Tag Archives: Casino War

Is Circle of Two Dead or Just Mostly Dead?

It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

-Miracle Max, The Princess Bride

It is difficult to kill an alliance, or a corporation, or any player organization in New Eden.  You can blow up their ships, pod their pilots, take down their structures, have spies or traitors disband organization and steal their assets, and camp them into an NPC station and sit on them for weeks and they’ll just come back once you’ve tired of the whole thing.

Player groups, successful player groups, exist outside of the game.  A change of pixels on a screen doesn’t change what holds that group together.  Yes, not everybody will hang tough through bad times.  The opportunist and hangers on and uncommitted will defect when times get tough.  We have seen that time and again, an alliance or a coalition will suffer a staggering defeat, be erased from the sovereignty map, lose a significant percentage of its members, and yet somehow come back again.  I’ve been through that.  I made the trek with Jay Amazingness from the north to Delve after the Casino War to help carve out a new empire after our total defeat.

So when it was announced back at the beginning of last month that Circle of Two had decided disband, complete with a SoundCloud recording of the meeting, I was a bit skeptical.

Circle of Two

Over at INN they quickly had an obituary posted, summing up the tale of the fall of CO2 in something of a victory lap.  That’s going to be a bit awkward if we find out, as we did over the summer, that CO2 had enough left in it to stage a comeback.

Meanwhile, over at EN24, Seraph was back again on his coming up on three year attempt to rehabilitate CO2’s reputation by trying to argue that the Imperium actually betrayed CO2 and that everything CO2 ever did was totally justified.  It is a long winded and completely irrelevant piece, but it is apparently all he has since he keeps re-running it.  No doubt he hopes that if he says it enough times it might become true.

The problem there is that even were his spin agreed upon by all sides as objective fact, it would make no difference.  He would do better to ape Marc Antony in Julius Caesar than keep up with his hair splitting irrelevance because his words won’t win back a single system of sovereignty nor restore any of the Keepstars that has CO2 lost since that fateful day.

The optics of the day, the optics of the betrayal, the optics of which played out before hundreds of Imperium pilots, will not allow that.  In the midst of the fight, while the battle for the M-OEE8 was still going on, while Imperium forces were fighting for them, with more on the way, the leadership of CO2 sent a messenger… declining to stand up and say it themselves… to tell the Imperium leadership they were pulling out of the coalition.

I had rushed home from work early and was sitting on a titan in a fleet waiting to be bridged in to continue the fight when word started to filter down.  A post on Reddit first got passed around, but was dismissed as a troll.  Then there was an announcement from The Mittani about CO2 having decided to leave no matter what happened in the fight.  I was there on coms and people were angry that CO2 let us burn through the day while already half out the exit.

There can be no walking back that particular offense.  Not in the eyes of those who were there, and the word quickly spread through the ranks.

All of which I add to remind people that it didn’t have to be that way.  They could have said they were leaving before the fight.  They could have let a decent interval pass after the fight and said they didn’t want to carry on.  Other alliances left during the war.  The Imperium isn’t out hunting down RAZOR with a burning passion for leaving.

CO2 would have had to have been blind to not be able to see how this would play out, how this would anger line members and leadership of the Imperium alike.  They clearly didn’t think it mattered.  The tide was against the Imperium.  We had already pulled back into Saranen as the Moneybadger Coalition overwhelmed us.  GigX no doubt thought we would be destroyed.

He should have read my first paragraph.  He should have studied the history of the game.  Alliances have been smashed on the rocks of defeat many times, only to come back as strong if not stronger.  Instead, CO2 seemed anxious to join the winning side, to share in the spoils, and to get some of that soon-to-be-banned casino money.

Their respite was short lived.  Eight months later I was there to see CO2 lose their Keepstar in M-0EE8 as their erstwhile allies sent them packing for the south as well.  I was there as we camped their ratters in Impass in what was alleged to have been cover for the first planned internal betrayal of CO2.  It did not go off, but we still made their ratters and miners suffer.  I was there in the fleet on the stolen Keepstar after Judgement day, when The Judge switched side and betrayed CO2, an act that got GigX to threaten The Judge so flagrantly that CCP felt they had to ban GigX for life.

One of the enduring images from Judgement Day

At that point it seemed like the alliance was dead.  But then it came back again, appearing in the north where it found a couch to sleep on as it got itself back together.

Then there was the recent was in the north which saw a resurgent CO2, led by GigX (who wasn’t hiding his attempt to skirt his ban very well), drop into Fade.  That is a region with history, the place where the Casino War could have been said to have started, the home of SpaceMonkeys Alliance who were involved with the ISK being taken from the casino cartel, which got the casinos to hire mercenaries to camp them in their region until they paid back the ISK  It was there that CO2 popped up, on the periphery of the expanding Imperium.  They dropped a Keepstar and setup shop in that space and it was like waving a red flag before the bull of the Imperium.

