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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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May day

It's time for Jester to link together a bunch of seemingly unrelated items.

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 @RipardTeg
And 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.


  1. We've been doing alot of dropping in Syndicate, which got us this gem of a Hurricane:


  2. The end game is everyone in the CFC and 0.0 as safe as empire.

  3. I fly CFC and I'm a young pilot just finally expanding into t2 cruisers... and I can see how big of a problem this is.
    I like small gang, 10 on 10 (allows for good variations in fleet comp imo) and 15 v 15 is about the limit I believe in, anything past that is just an instapop blob.

    Even with the nullsec income options, I can't easily afford to get a HAC weekly without getting the urge to throw my PC away(PvE in EVE is bad and should feel bad). So for anyone whose main point is to PVP in small gangs and do it well, T2 is the only way to go, and these same people don't control large swathes of nullsec... the people they intend to grief (miners) are just going to man up and do the smart thing... Win at EVE for a month (or more) or start mission running in that t1 battleship they have decked out from the nullsec players who want to sell all those expensive modules to someone so they can get money for pvping...

    Hmm, I don't remember where I was going with this but I think I just made a circle out of the EVE economy...

    Skipping all that (I'm feeling chatty today, hah) CFC is going to get bored, we already have a miniwar of some sort between members and with peace in nullsec the only way to get real action is to go grief highsec, until someone finally works up the balls to go toe to toe with us. I honestly would rather have us fighting more epic space battles then pouncing on industry ships all month.

    On the topic of end game: My belief is that the end gane of EVE is to find some people to fly with, whether everyone you know is armed to the teeth or fitted cargo expanders (or they didn't have any plans to fly with you until you decloaked). Once you've done that, you fly till you get tired and burn out, unsub, resub and fly some more.

    I think I said all the random bits I've been wanting to.
    Fly reckless, because flying safe isn't fun.

    1. "I honestly would rather have us fighting more epic space battles then pouncing on industry ships all month."

      Don't worry - you are not the only one who feels this way. Not everyone is willing to keep playing high-sec games "until someone finally works up the balls to go toe to toe with us". Many of us are pushing to start the next fight, with a punch to the face, even if we might be taking on more than some of our "carebear" members think we can handle.

      As you said: "Fly reckless, because flying safe isn't fun" - this is how a true Goon plays the game.

  4. Best post in a long time; I've been getting bored of your blog lately, but this has rekindled that fire of love. <3

    Also, nerf Drakes and Hurricanes. They shit on HAC's so hard that it's difficult to find a reason to spend almost 200 mil (nowadays) on a HAC when you can get better tank and damage from Hurricane or Drake for less than half the price.

  5. Colour my cynical but is Mittens Griefing Hi-seccers or is he trying to break eve's economy in revenge for his ban? Cause Like you said Jester, I can see this having a much bigger effect on those that use T2 ships (not hi-seccers) than tose that fly their t1/pirate fits on L4's

    1. Mittens is nearly bitter enough for that, but now his entire attention is on running the CFC which means the fat has been cleaned off and the muscles are being flexed. The downside is this happens right after relative peace has been achieved in nullsec (-A- fail wardecs not withstanding) so the biggest batch of players he can set the wolves on so to speak is also the least likely to fight back.

      The side of effect of disrupting the relatively smooth flow of EVE's economy is just kicking sand around the sand box.

    2. The idea that Mittens is wanting revenge for his ban is pretty darned ridiculous. It's not like he is restricted from DOING anything by the Ban - he rarely logged in as it is, and generally has kept his position as King of Space going through forums and steady out of game communication with his Goonies.

    3. Agree with Faceless.
      If anything it´s been the stepping down from the CSM chair that pissed him off. And mostly pissed of at himself for acting THAT stupid.

      What we see now is the bastard actually having fun. Mostly by NOT actually playing EVE(Mittens mining -> LMAOROFLgurgl..) and spoiling it for everybody else (but Goonscum/TESTidiots).

  6. You should not be concerned so much about it. Mittani seeks attention so he talks big, but much as his Jita escapades this tech cartel will have no long term economic effect. Soon we will have belt mining and thousands of freelance independent miners and small corps will drive the price of tech down, t2 ships will be more affordable then ever and CFC, PL and NC. will be back at rating as main source of their income once their natural monopoly is destroyed.

  7. Unless (or until) there's a change in mechanics, small gang pvp is a dying breed. The Mittani sees himself as a crime lord in Eve and simply wants to accumulate power and wealth to further stroke his ego. He hopes to further project his power, both in terms of spaceships and economics, with these shenanigans. If your way of life (and ISK) gets caught in the crossfire, it's just an added bonus, from his perspective.

