PvP As A Survival Tactic

My corporation, the Outer Ring Sleeper Collective, has our home in Class 5 wormhole space.  For the uninitiated, Class 4 and below Anoikis — excuse me, “W-Space” — have mass limits that prevent large capital ships from entering.  Capital ships are basically required for fast take-down of player-owned starbases (POS). If you don’t have the capitals, taking down a POS will require hours upon hours — or a very large sub-capital fleet — of boring shooting at structures.  And such a fleet runs the risk of the locals hauling out the capital “ships in a bottle” they have already built inside the wormhole to drive you out.

So you’re faced with the probability of sitting around for hours pressing “F1” every few minutes after your weapons reload while surfing cute kitten videos on Youtube (unless you’re dirty Amarr, in which case you press F1 once then go do something else for a few hours), then having to do the same at some godforsaken hour of the late night in your time zone again a day or two later, or else having the locals ship up into their capital ships-in-a-bottle they’ve built inside their “home”, and drive you out easily with carriers and dreadnaughts that you can’t possibly bring with you to invade.

Yeah. That’s not fun.  No thanks.

Class 5 and 6 anoikis, however, allow one to carefully orchestrate infiltration of capital ships over time, to create a perfect storm against your opposition. We were on the receiving end of such a coordinated effort in our attempted defense of The Honey Badger some months ago.As evidenced, it’s really hard to successfully defend against such a well-coordinated effort.  Disinformation propaganda from the opposition in local is very effective on the mob-mentality any large fleet develops, and preying on the boredom and disorganization of one’s potential opponents by seeding spies is incredibly effective.

What, then, was the rationale of the invasion? A look at the system’s killboard , then a simple query on that system via wormnav makes the outcome plain: the Russian invasion was an eviction for the purpose of profit, pure and simple. Since the eviction, very little PvP has occurred. Quantum Explosion — the nominal evicting entity — has been recouping their invasion costs through regularly-scheduled PvE, with extremely little PvP interference in their home system. According to our few remaining scouts, they practice very diligent hole control to prevent unintended PvP, and run escalations regularly, right around 17:00 Eve time on weekdays.  Having a Magnetar system at their disposal is an enormous force multiplier during escalation, reducing the risk and increasing the speed at which capital escalations can be run.  Clearly, the desirability of the system for capital escalations was the principal motivating factor for the eviction.

And yet one cannot possibly call them a care-bear corporation.  A look at Quantum Explosion’s killboard reveals this startling reality.  While their recently-liberated home system is deeply protected from anything other than inconsequential PvP — one may even safely use the words “passionate” or “obsessive” surrounding their hole control and PvE activities based upon ongoing scouting reports — the consistent steamrolling of other W-space capital escalations continues unabated with the help of their Blood Union allies.

  1. The partial gank of Derpotle’s capital escalation fleet on January 8. This 8-man carebear corp was a victim waiting to happen.
  2. The gank of X-Com Inc and The Final Frontier’s combined capital escalation fleet.
  3. The gank of Order Fury Of Darkness’s capital escalation fleet on January 14.
  4. The gank of Stability Significantly Disrupted‘s capital escalation fleet on January 15. Their killboard shows that they attempt PvP, but are fairly weak at it.
  5. The gank of Disaster Strikes‘s capital escalation fleet, just a few hours later the same day. Disaster Strikes at one time appeared to be a PvP-oriented corporation, but since has devolved into mediocre capital-escalation carebear activities.
  6. The gank of State Writ’s capital escalation fleet on a few hours before this writing. A care-bear corporation if there ever was one, State Writ was a gank waiting to happen, based upon their killboard.

What this shows is that evictions are an infrequent activity for Blood Union allies, but capital escalation ganks are absolutely routine.  If you don’t have a proper defensive fleet for your W-space escalation in Class 5 space, you are very likely to have them come visit. They don’t seem to have much interest in sticking around to add insult to injury by reinforcing your POS, though.  Blood Union’s primary prey is obviously poorly-defended capital escalation fleets run during the Russian prime-time; their eviction of The Honeybadger seems to have been a financially-motivated decision: magnetars absolutely rock for escalations, and thus are prime real estate.

And then, there are stories like this one: http://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/1v9c83/the_reapers_grin_a_wormhole_story/ .  A wormhole eviction motivated not by finances due to a very desirable hole, but by the inability or lack of desire to PvP by the inhabitants, and a carefully-orchestrated eviction for the sole purpose of making that wormhole available for colonization by other more PvP-interested entities.

What’s a budding C5 wormhole corporation to do? For what it’s worth, based on my admittedly-limited experience with W-Space PvP, I’d say the below points are a good start.

  1. When it comes to PvP, bring it.  Bring it in spades. I don’t care if you’re in T1 battlecruisers and frigates, bring the best fight you can to every engagement. Expect to lose frequently. It’s the price of entry and continued residence.
  2. Create a strong, scary reputation for yourselves. In the case of Blood Union, it’s supplementing their income through perfectly-choreographed ganks of capitals running unsupported escalations.
  3. Create a reputation for bringing good fights. While this may not have sufficient chilling effect to prevent a well-planned eviction as evidenced by the eviction of the scrappy but disorganized Honey Badger, it will discourage those who — like in the Reddit post above — want to evict people primarily for their anti-social (by wormhole standards) behavior.

From where I sit, if you want to survive and thrive in C5 and C6 W-Space, it sure looks like playing gigantic carebear is not the recipe for success. Stick to C4s; few will bother you there, and although capital escalations are not an option, your chance of eviction is extremely low if you plan well.

In the Outer Ring Sleeper Collective, we view Sleeper income through the lens of providing sufficient revenue to build good fleets, bring good fights, and have a good time together.  We’ll see how that continues to play out in the age of escalation blobs and Bhaalgorn-free cap ganks.

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2 responses to “PvP As A Survival Tactic

  1. We’ve been discussing this frequently, and one of our guys made the observation that it’s not fights you’re expected to bring, it’s sacrifices. Every time a larger corp rolls in, they huff and puff and exclaim they’d leave us alone if we’d just bring a fight. But they know we have 5 guys online in a 20-man alliance, and they know we’ve got eyes on their 15 T3s and 6 guardians on the other side of the connection. That’s not a fight, it’s not an initiation ritual, it’s just sacrifices they demand. We’ve been invaded twice for bringing fights and winning, and when we whelp fleets they circlejerk themselves into the sunset, never to be heard from again… until next time they connect to us.

    • Yeah, I think I sometimes agree with that perspective. We’ve been on both ends of that stick. The rare arranged fights occasionally satisfy both of us, but most times it’s either a gank or be-ganked situation, and not much of a fight either way.

      But every so often, you get a real, honest-to-goodness fair fight. And those are immensely gratifying!

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