The Mittani published an interesting piece over at Ten Ton Hammer yesterday. You should go read it, if you haven't already. It talks about how null-sec alliances -- most particularly the CFC, Ev0ke, Pandemic Legion, and NCdot -- are banding together with the intent of griefing high-sec EVE players. The idea is to greatly increase the prices of T2 ships, T2 modules, and even T1 ships and items. It also mentions how CCP is unintentionally helping them. It essentially talks about moving the battlefield from ship-based warfare to economic and class warfare.
Now go read this post over at The Nosy Gamer. It's much shorter, and talks a bit about why NoizyGamer prefers to stay in small EVE corps (or play solo) rather than joining a larger corp. As you do, see how well or poorly his arguments apply to small corps trying to stay out of large alliances.
Last October, when it looked like PL was going to try to restrict Technetium exports on their own with an eye toward raising the prices of T2 ships and modules, I wrote this:
When viewed from this perspective, even the actions taken by PL aren't going to have the impact they think they're going to have. Low- and null-sec residents might need dozens of T2 ships per year, but high-sec residents don't. You just don't see all that many T2 ships in high-sec. Your average high-sec resident flies T1 battle-cruisers and battleships, then upgrades to a faction battleship or pirate battleship, or goes straight for a T3. At best, you see a few logis and command ships. Sure, T2 fittings will also eventually affected, but say the price of T2-fitting a ship doubles. High-sec residents don't track prices of T2 mods. They'll just buy them, and go on with their lives. It's not like they're going to buy very many T2 modules in any case. They just don't buy lose ships at the rate that null-sec residents do.The Mittani's piece crystallized a lot of my thinking on this issue, because I don't think he's going to hit the target that he's aiming at. And I think we're going to see a lot of collateral damage done in the process of him trying to hit that target.
This morning, in response to something I tweeted last night (get to that in a second), CCP Manifest said this:
T1 ships are great if you fly them well (or have buddies) @KareesMoonshade @themittani @HelicityBoson @RipardTegAnd while yes, that's true, it's the number of buddies that's increasingly becoming a problem.
In Syndicate lately, we're seeing a lot more large null-sec bloc activity. Gentlemen's Agreement and TEST are coming through quite often. I'm also hearing a rumor that Goons intend to reinforce and/or destroy a large number of POCOs and/or POSs in Syndicate. As I type this, there's a Gents cyno Rapier cloaked in Rote Kapelle's home system. He's been here all night (kinda pointless because almost nobody rats in Syndicate, but whatever). The same Gents cyno Rapiers have been trying to hot-drop anyone they can in Syndicate. I was part of a fleet the other day when Gents dropped more than 30 ships to kill literally one Hurricane.(1)
And yeah, granted, those Gents pilots were flying almost all T1 ships: Hurricanes, Rifters, and Firetails. A CFC blob is likewise almost entirely T1 ships. The Titans they use to bridge are T1 ships, and since alpha is making Logistics ships less useful, aside from tackle and fleet bonus ships, you don't see a lot of T2 ships used by the largest alliances. When I was in LAWN, the ships I flew most often were Maelstroms, Drakes, and Hurricanes. The proportion of T2 ships supporting these fleets is pretty small.
Last April, between Ripard and two combat alts, virtually every single kill-mail I was on, I was in a Maelstrom.
This April, between Ripard and my alts, you have to go down to my fifth-used ship to find a T1 ship... a Tornado.
Smaller gangs -- particularly null-sec small gangs -- are much more reliant on T2 ships. Smaller gangs have to up-engage and fight when badly outnumbered. That means we're heavily reliant on T2 ships for their T2-class resistances and other specialties. If I don't count duplicates, I have 25 or so types of T2 ships in my main hangar right now: Inties and AFs and dictors and hictors and Command Ships (Field and Fleet) and HACs and of course my beloved Recons. ;-) That doesn't mean that's all I fly, of course. But since I joined Rote Kapelle more than six months ago, six out of my top ten ships are T2 or T3. This, it turns out, is not unusual. If I look at Rote's top five all-time killers, 33 out of their 50 most used ships are T2 or T3.
"But Jester," the peanut gallery immediately says, "you've been captured by the forces of ~elite PvP~," and sure. That's a fair criticism. But again, when fighting outnumbered, you need the advantages T2 and T3 ships give you. When you're flying T2/T3, or flying a T1 heavily supported by T2s/T3s, you can slip ships out of the net that would otherwise be destroyed. The alternative is to be that blobbed-out-of-existence Hurricane. We might have saved him if the FC had thought to include a single Falcon in our composition, for instance.
I caught flak for saying on Twitter last night that small null-sec gangs are far more reliant on T2s than their high-sec or low-sec counter-parts.(2) This is what I meant. It's not to say that these gangs don't use T2s. They definitely do. But they're not as reliant on them. I can't afford to lose tons of ships because my income won't support that. When I was in LAWN, I didn't have to worry about that as much. All my expensive losses were reimbursed. Today? Not so much. So if I lose a ship, it hurts. If I lose a T2 ship, it hurts triple.
So, while the grief being caused to high-sec miners is certainly significant, it's going to pale to insignificance compared to the impact of higher module and ship costs for the smaller PvP players. The big players, of course, will have their moon profits. Goons might say that this stuff is "about griefing, not money", but Mittens himself makes them liars:
Anticipating the mineral supply shock, Goonswarm sank almost a trillion ISK into minerals before the Escalation patch, and then chose the first weekend after the patch - the time where producers traditionally resupply their sell orders on the market - to strike Jita.Mittens might say he's declaring war on Empire -- "macroeconomic extortion of Empire for profit will rapidly transform from a gleam in a null-sec financier's eye to a brutal fact of economic life", he says. But really, he's declaring war on anyone "not Goons." This is fine from his perspective, I suppose. It's definitely his right.
But it does start to beg the question of what the end-game goal is. It's not griefing. The Joker set the big pile of money on fire in The Dark Knight. He didn't invest it in Gotham Municipal Bonds. Does The Mittani win EVE if everyone "not Goons" is reduced to such poverty that they can't afford ships? And if the rest of EVE joins CFC corps instead so that they can afford ships, what then?
Hell, maybe that's how the rest of us should respond to this economic warfare: bankrupt the CFC by joining them and over-extending their resources. That'd be macro-economic extortion, but of a different kind. ;-)
EDIT (1/May/2012): Well, here you have it from Mittens himself:
@RipardTeg Good piece, it's not clear in it how I'd 'miss the target', though. 'Wreck Everything' seems like a direct hit to me. #tweetfleet
(1) Only half of them got on the mail.
(2) That's what CCP Manifest was responding to.