Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nullsec-altruism and a free titan

Imagine that you are an avatar in Diablo 3. You enter New Tristram after defeating some risen dead. The town is clearly in danger. The undead are attacking the gate, infected soon-to-be undead are locked in the cellar, more undead at the fields behind the other gate, smoke rises from the village over the river. The town itself is in dire condition, it's small, its inhabitants are either fighting or hiding. There aren't many options for you: you fight the risen dead and whatever dark power is behind them, or you just wait like the cowardly mayor until they break in and kill everyone. Fighting here is for rational interest: survival.

Now imagine that you are an avatar in World of Warcraft. You hear people speaking about war with Deathwing and you see his marks on the Stormwind gate. But since that attack, Stormwind has been kept safe. Out of the gate there are the gentle forest of Elwyn with playful rabbits and lowbie wolves. If you look around you see people minding their peaceful business or do some goofiness like playing with their pet or holding some midsummer festival. Sure, somewhere far there is a war, you met those who've been there. But it's far, far away from the safety of Stormwind. You also know history: C'thun, Kil'Jaden, the Lich king and all their underlinks have tried to conquer the world but they were all defeated without you. You can be sure that Deathwing and whoever comes after him will be defeated too without you. Sure, you can join the fight either because it's the right thing to do, or because you want personal glory, prove everyone that you aren't just one guy in the crowd, but a Kingslayer! Fighting here is a vanity goal, either social or competitive.

Time to place yourself in the position of an EVE avatar. You look around in highsec and see a perfectly maintained society. People are minding their business. There is no real conflict. Sure some hotheads fight each other in the FW warzones and there are criminals popping ships now and then but is it any different from a real life city? Unlike WoW, there is not even a distant war between "us" and "them". Why should you care about Delve any more than you care about the outcome of the fight between two African warlords? Not like it would have any effect on your life. If you want to be rich, you can have it all in the safety of highsec. If you want the fame of a great fighter, you can move lowsec or NPC-null and be an infamous pirate or a famous vigilante.

But does it make any sense to go sov-null and fight for it? It doesn't provide much of a fame as you'll act as a member of a large fleet, following orders, even if you are on a somewhat independent spot like scout or interdictor. You'll be deploying when told, extracting when told, shoot what's told, die when primaried. There are no financial interests either: sure, you can rat/plex in your space, but you can do the same in NPC null and the increased safety of sov (you can dock, they can't, your buddies are nearby) doesn't worth the increased hassle. This comes from the design feature "you are never safe" which prevents sov from being actually safe.

Only one individual goal left: leeching on their real or imagined wealth and fame. M&S flocks there for free ships and for having a "cool" corp/alliance logo. Most alliances are a mixture of mistaken individualists (who believe sov-null is the best place to be rich and famous) and a big bunch of leeching M&S. They are the standard "we are here to provide our members a good place to live, be active, help the team blah, blah, blah". These alliances fail not because of thieves and scammers, the same problem was pretty well handled in real life and the same methods (vouching, personal connections, long initiation period) would work in EVE. The problem comes from the above design point that makes sov-holding a pointless effort in terms of ISK as it cannot provide increased safety. The best way to serve their members would be disbanding and telling them to play in the NPC corp or in small corps with their close friends.

Since we covered the individualist reasons and clearly null can't be pure M&S (as they need someone to leech on), we can only turn to altruistic reasons. Of course this is defined from the point of view of the avatar. Throwing Rifters and get podded again and again is completely stupid from a pilot, while can be a great fun for a player.

Before joining sov-null (or WH) one must find an out of game reason to do so. One who joins for in-game or "avatar-selfish" reasons (fame, glory, wealth) will either recognize that he should be in high/low/NPC-null or end up as a leeching M&S. This statement isn't new, "EVE can only be won by uninstalling" is recited countless times.

I have no friends in any alliance. I can only join if I'd find one which have the same out-of-game goals as I do. Well, official goals are rare. The Not Red Don't Shoot region have a clear one, maintaining safety. That's not my bread and butter as granted safety is exploited by M&S, those who enjoy it but contribute nothing to upkeep it. However some alliances have a culture and every culture has a natural goal included: to spread it. Cultures are strong and reliable: if The Mittani would come up with the idea to turn GSF into a friendly, helpful, nice mining alliance, he would lose his seat in an hour. His actions are limited to what the alliance culture allows. The cultural goals are not necessarily known consciously by the members. The average guy just experience it as "I'm doing as it should" or "I do it as it's fun". If you understand a culture, you can predict their moves better than they do. This is how you shall pick an alliance. One that has the same goals as you, openly declared or defined by culture.

