- If I write a response to a given writer's piece, I fundamentally respect that writer; and,
- I generally have friendly relations with the writers I respond to and I don't make a continuing big deal about my issues with their writing. "Feuds" by definition are on-going.
No, from time to time, I read a single piece at a place where I usually enjoy reading their pieces... and that single piece strikes me as a little silly. It then seems right to me not to let that single piece pass without at least commenting on it. Such back-and-forth responses and counter-responses have been a center-piece of opinion-based writing for hundreds of years... and you guys know what a fan of history I am. ;-) So at the danger of starting a feud with yet another EVE writer, I'm going to do it again.
In writing, there is the concept of the logical chain. This is most commonly used in the standard "five paragraph essay" that U.S. middle school students are taught (to their horrors). The idea behind such an essay is that you open with a paragraph stating three major points you're going to write about in a thesis statement. Then for three paragraphs, you cover the points in your introduction usually in one point per paragraph. Then you conclude with a final paragraph stating that you've proven your thesis and why.
With this in mind, go read this five paragraph essay from Forlorn Wongraven of Pandemic Legion on Xander's Crossing Zebras. Read the whole thing. It won't take long.
Ready? Let's deconstruct this piece a bit.
Forlorn starts with a rather startling thesis statement with five points:
- Providence is newbie-friendly and NRDS. Stations in Provi are open stations freely dockable by anyone.
- CVA and other Provi holders offer bloc-wide fleets and doctrines;
- Providence provides lots of stations with easy access to ratting and mining;
- "The region has no valuable moon such and as such is inattractive for a sov attack."; and,
- alliances in Provi do not have a "decent SRP."
- In para two, Forlorn departs from the standard format to briefly state that PL is on deployment to Providence and what that means -- he adds that PL "shys away from using capitals";
- in para three, he states "Providence is as rich as any other region as far as moon goo is concerned." with some rather spurious backup, then implies that this moon goo is going toward lining the pockets of individuals, corps, and alliances rather than a ship replacement program;
- in para four, he complains that PL is being unfairly maligned for their conduct, then with no sense of irony at all maligns Provi residents for theirs; then,
- in his concluding para, he states "the reason why Providence still exists is that almost every entity uses this region to entertain their pilots since alliances there will often only field cheap T1 fleet doctrines but you can catch the 2b ISK Marauder or the unscouted Freighter." He goes on to say that one day, former residents of Providence will return their to destroy CVA utterly and after that, "decent newbie friendly alliances will find a place there."
Let's start with full disclosure. Forlorn Wongraven was previously in Ushra'Khan, apparently fairly highly placed among them. For the learned among you, take a moment to laugh then move on to the next paragraph. For the rest, Ushra'Khan was a Minmatar role-play alliance. I won't belabor the details but you can rest assured that a former U'K pilot is going to be nothing but hostile to CVA. When Forlorn talks of fueling towers in Provi in 2010, that's who he was doing it for. Presumably, Forlorn only has a problem with some "decent newbie friendly alliances."
Now, the basics. Forlorn raises five points, then states the five are "all a lie." Does he prove his thesis statement? Flatly, no.
- Providence is newbe-friendly and NRDS. Stations in Provi are open stations. Forlorn says almost nothing against this, except for an implication that Provi residents overcharge in their markets.
- CVA does provide bloc-wide fleets and doctrines. He says nothing against this... he just implies he doesn't like what those doctrines are.
- Providence does provide lots of stations with easy access to ratting and mining. Can't tell you the number of Ventures, mining barges, and ratting ships Rote Kapelle guys have had to let go in Provi. That hurts, man. ;-)
- I'll get back to his statements about moon-goo and whether the region is unattractive for sov attack because of it.
- And I can assure you that alliances in Provi indeed do not have a "decent SRP." Only a small handful of ship classes are replaced, and only in CTA fleets.
