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...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blue and amber, white and green

For the last four of five days, I've been hinting about Rote Kapelle news. We've managed to keep it fairly quiet. Rote Kapelle, and its central corp Stimulus, are giving up on the 15 man fleet meta and on the Syndicate region. We've completed negotiations with CVA to join Provibloc as an associate member. As you read this, we've already moved out of TXW-EI, our home system for the last several years. We'll be moving into the Provi/Catch area shortly.

And so I take my place as literally the only CSM member not KOS in Providence. ;-)

I'm not going to try to speak for the entirety of Stimulus leadership on the reasons why. STIM has always operated as a benevolent dictatorship, with a single leader and a sort of Game of Thrones style "small council" of directors to provide advice to that leader. I was recently invited to join this group and I was one of the members that advised this move. So while I cannot speak for the other directors, I can give you my reasons. They can be summed up as follows (and keep in mind that all of these are my opinions):
  1. The null-sec 15 man fleet meta that Rote is best known for is dead or dying.
  2. Syndicate, as a region, is becoming rather toxic and prone to a growing network of blues we were not interested in.
  3. But I do want to remain in null-sec. I enjoy the game mechanics available in null-sec.
  4. I was not interested in becoming a Goon, or in fighting Goons.
  5. In particular, I continue to have exactly zero interest in sov warfare as it currently exists in EVE Online.
  6. Rote Kapelle needs to move into a meta that has a future in this game.
  7. The Provibloc offers us the best opportunity to learn these metas while also giving us a place to use the tools we presently have in our toolbox until these metas completely stop being viable.
I'll address each of my reasons in turn.

I covered the reasons why I believe the null-sec 15 man gang is dead or dying in my post a few days ago. Some of you took that as an "EVE is dying!" sort of post which I assure you it was not. EVE is changing, but that isn't the same thing. For a while now I've been in a position that I could gently tease people whose only view of EVE's smaller groups was "Make some friends! Be less bad!" With every other group in null-sec now following this philosophy, we have little choice but to do the same. I'm sad about the loss of this game play style and one of the things I'll be looking for in other games this year is the possibility to ply that trade elsewhere. But in no way do I think this means EVE is dying. Rather the opposite: big fleets are clearly good for the game. In the meantime, we're a relic of EVE's past and it was time to change that.

But these changes have caused most of the groups in Syndicate to rally into "mini-coalitions." This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the "culture" of Syndicate has always been rather abusive and suffered from the fact that most entities in Syndicate poach members from other entities in Syndicate. When such a poaching happens, the departing member invariably believes this will mean the instant decay and death of his former organization... and says so. This increases the abusive nature of the Syndicate culture to the point where it has become toxic. The Syndicate thread on Failheap Challenge is nearly without value, members of various organizations spending their time sniping at each other instead of taking any positive actions. The thread can go days or weeks between actual valuable content such as battle reports. The FHC admins, previously over-moderating this forum, have stepped back too far and the thread now goes completely unmoderated.

These two reasons were enough to turn my eyes outward. But assuming I wanted to remain in null-sec, where to go? That meant I was facing the map I've been posting frequently for the last couple of weeks. And if I wanted to remain in null-sec, I'd have to choose: blue or amber, white or green? Join the CFC? Join PL or N3? Join one of the few large independents left such as Black Legion? Or join Provibloc?

Contrary to popular belief, I really am not much of a "grrr Goons" guy. I bitch about their leadership and strategy from time to time, sure. But the fact is I know a lot of people in both the GSF and the CFC and they're good people. Matter of fact, I can't think of a single Goon that I dislike. If I wanted in? Ripard is notorious, sure, but I have three other more obscure mains and a SA account. Still, that does not mean that I wish to play the game the way Goons or the CFC play the game. What they do and the play-style they promote simply does not interest me right now.

