Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eve Online: leaving SAS Alliance

Our corp, No Fixed Abode, has left the Saints amongst Sinners alliance – SAS – last weekend. When we were looking for a spot in nullsec, they generously provided us with one in Querious. We were welcomed, gear was cyno’d in, guidance and instructions were given and alliance chat/TS was friendly. I felt welcome, at home! Of course the ratting was great: in a few months’ time, I made over a billion ISK in bounties, loot and salvage even though I’m only a modest solo belt ratter, occassionally doing a Sanctum or Haven with other pilots. 
But I also liked the excitement of PVP, scrambling to the gate to intercept an incoming roam of reds, frantic instructions on TS and the SAFE UP! warnings in alliance chat to all miners out there, accompanied by exhortions to get in the home defense fleet, grab a pvp ship and join the battle. It was a good – and sometimes dangerous – time to be in Querious.

SAS was there as an IT renter, and when IT failscaded, we were on our own. By that time we were IT allies, not just renters anymore: just before IT bowed out they upgraded us, and for a while we held nullsec sov without paying rent. But pressure was mounting, and after some painful losses the number of pilots in alliance chat already started to drop- slowly but steadily. The miners and industrialists vanished to highsec and several of them dropped out altogether, and pretty soon there were only a few dozen stalwarts left in B-7DFU to defend the place. The downward trend was partially masked by Querious nullsec corps joining SAS, which we absorbed when IT collapsed, but it was real nonetheless.

It became obvious we couldn’t defend the entire constellation we had sov in – not with Goons, Atlas., -A- and PL knocking at our door. After some diplomatic efforts and leadership deliberations, alliance leadership announced a complete evacuation of our Querious holdings. In hindsight, I’m not sure that was the right thing to do. Of course it’s easy to say that now, but even at the time some of us thought we should try to hang on to B-7DFU a while longer. It’s a dead end system, with a truesec of -1 and a station in it, and hence easier to defend than most systems. Why not make a last stand, try to keep it as long as you can, and go down in flames if everything fails? It could have taken weeks to clear us out of B-7DFU if we’d hadn’t given up. The political situation changes so fast – you never know what could have happened in that time.
..And looking at Evemaps, it seems B-7DFU is deserted at the moment. It has plenty of sites to run - havens, sanctums - and plenty of belts with battleship class rats.. and now, on March 17th 2011, only 5 NPC kills in the last 24 hours? Is that the best you could do, C0nvicted? Really, we shouldn't have left our Querious home..
But, when alliance leadership tells you to evacuate, you evacuate, and SAS ended up spread out over the entire cluster, waiting for what’s next. And then, SAS leadership decided to go back home, to the place SAS became what it is today: the lowsec triangle in Solitude, consisting of Aeter, Sarline and Harner systems. Of course other people live there, but it was decided we’d fight them.
NOFAD consists of what is called ‘mature players’; we even discuss our teenage kids’ exploits in corp chat ;-) We have played together for several years, we are not likely to switch alliances easily. But, I have written enough about Lowsec a short while ago.. suffice to say NOFAD didn’t like being in Solitude. We would never have contemplated leaving SAS if there had been a plan to go back to nullsec in the foreseeable future, but at the time of our leaving, it was unclear whether SAS would attempt another shot at nullsec in 2011. In New Eden, planning something three quarters to a year from now, is really a long time, it’s an eternity! We didn’t fancy spending that many months of game time in lowsec. And so, over the weekend, we left SAS. We wish them well; they really were the best thing that could have happened to us and for that we are certainly grateful.

In the mean time, we are evaluating some offers we received for other nullsec places to stay. Highsec has lost its charm, its no longer a permanent residence for us. We loathe lowsec; its nullsec we want to be, and thats where were going again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eve Online: Lowsec doesn't make sense

As I mentioned here before, I have spent most of my Eve career in highsec empire space (2008-2010), and the last six months in nullsec. After leaving Querious, however, we (temporarily) relocated to lowsec. I have now, for the first time in my eve career, lived in lowsec for a while, and boy it sucks. It's like nullsec without the advantages of sov; it's like highsec without the advantages of Concord protection. Allow me to elaborate..