My goals are clear: hit the M&S where I can. Make the socials see that helping M&S is bad idea. Let's see if I can find an alliance culture that directs M&S bashing activity. If yes, I shall join. If not, I shall start my own. As I recognized that this goal is altruistic, everything I spend for ships is already sacrificed to the goal. Because of this, there is no additional utility flying them myself.

My original idea was to dual-box fleet booster titans, however titans are expensive enough to deserve an active pilot. So I will fly one titan, the subcap-fleet boosting, sometimes counterdrop-baiting Ragnarok. My Avatar pilot will be turned into the sitter of my reserve Ragnarok. The Avatar has a great boost effect (+37.5% cap recharge) but needs no gang link modules to provide it, so can be piloted normally. If the pilot is boosting a wing/squad anyway, using a mindlink is great to provide additional boost. So let me introduce the boost-Avatar lottery: after 6 month of my joining (that time is needed to evaluate if the goals of the alliance are really the ones I believe as cultures can only be fully understood from the inside), I will get an Avatar. Either buy it or get it built. This Avatar will be lotteried. Any alliance member is eligible to win it who has the following skills:
  • Amarr titan 5
  • Jump drive calibration 4
  • Cybernetics 5
  • X warfare specialist 5, X is picked by the supercap FC
He must also be ready to be in a booster position in the fleet and plug in X warfare mindlink at the request of the FC. The alliance leadership can remove anyone from the eligible list who they consider untrustable/unworthy to receive a titan and can set additional rules (more skills, time spent in the alliance, not being in newly joined corp). Based on my wealth (which mostly depends on how often do I have to replace my Ragnarok) there will be more Avatar-lotteries later.

This is the last post in the series of "Gevlon looks for a nullsec alliance". I now apply to alliances I consider fitting to my goals. If you think yours also belong to the "grief/clear up the M&S" goal, feel free to comment where can I read up on you. On Friday I wish to announce the result (in-progress negotiations can cause delay). If I fail to find any or fail to gain acceptance to the ones I find, I start my own group.

Tuesday morning report: 116.6B (2.5B spent on main accounts, 1.8 spent on Logi/Carrier, 1.5 on Ragnarok, 1.0 on Rorqual, 0.9+1.5 on Nyx, 1.3 on Avatar, 2.6B received as gift).


Anonymous said...

Leveraging wealth to incentivise desired behaviour.

Doing it right.

Anonymous said...

"Leveraging wealth to incentivise desired behaviour.

Doing it right."

doesn't work in EVE.

The most recent example is actually just a few days old:
Pilot called "claire xxx" donates a lot of ISK to the Rote Kapelle AT fund, tries to take influence on how this money is going to be used, he gets told to shut up but doesn't like to get told off and runs to fhc and eve-o telling everyone that some players on the Rote Kapelle team were violating the EULA by account sharing during the tournament (which nobody cares about as CCP has never enforced that rule and it happens frequently in the AT).
That's the sort of drama that donations "with strings" tend to breed and Gevlon's case will be no different - the alliance will take the free titan gladly but won't use it the way Gevlon wants them to use it and by the time Gevlon is scheduled to donate a 2nd one there will be drama and accusations.
People will gladly take your money but money won't make them take your advice if they wouldn't take it otherwise.

Re some other points in the blog post:
In practice most sov space is much safer for PvE than NPC space - in NPC space you have hostiles living in the same stations as you do and no way to get rid off them, in sov space any hostile is tracked by intel channels while he is still many jumps away from your ratting system and jumpbridge networks make avoiding hostiles relatively easy.
Just because there is no perfect safety does not mean that there are no variations in safety and while I was happily running sanctums in my Paladin when I lived within a huge sea of blues in sov 0.0, I have to use a nullified Tengu, be constantly on my toes and often have no choice but to go afk for a few hours while running missions in NPC space.

Prioritizing Titan V over JDC V (which is expected from every carrier and dread pilot) shows the usual lack of experience - while a titan with Titan IV may not live up to its potential, a titan with JDC IV will have to stay at home and be the target of much ridicule (bridge range is also scaled by JDC btw).

