Tag Archives: Imperium

Quote of the Day – Being Risk Averse in Null Sec

The problem here is that being risk averse is the intelligent move. As stated above, null groups always have to be thinking about not just this fight, but the next one, the next ten, the next war. It’s coming. Whether you win or lose this one,  it’s coming. It’s coming whether you still have your space, your stuff, or even your pilots. If you’re in sov null, War Is Coming. And if you’re not getting ready for it, GET OUT. You have no business being there. Go to NPC null. Go to lowsec. Just get out of the way now, before the avalanche starts.

-Bill McDonough (Arrendis), Why the Null Sec Blackout Won’t Fix EVE

The blackout of local in null sec was met with much acclaim, followed by a variety of disappointments.  There is always something else needed to be done in order to “fix” null sec.

Arrendis has a piece up over at INN about why the blackout isn’t the fix for null sec or EVE Online.  In an epic length article he explores why null sec isn’t the blood bath of constant conflict that many feel it ought to be.  Leaving aside how much work a war can be for null sec leadership… the position of Sky Marshall has often been a one war job because it tends to burn people out quickly… Arrendis pins the blame for the risk averse behavior of null sec alliances and coalitions on one thing.  Can you guess what it is?  I’ll give you a hint.

Goonie Goons and their filthy titan blob

Titans.  Titans are the apex weapon in null sec.  To take and hold space over time, to be secure in your conquered domain, to be able to survive against hostile powers, you need titans.

But there is a catch.  A Catch-22, if you will.

In order to show up in null sec, take some space, and hold it over time, you need titans.  But you cannot get titans unless you hold null sec space.  You can build carriers and dreadnoughts in NPC stations in low sec, but for a titan or a super carrier you need to be able to deploy an ihub, install upgrades, drop a Sotiyo, and configure it correctly before you can start your first titan build.

So no null sec power will risk their titans, because to lose them is to cease to be a null sec power.  And once you’ve lost them and been evicted you’re out.  The best case scenario going forward is to have to depend on the titans of another power to cover you.

So how can CCP break this cycle?  Arrendis has some suggestions, which you should go and read.  I’ve stolen enough of his thunder here.  The article is long, but worth the effort.  Even the comments on the article are worth reading, save for the one that starts off with “Eh. Kinda too long to read.”

Anyway, you can find the article over at INN.

Stomping About in Pure Blind and Tribute

Suppose They Gave a War and Everyone Came?

When you bring the whole team out to play it can sometimes get crowded on the field.

The war against PanFam, the “glassing of Tribute” was promoted heavily in the Imperium and that promotion was responded to enthusiastically.  As I pointed out, over a thousand individuals were on coms for the first move ops north, almost two weeks back.

A giant armada, arriving in the north and keen to blow things up… leads to some problems now and then.  There is at time a :goonrush: to get into fleets, even fleets that are not promising kill mails or combat.  I have started seeing this dialog pop up quite often.

feel the :goonrush:

That is something I am used to seeing if there has be an op pre-pringed and hurfed about before hand.  Everybody wants to go to the big battle.  But over the weekend I was seeing that come up for ops pinged as “we need to chase some people away” or “we’re going to reinforce a structure.”

At one point yesterday there was a call to sweep away a 15 person gate camp that had the temerity/bad luck to setup on a gate in our staging system and, even though I was already logged in and tabbed over to join the fleet immediately on seeing the ping, I was too late.  The fleet was full.

The gate camp seemed quite put out, complaining in local about having a 256 person fleet dropped on their camp.  Somebody pointed out that they were happy enough getting kills at a 15:1 advantage, so getting dropped on by a fleet with a 17:1 advantage over them seemed appropriate.

So, when the command team can arrange it, they do set up opportunities for larger groups to shoot things.  There was a call to blow up a Fortizar one gate over in Pure Blind from our staging.  I went over with the Eagle fleet that was called up first.  And then another fleet joined.  A fleet of Leshaks added their firepower after a bit.  Then supers dropped in.  Then the titans landed.  Everybody got a chance to take a shot at the structure.