They landed in Fade towards the end of May 2018, taking over from Pandemic Horde, which had moved east, away from the Imperium and into The Vale of the Silent.  Around the middle of June CO2 hit its post Judgement Day peak, with over 4,000 pilots in the alliance and some 70 odd corporations.

That ended badly for the north in general and CO2 in particular.  By the middle of July the Imperium was already trying to kill the Keepstar in DW-T2I.  That attempt failed, but the stage had been set and the outcome seemed inevitable.  Two months later, the Keepstar, just one among several to go, was destroyed. CO2 gave up Fade and retreated back under the cover of their one again allies in NCDot and PanFam.  GigX was banned yet again.  And there was the question as to what CO2 would do next.

Which brings us to the announcement of the alliance disbanding.

Once that came about I subscribed to the RSS feed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps for the alliance so that any changes would pop up in my reader. (Just click the Feed button.)  I was waiting to see if the alliance would actually close, would officially be no more.  The numbers have certainly been in decline. (If not in Deklein, right?)

CO2 Stats… also, the blank spots where DOTLAN was down

But as of my writing this, the Alliance still lives.  It has a little over 500 characters in it across 24 corporations.

Stats as of Dec 28, 2018

Most of the larger corporations spread out amongst the alliances in the north, with Pandemic Horde being a popular destination.  But there are still corporations lingering behind, like Moms of Doom, which now makes up almost 20% of the alliance.  However, the remainders don’t seem too active, though a few individuals still flying the flag are on the zkillboard.

So back to the question at hand, is Circle of Two dead?  Will it die eventually?  Or is there a revival in its future?  Does it have the sort of name and reputation that can bring people back to its banner?

Addendum: An odd move on the ticker a few hours after this post went live.

Malcanis Picks Winners

We can’t win against obsession. They care, we don’t. They win.

-Ford Prefect, Life, The Universe, and Everything

There are a lot of words here, so I’ll get to the point up front.

TL;DR – If your conspiracy theory is more easily explained by Malcanis, your conspiracy theory is probably wrong.

There, saved you 3,000 words.  Also, don’t take this all too seriously.  This was very much a stream of consciousness “blast it out in one go” sort of post.  More so than usual even.  Of course, in saying that I know people will take this as seriously as suits them.  Such is the way of the internet.

Malcanis’ Law.

If you play multiplayer games… online multiplayer games… and you are not aware of Malcanis’ Law, then let’s correct that right now. Here is the most common version.

Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of new players, that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players.

Examples of it show up all the time, especially when you consider that “older players” is a category that includes not just age but skill, experience, depth of knowledge, and even a commitment to a game and its mechanics well beyond any new player. It explains why game companies do not do certain things and why, when they do, they do not turn out as expected.

Like any such “law” it is a general statement and applies to trends in a population rather than specific individuals. New players, after all, do not remain new players forever. Well, some do, certainly. We’ve all seen them. But many become the rich(er) and older players who then become the beneficiaries of change. Others become former players, but that is another story. But the law continues to apply even as individuals move from one group to another.

Sometimes the exchange doesn’t seem so bad.  Sometimes you just let the vets have their thing just to get something to new players. Blizzard giving a level boost out with the expansion gets new players into the current content and up with the bulk of the player base, the latter probably being more important than the former. It doesn’t make a new player a good player or given them much in the way of special insight into the game or how to play their class, but at least they are likely to be in the same area as their friend.

A veteran player with a character boost will quickly have a potential new alt with all of the account-wide advantages and the knowledge and gold to make that character a winner quickly enough. That isn’t an overwhelming advantage… I think Malcanis overstates that in the law… but it is clearly an advantage.

If you want a more egregious example of the law, we need only look at skill injectors in EVE Online.

EVE long had a perceived problem with its skill training system. Since it runs in real time, there was no quick way to gain skills. You had to fill up your queue… or pick a skill regularly in the days before there was a queue… and wait. You could optimize a bit with attributes and implants, but in the end time had to pass.

This meant, as an example, that somebody who started in 2003 was always going to have more skill points than somebody who, like myself, started in 2006, so long as we both stayed subscribed and actively training. Thus one oft heard complaint was that new players could never catch up, and as the years went along the perceived gap between new players and veterans only grew.

The solution to this problem was the aforementioned skill injectors. Now a new player could… by spending real world cash on PLEX since they certainly hadn’t earned enough ISK in game to pay for it that way… catch up with veteran players. And I am sure a few did.