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: I believe that an Avatar should provide its boosting effect to other supercaps. This isn't an ideological belief, it comes from theorycraft which can be proven or disproved. Obviously if the alliance theorycrafters show that it's wrong, I'll drop it. If it's right, they have no reason to not support it.

Now the individual pilot has reason to not like it (namely the 6-8 weeks of training and the use of slot 10), but he must do the training to get the titan and if the theorycraft is right, the FC will enforce it.

JDC is needed for long range jumps. Typically needed for quick deployment. I can't care less about the pilot be unable to participate in hotdrops. He will care it and learn JDC5 most likely on his own. I care only about sov wars where the place and time of battle is known, so one could get there even without JDC at all. Just slowly.

Anonymous said...

Most alliances expect JDC 4 for Carriers / Dreads, and JDC 5 for Supers. If you don't have Titan 5 you shouldn't fly a titan. Those priorities are totally ok, especially since he said they are all required.

mxat1 said...

I am very much interested to see which alliance you will pick and/or start your own group.

I have never seen an alliance of this type and would be much interested to know your feeling on the one you approached (or approached you). Maybe more on a next post.


Hivemind said...

Gevlon, all of the reasons you're dismissing for people to move to sov null are in fact solid and sound. Sov null is the best place to make ISK ratting (sanctums and havens, with sov upgrades that increase their frequency), the best place to make it mining rocks (Mercoxit and Arkonor mining, again with sov upgrades for more belts), exploration sites (more sov upgrades to increase frequency) or trade (You think your profit margins in hisec are good? Try exporting to null markets and selling for 120%+ Jita price with no competition). As for fame, while most EVE players never achieve much recognition beyond their own corp or alliance, a lot more of those who do do it in sov null than the rest of EVE.

As for safety, perfect safety is impossible but that doesn't mean that sov null isn't reasonably safe as long as you pay attention to your intel channel and local. Saying that people in sov null would be better off making ISK in NPC null is just laughable. Sov has cyno jamming making non-blackops hotdrops impossible, the ability to establish bubbles on gates and not have them blown up by the first person who sees them and isn’t in your corp, jump-bridge networks to help you get out of the fire and allies get into the fray quicker and most important of all NBSI. NBSI + intel + travel interference like gate bubbles are a huge deterrent to people who would otherwise wander your space looking for kills, and who are free to do so in sov null and lowsec where organised responses are usually rare and slow to form. Knowing they will be shot on sight if found, people will only go to your space specifically to pick fights with your alliance.

Players in Sov Null who go there for personal reasons (ISK, fame, whatever) are only M&S if they refuse to fight for that space. Assuming that it’s OK for you to rat during home defence because there’s plenty of other people who want to fight is an M&S move; if the whole alliance shares that perspective no space gets defended and it all gets lost. Moving to null itself in search of fame, fortune and glory is not an M&S move though, provided they do so ready to take the extra steps to be reasonably safe and with the willingness to lose a few ships here and there in exchange for far greater profits and to actually fight for their space. There is no need for someone who goes to null to “recognize that he should be in high/low/NPC-null [because he shouldn’t] or end up as a leeching M&S”

As for your idea to donate titans to the alliance, I can’t help think that the alliance leaders are going to fall out of favour with your plan once they realise that half of the alliance members have turned their training around to go for Titan 5 and mindlinks in the hope that they win your 100bn ISK ship lottery. Also that winning said lottery is liable to strain the ties of loyalty to an Alliance; obviously the FCs will vet who gets in the lottery and who doesn’t, but the only way to know if you can trust someone with 100bn ISK in easily-stolen assets is to give them 100bn ISK in easily-stolen assets and see what they do with them. There’s also the point that once a character is a supercap pilot they will be a supercap pilot forever more until they no longer have a supercap to pilot; alliances might be wary of losing versatile subcap pilots in exchange for situational titans (which is the reason why sov entities like GSF which have trillions of ISK banked aren’t converting moongoo into titans, for example).

On the corp/alliance front, I do believe Taggart Transdimensional are the poster children for objectivist corps in EVE, though I know they’re WH based rather than sov and I don’t think they have wider goals of expanding their objectivist beliefs to all of EVE, or enforcing them on the rest of the player base. On the other hand they might be worth asking for information on other objectivist entities.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: Sov being inefficient ISK wise can easily be proven: if it would be, The One Empire would already exist. After all there were several alliances owning significant space (like BoB) and they should just grow as more and more pilots join them for personal motivation. The bigger they are, the more efficient they are as the blues:enemies ratio would be better.