If you're looking for PVP, lowsec is not the best place to be, as shooting someone brings a hefty security standings hit - unless the other side engaged you first. And yet, if that happens - someone engages you -  there's no Concord protection, at least none to speak of. These factors combined lead to a situation where the only ones freely engaging in PVP are lowsec pirates: they don't care about security standing and the lack of Concord protection suits them just fine.

If you're looking for some ratting, lowsec isn't the best place to be either. Sure, there are some battleship class rats here and there, but generally it's still just frigates and cruisers, with poor bounties. Earlier this week I even found myself looting a Civilian Shield Booster module from a cruiser sized wreck.. For shame! For crying out loud! I have seen one belt rat with a 1.1 million ISK bounty, in the past few weeks. There's quite a gap between nullsec and lowsec in this regard, even though some lowsec systems have a truesec that's quite close to some nullsec systems.

If you're looking for mining, lowsec may have something to offer - as I don't mine I can't really tell. I haven't taken a thorough survey, but as far as I can see it's mostly just the regular space rocks around here: Veldspar, Plagioclase, Scordite, Omber.. To be fair, according to Dotlan there should also be some Jaspet and Hemorphite around, but I am not sure how much and how valuable that is. According to a miner friend of mine however, in terms of isk/hour it's more profitable to mine Veldspar in highsec. Especially given the added risk of mining in lowsec. if you decide to do it, you need to have some sort of guard around: unless you have essentially cleared out the area and maintain some kind of protection, one of those dratted pirates might pop you at any moment.

The same is essentially true for running missions and complexes in lowsec - you need to be very alert, because you may be attacked at any moment. An added risk, when you could be doing pretty much the same missions in highsec?

Now that I mention them - complexes - that's another chapter. I've scanned down four, and they were either laughingly simple (frigates with a cruiser or battlecruiser as 'endboss') or impossible to do on your own (think 10+ battleships shooting at my lonely poor Drake). There didn't seem to be much of a middle ground.

So - PVP impeded by a security standings penalty but no Concord protection to compensate for that; ratting generally not impressive in terms of excitement and/or isk earned per hour; complexes questionable and seemingly a bit out of balance; mining risky and not really worth it according to those in the know.

Tell me - why would anyone want to live here? If you do, what's your motivation? What have I missed?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

EVE Blog Banter #25 - Size does matter

Welcome to the twenty-fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter , the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux . The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's topic comes to us from @Tetraetc - " Tetra's EVE Blog " - who asks: " Have Alliances and the sovereignty system limited the amount of PVP and RP potential in Null sec? Imagine a Null Sec where anyone could build outposts wherever. Would the reduction of the alliance game mechanic, and the removal of the sovereignty game mechanics (or the modifcation of it from Alliance level to Corp level for that matter) force more PVP into Null sec, or would giant power blocs like the NC still form themselves?"

I don't feel like an expert on this topic, to be honest. But having just spent six months in nullsec, it's of interest nonetheless, so here are my thoughts.

Alliances - good
Nullsec without alliances.. not going to happen. Whether the game mechanics support it or not, there will always be groups of pilots 'with an understanding', there will be blue/red lists on forums. You can't remove that from New Eden, whether you like it or not.
Alliances in itself aren't a problem, really. I have found it very useful to be in Saints amongst Sinners alliance; our corp couldn't have entered nullsec without their help. Alliances are a great way of introducing pilots to nullsec and maintain some sort of stability in a certain area of space.

Large alliances - not so good..
It's this 'certain area of space' that is becoming a problem in my opinion. The large power blocs (consisting of a multitude of alliances and corps) with powerful (super)cap fleets are often able to project power across large parts of the cluster, by utilizing cynos and jump bridges. They can be on your doorstep, kill your POS for lolz, if they so desire - and unless you have an equally powerful cap fleet, there's not much you can do but keep systems cynojammed 24x7, which is a nuisance in itself. Even without supercaps, the large power blocs have accumulated so much wealth they can keep throwing stealth bombers and conventional fleets at you, without bleeding dry anytime soon.