  8. I would imagine that OTEC will be vulnerable to the same problem that OPEC has to deal with. They can set quotas and attempt to price-fix, but you can't guarantee that any individual member of the cartel won't sell beyond their quotas. Especially when the price has spiked and profits are fatter.

    1. Our corp has already made a deal with one of the aforementioned members of "the cartel", to supply us with as much Tech as we need, at the pre-inflated prices, in exchange for continuing to supply them with T2 ships & mods, at the pre-inflated prices.

      We're already making a nice profit, as speculation pushes T2 prices up, by keeping our sell orders somewhat lower than usual. Ofc, we plan to ride this train as long as possible, but, like the blue ice and oxytope incident, we fully expect the Goons to dump their stockpiles on the market, at some point, crashing prices back down again. Our "supplier" is already planning to beat the Goons to the punch, and dump their stockpiles first. So, let the backstabbing begin....

  9. "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."

    Also take note that most dedicated hisec PvE boats are faction fitted, with a couple key deadspace mods. If a hardener is 150m isk there is no reason to be concerned if each T2 gun is 5m or 10m.

    I can also confirm that the survivability of hisec ships is measured in years instead of weeks/months.

  10. It's increasingly obvious that CCP doesn't give a flying fuck about anything but the null-baron shitbags. They, cock-sucking corrupt, borderline-incompetent little lick-spittles that they are, will happily ruin the game for everyone else, trying to force us all into sov-null.

    Again, it grows more obvious by the day, and has been for at least the last year.

    I thought sandboxes aren't supposed to revolve around any one explicit end-game? Call me nai'ive for actually believing in the sandbox on principle, eh?

    Fuck them, and more and more, add a "fuck EVE" (a quite hilariously bad game in many ways, the Goon-trash are certainly right about that) onto that--bittervet after only 3 years?


    [/cynicism + ennui]

    (Oh, and the guy whinging that Drakes and 'Canes are O/P: You are a fool, please un-install the client now, kthxbai.)

  11. "@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."

    Well, at least he's no longer operating in bifurcated mode, that said finding a mob and running to the front of it doesn't constitute prescient leadership.

    Though the irony of ending up as Bob MK II is probably not lost on him.

    And even if some goons have decided to go scorched earth and move on to the next game, I suspect a lot haven't.

    1. I think it less running in front of the mob, more having the mob pull your sled for you while you dangle candy in front of them.

  12. My .2 ISK... Mittens is just playing EVE. =]

  13. Honestly Mittens is starting to strike me as an angry child throwing a temper tantrum because he got caught throwing sand in the quiet kids face and has to spend 15min in the time out corner.

    I have yet to be impressed with anything the goons have done in highsec. Every attempt they have made to try and rip through the sandbox has just been absorbed by the sandbox at large.

    If goons were to disband tomorrow would EVE care? would EVE even notice? I sure wouldn't.

  14. Look at OTEC again assuming that
    a) the only goal is personal profit for those involved (any pain caused is just icing)
    b) that they believe that eve is resilient enough that this won't seriously reduce their target pool in any meaningful way.

    With those two assumptions, does it start to make more sense?

    Also keep in mind what you surely already know; that perceptions are much more important than reality in eve. ;)

  15. I was in a bc gang in Dal when PL dropped 6 titans and a super carrier on us to kill one hurricane. Last week a perfectly cromulent fight where people actually brought out capitals to fight over a POS was going quite well until NC. dropped half a dozen super carriers on top and killed one dread from our side, and one carrier from theirs before everyone ran away. A couple of weeks back a fairly even fleet fight of about 15 a side was in the offering with Unprovoked Aggression but they had one of their known cynos in a rapier and have been bridging fleets a lot recently, so our FC declined, and I saw another fleet explaining to them in local why nobody was interested in playing with them any more.

    it's not just Syndicate. Lots of places have super caps destroying small to medium fights just by existing.

    Down with that sort of thing!

  16. Defining goon actions as a "high-sec" war is just Mittani being a deceiver, you imply it to some extent in your blog.

    He is artificially creating an imbalance that will resonate on the economy, one that aims to create an advantage for those on his side of the conflict.

    Either way, people will adapt, will bring new tactics and will outmaneuver the handicap. EvE is about maneuver warfare anyway, thats what mittens is applying.