The very reason why these alliances did not survive a major shakeup in the leadership is that they were living on altruism, mostly on the leadership side.

I don't question that ISK/PvE_hours is probably the best in sov-null and WH, I just say that you can't keep enough PvE hours as your space is constantly in danger and you MUST have PvP fleets roaming in own and enemy space and camps to keep the safety, therefore the ISK/total_hours is about veldspar mining level.

I applied to Taggart but withdrawn my application before they decided as I realized exactly that: the objectively selfish move is to not be in any corp. Taggart is the perfect proof: despite they are highly intelligent people (just read their forums), their power is non-existent. They don't realize that their corp also lives on nullsec-altruism: the players give up ingame resources in order to be in a corp where they can chat about real life philosophy. The totally objectivist move would be disbanding and just upkeeping the forums and a chat channel.

Pinky Feldman said...

Intriguing post. While I admire your gumption, assuming this post isn't a troll, I think there are two critical flaws with your proposal.

1) Most groups and alliances with the anti-M&S attitude don't exist in nullsec, because generally people like that realize and understand the points you're making about nullsec realize its a totally un-fun place to be if thats the flag you choose to fly under. In fact, ironically, to get big enough to be able to leverage your force in a meaningful way like you propose there are multiple caveats that I am not sure can be sidestepped since once you hit a critical mass things will go along the path of least resistance depending on the the direction you've chosen.

2) When you fight nullsec alliances, you're not just fighting ships and pixels, you're also fighting a propaganda machine which is why Goonswarm has been so successful. Any efforts you make will be minimized to the community at large and the M&S generally drink enough of their alliances kool-aid or will refuse to accept reality due to their own ego attempting to protect itself.

I think that perhaps i'm still a but hazy on what you want to accomplish with your objectives as they're too vague to be a plannable and structured goal, yet too specific to be an achievable and unifying ideal. For something to be a unifying objectivist ideal on an alliance level you need an idea at its absolute simplest form that is also consistent with the realities of EVE. For me that means logging on to make pixels explode with competent people whose company I enjoy, EVE is about PVP. Its easy to find a meaningful EVE existence doing only that, however, when you attempt to fight large nullsec entities, like I said before you're not just fighting pilots you're fighting a propaganda machine as well.

Hivemind said...

@Gevlon: Sov being efficient ISK wise can easily be proven: if it wasn't, nobody would live there.

Trite aphorisms aside, there are several reasons why none of the past or present powerblocks have formed your One Empire, none of which are that it's more efficient to make ISK out of sov null (incidentally, suggesting that making ISK in sov null is inefficient therefore people should go to NPC null is still laughable). Here are a few of them:
> Not wanting to dilute shared alliance or bloc identity in order to add members to hold more space
> Preference to just hold the most valuable space and reap the rewards, rather than expand both in space and in members and reduce average income
> Increasing logistical challenge – there are only so many players who have the experience and the desire to do the various logistical tasks needed to run a null alliance such as fuelling towers, fuelling jump bridges, moving/reacting moongoo, collecting fees, etc. You can fill up space with new renters from hisec but they won’t have experience doing any of that or necessarily be people you can trust with those roles.
> Increasing tactical challenge – The more space you hold, the more borders there are and the fewer targets there are for those not in your empire to attack for their PvP enjoyment. As such it becomes harder to defend as you get more attacks across a wider area.
> Lack of desire to expand – Expansions are led by PvP players, not PvE ones, and mostly take place for PvP reasons (“I’m bored” counts here) rather than economic ones. PvPers usually want enough space to guarantee them a good passive income to fund ship replacements and so on, whether it’s from renters or moons or both, and have little desire to expand beyond that as long as they can still get PvP. You might note that the Delve campaign started out as HB looking for goodfights, not more space.
> Desire to preserve enemies – You only get sov-level enemies from enemy sov entities, plus to a lesser extent recently displaced sov entities (There is a limit to how long an alliance capable of holding sov can last outside of sov before fracturing into corps that join existing sov holders). Sov null FCs and leaders – the people who decide when invasions happen – enjoy sov-level fights and so want to keep at least some enemies around to guarantee fights in the future.