Mostly though it wast the rich getting more powerful as a result. We saw IronBank use their casino ISK to max out all possible skills. What happened more commonly was that rich players were able to bypass the nearly two year training cycle for a titan alt. That was likely a greater limiting factor on the number of titans in the game than anything else by the time skill injectors rolled around. That the Imperium was able to field nearly 500 titans for the final Keepstar battle at X47 was largely due to skill injected alts.

Basically, to avoid Malcanis you have to make changes that are so crappy or so innocuous that they don’t really impact new players or old.  Something like Alpha clone skill injectors you have to buy daily and which only boost you up to the point of Omega skill training speed, which no vet would likely bother with.  But since we already have regular skill injectors, why would they?  They’d have to unsubscribe and go Alpha for no reason.

LOL! Drink a pot noob!

The thing about Malcanis is that it works both directions. The corollary to the law might well be that any mechanics change that is proposed to limit or retard richer, older players will harm new players even more so. There was an example of this in EverQuest II. Back in EverQuest there were complaints in the forums about twinking. Yes, there were complaints in the SOE forums about almost everything you can imagine, but the company seemed to listen to this complaint.

Twinking is using your high level friends or alts to power up a low level character in order to speed up leveling. Back in the day in EverQuest this was pretty common, something inherited from its DikuMUD origins. Gear wasn’t bound to a character and had no level restrictions, though sometimes a proc would only work if you were above a certain level. I recall Ghoulbane, an undead smiting paladin sword, having a level limitation on its proc, though the sword itself could be wielded by a level 1 pally. And, likewise, high level buffs that gave huge boosts to stats and hit points were free to be applied to low level players.

When EQII rolled around SOE seemed to have gone way out of its way to close off twinking. Gear had level restrictions. Buffs were of very short duration, scaled down to low level players, and in some cases could only be applied to people in your group. There was a formula that dictated the maximum level range of players in your group, so players too low in level would not gain experience. And then there was the whole encounter locking aspect of things. Gone were the days of happily buffing low level players. The only thing they missed initially was bind on equip gear, which they fixed as soon as that started to kill the market for player created items.

And this created the usual divide. Sure, at launch the difference between new players and veterans was paper thin, but it was telling. People entered the veteran class by showing up with friends, forming a guild, and grouping up to play. A regular group was a ticket to success, especially since a lot of the content past the fields in front of the opposing cities of Qeynos and Freeport were heavily skewed towards group play, which caused the minor gap to become a major one past level 20 or so for a lot of players.

While SOE eventually reversed course on nearly everything I just mentioned, this somewhat overt hostility to solo play and helping anybody who wasn’t near your level and in your group was another nail in the coffin for EQII once solo-friendly WoW launched later in the same month. (Why solo was, and remains, important is a whole different topic that I might have to revisit.)

So when I hear people suggest that the Monthly Economic Report indicates that sovereignty fees or structures ought to cost more, I know who can afford any price increase:  The rich can.  Goons can.  Raising those prices would only harm smaller organizations and put a limit on the ability of newer organizations to enter null sec.  And that was what Fozzie Sov and increased population density was all about, giving those sorts of groups that opportunity.

Because, of course Malcanis extends itself beyond players to groups as well. As noted in the EQII example, a situation existed where being a part of a group gave an advantage and went far towards setting up the optics of the veteran/new player, rich/poor, winner/loser split.

Malcanis favors those ready to take advantage of change, which brings me back to EVE Online. Gevlon, who once swore he was done talking about the game, cannot let go and has recently been back on his “CCP picks winners” excuse for leaving the game. Well, there was that and the fact that CCP Falcon made fun of him, but that was so mild and of absolutely no consequence as to sound crazy as any sort of excuse.

Anyway, his note of late was that citadels were a gift to Goons, proof that CCP favors them over other groups in the game.  This was a change from his original position, that citadels were a gift to whoever ran the trade citadels in Perimeter, but the base angle remained.  It is, as always, a corrupt developer story (the corrupt developer career path being a thing in his world view), his usual fall-back to explain the world when it isn’t working out as predicted. (I can hardly wait to see the tale he weaves when lockboxes aren’t universally banned this year. I expect a lot of explaining about what he really meant and how the Netherlands are essentially the whole world so he really was right.)

From my point of view, which is from within the Imperium and thus on the side of Goons, this theory looks more than a bit off. Certainly anybody who spends any time in the GSF forums will start to get a sense of the institutional paranoia Goons have about CCP. While they may be Lowtax’s chosen people, they certainly do not feel like Hilmar’s favorites. Some of this is just paranoia I am sure, but the relationship between Goons and CCP has been peppered by enough events over the years, from the T20 scandal (one of the rare cases of actual developer corruption, but did not favor Goons) to the “No Sions” rule for the CSM a couple of year back.