Fortizar in the face of overwhelming force

So an undefended Fortizar… as somebody pointed out, an alliance with the name Skeleton Crew could probably not be expected to have the staff to cover such events… that the dozen Leshaks could have easily killed on their own ended up with a kill mail that had over 500 people listed on it. (There is a 4K video of this shoot if you are interested.)

For one of these ops I actually got my alt out in an Ibis just to get that on the kill mail.

Ibis supremacy

The tale of the Ibis is mildly amusing and might become a post of its own if I run out of things to write about this week, which is feeling like a distinct possibility.  I need another big fleet fight or Daybreak to do something silly or I’ll end up writing about things like the CSM14 elections.

Anyway, moving on.

The other problem with having a thousand eager pilots on hand and ready to go at any given hour of the day is that the locals in Tribute are perhaps rightly not inclined to come out to play, seeing how eager we are to drop the hammer even on immobile, undefended targets.

We did get that fight last week and, even having lost the objective and had the ISK war turn against us at a ratio of 2:1, the appetite for fleets and ops seemed to have only gone up.  People on our side came out of that fight eager for more.  In the Eagle fleet it felt like a win despite knowing the result.

The next night the call went out to form up to cover some more entosis operations and, as before, fleets filled up.

Two full fleets sitting on titans ready to go

Our goal was just to keep the enotsis ships safe as they vied with the locals over the nodes in the constellation.

The humble Drake as enotosis ship

We ended up in PNDN-V while PanFam ended up forming and sitting on the other side of the gate in 15W-GC.  Ships from either side that went through that gate got melted pretty quickly.  The gate also split the constellation in two, with us holding two systems and the locals controlling three.  That meant that we were unlikely to win the entosis war.  However, the same also went for the locals as enough nodes were spawning in our two systems that they couldn’t finish the defense.

Sitting around with not much to do, a streamer who was covering the event was linked in fleet, so we got to watch their view.  They had two views, one from either side of the gate, so we could see them and they could see us.

The streamer in question, Lumpymayo, was clearly on the PanFam side of things and much of the chat seemed to be him and his supporters calling us cowards for not coming through the gate to fight them despite the fact that we out numbered them by at least a 5:4 ratio.

Every so often we would get called to type, “Hon hon hon” into the Twitch chat, that being the adopted meme/war cry of the deployment.  This came about after we anchored the Keepstar on the doorstep of Tribute and Asher came on coms to tell us “op success.”  He asked everybody on the coms, close to a thousand people again, to all key up at once and say, “Hon hon hon,” which was to be done with a heavy French accent.  The coms chaos, recorded here, was enough to crash my client.  But the Keepstar was renamed “Hon hon hon” and that is now our local spam of choice.

After an hour or so of that the FCs had us go to the gate and jump through, and we took on the locals and their camp.  I was again in the Eagle fleet and we quickly anchored up and started shooting targets as they were broadcast.

Anchored on the Monitor

This went much more our way.  While a small engagement compared to the previous night, it was satisfying to get to blow things up all the same.   I once again got to lock up and shoot at Dreyden Trovirr from the Open Comms show.

Locked up yet again

This time around their logi was unable to support itself so Dreyden blew up along with a lot of their logi.  The enemy was chased off grid after a short clash.  The battle report showed things tilted our way.

Battle Report Header

After that there was much “Hon hon hon” in Lumpymayo’s Twitch chat and even he had to concede we had won the field that time.

Lumpymayo signals the results

Not only did we get a nice little blood letting, but we won the objective.  However, the objective wasn’t the entosis struggle in Tribute.  Rather, we were there to pin down the locals while Dead Coalition (formerly GotG) reinforced systems in Tenal, leading to the renters up there handing over a pile of structures to them.  Tenal had been the happy crabbing grounds for PanFam.  Now, however,

Over the weekend we also spent time working on the ihubs and TCUs in the 1P-VL2 constellation, which includes the famed system M-OEE8, scene of a number of famous battles.