Your claim that Sov Null ISK/PvE_Hours is equal to mining Veld in hisec is based on… what experience, exactly? For that matter, where did you get the idea that you “MUST have PvP fleets roaming in own and enemy space and camps”? It’s entirely possible to go without those on a permanent basis, so long as when neuts do show up a response is formed to them; your PvE players dock their PvE ships up so that they don’t provide the neuts with cheap kills which will encourage them, they re-ship for PvP, form up a home defence force in a single location (Remember, you have a jumpbridge network to get around your space, your enemies do not) and go run the neuts out. Preferably you kill them, but if they’re met at every incursion with overwhelming force and run off then they’ll quickly get the message and look for easier targets, you can return to ISK making and over time spend more and more time making ISK and less having to defend space.

I thought I understood your concept of “nullsec altruism” but based on your comment about TTI I’m no longer sure I do. I don’t have any first-hand experience of them, so that might be it, but I was under the impression the closest they came to altruism was joining forces to increase mutual profit via things like capital escalations in their WH. I could understand your differences coming from their isolationism (wanting to set up an enclave of their own objectivist/rational self-interest beliefs) vs your expansionism (wanting to spread them across EVE), hence why I suggested they may at least be able to point you towards other rational/objectivist organisations, but I’ve never heard them described as altruistic before.

Glau said...

Well Gev, I think you will have to start your own alliance since I feel no entity currently in the game conforms to your ideals. And that might not actually be a bad idea. It would put your theories to the test, the whole idea of The One Empire that is all inclusive and so on.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: all your problems with sov expansion could easily be countered by just more renters. A PvP alliance rule it all but the space with all the logistics crap is done by renters who provide passive income.

Many alliances tried this and failed simply because renters refused to pay enough to make it viable, because the space simply did not worth so much.

And yes, the point is exactly that if null wasn't ISK efficient, nobody would live there and practically nobody does. Most of the population lives in high. If null was so good, most people at least attempted to live there.

They don't because the costs are higher than the revenues. Only those live there who has a reason to suck the low ISK up, like "l33t" status or being with friends.

Anonymous said...

Renters don't work. Despite what the blocks which hold onto the rental model think. This has been proven time and time again. "Space Communism", with no rented space and blues if blues fleet up and fight seems to be (at least in recent memory) to be the model of choice.

"more renters" = "more problems". The problem with the renters is, as TheMittani put it in a TTH article, that they are "paying for the privilage of fighting for their landlords". There is no real loyalty. The Landlords are more concerned with protecting their valuable core systems and the Renters can just go and rent elsewhere.

An alliance which has a lot of renters has a lot of targets - targets which when killed suck the life out of an important income stream for the defending alliance.

Whilst there may be some "pets" in the CFC, their model is totally different. You fight, you get blues. You get friends. You get tech moons to support your alliance. You are part of something larger. It acts as a rallying point for all the entities which make up the CFC, and this is at least in part I think, the key to their success.

The space feudalism model simply doesn't work when faced with the nurturing embrace of a collective.

So no, it can't be cured by more renters. Moreover you neglect the fact that there is a limited supply of renter alliances. If there were more renters there would be more people renting.

Your reasoning as to why things do or do not happen are at odds with the reality of how nulsec actually works (although this is not entirely surprising given most of your posts are at odds with reality)

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon: Have a look at any of the 15-20 Sins of a Solar Empire columns where Mittens rails against the concept of pets and renters for some very good reasons why the idea of a strong alliance acting as landlord and defender for a lot of carebear renter corps doesn’t work out well in the long run. That approach didn’t work out well for BoB even before they were disbanded, or for the former Northern Coalition or Legion of xXDeathXx. is possibly the first example, but it’s referenced in a lot of his other columns too. I also pointed out specifically why roles such as alliance logistics aren’t things you can turn over to renters and expect to work.

