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...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The last war

Well, that was a fun war, don't you think?

N3 are making brave noises and kudos to them for that, but this thing is over. Without a viable escalation option, they can't deploy the "wrecking ball" carrier fleet that's been so effective in the war to date. The CFC has a super-cap fleet to escalate to knock out the N3 carriers, N3 doesn't have a super-cap fleet to defend them. The CFC has already started reinforcing dozens of new systems. We've seen how every single war in EVE where one side could easily out-escalate the other has ended. Yes, N3 is better at guerrilla tactics than all of CFC's past enemies were. But it's not going to matter.

Pandemic Legion have a fearsome -- and highly deserved! -- reputation. But anyone who thinks this is the first time they've pulled back when over-matched doesn't know their history. They've done this before, lots of times, going back to 2010 just in my own memory of the game. The only alliances that have gained and lost more sov in more regions in the history of this game are probably Goonswarm and Red Alliance. PL's independent tournament team is called "Why Dash" because the alliance has a genetic fear of systems with "Y-" in the name because of a couple of major lost battles in them. A joke's been going around that B-R needs to be renamed "B-RY-59". ;-)

Hell, knowing when to fall back when over-matched so they can fight back another day is one of the things that makes PL so fearsome. So yeah, don't worry about PL and anyone making claims that this is gonna break them is being ridiculous. They'll come back just as strong.

But this war is over. And get ready to yell at me: I hope you enjoyed it because it's probably the last that EVE is gonna see for a long while. Additionally, it's a good bet that B-R5RB is not only the costliest battle EVE Online has ever seen, it's the costliest battle EVE Online will ever see.(1)

To have large wars, you need two large adversaries. To have a large battle, you need two sides willing to commit large numbers of expensive assets.

The Battle of the Philippine Sea was and will remain the largest aircraft carrier battle in the history of the world, with 15 U.S. aircraft carriers facing off against nine Japanese carriers. It holds the record and will continue to hold the record for the simple reason that after this battle was over, never again could Japan or any other country challenge the supremacy of the U.S. carrier fleet. Today, in the combined navies of the entire rest of the world, there aren't enough aircraft carriers to challenge the current U.S. carrier fleet.

And in a couple of months when N3 is crushed, that's where things will stand in EVE as well: even if the entire rest of New Eden were to combine their forces, it would be unlikely they could challenge the supremacy of the combined escalation capabilities of the CFC and their Russian allies, particularly as the B0TLRD agreement goes into effect. I suppose it's possible that the CFC and the Russians might turn on each other -- this particular group of Russians has never had much love for Goons -- but it seems quite unlikely to me. Neither has anything the other wants. So don't misunderstand: this is not me saying the Goons are going to conquer the rest of New Eden because there's no reason for them to. As long as no threats to their existence rise in the east or CCP doesn't put large new income sources there, they'll be content to ignore it.

But any even potentially existential threats to their existence will be crushed very early in their development... long before they can achieve the standings to field hundreds of super-capital ships and threaten another risky B-R-sized engagement. This will happen both to give the CFC pilots something to do and because it's the smart thing for their leadership to do. The CFC has proven to be very good at this. At least as much credit for the success of B-R has to go to their spy network as to their super-cap pilots. For that reason, we might see some minor Goon/Russian wars but nothing on the scale of the Halloween War or the past Great Wars. More likely, we'll see the Russians turn on each other with Goons cheering from the sidelines and maybe jumping in as "honorable third parties." Same difference: the scale of the fights will be smaller.

You could say "But Jester, the CFC will fall sooner or later and that will make new larger battles possible!" and yeah, I'd have to agree that's at least possible. But it also feels to me like a loss of the large number of CFC pilots needed to make the fall of the CFC happen (if thousands of them decided to switch to Star Citizen, say) would also be an existential threat to EVE Online itself.

That last is a separate issue, but also important: to have enormous fleet battles, you need enormous numbers of players who are both active subscribers and logged into the game. And those numbers, as I've said many times, are quite stagnant. The CFC might fall, sure, but I doubt enough new players would come into the game to make up the difference and make another hugely expensive fleet battle like B-R happen. So while the idea of large fleet battles caused by the fall of the CFC is possible, I don't consider it likely.

So to CCP, I suggest you guys make hay while the sun shines. B-R5RB is a fantastic marketing opportunity! But it's never going to come again.

(1) Though to be fair, if the game ever goes into some kind of massive decline death spiral, we might see some kind of one-day event where bitter-vets were all encouraged to activate their unsubscribed super-cap pilots on the same day to have a final massive free-for-all somewhere.


  1. I've made this same comment before to another one of your recent articles. The problem with the sand box is that it's possible to conquer it. There is no realistic scenario in which the Goons/CFC will ever be dislodged or overmatched. Closely matched, perhaps (until this week), but never overmatched. And because of that, there is little incentive for new pilots/corps/alliances to set long term sov goals that are based on conquest. They can rent or become pets, but that's about it. Whatever the devs have up their sleeves had better have something other than sov control as the end game content.

    More and more I can't help but feel like EVE has crossed some sort of line (oh wait...). Like we're on the tail end now. Allow me to quote Tony Soprano, from teh very first episode: "It’s good to be in something from the ground floor. I came too late for that and I know. But lately, I’m getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over."

  2. I share your concerns. I've been concerned about the consequences of one group becoming dominant. But these discussions, because of paranoid "grrr goons!" posters *and* goon trolls have made it very hard to have. I suspect that this discussion is one that the cfc would prefer not be given serious consideration, which could explain the trolling... So now what?


