Category Archives: Meta

LotRO Raids Aren’t Easy

Ok so last time I talked about how Turbine had decided to trash raiding because there aren’t any raiders to do them.  In itself that probably isn’t completely false.  It does ignore that the reason for these raiders being so rare is that the raids are dated, buggy and generally poor in quality.

There’s even another layer to this.  Making raids for LotRO isn’t easy.  I’m going to give a brief overview of the classes, starting with the tanks, then the DPS, then the healers, then the troublemakers.

There’s two classes that are primarily tanks:

  • Guardians – Traditional Heavy Armor tanks.  High morale, high mitigations, lots of taunts.
  • Wardens – Medium Armor tanks.  Over the course of a fight they build up very high mitigations, and have a bewildering array of self-buffs, self-heals, and shenanigans that make them easily capable of soloing three-man content.

Primary DPS Classes:

  • Champions – Melee blenders.  Heavy armor.  Great close range area of effect, and very good single-target damage.  Ok mitigation.
  • Hunters – Nukers par excellence.  Orlando Bloom would be jealous.  Serious heavy sustained damage in multiple flavors.

Primary Healing Classes:

  • Minstrel – Medium Armor, lots of buffs, lots of heals, some bubbles.

The rest of the classes are troublemakers.  In other words 4 of the 9 classes make a challenge for the traditional paradigm of tank-dps-heals.  Let’s look at why.

  • Captain – My current main.  One class can fill three roles.  Tanking?  Decent.  Heals?  Decent.  DPS?  Decent.  Most importantly it adds heavy buffs to the list.  Every raid will have a captain.  They add a solid character in any role, even if they are a bit behind the top rate at any position.  Their buffs take other classes into the stratosphere and make them a requirement.  They also mean that balancing requires you to take into account that a well played captain is going to break metrics.  A raid set for a group without a captain will get crushed by a raid with a captain.  A raid set for a captain would be impossible without one.
  • Burglars – A really good DPS class to begin with.  They add debuffing, and crowd control.  WoW Rogues drool with envy.  This class can cripple enemies and deal with dangerous adds with contemptuous ease.  A well played Burglar is nearly indispensable in some fights.  While not as raid-breaking as a Captain, they add another flavor to balancing that certainly makes things rougher.
  • Lore-Master – Not your daddies cloth caster.  A 2nd tier DPS choice, that adds debuffing, healing and ridiculous crowd-control.  Oh and Power (mana) regeneration.  For everyone.  They also add pets to the party.  This class is simply a requirement.  It’s easy to game for something everyone is going to bring, but still the kind of power a good Lore-Master includes means that raids are going to have a pretty hefty difficulty.  A good LM can keep everyone fed with power in a 12 man raid.  Imagine running a 10 man dungeon in WoW without ever worrying about mana.
  • Rune-Keepers – This one is challenging for everyone.  A very good RK can jump between damage and healing mid-fight and provide high quality (not quite top tier) performance at both roles.  A merely good RK can provide elite levels of either DPS or Heals with nearly contemptuous ease.  The ability for really good players to swap roles mid-fight makes this class difficult to deal with when tuning different phases.  DPS races and healer intensive phases just mean the good players are swapping back and forth.  This class is again not as game-breaking as the cappy, BUT that the presence of them, especially multiples of them, can potentially make any challenge phase much less of a challenge.

These four classes make raid design an incredible challenge.  WoW and most of its clones have traditionally dealt with this by simplifying their class structure.  Turbine has not followed this route.  They have kept the classes diverse, with controllers, buffers, debuffers, and the traditional trinity.

None of this excuses the buggy messes.  The poorly thought out mechanics, and the severe gating of radiance had nothing to do with the problems of class balance.  While Turbine has its work cut out for it in developing raids, they cannot blame that for the problems that have traditionally plagued them.  The simple fact is they don’t have the wherewithal to develop raids that are current, that work, and that are interesting in the modern MMO paradigm.

Turbine has a fiscal issue.  They have to prioritize their spending and that’s fine.  They need to recognize that by saying “You guys don’t play raids so we won’t make raids” to an educated audience burns bridges.  The raiders left in the game keep waiting for Turbine to support them.  Now Turbine is blaming them.  Sure they don’t make up a large part of the game, but they make up a far larger part of the community.  Turbine is stabbing them in the back and you would think someone as savvy as Sapience would know better.