If you were right about Null ISK not being worth the hassle I think we would see more signs of it than just the lack of a galaxy-spanning empire; there would be alliances cascading on their own simply because the ISK is bad with no serious outside pressure, which I’ve never heard of. There would be alliances that took sov space, didn’t collapse but did spend some time there, decided it wasn’t worth it and went back to other areas. There’s the glaring point that if null ISK wasn’t worth it, there would be a much much shorter lifespan for Null entities that aren’t formed around a shared out-of-game cause or goal. BoB didn’t have an external culture and it’s actually still around in one incarnation or another. –A- doesn’t have an external culture, PL doesn’t have an external culture… it’s easier to list those alliances that do, which are mostly ethnic enclaves like the Russian alliances, Goonswarm and TEST. Despite this they fold due to external pressure applied by opposing alliances/blocs. During an actual war they may not be able to make ISK in their space due to opposing forces roaming their space and that is one of the factors that lead to failcascade, but that is NOT the normal state of affairs; it’s like saying that clearly shipping goods between Europe and America is a bad idea because during wartime they will be targeted and sunk.

I would also like to point out there’s a difference between “Nobody” and “Practically nobody” and there’s a very large difference between “Practically nobody” and “Upwards of 10% of the total population”, especially considering that much of that 10% will have one or more alts living in hisec for convenience; moving goods out of Jita when you have the likes of Pinky Feldman deccing your alliance, for example.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: "external pressure" is exactly the reason why null doesn't worth it ISK-wise. No one doubts that if everyone would be nice and friendly people would rather run sanctums or WH capital escalations than mining veldspar.

As soon as defense costs come to the picture, alliances that care a bit for the ISK efficiency instantly fold. Just think about supercaps. 1 titan costs 100B, one mothership 30B and you need hundreds to keep your sov. Consider a supercap fleet among the "sov-holding costs". Do you still think it worth it?

Hivemind said...

@Gevlon "As soon as defense costs come to the picture, alliances that care a bit for the ISK efficiency instantly fold."

Examples, please? I've heard of alliances collapsing in the face of sustained hostility, with oppressors wiping out fleets, conquering systems etc etc. I've never heard of one that immediately collapsed as soon as its income was threatened. On the other hand I have heard of alliances that were threatened, drove off the attackers and resumed normal operation afterwards. The fact that Alliances can collapse under sufficient threat doesn't mean that in the time leading up to that war they weren't raking ISK in. Once again, open, active and hot warfare is not the normal state of life for nullsec. Most of the time there are occasional roaming gangs of neuts that show up maybe once a day or less, and if run off will be a lot less frequent.

You don't need "hundreds" of supercaps to take and keep sov space. Several dozen maybe, anything else is overkill 90% of the time. Given the income that can be made in nullsec by active players and from null-only resources like moongoo, yes supercap losses can be paid for. It's also very unusual to see significant losses among a supercap fleet; a titan going down or more than a couple of supercarrier kills are relatively rare, so the investment in a super fleet is fairly stable. In point of fact one of the obstacles preventing newer alliances from claiming space in Null under their own flag rather than as pets/renters is the difficulty of assembling a supercap wing without income from Null.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting and I look forward to reading about it. I am 100% certain it will be a good read.

The outcome is less certain.

My guess is that you will end up forming your own group. The odds are against that succeeding for the same reason that you did not see yourself as a good fit for CSM. You do not want to abandon rationality for the world of personality, flattery & cajoling.

My opinion is that despite your talents the odds are really against you. Since the overwhelming number of pilots are M&S or php-gf sheeple and don't share your goals/values, one must have those people to have a large empire.

Anonymous said...

@Hivemind It's not only supercap losses you'd have to consider - you also have to take the opportunity cost of a supercapital fleet (in terms of tied up wealth & characters) into account.

The basic question is "Would it be profitable to own 0.0 space if you hired mercenaries to do *all* the fighting for you?" - this is the closest you'll ever get to having a reasonable estimate on the opportunity cost of holding space.
... and the answer is (a) there are no mercenary groups capable of such a job unless you already have a sizable list of blues and (b) even if you have enough blues that permanently hiring PL for all your sov war needs (and INIT for the subcapital brawls) would be feasible these contract would be prohibitively expensive.

I fully agree with Gevlon that holding sov space only appears profitable because most players (who enjoy pvp and holding space for its own sake) contribute massive amounts of time, tied-up capital and characters/skill-training without demanding any serious economic compensation.

Even if I completely disregard the ~4b in pvp ships in my hangar and the ~100m SP I have invested into characters that I never use for PvE or other forms of income generation and just bill every hour I spend in pvp fleets at 45m ISK/h the cost of living in 0.0 would outweigh the purely economic benefits for me by far (rough estimate - doing high-sec missions I average around 45m ISK/h, doing Sanctums in Serpentis space I got 22-23m ticks, so for every hour of PvE I would have to spend less than 30 minutes in PvP fleets, when in reality the PvE:PvP ratio is probably much closer to 1:1).

