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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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Remember your mission

As I've mentioned here a time or two, I'm a fan of table-top war games.  When playing them, particularly cooperatively with another player, a maxim I'm fond of repeating is "Remember your mission!"  It's a maxim that's easily applicable to most video games, particularly single and MMO shooters, RTS, and role-playing games.  It's even applicable to life sometimes.  Remember your mission.

If to accomplish your mission you can bypass an enemy stronghold, stealth past an encounter, or short-circuit a problem to ground, do so.  You don't have to get tied up in side issues unless you want to be.  Sure, sometimes killing every single bad guy is fun.  But if you've got a job to do and you'd just as soon get it done and you have the option to exchange slaughter for expediency, do it.  Remember your mission.  It's a favorite maxim of mine.

Which is why I'm kind of enjoying the exchange of propaganda during the current Fountain war, particularly over "who's winning."

The last week or so, TEST Alliance has been having a lot of fun in this war of propaganda.  There's a great scene in one of my favorite bad movies, The Patriot.  Mid-point through the flick, the American Revolution's southern front is not going well for the British.  The march north has been slowed to a halt by plucky American irregulars.  In between battles, General Lord Charles Cornwallis is bemoaning the fact that he is attending a ball in South Carolina when he feels he should be attending balls in North Carolina or Virginia.

This is TEST's propaganda view of The Mittani.

Cornwallis bitches to one of his subordinates, Colonel William Tavington, that his tactics are not having the desired effect.  Tavington is TEST's propaganda view of DBRB or some other CFC FC.  Pick one.  Meanwhile, TEST casts themselves in the plucky Mel Gibson role of Benjamin Martin, slipping behind CFC lines to inflict all sorts of hideousness on the evil British while we pubbies uninvolved in the war clap our hands and exclaim "Oh, fireworks!  Lovely!"...

"Sure," this line goes, "Goons have taken six or eight systems, but they're not winning fast enough, and we're bleeding them to death."  Et cetera.  It's nice propaganda.  It even came with an amusing "TEST perspective" article on TMC.  The article itself claimed TEST were slowing the Goon advance and even holding in place.  Meanwhile, the first letter of every paragraph in the article had a charming and funny message for Goon leadership published on their own news website.  So yeah, it's nice propaganda.  But is it true?

Meanwhile, when the invasion kicked off, while Mittens described it as a "land grab", he made it reasonably clear that the primary objective was capturing R64s...
Our finance team - the best in the game - tells me that in order for us to uphold our social programs, we must acquire more than fifty new R64s for the coalition.
Tonight we are invading Fountain. But we are not going to bother with stating a grievance or demonizing the defender - We are doing it because we need the region and its moons for our people and our friends.
Yet the hard fact is that we would not be going to war against TEST if they were living in Providence.
And indeed, now that the war has been running for two weeks, the latest Mittens update is rather giddy on the subject:
Despite my absence, we had taken the northern section of Fountain sov, captured 21+ TEST R64s, and did this in the face of an increasingly large hostile dogpile...
Look what gets listed first.  Of the 50 R64s the Goons want, they apparently already have 21+ of them.  And in case there's any question about the Goon mission here, check the bottom of that para:
...this for a "Moons only first, no sov" invasion plan.
In the entire update, the word "moon" comes up twenty times and no I'm not exaggerating.  When Mittens mentions capturing sov at all, he mentions it in the context of "this progress is too rapid, in my mind, and why do we have so many I-Hubs available anyway?"  He's practically dismissive.  Goons are capturing long-term income, long-term resources, and measuring their victory on this metric: increasing ISK over all.  TEST, meanwhile, seems to be measuring victory based on holding sov, which means they're measuring victory based on how much ISK they get to sink each month, ISK they're increasingly not going to be able to afford because of the income losses being inflicted on them on all sides.  When people ask me on pod-casts who I think is winning, this is why I invariably pick the Goons.

