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...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why are you here?

Fair warning: it's just possible that Garth got to my keyboard and edited portions of this post between final draft and publication.  I apologize for anyone who is offended.

Over the weekend, while participating in an op that I'll describe in a moment, Rote Kapelle was approached by a fleet under the command of  John Revenent, an FC in Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive (I-RED).  The fleet was composed 12 ships: five Zealots, two Lokis, a Damnation... and four Guardians.

No, I am not making this up.  You can't make shit like this up.

Rote Kapelle has a problem right now, and that problem is Syndicate and almost everyone in it.  In a game full of risk averse EVE players, Syndicate has become a hiding place for this particular breed of whiny cry-baby.  It's really rather pathetic.  And it's turning what was once the finest PvP region in all of EVE Online into a forest of ganks and coward-fleets that run away at the first sign of danger.  In this particular case, I'll be charitable and credit the I-RED fleet with about 3500 outgoing DPS.  But on linked Zealots, four Guardians is capable of repping more than three times that... more than 11500 DPS.(1)

What the green hell is an opposing fleet supposed to do about that?  If we bring enough DPS to apply the requisite 12000 DPS or enough alpha to actually have a chance at damaging ships in that fleet, we'll be accused of blobbing.  If we bring a couple of Bhaalgorns or a few Curses to try to break all those reps, the fleet will run away.  If we decloak Falcons to jam the Guardians, after the fleet runs away we'll be accused of :ecm:.  When one of our FCs asked "Should we take this fight?", my response was an immediate, sarcastic, and biting "Are you serious?"  And yeah, I felt kinda bad about that afterwords, and yeah, I apologized saying it but... cripes.

Needless to say, the fleet aligned away as a unit and warped off as a unit to prevent us catching stragglers, either.

Rote routinely roams through Syndicate in logi-less fleets.  We limit ourselves to ten ships.  We limit ourselves to one Recon.  We put five billion ISK on the field supported by one Scimitar.  It doesn't matter.  People flee from us like forest animals from a fire.

This is what small-gang PvP in EVE has come to.  And it's about to become five times worse.  But more about that tomorrow.

On Babylon 5, much of seasons three and four revolved around a philosophical debate between two of the oldest races in the galaxy.  Each of these two races had a question for those younger than they.  And these were the big questions.  One asked "Who are you?"  The other, "What do you want?"  In season four, a third race even older was introduced and that race asked the biggest question of all: "Why are you here?"

If you live in Syndicate and you're not here for small gang PvP, why are you here?

Syndicate is shit for missions and sites, shit for mining and moons, shit for ratting and for PvE in general.  It's a great region to go broke in if you try to rely on it for an income.  But Syndicate is supposed to be about small gang or solo fights.  LOL-T1 cruiser gangs.  Equal number BC brawls, no-ECM-no-logi.  Camping "FD tack" if you get bored.  Or just straight up small gang traditional roaming with fleet sizes in the 10 to 15 range or so, maybe 20 on a weekend day 'cause there are a few more people around.  But these days, if you dare show your face in Syndicate in a fleet of more than five ships potential opposition will flee in fear.  If you show up in one, you'll get ganked by a dozen.  Or you'll get ganked by one Tornado 175km off with mids full of Tracking Computers and lows full of Signal Amplifiers.

It's a cancer and it's got to be stopped.

As a result, Rote Kapelle's leadership has decided to take an unprecedented and untested step of doing our damnedest to drive out of Syndicate every cry-baby whining ganking-or-running-away alliance that we set our eyes on.  Outside of Syndicate, fights happen only because strategic objectives are threatened.  And if that's what it takes to start a fight, sure: we're willing to give it a try.

So we're going to do our level best to wipe out every strategic objective belonging to these alliances in Syndicate, one or two a day until these alliances leave, or they give us a damned fight.  First victim?  Damned Nation, who don't seem to understand any sort of PvP other than "gank" or "run away".  And in one of the worst moon regions in New Eden, they seem intent on moon mining... a lot!  That gives a lot of strategic objectives.

My alliance-mates Anderson Williams and Namamai have both done fine jobs of summing up the problem and what we intend to do about it on Failheap Challenge.  Can this even be done?  We're going to find out.

Rote Kapelle is in this for the long haul.

If we clear out pockets, I'll be happy to advertise them to entities that would like to try out null-sec life, but for Heaven's sake, bring your small gang, will you?  'cause until people do, I don't think we're interested in playing nice any more.

EDIT (16/Oct/2012): I underestimated the amount of DPS that four-Guardian fleet could tank.  I forgot to apply the Damnation bonuses to the Guardians.  It wasn't almost 8000 DPS.  It was almost 12000 DPS.  I regret the error.