When I look at a 21-hour battle like B-R, while I appreciate all the good things it does for CCP, there's absolutely no way I'd want to participate in it myself. There is no recreational activity in this world that I want to do for 21 hours straight. Hell, there are few recreational activities in this world I want to do for six or eight hours straight. Sure, there was a time I could do 12-hour marathon sessions playing a video game. But that time in my life is over. Even if it were not, at 10% TiDi that 21 hours represented 2.1 hours of actual game play. Do I want to play a game where I have to wait two minutes to lock a target, 15 minutes to kill it? Not just no, but hell no.

That pretty handily eliminated blue and amber, and most of white including Black Legion. While Goons don't have mandatory CTAs for the most part, N3 generally does and BL definitely does. And I don't speak Russian. ;-) And all of them participate in this game play style that I have no interest in.

And that turned my eye toward green. Provibloc has a number of advantages for Rote Kapelle and Stimulus at this time:
  • They are proficient at metas in this game that have a future: 40 man fleets, 200 man fleets, and the like.
  • They are positioned right on the axis of what is likely to be EVE's next war zone. That means lots of targets.
  • They're good enough at this game to have good stability, but still struggle in areas of the game where we can help.
  • While they do occasionally do sov warfare, it is not anything approaching their focus.
Short version: we feel like we can create content for them. We feel like they can create content for us. And it will be incredibly nice to live in an area that's a little less toxic. In the meantime, we can learn more about the 40 man meta and build up our base some while still keeping to our core principle of being in space, being excellent at it, learning from our mistakes, and applying the lessons we learn.

So farewell, Syndicate, and thank you! As my alliance-mate RuriHoshino put it...
It's been fun. Thanks to everyone in Syndicate who, during our time there, worked to make it one of the weirdest places in space. We may be separated by these computer monitors, but the time we spend together is real, whether it's shit-posting, ship spinning, roaming, dunking, or getting dunked. I hope you all find the fights you're looking for.
On to the next adventure! See you around the south!


  1. Best of luck to Rote. It is a shame to see one of the few other blueless small entities in Syndicate give up the ghost. We may visit you in Provi, but generally the Proviblock response fleets are too overwhelming for it to be a fun place to roam any more. In Syndicate you can still find groups that will form up response gangs that aren't overwhelming, just moderately unbalanced :)

    Meanwhile, Agony will continue to enjoy the 5-15 gang size meta in Syndicate without being a part of any coalition, mini- or maxi-. Frankly, the past few months have presented me with some of the best small gang action I've had in Syndicate in the past 2 years. That's me, personally, in the US TZ; other TZ's may vary. And I do acknowledge some of your frustrations with Syndicate, particularly about all the bluefests, blobs, and hot drops. But we work around them :)

    Anyone interested in staying in Syndicate (or trying out the independent PVP playstyle for the first time) is welcome to join us. I don't think we fit the description of most of the Syndicate groups you complain about. We don't sperg on forums, we don't have blues, and we haven't poached anyone. (Although I'd have been happy to poach Anderson.) We do, however, take plenty of losses as a consequence of flying the 5-15 meta, so we have developed a very casual attitude about the color of our killboard, prioritizing fun over efficiency.

    - ROX Genghis

    P.S., thank you Rote for hosting the SCL. Do you think you will run another tourney league after you move?

    1. SCL is going to continue.

      And I wish AGONY the best of luck. We looked at our killboard since October and did an analysis: 3000 BNI kills, 700 non-BNI kills. We just weren't learning anything or having much fun with that...

      Hope you have better luck than we did, though!

    2. If all you're doing is shooting BNI that's kinda your fault? CFC is going to be less deployed and will have more smallish local defense fleets up. SOUND rolls smaller gangs than you do and we've been having solid content (including a triumvirate gang you would've had a great time with) even with CFC being deployed. you just gotta roam a little farther.

      Provi politics is toxic, and any desire to play well/actually encourage people to get better is essentially crushed by crusty old-guards. I don't think you're going to like it, but who knows... some of the things that bothered me aren't really things you care about, so perhaps it'll be alright. You obviously do get a lot of gangs coming through.