  3. In the real world, a solo superpower is a stable situation. But that is because the desire for war minimal. War is used to secure position. This is not true in EVE. People play to fight. Here, position is used to secure war.

    As such, there is a problem with the blue donut. It's too peaceful. If CFC cannot deliver good and meaningful fights to its pilots, they'll either find something else to do, or they'll schism. Of course there is plenty to do in New Eden; you can unsub your main for a while and be an alt in RvB or faction warfare or the New Order or in wormhole space. But I would not rule out schism. The desire for power is always there, and though The Mittani is an excellent dictator, someone else out there may want that role.

  4. If there is one thing the Russian mentality can't abide it is treachery.
    It is both a strength and a weakness and while I find it hard to disagree with your assessment of the situation I really don't want to see a CFC supremacy.
    CFC needs opposition to define itself. It galls me to liken The Mittani to Cyrus to Great, but there are more than a few similarities between the CFC and the Ancient Persian Empire right up to the adoption of the luxuries of it's conquered enemies. I've joked about a 300 stand In the past on other forums, but now it's looking more necessary than ever to kick the “free world” into action.

    1. To clarify, in case my allusions escaped folk.
      "Bloodbath", or "Armageddon" at B-R5RB would have better been described as the battle for Babylon station. The writing was on the wall, but no-one would have ever believed that N3 would have left the moat gate open.

  5. Personally, I am of the opinion that EVE peaked with Incarna.

    Yes, it was a disaster of epic proportions. But EVE has never grown beyond its numbers, and probably will not do it never.

    CCP needed Incarna to work in many levels. EVE hasn't had a future since Incarna, rather it is living in a future-without-Incarna; a pale shadow of the real deal.

    Even now that CCP is back to planning the future, the produce of ther ingenuity looks unsettlingly weak and short-sighted...

  6. Gee Jester, your blog today sounds like many posts I have made over the past year or so. goons have won Eve. They are the best at the meta-game, their intelligence network is the best, and their logistics is superb. Their leaderships never-ending quest for control of all income streams has driven them to an unassailable position.

    So, it is time for CCP to say congratulations to goons, and then to brutally, and completely arbitrarily dismantle every game mechanic that allows goons to dominate their meta-game and ingame.

    Will some quit? Yes. Will a LOT quit? Maybe.
    Will CCP see a dip in subs while the dust settles and goons grief the shit out of high sec in retaliation? You bet.

    But in the long run, it is good for Eve. If game mechanics were introduced that made it impossible for alliances AND, the key :COALTIONS, of the size and scope we see today, the game would be better off.

    Null sec is not supposed to be one blue blanket. It is supposed to be a ton of small fiefdoms hammering away at each other. That keeps the interest in the game.

    Consider this:

    Now that goons have no war, no one challenging their income streams, what are they going to do with all their ISK and time? They can only RMT so much of it, driven by demand. And worse, what do their line members do once they all can afford a Nyx or Aeon? The bored goon is a dangerous goon for high sec. Do they decide to grief everyone out of the game that undocks at the major trade hubs? Do they interdict every ice at the same time, or sponsor perpetual Hulkageddon?

    Contrary to what CCP and the goons might say, such "content creation" will lead to lower retention rates of both new players, and a lot of bored, rich players with nothing else to do but grief.

    But if null sec game mechanics were completely wiped out, and such groups as the cfc and N3/PL were impossible to reassemble, then we see a lot of busy ex-bees in null sec, plus a lot more people willing to try to carve out their own space.

    And best of all, maybe a bunch of the mittens and mynnna's of the game would go back to screwing people through real life wall street, or washington law offices, if their RMT streams inside Eve were destoyed.

    1. I may not like the likely effects of what goons have achieved, but I do admire they way they have won their position.
      The solution you describe sickens me. If you want to change the rules of the game to win THAT badly you should really be considering playing another game entirely. Although, I'm sure you'll find goons there also.

    2. So, it is time for CCP to say congratulations to goons, and then to brutally, and completely arbitrarily dismantle every game mechanic that allows goons to dominate their meta-game and ingame.

      Why exactly would they do that? and why exactly is it time for them to do that?

      But in the long run, it is good for Eve. If game mechanics were introduced that made it impossible for alliances AND, the key :COALTIONS, of the size and scope we see today, the game would be better off.

      Mechanics can't do that. There are no mechanics which support coalitions, they are entirely a meta game construct. If alliances didn't exist, they too would be a meta game construct. If Corporations didn't exist then they would be a meta game construct. You can't stop people grouping together and being successful as a collective. This is what humans kind of do best.

      Now that goons have no war, no one challenging their income streams, what are they going to do with all their ISK and time?

      What they always do with it - fuck with people.

      They can only RMT so much of it, driven by demand.

      Have you ever provided a shred of evidence that they RMT *any of it* ?

      The bored goon is a dangerous goon for high sec. Do they decide to grief everyone out of the game that undocks at the major trade hubs? Do they interdict every ice at the same time, or sponsor perpetual Hulkageddon?

      Highsec isn't meant to be safe. If they camp every major trade hub the players will move the trade hubs.. or cry about it. Trade hubs are a player created construct not a game created construct. There is nothing saying that all trade has to happen at Jita 4-4. And if goons want to hell camp highsec then they are allowed to do that. The game design allows for it (and it should allow for it).

      Contrary to what CCP and the goons might say, such "content creation" will lead to lower retention rates of both new players, and a lot of bored, rich players with nothing else to do but grief.

