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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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The last war redux

I want to get in a couple of quick posts related to other things I've written lately. They're not Comment of the Week posts so much as they are "reaction of the week" ones because I'm not interested in calling out a specific person. Still, there are trends associated with the comments on two posts that deserve to be answered directly and in a bit more detail than I can do in a reply comment.

The first has to do with my post "The last war" from last week. This post has generated a lot of really good discussion, and also came up for discussion both on Reddit and on the EVE-O forums. I've done my best to follow the discussion in all three places and have found it really interesting! Still, one point keeps coming up again and again that I want to address. In "The last war", I stated that I believed B-R will be the most expensive battle in EVE's history, unless there is a specific attempt by EVE players to exceed it as part of EVE's death spiral (if EVE ever has one of those).

Some of the comments on the post are dismissive of it because "people said the same thing about Uemon" when that happened two years ago. At the time and until B-R, Uemon was the site of the most expensive battle in EVE's history with something like one trillion ISK in ships destroyed. B-R, of course, exceeded this value by more than an order of magnitude: about 11 trillion ISK was destroyed in B-R.

Now it would be cheeky to simply respond that "I didn't say that about Uemon, but I'm saying it now" and indeed I wrote a comment to that effect in the comments of my blog post. But again, the general reaction deserves a more thoughtful response.

As I've said again and again, if you present evidence to show that I'm wrong about something that I've written in this blog, I will agree with you and my position will change. Bill Nye had a really cute moment in the "Science vs Creationist" debate the other night where he basically said the same thing when asked "What -- if anything -- would ever change your mind?" (his opponent's response to the same question was rather priceless). So here is the chain of logic that I was following in "The last war". Attack just about any of the links in this chain and my reasoning falls apart. Which link would you like to attack?
  1. B-R cost the EVE players involved 11 trillion ISK. To exceed it, you'd need a battle costing more.
  2. To exceed it, some entity out there would have to be both willing and able to put something like four or five trillion ISK at risk in a single battle in a single system (and probably more).
  3. By my count, there are currently four entities in the game capable of doing this.
  4. Thanks to the B0TLRD accords, shared history, and other diplomatic agreements, three of these entities appear to be allied or for all intents and purposes at least very friendly.
  5. The fourth might engage in a war with one of the remaining three but this challenge is unlikely to be on a grand or expensive scale.
  6. The CFC would be intelligent to regard any future entity not already at -- but approaching -- this level as an existential threat that should be eliminated before it can reach this level.
  7. CFC leadership is and is likely to remain intelligent.
  8. The other scenarios that I can envision that might create a fifth entity capable of bringing this level of combat (a CFC civil war, say) also seem likely to me to cause an overall reduction in EVE player count, resulting in a reduction of the size of EVE's economy and therefore, both the size and cost of a future expensive battle.
So that's it. Disprove one of those eight statements and my overall statement falls apart. As Bill Nye put it, "bring on any of those things and you would change me immediately." Can you?

Thank you to everyone that's been commenting on that post! Really interesting reading for me!


  1. I think that point six is a little impractical; it would amount to a declaration of war against every small, ambitious PvP alliance that exists. If the CFC ever starts hellcamping the staging system of (say) Triumvirate I'd be more inclined to take point six seriously.

    1. CFC does not need to hell-camp anything. It's economic grip is every bit as suffocating as it's martial menace. Owning the means to escalate arms wins the game.

    2. Basically you've identified a ninth point

      9. The CFC, being motivated to regard every such up-and-coming alliance as a threat, will successfully destroy them all without inspiring a mass counter-offensive from everyone else.

      There's also

      10. The diplomatic accords mentioned in point 4. will continue to exist forever(where forever = from now until the end of EVE)

      I think without points 9 and 10, these 8 points don't actually support Jester's thesis, and I don't really think 9 and 10 are that tenable.

    3. Not really; they'd just have to keep an eye on any of them that started expanding rapidly, or getting especially aggressive. CCP publishes which corps are growing the most rapidly, and high sec wardec corps check that list constantly for big, fat targets full of clueless newbies.

      Besides, why declare war when you can just have spies? Goons are very good at getting spies embedded, and the sooner the better: that way, once an alliance starts to become a thread, GSF has at least one director-level spy who can get very good intel and, if necessary, do a tremendous amount of damage just before GSF makes a tactical move against them.

    4. They don't have to attack them sadly. Most of CFC's power isn't guns, though they have a lot of those.. It's diplomacy and a willingness to spend money.

      Think of how much money CFC spends each month outside of it's alliance. Ministry of Love is still more or less going on, ice interdiction, burn jita(which #3 is up soon), et cetera.