Well That’s a Big Hole to Fill

Ripard Teg has laid down his pen.  Wow.  I have logged into EvE all of three times in the last month but I have kept abreast of the news and this has been huge, and bigger than some people realize.  The EvE blogging community is not as big as it once was, having been largely supplanted by sites like EN24 and TM.com, and many of the big names in the blogging community aren’t active, or aren’t doing a whole lot these days.  Part of the reason is traffic is down.  There used to be sites that would direct readers to blogs, like the old EvE Blog Pack, or Evebloggers (which seems to be kinda back) which could help a fledgling blog get some traffic.  Now you can pimp yourself on Reddit or hope for some publicity from forums or search engines, but there isn’t a lot of incentive to crank out a couple thousand words a week if only 4 people read them (and one is Bex who convos you in game to explain the big words).

Ripard had become the biggest supplier of hits to my site (after Reddit) by a long shot.  He represented nearly 1/3 of my incoming traffic over the last year, not counting Reddit.  His removal at a blow takes the dead center of the blogging community and removes it.  Now the structure is missing it’s strongest pillar and I wonder how long it will be before the roof caves in.  Independent bloggers don’t always add a lot, but their voice, and their unique bias makes them valuable.

And I haven’t even talked about Ripard’s voice.  He was the most prolific, the widest reaching, the most successful, and the 2nd most insightful blogger out there.  Mord Fiddle gets #1 there.  His voice on EN24 gave Riverini a real heavy stick to use to convince people that EN24 was a real deal.  Certainly far more credibility than I ever lent him, or Poetic (who I do hold in high regard).  If I had to make a top 10 or top 50 list of influential or must-read EvE posts my first question would be “How many Jester’s Trek posts can I use” because the top 10 would be JT and Fiddler’s Edge and the top 50 would have maybe 10 from other sources.  Most notably Evoganda, Mabrick’s Mumblings, @gamerchick42, and Nosy Gamer out of the current group.

Ripard Teg owes us nothing.  He has given freely of his time, of his insight and of his prolific writing to the entire community and he has made EvE a better game by his efforts.  Still and all it will be a lesser game, and blogging a lesser community for his absence.  I hope the bug bites him again, and I will now go off in search of a new default “What’s up in EvE today” blog.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

$ensational(ism)

So a lot of people in the media have been talking about the $300 battle.  This is both true, and disingenuous.  If I were to throw down 300k in cash on Plex, and convert them into ISK, assuming I managed to not crash the market, I would have enough ISK to buy the ships that were lost in the battle.  I could not, however, take the ships that were lost in the battle, and sell them for ISK, convert them back to PLEX, and sell them for real money.  The mechanisms and rules of the game don’t allow it.  I could probably sell some of them for real money, I think we all know or at least believe this to be the case.

Today I heard NPR’s Marketplace interview The Mittani.  Mittens does a good job selling the concept of the $300k battle.  He mentions that there were people who spent money out of the game to buy ships in game.  Now this is not necessarily accusing people of RMT, although he certainly implies a degree of condescension towards the practice of using real money in any way to buy ships, by specifying that he knew that people on the losing side had done this.  I think no one even vaguely familiar with Goons would be in any way surprised to find that there were several people in goons who’d PLEXed for ships; and there’s nothing wrong with this.  Hell I’ll be doing so later this month.

The Mittani and CCP both have become victims of their propaganda, and the long-term prejudices of MMOs.  RMT is bad.  This is a very simple, and generally true statement, but not all RMT is bad.  EvE has a lot of grinds and the game allows you to buy game time, sell it to other players, and buy whatever they want with the proceeds.  This does far less damage to the economy than wholesale, unregulated third party RMT.  It does permit “Wallet Warriors” to bling out there ships and do a hell of a lot, but due to the incremental increases in capabilities offered, it doesn’t give massive, overwhelming advantages to people using this (beyond the ability to bring the bling time and again, but frankly that’s just wealth redistribution against the wrong enemies).  The only time the advantage does get truly oppressive is when it is played out on the macro scale.  Were PL to drop a truly mammoth amount of cash to replace their whole fleet, only more so, and bring in other folks to do the same to tilt the balance, it would certainly be possible to do so, but… well… I doubt how sustainable it would be for them (if they can sustain it, more power to them, maybe they can fund some better expansions).  This is the trap of the prejudices of the MMO industry.