Remember your mission!  Propaganda aside, bribing of Black Legion aside, the occasional massive fleet or super welp aside, from a neutral outsider's perspective, it sure looks to me like one side in this war is following that maxim.


  1. You're not very bright are you? You do know the difference between capture and revenue don't you? you can capture 1000 R64's but if I put them into reinforcement every single day what is your total income? In order to get income from the moons the Goons A: have to win sov B: defend their sov to the extent that test can not put their moons off line. C: come up with a way to protect all their sov/moons from not only Test but anyone else who feels like F'ing with goons. You got one thing right it is a land grab and that is why the Goons are in trouble. Group A: defending what they call home against the most hated group in the game. Group B: their idea of fun sitting in a POS watching porn hoping the other guy will quit.

    If and when the Goons are getting income from 50 new moons then maybe they win oh and they have to get that income long enough to make it worth while.

    1. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 21, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      Indeed. The goons cannot guarantee this RMT income source unless they limit Test's ability to destroy that income. What was the line in Dune? Something about "he who can destroy the spice controls the spice"?

      Frankly, I hate all null sec cartels, so would like so see them all destroy each other. Of course, that is not going to happen, especially since the goons have the greatest weapon, soundwave, in their arsenal.

      But maybe, just maybe, Test can harass R64 moons and limit the goon income for some extended period of time, at least until soundwave introduces some game mechanic that cements the goon's gains.

      The more I think about this, the more I realize this war is already won by goons. The leadership is clearly far more interested in the real world money they gain from control over Eve's economy, but that does not make them stupid. Far from it. I think they may have underestimated the hatred and resolve of the overall player in Eve, but ultimately they will prevail in this war for RMT income. They will win as they always do, through the meta-game, and the ultimate meta-game is controlling CCP's game designers.

    2. When you wrote that text, did you at any point consider that if they 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?

    3. 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.

    4. In response: no sir you are an idiot. One side has probably a years worth of liquidity, the other is scraping by. Which side do you think can do without the immediate income from 21 moons (and we all know that people are just going to jump into fleets to reinforce everyone one of them every night...)? The biggest question is going to be how long all of the goon-bashers are going to stick around. Once they start getting bored, get tired of overpaying for ships or need to take care of their own back yard then we will see how this war goes.

    5. "AnonymousJune 21, 2013 at 7:56 AM", may I ask you the question how isk stored for years matters in this wars?

      How much those super alliances are spending per member and day to fight this war?
      Is the amount used for battle even relevant, besides to boost moral with ship replacements?

  2. the three modes.

    1 Control
    2 Influence
    3 Dismiss

    and you too can run an empire.

  3. I regularly play a game called "Twilight Imperium".
    Objectives is what wins you the game. Often the loser will control half the board while the winner is reduced to a few key systems at most.

  4. The trouble is that if your moons are in a hostile entity's sovereignty, you're not going to get much out of them. Mittens can crow over his captured moons (he hasn't captured anything like 20 r64s though), but he can't claim any benefit from them until he's taken the sov and stopped TEST from reinforcing the moons every timer.

  5. Honestly, I feel like you may have missed a bit of this war.

    The CFC went all out on the Sov at the beginning. They pushed hard and tried to take a whole lot of space. When pretty much everyone else in Null showed up to stomp on them, they redirected to the moons, because they simply haven't won a pitched battle since the beginning. They're shipping down, plinking away at moons in Bombers and Caracals, while TEST+Friends rolls around knocking timers down with Battleships and Dreadnoughts.

    And capturing moons isn't the real objective. Profiting from them is. I'm not convinced that the CFC will be able to hold these moons without living in Fountain, and without Sov they can't do that effectively.

    If TEST wins the sov war, they'll be able to retake the moons at their leisure. Which is why you have Goons burning spies in order to win themselves another chance to defend systems, for example.