I don’t buy into it myself. CCP seems ready to ignore input and inflict pain on all comers at times, but the downtrodden under dog origins of Goons seems so essential to their identity in game that I doubt it will ever go away. To merely survive against the odds you see stacked against you is to win, and to actually win in that situation can be transcendent, even if it is founded in a fiction.

Were citadels a gift to Goons? They sure didn’t look like it when the hit. The Citadel expansion went live in late April of 2016. And where was the Imperium living then? In the Quafe Company Warehouse station in Saranen. I mean, we still held much of Pure Blind, and Vale of the Silent was technically not lost yet, but that was all well on its way to being lost. Circle of Two had betrayed us and swapped sides, SpaceMonkeys Alliance was spent and left the coalition to recover (only to fold up shop), FCON headed out the door without bothering to stop in Saranen, RAZOR looked to be on its way out, and membership in the surviving alliances was in decline. Darius Johnson, having somehow been given possession of the original GoonSwarm alliance was calling for “true Goons” to come fly with him, an offer which found few takers but which was exploited for propaganda value.

The North – April 28, 2016

And in the midst of that, while we were living in a low sec station and undocking daily to take the fights we could manage, citadels showed up. Soon there were three Fortizars and an Astrahus on grid with the Quafe Factory Warehouse station, all hostile, while in 93PI-4 there was an enemy Keepstar anchored so the Moneybadger Coalition could dock up their supercapitals just on gate away from Saranen, from which they could drop on the near portions of Black Rise as well as covering Pure Blind.

That was a hell of a gift for somebody. It sure didn’t seem like it was addressed to us though.

The war was lost. We obstinately held on until June before calling it quits, after which we began the migration to Delve. There we had a region to conquer, though the weakness of the locals meant there wasn’t much of a barrier to entry. The only worry was if the Moneybadger Coalition would live up to their promise to keep us from ever forming up again. As it turned out, that was mostly empty talk. The new north was too busy settling into their new territory to bother and thus only made a few minor attempts to thwart us in Delve before giving up to fight amongst themselves.

At that point pretty much all of the major null sec changes were in place. The regions had been upgraded so there was no more “bad sov” to avoid. Any system could be made a ratting and mining paradise with the right upgrades. Fozzie sov was in place.  And citadels were now the new thing, allowing groups to setup stations wherever, with the Keepstar variety allowing supers to dock up, allowing those alts to escape their space coffins.

While we had to police Querious and Fountain to keep hostiles at bay as well as dealing with the dread bomb threat from NPC Delve, much of the months after taking Delve were relatively peaceful. We were not at war and we weren’t keen to get into another one having been soundly beaten. Instead, the institutional paranoia served us well as the coalition began to work to stockpile ships, material, and ISK to defend our space lest our foes unite and come after us once again.

But nobody did. PL and NCDot turned on TEST and CO2 and threw them out of the north, while the rest of the sov holding victors settled into their new northern fiefdoms. So the Goon drive to restore its power was mostly unchecked. Soon we had our own Keepstar, then two, then many. They were a part of the game and we were going to use them. KarmaFleet expanded to become an even more essential part of GSF as the long insular Goons sought to expand the levee en masse option that Brave Newbies had championed and that Pandemic Horde used so effectively during the war. Ratting and mining was deemed important, both to raise defense levels of systems and to feed the expanding war machine of Delve, so incentives were offered including, for a while, PAP links for mining and ratting fleets. You could fill your monthly participation quota by making ISK.

Then there was the Monthly Economic Report which, as Ayrth put it, became one of the Imperium’s best recruiting tools. Come get rich with us in Delve! We were not only getting rich, but we were living out the “farms and fields” idea that had long been proposed for null sec. If you lived in your space you benefited. If you just held it but lived elsewhere you did not.

And yes, this is all a dramatic over simplification told from my own point of view, omitting various details, both pertinent and not. But the overall point survives even if you tell it from a completely Moneybadger perspective, call it World War Bee, and emphasize the failings of the losers.  The Imperium lost the war and won the peace.  That’s what the Monthly Economic Report tells me.

As an organization the Imperium was both prepared and motivated to adapt to the changes in the game and to take advantage of them in ways that almost no other null sec entity was. When external casinos were cut off as a source of wealth in the game, did those who depended on them change their ways? Last year, when moon mining went from a passive activity to the new active collection method now in place, how many other groups adapted as well?

The only old school revenue method left is rental space, which I am told NCDot does very well by. The lack of bad sov anymore means their rental base can be smaller… once a huge swathe of null sec… yet viable.

But overall Goons adapted to the changes, and worked very hard at it along the way, while other groups did not. So if you are putting forward the proposition that CCP picks winners, that they have chosen Goons to win EVE Online, whatever that means, it is pretty much on you to explain what CCP should have or could have done differently that would have changed the outcome.