EvE has built this article of faith that everything is worth money.  That the money in game is directly tied to real money.  The connection is tenuous, it goes only in one direction, and it can very quickly change, so that this battle, that today represented roughly $300k in a very indirect way, will next year represent a much smaller figure, and in a few more years represent an even smaller figure.  The wars of EvE have a context, and the context isn’t the wealth destroyed, but the bonds broken.  The creation and destruction of alliances and coalitions, the betrayals, and the battles.  Not the almighty dollar.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Case in Point

Ok, this is just fucking embarrassing.  Seriously who the HELL let this one through.  I’m gonna quote it in its entirety because… well… it’s not a lot.

EVE Online is known for its epic battles. Not only did last Monday see the biggest EVE battle to date, but the developers and players have already started work on a monument to remember the event.

The Bloodbath of B-R5RB, as the battle is now known, will be commemorated in game with the Titanomachy monument, constructed from the wrecked models of the brand new Titan ship introduced with Rubicon’s 1.1 release (coincidentally right after that battle). The permanent monument site will live around the seventh planet in the B-R5RB solar system and is already expected to be a pilgrimage destination for many players.

You can read a complete recap of the Bloodbath of B-R5RB on the most recent dev diary, and be sure to tune in today at 19:00 UTC (2:00 p.m. EST) for a developer livestream discussing the event and Rubicon 1.1′s release.

First a bit of a quibble.  Developers are doing the work on the monument.  Players don’t exactly have a ton of input beyond some suggestions from the CSM.

Let’s look at the real lowlight:

constructed from the wrecked models of the brand new Titan ship introduced with Rubicon’s 1.1 release (coincidentally right after that battle).

So wait.  The monument will be made of the wrecks of the brand new Titans.  The ones introduced in 2013′s Rubicon expansion.  Not the Titans from 2005′s Red Moon Rising expansion.

There’s two possibilities here.  The first is that Shawn Schuster simply doesn’t play EvE, has no experience with it, and is unaware that Titans have a tremendously long and infamous history in-game.  This would seem to have some weight to it because, well, 74 Titans got blowed up in and around B-R, which would be really awkward if they were introduced the day after the battle.  Second that he or his editor changed some words around and instead of talking about the new wreck models, put the word new in front of Titans.  In which case the editor should be fired.  Out of a cannon.  Into the sun.

Even more than Brendan’s tone-deaf rants, characterized by an even narrower scope and vision than my own toilet-paper roll view of EvE, this kind of writing goes beyond “Stringer” and into “Silly String”.  Gamers tend to take their games seriously, and having someone who simply knows nothing about the game write about it (which I believe to be the case judging by his writing history with Massively) is unacceptable.  I’m not saying that Shawn is a bad writer.  It’s actually a bit hard to judge him based on what he seems to be called on to write, but asking him to write about EvE does him a tremendous disservice.  It’s like sending a blind man to explore a mine field.

If Massively is going to rely on Copy/Pasting links and writing 150 word summaries they can at least spend another 5 minutes to provide ACCURATE 150 word summaries.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

The Issue With Numbers

So we had another big battle, this time in HED.  The good news:  Numbers were great and the node didn’t crash.  The bad news:  Soul Crushing Lag.

Solving this problem has to happen.  I see three ways to do it, and I think all three should be implemented.

First I’m going to do the inane thing and talk about why real life battles don’t turn into the Command & Conquer blob of Mammoth Tanks overrunning the objectives.

First: there’s logistics.  EvE doesn’t worry too much about these, but in real life the supply “tail” behind a potent force in the field, or even a not-very-potent force is often as large, or larger, than the force actually in the field.  All the fuelers, armorers, maintenance, admin, command, supply, cooks, and medical personnel represent a much smaller wedge than in EvE.

Second: In real life you have to worry about area of effect weapons.  Especially if you are against us.  Whether it’s DPICM, JDAM, or any of the menu of cluster munitions NATO forces can use, putting a bunch of tanks within a 300m area… not smart.  Clustering infantry in the open?  The gunners are drooling.  Even the insurgents came up with some innovative ways to punish allied forces when they got too predictable.  EvE has smartbombs, but these only work well up to a certain point.  Really all they do is murder support, and even Battleships can usually escape to wreak havoc.  Not to mention the server lag caused by these tactics.

