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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Things worth blowing up in D5IW-F

Several people have been asking me how Rote Kapelle's "scouring of the Shire" is going, and I'm pleased to report that it's going well so far!  Our first target was Damned Nation, living in D5IW-F in Outer Ring.  On Friday and through the weekend, we started the final assault on their home system, and finished it by destroying their most heavily-defended POS, their most-contested POS, and an Orca that contained what appeared to be the bulk of their station Corporate Hangar in quick succession.  Their membership is badly demoralized, and I can't say that I blame them.

I do blame their leadership, though.

In any case, D5 is now swept clean, and we made a good start yesterday and today on cleaning out their main care-bearing system, A2V6-6, as well.  We've made a tentative informal agreement with a new occupant for these two systems, and we'll see how they do in terms of growing their organization into a group credible to be living in 0.0.  Needless to say, we and the other occupants of Syndicate will be looking forward to seeing some small roaming gangs out of them.  For now, we'll cross our fingers; certainly, they can be no worse than Damned Nation.  If nothing else, the new occupants can learn their trade preventing Damned Nation from taking back the systems we're pushing them out of.  And maybe a third party will come along and try to push the new occupants out too.  We can hope.

The really interesting thing about this campaign so far, at least for me, is both growing my own skills and watching my alliance-mates do the same.  As befits an organization living in NPC 0.0, Rote's always been slightly undisciplined.  What can you do with a bunch of goofy individualists?  But in order to equip consolidated heavier-hitting fleets, subdue structures, and change tactics on a dime, the goofy individualists are having to pull together as a group more.  It's been fun to watch!

For myself, I finally decided to let my light out from under the bushel I've been hiding it for the last year or so, CTA'ed a fleet, and led it.  The type of fleet -- stealth bombers -- is something that I know a little bit about.  Rote Kapelle hasn't used bombers for anything other than scouting in the full year I've been a member, so it was quite fun to teach them something new.  I think a lot of the guys gained some respect for these little monsters.(1)  It was also kind of amusing to be accused by our opponents of not fighting fair when I suggested and executed the tactic change.

I also started the campaign off on the right foot by scouting out every single structure in D5.  The post I put on our forums had the title of this blog post as its title.  ;-)

The other interesting thing about this campaign so far is how it's both revitalized Rote Kapelle and recommited us to the alliance's mission not to hold sov.  We're having to use so many tactics that are required for sov warfare: the blobs, the hell-camps, the alarm clock ops, the bridging.  Most of it just isn't our style and never will be.

This is and remains the biggest problem with this game, and the one that threatens to eventually wreck the whole thing.  The number of EVE Online super-powers continues to dwindle from eight to six to four to three... and now threatens to become two over the next year.  The blobs are getting bigger and bigger and bigger while ironically the targets for them dwindle.  Where does that leave those few groups like Rote Kapelle that just have no interest in being part of that game?  This isn't practice for sov warfare for us.  This is a distraction, a new play-style that we're pulling out of the closet, trying on for Halloween, and then putting back when we're done with it.

I learned this past week that CCP Diagoras left CCP of his own volition this year to pursue other personal goals.  That leaves the company without a face to publish statistics on the game.  But I really can't help but wonder what the PvP numbers look like.  Even if the numbers are going up, are the number of fights going down?

::coughs::  But that's definitely not what this post is about.

Anyway, that's how the campaign is going so far.  Alliance leadership deliberately picked a soft target to start so we could get a feel for what tactics we wanted to use and how we'd use them.  We feel like we've cracked the shell of this partcular nut and we're going to finish out feasting on the meat.  Then it will be on to target number two.  I'll no doubt be scouting out some targets and making a forum post about them soon....

EDIT (29/Oct/2012): One comment on this post was inadvertently deleted thanks to a mouse misclick on my part.  If you commented on this post and you do not see your comment, please post it again and I'll publish it.  My apologies for the problem.

(1) My favorite kill of this part of the campaign was this Basilisk, taken out while repping a POS and right under the POS's guns.  We smashed it with ten bombers, torps... and ten Target Painters.  So they brought in an insta-locking Tornado to defend their logi and kill our bombers.  You can guess how that worked out.  I'd forgotten how much I love bomber tactics.


  1. "I learned this past week that CCP Diagoras left CCP of his own volition this year to pursue other personal goals. That leaves the company without a face to publish statistics on the game. But I really can't help but wonder what the PvP numbers look like. "

    I can only think there is a gloomy reason no one has picked up the mantle of CCP Diagoras stat tweets or the last Econonomic DEV blog was 3-5 months ago.
    The closest thing any DEV has said about inflation at all was an admission that FW has been pushing the price of PLEX thru the roof & mission runners are hurting because of it.

  2. The blogs are getting bigger and bigger and bigger

    I assume you mean "the Blobs"?