And while some players can freeload on the backs of players (like me) who enjoy pvp for its own sake the number of j4gs an alliance can bear is naturally very limited.

Steel H. said...

"I can't care less about hotdrops", "I care only about ...", "I believe an Avatar should/shouldn't", "Skill x V is not needed", "I don't want to use guns", "My pilot will only ..." etc. Here lie your major problems - you want to do everything on your terms, you already know everything before even stepping in 0.0, and you know it better then people who have been doing it for 10 years. Especially when you fly supercaps, it is expected to have fully trained skills, proficiencies, best equipment and be able to support and take part in whatever situation that may come up, NO EXCUSES. You do what you're told and what is required of you. It's one thing to not be able to fit a newbie drake because you have 4.9 mil SP, that will get you a cute pat one the back, followed by "so train Eng V you scrub!". But get to a supercap OP and your FC says "everyone do x now!" and you start saying "can't, because I fly a 100 bil killmail-waiting-to-happen but didn't bother training x / not interested in y" - that will get you laughed straight out of fleet, assuming you managed to somehow slip in in the first place. You have drama / integration problems / not a team player written all over you.

You are too hung up on internet pixel money, internet pixel spaceships and spacepenises. These are inconsequential, they are fluff, they are byproducts, they are a dime a dozen in the grand scheme of things. The real rare commodities that matter are cultural compatibility, integration, being a team player, loyalty, social bonds, having real experience. That's what a successful alliance will care first and foremost.

Anonymous said...

When you will mine in high-sec 50 mil / hour worth of Veldspar, i will donate you all my ISK (like 400 BIL), all my ships (about 30 bil worth of ISK), delete all my characters, uninstall the game and set my self on fire.

Is that enough, OR do you need numbers?

Go in EFT, fit a hulk with what you want, have an orca, mining director 5, w/e you want and you can't make above 27 mil/hour.

Gevlon said...

@Steel: standard social crap "no person matters just the team". You'll see how dumb is that

@Anonymous: I dualbox 2 Hulks and you can start getting gas for setting yourself fire.

Znybar said...


I think the mining veldspar reference was for a single character. You want to talk about making isk? If I dual-box in null sanctums I can easily make upwards of 120m/hour, with shithouse cheap BS. For PvE efficiency, I think there's no question that null makes you the most isk. Most players don't have to rat for weeks because a few days' ratting will net them enough isk to pay for ships for a long time. Also, remember that people's goal in null is rarely if ever making isk, it's having fun. No one in their right-mind is going to rat for hours on end in the first place.

Honestly, you have some very good ideas, some very good skills, but you just don't know what you're talking about. Stop TALKING about going to null and actually go there. Use an alt, fly frigs for all I care. Just GO where all the stuff you're talking about is happening, you're coming across as incredibly naive.

Do you even realise how null warfare works? You're just looking at the superficial layers, you're not seeing the spying on other factions, the intel received by multiple sources, the larger sov warfare and alliance maintenance pictures, the logistics pictures. You think any alliance is going to keep you in the know for why you should fly x at 1000 eve time? Short of you being part of leadership, you won't be privy to that information.

You can't EVER fly any ship you want simply because you think it's the best. This is even if it's supported by good eftwarrioring. There are levels of Null warfare you just don't see, and until you actually experience it for yourself you'll keep looking like a fool to those of us that have been living there for months or years.

Anonymous said...


"I dualbox 2 Hulks and you can start getting gas for setting yourself fire."

And you could be dual boxing 2 Tengus in forsaken hubs and make over twice as much v0v. His point isn't that it's *possible* to achieve that much (particularly with multiple accounts). It's that the wasted time-opportunity is huge.

Your thoughts on "safety" in nullsec PvE are...well, just wrong. Organized and active intel channels, jump bridges and being 25 jumps away from the closest system a neutral can stage out of makes it absurdly easy not to get killed. 99% of ratting kills happen because the ratter was an idiot and doing something dumb. Period.

And most ratting grounds are rarely in "constant danger". I can go ratting un-molested for hours upon hours usually. And, to be honest, most people don't even form fleets to chase down solo pvp'ers or small gangs roaming their space. The idea that after taking into account up-time and enemies ratting is, "veldspar mining level" is absolutely absurd. You are a good writer, and I enjoy most of your blog posts, but it's clear after reading this one that you have never experienced a null-sec life, and are not in a good, informed position to talk about it.