Third:  Economy of Force, there’s always competing objectives.  There’s a need to protect your own supply lines, your centers of power, strategic terrain that threatens your forces, if you stack up your entire force, the enemy can do massive damage to your own forces and or infrastructure without even engaging your combat elements.

One of these (Logistics/Divisional Wedge) doesn’t really apply in EvE.  Almost any nullbear can fly something useful in a fleet and isn’t busy running munitions, fuel, other supplies etc to the front.  Back in the dark ages you used to have to warp off grid to the logi tower where all the logis hugged up and topped up your armor and sent you back in.  Yes this was a thing.  Even that rudimentary tail has been eliminated (thankfully, I can’t IMAGINE how dull that must have been).

We’ll replace that one with hardware/software upgrades that bring CCP closer to being able to handle battles like this.  This won’t actually fix the problem, because as soon as it happens more players will fight in these battles and the problem comes right back, but we can keep running on the wheel a bit here.  This is also probably the most straightforward leg of the solution.

Area of Effect weapons that threaten overly concentrated fleets.  Whether it’s better smartbombs, nukes a la Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Device, or something similar, the solution to the blob is a weapon aimed at the blob.  Hell let titans script their doomsdays.  Maybe not the full grid demolishing AoE, but a smaller, more concentrated (say 20km) area of death.  Like 200k of damage death. Oh you have your whole fleet anchored up on one guy?  STBY brah.  Oh 20 carriers in one little cluster?  The titans just salvo’d them into structure for the support to finish off.  Good luck.  Sure this will cause spikes of lag on the server, but it will make FCs think twice about bringing every asshole who can only anchor up and F1.  It might force them to bring in fleets in waves.  They might find entirely different ways of operating.

Finally:  Competing objectives.  Make it possible for defenders to force additional objectives in that system or neighboring systems.  For example the TCU, IHUB and Station all have to be down at the same time, and all run on the same timers, rather than in sequence.  Or if you take a system in a constellation, you can only do it once a week/month, whatever, BUT you can take as many as you want as long as they come out of reinforced within 24 hours of each other.  Something to incentivize spreading out.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

We’re Not That Bad (For People Who Plan to Shoot You in the Face)

Over at The Ancient Gaming Noob, Wilhelm Arcturus posits that EvE has A Horrible Community, but no more horrible than any other

I’d say we aren’t bad.  We’re just drawn that way.  In actuality EvE has the most helpful community you will ever see.

Wilhelm argues that we will:  Scam you, Steal from you, Suicide Gank you, shoot you for any reason or none at all, taunt you, torment you, and generally treat you with absolute disdain.

Which, of course, we will.

We will also educate you, give you free stuff, provide resources of critical importance to your success, mentor you, train you, and help you to not only meet your goals, but figure out what the hell they should be to begin with.  Often while shooting you in the face.

Look at organizations like EvE University or Brave Newbies.  Find me an equivalent in WoW.  If you’ve never seen how Goons treats their newbros you really should.  What they lack in consistency they make up for in enthusiasm.  Look at resources like EvE-HQ, Evemon, EFT, Aura, The ISK Guide, Dotlan, Evewho, Eve-central.  The list goes on.  Most games have a talent builder, maybe a (Developer provided) character viewer, maybe some 3rd party forums.  A handful of blogs.  The amount of content provided by and for players is astounding.  Especially when you realize that, with 5% of World of Warcraft’s playerbase there is far more in the way of resources, tools, organizations, and general help available to get people playing the game and enjoying it.

Part of that is the fact that there is a demand for it.  EvE wouldn’t exist if not for the efforts of the players to provide essential resources and services to the playerbase.  Frankly if another company left this much undone in their game, the game wouldn’t exist.  EvE needs a lot of this support, not all of it, but most of these resources are offered for no cost.

This isn’t to say that EvE is a united front of hugging and cuddles.  Horrible things do happen, planned with malice aforethought, but that isn’t the community, it’s the game.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

A Matter of Degrees

So after reading Ripard’s most recent this morning, I think he’s “walked back” a bit too far.  I tend to agree with him that walking back is better than doubling down, which I’m just freaking tired of, but I think he’s backed up a bit too far.  He says that boiled down to it, what the gifts represent is CCP providing an in-game advantage to Somer.  And that it is wrong for them to do so no matter why they did.

