Archive for the Eve History Category

Northern Migration :: AAA Lands in X-7

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History on March 31, 2012 by Easley Thames

After a mere two-week “break” from major 0.0 warfare, -A- has started a new campaign in the north.

While the master-plan has not yet been revealed, most public speculation has focused on AAA seeking revenge on the CFC for supporting Legion of xXDeathXx in recent months.

To an extent, I can confirm this interpretation is accurate. We will definitely be making life painful for the CFC.

However, the purpose of our trip up north is not to tip the scales against them in the long-term, or to re-balance their war in-favor their permanent opponents.

Instead, we will play the role of a third party. After all, we have equal reason to kill NCdot and Raiden as we do TEST & Goonswarm. More than anything else, we are in this war – as always – because we are lead by angry Russians who never forget a grudge.

This time, we kicked things off by jumping 280 carriers and a classified number of super-capitals clear across the galaxy, starting in GE-8 and landing in X-7.

Using a system in Providence as our first mid-point lead to a hilarious reaction within CVA.

We had been hot-dropping carriers in Provi over the last week, and some of us joked that we were going to “conquer Providence” in the coming days.

If anyone has credibility when it comes to conquering Providence, it’s us. AAA is the only alliance to have ever gone through with the enormous station grind that Provi requires.

So with that in mind, when we jumped nearly 300 capital ships into R3-K7K, the locals started having heart attacks in their intel channels. Luckily for CVA, this time it was just an early April fool’s joke.

Then again, who wouldn’t be afraid of our new super-weapon. Formed from the hulls of mere carriers, together we form Voltron: Defender of The Universe!

After making our first few jumps, we stopped to re-fuel in low-sec space.

We gave some local pirates quite a scare as we jumped in, pushing the systems we visited into heavy time-dilation.

If we had used a less obvious cyno ship, we probably could have gotten a few kills out of the trip, but that wasn’t our priority.

Our goal was swiftly moving into our destination, with as much stealth as is possible for an alliance of our size.

We made relatively good time across the Galaxy, considering the numbers involved, and I actually think that our only losses were a couple cyno ships.

That may sound unremarkable, but when you have capitals disconnecting in low-sec systems, you can never be too careful.

The new cyno effect is awesome. I must admit I took few screenshots of us jumping out to Pure Blind.

After we docked our carrier armada, we decided to reinforce a TEST-owned Tech moon in the system with some of the toys we brought along.

While we aren’t really planning to stay long enough to profit much from the moon, attacking valuable asset in our staging system is a great way to get fights.

Besides, if the idea is to cause TEST and GSF some pain for helping PL’s bandwagon fight us in the past, denying them some of their Tech income is a good way to accomplish that.

The dick-star moon (all hardeners) melted under the guns of a couple hundred mega-pulse platforms, but TEST had enough time to form up some bombers on short-notice.

Unfortunately for them, they were all caught and killed on their second run, before they earned any kills.

Here is the battle-report of the very short “fight” on the tower —

I took a screenshot just after bubbling them in my Sabre, but most of their bombers had already been popped or podded before I could hit the “print screen” button.

This conflict should be a great source of entertainment for us.

It’s an “away game,” so the stakes for -A- are somewhat less than they have been in our recent wars, but so far the participation has been impressive.

Our Russian/Euro timezone move-op involved over 350 people, with more U.S. players showing up late to the party every hour. Keep in mind these people are all from AAA and our sister-alliance, En Garde. This is not a coalition deployment.

Choosing an NPC 0.0 staging point provides us with a degree of freedom in terms of committing to fights, since we only really need to un-dock when it suits us. That is an ideal position, as far as morale goes.

Finally, it’s worth noting that X-7 is a nostalgic location for many of us.

Max 2.0 launched from the very same system, as have many other campaigns, and the place has a sense of “epic scale” to it in more ways than one. The 200 AU diameter of the solar system is a fitting symbol of this place’s importance in Eve history.

Advertisements

The King of Scapegoats

Posted in Alliance Leadership, CCP, Eve History on March 29, 2012 by Easley Thames

The Mittani has long been called the “King of Space.” Though he is reviled by many in this game for a myriad spectrum reasons ranging from “arrogance” to “he killed my alliance,” the Goon-king recently earned a certain level of grudging respect from many players – myself included – as a result of his efforts on CSM 6.