      Also, rote might have the cachet to be able to catalyze some changes that others have tried to make, and that would make provi less "the sick old man of eve" that it has been. This would mean you succeed where Hidetoshi Rushd failed, which doesn't sound too hard ;)

  2. Considering how much you wrote about the future of EVE, it's funny you don't see that your points 3 and 4 are mutually exclusive.

    Also, I heard rumors. Rote is just ragequiting because you couldn't conquer Poitot. :-)

    1. On what planet are 3 and 4 mutually exclusive you raging autistic retard?

      Avoid sov warfare, avoid needing to be a goon.. jesus christ you are thick.

  3. What are the specific things about low-sec that make you want to stay in null?

    1. There are really two ways to play in null-sec: part of FW, and not part of FW.

      FW players have become quite adept at playing in and around sites, using a lot of specialized tactics to shape fights. They also tend to use a lot of smaller, faster ships and because of the way the "cheese graters" work, they tend to be T1 cruisers and frigates. FW also tend to be pretty one-sided in one direction or the other. The combination of these factors tend not to generate the sorts of fights I'm interested in. It also means that you eliminate a good third or more potential targets right out of the gate.

      Non-FW players have to deal with gate guns. More importantly, they have to deal with the fact that their -5 players can be isolated and separated from the rest of the fleet fairly easily by light ships in a much larger fleet used for that purpose. In big fleets this isn't a problem. In small fleets, it becomes a major factor limiting their mobility and options.

      In short, low-sec game-play is harder than null-sec play, with more factors to think about. It's just a bit less fun for me, that's all. v0v

  4. If you'll forgive the self-promotion I wrote about this yesterday.


    My take is that the diplomats have won nullsec, that most alliances have these people called "diplomats" who are not actually diplomats as in they're not trying to advance their alliance's objectives using methods other than war, and that the CFC is really the only entity that uses diplomats effectively.

    Further until the entities outside the CFC such as BL, PL etc are culturally impaired from effective diplomacy by their need for a short blue list.

    Anyway good luck in Provi!

  5. I am a longtime EVE player who has felt this way about where I belong in EVE for a long time. "Blue Doughnut" null politics do not interest me. They seem to be diametrically opposed to the EVE sandbox. Providence feels different to me. Sure they have their rules which people either love or hate. They're not "elite" players. What the people in Providence do provide is provide the sandbox environment that has kept me playing EVE all this time. They're genuinely nice people. Any activity that you would find yourself doing in one of the mega coalitions you can do while being a Provibloc member. For me, they provide the best example of what EVE should be. I am proud to be a Provibloc member.

  6. Not many choices, seems like the goons painted the sandbox into a corner... .

  7. I am a member of a large neutral corp with a campus in south-eastern Syndicate who shall remain nameless because of corporation policy. I read this post with attention because Jester formalized (crystallized?) a number of problems with the game as it is currently played in Syndicate. To summarize:
    5 - 10 men roams in Syndicate are increasingly frustrating because of lack of targets that give good fight. Yes, we do find one week old character that fly direct from gate to gate and we kill them, but what's the challenge? The main targets we find are cyno baits, and if you attack those the response is so overwhelming it's not even funny. What can you do when you're in a 10 man cruiser roam if your target suddenly lights a cyno and 25 or 50 recons or battleships land in? Especially if you have limited cyno capability on your side, and no capital escalation possible?
    Because of the repeated cynos, our immediate neighbors have asked to be blued, which we accepted (corp policy...). This is all nice and good, but doesn't help the lack of target problem. I like to have a hostile medium size corp with no capital escalation capability within a couple jumps from our main system...
    As a corp, we cannot participate in Sov warfare. As an individual, I have zero zilch no interest whatsoever in playing a game where B-R is considered a successful battle. Jester, I so totally share your opinion on this...
    I hope Rote Kapelle move to Providence work well for you guys. I'm not sure what I'll do personally, but I'm starting to get a bit frustrated too by the game as it is played in Syndicate. I don't want to play at Sov warface, Faction warfare is of limited interest. Options, options, I need options...

