Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ownership vs leadership (aka the Sort Dragon fail)

Sort Dragon was the leader of the strongest EVE coalition for about a month. He managed to destroy it without any hostile pressure, financial crisis or cultural clash to solve. Without his utter incompetence, the last month would be a boring one for them where nothing happened, despite TEST changes leadership faster than an African military dictatorship.

Where did he fail horribly? He did not understand the huge difference between ownership and leadership. Ownership of an item is obvious: you control it. Ownership of people is much less obvious since every person has free will (even if most of them only goes so far to will for drink, sex and a warm place to rest). Ownership of people is the most misunderstood concept. Majority of people - who, not by surprise doesn't even owns himself - believe that it comes from the ability of punishment: "who can destroy the thing, controls the thing". Wrong!

The ability to punish someone doesn't give you control as he can hide from punishment. You need to actively hunt him down to deliver punishment which you can or cannot do. From even the most secured locations there were escapes. People escaped the Gulag or Auschwitz. No tyranny ever lasted too long because the cost of punishing the people climbed higher and higher.

Ownership of people is ownership of the things they need. The medieval kings owned their people not because they could hang those they could catch. They owned them because they owned the land needed for growing food. One could easily escape the gallows by hiding in swamps and forests. But what do you eat in the swamp? Frogs? Living in a swamp is - while possible - a punishment in itself. It's also a perfect punishment as you can't dodge it while living in a swamp and it costs nothing to the king as the swamp is there for free. The foundation of the medieval system was the fact that without the easily controllable land, you couldn't maintain a humane life.

The medieval system fell when the industrial revolution changed the method of income: from farming to industry. You can rise a factory everywhere, so the refugees could earn their food by working in a new factory somewhere else.

Sort Dragon assumed he can control various HBC alliances by the fact that he can evict them if they disobey. He was wrong for issuing commands to TEST not because he can't evict them. He can. TEST probably couldn't field a single serious doctrine fleet due to lack of discipline, lack of proper FCs and lack of supercapital superiority. You can't fight battleships or T3s with some random mixture of frigates, battlecruisers and cruisers. If some serious alliance wants to live in Delve and Fountain (someone in N3, PL to rent it out or CFC), TEST will be out of these in a month or two.

Sort Dragon was terminally wrong for assuming that TEST members will give a damn (they would use other term) for being evicted. Sov-null is just a money-sink for a line member, unless he is a botter and TEST probably has the lowest botter pilot ratio in nullsec. I didn't say they have no botters, I've said they have awful lot of real players. For real players the money is in highsec missions, mission mining, highsec AFK mining. No real player needs sov. They might want it, to have a place to call home, a flag on the map and an excuse to get fights. But the members wouldn't lose their income by losing sov.

Please note that this isn't a coalition level problem. Not even an alliance level problem. It's an ownership problem on the lowest possible management level: in EVE no player can be owned as the methods of ones income cannot be owned. It's not that TEST alliance rebelled against Sort Dragon. It's that if the TEST leadership would obey, they would have lost their members.

Without ownership, you can still lead people, simply because they give you leadership in turn of your services. The average TEST member couldn't care less who he shoots as long as he was shooting at someone, so Montolio could lead them against enemies of his choices. Montolio could build his space empire because his choices never conflicted with the choices of his line members. His power came from his understanding of his line members, knowing the fields where he was given control. But even he reached the point where his aims conflicted with the will of his line members. He wanted to attack CFC to further increase HBC power, but the line members would not follow him against the endless no-fun invasion against people who they actually liked. He recognized this and did the only reasonable thing: left his position. He could formally press on the war, but it would be lost anyway as the line members wouldn't log in.

As long as living in nullsec as a non-botting line member is not the best income source by large, the nullsec powers cannot control the income of players, so they can't control the players themselves. Top leadership positions goes to politicians who serve their people while serving their own agendas in the same time.