  • Did Fozzie sov changes favor Goons? It sure doesn’t look like it.
  • Did null sec density changes favor Goons? They didn’t save us during the Casino War.
  • Did citadels favor Goons over others? Just saying it doesn’t make it so, you have to prove that their lack would have changed something.  Otherwise no.
  • Did removing casino wealth favor Goons over others?  Only over the groups that depended on it. Who will raise their hand and claim to be in one of those?
  • Did moon mining changes favor Goons? It seemed like we were doing fine mining moons the old fashioned way.  Goons had to change like everybody else.

That is four negatives and a semi-sorta for specific entities.

In the end, saying that CCP favors Goons sounds a lot like an excuse for those who would not put in the work and adapt to changes. But I guess “Well sure they won, they took advantage of the changes!” doesn’t sound as good.

Basically, it is all on Malcanis here.  The group willing and able to take advantage of the changes rather unsurprisingly came out on top.  That is what the rule always sums up to in the end.

And now there is a new war in the north and the Imperium is spending its accumulated wealth and putting hundreds of titans on the field.  Keepstars are dying and the combined losses overall reach into the trillions of ISK.  We’re throwing ISK and resources onto the fire of war.  I don’t know if we’re going to end up like the Serenity server in the end, where one group emerges as so dominant that null sec is effectively over.  But if EVE is dying at last, it won’t be because CCP picked the winner.

Follow on thoughts:

  • It would also be very much against CCP’s best interest for them to pick a winner, so why would they?
  • Not picking specific winners is different from not favoring specific play styles.  CCP’s vision is clearly that null sec is the end game and other areas suffer for it.
  • Null sec coalitions are inevitable.  There will always be a blue donut.  While there were a bunch of new groups in null with Fozzie Sov, eventually everybody had to find allies to survive.
  • While I poke at the Moneybadger Coalition for not following the Imperium to Delve to keep them down, it is remarkably difficult to suppress a group that otherwise holds together.  I am not sure it can actually be done.  Lots of groups have suffered catastrophic setbacks and returned to be a power.  Some examples of this are the Goons in the Great War, TEST after the Fountain War,  and CO2 after The Judge betrayed them and GigX was banned.
  • Real world analogies, especially WWII analogies, are always wrong.  New Eden isn’t the real world.  We don’t live there and, more importantly, we don’t die there.  We respawn and carry on.
  • If your comment on this post immediately jumps into RMT… then welcome back Dinsdale.  Haven’t seen you for a while.
  • If “Winning EVE” is leaving the game behind, is quitting and being unable to let go actually “Losing EVE?”

The Imperium Buys a Keepstar

During the recent CSM summit Aryth, one of the representatives from the Imperium, brokered a deal to buy a Keepstar citadel in the system of 68FT-6.  Let me bring that system up on the DOTLAN map.

Hey, isn’t that Impass?

Yes, that is in Impass, and the system 68FT-6 is the capital system for the Circle of Two alliance.

In one of those great moments that happen from time to time in null sec politics, CSM member The Judge, who appeared on the Imperium ballot despite being in CO2, finally got fed up with the way GigX, the leader of CO2 was running the alliance and sold him out.

The Imperium ended up with a Keepstar… ISK well spent… so I guess it was true, we could work with him.  (It isn’t the first Keepstar that GigX has lost.)

Things have not gone well for GigX and CO2 since they betrayed the Imperium a year and a half back at the battle of M-OEE8 during the Casino war.  His immediate gains in territory were stripped from him once his erstwhile allies had sent us packing to Delve and he too had to head south to form up with TEST.

After acquiring space in the south things began to slowly deteriorate, both within the alliance and with neighbors, until things finally broke down with TEST, their closest ally, in late August.  Then war opened, with only a few siding with CO2.

And now this.  The Imperium holds their Keepstar and has a hellcamp setup to try to catch and blow up anybody trying to escape.  There is a temp blue situation with TEST so we can work with them on this.

Live from 68FT-6

(screen shot courtesy of Naice Rucima)

Meanwhile, TEST now controls all of the CO2 Fortizars, The Judge emptied the alliance coffers, and the line members have to be in a panic or looking for an out.  TEST has said they would accept corps and individuals from CO2.

This is going to take some time to play out, but I felt I had to put a pin in the date to remember when it started.  This could be the end for CO2.  It certainly seems likely to be the end for GigX, who was alleged to have threatened The Judge with an out of game visit and has reportedly been perma-banned for this.

Sources talking about what happened:

And so it goes.  I was going to write something up about today’s patch, but aside from new skills coming in for the moon mining update set for the upcoming Life Blood expansion, there isn’t much to talk about.  But now we have this instead!