    1. One thing you can do is play the meta-meta-game: agitate for CCP to restrict the power of hot drops. Find a mechanic that works (for you) and champion it in the Features & Ideas forum.

      With cyno hot drops off the table, you're back to only worrying about the threats you can actually see.

    2. May I recommend hosting the Jolly Roger and murdering all the things? Or is that a step to far a member of *cough* E-UNI *cough*? :) You can then shoot at *all* the people in FW space!

      But seriously. Yarr.

    3. You could always ask Mangala to send a Ganked roam your direction...

  8. If you don't think the current state of Syndicate is a direct result of Rote's actions over the past 2 years then you are in the wrong. The only counter to srsbsns tryhards who won't go out unless they have a perfect fleet comp, drop triage like it's going out of style, and generally do their best to shut down any group who tries to work their way up in the 15-20 man gang size is numbers, so you shouldn't be surprised.

  9. This is an interesting read, especially as someone who left Providence and has stayed reasonably attached to a now-Syndicate-dwelling alliance. I wish you luck with the politics.

    Fwiw, you may find http://web.archive.org/web/20130516162204/http://www.nrds.eu/ and https://github.com/eve-val/nrds-tools useful to you. They're no longer maintained since we've left, but when we left, they were in quite functional form, and provide a lot of utility on a roam.

  10. You should have fun for a few weeks, then -A- will refuse to undock. Welcome to the south.

  11. get your Roleplaying in shape, you will need it :)

  12. As a lowly provi block member let me be the first to welcome you to your new home. I hope to see you in fleets soon!

  13. Interesting. While I'm pretty happy with being in RvB (the current POCO war is comedic), my alt's corp is feeling a bit restless, and we had been idly wondering about provibloc. Asking around about it lead to some unflattering things said about provi. I will look forward to seeing your impression of it.


  14. So sad to see you guys go NRDS. Provibloc would be a lot cooler if it weren't for that.

    1. We will be NRDS is Provi only. NBSI everywhere else.

    2. Funny, that attitude was one of the reasons CVA cited for trying to kick SOUND out of the region...

    3. And they're letting you stay blue/not-kos? Heh, there's a change.

    4. Then you are not a part of provi block? CVA NRDS applies to area's beyond Provi. For instance systems under control in catch, all low sec system not held by minmatar, and NPC space. Which is funny as heck you spend three hours roaming red space finally find something to shoot only to realize you accidently wandered into a npc space now you get the pleasure of sending isk to the poor nuet you killed.

    5. Now you're seeing some of the hypocrisy in the holders. Rote is special, Rote gets treated differently. Morals and standards go out the window when they get star struck. Not that any of this is Rote's fault; this is entirely on the leadership that say one thing to the public, to their members, and then acts totally differently.

  15. "I covered the reasons why I believe the null-sec 15 man gang is dead or dying in my post a few days ago."

    Clearly, I am a Moron and Terrible PvPer, but I'm fairly sure I remember reading several times, recently in fact, that CCP was intending to BUFF small-gang "guerrilla" tactics and the ability of smaller gangs and entities in general to "punch above-class". I seemed to think (again with the Moron part of my title) that you favored that idea.

    Yet now, not even a few months later, you're saying that not only is that meta dying out, but "n+1" is actually "clearly a good thing for the game".

    So what changed? Do you need to do another "cognitive dissonance" post?

    Mostly I'm just curious why mechanics that were supposed to be a "buff" to small-gang/hit&run tactics appear to have hastened that meta's demise, some sorta reason besides :CCP: and :Law of Unintended Consequences:.

    1. It isn't a law of Unintended Consequences. Its very well known consequences. The problem exists in three parts as I see it.

      1. Most any mechanic you put in place for 5-15 man combat can also be used by N+1 combat.
      2. Any mechanic that isn't covered by 1 is by any definition of Eve over powered.
      3. Power in Eve online is multiplicative, not additive.

      What that means is, for example Bombs.