Ihub entosis work

This went largely uncontested and on the initial pass all of the ihubs and TCUs were reinforced.  Following up on this the focus was on M-OEE8, which is the gateway system to empire space and which houses a Keepstar.  The ihub was destroyed, the TCU was flipped, and the Keepstar was reinforced.

 

GSF on the map in Tribute

The Keepstar is now down to its final timer and the question is whether or not there will be a fight over it or if this will be akin to the Fortizar mentioned at the top of the post, where we pile in a bunch of ships just to get on the kill mail of an otherwise undefended structure.

It seems possible that the locals will pass on this fight.

The rumor is that PanFam is even now planning to withdraw into the drone lands in eastern null sec, to the Malpais region, which is the core of their rental empire.  Lacking any nearby NPC or empire space, that would likely put them out of reach of the Imperium and its ability to project sufficient power to do more than harass them.  There is also word that PanFam, after the fiasco in Tenal where renter groups handed over citadels to the attackers without a fight, that they will no longer allow renters to deploy their own structures.

We shall see how much more fighting goes on in Tenal and Tribute.

Supporting sources on this topic are, unfortunately, all from INN since other sources, including Reddit, seem somewhat subdued on the topic right now.  I’ll add more if/when they show up.

Push into Pure Blind

Last Saturday the Imperium began moving forces north, out of Delve, and into Cloud Ring, stopping at the Keepstar in 6RCQ-V that was the base of operations for the was last summer.

We were told this was a temporary location, that our final staging point would be announced later.  Certainly Cloud Ring was too far away from Tribute to be an effective spot from which to launch operations.  Not that we didn’t run some into Tribute all the same from there.  The Initiative owns some ihubs in Pure Blind so there are some Ansiblex jump gates to get subcaps around.  But for capital ships it just wasn’t an ideal spot.

I previously speculated about where we might end up basing for our assault on Tribute, thinking that Hakonen, where we based previously, might be an option.  It covers the south of the region and is easily resupplied from Jita.

However, that was not the plan.  Instead GSOL dropped a Keepstar for us in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.  The Keepstar survived its initial vulnerability window.  We just had to be sure it successfully anchored and came online.

With that in mind, the call went out for another mass form up for capitals and subcaps alike.

As the pings went out and the form up began, there were three subcap fleets called, all of which filled up almost immediately.  I had my main and my alt in two different fleets in order to move the only two ships I had on the deployment on to our new home.  I felt that this was as much a move op as anything.  It seemed unlikely that the locals would rise up against this show of force… recall how this went when we deployed the 6RCQ-V Keepstar.

When the capital fleets were called… six of them… space began to open up in the subcap fleets as capital pilots swapped over and just put their subcaps in their ship hangars to carry along with them.

As with the move op on Saturday, everybody was in the same voice coms channel, meaning that some coms discipline had to be enforced.  And, as with the move op, the capitals jumped out first, then the subcaps.  The Eagle fleet, which I was in, moved out last, though it quickly caught up with then passed the slower Baltec battleship fleet, where my alt was.

Not that anybody was going fast.  Two full fleets moving through relatively lightly populated space, plus capital jump, meant we were dragging our own bubble of time dilation with us through every constellation, spiking it with every gate jump.

We met up with the capitals on a Fortizar in low sec where we had to pick out the titan that was going to bridge us from the ball of titans surrounding the structure.

Pick a titan, any titan

This started in the usual ass backwards way with somebody telling us to “Get on the titan!” on voice coms without actually telling us which titan.  Saying, “The only one in the fleet!” wasn’t all that helpful if you had brackets turned off, and with this many ships on grid you pretty much had to have brackets turned off to get anything more than slide show level performance out of your video display.

Eventually people got their acts together and had the respective titans x-up in fleet so people could watchlist them and keep at range.  Finding the right titan from the group within 2km of you is a much easier task.

This time the Eagles went first, and we were bridged to a Fortizar in Pure Blind where we were chivvied onto first one titan then another and told to be ready to bridge.

Landing on the second Fortizar

In hindsight we were being made ready to jump in to defend the Keepstar which, at that point, was already in its repair phase.  However, we were not called to jump in and so sat on our titan as we watched the rest of the force jump in around us.

