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, October 13, 2011

Location location location

I spent some time over my vacation cleaning up some of my EVE files, and I came across this map:

This is a snapshot of the Influence map about 45 seconds before the "Wallet Transfer Fail" that caused Goonswarm to lose Delve to IT Alliance, early February 2010.  That was 20 months ago, not long after release of Dominion.

And the best space in New Eden was Catch/Providence.

Hee.  No.  Not the most valuable space... the best space... for PvPing, that is.  At the time, Catch/Provi was pretty much worthless.  None of the big alliances wanted to hold it, so the bulk of it was held by Curatores Veritatis Alliance, an Amarr role-playing alliance.  Thanks to them, Catch/Provi was full of free ports, which was great.  But nobody needed to use them, which was better.

Take another look at that map, and let your eye roam around the area surrounding Catch/Provi.  You'll find that there are more than 30 alliances on that map within 20 jumps of Provi, from HTA and Consortium on the east to IT and GS in the west.  Not shown on the map are at least a dozen more alliances that lived in NPC space in Curse or the Great Wildlands, or pirate corps that lived in Derelik.  And all of them went to Catch/Provi every night.  A few jumps this or that way, and you'd find small gangs of 15 or 20 ships, fighting it out with other gangs about the same size.  If your scouts couldn't easily find you a fight, your FC could start a convo with other FCs in the area and you'd soon be in one.

When you got a significant portion of your fleet blown up, you'd make the 20 jumps for home, or alternately, the markets of Amarr and Rens were pretty close by.  Roams lasted about 2-3 hours.  If you were in a particularly good alliance, your early evening FC would take you out, you'd blow up some people, come home, reship (usually into something cheaper), and your late evening FC would take you out again.

I'm getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.  ;-)

But it was not to last: by that autumn, the Golden Age of Small-Gang Warfare in EVE was coming to an end.  What's happened since has been well-documented, by me and others.

Mittens is talking about creating a similar "thunderdome" in Delve.  The GSF advance down there is grinding along.  It might succeed.  It might not.  Historically, Goons have always been much better at destroying than creating, so I personally think their push is likely to fail as the Goon-on-the-street gets bored with the objectives there.  That will cause participation to drop and the offensive to stall.  And that's a shame.  I can think of a dozen good reasons why a new small-gang thunderdome is a good idea that should succeed.  I can only think of one reason why it's a bad idea that will fail.

But that one reason is a doozy.  As real estate agents put it: location, location, location.  And Delve is a terrible location.

Catch/Provi worked as a small-gang PvP meeting place because so many alliances lived within 15 or 20 jumps of there.  I've said again and again that if you're going to lead a PvP roam, you'd better get your fleet some fights within 15 or 20 jumps.  If GSF succeeds in pushing out the few current residents, hardly anyone is going to live within 15 jumps of Delve.  The region itself is ridiculously isolated.  It's one of the things that makes it so easy to defend.  But it makes Delve a horrid place to site a thunderdome.

Mittens would tell me that I'm an idiot and that the plan includes free ports so that people can live in Delve full time.  I'd respond in two ways.  First, I'm sure that people will be eager to live in a place that GSF members can lock them out of just for fun.  Goons would never stoop to scamming or griefing whole alliances, right?  Stop laughing.  ;-)  Second, even if you assume that people would live in NPC Delve instead, the closest market is still 30 or more jumps away.(1)  That's a bit far to go to the market for some new faction ammo.

So, even if GSF succeeds in sweeping through Delve, I don't think the thunderdome idea there is going to gain much traction.

EDIT (13/Oct/2011): Two really dumb typos in this article have been corrected.  First, I had "west" and "east" mixed up describing some geography.  And second, I talked about Catch/Provi small-gang PvPing happening before Dominion's release when I meant not long after.  *blush*

(1) To be fair, CCP themselves have hamstrung the entire southwest part of New Eden by failing to put more stations into Khanid.  A major market would have sprung up there naturally years ago... if there were someplace convenient to put it, and there were a decent number of manufacturing stations nearby.  Similar border regions elsewhere in New Eden have dozens of stations.


  1. CVA is still mostly in control of Catch/Providence. Why is the region still not a hotbed of small-gang warfare? What happened historically?

  2. When Dominion made Catch/Provi worthwhile to hold, all the small sov-holders there, including CVA, were pushed out. During that period, all the small gangs that used to come to Catch/Provi stopped coming. CVA has only recently returned now that the Dominion sov changes were reversed again this past April.

    In the meantime, though, all the small sov-holding alliances that used to live within 15-20 jumps of Catch/Provi have been pushed out. There's now much fewer people living in the surrounding regions. Compare the influence map today with the one 20 months ago. It's pretty striking.

  3. IT invaded Fountain before the Dominion expansion. CCP has stated that there would be a 3 week hold on all sov changes after the implementation of the new sov system in Dominion. This was supposed to give alliances a buffer with which to plant their TCUs and ihubs. IT saw this as an opportunity to gain a foothold in fountain so they invaded a week before the expansion and managed to gain sov in a station system the day before. This gave them 3 weeks to fortify their beachhead and move assets into the region. They eventually took Fountain (as shown in your map) and were preparing to attack Delve when the goons had their little sov bill problem and ended up giving the region away.

    Poetic Stanziel, CVA was kicked out of their space by the combined efforts of Against All Authorities and Ushra'Khan. In the spring of 2010 -A- traveled up north to help IT with their failed MAX 2 campaign against the NC. While they were gone a small alliance associated with CVA decided to siege some -A- systems. They were repelled, and that should have been the end of it, but CVA continued roleplaying as hard nosed amarrians and refused to back down from their actions. -A- removed them from the region for being uncooperative (and also because it was something to keep them entertained).

  4. Apocrypha Release date: March 10, 2009.
    Dominion Release date: December 1, 2009.

  5. It was the saddest moment in all of Eve when Providence 1.0 fell. Even Manny regrets it, not that CVA gave him much choice though.

  6. Goons don't really want a thunderdome in Delve (although it would be nice to have); they merely want to destabilize the region to provide a buffer zone on the southern border of their coalition. Goodfites are just a bonus.

    Also because they really do hate BoB and want to salt the ground they walked on.

  7. @ Poetic Stanziel
    The small CVA affiliated allliance that Ukiyo speaks of was Libertas Fidelas Alliance or LFA. That was my old alliance. However do note that the invasion was fully CVA sanctioned, supported and led. With that said, LFA's push for additional space for their alliance did lead CVA to choose them for the invasion lead. And I wouldn't be surprised if the idea for the invasion came from LFA's leadership. From what I've heard and saw, a lot of the other alliances inhabiting CVA space at the time weren't consulted. As such, a lot of the smaller alliances got screwed during the -A- counter-attack. I.e Paxton Alliance.

    Anyway, I too miss Provi 1.0. Orakkus is right: it was one of my saddest moments in Eve when Provi 1.0 fell during the Battle for D-G.

  8. "To be fair, CCP themselves have hamstrung the entire southwest part of New Eden by failing to put more stations into Khanid."

    It's a result still from an age of social engineering, long ago. Khanid was back then considered a risk if it became as easily accessible for direct use by the general populace, a risk toward a certain empire - so to speak.

    I doubt the CCP of today still is willing to remember, or even capable. But it is largely irrelevant at this point either way, it is as it is and that is up to CCP to deal with, or not.


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