      Right now a bomb wave will take a rather sizeable chunk out of a battleship's tank. But it won't actually kill a battleship because you can only launch 7 bombs at a time before they start killing each other. Unless of course the battleship was fit by an idiot. That bomb wave did 56,000 damage(8000 per bomb x 7) before resistances, and then the bomb launcher went into a cooldown period of 120 seconds(max skill). So a small gang of Stealth bombers of say.. 14 would do a max of 112,000 damage in 2 minutes. Bombs have a flight time of 10 seconds. So in theory, a large gang can drop a payload of bombs every 10 seconds. In actual practice they can't, but in theory. So, in theory a large gang of 84 bombers could drop 12 rounds of bombs for 670,000 damage, or 5.9 times what the small gang could in that same 120 seconds. In actual practice it'd be 2-3, possibly 4.

      But anyway, that's a straight linear additive DPS for each ship added. But in #3 I said each ship added is multiplicative, not additive. The reason for that is 670k in 120 seconds is way more important than 112k in 120 seconds. 670k will kill an entire battleship fleet, 112k will only inconvenience it a little. The small gang could launch wave after wave of bombs at the same battleship fleet until they run out of bombs in their cargo hold, and it'd effectively do nothing. The battleships would just keep repping it. The large gang finished them in one round of bomb deployments.

      The only way to make bombs favour the small gang would be to have them do so much damage a wave of them could effectively destroy an entire battleship fleet in one wave. At which point they become positively over powered. And remember, bombs were introduced to be the anti-blob weapon. They are supposed to favour small gangs. But instead they favour fleets.

      CCP has added other things over the years to combat the N+1 issue other than bombs. But by definition they can't actually be good at it or they become over powered. It's a well known balancing consequence. Which is why the call for Sov balance isn't about adding anti-blob weapons, anti-blob weapons would only make the blob more powerful. Instead it's either to find ways to spread out targets so people don't want to blob in the first place, or limit force projection so blobs can't form as easily.

      I probably got some of that wrong, but does it answer your question for the most part?

    2. EVE really only needs one mechanic change to completely obliterate the anchor-up, F1-monkey blob for all eternity: Line-of-sight fire.
      You shoot at me, and I'm on the other side of your buddy, your damage goes straight into your buddy's back.
      I fly between you and your buddy, especially in a smaller ship (say frigate or dessie between two BCs/BSes), better hope you have missiles, drones, or perfect tracking, otherwise you're more likely to hit each other than me.

      What this does:
      1) Extra computational power for 'to-hit' and 'what-if-you-miss' rolls means 256 vs 256 is about the most you can do without a reinforced node having an aneurism.
      2) Maneuvering on the field of battle actually becomes SERIOUSLY important. A smaller force with smaller hulls getting in between the bigger ships of an opposing force will result in serious heartache for the larger-hulled fleet.
      3) Due to the above 2 restrictions, anchor+F1-monkeying gets a MASSIVE (and much-needed) nerf, with the added bonus of delicious boo-hoos from Goons & Co
      4) Battles will necessarily be spread out over several systems, both due to node-load and the simple fact that n+1 reaches a climax of usefulness, then at some point the risk of friendly fire outweighs the reward of moar guns, whoop-whoop.
      5) And I'm sure for all the hatred this comment will generate, you mean to tell me that NOBODY finds it fucking laughably ridiculous, as in well-beyond suspense-of-disbelief ridiculous that you can shoot THROUGH a wall of your own pals, and hit your opposition for perfect damage, with NO chance of doing anything harmful to your pals? Right.

    3. None of the ships have their turret placement with LOS in mind. Plus the calculations of the LOS of every ship for every turret would cause the server to melt.