(1) One meta 4 armor repper applied to 84% average resists is 722 DPS tanked, so 16 such reppers are 11552 DPS.


  1. We try to bring fights in our TZ, but often that fight is either Meredith wandering around solo, or 40-man Russian gangs that we lolnope back to station from.

    And then just as we're about to logoff, Nyanpire rock up in a professionally-comped rapier-supported ahac gang and wonder why the four of us left don't undock.


  2. I wait with anticiiiiiiiiiPAtion the coming posts... =]

  3. Take it easy, Garth. May I point out that your post has the underlying assumption that Syndicate is intended for some particular activity? Odd from a man who buys into the theoretical sandbox. I'm an evasion style solo player for whom pvp is a last resort, but I don't understand how kills aren't kills. What is a gank in this context? Did something die? Was the killer of the something stopped or killed? No? Sounds like someone failed to execute. So gank right back. I have to say. Quite possibly the weirdest, most out of the normal type post from you.

    1. When you live in sovereign space, you have abstract goals: take over sov space, destroy towers, build up your own infrastructure, etc.. Bring as much people as you can muster, use the most hard-ass and opportunistic tactics you can.

      When one lives in Syndicate, your goal is to get enjoyable small scale fights; there's nothing else worth doing there. If you intentionally fly fleet compositions that are not fun to fight -- that cannot end in anything other than either a stalemate or a blob -- then why are you in Syndicate?

      You could drop a Moros on that fleet, and they could tank it without overheating. Ripard is right: there's only two ways to fight that fleet comp. Blob or massed ECM.

    2. You miss the point of sand box, it is what you make, if one group wants to reshape a part or all of the sand box, they are absolutely allowed to try.

    3. Apparently you also don't understand what a sandbox is. Cause in my book it means you can (attempt to) shape the world into whatever -you- want it to be. It's not about 'letting people do what they want', or some bearing creed like that. NO. A sandbox is all about doing what YOU want. Not other people letting you do it. Or game mechanics letting you do it. So he's about as sandboxy as you can get.

    4. Zenver, you have made my own point for me. THEY want it to be something Ripard doesn't. He wants it to be something they don't. If Ripard wants what he wants, its on HIM to make it that way. Not bitch about it. It sounds like he and his buds have a plan to do just that, though it will absolutely not work like he intends it to.

      Protip: if you're going to say things like "You don't understand what a sandbox is" you can't follow it with "in my book." That means "in your opinion" which only illustrates the nebulous nature of the term "sandbox." Bottom line, there is no "small gang only" rule in any part of space.

  4. Interesting. Last time I checked there was no sign on that region gate Orvolle->PF-346 that said 'Small Gang PvP Only'. Or on any of the gates into Syndicate. Also, I wouldn't classify a group that has 4 logis, 4 HACs, 2 T3s and a command ship as risk adverse. I'm surprised that an 'elite' pvp alliance full of 'internet spaceship tough guys' (rote) didn't take that fight no matter what. Bring in your dictors, ecm, logi, or whatever, and bring the fight to them.

    Stop complaining about it. Besides, how can you REALLY EXPECT small gang pvp in null sec (sov or non-sov). Current game mechanics do not allow this in hi-sec, low-sec or null. There is only one place in EVE that small gang pvp still exists.

    I'm somewhat surprised that this post even made it to the light of day.

    1. Did you not read? If we brought any of that, they would flee.

    2. Tiye Q is right. Come on Rote put your big boy pants on ship up and take the fight. I've lost a lot of respect for you guys - I didn't think Rote whined - sadly I was wrong:-(

    3. So? They would flee. Who cares? Have you guys maybe considered that you're too good for Syndicate? If no one wants to fight without what amounts to "Fleet Composition Rules" and arranged fights, then move on to fight others at your level. If they can't figure out a way to bait you into a fight with you falcons and then sneak someone up on the damn thing and blow it up, they aren't really playing at your level, are they?

    4. Of course I read it. Don't be dense.

      There is also the option of changing up your tactics (what a surprise...). Too many null fights remind me of old school combat. Two standing armies, literally face off in a field, or body of water (in this case; space) and fight each other. Sometimes there are variables thrown in with hotdrops, etc. but that still amounts to the same type of battle.

      My point is use different tactics. Change the game. I'm really surprised at why this isn't happening already. The tools are already there (for the most part). Don't bring the same type of crap combat that currently defines null pvp.

    5. "Also, I wouldn't classify a group that has 4 logis, 4 HACs, 2 T3s and a command ship as risk adverse."