      Goons have been very successful at either paying other people to achieve their goals, or promising a good time for all and getting lots of people to join in with them. People who don't even like Goons have taken their money in the name of fun.

      Note, I'm not saying there is going to be some grand consperacy by Goons to destroy the smaller coalitionist before they can get up to speed. But if they've secured their borders with this war, money is about to start rolling in and they'll want to spend it somewhere.

  2. They don't need to attack everyone who could get big. Just take out or down a notch anyone who start amassing enough supercaps or isk to be a danger. Triumvirate is just too small to threaten the big 4. It has no sizable supercap fleet, and not enough numbers to challenge a subcap fleet.

  3. You might need to add one more link to your reasoning chain:

    "The CFC (and other major coalitions) will persist, in its current form and with its current motivations, in perpetuity."

    Interestingly, this assertion may be more likely to hold true if potential existential threats emerge than if they don't.

    1. If they fall or shrink, then the game environment sitll will lack forces able to throw trillions worth of ships at each other and Jester's point about "the last war" still will hold.

      Also there is another factor not being accounted for: each lost war means a net loss of players. A "CFC civil war" likely would end with thousands of subscribers gone, as EVE is no place to lose a war.

  4. I knew Bill Nye, and you're no Bill Nye... or something.

    The problem here is that this very clearly not science, these are not facts one can disprove but opinions with which one can only disagree. Further, they are based on other, unstated opinions that you have declined to put in play. Limiting rebuttal to those 8 points, in addition to becoming a "sez you" scenario, is also a false proposition.

    As an example, if I believed that the CFC would not remain a unified entity in the long term, that could potentially poke a hole in your argument. Say I had intel that Razor was going to ally with NCDOT. That would not challenge any of your points, yet would change the underlying equation. You might laugh and my point, but you might well have laughed if I had suggested the same for TEST at some past date.

    And you have left CCP completely out of the picture. Is there nothing they could tinker with that might change this up?

    Essentially, I see you trying to play this as a discussion of facts akin to science when it is really about human behavior and marketing, areas which routinely defy the application of logic.

  5. Point 7 goes against human nature and mob mentality, but unless The Mittani dies of a heart attack will probably hold true

  6. So, which of 2-8 did not hold the day before the B-R battle? If all of the above were true before the fight, does that not make the fight impossible to happen according to your logic?

    If, despite all of your claims being true on the day of the fight, the fight still happened - is it impossible that even if all of the statements are still true some months from now, another such battle erupts?

    If you're looking for evidence contrary to your hypothesis, I would say that the B-R fight itself is just that. Meaning, none of your points 2-8 are false - but your assertion that "if 2-8 hold, no such expensive battle will happen" is.

    1. This.

      I am curious to your answer.

    2. 1 and 5 basically. PL and the CFC were not as chummy, as PL was definitely on N3s side, and N3 had the resources to launch a battle of this scale. Now N3 do not have the resources and PL do not have the motivation.

  7. goons run Eve now. If there was any doubt, it is now gone. Forget about how much control they exert through their people within CCP. That group is not even needed anymore.

    goons now remind me of the South Park Wow episode. They are unstoppable within the game, as they will never, ever allow another group to rise in power to the level that they are are a threat to the goon's RMT operations.

    What is likely to happen, and we actually see it in the Eve forum propaganda (145 page thread and counting), and through their work on the CSM, is the hugest nerf to high sec is soon coming. Why? Other than the fact that goons hate high sec, it is good business. goons have now established and solidified with that fight last week, the richest, most extensive ISK streams in the history of the game. They have far far more incoming ISK than they can possibly sell with the current demand for ISK.

    So what is planned next is the devastation of high sec income streams, impoverishing as many high sec players as is possible. Some will quit Eve. Some will move to null. Some will keep muddling along with whatever they can eke out. And some, the focus of goon leadership, will turn to buying plexes, or RMT.

    Increased demand for RMT means more money for the mittens and mynnna's of the game.

    goons may be evil, but they are very good businessmen. They now have monetized the game to an optimum level, and there is no way they will ever allow another group to challenge those income streams again.

    1. I was with you, right up to the mention of RMT, of which you have no proof is happening from within the goons. If you do have proof, please publicize it.

    2. Godsdamnit Dinsdale, "grr goons nullsec RMT cartel", is there any other bloody input you have for your comment auto-sentence generator?

    3. BraverthananyoneelseFebruary 6, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      You sound like a creationist with your RMT cartel ideas :-P

      And who cares when HighSec income is nerfed? They don't need the ISK because you rarely loose a ship.

  8. Are you supposed to be on the Eve - O forums doing a victory lap with your bros CSM/CFC/CCP? or did you not notice that 90% of the support for the drone assist Nerf came directly from the goons.