Pushing for vital changes at the height of the Jita riots, when CCP stood on the very edge of the abyss, The Mittani has been nearly-universally praised by his former CSM colleagues for his extraordinary efforts as chairman.

The Mittani helped organize the CSM into a effective organization for the first time, using Skype and other forms of communication to hold informal meetings, so that they would be effective when they faced CCP.

Though many view him as self-interested, the renewed emphasis by CCP on (FiS) “Flying in Space” is attributable in no small part to his advocacy, and this shift has been very popular with the broader community.

CCP’s top executive even mentioned him by name during the keynote presentation at fan-fest this year, where his contributions during the crisis were mentioned. In particular, Hilmar specifically discussed the somewhat tense “emergency summit.”

Many have already discussed the overly-harsh, knee-jerk reaction by CCP to Mittani’s gaff. I am among those who think he should have been allowed to stay on the CSM as a delegate, if not as the chairman; especially after his heartfelt apology, resignation as chairman, and generous compensation paid to the “victim” in this case.

What I want to focus on is something else, CCP’s complicity and hypocrisy in this whole affair. CCP saw the slides in advance. Think about that for a moment. They KNEW that Mittani’s presentation was going to focus on the time spent griefing a player that later claimed to be suicidal as a result of serious real-life issues.

Did CCP prevent this from going forward? Of course not, Eve is all about this kind of behavior. The only real competitive advantage Eve has is its cold, heartless galaxy full of players looking to take full advantage of the sandbox.

Now, and this part is critical, what exactly did CCP approve in his presentation? Based on the facts given in the CCP-approved slide-show, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of a publicly-available kill-board could already find this pilot’s name with minimal effort.

It doesn’t even end with their knowledge of the slides. Consider what these panels are like – generally speaking. If fan-fest is a “party at the top of the world,” then the alliance panel is like a meeting of all the crime-bosses responsible for supplying the drugs and every other manner of vice.

CCP green-lit presentations from people who represent all of the most violent, lawless play-styles in Eve – from suicide ganking, to black-ops ganks, to worm-hole ransoms, to 0.0 blobbing and conquest.

We got to listen to singing ransoms, scamming stories, and plenty of examples of high-sec “griefing.”

They gathered these brutal braggarts, and then fed them tons of booze, all before shoving them in front of microphones set to broadcast LIVE across the internet. What could possibly have gone wrong with this plan?

The lack of foresight here is astounding. That is, of course, if you believe they really care about the kind of behavior The Mittani displayed in the slightest.

I certainly don’t think they ever thought for a single moment about this “Wis” individual. He was just another great story in the dark history of Eve.  That’s certainly how I felt watching the panel.

If they felt the subject matter was even slightly objectionable, CCP could have done a broadcast delay (even as little as 30 seconds) on the live stream.

Had they done this, they would have been able to censor the name of the supposedly-suicidal pilot’s character, as well as some of the profanity in each presentation.

Or, alternatively, they could have censored the presentation material ahead of time by suggesting revisions to the presentations. But why should they have to?

These are the kinds of stories Eve players lust for, and I believe CCP enjoys them every bit as much as we do.

We’re all in this game for the kind of – at times brutal – freedom that we have to interact with (and indeed harm) one another.

The real problem is that CCP is still operating on the basis of a tacit acceptance that “anything goes,” but as soon as they get negative media attention about their players, they shove the offending individuals into the forefront and circle their wagons – feigning outrage and surprise.

They tell the community to HTFU – that’s “harden the FUCK up” one moment – then when people pick on each other in a way that raises flags outside the Eve community, they then turn around an put 100% of the blame on the shoulders of those gamers.

Why did they allow this story in the slides to begin with if they don’t find the idea of someone potentially killing-themselves over a couple-dozen internet spaceships to be amusing in the first place? Is that not strongly implied by their conduct? Is that not the greatest proof that “Eve is real” for the players?

It’s time for CCP to get called-out on this. They have been shameless in their attempts to court the press by convincing them that this was unforeseeable and shocking.

As someone who watched the panel, I didn’t even flinch when he named the name. It was neither surprising, nor shocking, when he joked that we could all go and try to make this guy kill himself.