Titans making a big splash as they arrive

This time the various fleets jumped in to cynos that were a bit more spread out, so we ended up being sorted out into visibly distinct groups.

Fleets around the fort

The titans were still a big blob, but you can see the fax fleet off on the far side along with the relatively tiny capitals and subcaps.

There we waited until Asher announced over coms that the Keepstar in KQK1-2 was now online.  Then, slowly, fleet by fleet, we jumped or bridged to our new home.  Again, the Eagle fleet went last, just behind the fax fleet.

Off we go at last

Once there we were able to stand down and dock up in the new Keepstar, the 47th Keepstar owned by the Imperium.  The fuel costs alone must be a pain.

Our base in Pure Blind

It is named the Taqostar, which I am told was a Sadus suggestion.

Move ops to the new base will likely continue through the weekend.

Of course, you might ask what was the advantage of staging in KQK1-2 in Pure Blind.

If you go to DOTLAN maps and use the jump range navigation feature, it nicely shows you how many systems in Tribute are within titan jump range of KQK1-2.

Where can titans land from KQK1-2?

That is a lot of the region, enough for us to set to work on as we blow up ihubs, destroy any structures not yet taken down, and basically reset the region back to its starting state.

In the great circle of time, I have actually hung around long enough that I was in the operations that took these systems from NCDot back in 2012 and then again when we lost them all in 2016.  And now, here we are again.

Other coverage:

 

Lurching North Towards Tribute

The word did come down via the State of the Goonion on Saturday that we would indeed be moving north for war and that Tribute would indeed be our target.  That seemed the most likely scenario even a week ago.

In anticipation of the move ops to come I had logged into the game an hour ahead of time to figure out what I wanted to bring north.  I didn’t know where we were headed yet, but I wanted to be ready.  I was not alone.  I found almost 2,000 people in local and when I undocked I found titans practically frolicking about the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A.

Conga lines and fireworks

Closer in my Megathron… I decided to take a battleship north… reflected the glow of the fireworks being set off.

The rocket’s red glare indeed

As the time for the SotG approached, the number in local climbed, peaking at just past 4,000 as The Mittani’s speech ended.

In Mumble as well people started filing into the SotG channel.  There the numbers climber, passing 2,600 during the speech.

SotG Numbers

That is a better representation of how many people were present since you get only one forum account and Mumble login no matter how many alts you have.

At the speech The Mittani confirmed what had be widely rumored, that we would be heading to Tribute to drive out Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition.  We were not going to take the region in order to hold it, but merely destroy all we could, reducing the infrastructure back to its lowest ebb.

Mittens gave us no dramatic raison de guerre.  He said he would not be waving a bloody shirt and calling for war.  The reasons for us going north to “glass” Tribute was simply to widen the gap between us and our traditional foes that we might deny them the ability to ever assail us again.  I am sure that the fact that those in Tribute remain among the organizations that sent us packing during the Casino War that haven’t been displaced or made to pay tribute fed into the decision as well.  Something, something, pays our debts.

The speech was short and our actual staging destination was left unstated.  We would have to go on move ops to find out.  But move ops were being pinged immediately.  Six fleets for capital ships went up and they began departing 1DQ1-A immediately.  The local count because to taper off some.

Those of us in subcaps had to wait about an hour before we were called.

This became one of those move ops where everybody was stuffed into the same coms channel.  All the capital fleets and all the subcap fleets would share coms, which meant we were told to keep quiet.

I was wondering how that would play out.  People often don’t know or care that there might be 2,000 other people on the line and start speaking up because they can’t find this or that in their hangar or asking where the fleet is or some bit of trivia about their day that really doesn’t play in front of a large audience.

But it did not work out too badly.  There were the inevitable people wandering in and chatting away like they were on a small gate camp as opposed to a 2,000 person move op, but they were hushed and things on coms remained mostly the command staff giving instructions to the various fleets about who should jump and who should hold.