Quote of the Day – CCP Picks Winners

Goons were untouchable until they failed to deliver the $150K. Then they became outcasts overnight and the IWI RMT block became above the law – until they met with real life gambling law. Then IWI got banned overnight and the devs found their next “winner”: whoever controls the trillions-for-nothing Perimiter citadels.

Gevlon, You can’t compare reality with a dream

So there you have it, the Imperium lost the Casino War because it failed to raise a $150,000 payoff for CCP.

Signs of a vast Goon conspiracy

I love me a good conspiracy theory, and here is Gevlon continuing to justify his leaving EVE Online… so long after he left that you have to wonder who he is really addressing here… the goblin doth protest too much methinks… by claiming that CCP picks winners.  It also seems to invalidate his claim that he beat Goons by funding Mordus Angels.   If CCP picked the winner, then I guess he didn’t really enter into it.  After the failed Kickstarter, Goons were doomed already.

This is especially timely as the CSM 12 elections are going on right now and CCP is working to try and get the non-null sec part of the game to actually give a shit and vote.  CCP isn’t actively campaigning against null sec.  But getting out the vote clearly works against null sec sweeping the election yet again.  Is this how one picks winners? (Cue “CCP could be doing more!” comment)

I would actually like to put Gevlon’s conspiracy up against Dinsdale Pirannha’s, because the Din/Vin spin is that Goons run CCP and that every thing they do is strictly to benefit them.  In his world, Goons were slated to win the war (quote on record), banning IWI was just removing an RMT competitor, and Goons really own whatever citadel is making money one jump from Jita. (Also something about fellatio now and again because Din is so angry he has to personify the imagined collusion into a sexual relationship.)

My own observation of the current “winners,” which is anecdotal, but which has persisted over months, is that citadels one jump from Jita do not have all that much impact on the market.  I extract and sell a skill injector every week at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant at Jita Planet IV moon 4, and the prices listed in Perimeter have no bearing on what I can get for the injector.   I look at the market, sort the prices low to high, scroll past all the low ball Perimeter listings to where the Jita price stands, list in that range, and the injector sells within hours despite being priced as much as 20% above the Perimeter citadel price.

I am sure some people buy in Perimeter.  I would if it were my ISK.  But clearly the habit and the implied safety of Jita 4-4 is strong enough to be worth a bonus.  Plus it is still the place to buy everything else.  Perimeter is really only trying to corner the PLEX and skill injector market.  Nobody is hauling all of their production to a third party citadel.

And those citadels are not even that safe.  A reader sent me a PLEX in game for answering some questions, contracted to me from a citadel in Perimeter. (Thank you, btw!)  Only when I went to collect it, I found it was in the safety tab of my assets window with a timer before it would appear in an NPC station.  The citadel it was in had been destroyed.  Oops.  Now I have to wait until I can buy it out of hock.

Anyway, this sounds like a classic choice of malice over ignorance.  Do you think CCP is picking winners?  Is CCP just bad at predicting consequences?  (Or believing when players point them out in advance?)  Or is this just along the lines of Malcanis’ law (another Gevlon favorite), where anything aimed at helping newer players ends up helping the entrenched older players even more so?

Looking forward to the inevitable Gevlon and Dinsdale comments on this.

Tribute Comes Alive!

Back in early October NCDot, Pandemic Legion, and the usual assortment of hangers on announced that they were going to invade Circle of Two’s space in Tribute and take it from them.  Pandemic Horde coveted the system of M-OEE8, which its easy access to Jita, so they and all their friends were going to go get it.

Horde has a vision

Horde has a vision

This was exciting news and seemed, in some ways, the final encore of the Casino War as the final pre-war resident of the region, Circle of Two, was set to be evicted.  Of those who invaded the north, TEST was CO2’s only major ally.

Of course, the only reason CO2 lasted that long in the north is that they sold our the Imperium before the first battle in their territory even began.  Stewing territorial grievances (among other things they resented having TNT, my alliance, in Tribute from the day we showed up) and bad cash management got them to switch sides, hand over intel, and actively join the fight against the Imperium.

As you can imagine, the thought of the Circle of Traitors getting their own comeuppance was a happy one.  I dubbed the whole thing the Schadenfreude War, as the two sides grinding against each other was going to be entertaining no matter who won, just so long as there was blood.

TMC and EN24 picked up the story right away.  War is always big news.

 

But rather than a supercapital blitzkrieg, it was more of a sitzkrieg, a phoney war in space.  There were a few skirmishes, but the greater effort seemed to be going into propaganda creation for Reddit. (Examples collected here and here.)  The TEST baby dino propaganda was especially good, I hope somebody has collected it all up somewhere.  And then there was the magnificent Be In NCDot piece.