      WTF ? How is that not risk averse ?!? I would regularly fly in small (<10 ship) fleets with 5-6 billions in ship ISK and only 2 logis - and that is where we were expecting to meet the same. For normal roams, we don't even use logis.

    6. @Knug Lidi, It's not risk adverse by the mere fact that they are in null-sec, roaming around looking for a fight. What they brought to the fight is not a case of risk adversity. It's more of an attempt to minimize their losses.

      Their fleet could have clearly been countered with ECM, and dictors or just flat out bombed out of existence. The second solution would require a bit more tactical maneuvering, but it would have gotten the job done.

      What I'm seeing develop in EVE is a standardization of combat, and the increasing inability to want to think outside the box. Part of the problem is game mechanics, (sov issues,economy, and power projection), and the other part (much bigger) is the actual thought process of the player base in null (sov and non-sov).

    7. I have to admit i agree with Mord and Tiye Q here.

      It's EVE. In EVE combat is unfair, and one sided, and whatever advantage you gain you get from thinking outside the box. I-RED offered a fleet that Rote wasn't certain they could take. In response Rote fled, then blamed it for being unfair, and proceded to declare a crusade against unfair pvping (or doing anything other than "fair' pvping as your focus for that matter) Seriously, in nullsec if there's no Caps, and no blobs, then i don't think any PVP corp can cry foul.

      I-RED had a fleet of identical size and within reasonable price (It was hardly a fleet of Pirate factions) to ROTE, which by all accounts has not only better pilots, better FCs, more cash, and more pilots on hand, and the capacity to at least offer battle. If they would have run or not is not the point. Rote decided to run, not I-RED. It's that simple.

      Although then promptly declaring a crusade against "Care bears" to cleanse this problem... so that would mean I-RED right. So no, DN. For some reason.

      Really this is the equivilant of Rote walking around with a sword and having a cry whenever someone pulls a gun, and cry whenever someone refuses to fight them. If anything this has proven that while it is annoying to Rote to avoid battle, presenting them with one where you might actually win is far worse. EVE is unfair, EVE favours bastards who take advantage of their enemies weaknesses.

      By all means, feel free to run around with a BC fleet without Logis, ECM or the like. But don't kid yourself into thinking that's viable, effective, or even intelligent in the real world.

      Really Rote, if someone brings a gun to your swordfight, draw a gun and have a gunfight. Or if they really piss you off, call in the artillery.

  5. Why am I here? To find Jesus obviously.
    All power to you Crusaders of Rote Kapelle, bring Jesus back to Syndicate.

  6. Yeah, I gotta be honest man - why are you worried what people will say? Just pull out the curse and the falcon or whatever and fight them. If people say 'noob falcons' or whatever, just smile and wave.
    I understand the need to bitch sometimes - I do it myself - nothing like a cathartic whine to get over a boo boo. But don't make some big deal about "Syndicate is dead we must fix it..."

  7. who cares what they accuse you of?

    decloak falcons. warp in dictors. land bhaals on them. drop dreads. Blob the shit out of them.

    they will whine. But they will also be dead, and podded. and you'll have their shiney things.

  8. That's pretty much the attitude that a lot of us have in W space -if you're not here for PVP, if all you want to do is bear it up, then GTFO.

  9. I don't see the problem.

    Web/scram the Guardians, and then jump in a much bigger RK fleet. The Zealot's, Loki's and Damnation will run away. Kill the Guardians.

    Repeat until the logi pilots finally get tired of always being killed, while their corp mates just run away and let them die.

  10. Just kill them all. thank you for doing us a service. Do whatever it takes. This is Eve.

  11. Every-f'ing-time people who've never roamed low/null say "just fight"/"just bring ecm"/ and so on, I want to punch a baby. The second your Bhallgorn/Ecm/any-ship-that-evens-the-odds shows up on dscan they will warp to a safe and log, or dock up or flee system. They'll have safes around everygate so good luck bubbling.

    All they want is to go and a shoot some ammo off, but not risking losing ships.

    The only answer I can see is to take a note from wh corps and start using 5-10 cloaky t3's to tackle, although this is gonna be a bitch because if they see what you enter system in... good bye, if they chill at a safe they'll run at your probes and so on. Furthermore this requires you have 5-10 people willing to take 1bill ships and risk losing them because support was a few seconds slow.

    Props to Rote for the mission.

  12. Hold out Garth, just until Dec 4.

    The bounty system is coming!

    Soon there will be huge bounties on various nullsec entities you can reap.

  13. I'm with you Jester, burn them out and scatter the ashes.

  14. Wow. It feels like a lot of the comments on this thread were made by people who haven't read or understood what Jester was saying.