      Sounds like a sound contrary argument...do you have any evidence to support your position?

      But if null sec game mechanics were completely wiped out, and such groups as the cfc and N3/PL were impossible to reassemble, then we see a lot of busy ex-bees in null sec, plus a lot more people willing to try to carve out their own space.

      No you would see busy current bees forming external constructs which allow them to do much of what they already can.

      And best of all, maybe a bunch of the mittens and mynnna's of the game would go back to screwing people through real life wall street, or washington law offices, if their RMT streams inside Eve were destoyed.

      Again, proof of RMT streams? have you reported this to CCP. Pretty sure RMT is contrary to their rules so if you want to destroy Mynnna and Mittens, you should take your evidence and report it to CCP. If CCP wont do anything about it you should out the information in public and let a player rage force CCP to act.

    3. The entire content of all the comments I've ever read of yours can be reduced to "Grr Goons running an RMT Cartel!".

      For fucks sake, post some bloody evidence or shut the fuck up.

    4. BraverthananyoneelseJanuary 30, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      "But in the long run, it is good for Eve. If game mechanics were introduced that made it impossible for alliances AND, the key :COALTIONS, of the size and scope we see today, the game would be better off."

      Ehm MechWarriorOnline doesn't have any ingame possibilitys to form a guild, corp, mercs etc and still we have goons there metagaming , forming alliances and trying to influence the Devs .

      And while there is still some RMT going on, Nosy Gamer proved that it is in decline -.-

      And I really hope that Goons are coming to HighSec and kicking the asses of some lazy buggers who are just mining . I have some RL Friends who are doing mostly mining and all they achieve is replacing their losses from being stupid o.O

    5. You are my friend part of RMT cartel or very very naive

    6. Yes, CFC has won, and no alliance looks able to challenge them for the foreseeable future. The obvious answer is to shake things up--not a dismantling, but at least some tweaks to make sov more slippery. Not knowing a danged thing about null, I don't know what those tweaks might be...but CCP had better be sketching them out now.

      I don't want CFC dismantled, but some mechanics must shift to give an edge to smaller alliances, if only to give them the ability to chip away at the monopoly. If CFC are going to have to work harder to hold onto territory, successful territory-holding should also be made more lucrative.

      Null should be a place of war, to some arbitrarily greater extent than it is now. Find a balance, CCP, one which does not allow the 800-lb gorilla to buy or control all the rest of New Eden.

  7. Totally agree. Totally. Been thinking this for some time, glad you had the balls to come out and say it. I hope you are wrong. Lets see, and in that time Elite and SC are coming.....

  8. First of all, lol Dinsdale.

    Secondly, you are saying the same thing that gets said every time some large group wins a big battle. I've been playing enough to have heard it said about BoB (probably 2 or 3 different times), Goons (after destroying TEST recently) and the old NC (no dot). Sure, your argument is that EVE isn't growing like it used to, and perhaps that will remain true, but I would also point out that many CFC alliances don't share the same cultural values as Goons, and without any real enemy, having them drift apart seems entirely believable.

    Plus, as you have pointed out, PL isn't disbanding or something. They will go back, lick their wounds some and I am sure they will be back in the fray. Their entire ethos revolves around them being the best and being able to fight outnumbered and still win. I don't expect them to give up on that any time soon.

    1. Tell me the last time Tranquility ever had hegemony to the extent it has today. Even when Bob and the original NC were at their zenith, they did not dominate the game to the extent that goons do.

      As for PL, when they were simply whores for the highest bidder, they did demand that their pilots be the best and they needed to be, and they were feared. But that PL is long gone. The PL of old would not have cut BOTLrd deal with goons to ensure a continuous income stream from renters, or protect moon goo. No, PL is not disbanding. They have become another vassal of the goons, too terrified of taking them on because PL would lose huge income streams, and more importantly, PL leadership know there is zero chance of anyone beating goons in a campaign.

      And as for all this bullshit about cfc tearing itself apart. well...LOL. mittens et al are very very good at keeping players together. First, all the cfc will get even more rich and fat. But you can only sell off so much ISK. Then, the rank and file will get bored, and that is when the griefing campaign against high sec ramps up. But even that, after a while, will lead to a lot of bored null sec players, and they will quit Eve.

      But if CCP actually manned up, rebuilt all the null sec game mechanisms that support the goons meta-game and ingame methods, the game of Eve would be so much more healthy.

      You want just one idea that will shake the game to its roots?
      Fluid sec status. I am not the first one to suggest this, and it is also not the 1st time I have suggested it.

      The more activity and infrastructure built in a system, the higher the sec status, and a lowering of the rat bounties and quality of the resources.
      Now everyone is a nomad, always moving to lower sec systems. And when a higher sec system is abandoned, and goes fallow, the sec status drops, and the rat bounties and resources rise.

      But there is zero chance of CCP implementing it, as it totally dismantles static empires, and the null sec cartel members working for CCP would never allow that.

    2. Have you looked at nullsec? Peoples biggest fear has always been that it will turn into the china server, and it's far worse.

      As far as fighting outnu,bered and winning, that can't happen once a number is reached that ships can simply be alpha'd off the field. It doesn't matter how good you are, or how good your FC is, when 600 Mega's(or whatever really) shoot at you, you are dead. The only thing that anyone can do to win at that point is have more ships. So no PL won't be coming back to fight outnumbered once again, the game has changed, and sticking 800+ dudes in a system is the way wars are now fought, which mean to win you must just trade blows, and have more dudes then the enemy.