Let me break it down how I see it.  Somer has, for years, spent a lot of time and effort building the biggest lottery in EvE. They have certainly enriched themselves, which I have no problem with, and they have also spent considerable time and effort supporting other folks ventures whether it’s EvE Vegas, an in-game tournament like the Frigate Free For All or whatever.  In recognition of this community support CCP rewarded them with the Ishukone Watch Scorpions, and concealed the fact.

Now I’m going to go onto a bit of a non sequitur.  I’m going to talk about Pandemic Legion.  Pandemic Legion has won 4 Alliance Tournaments.  I believe they were 2nd in 2 of the ones they didn’t win.  They busted their buts, they worked hard and they provided a ton of entertainment for the community.  They also provided CCP with some marketing punch in the highly publicized tournament streams and videos.  For this they have gotten a LOT of ships from CCP.  These rewards were announced up front and they were well publicized.

Both of these organizations did something that was good for the game.  They both provided something above and beyond what the normal schlub like you or me does to the game.  They both give a small, but measurable, competitive advantage to the organization receiving them.  There are a few key differences.  Number one The AT rewards are well publicized, announced in advance, featured in vids even these days, and they are potent, potent ships, whereas Somer’s was cloaked in secrecy.  Number two the AT is a highly structured event.  Only so many people are allowed in, and only so many have a real chance at participating.  The Somer giveaway was completely unstructured, with no fixed criteria at all.

I have a problem with some of the specifics.  Somer’s reward should NOT have been secret.  Ever.  That it was even conceptualized that way is problematic enough.  That it actually entered the game secretly was a disaster.  It should have been a public reward, with a very open “Job-Well-Done” specifying the reasons CCP chose to reward Somer.  I like the sandbox, but it’s not a pure sandbox and it will never be a pure sandbox.  If CCP wants to reward behavior I think we should welcome it as long as everyone understands how it’s going to work.  It doesn’t have to be a specific set of rules and competitions like the AT.  That handcuffs CCP from recognizing acts and events that are meaningful that don’t involve CCP from start to finish.  Here I’m thinking about groups like the Angel Project, which certainly wouldn’t mind a bit of help from CCP.  EvE University, which has already gotten some support from CCP although nothing as material as a battleship flotilla.

It has to be open.  CCP needs to put out a devblog saying “From time to time we can choose to reward individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond in service to our community.  These rewards will take the form of ___________ and follow a general criteria of _________ although we reserve the right to recognize outstanding contributions to our community wherever and whenever we choose to offer them.  This is not a goalpost, don’t call us saying ‘we’ve done this and this and this now hand us our ships’ it’s merely a statement that we can and will be rewarding those whose contributions to the community are truly above and beyond greatness.  These will be freely given gifts, no strings attached, and they will be publicized as we see fit (and by that we mean not kept secret at all, I mean front page, maybe login screen)” only, you know, not written at 6AM by someone still half asleep and struggling to formulate full sentences.

What CCP needs to bring is structure and transparency.  Not as much as with AT, but more than with “Somergate” (or “IshukoneWatchScorpionGate” for the masochists out there) to give an idea of roughly what the process is, and what kind of gifts we can expect to see given out.  For the record I think the idea of re-skinned ships for prizes is great and cannot wait for CCP to start throwing them at bloggers to shut us whiners up for 5 minutes.

 

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Dark Bankers in Shady Rooms

So Rixx Javix posted a piece on the threat that the gambling houses of EvE present to the community.  I think he has some points.  I also think he’s wide of the mark.  The wealth being accumulated by the “Bankers” who should be more accurately called financiers.  But that’s just a quibble.  We’ll go with bankers.

For a long time it appeared that inflation was the biggest problem facing EvE.  Now that problem seems to be less prevalent.  Prices might fluctuate, but it isn’t an endless steep climb.  Rixx is contending that these bankers consolidation of wealth, that their focused power in the hands of a shadowy few presents an immense threat to EvE.  He also presents Plex as part of the problem.  I’m going to deal with the second part very quickly, and very simply.  He writes the sentence “Much like paying for game time with real world money” without realizing that… we all do that.  Whether you pay with a Plex or your credit card, you pay for game time with real world money.  The big difference is EvE allows you to pay for my game time (and please… feel free) I get what he’s saying, that that transference of payment, and the reciprocal transfer of wealth to the wallet-warrior is unabalancing, my main counterpoint is that people buy gold in every game with gold in it.  EvE has a fantastic control in place, because there’s a very hard in-game cap on what people will buy, as a “carrot” and the righteous wrath of the banhammer as the “stick” to discourage people from the black market isk.  Yes it’s the lesser of two evils argument.  This is EvE, it’s all evil.