Update: I've just read the TEST alliance update literally saying: "we are an alliance with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO LOSE. Everything up to and including getting brutally murdered would be a great opportunity to do something new." I'm happy to see that their move wasn't a random act of trolling but came from the understanding of the same thing I've talked above. Damn, the first time I miss not being there.


Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

Just wanted to let you know that this post goes on my permanent bookmarks :D

Been a while since i saw such a clear explanation of how power cannot be taken, but can only be received.

Posts like that are the reason i read this blog. As long as something of this quality comes out at least once or twice every year, i'm a happy reader :)

Anonymous said...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" - US Declaration of Independence

Note that these are regarded as observable truths, not reasonable good ideas. Too many people seem to miss that distinction.

People can give or revoke consent in thousands of ways, in whether they pay or evade taxes to how much support they give the local authorities. Consent is not a binary choice made between voting or rebelling.

In EVE terms, consent (or lack thereof) is shown in everything from membership in a Corp/Alliance/Coalition, logging in to fly in fleets, playing on a secret alt, or not logging in at all. TEST leadership chose show their lack of consent by making a noisy announcement rather than watching the quiet, but inevitable fail of continuing with a coalition they didn't really support. Good for them. =)

Anonymous said...

Your assessment of TEST line members continues to be completely wrong.

Most of us do actually make most of our money in null. Take a look at dotlan, every one of our upgraded systems has at least 2k pirate kills in the last 24 hours, most of them have 5k. Just browsing through Fountain I can see about 80 bil per day in just bounties, which goes directly to line members, in addition to salvage which is worth about 75%.

As much as you like to hammer on the point that the money is in high sec, your own data showed that this was only true for trading. Missioning and ratting are both more valuable in null. Even in terms of trading, many of our traders make a significant portion of their income trading between hi sec and null.

The reason Booda says we have 'nothing to lose' is not because our space isn't valuable, it's because all we really want is the content, ISK is not our primary concern.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: I've never said you can't make money in null. Actually I wrote the opposite:

I've just said the big money is in highsec. If you now make ISK or not in null is irrelevant. What's relevant is if you'd lose your space, you could still make ISK.

If nullsec would be much more profitable to the line member than highsec, then BoB would still be happy and alive.

Anonymous said...

No, BoB wouldn't be happy or alive. BoB didn't die because of a lack of money, it died because it treated its members and member corps like shit and was thoroughly out metagamed.

In the end the nail in the coffin was a rouge director but what was the Greater BoB coalition was already well on they way to imploding despite having ample income and members.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: Umm. 80 billion a day. How nice.

If you look at the loyalty point log for incursions, you will see that the most active (read: bots) players rake in 500k LP over the course of an incursion. I'm pretty sure incursions are a much larger ISK firehose compared to any form of ratting. 160-200 million/hour, per pilot in a 40 man fleet where al you have to do is press f1 and broadcast once in a while in highsec without any risk bar stupidity (read: 5 billion ISK machariels. Someone gank these fuckers already) just trumps ratting by far. Sorry, but I stand by the view that the ISK is in highsec. Doing incursions you can plex in 3.5 hours, give or take.

Anonymous said...

@Other Anonymous

The point is that many TEST line members are indeed making their money in Null, not on highsec alts as Gevlon keeps suggesting, as evidenced by the fact that there are at minimum 2k rat kills in every one of our upgraded systems each day.

Seca said...

@ 2nd Anonymous

No doubt, but that was not the point. But a vast majority of Null dwellers also have hi sec alts. They may not even be know due to second third or even fourth accounts. Hi sec is an easy place to create a steady income to top up or surpass your null income. And all for next to no risk. NPC Corps anyone?

Anonymous said...

Has any one considered that has done exactly what PL what wanted him to do ?

Break up one of the largest coalitions in the game and he has succeeded..

OskaRus said...

But as we all could see sort dragon just put the last nail into the HBC coffin. This coalition have been rotting and getting weaker from inside for many months already.