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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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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Comment of the week: (Denial of) Income

One more bit about the war between the CFC and TEST.

Jokus Balim and an anonymous commenter both reminded me of a couple of points that I wanted to make about my post the other day about the current goings-on in Fountain.  Here's Jokus, responding to a TEST fan:
When you wrote that text, did you at any point consider that if [Goons] capture those moons they deny income to the former holder? Taking a moon doesn't just mean that you have more income now yourself. It also means that you deny your opponent income, too. How long will TEST be able to keep up?
The anonymous commenter added:
Keep in mind that in GSF's eyes, denying TEST income is just as important as having the income themselves, especially considering how much stuff GSF has tucked away for a rainy day. They can keep going on their reserves a lot better than TEST can, especially if you look at how TEST is fucking up the moon material market by dumping all their stock into buys in a "need cash now" move.
And both of these are really great points.

During their Windows hey-day while Bill Gates was Chairman at Microsoft, he once commented that he wanted to grow the company's cash reserves to the point where the company could operate normally even if absolutely no income was coming in for a whole year.  Now whether Goons can meet that standard or not, they were sitting on massive technetium and other income sources for years.  There's no doubt in my mind that they can and should have a massive strategic cash reserve.  TEST, meanwhile, has been rather famously been living a more "hand-to-mouth" existence that's basically fine in normal times.  But it isn't going to stand up long in time of war.

Now of course the Goons have had bigger losses in the war so far, including a pretty embarrassing cap fleet whelp just yesterday.  But they're in a position to keep fighting despite such losses whereas one gets the impression that one good solid knock-out punch might very well put TEST on the canvas.  The question, of course, is whether the Goons can land that punch.

In the meantime, every single moon that TEST is denied... no matter how it happens... no matter who takes it... no matter whether the Goons actually benefit from it or not... is a body blow to TEST that makes the likelihood of one solid punch knocking them out more likely.  For the purposes of the Goons for this particular war, denying TEST the income is just as good as having the income themselves.

Of course, if this turns out not to be the case and in the unlikely event Goons do run out of money, then a whole different set of questions will become relevant.  The original Northern Coalition also sat on a massive income hegemony for years.  But when they were subjected to a couple of solid knock-out punches, they claimed abject poverty and collapsed.  What happened to their reserve?  I don't think the question was ever answered and certainly the Goons were one of the groups that made fun of them for it afterward.  I'm sure it'd be amusing to the Goons's enemies to have the shoe on the other foot.

It's just -- you know -- not very likely.


  1. Ripard, sure do like the way you keep us all informed. Helps us enjoy the game. I may not live in null, but some of my friends do. Besides, we all like to hear about the villain losing, even if it may only be for a little while.

  2. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    The NC reserves likely ended up as RMT income for their leadership. Why would the goons be any different?

    The goons have industrialized Eve income generation like no other before them (though the Chinese cartels (or is it cartel?) have surpassed them on Serenity.

    Time will tell, but I expect that both sides have engaged in huge RMT operations, so both in-game cash reserves are probably lower than expected.

    But yeah, I expect the goons' reserve is larger, since they also made tons from trading on inside and illegal information.

    Further, if people run the numbers, they can see that the moon goo income is actually surpassed by most corp's/ alliance's tax structures.

    If you have 1000 players grinding 500M / day, a 15% corp tax = 75 billion / day. That is a serious chunk of change, and more than moon goo for a lot of corps / alliances, especially if you have had no serious battles for over a year.

    1. Well, the major difference is that -- on paper, at least -- Goon finances are transparent. That makes it tougher to falsify where the ISK is going unless you also falsify the ISK sources such as the number of moons. And any high-level falsification of that type would be discovered when and if Goons started losing those moons.

    2. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 24, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      @Jester. The guys that run the goon finances are quite sophisticated, and are quite capable of taking on most roles on Wall Street. They are also greedy, and basically evil.

      That sophistication, coupled with their sociopathy, certainly allows for them to operate 2 sets of books. It blows me away that people believe "Goons are famous for screwing everyone by destroying them from the inside using any form of subterfuge available", but suspend belief that the leadership that applies this subterfuge to other organizations, would not use it to fleece their own sheep followers.

    3. I've gotta say, the tinfoil surrounding goons is kind of hilarious. Especially the "basically evil" part, that's gold, especially since that's the exact reputation goons want to have.

      On the topic of stealing, there's also a ton of really sophisticated people in the rank and file. If the leadership really was stealing, I'd give them a couple of weeks before someone discovered it.

    4. @Dinsdale, the Goons have their primary allegiance to their community at Something Awful. That means that everyone in Eve, including CCP and the game itself, are "fair game". While this does appear to be sociopathy to you, it is just that you're not "one of us" when it comes to Goons (neither am I for that matter).

      This also means that even if Goons got pushed totally out of nullsec and out of Eve, their community will endure. If CCP goes bankrupt and shuts down Eve, the Goons will still endure. My ties with other Eve players came about only because I met them in Eve, and when Eve dies (or my desire to play it ends), then all the acquaintances met in-game will be lost.