    Although warfare through web posting sounds like it has potential

    1. I'm not sure if I meant blocs or blobs, actually. ;-) In either case, it's fixed.

    2. Well Riverini's blog hasgotten bigger & so has mittani's :P

  3. Outer ring, Not cloud ring.
    If a neutral entity would setup a pos in cloud ring.
    You would within hours have dreadfleets blapping the pos to impunity.

    1. Thanks! Fixed. And you're dead right about Cloud Ring, even though in reality NOBODY lives there.

    2. Even thought EXE technically live there, they are no where to be found.
      They are not up north with CFC, nor down south/southeast with HBC.
      So yes, i agree with you.

  4. EVE to live an flourish needs stories. Things that pull newbies in, fill them with hopes and will to "grow up". Other games have (the mock of) stories written into the code: the evil Lich King, the World shattering dragon, the materialized anger filled bugs and animated statues. In EVE players must make the stories.

    What stories do the small-gang PvP create? X and Y blow up some random ship that worth less than the hourly income of the very newbie who should be saying "oh my God!".

    The superpowers have stories, narrative, personalities. Things the people can stand up or against him. You can love or hate Mittani, Makalu, Vince "Falcon-mate" Draken but you can't say "meh who cares?" which is exactly what one says when hears about Damned Nation.

    What did Damned Nation do to anger you up so much that you went trough "the blobs, the hell-camps, the alarm clock ops, the bridging"?

    All their crime is being bad in a video game.

    1. Considering the amount of pixels you spill mocking people for not traveling an extra two jumps to sell the wares...

    2. Actually I can say "meh who cares?" I play this game for about a month longer than you.

      Well, I have heart about Mittani first because he was CSM chairman, but it's hard to not hear about him because a lot of people are referring to him. I have no clue who Makalu or Vince Draken are and no interest to change that, else I would have read up on them just now. They simply do not concern my day to day life in EVE.

      As long as you don't intend to play the 0-sec game. It's just like a war at the other end of the world. It may indirectly affect your prices or such things, but at the end of the day, you don't give a shit.

      PS: And btw, no, I don't earn my ISK in high-sec. But it wouldn't change much if I did, as I tried that, too.

  5. fore you arrived I-RED had destroyed all Poco's belonging to Damned Nation, and had been fighting them consistently. During the time I-RED occupied the region 350 members left Damned Nation. http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=14731187 , http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=14615854 . As you can see there were many good fights. Then Rote came and camped what was left of Damned Nation, and boasted of "their" success. Damned Nation defended their assets when I-RED fought them, and both had good fights. Rote comes and lives in their system with a constant bubble on undock, camping them, while they use there Dreads and Supers to reinforce structures. If Rote is looking for good fights they are going about it the wrong way.

    1. I-RED didn't kill DN, and Rote is just putting the final nails in the coffin.

      What killed DN was DN leadership and the breakdown of their leadership. They pissed off their coalition partners and started trying to dictate to neighboring alliances about who they could and could not recruit.

      The big drop in DN membership was the split of their unstable Outer Ring Coalition, and all their talented fighting partners going their own way.

      Props to Rote for washing what was left away. I-RED did come in and bash a few Pocos then some 4C area BS fleets came in and stomped I-RED into nothing.

    2. I-RED lost one fight in their campaign, and that was a BS fight. DN and all their allies in outer ring came in a kitchen sink BS fleet with 6 guardians. I-RED was still able to kill Megathrons under those 6 guardians and being outnumbered at least 2 to 1, but could not hold reps with the 3 guardians they had.

      Rote did nothing to DN but kill some useless POS'. Rote also didn't do anything to DN PVP wise except gank a few people. I-RED also fought Rote, when they teamed up with Exodus in D5, and they wiped the floor with them.

  6. "The blogs are getting bigger and bigger and bigger while ironically the targets for them dwindle." You mean blocks, right?

    Anyways, my main is close to be able to fly a basic 'Brick Squad' Oracle and I was shooting for training a Purifier next. Any advice, besides the obvious training skills, so I might even apply for membership in your 'bomb squad'?

  7. So, you are proud of being a bigger bully. Entire blog post for it? Really?

    I have read this blog because of some solid analysis. Jester, you should get back to it or you'll lose readership base.

    1. Oh? Does "Faustian Bargain" from Friday count for nothing? "Keeping up with the Joneses" from earlier in the week? "Logistics V" from the week before? Sometimes I write analysis, and sometimes I write about what I'm doing in EVE. I'm not gonna write analysis every single day, mate.

      As for being the "bigger bully", I think I'll have something to say about that.

  8. I'm glad to see an update on how Rote Kappelle is moving from the tactical level to the strategical one. But I don't think this change will be temporary. Now that you've started acting as the lords of Syndicate, by enforcing what is Syndicate traditional rule (small scale PvP), Rote Kapelle has de facto claimed sovereignty over this region. Sure it's not using Eve sovereignty mechanics, but RK will say who goes and who stays, under what conditions.
    Which is all good, until one of two things happens. Either one of your vassals feels you're not following up on your agreement, and join one of the big super powers. Or one of the super powers feels a pre-emptive strike against RK would be a good idea to avoid having to deal with them if they join the other super power, or just because it's there.
    Either way RK would become embroiled in the super power game. And that would mean less small gang PvP, more blobbing and such tactics disliked by RK.
    I hope I'm wrong, because I think small scale PvP is more enjoyable in Eve. But the more I look at it, the more I think the small scale PvP era of Eve was more an accident, than a design choice from CCP (cue "CCP has no global vision for Eve").

