asociates territory has more empty space than actual systems wtf?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am very unsure what goons will aim to do next.

    The obvious thing is to consolidate their position and then entertain themselves by using the rest of EVE as a thunderdome by launching periodic entertaining invasions without much real intent to conquer. Given the long difficult grind of actually closing the circle this is no doubt how they will describe it even if they do launch a real invasion.

    But given the current lack of serious united opposition there may be more than a few in high command asking themselves the question "I wonder if we can go all the way?"

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey, Jester, a totally non-Eve related question: once you and your friends finished a match, what would you normally do? Call it a night? play a couple extra matches? move on to other games?

    No, really, it has no relation to Eve, don't even bother to draw comparisons. It's not like CCP will eventually and ultimately see itself in a position where it is forced to reset the board for another match, which by the way would not accomplish much. Do this experiment with your friends: play a few matches of Risk in a row, but with a sort of "new game ++" rule where the victor gets to keep his cards and half his soldiers. See how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, logically they should, but before that every time somebody was posed to "win EVE", something happened. Remember 2 years ago DRF was posed to win EVE... until suddenly we didn't. And before that NC was set to win EVE... unexpected things repeatedly happen to almost-winners.

    I don't know what, I see no logical reason why, but something will happen to Goons too. Probably.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The tinfoil is strong. Within goons, there will be groups seeking more independence, renters forming coalitions, Russians and Black Legion nipping in and out creating skirmishes and goon line will members bored enough to raid High sec, WH, FW or other space. The wheel will turn again. Goons will likely be on top, but really, who cares about empire null, New Eden is big. They can't take the sky from me...

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is pretty much the state null was in last winter - it's just that with Test in the picture it was possible to pretend that there wasn't a big blue doughnut (see how far pretending got Test).

    ReplyDelete
  16. I want the Goons to win EVE. People talk about the power of the EVE stories, but that will be nothing compared to the power of 'how the Goons won'. The internet will go beserk over it, and whats more it will be sustained beserk, because at some point it's going to be clear what's happening and then the gaming websites will begin to regularly update. Can the last alliance be broken? Can the lost coalition fall?

    People will flood into EVE, newbies with dreams of somehow being part of the CFC empire, or holding out to the last independent alliance.

    And winning EVE is inherently unstable and the Goons are smart enough to know that. Once they conquer EVE, someone is going to just dissolve the whole coalition and chaos will reign once more. But with everyone having the idea, that if they play long enough, try hard enough and become good enough, maybe just maybe they could do it again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That...is one impressive mass of wishful thinking.

      Delete
  17. I disagree. Last war showed a number of very obvious weaknesses in Goon "unbreakable empire", while the latest endeavor in renting empire is opening a few more vulnerability points for a clever opponent. The problem is, there's no opponent currently capable of two-pronged assaults and deep space harassment at the same time. And even if there was such an opponent, what would be the point? Why engage in a sov warfare that's likely to take months or even years, yet doesn't get you anything tangible?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Any Risk group that allows any single player to actually claim a continent bonus aren't good players. In our family games, the unwritten rule of play, is that everyone on their turn ensures that no (other) player will be able to claim a continent on their turn. In some cases, Australia can get claimed, but the 2 army bonus is worthless, if they've had to give up a more than 6 countries elsewhere on the board to do it.

    North America is wonderfully isolated, however, no group of players will let a single player take North America easily.

    Of course, the North American set rule is different from the UK set rule (North American set values increase each time they're claimed, while in the UK game, each type of set has a given value which does not increase over time).

    If you have a group of players of near equal skill, continents rarely get claimed, and most of the armies come into the game based on total land held and set claims.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congrats to Goons - you have won the sov game in null. Now that game is over - time for a new one. I hope CCP is looking at ways to Balkanize null - supply lines, reduced force projection, emphasis on system development to hold sov. I think that will open null to more factions and make it more entertaining for all. It isn't just about more fams and fields - it's the nature of the game that needs adjustment.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Goons themselves, while probably the most powerful single alliance in the game, are not overwhelmingly powerful compared to the n3, or even pl and nc. cooperating. What makes them tough, is that they have entities such as razor, fa, lawn, and gents all under there thumb. What'l kill goons is nothing, but if mittens and myana fell out with there ceos, the resulting leadership crysis would wipe the cfc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had me until "under their thumb."

      You're right to highlight their allies as the other half of their strength(their first being organization). Or put another way, their primary strength is their diplomacy. CFC allies, like me, are in the CFC because we want to be there, even though other coalitions would be quite lucky to have my alliance, and likely would fall all over themselves to have us.
      If they can get past the "Grr Goons" reaction(...we're not even goons...).

      The CFC as a diplomatic entity is even-handed and fair, consistent, durable, fun, functional, and internally respectful. Should my alliance decide the grass is greener elsewhere, the CFC would stumble hard. This is true of many CFC alliances. But that won't happen because we're treated as what we are: Critically important, and valued.