So adorable

So adorable

Propaganda without a war… well, that pretty much defines the EVE Online subreddit most days, cesspit that it is.  At one point my going theory was that NCDot was attempting to slowly bankrupt CO2 by dropping bait titans in order to kill off all of CO2’s tackle ships.

The was was dull and other events overtook it.  The Alliance Tournament, the coming Ascension expansion, the end of gambling in New Eden, and EVE Vegas all took their turns in the spotlight as Tribute simmered away.  There were no headlines about it on the various EVE Online sites, though both the major news sites, EN24 and INN, seemed to be pretty quiet overall.  I didn’t so much give up hope for that comeuppance as forgot it was even an option.

But the war apparently ground on without me paying it any attention, so that this past week I was surprised to see NCDot talking up the war in their recent state of the alliance as well as a reports of a battle in M-OEE8.  I headed on over to DOTLAN to check the Tribute map, and it looks like the aggressors have been busy.

Tribute - November 22, 2016

Tribute – November 22, 2016

Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and NCDot now hold 16 former CO2 systems in Tribute, with more under siege including CO2’s capital system, M-OEE8, where NCDot has taken the ihub.

So the war has progressed, and that moment of schadenfreude for those of us in our new homes in Delve may come to pass.  There is also the usual null sec symmetry to the whole thing.  Back in 2012 I was there when we took UMI-KK in Tribute War of 2012 from NCDot, after which they pretty much gave up and moved south.  Now they are back again, invading down the same route we took, scooping up those very same systems the left behind four years back.

Two Years of Reavers

The real Reavers anniversary date is October 14th so far as I can tell.  That is the earliest mention of it I can find in the forums.  But, for no real reason, the fact that another year has gone by doesn’t seem to occur to me until a week or so after that date has passed.  As it happened last year, so it happens this year.

Reavers forum bee

Reavers forum bee

And as I did last year, I will mark this passing with another summary post.  For those wishing to revisit the first year, here is the summary:

The first year of Reavers saw many changes to the game.  There was a long transition from Dominion sovereignty to Aegis or Fozzie Sov.  That saw the introduction of jump fatigue, entosis links, and constellation-wide sovereignty contests.  It also saw the end of the vast rental empires that funded several groups, as you can see in this year over year sovereignty map that I posted last year.

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

October 14, 2014 and October 14, 2015 compared

There is still some rental space in null sec, but it is confined to the northeastern corner of New Eden.

As Reavers played through changes in sovereignty mechanics in its first year, the SIG played through a host of changes in its second year.  Again the map changed and a year later finds us in a new home in the southwest of New Eden.

October 14, 2015 and October 14, 2016 compared

October 14, 2015 and October 14, 2016 compared

The long war in the north… you can make the case that we fought from November 2015, in what was called the Kickstarter War at the time, until our retreat from Saranen in July at the end of the Casino War… wore us out and drained our finances.  While the Phoebe jump fatigue changes made that migration south painful, it also kept our foes from pursuing us down south to continue the war as well, at least according to Elise Randolph on Asher’s recent podcast.

And while other changes came during the last year… citadels being one of the most obvious… the specter of war cast a shadow over much of the year as far as Reavers were concerned.  While I saw jacket pals in many fleets and flew with Asher Elias often enough (he even got us some titan kills), but actual Reaver deployments were few.

We went down to spar with TEST in Wicked Creek last November, the FISHKINGBOIS deployment:

There was an experiment with Typhoons:

There was a deployment down to Querious, the second home to all Reavers, to chase Pandemic Horde around after the returned home from Cloud Ring.

And after that there is the long gap in Reavers ops, when the Casino War kept all available pilots occupied in the north.

The Reavers tag on the blog did not get used again until September of this year, when the conquest of Delve was wrapping up and there was a return to normalcy.  Then it was time for Reavers to head off to Querious again, a region I know better than Delve at this point, in order to take moons and pacify the region.

That is just nine Reavers posts over the course of the last year, compared to 27 the year before.  The war dominated most of the year.  With a new settled homeland Reavers can now range out on deployments.  Or we will, once we get Querious settled.  Always some work to be done somewhere.

The Schadenfreude War

Haw haw!

-Nelson Muntz

The Casino War is long over now.  We lost, were driven out, had alliances, corps, and many individuals jump ship.  But we managed to find a new home in Delve in very short order.  In that, at least, husbanding our resources rather than squandering them against overwhelming odds worked out.  There we setup shop, made new friends, scared the neighbors, and settled into peacetime null sec life again down in south, far from our old digs.

Up in the north, with the primary foe gone, all of New Eden has been able to watch and see if the Casino Coalition would break up as promised.