  9. "The blogs are getting bigger and bigger and bigger" I hate to pick apart spelling, but this one made me laugh :D

    And you had Dame with you, you poor, poor people.

  10. There is only one meaningful power left in sovereign null. Whatever HBC claims, they are for the moment firmly entrenched in the Goonswarm camp (or Goonswarm is entrenched in theirs). Either way, there's no reason for them to fight over systems, and no personal grudges to drive conflict. That may change in the unforeseeable future, but doubtfully any time soon.

    That leaves AAA, Solar, and the dotBros as the remaining potential big powers. AAA has headed for the hills, and it's an open question whether it'll be able to retake its space when the HBC moves on. Solar is very good at what it does, but it is only one alliance, and most of its blues aren't worth much on a modern null battlefield. The dotBros are losing their space, and adopting the "we didn't want it anyway" defensive rationalization. They are also very good at what they do, but quantity has a quality all of its own, especially when that quantity comes with Tengus and has you beat in all but one timezone.

    There are two real questions. The short-term question is what Goonswarm and the HBC will do when they're done with their current campaigns. My bet is that Goonswarm will eventually either purge Etherium Reach or Cobalt Edge, simply for want of anything else to do; that may not happen for months, but all else being static, it will happen. Or else it will turn on its coalition members or grow soft like the old NC. Ditto for the HBC, but working from the bottom of the map. The long-term question is whether the HBC and Goonswarm will ever come into real conflict; but odds are that such a conflict will involve, to paraphrase Jester, "Fleets of identical ships, duking it out over some backwater system no-one knows nor cares about." A new major power could theoretically emerge, but that is unlikely; it would need a solid core and a broad member base, and the shelter of an existing power to grow and mature. What we may see instead are a completely blue null, raided by 'elite' alliances staging out of lowsec and NPC null, with perhaps a few 'thunderdome' preserves like Providence, which may be no bad thing in a way.

    I am nowhere bashing on either Goonswarm or the HBC, contrary to what some folk will undoubtedly claim. These are not ragtag bands of imbeciles flying Rifters, whatever their opponents may claim.

    1. I am fairly sure etherium reach or cobalt edge will never be purged.
      IRC always form up for a fight, which does wonders for small gang gangs, and they have improved ALOT since venal, tenal etc was taken and JB routes where setup properly.
      Do i think they will be a offensive pvp alliance? Prob not, but they will atleast provide some form of resistance for small gang warfare.
      etherium reach residents are still shit however.

  11. I think the thing to really take away from this is that Rote Kapelle is fighting a war of attrition. Rote is small gang and thus cannot field an enormous sov bash fleet. So the trick is slowly sapping the will to fight. Guerrilla style and all that jazz.

  12. So, when Syndicate is purged of 'Carebears' or others who don't play the game as Rote wants them to...then what? What will have been accomplished besides Rote forcing their will on those who are weaker than they? Talk of Syndicate being home to small gang pvp is a foolish and short sighted at best. Clearly Rote carries that elitist mentality that major sov holding alliances carry. That mentality does more harm to EVE than sov mechanics, tech moons, or broken FW.

    The idea of attempting to force anyone to play a video game (especially a sand box) the way you want them to is pathetic.

    This 'campaign' is no different than good old fashioned school yard bullying.

    Please go back to writing good articles, and spare your readers this foolishness.

    1. The point to this is to encourage small-gang PvPers to take over some of these systems. As I mentioned in this post, that's potentially already happening in these first two systems.

      We don't care what people living in Syndicate do... as long as they form up for a fight now and again.

    2. "The idea of attempting to force anyone to play a video game (especially a sand box) the way you want them to is pathetic."

      You should probably think about this a bit more, sandbox doesn't mean what you think it does. Rote are definitely acting in the spirit of the sandbox.

  13. Fixing the null sec sov and super-powers problem is relatively simple. CCP just needs to scale up null sec to 10x of its current size.

    This would open up a lot of new space for new alliances to form, without immediately coming into conflict within the areas of control of the existing alliances. This also increases the logistic problem for any one or few alliances to take and hold *all* of null sec. TEST has already demonstrated that holding an area is more difficult, logistically-speaking, than simply taking it.

    Redistributing the existing tech moons across a 10x larger space would also likely force a reduction in the size of the current alliances, since they would have less income to support their size.

    1. However.
      That would not work, cause the major powers would have less income to support more members.
      It might be a fix for small gang warfare, but hardly for larger entitys.
      What CCP needs to do, is to fix the dominion sov system, which is the biggest reason why people get a supercap, to grind structures.


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