  9. Eh, never say never. A good blog post overall but I disagree a bit about the RL aircraft carriers. You're right about the past but today they are sitting ducks and serve only as a way to funnel pork barrel spending to the MIC. You could decimate a fleet of carriers today without using other carriers to do it. Think asymmetric warfare. The Falkland Islands war 20 years ago showed how. Carriers are built today for other reasons than building an unbeatable fleet.

    Nevertheless, 2 quick proposals off the top of my head: First, don't limit anyone's blue list, just limit the number of blue pilots SHOWN at any one time in any system. Your overview - and in-space view - will show a maximum of X (you pick X) people who are blue to you and everyone else shows as neutral.

    Second, make it so when you jump to a cyno you're not guaranteed to land in the same system where the cyno was lit. Make it some radius of LY around the system where it was lit. Make that radius bigger - embiggen the uncertainty of where you'll land - the further the jump. For close jumps, again you pick the distance, you would be guaranteed to land in the same system as where it was lit. Kind of a CEP aka Circular Errorr Probability.

    Non-precision cyno jumping would limit force projection without completely nerfing it. Limited display of blues would serve as a dis-incentive to blob because past a certain number of pilots you'd have no clue who's blue and who's not.

    1. Yes you have it. Needs some randomness of nature. Space weather could affect the level of precision. Lets have dust and magnetic storms as factors. Real life always has some unpredictability.

  10. The CFC doesn't want any part of the russians fighting each other fight. Getting in between russians is a bad move that we'll never likely make. Siding with all of the russians banded together is something we can and will do.

    Dinsdale proving once again that he's living in his own universe and completely out of touch with reality.

  11. Didn't people say stuff like this about Asakai?

    For the 50-100 people who flew the VIP Titans of B-R, maybe their careers in EVE has peaked, but there are still plenty of players who are thinking 'one day, I will be that pilot'.

    Most of the posts like this are subscribing to the nullsec = EVE fallacy, when in fact the game is a lot richer and diverse than its most vocal residents would have you believe.

    On top of that, while the CFC may have firmly established dominance, an even bigger war would be a CFC civil war in a year or two (whether unintentional or crafted out of boredom). That's one of many possibilities.

    Comments suggesting EVE is 'over' just seem to me like attempts to kill it- attempts that only succeed if they somehow snowball into a critical exodus of players. I'm not saying that EVE is perfect, but when people start preaching doom in the hope of causing doom, I can't help but see them as the real enemy.

    1. The issue with self-fulfilling prophecies is that they only work when the target is in a weakened state.

      And EVE *is* in a weakened state. Nobody but a few nutjobs would be doomsaying if the demographics were looking good. But the fact is, the game is stagnating, true newbies are becoming rarer as alts fuel the growth, and CCP just haves come up with more zero security space for large alliances and their pets as a solution... and that will take three years to implement.

      35,000 PCU for four years is not good news. Bouncing up on the way to each expansion and crashing down after it is not healthy. And planning three years of "veteran" content for like 20% of the players while the rest only get minor tweaks and fixes is not going to stop the bleeding.

      And that without accounting for competitors. If Elite or Star Citizen are more attractive to the potential new players than EVE, EVE and CCP will be in serious trouble.

    2. Time will tell, but yeah this war has damaged the game a lot simply because people are sick of TiDi, and nullsec warfare is TiDi. Sure an argument can be made that they should try w-space, or lowsec, but I suspect a lot will just try another game. It's a fact that nullsec mechanic's are broken, and this blue everything is going to happen with the current mechanic's no matter what. Their isn't going to be any civil war in the CFC, because GSF is the only alliance in the CFC that can wage war. Sure the Russians will withoit question fight, because many of them actually know how to play the game, but FA? Razor? Gent? SMA? You think these clowns can wage war? They know they can't, and will never even think about stepping out of the shadows.

  12. Goons have not won Eve dumbasses as you can't win Eve. Goons will eventually fall, they all do

  13. There is a great board game called "Risk Legacy" which is based on the original Risk, but incorporates permanent modifications to the game board and rules after every game played, so it evolves over time. Some of these evolutions are quite drastic, and are only revealed and put into play when certain criteria are met in the game.

    One of these extra components has an odd criteria: instead of "open when X happens", it says "do not open, ever." The implication being, of course, that when all else fails and the players decide that something new and big is needed to shake up the game, but nothing else remains, then they can turn to this last injection of chaotic freshness.

    I always hoped, on some level, that CCP has exactly this kind of packet hidden away somewhere in their archives. If ever the sandbox begins to stagnate too much, if one group takes over to the point that the news-making battles stop happening, then... the stargates explode. Or the Eve gate re-opens and the ancient Terrans invade. Or the Jove invade. Or anything really, just.. something big. Something held in reserve for just such a need as you describe here.

    I can only hope. Because of course, if CCP has no such play up their sleeves, then we really are in for the slow steady decline of the game.

    1. You aren't the only one has wondered if CCP has a "if one group take over, break glass" plan...


    2. There's a problem that you're not accounting for, and that is the need to maintain subscriptions. With Risk, they already got your money when you bought the game at the store or wherever. With EvE, they need to continually get your money, and anything that threatens that will give them pause.

