Tag Archives: Fraternity

The Fraternity Alliance Update and the Direction of the War

…but this tireless swarm of maniacal bees is somewhat unexpected

-Noraus, Fraternity Alliance Meeting (translated)

In the week 54 war summary I mentioned that there was a big war related announcement expected for this Saturday, July 24th.  Earlier this week Fraternity had an alliance meeting to prepare its members for this announcement, as well as bringing up a couple of additional topics.

Fraternity is a primarily Chinese alliance and so a transcript was posted to Reddit initially in Chinese with a brief summary.  Translation from Chinese to English is problematic both due to the lack of exactly parallel idioms and the jargon laden nature of the New Eden, and the Google Translate attempt to bridge the gap is hilarious. (The quote at the top becomes “The tireless raging bee colony is indeed beyond everyone’s expectations” via Google.)

There have since been a few translations.  I am going by this one that appeared on Pastebin.

Fraternity is also the third largest sov null alliance in the game when it comes to membership and the largest when it comes to total systems held in New Eden.  So what they are up to matters to the rest of New Eden.

The Top 5 Sov Null Alliances

The meeting started with a summing up of the current situation, recognizing that the Imperium has held out for more than 90 days in the 1DQ1-A constellation and shows no sign of breaking.  The Mittani is said to have cultivated a group of diehard loyalists.

This is what happens when you declare a war of extermination.  If you say there are no terms save destruction, there is no reason to for us to give up.

So the failure to break us is because of maniacal bees and game mechanics, the latter being TEST’s favorite “why PAPI hasn’t won yet” hobby horse.

Faced with the stalemate, Noraus says that there are two paths forward.  They either have to go all out to destroy the Imperium regardless of the costs or they have to somehow break up the blue donut that is PAPI to foster null sec content while maintaining the containment of the Imperium in Delve.

The goal is to end the war in 60 days.  The announcement about which path they will take comes on the 24th.

I want to say that, to actually end the war, they have to go with the former.  They have to go all out and attack the Imperium and evict us from 1DQ.  There is no undisputed victory without that.  Fail that and the Imperium will never let anybody forget that all of null sec blued up and couldn’t take us down.

So it has to be an all out attack, right?  Why bother if it isn’t going to be an immediate all hands onslaught?  Nothing else wins the war in 60 days.  They have to be going on the offensive.

Maybe?  Maybe not.  Winning the war and ending the war in 60 days could be two different paths completely.

PAPI has been reluctant to commit to a big fight since the battles at M2-XFE more than six months ago.  They have been careful, using their numbers to squeeze us down to the last constellation in Delve, since which their progress has been stymied.

O-EIMK Constellation – The situation since mid April

Given this hesitance and the regular reference to game mechanics and servers favoring the Imperium, it is kind of a hard sell that PAPI has suddenly decided to go all-in on taking 1DQ.  Certainly this past weekend they demonstrated levels of torpor in the face of Imperium actions we had not previously seen as we ran around their staging system setting timers, then sent in a salvage fleet uncontested to clean up the battlefield.

And Fraternity itself has reportedly withdrawn its capital fleet from T5ZI already.  Not that they could not return, but that says something about their level of commitment to taking 1DQ.  Then again, Fraternity has used the war to expand its holdings and enrich itself in the northeast of null sec, so their level of commitment seems very much related to their own interests.

But breaking up PAPI in any serious way means disaster for TEST and some of its Legacy allies.  If Pandemic Horde leaves, PAPI’s conquest is over and the Imperium will retake Delve.

Perhaps this means a reduced PAPI with some of the alliances leaving the war.  I suspect FI.RE in the southeast and Fraternity will pull out along with some of the smaller alliances that were tagging along.  But PAPI has to keep a critical mass of player… Legacy and PanFam… to have any hope of keeping Goons from rolling back into their old holdings.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out on Saturday that the big announcement is that PAPI will no longer be however many alliances they have left in the war.

Adding to that is the next item on the agenda for the Fraternity meeting, the TTC.