    I don't want to put words into his mouth, but...

    The "why did you l33t rote boys run away" comments. Errr just read the article please.

    The "So why didn't you just reship and kick their arses?" comments. It's almost as if you've completely missed the WHOLE point of this article. The article is about how Syndicate used to be a small gang PVP oriented area. It's why rote reside in Syndicate. I assume they really enjoy small gang PVP. They don't enjoy blobbing, they don't enjoy falconing people out of the game, which is essentially the tactic they'd have to use to counter the gang mentioned in the post.

    This post is all about trying to make Syndicate small gang PVP again.

    Having said all that, I do take issue with one thing in this post and it is pretty much its raison d'etre:

    "But Syndicate is supposed to be about small gang or solo fights"

    Syndicate isn't SUPPOSED to be about small gang PVP just as Jita isn't SUPPOSED to be about trade. Historically, they have been, but EVE is a dynamic game where players can make things change very quickly. Syndicate has changed into from being a fairly small gang PVP friendly area into a more blobby one.

    Having said that, the absolute correct response from rote is exactly what Jester has stated they intend to do. The players need to return the area back into small gang PVP. I for one, am 100% behind them on this. Good luck rote!

  15. I hate to say this, but this post sounds like a mantra of 'scrubbery'.

    What the hell do you care if you get accused of :ecm: or :blobbing: ? They bring 11.5K dps of tank and you know they'll try to run. So the question is; what do you need to kill that? If the answer is :ecm: :bubbles: :blob: you bring *just that* and proceed to kill them. Sure they might call you names or accuse you of things but as far as the game is concerned you won, how you achieved victory is pretty irrelevant at that point.

    The objective of a fight is to win, if Rote Kapelle feels they need to impose all sorts of rules on their own gang compositions, fine go for it, but you really can't expect others to play by *your rules* (as opposed to the rules of the game which are totally fine with 11.5K tank and an attitude of cowardice).

    Don't get me wrong I personally see where you are coming from, I mean what satisfaction/value is there in a victory where the outcome of the fight was never in any doubt? I don't enjoy fights like that either.
    But that doesn't change the fact that RK apparently want to engineer a certain type of engagement and apply an entirely arbitrary set of rules to what such an engagement should be like, which is frankly unreasonable and a bit scrubby.
    If you really want such fights, set up a tournament with clearly defined rules and go have them. But out in the wild of New Eden people imho are free to fly however they want even if that isn't the way RK would like them to fly.

  16. Seems to me you've outgrown NPC null and should move to sov warfare. You're basically structure grinding for crappy space against people who won't give you good fights. Wouldn't it be more fun to try to take Tech moons off NCDot?

  17. Damned nation DOES never fight if they can lose. If you want them to get destroyed, you need to destroy their whole factory in Sole constellation in Outer Ring. We (Ronin+Inelu.) tried it out actually, to bring fights with them ... you know what happened? Even tho they have bigger coalition backing (alex.+vega+some smaller entities), They paid PL (!!!) to hotdrop us finishing their large capital ship building POS in A2V6. Thats how damned works. You have been warned.

  18. weird, it almost feels like rote kapelle is victim of their own doing...

  19. This post was worth reading only for the usual fun connection to external Eve Online stuff, Babylon 5 in this case. What's your point eventually? At the end of the post I was expecting to read some suggestions on how to improve small gang pvp that CCP could consider implementing in one of the next expansions, but it didn't come. Not an easy task anyway, considering how Eve Online is similar to real life strategic warfare. I.e. how did US fight against Iraq the last two times? They brought the blob, ECM, logis, and OGB. That's how Eve is done.

  20. I find it amusing that you complaining about not getting "gudfites".
    When you did not engage a 20man lol-t1cruiser gang that was on your doorstep, no logi.
    And then you claim "oh, you had more as backup closeby"
    Pot calling the kettle black much?

  21. As I recall, NPC nullsec's had a population spike last summer with a lot of players being driven there from SOV nullsec. Such players have a different play style than their old-school NPC nullsec counterparts. Could that be a contributor to the change you're seeing?

    Your war on your neighbors' assets will be interesting. Keep us posted. The degree to which caps and supercaps come into play should be informative.

  22. After all the winging, crying and complaining that there are too many Hisec Carebears over the years we are finally starting to see some movement of noobs to 0.0. What did you expect? Maybe after getting their asses stomped into mudholes a few times they upgun a bit? The point is, Rote has the capability to deal with this, anyone who has been on the receiving side of a ROTE workout knows this.