      -Baljos Arnjak

  14. cfc and those russians arent going to be friends for long.
    russians arent going to be friends to each other.

    what will happen in my oppinion is:

    pl and bl will skirmish in the north for a while.
    stain russians will reconquer their southern renting empire and then have no motivation to help solar with their drone space.
    cfc will return to their home and highsec gank or run anoms in their space for a while
    solar fleet will have to fight for their drone space mostly alone. and as long as it is only vs nc. or only nulli they will probably have fun doing so.

    and within a half year "because of falcon" or something like that will happen and people will start to mix up new coalitions. maybe even if they were enemys in this war.

  15. You know what I find amusing. So many people seem concerned about goons becoming the dominant force in EVE, yet so few of you were ever willing to line up against them and fight them.

    The reason goons are so dominant is because EVE is full of risk averse pussies, that's the beginning and the end of it. You have no one to blame but yourselves. N3PL was outnumbered 4 to 1 the whole war, and it still took 3 months and decisive cap battle for them to even make a modicum of progress.

    1. THIS xD
      And when some crazy HighSec Dwellers are rallying against Goons, the entire eveO forums (and the bizarros on Kugutsumen/FHC) are laughing about them.
      But at least l33t pvp experts Minas93 from NC have now more time to farm BraveNewbies kills :-P

    2. Agreed. I never understood why alliances like BL sided with the CFC when there was a chance of bringing some real refreshing change to nullsec. This end result was predictable and it's a shame people didn't recognize that - or didn't care about it.

      We had some nice fights in the south and held them at bay for a nice while. So long and thanks for all the fish 07

    3. Damage Control II

    4. You've confused risk aversion and cowardice with a lack of time and effort. Every single player in these wars is, in EVE terms, an ancient entity. None of them are upstarts or new kids on the block. To get to this point, the relevant entities have been fighting and building for literally years. It's a fantastic achievement for them. But sooner or later, everyone who plays EVE is going to have to face the reality that to compete in such an environment requires years and years of work. I'm never going to have that much time and I have no desire to put that much effort into a game of all things.The issue here isn't grrr Goons, it's that they're so monolithic that aggression is deterred before it ever forms. To be fair, the Goons are only one of several monoliths, PL among them. That would be great for them if this were real life and they were real countries. But this is a game. Deterring people from engaging in the purported end game content is lethal to the game itself.

    5. This^. I always thought it would be far more interesting to be part of the group that helped take down the CFC than to be part of the CFC itself. That being said, I do believe the time for that was during the Fountain war, and that time has obviously passed. If N3PL had gone all in with TEST, I think we would be looking at a different nullsec today.

      But, maybe all these masses of people need is a call to arms, and a person charismatic enough to lead them.

    6. Sorry progo but after you kick me out of DR.. I came to not like you guys more then the CFC as a whole.
      It just became better for me to root for CFC then the likes of #leet PvPers like N3/PL..
      Frankly I feel good that you guys had your teeth kick in.. Puts a smile in me face :)

      Now go back to lowsec..

    7. EVE Online. Casuals need not apply.

    8. You know what I find amusing? All your dissembling. Is this really about the "rest of Eve" being pussies that refused to help you with your ~righteous~ war? Or is it about you and yours removing your "uncontested capital superiority" from Fountain when the entire reason your coalition was founded was in anticipation of that war?

      Maybe it has something to do with your failure to heed your own exhortation that "every single member of every single alliance in our bloc goes all-in for the duration, or we burn."

      Or maybe it's as simple as the failure of your core strategic assumption that your enemies would never, ever field the kind of force you faced in B-R5RB.

      Maybe. But it seems this just has to be everyone else's fault.

  16. Jester's recent posts make me sad. I just joined EvE a few months ago. I'd like to believe it will continue. But it seems to be faltering...

    1. People have been saying this kinda of stuff forever especially after big battles like this, don't give it too much mind. If you're new, don't concern yourself so much with the meta, just concentrate on going in the direction you've chosen.

    2. Jester is getting old and jaded, and has been playing one play style with one group of people so long that he can no longer see the game from any other perspective.

      This is referred to in the literature as "Bitter Veteran Syndrome."

      The future of the game is determined by how many new people we can recruit into the game and keep here. This means the bitter vets need to just STFU for a few months, and rather than shooting everything that moves the gankers and low sec pirates need to consider that a two day old player may actually be a curious newb and a great ally.

      Don't be afraid to discuss your dreams with your corpmates, and perhaps New Citizen's Q&A. There will be plenty of naysayers ("don't fly a drake until you're a million years old!" "you'll never fly a titan, don't bother") but what matters in this game is being able to learn how to turn "I can't" into "how can I?"

      Learn to ask "how can I?"

      And never accept "no" for an answer. If someone else is doing it, you can do it too.

    3. Counter-argument: what happened to Destiny (the Planetside 2 player). You hear about that?

  17. I'm inclined to believe the fate of CFC will be similar to any such large, overwhelming entity: internal fracturing once the external threat is dealt with. Granted Mittens is a shrewd space dictator and heads perhaps the best diplomatic and espionage program in Eve Online, and he alone will certainly hold at least the Goons together as long as he's still playing. Who's to say he won't eventually tire of Eve and Pax Goonion?

    Certainly the N3 bloc out up a good showing in fighting CFC, yet I can't help but think its like the Goons are used to playing at a Major League level through the entirety of their existence and everyone else is still in the Minor Leagues; top of the Minor League, but Minor League nevertheless.

    How does the saying go, "the setting sun is eclipsed by the rising one"? Perhaps there's factions in the CFC that eventually hunger for a bigger piece of the pie, more their due, etc, and eventually, when the Goons get complacent from the lack of external threat, make their move and fracture the CFC...and eternal war begins anew.