  6. It's all very well to say that the moons are more important than the sov gains. But are Goons losing those sov timer because they are focusing on moons? of course not. If you look at the TEST kill board you won't see many lost moon recently:


    CFC is tricksy and TEST is bad at sov. It's telling that CFC is at a stall or even losing on the sov front.

    1. PIZZA is doing a better job taking moons in Delve, but most of these seem to be moons not directly held by the alliance. From what I've been hearing most of those moons that TEST lost initially (which was about 10) were retaken over the last week. The CFC lost a lot of subcap battles over last weekend and the one before that and that enables TEST supers to go around freely reinforcing and downing these towers.

      War's not over yet though that's for sure. The moon war is one that's a lot harder to observe, even if you look at downed towers. Who's to say these towers are even useful, or are instead just POS's where you can park your fleet boosters? Lot of smoke and mirrors around that objective, hence why TEST and most people watching the war look to sov as an indicator for how well its going for either side.

      Morale is easier to garner or break over sov losses and gains too. Moons may be the objective, but I truly feel this war will be won by either side there. Morale is what wins null wars, not moons, and not sov.

  7. You say the Goons are winning but has there been any verification of their claims of moon ownership? It's one thing to SAY you've taken over 21 moons, it's another to have actually done it. From what I read on other forums, there is some exaggeration taking place by Goons. You've been playing long enough that this really shouldn't surprise you.

  8. The SMART thing to do for whoever is actually telling the truth about moons would be to publish a list of said moons for any neutral observer to come and see for themselves. This would be a huge propaganda boost to whomever is actually telling the truth.

    You could argue that this would be giving intel to the enemy, but wouldn't any enemy able and willing to hit the moons already know which ones they are?

  9. From what I read - Sov without moon income is meaningless to a nullsec bloc. That in itself is a bit disconcerting as it shows the reliance on passive income to keep the war machines going. In this light however, the CFC strategy is is correct - acquire moon income and deny it to the enemy first. Have skirmishers on standby to protect the moons for a while before the settlers come in and grind sov for what qualifies as a permanent occupation. But thats where the challenge may lie for the CFC - as an outsider I was amazed to see just how many groups despise the CFC and wish them ill. But if the region is so much more valuable than where the CFC lives now, why not swap territory? Economic migration has driven many war bands across the world.

  10. I'm not sure that it's wise to believe Goons are doing what they are doing because they say so.

    I suspect that it's much more likely that the real aim of the war is to fail cascade Test. Test is one of the few null sec entities that threatened Goons. A couple of months ago they surely did and probably would again in the future if they had time to get a real alliance together again.

    Once Test is gone it'll be much easier to take moons not just in Test space but elsewhere as well now that the defunct Test cannot throw its weight behind whatever entity is trying to protect their moons from Goons.

    Winning Null sec is the real prize, the moons will follow.

  11. You do know that it probably ends up better for most of the Stark children than the Lannisters? So watch out Goons.

    Cersei:"Will the king and I have children?"
    Maggy:"Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you."
    Maggy:"Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds," she said. "And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you."

  12. Despite my absence, we had taken the northern section of Fountain sov, captured 21+ TEST R64s, and did this in the face of an increasingly large hostile dogpile...

    This whole 21 moons thing had us really bemused in Test. Mittens seemed to have moved from his usual style of being very subtly deceptive to bonkers outright lying.

    I think I've pieced together what happened.

    Weaselior put a spreadsheet together that includes indefensible moons in places like Outer Ring and Syndicate, counts moons in Querious that have been conquered by NC. and also lists a load of barren and junk moons. It shows 9 moons that are in Fountain, are R64 and have been taken by the CFC.

    Mittens seems to have just totaled all the moons listed including ones that were never ours or are junk and come up with 21.

    Crucially the spreadsheet doesn't detail moons retaken, I've spent a lot of this last week shooting POSes.

    So they've taken 9 r64s, some of which were seeded in Odyssey and we never knew about, most of the others corp moons that the MilDir was never told about until too late. And most of which have been taken back.


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