Now let’s talk about these bankers.  Bankers.  Financiers.  Whatever you want to call them they can do a few things.  They can invest their money to drive further profits.  Somer markets like madmen.  Seriously.  Think about the prizes they give out.  Bonus blinks, Bonks.  Mega-blinks.  All that stuff.  That’s a lot of isk.  What else do businesses do?  They invest in their infrastructure.  Umm… Think they need a lot more freighters?  Think that’s what’s limiting their profits?  Nope.  They try to influence events in their favor.  Ok, I could see them throwing some bribes around to destabilize things, foment a war or two to drive demand, but arguably bored people making isk and spinning in station would be better customers, so what influence do they pursue in their own interest?

Wealth itself is not inherently evil.  The accumulation of wealth isn’t necessarily evil either.  It’s not inherently good of course, but in an economy like EvE, where everyone truly does have the opportunity to pursue wealth, it is certainly not evil to see how many digits you can tack on to your wallet.  The use of that wealth can be “evil” within the confines of the game, but again who really gets harmed?  Even if you grief the ever living hell out of highsec, you’ve ruined a couple evenings for a couple people, and probably driven others to try something more fun than mining.  Like watching paint dry.  Or spreadsheet warrioring.  Or blogging.  Or PvP.

To me these bankers are content creators first and foremost.  They add shade and nuance to a game that can always use more.  I imagine anyone on their staff can plex their accounts as much as they want, for providing an in-game service to players which they literally line up for.  I do admit that they probably have the isk to influence alliance activities.  Probably to a scary degree.  But how scary is it?  No one is being coerced, and if people get duped and their pixels get blowed up… It’s pixels, we’ll be laughing about it when RANE takes over the north or whatever craziness happens in 6 months.

The ultimate power in this game is the ability to vote with your feet.  The richest man in EvE can’t win a single fight against 5 guys that know what they are doing.  I’m reminded of Stalin talking about the Pope, and wondering how many divisions he has.  If Somer calls a holy war against the Goons… who rallies to their support?  They can hire mercenaries, but the mercs are going to look long and hard at consequences.  The days of Mercenary Coalition letting BoB bleed them out are so long gone and buried I doubt half the readers of this blog know what the hell I’m talking about.  Sure Somer can finance whatever they want.  They can buy a fleet of faction fit T3 cruisers, supercaps, AT ships, whatever.  Who’s gonna fly them?  Who’s gonna FC them?  Better yet, if they come out of the shadows and piss people off, how long will it be before their source of isk dries up as people move to less controversial sources of entertainment in-game?

That’s not to say that it isn’t a concern.  But the only people being hurt right now are the people who gamble too much of their isk.  Who gamble what they can’t afford to lose, which should be an even bigger rule than not flying what you can’t afford to lose.  Somer is making isk.  Somer’s managers want to keep making isk so they will stay in the shadows where they are safe from the consequences of their own actions.  If they come out, they expose themselves to the millstone that is EvE’s politics.  The millstone that has ground away at the likes of BRUCE, BoB, RA, -A-. AAA, RA. and -A- again… NC, and many others.  Why would they do that when they can keep doing what they are doing and count the trillions?

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

The Cream Rises, and Gets Scooped Off

So TEST has had a bit of a rough go of it in Aridia.  Down 1/3 of their members in fact.  And if some were booted, many, even most, were not.  In any organization the cream rises to the top.  There it can be seen, observed, studied, and stolen.  There are many who have left TEST who didn’t have the cojones to deal with the upheaval.  There were far more who had better opportunities elsewhere, especially with as many frenemies as TEST had.

Of note to me is Di-Tron, formerly the core of Atlas.  Enlightened Industries, a 2011 TEST corp.  Ponywaffe, which joined Di-Tron in Insidious Empire, not to mention the numerous defections to Black Legion and the leadership that has abandoned ship.  TEST is bleeding talent out of proportion with the numbers of players they’ve lost.  Which is something of an achievement when you’ve lost 5000 members in the last week.