  18. "The last war," says the guy who was so convinced that super capitals would never be used again that he posted a weekly summary of the super capitals that hadn't been killed.

    Who will be the next high level turncoat to cease paying sovereignty bills, reset standings, or disband an alliance? When will CCP next alter the game mechanics of null sec, causing currently "best" space to be "poor"?

    1. Point me to where I said this, EVER.

      I started tracking super-cap kills because I believed they were proliferating with no controls on their growth. In 18 months of tracking super kills, next week will be the *second* time in all that time that supers died on *both* sides of the same fight. There were CSAAs in this game operating continuously 24/7 during all that time. There was one really nice control on their growth called B-R. And for once the number of titans in the game went down a bit.

      But all that said, that *isn't* what this post is about.

    2. This could be even the first month ever where the number of destroyed supers is higher than the number of produced supers.

      And compared to the theoretical farm potential of our little eve player base the losses are still insignificant from the isk perspective. Though farming is boring for the most, so it was a moral victory. Just like all eve wars.

    3. The only control on proliferation of anything in EVE is destruction. Things only get destroyed when players put them in harm's way. This is true for abandoned POSes, this is true for super capitals, this is true for destroyers and rookie frigates.

      Your tracking of the lack of super capital deaths was an expression of your assertion that any super capital deaths would be a novel and reportable incident, because of your assumption that they would never be used.

      This is exactly what you were writing about in this post: your assumption that this one time that super capitals were used, results in the people with the most super capitals now have even more so nobody will dare use them ever again.

      What I'm expecting is that there are now super capital pilots who have the taste of flesh and will want more. How many pilots in the game can point to the front page of their newspaper and tell their friends, "that's me right there in the big golden mushroom"? I'm hoping that the pilots will agitate to be loosed upon the battlefield once again. Flying in space and blowing stuff up is fun. Being a glorified jump bridge is not.

      Every new player recruited into the game as a result of this battle is another income that can be turned to the advantage of the null sec navies seeking to replace their super capitals. Officer modules, combat boosters, scams, POCOs and "mission running corporations": all ways that alliances can turn the forever-carebear into a source of funding for their ship replacement program. Why settle for piddling rental programs when you can extract tithes from the entirety of hi sec?

      So, now on to the task of hanging out in rookie systems and rookie chat and trying to convert as many trials as possible into subscriptions. More subscribers, more incomes to coerce into your corporation wallet, faster ship replacement, more, bigger battles, more fresh-eyed recruits for our virtual world.

      Will you help convert trial players into EVE Players, or will you sit on the sidelines and proclaim the apocalypse? Are you with us or against us?

  19. I have a plan which would take down the CFC but I lack the fortitude to be bothered.

    The Goons have poisoned the well. Removing them will not cleanse it. Sooner or later CCP will need to directly intervene into the situation. And no amount of CSM / back room lobbying, raging in Jita or threat of unsub will prevent that. Then we'll see how much the Goons like to be on the receiving end of "ruining your game". It is that dark beating heart which keeps me subscribed. To coin a phrase "It is not a prediction; it is an immutable certainty".

    Take a look at B-R5RB. If the shoe had of been on the other foot and CFC were losing. They would have opted to dogpile into the system to crash the server. Instead with a winning position they elected restraint. So essentially despite all of the hype now surrounding this - I can dismiss this battle as contrived.

  20. uh huh, jester. stop being a drama queen. If goonswarm ever does leave the game, now that they've "won eve", the game will devolve back into the patchwork it was long ago...or maybe you forgot that there was life in null before goons

    Then again, i WANT goonswarm to be the game's 'foil'...the evil empire...mittens in a dark cowl spreading the dark side


  21. The way I see it this whole thing is pretty simple, really. People love the sandbox. People love every aspect of the wide-ranging freedoms that CCP gives us in their game. The hardcore live and die by the HTFU mental doctrine. The universe is full of punishments for poor decisions of all sorts, most of them are rendered by other players when the game doesn't do so itself.

    So is the answer to "nerf goons" or to translate that "nerf success"? I mean, do the same people that scream about how important freedom and consequence are within EVE also then turn around and say "...but if you're doing too well, that isn't right either"? That's asinine. Wild success is a consequence of the sandbox as much as horrible failure. If the CFC continues to succeed, it will continue to grow and succeed without a limit (within the bounds of the game), and that is well and truly fair. They haven't gotten where they have by absolute, cheer luck. Behind every success there's a bit (or a lot) of cunning.

    If the ripple caused by B-R does indeed cause risk aversion to kick into over-drive, then so be it. That too is just a part of the sandbox. If people are worried about using their Supers with the CFC around, that's just a consequence or a result of every choice made thus far by anyone and everyone who could have or should have done something about it. If that means that someday the CFC gets to plant a bloody flag on every damn system, so be it. If there's no one to stop them, then they shouldn't be stopped.

    1. What a moving apology of libertarianism!

      Yet, may I throw some socialist sand in the machineries of your joy? May I remind you that EVE is a private enterprise being paid for by people who are not a part of CFC and whose reasons to pay don't include "let good old Mittens enjoy his well deserved supremacy with my money"?

      What's a space empire worth if nobody cares and the owner shuts down the server because he can't afford to pay the bills?

      What's left of the libertarian hero once nobody cares of his achievements and would rather let him sink with his boat than acknowledge his existence...?

