We recently burned a C2 to the ground, for no real good reason other than greed and to answer the question if we could do it. For the longest time, I have been looking at our own blue bubbles and wondered what it would take to destroy them.
We now have the answer – it would take a lot. Basically, to evict someone from a hole takes a very well coordinated fleet. The motivation to get 10+ people for several days bound up in an eviction has to be carefully managed. A few slip ups and the defender brings in a support fleet, takes down POS modules, evacuates assets and generally makes the take down less worthwhile. I can really only see 4 scenarios where someone wants to evict the residents from a sub-C5 hole:
1. Greed. The target has displayed wealth beyond the risk/reward level and hence advertised himself as a target. We see many, many C2s with floating cap ships or Orcas in ill-defended towers. Some people think a floating carrier is a deterrent for an invasion but in many cases it is not. Its advertisement.
2. Personal grudges. Very few things burn as brightly as personal grudges. The prospect of getting even with someone who wronged you many years ago is a sweet incentive and can be translated into a corporation goal. Jester, with his amazing ability to expand a short concept into several pages of learned prose is starting to write about this here. I personally have one grudge for which I would initiate a full-scale invasion. Someone in my EVE past has royally ticked me (and others in my corp) off and if we ever find him….
3. “eat what you kill”. Some time ago, my alliance desired a C5 and scouted for a long time until they found a pleasant carebear corporation in a quiet hole. The subsequent eviction was staged in order to occupy and settle the hole. The locals were spoke to, offers were made and rejected and the place was first burned to the ground, then rebuilt. It is now the flagship C5 with our most active PvP crew in it. The eviction was (I was there, but only briefly) fairly calm and devoid of emotion. Its simply what needed to be done.
4. Generation of content. This is a little harder to define but corporations and alliances need content in order to justify their existence. This is the same in real life where a church requires services to function, some bake sale to collect money and a common goal. Without these activities, a church would cease to have a raison d’etre. Soccer clubs are the same, without matches, there is no point, companies need profits etc. The trick is to find activities and goals that are in line with the primary reason of the assembled members. A church sponsoring the occasional soccer game is fine – but not at expense of spiritual time.
Our recent “Sochicon” clearly fell into categories 1 and 4. We saw ISK ready for the taking and we really wanted content to be experienced by our Alliance. In addition, I was curious how the interpersonal dynamics works, who asserts himself as leader and can manage a team that doesn’t fly all that much together. About that part a little later.
It was also no accident that post-Sochi, all of our directors went back to our own POSes and reviewed them with a critical eye. The guys in Sochi chose a nasty, nasty setup, full faction deathstar much more commonly found in Nullsec or C5/C6 space (since EWAR doesn’t work on Dreadnoughts). A deathstar is extremely difficult to take down (as we have seen) and maybe or maybe not our learning changed our POS setups. But I will never look at a POS the same way and if I ever have to set one up, I will remember Sochi as a lesson what can happen if a motivated team engages. Also, when we shot the Sochi POS, the local manned the guns which added a whole new level of complexity. All of us in IOS are POS gunners and we will stress the point to new recruits. If we get 3 to 4 guys into our POSes in a siege, the attacking party will have a complicated time. Will it be impossible to evict us? No, of course not. One other thing that Sochis showed us was that no POS is safe. Not the nastiest, most expensive deathstar is invulnerable to a team that has set its goal to destroy it.
A quick comment on our Alliance Dynamic. Yes, I found the place and that credit / blame goes to me. But our C5 crew, Nylon and Datu assessed the opportunity and coordinated the PvP elements for the event. They put in huge numbers of hours, organized the communication to the Alliance and turned it into a CTA – but with the promise of fun and riches. The response was amazing. The small ship crew from our C2 came out in force and scouted for hours, secured the access routes and basically provided the backbone of the POS shooters together with our C4 crews from different time zones. Some folks set alarm clocks, some folks called in sick (ahem…) and some folks had out-of-corp characters tied up for weeks hauling, scouting and not getting visible credit. The cohesion of the team rallying around a single operation was phenomenal.
So, here goes a massive shoutout to Illusion Of Solitude – the best bunch of space cadets I could imagine flying with. Its a real honor. You guys make the game what it is.
For me, this was specifically rewarding. Oreamnos and I joined Z3R0 Return Mining in June 2011 and have been with the team ever since. We have several others friends from this area, together, we experienced jobs lost, new jobs found, babies born, parents dying, friends surviving horrific accidents and other personal problems and triumphs. Against all odds, we did not flame out, we did not failscade and we did not dissolve into an amorphous mess. Our Alliance stands for the same values as Z3R0 did in 2011 and stayed this way not because of one autocratic leader (although Oreamnos recently set new bookmark standards…) but because we attract and retain people who think like us. In times of need (like at Sochi) this creates a very fast, unspoken trust and aligns behavioral patters. Communication during the siege was phenomenally disciplined for a team that doesn’t fly all that much with each other and at no point did anyone question the FCs, overall strategy or tactics. Together, this gives me great confidence that our team will respond similarly when the proverbial manure hits the fan. I always assumed that our Alliance coalesces and comes together for a cause – now I know for sure.
And lastly, a comment on the morality of it all.
Wormhole space is inherently very dangerous. Without local channel, with mass limits and no traditional sovereignty mechanics, with routes that need to be scanned down every day, Wormhole hole space is arguably the most dangerous space in New Eden. Sub-C5 holes don’t lend themselves to large scale support fleets, capital ships are mostly out of the equation and fights are man-to-man rather than Blob-to-blob. Losses really mean something here, your home, your entire livelihood is lost once the last scout is podded out. Everyone who lives in Wormhole space knows this (or eventually finds out) – the reason why people stick to this unforgiving world are that massive ISK can be made by a good team. Anyone in EVE subconsciously evaluates the risk of a planned activity against the reward. Running a C2 can be highly profitable (with PI, sites, rolling holes, industry and invention) and a well defended POS is excellent to reduce the risk of invasion. But it reduces risk, not eliminate it, as our target has experienced – after a while, people who see nothing but rewards ignore the risk. Wallstreet traders routinely bankrupt their clients and employers because they neglect the risk aspect of their profession.
Our target had gone complacent. During my month in the hole, he had tons of opportunity to hide his wealth in the ship array or export them for sale. He did not have to float 2 Orcas at any given time for example. I assert that he had staid unmolested so long that could not imagine any real threat. If we had not evicted him, Wormhole space would have stayed a little too safe. All we did is to reset the natural balance of things.
I know this turned into a longer rant that most people want to read but it was a long operation and brought up many things I needed to think / write about. And after nearly 4 years of writing this blog, I assume readers are used to my stream of consciousness.