So today TEST announced that they would harass Fountain.  The good news is they won’t be taxing their leaders by demanding that they set up safespots, they should have good ones already.  The problem is TEST is announcing this while still pouring random liquids on the million house fires they have burning in Aridia.  They thought they were stepping on a roach nest in the classy russians of Infernal Octopus, instead they got scorpions.  But really who could forsee Russians fighting with determination and fury when defending their homelands?  When has this ever happened before?  They thought they’d get breathing room to recover their strength, in a region that has connections to *Deep Breath* Delve, Fountain, Khanid, Solitude, Genesis, and 2 jumps into Solitude takes you into Syndicate *Gasp*.  But surely there’s no one that could set up a midpoint cyno in Khanid, Ertoo or Hophib for Titan Bridges.  So having moved from the fire into the frying pan TEST has decided that dancing on the edge of the pan and dipping their toes in the fire is preferable to out and out frying pan treatment.

Edit:  Apparently the folks of Infernal Octopus use this gif to show how well TEST has moved them out (other than whomping some POS towers)

It's best that the kid learns early

Good luck with that.

TEST still has the solid for of (D)Redditors to keep the alliance extant, but beyond that their ability to project power is more on par with an alliance less than a quarter their size (yet still in the top 20 alliances size wise) their ability to SUSTAIN that power projection is practically nil.  They are broke on many levels.  Their leadership capital is probably damn near negative.  Their personnel capitol is scraping the bottom for an alliance half their size.  Their money capital is a well advertised nil.  I wouldn’t trade places with Booda if he promised to not touch all the wallets exactly as they are.  They still have their super fleet, and they have their name.  They don’t have a name.  They don’t have enough FCs to run any kinda of a fleet, their logistics is beyond a shambles, yet they will survive.  They will get pounded.  They might fall below 6000 members.  If they purge inactives they might fall below 3000, and they will take body blows on the way.  They cannot realistically hope to drive FA from fountain.  They can only hope to take some heat off the frantically reorganizing nullbears in Aridia.  Some of the heat.  Not a lot because the Russians will be there, as will the rest of the Aridia locals.  TEST has been lucky running 80 man fleets around to pop Infernal structures, that kind of fleet looks awfully tempting to many of the folks in the area.

TEST has launched a campaign in Fountain when I cannot believe for a second that they have any clue what capabilities they really have to bring to the field beyond shitposting.  They need to establish leaders who will be there for more than a week.  They need to take stock of what they really have, even if it means mass kickings of people who can’t be arsed to show up or even log in.  They need to take the time to get people on the same page, get them organized and get them moving in a direction that makes sense.  They need time to develop a fresh crop of folks.  They need time for cream to rise to the top, and time away from the spotlight so it doesn’t get crapped on or stolen before it’s any good.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Fountain Flip Flop

So with the battle of 6V over TEST has effectively lost any realistic hope of holding Fountain.  They can launch strikes.  Well, they will launch strikes, and they will whelp at least one more CFC fleet because this is EvE and that kind of thing happens, but Fountain will belong to whoever CFC hands it to and the R64 moons will go to Goons and their croniest of cronies.  And yes that’s a word now.  Deal with it.

TEST will retreat to Delve and face harassment from CFC, but no actual invasion.  Delve is rather difficult to invade, not terribly worthwhile from what I understand of it’s wealth as far as an ALLIANCE is concerned, although it does have decent enough ratting and such to keep the nullbears quite happy.  This hasn’t been a violation of the “Big Blue Doughnut” (actually more or a big blue crescent but whatevs) but it does represent a power shift.  PL will go where the money is, I was surprised that they backed TEST to begin with and I will be surprised even more if they continue to work with them after this war.  I’m not sure they’ll head straight to Goons though.  I think they will want to see who ALL the movers and shakers are with the moon rebalance.  They might head where there’s more action at first.  In the long run, however, they will settle back into their erratic orbit with Goons and CFC as a whole.

Ironically we might see MORE supers in space once this desultory war winds down.   As the coalitions fall away from each other the opportunities to use the Supers might look more and more tempting, especially as Goons grind down the last chunk of structures.  Long-term I think Booda has to look at what he wants to do Vs. TEST alliance’s actual capabilities.  He should have a really good idea of what they can actually do, how far they can project what kinds of power, and for how long.  Now he has to match that with things that are fun and interesting and bring morale up.

CFC meanwhile can start hoarding money again.  Also they can send me some :D

Fly Dangerous.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

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