    Wait till DUST starts and all the new "unannounced" changes occur....you know, for "balance"?...EVE is moving in a new direction whether we like it or not. Crying and waiving your fist in the air lamenting the end of Gudfites in your backyard isn't going to make the "problem" go away.

    Instead of complaining, maybe some diplo action with the new corps, let them know where you guys are coming from and who knows, you might actually, if you are relatively decent, get those fights you want. All this article did was make ROTE look like crybabies...

  23. Go to Molden Heath. I know there's a shit-ton of people there who would fight you, ECM and logis or not.
    Otherwise, there's these things called points and bubbles, you guys might look into their use as they are awesome for holding people down who don't particularly want to fight. :-)

  24. Wait...you are complaining that people don't play how you think they should? But that should come as no surprise. Many posts including KOTW are all about ridiculing people who don't "do it like Rote aka The Right Way." The big disappointment in this post is saying that Rote cares what others say. You just lost all your "cool" alliance points.

    You might consider a rewrite. Change the title to Rote Declares War on Syndicate, taking care to remove the whiny bits, and send it to EN24. That would do a better job of doing what I perceive to be the real intent of this article...to scare corps into removing their "strategic objectives" so that you don't have to slog through it yourself.

  25. Ok, I will bite. What is a better part of null sec that will allow an alliance to independently operate and make more money? Note: "Any" is not an acceptable answer.

  26. what you describe is a problem that every group of players eperience who are known to be good pvpers.

    like darkside. darkside are better pvpers then we are. so if they bring a 20 man fleet only our top fc would dare to engage them without a blob. because everyone knows they are much better then our average pvp pilots.

    or pl. if there would be a pl roam no one would engage them even with a blobb, not because they are better, but because everyone knows if shit hits the fan there will be a back up sitting on a titan.

    and if you guys roam through syndicate and win almost every even fight there is no reason to engage you in a even fight again and again.
    that is the point where some elite pvp groups start to specialize on hotdroping because no one want to fight them anymore.

    if you would pick up 10 of your best pvp dudes in your alliance and join a random carebear corp known for its bad pvp statistic and maybe go to another region where your pilots are not known, you will see the difference. people start to engage you again even in kitchen sink setups without realy organiced fleets and so on.

    sometimes i think that would be the most fun way to play eve as elite pvper. have a group of people and swtich every few weeks to another carebear entity. as a underdog you allways get fights even if you outnumber yur enemys.

    what if you guys would join rvb and make a 0.0 roam. people would think "hey its rvb, those guys dont run away and they give lots of killmails without much risk" even if you are in a t3 cruiser fleet.

  27. You should check out Curse. Small gang pvp is happening there.

  28. Three Things Jump to Mind:
    1)Power Creep
    3)Stomp Averse

    1) Power Creep: if you keep playing the game long enough, you will eventually be able to fly T2 & T3 ships. So people who may have flown out in cheepie T1 Cruisers and BCs gleefully snickering, "We gonna DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" are now flying not very cheap ships, saying to themselves, "If I loose this, how long before I afford to fly it again, or any other ship for that matter?" Which brings us to:

    2) Prices: If one could get his T2 ship blarpped, reship in another T2 and get blarpped again in Syndicate without having to check the wallet or fly out of the way to do so, I imagine folks would be more willing to engage. I can afford to casually loose T2 ships. Not sure how other people can. But I guess PvPheads are better at making isk than me.

    3) Stomp Averse: I have to agree with "Anonymous October 17, 2012 8:47 AM" had to say - I don't know *how* much it plays a part, but I imagine some folks see who they are up against and say to themselves, "ok...we aren't going to win, and while getting stomped in T1 ships is fine and good for giggles, it isn't so much fun when I'm flying a T2 ship because their prices are so !@#$%%!@ high."

    Personally, I think those three things make for a bad PvP environment. It's a bit of a vicious cycle, which is why it is a little more fun to have a FC comes right out and says, "we are going to XYZ, and we are going to DIE! x up." Compared to: "Hey, let's go on a roam." If you go out with the idea that *maybe* you'll make it out with your pod, then you ship and fight accordingly. If you go out to "roam," you probably won't.

    Good luck! Personally, I don't think you'll be successful with the goals of the purge (purge yes, more fights, no), but you never know! I certainly don't know everything! Worth giving it a shot, no?


  29. What can I say? Unwarranted Self Importance.

    Another type of cancer that may kill you (as a player ofc) and your alliance.

    You have been warned.

  30. It sounds like y'all are approaching Syndicate the way we do C6 space. It sure does make for more exciting neighbors in the long term.


  31. Syndicate whines? Look at the pages upon pages on failheap from Rote Komplain.


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