Kristophr said...


I'm in TTI.

We are making ISK hand over fist in wormhole space. We are absolutely not engaging in altruism.

It looks like you have made a bunch of assumptions again, without getting the facts again.

Kristophr said...

In order to make more money in this game, we would have to either all become station traders, or hold sov and take over a bunch of tech moons.

The former requires a mindset that most folks don't have.

The later requires handling a bunch of non-objectivists.

TTI decided the latter was not worth it ... we ended up with a bunch of infighting between non-objectivists players who wanted more sov, and objectivists who were determined to stick to their word.

The corp got spanked out of null. The objectivists retreated to their own gulches in wh space, and have been getting themselves rich ever since.

Kristophr said...

Anonymous: try gas mining 1000 units of C-320 in a wormhole some time.

Takes about an hour.

Hivemind said...

@ Anonymous:
Merc costs aren't really equivalent to holding Sov yourself since with mercs you're in competition with every other contract they could be taken, and they implicitly want more ISK from you than they could get performing the role themselves (or they'd just do that).

When you start looking at alliance-level income as well as members' own incomes (since it's usually the former that pays for super capitals) I think it's fairly easy to soak up the cost of maintaining a super fleet; I understand most titan pilots are simply alts on an account with other useful characters, as once a super pilot has trained their super-related and supporting skills to 5 there's not much point training anything else. Even if that's not the case, a 50 man super fleet would cost about 25bn/month to pay for PLEX for; a few high end moons will easily cover that.

As for your maths, I think you're making my point for me; you said you got 22-23 mil per bounty tick, which is 15 minutes, so you're making 44-46mil per 30 mins in null or 1 hour in hisec. If null requires 50/50 PvE/PvP that still means you're breaking even with missioning in hisec. I also have to ask, how much of that PvP time was necessary for maintaining sov (in other words, home defence, be it destroying SBUs or running off neuts) and how much was PvPing for fun, be that roaming outside your space or invading other people?

@ Gevlon: "You'll see how dumb is that"
While I'm very interested in seeing how this all plays out, that seems a little premature at this point since as far as I know you're still looking for advice on alliances that might suit you.

Gevlon said...

@Hivemind: you fall for the typical "my time is free" trap. I don't question that "PvP is fun" for typical null dweller but this is still time spent and provides safety. To evaluate effectivity you must include all time.

Otherwise I can say that the highest ISK/hour in the game is mining veldspar with a Rokh and an orca: you set the the Rokh on an asteroid, go AFK and do something fun out of game. You return 15 mins later, load the ore into the Orca. You'll spend about 4 mins/hour active and can get about 20M/hour, aka 20M/4 mins = 300M/hour. You clearly can't go AFK in null. By the way this isn't so extreme example, botting works just like that.

@Kristopher: "non-objectivist people" and even "complete idiots" are objectively existing entities. Ignoring or "not liking" them isn't rational.

Znybar said...


Pretty much wrong about AFK in null. You don't seem to understand, in null, in many cases PvE activities are safer than in highsec. I've watched the whole series of game of thrones doing sanctums in null. All you need is half an eye on local/intel and a hand on the mouse to shoot ships.

Gevlon said...

@Zynbar: "eye on local/intel and a hand on the mouse" and "AFK" in the same sentence is funny.

Znybar said...

Did you read the rest of my post? The point is you can rat sanctums with little to no attention needed.

Anonymous said...

@Hivemind bounty ticks are 20 minutes.

and the issue is not paying for PLEX, the issue is opportunity cost (which you still don't seem to understand).

If I invest 20b into a pilot and 25b into the ship, then I have 45b worth of assets that I could otherwise use for trading.
At an extremely conservative 10% interest on invest capital per month that alone is a cost of 4.5b/pilot per month not counting any ship replacements or PLEXes.

Kristophr said...

Not a matter of ignoring or not liking them.

We and they had differing goals and we differed in acceptable methods.

Simply going our own way was the best course.

Anonymous said...

Zero-activity trading is income-neutral.
Wealth gives an opportunity to engage in trading, but does not in any way or shape garauntee profits, especially when you're over 100b. - long-term trading is often much under the stated 10%, and short-term requires playtime.