When subcap fleets got called I piled into the Baltec fleet, which Cainun was running.  We hung around for a bit and it was explained that we would have to keep a close eye on the in-game fleet chat as that would be where most of our orders would appear.

CCP Please, let me pull the chat window out to another monitor.

I had been listening on voice coms and watching Jabber in another window while I played Minecraft.  But if instruction were going to be in fleet chat that mean keeping the EVE Online game window up where I could see it.  Oh well.  We eventually undocked and headed to the Eye of Terror jump gate chain to start our move north.

Aligned out for travel

Even in slow old battleships with TiDi hitting along most jumps, we were able to move along at a fairly brisk pace, jumping and aligning over and over.

Going through an Ansiblex jump gate

It wasn’t long before we had caught up with the capital ships.  They were jumping by groups and then waiting out their timers so as not to build up jump fatigue, so we caught up to the tail end of the big ships half way through Fountain.

Baltecs catching up with the stragglers

Some clever person in a dictor put up a bubble off the gate that stopped us short at one point and we had to burn through a mass of capital ships to get to the gate and jump.  That put us pretty much in the thick of the capital ships.

Capitals streaming to a gate

On entering Cloud Ring we ended up in a capital traffic jam.  The caps were supposed to jump in, warp to a structure, then warp to a gate.  However, time dilation was down to 10% from just us moving and jumping, people felt like they were falling behind and started trying to warp straight to the gate which meant they were bumping off the people still trying to warp to the structure.  And then a whole fleet of Apostles came through the gate.

When you really need traffic control

We orbited the gate… you can’t even see our tiny battleships in that blob… and waited for things to get sorted.  Eventually everybody got themselves pointed in the right direction and warped off.  We hung around to see off the final capitals before heading out ourselves.

From there it was just a couple of gates for us, then another ansiblex to the Kirkland Protein Star, the Keepstar we dropped back in July of last year to support the war against Circle of Two in Fade.

The Kirkland Protein Star

We moved out of there in October in a massive move op and I diligently carried all of my stuff home because I thought we were supposed to take down that Keepstar.  However, there it stood.  If I had just left my stuff there… which included the Megathron I had just moved up there… I would have been set already because that is where we stopped.  That is where the move op ended, well short of Tribute.

We were told that this was a preliminary staging point, that after we got more people up into Cloud Ring we would be moving forward to our final staging point for the assault in Tribute.  But for now we sit in Cloud Ring.

Others on this topic:

  • INN (includes link to the SotG recording)

 

Where Will War Land in New Eden Next Week?

The Mittani was promising us a war last week, asking us to tune into the weekly fireside chat to get an update.  There were more than 600 people in the channel for that on Saturday before a ping went out to get people logged in.

A past visual from The Scope of The Mittani speaking

However, the news for us was rather sparse once the fireside got going.  We were assured that was was coming, that the next fireside would be replaced by a Station of the Goonion meeting (which differs mostly from a fireside in name, though it tends to be shorter and more on point) which would announce the target of our war, after which move ops would commence immediately while those already forward deployed would begin hitting targets.

It was also stated that this would not be a war of conquest… Delve is already making us rich, so we don’t want more space… but a war of destruction to lay waste to the infrastructure and disrupt the economic output of a region.

The question, left deliberately unanswered was which region?  Where will we be heading?

We’ll know come Saturday.  Until then there are some likely guesses.

First, given that SIGs and squads were told to carry on with what they have been up to it seems likely that we will be moving into the northeast of New Eden to operate from low sec in Caldari space.  Lonetrek or The Forge are where those groups are now, so it seems likely that a big move op on Saturday will use the Eye of Terror and cyno chain to move up through Fountain and then east into Caldari space.

Where we will likely deploy

Where exactly we will base depends on the actual target. (Base map from DOTLAN.)

The leak from Headliner on Reddit indicates that we will be assaulting Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion in their home region of Tribute.  That would mean basing in Lonetrek, likely in Hakonen again, though maybe Taisy right on their doorstep.  We’ve been in Hakonen before, back during the summer of 2017, which led to a series of battles (example) that went against the Imperium.