The Tranquility Trading Tower, the trade hub located in Perimeter, one jump over from Jita, controlled by the Tranquility Trading Consortium which is run by TEST, Pandemic Horde, and the Imperium.

The continued existence of the TTC, which sends trillions of ISK to the three partners over the course of a year, in the midst of a war where one of the partners joined the other to exterminate the third has raise questions.  There were one or two threads a week about it on Reddit for quite a stretch.  There was a point when Snuffed Out threatened that Keepstar, after destroying the low sec TTC Keepstar, where it looked like we might be at war in Delve and fighting shoulder to shoulder with TEST and PH in high sec in order to preserve the status quo in Perimeter.

The existence of the TTC has been used to suggest that the war is fake, but it is really a matter that all three partners know that one of them could make the situation untenable and they would all rather collect the ISK than fight the war in high sec.

Fraternity is not happy with the TTC because they feel they deserve a cut.  Their move from the drone regions into Vale of the Silent and Geminate was in part motivated by a desire to set up a competing marketplace under cover of their own forces.

So they have set up a Keepstar in Oijanen, which is in The Forge region, so checking region-wide market orders from Jita will show items listed there as well as those listed in Perimeter.

While there is a skill limit on setting up sell orders remotely (Marketing V lets you do so region-wide) buying is available region-wide by default, and for things like PLEX or Skill Injectors, which can be dealt with remotely (and which make up much of the Perimeter trade), means that Fraternity will be setup to compete with the TTC.  Their Keepstar being two jumps into low sec is mitigated somewhat by it being one gate from null sec and one of their home regions, so it can be defended.

What does all of that mean?

I’ve said a number of times over the past year that Fraternity has used the war to expand its own power while its allies were committed to attacking the Imperium.  The MER shows them amassing wealth every month and the sovereignty map has shown their expansion.  Now Fraternity is set to assail the golden goose of the TTC, pitting them against TEST and Pandemic Horde.

I think, at a minimum, it means that Fraternity will be stepping back from the war… stepping back more so, since their level of commitment had be fairly low.  Maybe if there is a last big offensive they will contribute some, but they have been hanging around the exit for a while now.

Barring any sudden PAPI military victory, the question becomes what happens when the third largest null sec alliance assails the combined income stream of the first, second, and fourth largest null sec alliances?  Does ISK trump war?  Do TEST and PH stick with the Imperium as a partner or do they kick Goons and maybe invite Fraternity into the agreement to keep a cartel going?

There is no possible peace with PAPI in T5ZI.  There is absolutely no peace with TEST in Delve.    There is likely no peace with TEST anywhere close to the Imperium.  Can the warring factions find a compromise?  Can the war end in 60 days?  Is Fraternity going to be the big winner of World War Bee?  Does the war conclude with Fraternity becoming what PAPI alleged the Imperium was threatening to become?

We’ll have to wait and see what gets announced on Saturday.

(The final topic in the meeting was related to the reserve bank keys that will go live next Tuesday.  As rumors suggested, they are nationalizing the output from a couple of regions for the alliance and encouraging their members to go steal from other people.)

Robbing Some Space Banks

I mentioned in Tuesday’s post the introduction of the newly revised and now mandatory Encounter Surveillance System that was foisted on null sec with this months update.  There was a whole dev blog about it if you want to read up on it.

To me the whole thing seemed silly in that familiar way when CCP introduces a contrived mechanic and their expectations as to our behavior appear unrealistic.

To put it simply, when you rat in null sec now about a third of your bounty payments go into the ESS “bank.”  The ESS runs on a cycle where it will pay that out every three hours.  The timer is for everybody, so if you just missed it you’re waiting the whole time (though you do not have to be logged on to get paid), and if your tick hits just before it pays out, you get paid right away.

The ESS bank is in deadspace behind an acceleration gate, so you can warp directly to it, and inside of a warp disruption bubble that keeps people from warping or cloaking and from using MWDs or MJDs.  You also cannot light a cyno or set off a filament.  Afterburners are okay, and once you are out of the bubble, which is 75km in diameter and centered on the bank, you can warp off.