    2. The universe is not full of punishment, it is extremely soft. HTFU mentally is delusional, because there are no real hard punishments if you fly smart. You play in eve invincible gods fighting toy wars because they never come with really huge risks for survival. Perma-Death would solve this problem of eve. ;-)

  22. it isn't as fantastic a marketing opportunity as you think. By the day after the battle, it was completely forgotten except by those already playing EVE. There will still be some things written or discussed, but they're simply for the meta game consumption because it's already lost its pop.

    THe only thing to get out of the initial news for those that don't already play or used to play is that EVE is incredibly expensive, they will never fly such ships, and you'll never catch up to other players in ability.

    You're quite correct though. That's probably the end of the big wars. Frankly, null is dead since no mechanics in use will ever break up null again. The only thing in recent memory that caused lots of conflict was when the war dec system was changed. When people could form up random and massive groups via inviting to the war dec, null freaked out. It broke the spy system since there was no way to tell who to spy on. It was fluid, so it broke a lot of the meta. It also had the benefit of making any single group that got too big for its' britches the most probable target for a dec frenzy. Those couple days were a blast. Pilots in high, low and null had the ability to rapidly form raiders and gangs with immediate results. Too bad null and CCP are risk averse and dubbed it as not working as intended or this game might be interesting. Who knows. It might have become fun too!

  23. They might just conquer the whole of new eden to prove a point.

    They have a tendency to push things to extreme+1 to make a point about something they believe is wrong. They did it with drakes, they did it with drones, they might do it with sov.


    If you had the ability take to all of null, but maybe not the desire. Wouldn't you be tempted to do it anyway, just because you can, and knowing that it would be an achievement which would probably never again be possible.

  24. I may actually unsub. An Eve Online where I can't live without having to consider 'goons' at every turn (be it highsec, lowsec or nullsec) isn't worth my money. It was fun as long as there was a chance of countering them but that seems to be gone now. They wanted to 'ruin the game' or 'ruin my game' and they definitely succeeded.

    Now I just need to find another hobby..

  25. Coalitions have killed nullsec, along with the elite old guard players and supercaps and CCP let it happen.

    Without a fundamental Sov rework, nullsec is going into terminal decline. Eve has had it's heyday.

  26. Would it have been different if N3PL had won instead? I doubt it to be honest - we'd have ended up with N3PL, plus ex CFC pet alliances, as the coalition owning all of the sov that mattered.

    Current sov null mechanics catalyse the formation of ever larger coalitions (even if just held together by NIPS/NAPS, rather than blue standings). I really can't see the CFC imploding ever (can you?) so once the dust has settled down after the Halloween war, I'd agree with your over all thesis Ripard.

  27. I've played since the early days and sampled null-sec, low sec and now WH's. Personally to me, and I would argue many other eve players, null sec is a side show albeit an entertaining one. I've seen large blocs come and go and EVE has survived as it is so diverse. Admittedly, the recent event appears to be the biggest proof of null sec dominance. Nevertheless, through EVE history similair (on a relative scale to the then player base) dominating forces appeared and the game continued and found new avenues to prosper.

    For some, null sec dominance is the endgame but for many others it is not. So unless there is some manufactued wars (a CFC civil war maybe the most exciting turn), the ones that consider null sec dominance the endgame will probably leave. New content or area's to conquer however may hold on to these pvp orientated players who have a quest for area domination.

  28. All of this talk about it potentially being over for a bit I feel is just a bit over-exaggerated. The WW2 references to Naval Fleet combat (And Jester....I LOVE WW2 refs...) I feel won't be appropriate until we see TEST and N3 pilots strapping themselves into rifters packed with explosives ans suiciding my Thanatos for the glory of the Emperor.....

    But these items you have been mentioning has gotten me to consider a new radical change CCP CAN do very easily and it might solve the entire SOV/Conflict driver problem entirely.

    Its called Bureaucracy.

    Past a certain point of players in a group I think bureaucracy should take effect and you begin to rely on AI "staff" to maintain your empire. Think of it as automation for Bill payments etc but heres the catch. Say you are Running a large empire and have to pay your SOV costs, you have money in your account and you transfer it and its done. In the new system, you leave money in the account and it is up to the AI staff to pay on time. You can make several trainable skills to increase your Bureaucracy's efficiency, but there is a % chance that there will be a fuck-up on a payment or 2 here or there...

    If SOV drops suddenly *poof* conflict driver.

    Bureaucracy also is an associated cost for the relative size of the empire you run to pay the salaries etc of the AI staff you have on all the planets. You can choose to lower the payments etc (sliding bar A-LA EU maybe) and risk more problems or leave it at full.

    So, right there you have;
    -Put an ever expanding ISK-Cost to maintaining an empire
    -Created conflicts just like we humans seem to do when we fuck up and don't pay a bill etc.
    -Limited the potential internal strength of large empire blocks due to cost

    The best part is its a better approximation of how a real empire would work Remember, we're supposed to be pilots...not Bureaucrats...

  29. Possibly, totally unrelated...Jester...what's the countdown timer for?


    1. Time until CCP removes sov mechanics from the game entirely?


  30. Like new Stargates or Space, or Empire and Capsuleers going to war? Perhaps CCP has anticipated the Blue Doughnut

  31. Your blog echos some of my worries. If it is true, what are you and the other members of the CSM doing to avoid this situation? EVE should be getting bigger and better.

  32. I disagree that loads of Goons would need to leave EVE for the CFC to disintegrate, and I think your comparison with real life is flawed. In real life, peace is a goal that almost everyone wants; war is unarguably a bad thing. In EVE, the whole point of being in nullsec is fighting. Sure, the leadership of the CFC might like the idea of a peaceful nullsec where they're in control of everything, but the line members of the CFC won't. You join Goonswarm to fuck with people, and eventually they'll get bored of just fucking with faceless miners in highsec.

