If you have time to listen to one Podcast, make it Declaration of War. Its entertaining, informative and highly polished.
If you have time for 2 podcasts, either add Hydrostatic Podcast or High Drag – both are funny and mix up the topics quite a bit. Crossing Zebras and the host’s pretend professionalism and relentless nullsec focus gets old.
Wormhole space only has one podcast – Down the Pipe. While informative to me – I live in a Wormhole – its chestbeating for PvP and “content” (=site runners getting murdered by a fleet 10 times their size) is getting a tad old. But the recent roundtable was indeed excellent, as the Blogger Eminence grise Kirith Kodachi noted. The funny thing is, I too thought it was excellent – but for very different reasons.
So, lets start with the state of Wormholes. As intro, I must say that I do not matter. I do not belong to an elite PvP corp and therefore my opinions are likely not relevant. Our alliance is neither very serious nor has any interest in the color of the killboards. We like red, red is good. Green is nice also. But we like red.
Hyperion gave us massive chains in concordance with Fozzie’s stated goals to generate deep chains. Deep, yeah, no kidding. They are deep. To balance, the hole rolling was made more dangerous which means that fewer holes are rolled. Add to this the wee little Frigate holes and you have an environment for people to log in, see if someone scout the massive chain and – if not – log off. I may exaggerate a little but I am in good company. Corbexx himself has made prediction of the imminent doom for wormhole space. I have scanned down dozens of connections and am not sure whether wormhole space really has gone “dead” (notice, there is no grey-zone in the bloggosphere) or its normal activity. Only CCP really knows if the activity in WH space has indeed been impacted by Hyperion changes – I wager, it hasn’t really. Our corp pays ISKs to our members, gets ready to really run C5 sites (thanks to our new static) and generally is more active. We are – because we have to be – a bit more organized. The teams log in together, spawned by jabber pings, scans diligently and adapt its fleet doctrine. Some of our dedicated carebears have – against my prediction – staid. I think the lure of C5 holes holds them.
So, this is Hyperion – a LOT more scanning to find a safe route or someone to shoot at – never really run sites risk-free and we had to get more organized to run anything. One could say that the Risk has increased but the reward has not. This is the line that the podcasters took but its not the line of Kirith Kodachi in his excellent post. See, he thinks back to just after Apocrypha where wormhole space was balanced to be highly rewarding for a small, hard hitting but temporary fleet. We were supposed to scout in, bring in ships, run sites and leave. Nobody thought we’d be nuts enough to actually stay. But stay we did, our predecessors with EVE-typical ingenuity removed some of the big obstacles that made life hard in Wormhole space. Us – the relative newcomers – found Wormhole space not so mysterious anymore but have set SOPs for everything. In effect, we reduced the risk by being smart, adapted and taught the community how to deal with the space. Paraphrasing Kirith – we “professionalized” Wormhole space, drove the risk out of it while keeping the reward.
Following this argument to the end, Kirith asserts that the Hyperion changes were designed to correct the risk / reward calculation to the original design. None of the mouthbreathers on the forums or in the bloggosphere has seen it like that (me neither). Is it true? Well, kind of. You can’t really dial back the knowledge that we have aggregated. I will never unlearn the almost pathological urge to click D-scan – I swear I D-scan high sec systems with just me in it every 5 seconds. You can’t (well you could but it would be pretty nasty) disable the excellent out-of-game tools that allow us to map Wormholes in space and create paths, routes etc. You can’t undo corp bookmarks (if you have not lived in Wormhole space before corp bookmarks, just for a second imagine how that worked…it was terrible). You can’t undo our POS Kung-Fu – we are masters of POS, experts in managing logistics. So, if Kirith is right and CCP is trying to correct the risk-reward equation to where it should be, I feel jibbed. The reason why the risk / reward is – alledgedly – out of whack is not because external influence. It is because of those of us who learned, improved, taught, re-learned and adapted. Sorry CCP if we took the Playdoh but instead of making pretend-cookies, we made guns.
Well, now what? What are my “predictions”? As usual, I see this a bit more relaxed. Humankind has evolved by adaptation and then becoming the fittest. EVE players are – maybe except nullsecc-ers – humans who will take the challenge and adapt, overcome and excel. But who will win?
The obvious answer is – the large corps. The big, massive Wormhole PvP groups, the Verge of Collapse, the Bluefires, the AHARM, the Narwhales (are they still a thing?), the Upholders, the Skyfighters… there quite a few. These corporations have the numbers to rapidly scan down the lengthy chain and decide if it is worth keeping. Their numbers also protect the hole rolling, yes, its tedious but with Battleships its not such a big deal. And by the way, they want to get jumped. They WANT fights. Thats the whole point of this. Or is it?
Well, the dirty secret is that the oh-so-elite PvP corporations do a LOT of PvE. Something has to pay for the ships and yes, T3 have come down in price (big time) and PI has generated nearly risk-free ISK but a single C5 only holds this much ISK in its own anoms and signatures. Its not like nullsec where stations can be upgraded to have nearly unlimited rat spawns. Even a C5 or a C6 (does anyone actually still live in a C6?) has limited ISK to be farmed. The dirty secret is that these elite PvP corporations are the biggest carebears of New Eden with massive PI farms, high-sec T3 production corporations and – most importantly – dozens of “private” holes. These holes are C4 or 5 (sometimes a NS C3) and owned by 3-5 guys who park a few alts in them. Every few weeks or so, they do not participate in their elite roams but instead they farm their system dry, move the ISK to their main character and resume the chest-beating, PvE-belittling stance.
I think these guys are going to suffer most. They are used to rat in peace without much care in the world and farm billions of ISK with their few mates. That’s over. Like it is over for us, its over for them. The risk described above makes it more riskier for them to hold these holes, they need more people for security and routes and the value proposition drops. Add to this that we (and most corps of our size) dont give a flying hoot about killmails. These guys, they do. Check out this kill. I know Dean – been flying with him lots. He is one crazy mofo but an excellent pilot who will take any fight. The opposing team had 25 (really, I had to check this twice) pilots on his killmail. 25, this means, they had to hold fire to wait until everyone is on grid and at least got one shot off. Because for these groups, Killmail matter. They matter because only they allow objective differentiation of a pilot’s worth. Fleets of this size are very hard to finance on an ongoing basis – yes these happen to be cheap cruisers but even there there is a limit for the income of each of these 25 pilots.
To bring this to an end and offer my “Prediction”, I think we will see a slow bleed of the large PvP corporations and contraction to sizes that can be accommodated with a single hole and its neighbors. For a C2 its ~10 players, for a C3 also (the static to empire space reduces ISK making potentian), a C4 maybe 20 and I do not know much about C5 / C6. I guess, a C5/C5 is about 150 pilots – that means 50 human beings with 3 alts each. Of course, there will be alliances, blue-settings and so on but I truly hope the time of ridiculously large fleets in wormhole space is coming to an end.
And that would be a good thing. See, unlike Kirith, I do not see the world this way:
Hypothesis: What is happening in wormhole space right now is a microcosm version in both scale and time of what has been occurring in null sec for years, and can be predictive of what is coming in the next year in null sec. Kirith
I see a restructuring, a pairing down, a trimming of fat of the large wormhole corporations. I see that the large fleets can neither find fights not ISK and fade out. I see that smaller corporations who can organize themselves will “own” wormhole space, not because they can withstand the might of a large fleet but because they are inherently more adaptable and more survivable that the big guys. Yes, like cockroaches will survive through the nuclear winter, Z3R0 Return mining will soldier on.
And yes, we are recruiting. :)