Also, the acceleration gate will only let in cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, which narrows down the options and keeps little fast things from zipping in to do the steal.

I have already seen people working on min/max ideas for both defending and attacking the ESS bank.  This what players in EVE Online do, and some winning tactic will emerge soon enough and CCP will either make changes that will simply start the search over again or ignore it an that is the way things will be.

Since I don’t really rat, I can sit on the outside and admire the solutions players craft, and I was treated to a trial run Wednesday night.  Asher pinged out to Reavers that he wanted to go out and try stealing some ESS bank loot.  I was down with that, as I wanted to see how the whole thing really worked.

He had some fits for us to buy and use and the plan was to use a Needljack Signal filament to yeet us into hostile space… which is pretty much all out null sec for us these days… so we could go find some banks to rob.  We undocked, grouped up on Asher, and off we went.

Y is for “Yeet!”

We ended up out in Tenerifis, Legacy Coalition territory.  There we had to go find a bank worth robbing.

In what I consider a great injustice, the search function for finding ESS banks is in The Agency, and interface not commonly used out in null sec.  It is like CCP was trying to hide it from us.  Fortunately we had Dawn Rhea with us, who actually does some high sec stuff that uses The Agency, so she was able to search for some close by banks while some of us were still figuring out where to find this functionality.

The Agency -> Encounters -> Electronic Surveillance System

That will give you some details and you can narrow your search using several parameters.

Dawn had a system for us, so off we went to get it.

Flying through Tenerifis

Every system in null sec now has a little bit of the UI devoted to the ESS.

all about the bank

Near the top you can see the bounty risk modifier, which is part of the Dynamic Bounties feature also introduced on Tuesday,  At the bottom is the ESS info, which shows you how much money is in the bank.  The aqua colored bar is a visual indicator as to how long before the next payout is due.  When it fills up, it is payout time.

The location of the ESS acceleration gate shows up on your overview if you have beacons set to show.  Likewise, the acceleration gate is just another of a class already around, so no new adjustments need be made.

Overview viewed

You just warp to the beacon, take the acceleration gate, and you’re sent into the big bubble around the ESS.  That, however, is a new item that you will need to add to your overview.

The bank revealed

Once you spot it, somebody has to get within 10km of it.  Then you can right click on it… or on its icon in the overview if you have added it there… and select the Access ESS option.  From there you get the ESS window, which shows you the details.

Somebody is robbing the bank

The main bank is what you can rob.   The reserve bank has yet to be made accessible by CCP.

In that window you click on the “Link” button… why link?  I don’t know.  CCP being CCP… and that starts the theft.  You then have to wait for a five minute timer before you get the loot.  If you’re not the one doing the stealing, you get that nice, small red count down bar.

When it starts, the system owners and anybody in the system gets an alert pop up that the bank is being robbed.

We’re stealing, not intruding

Up on the main UI the attempted theft is note, indicating who is doing the stealing.

Theft in progress

In our case Merkelchen, head of KarmaFleet and CSM member, was our test case.

You will note that the ESS interfaces indicates that the bank is 70% “convertable.”  That means, in robbing the bank, you only get 70% of the value of what is in the bank.  Furthermore, it is paid out in bonds of specific denominations that need to be taken to CONCORD stations to redeem.

We had 18 people in the fleet to do the robbing, which meant that the locals in Tenerifis, who were few and far between, let us get away without our theft.

After a couple of runs there we used another filament which sent us up north.  We rolled into Vale of the Silent and robbed some more banks.  I took a turn at a smaller total that appeared in a bank we had just looted just to try it out.  I got to see the UI timer you get when you’re the one doing it.

Now I am the robber

The main difference is that as the one doing the intrusion you get a larger time that isn’t red.  I kind of like the small red one better, but whatever.  I also got my name up in the UI.

The big score

A ratting tick hit while I was waiting on the timer, so the total went up to 8 million ISK before it was done, boosting my haul.

Bank successfully robbed!