That deployment had not super or titan support, so the locals were able to drop those on us with impunity.  This time we will be bringing all of the big toys so clashes may not be so one sided against us.

In favor of this target is the fact that it hits an an old enemy, NCDot, which harbors the remains of Band of Brothers, as well as Pandemic Legion.  In addition, there is already a war going on with Guardians of the Galaxy, who live in our old space in the north, and who would no doubt be keen to join in on the fun after having to pay us for peace last summer.

The path to Tribute

A war here would also draw support away from other locations in the north allow SIGs based in The Forge to continue a merry harassment campaign in the backfield, forcing Pandemic Horde to choose between defending its timers or helping its allies.

An alternative to the above would have us move a bit further along, into The Forge, from which we could attack into either PL/NCDot and their holdings in Vale of the Silent.

Into Vale and Geminate

This gets us stuck right into Pandemic Horde if we go into Geminate, pitting strength against strength, while The Vale of the Silent is a big region with a lot of targets.  Geminate, like Tribute, means a head-on assault and supers being thrown around.  Vale means the locals have to reinforce from Tribute and Geminate, but can stay based mostly at home.  It still lets GotG harass from the north end and SIGs at the south end, though both local forces would be able to respond to either more readily.

Finally, there is a possible focus on the rental income of the locals.

Where the rental money comes from

The Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, and The Spire represent prime null sec rental space from which the locals derive income.  Again, The Forge puts us about as close as we can get those regions without getting into NPC null sec space.  But those regions do not have handy NPC space for us to land in. (Otherwise there would probably already be a SIG in there.)

Going after those regions would give us a nice “going after bots” narrative, though the recently revived Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Imperium rental alliance that operates in Period Basis, featured in the latest round of bot bans, so one might be tempted to ask when we’ll be opening a front there. (Or against Fraternity.)

The problem is that, while those are tempting targets, you cannot get a super fleet in there without multiple gates and jumps.

So I suspect that the first option I mentioned, an attack on Tribute, will be the actual destination announced this coming Saturday.  It has the advantage of being close to low sec staging as well as close to Jita for re-supply. (Now would be a good time to build up stocks if you’re a seller.)  The leak posted on Reddit was based on something said in the Imperium leadership channel according to The Mittani.  That gives it some weight, even when Mittens wondered aloud whether or not it was a ruse.

Northeast Null Sec Influence Map – May 12, 2019

(Map from Null Sec Influence maps)

My guess is that Hakonen or Taisy will be our destination on Saturday and, once the capital fleets arrive, a Keepstar will be dropped in one of those systems to kick off the conflict.  Supers will cover the initial deployment and the enemy will have to either come attack it when the 24 hour cycle finishes and the initial repair timer goes live.  They will have to either face our fleet then or allow us to setup a a difficult to assail base right on their front step.

Meanwhile, SIGs and squads will use the distraction of the main front in Tribute to harass and set times in rental space.

That seems to me to be the most likely war scenario.  However, I have no inside information whatsoever… hostile groups with spies know more than a line member like me… so your mileage may vary.

We will see in about a week.

Quote of the Day – Goblin Gets His Due

Gevlon was right

-The Mittani, Imperium Fireside May 4, 2019

I previously mentioned the ongoing conflict in Perimeter over control of trading citadels.  Last year the Imperium and Legacy Coalition began to assail the trading citadels set up by Pandemic Horde.  Those were blown up and replaced by citadels run by TEST alliance, including a Keepstar.

Shop at the sign of the middle management dino

Why Perimeter?  Well, it is one of the eight systems that connect directly to Jita.

Jita and Perimeter

More importantly, it is one of the five neighboring system in The Forge, the same region as Jita, so if you are in Jita and searching for something to buy, goods in Perimeter will show up in your results as well.  As to why Perimeter won out over the other four, my guess is that being on the direct route to Amarr, the second trade hub of New Eden, probably tips the scales.  People try to set up in the other systems, but the listings there are even more meager.