In conclusion, CCP should have admitted they played a major role in this whole affair.

Either they should rethink they way they approve presentation materials before fan-fest, or they should stop contorting the Terms of Service and EULA to punish someone for an out-of-context real-life communication.

I feel strongly that, at a bare minimum, this means they should have shared in the responsibility. Instead, they came down hard on the man that – in many player’s eyes – had a major role in saving their company’s very soul last year.

The sad thing is, the gaming press will drop this story in a day or two, and even having him step-down as chairman would have been enough of a signal to non-Eve players that “the mean guy got punished,” but instead they removed one of the best voices we have on the CSM entirely.

For all the reasons stated above, as well as man others I have posted in the comments of various news-sites and forum posts, I can’t see CCP’s response as anything but cowardly.

They are just fortunate that The Mittani was so uncharacteristically willing to fall on his sword for them this time. Not everyone would do the same in this situation.

C-J Falls :: 2000+ Pilots Involved as Multiple Coalitions Clash

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Fleet Tactics, Mercs, North versus South, Pandemic Legion on March 7, 2012 by Easley Thames

Tonight the C-J station came out of its final reinforcement timer. The battle in this system was not only enjoyable by all accounts, but also provides clues about the future shape of the North-Eastern sovereignty map.

By the time of this battle, RA had already moved most of their assets out to low-sec, as part of their announced plan of relocating to Delve.

Furthermore, neither XxDeathXX nor RA had an operation planned to defend the system. If that were the end of the story, things would have been pretty boring tonight.

However, aware of a developing PL / NCdot plan to upset AAA and Solar’s night of conquest, AAA called out for a full “red pen” CTA.

Given the numbers arrayed against them, even the mighty Tech Cartel alliances would have thought-twice about engaging AAA tonight, but this time they ended up gaining critical support from an unlikely source.

Whether it was a revival of the “bro pact,” or merely an attempt to mount a formidable defense in the name of “good fights,” PL and NCdot were able to get the support of the same people who helped murder their super-carriers  last week.

Source: kugutsumen.com

That’s right. This time Goons + Test + other CFC alliances fought on PL and NCdot’s side.

Some are calling this a nostalgic return to the days of the “bro-pact” between Goonswarm and PL.  While the leaders of both alliances do chat regularly, I think this can be explained in other terms:

  • PL and TEST have already been in cooperation for quite some time as fellow “Honey Badgers.” Many in TEST look-up to PL and enjoy working with them.
  • Goon leaders – including The Mittani – have a long history of cooperation with Red Alliance and XxDeathxX. Red Alliance was a part of the Red Swarm Federation, along with Goons and TCF. Among other notable pro-goon actions, XxDeathxX played a major role in the successful “all-in” offensive on Delve in 2009 under the leadership of Darius Johnson by attempting to heroically guard the Eastern flank against Atlas & AAA.
  • Third, and most importantly, this was the only way a real fight could go down in the system tonight, and everyone agrees that fighting 1000 people is far more fun than not fighting anyone on a Tuesday night.

Evoke and some other pro-PL groups also made a modest showing, but the major balancing force against the A-Team was clearly the CFC tonight.

Some expected to see Raiden on the field, but cooperating with Goons would probably have been too much for them to stomach.

The following list is highly abridged, since I don’t want this image to be any longer, but the total numbers are roughly correct.

The Cluster-Fuck Coalition (CFC) was hit very hard on their jump-in to the system by Nulli Secunda, Occupational Hazard, The Initiative, and SOLAR. These alliances demolished the CFC drake fleet.

A large CFC bomber gang was able to skip past the gate-camp and get involved with the main-battle on the station, but their presence was a double-edged sword, since bombing runs were actually a hindrance to the “Slow Cat” sentry-drone doctrine being used by PL tonight.

Needless to say, the carnage was immediate, but with Time Dilation maxed out (all the way to 10% with 1900 in local) things took a while to resolve themselves.

To elaborate on the strategy used by PL and NCdot, Shadoo brought in a fleet of approximately 140 carriers filled entirely with sentry drones. Each carrier can hold hundreds at a time, so losing a few waves to bombing or anti-support fire is not an immediate ‘game-over’ situation.

PL’s plan was to fight on station so that they could de-aggro and dock if the fight got to messy.