No viable nullsec sov for smaller entities
In other words, a smaller corp or alliance can't really claim sov somewhere, and build it's POSes or stations, unless they are aligned with a large power bloc, either as pet, renter or ally. If they tried going it alone, they would probably not survive for long, unless perhaps, the space they claim is strategically utterly unimportant or worthless from an economical point of view. But even then someone will try to collect rent, because 'region x belongs to them'.
This is where the large empty swathes of nullsec Helicity mentions, come into play. These mostly deserted systems could easily support a number of smaller alliances (read: thousands of pilots) but as long as all nullsec space is divided between the large power blocs, there's not much chance of that happening. Nullsec won't be better occupied or developed as long as these large dominating blocs exist.

Break the bloc
Alliances aren't the issue in nullsec, the power blocs (basically anything the size of IT in 2010 or with 'coalition' in it's name) are. Their very existence keeps nullsec in a stranglehold, driving smaller alliances and corps either out of nullsec or in a perpetual state of pet/renter, which isn't doing anyone any good.
And now that IT alliance is (pretty much) history, you'd have to wonder what the future of nullsec is - a handful of (non-CCP!) alliance leaders get to determine what's happpening there... ? This can not be the intention of CCP, and unless something dramatic happens, I wouldn't be surprised to see some Icelandic intervention sooner or later. For nullsec to become alive again, the large blocs must fall.

Goons, unpredictable as ever..?
On the bright side.. after Goonswarm defeated BoB a few years ago, they lost their purpose, their goal. They became complacent and stagnant, and very nearly died; their current leadership has learned some valuable lessons then. Therefore, I can't see Goonswarm fall back to just maintaining the status quo, divide space with a few other guys and act as a landlord to renters. It's just not in their best long term interest. I would suspect them to pull off some sort of stunt in the near future - if nothing else of interest happens. Think an invasion, a standings reset.. remember, you read it here first ;-)

  1. CrazyKinux's Musing: EVE Blog Banter #25: And by Alliance you mean.....?
  2. BB25 What sov changes will come? | A Mule In EvE
  3. Confessions of a Closet Carebear: Alliances and Sovereignty
  4. Blog Banter 25: Nerfing Nulsec « OMG! You're a Chick?!
  5. Have Alliances and the sovereignty system limited the amount of PVP and RP potential in Null sec? | Nitpickin's
  6. Blog Banter #25: Alliance and Sovereignty Limiting PvP in 0.0? | Sarnel Binora's Blog
  7. Blog Banter #25 - Mad Haberdashers
  8. Alliances and sovereignty | Eve Online Focus
  9. ...Shall we not Revenge?: BB 25: What if the Alliance vanished?
  10. Blog Banter: Alliances and Sov
  11. EVEOGANDA: BB25: Sov 'n Go!
  12. » TBG:EBB#25 – Alliances and Sovereignty To Boldly Go
  13. Freebooted: BB25: Leviathans of the Deep
  14. Wrong Game Tetra ~ Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
  15. EVE Blog Banter #25 – Human nature what art thou? | Way of the Gun
  16. Who cares about Sov? - Hands Off, My Loots! ~ well sorta like an entry! :p
  17. The 25th EVE Blog Banter: Alliances and sovereignty - The Phoenix Diaries
  18. Achernar: The space commute
  19. Wandering the Void…my EvE musings. – Blog Banter: Alliances and sovereignty
  20. (OOC) CK’s Blog Banter #25: How To Break EvE. « Prano's Journey
  21. Captain Serenity: Blog Banter #25 - Crappy mechanics
  22. Helicity Boson » Blog Banter #25 Nullsec and sov.
  23. BB #25 – “With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?”
  24. Boom! Hull-Shot?: It's the End of the Eve as We Know It
  25. Sered's lives: EVE Blog Banter #25 - Size does matter
  26. 25th EVE BB – Medieval Solutions to Spaceship Problems | Inventions of a New Eden Industrialist
  27. Eve Blog Banter #25: “Have Alliances and Sov Limited PvP and RP in 0.0?” « Align Outbound
  28. Banter 25: Sovereignty, Alliances and Power Blocs | TheElitist
  29. Blog Banter 25 – But I just left all that! « A Scientist's Life in Eve
  30. Nobody likes losing « One capsuleer against all
  31. >>>Vigil Ant: Alliances and SOV by Munny's eyes.
  32. Latro's Bunker: Blog Banter 25 -Nullsec and Sov
  33. A "CareBears" Journey » Blog Banner #25: Alliances and Sovereignty, and their affect on PVP and RP
  34. Blog Banter #25 – Unstoppable « Roc's Ramblings