  3. Very interesting blog that provides insight into CSF. I wonder if they are simply annoyed, or perhaps more...?


    1. Goons aren't above winning wars through superior diplomacy.

  4. Even Goons don't really believe it matters or they would undock and try to give that knock-out punches.

  5. Cap whelp?

    Was that this fight?

    1. No, this one:

  6. 'What happened to their reserve? I don't think the question was ever answered'

    Wasn't that when all the 'CEO's and Directors all RMT' talk cranked up in earnest? I had just started playing about that time and was not really paying close attention to null yet so that may just be my perception.

    1. Yes, there was a lot of talk about those in control of the finances paying their mortgages with it and such. It might have even been true. But there was nothing even approaching proof, or even informed speculation.

  7. I believe the old NC moon profits went into the hands of only a few privilaged leaders.

  8. whilst it has not been specified, I can recall "the war will be over by Christmas". and allow me to push the envelope here - how many goons or test will want to continuously "go over the top" ad nauseum.

    meanwhile war profiteer, I don't care who buys the minerals.

    "best finance team in the game". I'll now coin the phrase "all spin, but no torque"


  9. I think the chance of TEST running the Goons out of money is zero. I think the chance of running some of the newer and weaker elements of the CFC like Li3 and Co2 out of money is very high.

    Many coalition doctrines are pretty expensive - tengus, tempest fleet issues. Li3 for instance has lost 73b so far this month:

    They've also banned mining and ratting for the duration.

    As for TEST we seem to be ok for at least a couple of months. All of the R64s have been temporarily nationalised so the alliance is making a lot of money that used to go to the corps.

  10. I used to be part of the CFC, currently I am with one of the many alliances helping TEST. Being a lowly grunt I have no special inside knowledge, but I do have a couple of observations.

    CFC are rather unlikely to run out of money any time soon. Some fleetmates joked how CFC had deployed caracals and some bombers to ninja structures recently and implied they were conserving cash. IMO he was wrong, CFC were more likely trying to deny good fights and juicy lossmails. The resistance we faced over the weekend (in the battles I observed) was lower and more conservative than previously, but again that signifies little other than perhaps CFC is settling in for the long game.

    As some have already said far more important than TEST's finances is their morale and their relationship with their allies. Of the two morale is probably more important as when that fades the lower participation and perception of being "dead already" will alienate allies. Conversely you only have to look at some of the nigh unkillable russian alliances for ability to maintain morale, fight back and even return after being driven from sov.

    1. Unless I hear otherwise, any time you're seeing Caracal fleet, that's a low-level FC not authorized to use any higher-bore type of fleet. But 300 HAM Caracals can do a lot of damage.

    2. In that assumption you are mostly correct. Caracals are often used as overflows, and FC'd by new names. Battleships and tengus are commanded by the vetreans of Vee and Laz, while Caracal fleets are commanded by new/small time FC's. 3 caracal fleets also meand 3 logi anchors, and eventually a bigger pool of talent to draw from when the time comes.

      An added side effect is that we hear new voices over the comms rather than DBRB whenever we shoot structures.

    3. Sometimes the experienced FCs take Caracals out for fun... but yeah, basically, they'll let anyone who asks nicely and has their paperwork in order take out a Caracal fleet in order to get experience. Most of the structure shoots are milk runs anyway.

    4. The FC talent pool in any alliance isn't particularly deep. Watch what happens to the killboards when an alliance-level FC goes on vacation for a month; suddenly kill counts drop like a rock.

      Training new FCs, or even just weeding out hopefuls who aren't very good (Kula Kain, anyone?) is worth welping cheap fleets.

    5. That would explain all the Fweddit ships in the Caracal fleets. If some of the Fweddit people are FCing the Caracal fleets, I'm betting thats one of the perks that drew them to fight in Null.

  11. I like it, good points. I have been a bit vocal of your original post (provi miner/ anonymus), so I thought I would bring this point forward. As you have "relied" upon goons word of mouth I will rely on history and tests word of mouth. History: even when test ran out of money they still formed full fleets with people knowing they were not going to get paid back (it can be done again) however this can only last so long. Word of mouth: According to test posts moon income had not been a factor in their economic position, rather renters and tax's. Both of those are still working. It would be very very funny if the goons were telling the truth that had to have 50 R64 moons and test was telling the truth Moons are immaterial to their bottom line. Of course Test is not picking up the whole tab anymore on their side and goons are picking up a bigger and bigger tab everyday. Easier to party if everyone picks up a bit of the bill then to be the only with cash in their wallet. I don't see CFC being able to say "oops guys no SRP" nor do I see them getting away with "hey thanks for joining the cause but we can't pay you anything".

    Oh and one last thought, cfc only bought bl for 30 days, they just ransomed an cap fleet, BL was not cheap not cheap at all.

  12. Ok can someone explain to me how Test which is sitting on the now expensive moons, so expensive that the Goons are trying to take them, is going to run out of money so fast? Also doesn't test have some rather well heeled allies now?


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