Anyway, since the swap over to Legacy Coalition holding the trade stations in Perimeter a low scale conflict has carried on to try and wrest control away or at least make life annoying.  I had not heard much about that conflict of late.  As it turns out that was likely due to negotiations going on over the whole thing.

At yesterday’s fireside The Mittani announced that a deal had been reached and that going forward the Imperium, Legacy Coalition, and Pandemic Horde would all work together to defend the structures of the Tranquility Trading Corporation, consisting of the Keepstar, two Sotiyos, and one Tatara in Perimeter.

Instead of fighting, each of the three groups will now share in the profits from the trading complex.

This is where Gevlon comes in.  Somebody sent the link to one of Gevlon’s posts where he predicted something like this would come to pass to The Mittani, and Mittens had to admit that Gevlon was right on that particular point.  Some null sec powers did come together to hold a trading citadel together rather than fighting over it.

Of course, Gevlon was wrong on just about everything else in that post.  It is debatable as to whether or not the Imperium, led by Goonswarm Federation, Legacy Coalition, led by TEST, and Pandemic Horde add up to being “everyone significant” when it comes to null sec powers.  It most certainly does not mean peace between the three powers.  Even as I was writing this I got a ping to log in and shoot Pandemic Horde and expect to continue with the campaign against them and NCDot in TKE and The Spire, striking straight at their rental income.  These are not staged “gud fites” but an actual campaign meant to hurt them.

And then there is the effect on Jita.  While some trade is going through Perimeter, it seems to be mostly focused on some high price density items, things like PLEX, skill injectors, and the like.  Trade at the station at Jita 4-4 carries on pretty much as before, three years after the Citadel expansion brought this player run trade center option to the game.

Whether people keep trading in Jita out of habit, ignorance, or mis-trust or player run citadels… some of those trade citadels have been blown up after all… doesn’t matter, people still do most of their buying and selling in Jita.

This means that Gevlon’s assumptions and ISK estimates are all completely bogus.  If his prediction had come to pass we should have seen some sort of drop in the Broker’s Fees collects on the ISK sink side of the chart in the MER.  However, compared to his numbers from the February 2016 MER, the broker’s fees collected were actually up in the March 2019 MER.

As for how much the owners of the trade citadels have to discount their fees in order to attract business… well, he was way off once more.

Fee comparison

In Perimeter they had to cut the broker’s fee to the bone to get the business they have, and that hasn’t moved very much out of the much more expensive Jita.  Even if they got the level of business he predicted, the net profit would be nowhere near his cataclysmic outlook.

And Gevlon said he left EVE Online because of this, because of his grim predictions of what was to come with player run markets in citadels.  I guess he could have stuck around.  The null sec empires are still getting rich, but it doesn’t have much to do with markets in Perimeter.

PAP Link Economy

There are, in my experience, few metrics that cannot be gamed. Over the years of my career I have seen many attempts to measure employee productivity and value via metrics, and this often leads to people simply optimizing their behavior to these metrics, even if that does not end up being the best thing for the organization overall. Tell a dev you’re evaluating them based how many lines of code they produce and you get lots of lines of code. Tell a dev manager they’re being rated on how many defects are found in the code their group produces and they’ll beat on testing until they stop writing bugs. Tell the dev manager instead that the measure is defects found after shipping and they’ll make testing stay late and come in on weekends and argue that anything found is “as designed” or otherwise expected behavior.

Basically any organization needs to consider these things lest they find themselves encouraging behavior that is contrary to the good of the business. However, used correctly, a metrics can promote desired behavior. Reactivity and all that is a thing.

All of which brings me to what I tend to think of as the “PAP Link Economy” in EVE Online. PAP links, short for “participation links” have been a part of the Imperium for quite a while now. They are actually a contribution to the coalition from my own alliance, TNT. So you’re welcome for that I guess.

A null sec fleet operation, just because

The idea behind PAP links are simple enough; the alliance and coalition wanted to know who is going on fleets. That sort of thing is easy enough to keep track of casually if you have a hundred or so pilots. You look at a few kill mails to see who was shooting things, keep a list of your usual logi, and you’re probably fine. But when you have thousands over all time zones, knowing who is stepping up and who is shirking is more difficult. There was a need to count noses and see.