    Combine that with the fact that no Goon views other members of the CFC as equal to them, and it's only a matter of time before Goons start picking on their allies for shits and giggles, regardless of what the leadership wants.

    Nothing lasts forever, especially not imaginary internet spaceship empires.

  33. The blob blobbed and won, new at 11. Sub cap warfare basically became irrelevant in many ways. Proliferation and CCPs indifference to retardedly large passive income streams in Null drives a stake into heart of EVE. At least ratting and mining you have to click a button or set up a bot. When will CCP learn that while they have X really smart people designing a game, there are 1000X equally smart people trying to figure out how to exploit it and plan accordingly? Moon goo, titan anom ratting, FW exploits, the list goes on. Seriously, all we can hope is that the blob implodes on it's self due to inactivity or maybe renters everywhere unite and exert the pressure of the wallet on all of EVE since they are the ones footing the bills.

    One thing that I think is funny is how much this will NOT affect lore or the empire meta. Player empires fielded a fighting force likely hundreds of times as powerful as say the counter attack on Gallente Prime used and so on, however, NPC empires likely won't utter a word about it.

  34. 0.0 is over. The future is renting and diplomacy and beancounting and RMT. Beige, boring and bourgeois.

  35. I agree with you to a certain extent in the current universe. But shall we not forget CCP is adding a new region in the semi-near future?
    I feel like we're going to have a time of semi-stability and peace, then all hell is going to break loose when CCP actually adds major new things to the game.

  36. Yes large epic coalition type battles on this scale are probably a thing of the past now, unless CCP radically redesign sov to either punish large groups (lame) or hugely reward individual pilot skill over numbers.

    If CCP continues to design the game such that bringing more people is the counter to everything, then its simply the logical outcome of EVE's nullsec gameplay. The majority of pilots in nullsec have spoken, and that's how they want nullsec to function. So, have at it, I say! Its working as CCP intended. They designed it that way, after all.

    CCP should just leave nullsec as is for all those tens of thousands of folks who made it what it is today, and focus on enhancing the game for smaller groups and other gameplay styles.

  37. Ripard,

    Great summary as usual. I saw the news about the battle in Eve and it almost inspired me to reactivate my accounts. Almost.

    Instead I posted a summary of why I quit on my blog http://ruar-eve.blogspot.com/2014/01/fin.html

    I'm not sure if you are interested in what I have to say, but I agree with you that Eve is definitely at a crossroads. Hopefully the devs will see before it's too late and adjust their thinking, but I have little faith that will happen.

    Thank you for your posts and the work on the CSM. Maybe you will have the impact needed to bring the game around.

  38. Well, more precisely entire EVE On-line is over! EVE's player-base is dominated by rather odd people: egoists, mythomaniacs and "alter-egos". This kind of guys found in EVE their own ideal universe where they feel comfortably and thus are willing to pay monthly fee for such an enjoyment. Unfortunately that's also why more casual players stay away from EVE apart from many not user-friendly game features. No new player wants to be killed and robbed with impunity losing its hardly earned ISK to gankers, griefers and similar shit forbidden in other MMO type games. Besides EVE learning curve is very steep and not newbie friendly - training several months or even a year to be able to fight or trade significantly better is just crazy! All in all this game cannot attract new players for long. Most people try it and leave quickly. As a result CCP is effectively a hostage of its small hardcore player-base which does not allow developers to change fundamentally i.e. game mechanics to gain much larger audience. Simply hardcores blackmail CCP that they leave the game with their alt-accounts if any crucial change takes place. The worst is there is no solution in sight...

  39. As long as there are really no substantial maintenance costs to keeping those super cap fleets around and sitting idle, nothing is going to change in null - in fact, it is just going to become more of a stalemate as the super cap stockpile keeps building up.

    What is the latest estimate of the number of super caps in the game now, anyways, Jester?

    Get CCP to add a game mechanic to force a monthly maintenance cost at least equal to the full cost of super cap, and you'll see those super caps get used - they will become too expensive to stockpile.

  40. Seems to me the game fails if a battle like this depends on someone forgettIng to check a payment box. I can't think of a situation in real life that parralels. Sure small mistakes matter in real life but over making a payment? Just does not seem 'real'

  41. Seems to me the game fails if a battle like this depends on someone forgettIng to check a payment box. I can't think of a situation in real life that parralels. Sure small mistakes matter in real life but over making a payment? Just does not seem 'real'

  42. Question: if CFC (or any "comparable" (term?)) organisation falls, does that not open up substantial real estate for those otherwise as yet uninvolved in nullsec to exploit? Does the CFC disbanding or falling apart mean the death off EVE, or does it mean increased opportunities for highsec carebears to cash in and (maybe even) bring a new friend?

  43. Additional: yes, I know thats not the point in question, here, exactly. And im not trying to be anti-CFC or anyone else for that matter. Just a thought.

  44. The CFC will not fall as they attract players who like to be on the winning side without working for it. I see how my 8 y/o son loves using game cheats to win while I like playing a game that is difficult. I enjoy the thrill of the fight against great odds and when I win I get that extra satisfaction. The players who just want to be on the wining side for bragging rights seem to outnumber the players who like the challenge, CFC will not die anytime soon. Jetser is correct the era of great wars will be gone for a long time and stagnation will rule nullsec.


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