  17. I have several thoughts about this. My first thought is that, for all the talk of null-sec being the 'end-game', etc, etc...this clearly proves that point to be invalid. Null has gotten so stale that the CFC, and others are trying to make war in hi-sec. Incredible.

    My second thought is along the lines of internet spaceship tough guys making things difficult just because they can. All comments aside about this just being a game, etc...is disregarded. There are some people who actually don't pay real money to play EVE, and I'm sure neither does Mittens, or many other tech moon holders. However, he and others like him are going out of their way to grief players (in hi-sec) who pay real money to play the game. I have to wonder about the psyche of a person who plays a game for free, but yet comes up with these strategies, cartels, jita-burning, economic warfare, etc, It's almost as if they need some sort of validation in their life. Pathetic.

    At the end of the day EVE is just a game. Nothing more. Nothing less. In fact it's HTFU aspect is cool and all, but the reality is that most of these internet spaceship tough guys are as soft as wet tissue in real life. So let them have their OTEC, and Hulkaggedon, Jita-Burning, and anything else they come up with. It's just a game, and when I get bored or tired, I go play something else. Their actions don't hurt players like me...and I have five accounts.

    1. Implying people who run missions in hi-sec aren't buying PLEX?

  18. Agree with Jester.

    Once again, Mittens is going to "miss the target" 'cause he just refuses to learn than he'll never understand high sec. Talk big, fail bigger.

    Gallente Ice Interdiction... fail.
    Burn Jita... fail.

    Most of high sec didn't even know these events happened, and the economy reacted with a minor blip, at best (mostly caused by the high sec market traders doing their usual market manipulation, to take advantage of the hype).

    So, next prediction:

    Technetium embargo... fail.

    High sec players do not go through the same numbers of T2 ships, modules and ammo that folks in low/null sec or WH space do. Whereas the average lifetime of a T2 ship in low/null sec can be ofttimes measured in hours, days, or weeks, a T2 ship in high sec can survive for years. Some of my corp mates in high sec are using the same HACs to run missions that they acquired when HACs were first released. Some of them are actually using the same set of T2 drones, as well.

    Also, T2 ships and modules are not essential for playing in high sec. Sure, folks fit T2 guns and other T2 modules, but that is only because they are relatively cheap right now. If the prices go up to ridiculous levels, they will just switch to meta items - of which there is an endless supply in high sec, due to all of the mission runners.

    PVP? If you want to PVP in high sec, join RvB. But, guess what? They don't fly many T2 ships - it is mostly T1 ships.

    L4 missions and exploration sites? All of them can be solo'ed in a meta-fit T1 BS. Noctis (for salvaging) is a T1 ship.

    Mining? Covetors aren't as efficient as Hulks, but they can do the job fine. Orca (for mining support) is a T1 ship.

    Hauling? In high sec, no need for cloaks, uber tanks nor jump drives, so T1 haulers and freighters work fine.

    Trade and Manufacturing? Do I actually need a ship at all?

    1. I think you're missing the point.

      The Gallente Ice Interdiction wasn't actually meant to do any lasting harm. If you actually bother to notice, the goonswarm financial team simply stocked up on the isotopes prior to the interdiction, and then sold them for a tidy profit.

      mittens logging in and running around in a destroyer was the icing on the cake.

      People try to look too large, and pretty much fall for the mittani's trap. He's having fun, and the goons are making bank while everyone and their dog is throwing on their tinfoil hats.

  19. Whenever an alliance reaches a point that Goonswarms had reached they always fail. BoB had the same plan and died, M00 did what Goons did year ago and faded away.

    Eve is littered with the chaff of alliances that came, grew and went. Why would Goonswarm be any different, they have a forum and they might prolong their own deathstruggle but eventually, everything dies or fades away.

  20. I really want to know how all of this is going to finally settle down on ship prices. For simple T1's, BPO(C) + Mins = Ship.. I don't think it'll be that big of deal. But as you go up the tech tree not many people make everything from base raw materials all the way up to finished products. It's too huge of a task to get the moon goo, throw it through all the reactions, toss them together to make components, then invention, then actually adding it all together. There are LOTS of middle men. And none of them are going to be happy with the same gross margin. As costs go up, spending their time to make example.. 1 mil per unit isn't worth it because they need a bigger turn around in product to have the same buying power. So their cut is going to go up directly in proportion to cost of minerals. Same thing for Cap & Super Cap production. The only part of Eve's economy that hasn't been hit directly in the last week is PI, and to a lesser extent Booster production. I wouldn't be surprised to start to see those rise as well once things start to stabilize across the rest of the market.. kind of an aftershock effect once those producers start to come to grips with how much less buying power they are going to have for time spent....