This was back before the changes to the shape of null sec. Dominion sov was still the rule, there were good and bad systems in null, and a lot of null sec organizations were still PvP purists or elitists, depending on how you looked at it. When I joined TNT if was made clear that we were a PvP alliance and I was expected to go on fleets and shoot hostiles. Ratting and mining were for times when there were no fleets going out.

Anyway, somewhere along the line, after the Fountain War if I recall right, the PAP link scheme showed up. At the time it was an actual URL put into fleet chat that fleet members were expected to click on. It would bring up the in-game browser and feed in the basic information about you, your ship, and your current location.

There were, of course, problems with this. You had to be paying attention to fleet chat to see the link. People asking for a repost of the link were a constant thing. Some people would covo the link to pals so they could get credit on the fleet without showing up. Once in a while an FC or other fleet VIP would make the PAP link and accidentally post it in the wrong channel. Nothing like a PAP link posted in local to get a bunch of randos on the list. And if Russians were inexplicably showing up in your fleet, they would click on the link just because it was a link.

There was a problem for a while where the links wouldn’t register if you were docked in a station, so you had to make sure and undock to click on it if you got the link at the very end of a fleet. And, while the most of the then CFC were using the same system, RAZOR had to be different and developed their own version on the links. If RAZOR people were in the fleet the FC would have to get somebody to make them one of their PAP links in addition to the regular one, and you were only supposed to click on the right one.

Later, after the Casino War, when RAZOR was gone and the in-game browser was removed, a new version was setup that let/made the FC capture the list of fleet members and paste them into the system to “capture” who was along on the fleet. This made PAPs a little more nebulous in that pilots did not have to take an action to get counted, but just had to trust that the FC did the thing and pressed the right button.

But it mostly seemed to work and it quickly became part of the coalition practices. It allowed the leadership to not only keep an eye out for individuals who don’t participate but has been used as a way to see which corporations are stepping up as a group. GSF publishes a set of participation metrics every month covering its corporations. There is a bar set by the stats, and if your corp falls under it, the corp is put on warning that it needs to shape up. (The metrics also show other details, like which corps have the most people posting in the forums, who has players not setup on coms, and participation in SIGs and squads.)

Corps also use it for various things. Most have a monthly minimum you need to hit. I think in KarmaFleet you need just one per month, but they only check every quarter, so you have time get yours. My own corp wanted us to get two or four per month at one point, but that seems to have eased up. Some corps pay a bounty for each PAP link you collect, sometimes adding an additional bonus if you fly a fleet critical role like logi or boosts.

Of course, some people love this and others hate it. Anytime leadership seems to be checking up on people it is going to feel like a lack of trust to somebody. I kind of like them. I tend to be so quiet on coms… coms discipline was something instilled on me many years ago… so I often wonder if anybody notices when I show up aside from the PAP credit. And I can see the need in such a big organization. You have to make the spies that have infiltrated carry some of the burden.

You can see why I think of it as the PAP economy. It is a currency of sort, a credit for your participation, a rent payment towards your continued tenure in the organization. It is something both tracking you and which can be said to have value, sometimes quite literally if you’re in a corp that pays a PAP bonus.

As with anything of value PAPs can be a contentious.  Some people don’t care about them, or claim they don’t, others obsess a bit about them.

On fleet ops there is always somebody asking about when a PAP will be captured and usually somebody ready to tell them to shut up.  People get angry when somebody even mentions a PAP on fleet coms.  Sometimes it is the FC, as they get tired of hearing about it.  But they also want credit for running fleets.  And occasionally an FC will feel generous and give us an extra PAP.  Asher gave us ten for the battle at F4R2-Q, then regretted it.  It was a pain to do a set a precedent.  Now you’re better off not mentioning PAPs in his fleets.

And so it goes.  In an attempt to add some accountability to the membership, the leaders of the coalition have incentivized making sure you get a PAP for every fleet.  Give value to a thing and people will get all weird about it.