  16. I had no idea Eve Uni had an...outpost? in Syndicate. You learn something new every day.

  17. i lived in providence for a bit more then a year and nrds sucks a lot.

    tbh cva should jump over their shadow and reform their rules of engagement.

    what they have right now is a kos list that includes everyone who is not blue to providence who has killed a ship at least once in their lifetime and everyone who is suspected of belonging to such an entity.

    everything would be much easier if they would change it to an open bluelist. nbsi but every corp/alliance will get bluestanding as long as they stick to the rules.

    you cant pve in providence without acces to the intelchannel. and since your corp needs to ask for intelchannel and stuff first anyway nothing would change on what providence is, but it would make things way easier for everyone.

    prepare your self for more providence related comments as long as you belongto them :>

    1. And contribute even more to the blue donut? No thanks.

      NRDS serves the purpose of allowing newbies to try out null-sec, before joining any alliance. Name any other region that provides that. Also, invariably it attracts "reds", hence why there's at least one fleet going on at any given time to have pvp fun.

    2. I agree NRDS is a huge pain in the butt, but it's also helped me get my first taste of living in nullsec without the barrier of having to find a corp to join. My original goal when I reactived EVE a few years ago was to join a big nullsec alliance and be part of 'epic battles', but I've since changed my mind and am a Provi grunt now and having a great time :)

      I see some posts about drama and politics but I have to say I really don't see much of that, except when SOUND got evicted because CVA and SOUND diplos couldn't work together anymore for some reason, which was a pretty ugly affair, but that kind of drama seems to be the exception rather than the rule... maybe there are things going on that are not in my field of view, though

    3. In what respect does NRDS suck? Because you're too lazy to use the checker? Because almost everyone outside of Provi is red? Because you have to be disciplined and restrained?

      I like the idea that somewhere in Eve there's a little slice of classical liberalism, for that is what Provi actually is. It's live and let live. Sure it's not for everyone and tends to suit older players rather than younger ones but so far it's the best region in Eve I've lived in for the stuff I want to do (which is mostly mind my own business, occasionally joining defence fleets and gangs to help "police" the region).

  18. Welcome have fun, if you don't enjoy your time in provi you only have yourself to blame as every type of medium on down pvp you want can be found there or near there. Set your overviews so you don't shoot blue criminals.

  19. I see a lot of comments from people who claim to have been living in Providence saying NRDS suck. Let me tell you something from a person who's been in Providence for quite a long time. I pvp frequently, mostly solo, small gang. I haven't used a kos checker for ages and still I never hit an "illegal" neutral - everyone is red to Providence so no point in worrying. For the first month the kos thing was somehow annoying, but once you get how it works - it's more targets than a goon can have with half the null blue...

  20. u wot m8

    Good luck in Provi.

    Maybe you'll get more respect from CVA than SOUND did, since Rote is a 'well-known' alliance.

    Of course, we're also talking about CVA, who has "senior diplos" who don't know who The Mittani is ....

  21. Can't wait to welcome you!!

  22. Good luck in Providence, it's probably the best place in Eve for the small to medium gang PvP you seem to be looking for. I'm sure the Provibloc dudes are just as excited to have Rote Kapelle joining them, especially as Provi's USTZ was always pretty weak.

    I recommend joining some of Corebloodbother's fleest if you get a chance, and also Peel's "frigs of doom" fleets if he still runes them. Great fun.

    I myself left Providence six months ago and I'm really starting to miss the place. The only problem with Providence is that it's a terrible place for a line-member to make isk.

    I look forward to reading about your adventures and opinions on Provi.

  23. Welcome to Provi, Ripard. I look forward to having you as a blue and seeing you around.

  24. Good bye my lovers, good bye my friends :-)
    I will miss you (ROTE) and your amazing killboard comments too :-)

    With love
    scarify ardonn
    Your best friend from Syndicate


  25. Good analysis of the situation. You bring up some poignant facts in regards to Syndicate; I can remember how much fun it was years back, sucks that it's shit now. I have a feeling your FCs are going to enjoy their new pilot pool.

  26. Ironically I and my corp live in the south - Stain. And we have recently set up a base in Syndicate for access to small-gang pvp, because as fare as roaming is concerned. Stain is deserted.

  27. If you are bored in Provi, swing through Curse. Especially on Sundays around 20:00... when Redemption Road has public fleets roaming about, usually around 40ish frigs/destroyers... and we whelp, a lot :) But it's always giggle worthy! (Especially when I'm FC!)


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