    If I had the time I'd sit down and run all the numbers.. but right now it's all WAGs and wishful thinking. Whatever comes out of all this though, I don't think CCP or Goons will have done what they set out to do. Massive upheavals like this never work out as planned, there is always some edge case that made little sense under the old system that is adopted as the new normal instead of what they were actually aiming for.

  21. Stevie, BCs are supposed to eat cruisers alive. That's like whining that you lost your Jag to a Thrasher. If they bring BCs, just ship into T1 BSs and rip them apart, you know, the BSs that armor HAC gangs hard counter.

  22. The Mittani isn't 'breaking Eve" or ruining the economy... He is changing it. He is doing it well, but that is all. If he is successful, Eve players will adapt, meta will change, and life will go on.

    People that fail to react or adapt will enter this poverty you speak of. I know I have already doubled my net worth thanks to what the Goons are doing, and I don't have ANY connection to them or their targets. So what are you doing to hedge against these changes? Bend over, take it and cry? Or adapt and thrive?

  23. I originally wanted to write a post on it but I decided to not bring more attention to that prick. So just a few headlines:

    1: the "sacking Jita" had ZERO effect. Even he had to acknowledge that the mineral prices did not move. People simply waited them out, traded somewhere else or pre-stacked.

    2: the "Rather than trying to restrict supply, OTEC has coordinated price-fixing" is economic nonsense. To drive prices up, you MUST restrict supply.

    3: for the second point OTEC won't work. Every members (first himself) will screw the others over by selling all they can mine on the elevated price.

    4: You are right that highsec will be little affected. "Bears" prefer to run faction battleships but even if they fly some T2 they not really going to lose it. They don't fly lowsec, they don't engage PvP (by definition), and alpha-ganking battleships isn't happening often (actually only happening if some idiot is scanned to have several billions of officer modules). For "bears", the ship and the fit is a one-time investment so even if it cost more, well, they grind some more.

    5: You are also right that the most affected will be the small-gang PvP-ers since they need strong ships to overcome odds and tend to lose them regularly. However you might be wrong about its being a side effect. Annoying prick he may be and dumb to economy but not to the interest of Goonswarm. I think the biggest threat to Goonswarm are the small-gang "elite" PvP-ers. Random Goons - outside of organized 100+ fleets - are easy targets to these elite-PvP roams. They cannot be retaliated by blowing up their tower as they have none. They just appear from nowhere, kill some people and disappear. If random goon kiddie #5486 loses the 5th ship in a row to them, he might say "fukk thiz game itz no fun lol" and quits even if he is reimbursed for the financial loss. Also, these small gangs effectively sabotate one to utilize his "owned" space by mining and ratting. So the small gangs hurt sov-holding alliances by demotivating their members and harming their income. The Goonswarm probably hurt the most as the "swarm" refers to the huge amount of low-skilled and low-shipped players who win by zerg-tactic. So it's possible that The Mittani wants to decrease the number of roams that belong to no alliance that can be blued or threatened.

    6: even if #5 is true, he'll fail as these PvP-ers are often buyers of PLEX, therefore they just spend a bit more RL money to stay in business.

    7: Funnily if the OTEC would work, the winners would be the "highsec bears" as people naturally buy more expensive fitting to a more expensive ship. So if they drive the price of the T2 ships up, the buyers will buy more expensive fitting which will be faction (especially as T2 fitting prices increased), and faction modules come from the LP grinded by bears.

    1. Um what? you need to restrict supply to drive prices up? Not if your operating in a price fixing cartel you don't. You simply agree (silently or otherwise) with your competators that you will put an artificial floor on the price. Proof is in the pudding, check out the price of Gallente T2 ships on the market at the moment...the prices are going ballistic.

  24. Tangential point regarding sov entities operating in NPC 0.0:

    Interesting observation. I would guess that they are doing this because (1) blue napfests have to travel further and further to find fights, and (2) sov entity blobs can find smaller, juicier targets to gank in NPC 0.0.

    So will this trend continue? I've noticed that blue napfests never last because Eve without conflict is boring. There are plenty of articles on why they don't last, citing both internal and external forces.

    Combining these two points, and thirdly the point of your article, I guess what I'm wondering is whether sov blobs are finding new ways of increasing their longevity. By turning to NPC 0.0 and empire are the napfests going to be able to satiate their members' primal desire for conflict without consuming themselves?

  25. I second that T2 price increasing will not happen.


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