[The first part of this post at times slips into a grandiose, over-the-top style following the “big history” lore-spinning that EVE lends itself to. The basic points I’m making are still my opinion, though.]
The day has come. MBC has won the war… at least it has according to my personal definition. Within the almost 2 months that I have been in Pandemic Horde, Goonswarm Federation has been reduced from a big yellow blob to a run-of-the-mill lowsec alliance. OK, I might be exaggerating a bit… They are still the largest alliance in the game, and even if they continued to lose pilots at the rate they are now, they could survive into next year. But I’m happy (and a little smug) that, for once, I was able to (help) achieve a goal in EVE. The “War of sovless aggression” has turned some of the most annoying aggressors in the game into a sovless group, so to speak. Maybe the Mittani can spin that as a “told you so from the beginning, my name was the best” thing. It wouldn’t be less ridiculous than some of his other recent lines. These days, he sounds like a certain information minister more often than not… and that’s by comparison to others, in a game where over-the-top propaganda is a given, and my side wouldn’t exactly win a Pulitzer prize for independent journalism either.
This is a momentous occasion. Goons haven’t been sovless for almost 6 years. The last day Nullsec was as beefree as today was the 25th of July in 2010. The next day, Goonswarm’s conquest of Deklein began (incidentally, with TEST as allies, if I remember correctly… tempora mutantur!), and thus began the Goon reign in the north.
However, we must not be complacent. When the Goons descended onto Deklein, they were by no means an unknown entity. In fact, less than 6 months before, they still had been a powerhouse in the southwest, ruling over all of Querious and Delve, and were only felled by corporate treachery. When on this day we look at a Northwest, freed from Goon influence, we must not forget that our enemy is still dangerous, and only waiting to fight and conquer back. And make no mistake: they are still dangerous enough to defeat most of us, if we do not stand together.
When I look at the current state of the coalition, however, I see entities resetting each other from blue status. I’m not sure whether Horde is hit especially by that, because people don’t like to blue us because of the, admittedly, high spy infiltration rate. But TISHU has reset us, Exodus also attacked some of our sov structures, and Darkness has been constantly switching between blue and gray for the last week or so. The coalition will break apart, there is no question about that. In itself, that is not a big surprise: it was stated by many groups beforehand that banding together would only be a temporary measure. But I’m afraid that MBC will become “everybody against each other” rather than “everybody against each other, but all of us against the Goons”. If push comes to shove, will people that fought each other before and are getting ready to fight each other again bury their differences yet once more? Because if not, we might see a resurgence of Goon sov. Maybe very soon. Maybe only by fall, if they use the typically slower summer months to reorganize. But they will come.
I’m wary that some people have such a fear of stagnancy, of running out of their coveted “gudfite” opportunities, that they might be letting down their guard towards the real enemy way too early.
Which brings me to the second part of the post.
My Personal Future
I mentioned in my last post about Horde that I feel like it is not a place for me to stay long-term. This opinion has not changed much. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few people there that I like flying with; they have several very entertaining FCs, that’s for sure. But I still feel out-of-place there more often than I’d like to. To get a better idea of why that might be, I tried to pin down what I enjoyed doing in the game recently, and what I didn’t, and how that aligns with my perception of the “corporate culture” of Horde. As a neat side effect, I can come back to this post at a later point and see how my attitudes might have changed. So this is nice for my personal future reference, too.
I prefer winning without fighting over fighting without winning.
This might be the biggest point, so let’s get it out of the way immediately.
Exhibit 1: I interrupted writing this post to answer a ping on IRC about a Goon fleet coming into our systems. Within 5 minutes, we had about 60 people in Caracals and Ospreys ready and jumping to greet the Goons. When they realized our numbers and intentions, they turned around and went back to wherever they came from. People seemed to be sad to have missed out of a fight opportunity (though others pointed out they would have been foolish to fight our superior numbers). I, on the other hand, found it a rousing success: we had defended our sov, and we didn’t even need to fight them for that. Our sheer presence made them turn around. How’s that for force projection? Some mentioned how our kitchen-sink standing fleet had been obliterated in our home system earlier that day by White Legion. Others answered “yeah, that went pretty bad, but at least White Legion comes to fight us!”. I was secretly happy I hadn’t been there.
Exhibit 2: My killboard is woefully empty (if you ignore a ton of in-corp kills on the 21st, when we had an event to “liquidate” assets in our old staging system in Querious). That doesn’t mean I haven’t been on fleets. However, almost all of my recent fleets were flown as Entosis ship, sitting on nodes and watching timers go down and percentages up. It’s not a very popular role, because you’re stuck in place and don’t get to shoot other people much. I loved it, though. With every nodes I entosised, we would get closer to prying another system from Goons. Watching the timerboard, I could see the tug-of-war going back and forth (forth, for the most part). It definitely isn’t the most exciting role, but it felt like a very useful one, and that’s what counted to me.