Initially it seemed like the whole place would be blue in all but name, with skirmishes allowed but only the occasional political issue or failscade allowed to change the the map. (e.g. Short Bus Syndicate and TISHU)

Sovereignty seemed safe.

Even Darius “We’re not here to destroy the game, we’re here to destroy your game” JOHNSON and his GoonSwarm (not to be confused with the Imperium’s Goonswarm Federation) was given some systems to call home when they were evicted from Delve, while Mordus Angels, with a long history of being the insurgent, decided to settle down and be a sov holder and mind NCDot’s moons once bereft of their traditional Goon foe.

The north looked to be settling down to peacetime as well, its new occupants content to fight the Guristas menace between skirmishes.

The north currently

The north currently

Well, they are not ALL new occupants.  There is still Circle-of-Two sitting in Tribute.  Circle-of-Two who changed sides before the fighting was done at M-OEE8, who joined the war against us, who gave our foes intel about our capital building locations.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

The war that started LONG before Easter…

Their betrayal got them what they wanted.  They got to keep their sovereignty, plus the TNT sov they had been demanding from the Imperium for the last year (they were bad neighbors), their moons, plus whatever casino ISK they were able to wheedle out of those financing our foes.

It would be fair to say that there is a little bad blood left over from the war between us and CO2’s leadership.  I’m not on The Mittani’s “revenge on all the things” bandwagon, but I would make an exception in the case of CO2.

So imagine the collective grin in the Imperium when it came out that Pandemic Legion family of alliances, Pandemic Legion, Sniggewaffe, and Pandemic Horde, along with their side-kick NCDot, decided that they liked the far end of the Tribute region, where CO2 lives, so much that they decided to take it.  This came from the Pandemic Horde forums:

We are going to war.

Target is the tribute region, specifically CO2 sov: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Tribute

The first targets are the systems UMI and AW1. Timer for UMI is already coming up on Tuesday.

https://timerboard.net/tribute

– Expected enemies are CO2, TEST and Snuff/PM.
– Have a Maelstrom ready if you can fly and afford one.
– Pull out your wands and start entosing as many hostile systems as you can.
– Summer’s over, let’s go boys

The plan is for Pandemic Horde to eventually move their home staging system from deep in Fade to M-OEE8 in Tribute should they take the region away from CO2.

Tribute is an improvement over our current space. M-O is in direct JF range from jita and easily accessible for new players coming from empire. That also means cutting down the load for logistics to one third compared to our current staging. This makes a big difference especially once alpha clones are here. Tribute maintains great access to content (brave and gotg) while getting us closer to TEST and to lowsec (10 jumps from Tama).

Basically, like all real estate related transactions, the primary aspects are “location, location, location.”  As for their feelings towards CO2… well, if you can’t screw over your friends, who can you screw over?

CO2 have been good allies during WWB and made a massive difference in the war against goons. Afterwards they became good neighbors regularly bringing fights to 7rm (ruptures, ONIs ecc…) and to lowsec. There is no component of hate for CO2 in this campaign, they are a good alliance full of great guys. The goal of this war is to secure a better access to empire and superior space while fighting together with NC and PL. It is my belief that CO2 will eventually lose this war whether Horde joins in or not, and then I would rather be the ones holding Tribute than letting test or a new alliance grab this key area.

As a spectator… I can now be one of those sideline loudmouths with no skin in the game but lots of opinions… this is a dream match.

On one side there is our traditional foe, NCDot, against whom we have fought multiple wars in just my five years in null sec. (And they have lost every time they didn’t have PL backing them up.)

On the other side there is CO2, the last remnants of the old north still up there and… well… not our friends to say the least.

Watching just those two groups square off… with various allies lending a hand… should be interesting to watch.  I hope for a long and bloody war that ends up with CO2 finding a new home.  We shall see who has the stomach for it I suppose.

The propaganda war on /r/eve kicked off strong for the defenders.  If that could win wars, TEST would own all of null sec.  But instead the war is focused on the first couple of systems in the western end of Tribute, which is a long way from M-OEE8.

CO2 did attempt to really take the war to their foes by entosising all of the Brothers of Tangra systems in Malpais.  Those are part of the last remaining rental empires in New Eden and an income source for the attackers.  However CO2 did not follow up on that and have not touched those systems since, making me wonder if they got word that striking into Drone Region Federation territory would widen the war against them.

Anyway, we get to watch this one from the bleachers in Delve.  While it is starting slowly, I wonder if the Alliance Tournament is impeding the attackers some and if, once that is over, things will get bloodier.

Coverage of the war is available at the Game of Sov site, which keeps track of such things.

Other coverage that has shown up so far:

Addendum: Does CO2 bringing down a citadel (which then got stolen) mean they are evac’ing already?