For the final point, some background is in order. Right now, Providence is the hottest location in New Eden. PL aren't the only ones deployed here or fighting here. Provi residents have their pick of targets from PL, N3, the CFC, HERO, and a dozen smaller corps and alliances, every single day. And unlike several of these, Provi residents are free to shoot at any or all of them. We can pick our battles on a daily basis and engage who we choose to engage, ignoring the rest... or ignoring everyone if we so choose. That's the benefit of playing defense. It probably won't surprise you that CVA and allied pilots are pretty routinely racking up sufficient kills to put them on weekly top killer lists on the EVE kill boards that track such things.
So from among our choices, is PL the best choice to fight? Sadly, no.
In American-style baseball, a backstop is used with school-age teams; its intent is to prevent a single wild pitch from turning a game into a rout. In Pandemic Legion, their capital and super-capital fleets exist in Providence as a backstop to prevent them from losing battles. Forlorn might claim that they are "shying away" from using capitals but in six major timer battles so far in their deployment, they have used massed carriers in one and super-capitals in another. Against Provi residents more routinely, they use massed bombers and large Vulture fleets.
Again, Provi residents have the option of fighting whomever we choose. N3 has been reinforcing Provi assets but come into the timers with engageable fleets.(1) Where we engage them in a big fight or two, they have shown a willingness to take down their SBUs and even help us rep structures. Brave Newbies and other HERO Coaliton members have been everywhere in Provi and have been fun to fly against. CFC member alliances have been bringing small "no fucks given" fleets into the region. Smaller alliances have been coming in with fun little fleets to fight. Provi residents can fight whomever among these we wish. If you could choose, which of these would you fight? One of these others, or PL with their massed bombers and backstopping capital ships?
I thought so. Us too.
As for whether Providence is unattractive for sov attack, even by conservative estimates, Pandemic Legion alone has between ten and twenty times the mass of capitals and super-capitals of Providence residents. The other blocs fighting in Provi have even more. Provi residents have absolutely no illusions about our ability to hold sov in the face of a real invasion. I think the vast bulk of us recognize that CVA and the other holders hold that sov only at the pleasure of the big boys on the block. If they chose to close down this little NRDS experiment, they could do it without breaking a sweat.
When it looked for all the world like N3 was going to try to head-shot CVA, we immediately pulled our main staging system out of Provi and put it in low-sec. Our assumption at the time was that N3 did indeed intend to fold the Providence region into their rental empire. As accurately reported in both EN24 and TMC, PL took exception to this. Forlorn doesn't have a word to say about that, though.
Finally, I find it ironic in the extreme that a PL member would complain that moon-goo might be going into the hands of individual pilots, when PL is proudly, defiantly famous for doing exactly this. I can tell you from experience that if there were large number of moons worth anything at all in Providence, the big boys would take them. Mittens -- who is obviously in a position to know about such things -- is openly dismissive of Providence. I don't doubt that a few moons are in CVA member hands and it's even possible that a corp or individual here and there is profiting by this.
But the amounts are paltry and certainly not sufficient to fund any kind of large SRP. In a single recent battle of the six referenced above, Provi residents lost eight billion ISK. I assure you that is a significant fraction of CVA's total SRP budget. It wouldn't take many such battles would bankrupt it. And that's with CVA using inexpensive ships.
All in all, Forlorn's piece comes off as an angry screed that he can't understand why Provi is fielding Ruptures... and that we should definitely start fielding battleships or something even more expensive against PL bombers, Vultures, capitals, and super-capitals. In particular, we should apparently definitely do this instead of taking on fleets belonging to other organizations where we have a fighting chance of actually winning a battle here or there. To that screed is attached a vendetta against CVA springing from his own personal history.
The overall piece is the product of sloppy thinking and sloppy writing. In an American middle school, Forlorn's five paragraph essay would likely have trouble scoring a "D".
(1) They immediately primary FCs, though, which is counter-productive if they want fights with us. They've been slowly learning not to do this.