I like caring for the corp, the alliance, and the sov.
There is another reason I liked to fly Entosis: it makes sure our blob stays on the map. It’s one of the few things I feel I can do for Horde. I’d love to help out with logistics (of the transporting and producing kind, not the healing one), but the core of directors seems to have that pretty well organized already. I’ve tried importing and selling some stuff, but it’s a risky business: if you manage to sell, you can do so at a nice premium, but you always run the risk of not finding buyers, or somebody swooping in and undercutting you to the point where you barely break even. I tried to offer my industry slots for producing newbean ships, but again, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in that: the directors are a well-oiled machinery (and they need to be with the number of people in corp, and, granted, they are doing a brilliant job). I think Horde is simply too large for a single person to do appreciable amounts of work for the corp. I’d help importing wares, and while I almost have the skills ready to pilot a jump freighter, and do so effectively, I am nowhere near the point of being able to afford one. Which brings me to the next point:
I really, really need to finally find a way to make decent money.
It’s frankly embarrassing. My character is sitting at close to 100 million skill points by now (that’s another post that will write itself), but my highest liquid ISK amount was slightly above 3 billion ISK, which was in early April. The war hasn’t been kind to my wallet: I’m now sitting at about 1.6 billion ISK. To be fair, not all of that is due to war losses. I was very excited when I read about the WAFFLES 10-year-birthday roam, and lost more than half a billion when that went not quite as planned. RIP Machariel… I would’ve loved to keep you for longer than a day. I also lost more than 100 million when I bought a module in a hurry that should’ve only cost some 100 thousand ISK. On the other hand, I’ve been very frugal: if FCs handed out free Logistics, I’d fly those. I even skipped a few fleets, just recently a Harbinger fleet I was very interested in, to keep spendings low.
Ratting anomalies in Nullsec is, in theory, quite profitable, and I made about 100-150 million ISK that way (income minus cost of the VNI). But since we’re in a war zone, this is in practice either very cumbersome or quite risky: if you stop ratting as soon as enemies are in the system, you barely get to rat at all. If you keep ratting, you run the risk of getting blown up. Once I lingered around because I was curious about what the attacker was flying and only made it out by the skin of my teeth.
There are so many ships I would like to fly, and that I could fly, and actually fly well (skillpoint-wise), but can’t afford to lose, or sometimes even buy in the first place. My poorness is one of the main things holding me back.
So I’m currently thinking of dropping out of Horde some time this week and doing incursions. I’ve never done them, but I heard there’s serious money in them. They’re supposed to be a bit like raiding in other games, and I at least used to be pretty decent at raiding, so we’ll see how I’ll fare in EVE. Besides, by sheer coincidence, I have one of the more popular Incursion ships lying around. I won a Vindicator from Somer Blink back when that was still a thing. (And I hadn’t even played with them for at least a year before they went belly-up… yes, the Vindi’s been sitting in Jita for that long). When I got it, those things were worth more than a billion ISK. I learned the hard way that this was the high-water mark. I tried to sell it, and it wouldn’t sell. I refused to cut the price, waiting for it to pick up again. The order timed out. I let it sit in my hangar waiting for the price to pick up again. The price fell and fell. Now it’s worth barely half a billion ISK. At the same time, PLEXes have gone up from about 400 million to 900 million (and more before the whole PLEX wall incident earlier this year). Shows you again how good I am at money-making! But that also means that I only need to invest maybe 300 million ISK in a TVP-certified incursion fit to start out. That sounds manageable, and my hope is that I’ll rake in hundreds of millions of ISK within a week or two. If this works out, I probably should make sure to accumulate a few billion ISK before I look for further opportunities.
I also read about wormholes, but those things still scare me, and constantly hitting d-scan over and over and over again doesn’t sound like my idea of fun. Plus, it feels like I would need to invest a lot of money upfront to make similar money to incursions, and I would need to find a good wormhole cooperation. Incursions have the advantage that the barrier to join is quite low. Get a ship, join a channel, get going; at least that’s the way I understand it.
Then, when I feel like I have a comfortable buffer of money (and still feel like playing EVE), I might look around for a corporation in a “proper” sov-holding alliance, one that likes to work its space and defend it when people try to invade it. Carebears with scary teeth and claws, in a way. I doubt a “pvp-only” alliance like Horde could keep my interest long-term. But we’ll see.