  9. http://fiddlersedge.blogspot.com/2012/05/rationality.html

    CFC may implode (out of boredom if nothing else) but you're right in that we won't see another scrap like this barring a monumental screw up.

    1. The only reason fights like B-R or Asaki happen is monumental screwups, anyway. So nothing really changes.

  10. I'm a newer player and even I can see that your absolute is flawed; and, is almost creationist in audacity.
    Eve simply has to progress the mechanics of combat along a fairly logical path. A simple super-cap smart bomb designed to take out small-medium drones and frigates, for example, alters the game toward a more symmetrically extrapolated style of play. Or a super-cap sized scrambler inhibitor, or a bubble neutralizer, or an A-10 Warhoggy sub-cap killer ... easy to make Eve more super-cap intensive.

    Then, there is always the Death Star.

    So, I'd say your first premise is flawed.

  11. Point Seven:

    Charisma and Ego does not equal intelligence.

    At the opening of CSM6 initial summit the Goon reps learn (for the very first time since playing for how long?) that all classes of wormholes contain ABC ores. The very immediate knee-jerk reaction was to demand an urgent nerf, "these ores are for null sec". Some light effort followed on the eve-o forums by alts echoing this sentiment, which never gained traction and soon faded away.

    When the Goons had control of the CSM, imagine for a moment if they have pushed for the betterment of tech2 modules over meta 4. Currently status in the game, many meta 4 are superior to tech2 countparts for lower fitting and cap costs. Just think of the profit in moon goo if a rebalance in tech2 resulted in a significant demand rise. Instead they engineered a reichstag fire of the Incarna Rage so that the Goon influence would have greater impact over CCP. Influence which soon pissed up against the wall.

    Interdiction episode X or burn Trade Hub XI; really?! Particpation in most recent of these events saw boredom and apathy sap interest in yet another "grrr pubbies must suffer". Even F1 knuckle dragging monkeys need variety.

    Mittani extoiling the faithful to vote for the blocs because "it would upset hi-sec scrubs" at the early start of CSM 8 election. Look how many votes you Jester received because this tactic was a utter failure. You ask a negative question, more often expect a negative answer.

    As for their downfall - is that what we are talking about? I have ceased to care about what some clowns do in the circus. Even the sockpuppet of New Order is dismissable in the great scheme.

    "When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer." there has to be some irony in that.

  12. Why would a CFC civil war cause a reduction in player count? When an EVE alliance dies, its players do not disappear. They move on to other alliances and other corporations. When the CFC dies, its members will move on to other things as well.

    Do not drink the cool-aid that EVE is "real" too deeply. EVE is not real. Real people are not killed in EVE's wars. If anything, good wars boost subscriptions as old players return and prospective new players give the game a chance.

  13. I think that it's possible that there will be a titan arms race now people have figured out that domsdays in heavy lag let you alpha enemy supercaps. NC and Pl certainly have a lot of pilots that could get into titans fairly quickly if they wanted to. So I don't think that it's beyond the bounds of reason that a more expensive battle could happen again with mostly the same pilots up-shipping one last time.

    Not likely, perhaps, but I think it is possible to imagine a scenario with the current players fighting again during a Rus civil war for example.

  14. @6/8 How does Brave fit in here, I don't think forever poor is a reasonable expectation given their growth rate.

    1. Brave is great breath of fresh air in NS, but their numbers mean little without a Supercap fleet. You can't get supercaps without both isk, and sov. The most likely things to happen with them is either they over reach and fail cascade, or they drink the koolaid and join N3 or the CFC.

  15. It's at point 4 that people who have been in sov-focused nullsec alliances for a long time would point to as the biggest flaw in that chain. There are agreements like BOTLRD now sure, but there have been plenty of agreements in the past that fell apart and ended with two sides at all-out war.

    Not to say that I disagree that B-R will probably stand as the most expensive battle ever, but for very different reasons. Purely by statistics, when records are broken they tend to take longer to break the next time. Will eve even exist in 10 years? As well, I think B-R is likely to be the apex of the Titan fielded in fleet combat. Supercaps are up for rebalance sometime in the next year, and CCP would do well to steer nullsec away from supercap dominance. Growth requires giving new players a role, and in B-R itself the most newbie-friendly role was dictor pilot.

    But the difference between "B-R will remain the most expensive battle ever" and "the Halloween War will be the last big sov war ever" is a pretty enormous gap. There will be more big wars.

    1. One point. When records are broken they normally go down faster and faster. When the Olympics happened there were some nice graphs and statistics floating out there about speed of running and swimming. Because of medical and material advances swimming and running records have been broken with more frequency.