      This does not square with the idea behind the oft-bandied term, 'pet.' Pets are replaceable. Longstanding CFC alliances are not. There is no bigger reason for why the CFC is 'winning' than GSF's allies, and their ability to coordinate and keep them.

      Delete
  21. Of course the Goons have won Eve.

    They would likely have won eve even without all the help they had from CCP over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My personal take is that the CFC well fall only through apathy (a new game) or new policies that would abuse coalition members.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's kind of hard to imagine a game play mechanic in which players can pile up enough resources to nullify most challenges to their standings without having an oligarchy eventually rising to total dominance (as in Risk).
    Just like it's hard to imagine anyone trying to take Goons down, either from inside outside or from CCP.

    In the meantime, it does make the EVE Strategic PvP very boring.
    Goons don't have any real challenge.
    Would-be challenger don't have any chances to really hurt them.
    Goons real world investments in the game prevent CCP from doing something to allow other players a shot at the title and even if they did, Goons would simply go straight to the top again.

    The only way out would be for Goons to willingly disappear.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Risk is too easy. If eve sov has become like risk and the rest of the players are losing to the massive empire then its time to table flip the game and go do something else. CCP needs to make the game more like Axis and Allies where you have more then just 3 entry points to North and South America. there were alternate reliable ways to get there boat in Axis and Allies. Also Axis and allies isn't just about quantity of troops but the composition and quality instead. This is actually why I like Dust more than Eve. Dust is 16 vs 16. there is no blob actions going on and so you have to pick and choose which classes you want to bring in. How many heavies? how many logis? how many speed freak scouts with shotguns? In addition you need quality players. In eve its just blob this and blob that. you can be the worst eve player in the wrld but if you can lock the targets you're told to by the FC and press F1 you are a champ.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "what next?"… I thought the plan was for everyone else to build a stargate and move to some new space the CFC hadn't already concurred yet. Or is it for the CFC to build stargates and move out leaving chunks of 0.0 open for conquest. Or something something constructible stargtes?

    ReplyDelete
  26. The competitive phase of the Nullsec Sovereignty contest in EvE Online has been over since AAA collapsed in the South last year. TEST was as much an ally of Goonswarm as any of the CFC was, they just called their alliance something different. Now that TEST has fallen, there just isn't any way to disguise things anymore. Only way anything can change is is PL finds a good meatshield to team up with and destroys the cap fleets of Goonswarm. There really isn't anyone else left in the game that can challenge them, and there hasn't been since AAA and Solar Fleet were destroyed (not that either of them alone could have challenged CFC, but together they were formidable, particularly when teamed up with Nulli).

    ReplyDelete
  27. The CFC is not going to attempt to conquer all of 0.0.

    The invasion of Delve (and Period Basis) wouldn't have happened -- at least, not so hard on the heels of Fountain -- if Test had just stayed put. But they didn't, and a power vacuum formed, and the conquest of Delve became a both a strategic necessity and yet something that didn't require a lot of strategic commitment at the coalition level.

    Fountain was more difficult, but it still ended relatively quickly. The competence of the defense eroded steadily, and then accelerated when TEST's participation tanked. The vaunted organization of the CFC is a real thing, but it is more easily leveraged against the likes of TEST than it would be against PL, Nulli, and NCdot defending their own space.

    And seriously: who wants to set up and manage enough renters to pay the sov bills for an entire galaxy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dunno. i kinda like the idea of goonswarm as the evil empire and mittens going to fanfest dressed as the emperor. lol

      A 'foil' is useful, even if one has no hope of winning against such an archetype

      Delete
  28. Its one thing to buff Gallente because Minmatar is too strong but if you change the rules just to thwart the (potential) success of one group they will never let you live it down.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You can play Risk online for free. Your old strategy probably won't work though, as most players play a "prevent" game these days, denying NA via Greenland hits from a consolidated Europe or via relatively "risk"-free attacks by a floating army from the Aussie holder. If you're interested, check it out: http://www.dominategame.com/website.php?

    ReplyDelete
  30. No empire lasts forever. Ever.

    To do that you have to stay permanantly at (or very close to) the top of your game - and humans are far, far to prone to attacks of greed, complacency, overconfidence, boredom, treachery, or just outright stupidity for that to happen.

    Given enough time, the Goons/CFC will inevitably either topple or splinter. The one question is whether they can hold it together long enough that the servers close first...

    ReplyDelete
  31. that's funny. i would just hole up in madagascar. lol

    ReplyDelete
  32. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3FyelBLQDQ (2007-2013 animated influence)

    ReplyDelete
  33. ... I always take Asia first, Australia is an after thought and Europe is easy and you can keep your Iceland buffer of nothingness. only end up fighting over Africa and if you take that, that's the game. Unless you have horrendous bad luck, but that's risk ;)

    Asking highsec to band together to fight the goons is pure drunkenness. Unless everyone else in null decides to band together, goons have one eve, at least the null eve that they think is the only game exists here..

    ReplyDelete

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