I was in the system alone with five ratters and nobody came to get me.

The bonds come in standard denominations (you can see them on the market if you search for “bond”) that add up to the amount you’ve stolen.

New Eden bearer bonds

five 1 million bounty bonds, six 100K bounty bonds, and three 10K bounty bonds will get me 5.63 million ISK when I go turn them in.

After getting the easy bits in Vale, we used another filament to jump to another area.  Over time we jumped about, ending up in Omist, Malpais, and The Kalevala Expanse, and finally Oasa.

It wasn’t until we got to Oasa that the locals really began to get feisty.  We had a couple of supercarriers on a gate and a Sabre bubble us, but Oasa was where the real fun began.

You might recognize Oasa from the Monthly Economic Report.  It is the home of Fraternity and is the crab capital of New Eden currently, topping the charts for bounties and null sec mining.  They are serious about their ISK and the did not like us showing up in their space.  On starting to rob a bank there with 357 million ISK, they started jumping right in with us.

Locals came to fight

Our fleet had numbers, but not enough firepower to burn down a couple of marauders.

We got out of the bubble and ran off to another nearby system where the bank had 120 million ISK and was very close to payout.  We started the robbery and setup to pop anybody who warped in prematurely.

There was less than five minutes on the clock for payout, but we found that if you’re in the middle of a robbery, the payout is suspended.  You can start an intrusion with fewer than five minutes on the clock.

The bank has a hold on that payment

We managed to blow up a couple of eager pilots, including a Cynabal that came for us, but the locals quickly piled on.  We lost a couple of ships on the way out, including Asher, at which point Tom Flood took over.  We ran from the locals for a few gates, heading towards Venal, waiting for our timers to run down so we can use another filament.

We had been out for a while at that point, and had said that any filament that got us close to home would be the end of the op, but they kept pulling us deeper and deeper into hostile space.  This last filament was no exception.

The filament lined us up on landing

There was, however, a Thera wormhole not too far from where we were.  We flew to that and jumped through just as it collapsed of old age.  Most of us docked up in Thera to call it a night.

The next day the EVE Scout site said there was a wormhole from Thera straight to Delve, so I took that using their shared bookmark library in-game and was safely back in 1DQ1-A in almost no time.  I am not very adept with wormholes, but EVE Scout makes it easy.

Home with my bonds, I realized I probably should have first taken one of the wormholes to high sec and dropped off the bonds for an alt to pick up, but I am not sure I’ll miss that big 5.6 million ISK payout.

But now I can said I’ve robbed a bank in EVE Online.  I’m not sure if that is the way it works in GTA V, but it can still lead to a bit of conflict… up until somebody figured out how to defend the ESS with smart bombing battleships or rail tengus or something else that will pop people coming in to steal.

Rooks and Kings – First Light on the Fifth Day

It has been a while since we have had a new Rooks and Kings video, the last one being Message in a Bottle that saw them moving to the Serenity, the server that hosts the mainland China version of EVE Online. (There is a timeline of their videos on the Rooks and Kings site.)

There wars were fought, with battles between supercaps and titans of the like that we are only beginning to experience in the west on the Tranquility server.  The wars left the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community alliance, or PIBC, the dominant power in null sec, able to rule in a way that no western alliance has, as the influence maps make clear.

Serenity Server Null Sec Influence Map – August 3, 2018

This led directly to the migration of players from the Serenity server in China to the Tranquility server in the UK that serves the rest of the world.  This is the genesis of alliances like Fraternity and Ranger Regiment of the Winter Coalition as well as the P.L.A. corp in GSF.

The new Rooks and Kings documentary, First Light on the Fifth Day, follows the ascension of PIBC, the exodus of its foes, the battle for who represents China, and how the two servers still interconnect.

Available in 5K video, you can click through to watch it in high def on YouTube directly.

Rooks and Kings sent out an email blast to a variety of EVE Online related sites on Friday night, so you will like see this video all over.  Still worth reposting here for me to have my own context down the road.

Addendum: There is now an interview with Lord Maldoror over at INN.