      Now wait you might say... Eve doesn't have medical and material science like the real world. No. But Eve does have the force that feeds medical and material science. Money. And we see the effects of money all over Eve in escalation of warfare. When I started no one flew T2, not even modules, it was too expensive. Now T2 is seen as the price of doing business. Everyone uses it. Eve has a definite power creep fed by money.

  16. Yes, I can challenge it, And it is quite easy.
    Number 4:
    "Thanks to the B0TLRD accords, shared history, and other diplomatic agreements, three of these entities appear to be allied or for all intents and purposes at least very friendly."

    Such agreements never last forever. Three entities are friendly NOW, but this going to fall apart sooner or later.

  17. Every day, more pilots become capable of flying titans. Some of these will be saving up for their own titans. The number of capital and super capital pilots is growing all the time. The ISK-making capacity of pilots is growing all the time.

    So in order:

    1. Players get better at making ISK, more players every day become capable of flying capital and super capital class ships. Future fights will have more and more people willing to throw away their expensive toys to be part of the fun fights.

    2. There is no requirement for one entity to want to start a fight in order for a fight to happen. A future "B-R5RB buster" fight might start from a single super carrier that was tackled while shooting a POS. All it requires is for grapevines and bat phones to be operational and enough people from coalitions, alliances, corporations or one-man operations to want to get in on that fight. The fight will happen, fleets will arrive to shoot at other fleets who arrive. Escalation happens.

    3. By your current count there are four entities capable of bringing B-R sized fleets to the fight. Your current count is irrelevant. The future count will be different, and the future fights don't even need to be limited to the four biggest entities in the game.

    4. BoTLRD is a pact. Just like OTEC was a pact. Just saying'

    5. See previous points: future fights don't need to involve one side invading another's space. A future fight might be an entirely accidental encounter that leads to an opportunity for every super capital pilot with a pulse to get their e-peens out and smash stuff with them: "Who cares about the cost? I want my name in the news! I want a place on every kill on every super capital in this fight! KB efficiency man!"

    6. Players with money buying up independent super capital fleets. A bunch of corporations leaving existing trusted entities to form similarly trusted entities on their own terms, trusted entities splintering into smaller entities and growing again: the political landscape can change in ways that don't require Team America: World Police to stomp on everything that is smaller than them. Goons have shown that they are quite skilled at diplomacy (thus the big blue donut)

    7. Assuming that CFC remains the dominant power in Nullsec. Assuming that guerrillas don't start using super capitals due to new features added by CCP in the future. Assuming that CFC leadership remains intact and doesn't end up taking leave from leadership to have babies, found a startup, work on an oil rig, get a better job in bumfuck Africa, etc.

    8. You continue your fixation on future fights requiring the existing entities in the game to exist yet turn hostile to each other. There's nothing stopping an uninvolved external party triggering a fight which escalates out of control to become bigger than B-R.

    IMHO, the future will see more super capital fights, more frequent super capital fights, and more expensive super capital fights, simply because more and more capsuleers are capable of flying them as time goes by, and more and more capsuleers are getting better at making ISK. Some have already been talking about forming freelance fleets to lend knuckle-dragging F1-pressing support to whoever pays the most money.

    At some point this Knuckle-dragging fleet will come into existence. They'll be laughed at to start with until someone decides to take the plunge and hire them, then when it turns out that they actually will turn up and press F1 for your FCs and dont' shoot purple, they'll get hired more and more frequently.

    We'll be looking back at B-R5RB and reminiscing about the days when people wouldn't dare commit their precious super capitals to any fight where they might actually be blown up.

  18. The likeliest scenario to me is that if power projection is ever nerfed in a meaningful way, the ability for one group to hold vast areas of space will be diminished while the desire for one group to hold vast areas of space will not. That is the kind of tension that may cause a fracture and another large fight.

  19. I always find it amusing when people quote Bill Nye as if he were some sort of authority on matters of science. The man is an actor and a stand up comic! Playing a scientist on a kids' show does not make him one in real life. Yes, he has an engineering degree. So what? I do too, and speaking from experience, it's not that big of a deal. It definitely doesn't make me an expert, any more than it makes Mr. Nye a scientist.

  20. Here is the disproving the "By my count, there are currently four entities in the game capable of doing this." point: http://greedygoblin.blogspot.hu/2014/02/its-already-replaced.html

  21. There was a time (2009) when alliances had two or three titans each. Now corps, that are not even part of an alliance, have 2 or 3 titans each. Your reasoning that this will be the last of these fights with multiple supers/titans is as naive as saying there will never be fights larger than with 256 players on one side (which is why the fleet numbers max out at 256). Eve needs a numbers update. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a battle within 18 months with more titans at risk, and probably lost, than B-R. The day that happens I will come back and point at this and laugh at you.


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