The coordinated sentry fire was theorized to be a good counter to just about anything engaging at ranges up to 100km. This seems to have proven true, given that they successfully brought down several after-burner Tengus at long range.

The fighting was already well under-way when I logged into C-J with my  dictor. I had flown over and logged-out the night before in anticipation of this brawl, and luckily I arrived in time to participate in the bulk of the fighting on the station.

Sentries were fairly effective in popping -A- fleet ships with coordinated sentry fire, but bombs and support-ships killed hundreds of these t2 drones.

It was an expensive engagement for everyone, especially since PL and NCdot were stripped of literally every support ship in short order.

The destruction of all hostile support allowed AAA and Solar (among others) to drop super-carriers on the station with relative impunity.

PL may have been able to match or exceed the A-Team’s super-cap numbers, but tactically it would have been a colossal blunder without support.

NCdot and PL were forced to dock when the -A- and Solar supers cyno’d in.

To the credit of PL and NCdot, they were fast about calling for their carriers to pull in drones and de-aggro, so only one carrier was killed by supers.

Pictured Here: PL's "Slow Cat" Carrier Setup

I feel compelled to mention that this was one of the best showings from -A- in a long time, with 400 alliance members involved, including a strong super-cap showing.

The alliance had labeled this operation as extremely high-priority, so it is doubtful that AAA Russians and U.S. players will be together on the same field like this very often, but it was nice to see what we’re capable of when we really want something.

It shows that -A- has a great deal of dormant potential that can be dialed-up on occasion, especially when merging its two major timezone groups into a single operation.

In particular, the missile spam from AAA’s Tengus was immense. Including all friendlies, there were over 300 Tengus on the field.

Back when T3 cruisers were introduced, members of my corp joked about a day when an alliance could field a full fleet of these pimp-mobiles. It’s crazy to see those musings actually turn out to be descriptive of reality in 2012.

With no firewall to block the incoming waves of heavy missiles, even heavily-tanked (and low-signature) Proteus and Legion hulls were popped without difficulty.

As soon as PL and NCdot docked up their carriers in C-J, the station was flipped by AAA supers, and promptly handed over to Solar Fleet control.

This may hint at the future division of the North-Eastern regions. Even if most of Insmother is retained by AAA, I think flipping C-J sends a signal that -A- does not care about expanding much further North.

More importantly, this battle marks the culmination of the AAA – RA war. The end result is clear: RA has lost, and AAA has won.

There will be plenty of structures to grind, but the most action we can hope for will be fights with opportunistic groups like PL.  RA has already fled this hemisphere, and XxDeathXx seems to be increasingly inactive.

I believe that very soon Solar will be able to declare a similar victory over XxDeathXx, thereby ending the DRF Civil War, but Eve is an unpredictable place. I will not jump the gun until I see who XxDeathXx can bat-phone to save them from Solar and AAA.

Two major powers have apparently lost the will to fight, and will have to regroup elsewhere, while two others have earned new territory after a long-fought campaign. This is what 0.0 life in Eve is all about.

Pictured above is the aftermath of the fight on the C-J station.

For those who do not know, C-J is the long-treasured crown of Red Alliance’s once-vast empire.

This system holds the same nostalgia for RA members as NOL once held for BoB, and this is only the third time it has ever fallen.

My corp has now been present for all 3 conquests of C-J in this historic system’s long history.

In many ways, the real story here is the decline of the DRF as a coalition.

Sometimes small conflicts can snowball into absolute catastrophes. Such was the case when XxDeathxX pissed off Solar, by taking the side of a renter over their most powerful ally, in what began as a minor standings dispute.

With White Noise existing in name only, RA evacuating to Delve, XxDeathXx flailing with no clear plan for the future, and WTF left adrift with no master to guide it – the future indeed looks bleak for this formerly fearsome group.

I have mentioned it before on this blog, but the butterfly effect – as depicted by CCP’s marketing department – is a real phenomenon in this game. Even small decisions can have immense consequences, and I would bet my favorite hurricane that XxDeathXx’s leadership now regret the way they treated Solar.

The DRF civil war was likely preventable, and it is XxDeathxX’s leadership that is to blame for the coming Drone Region diaspora.

One last topic seems germane to this discussion, and I feel this post would be incomplete without it. That topic is the role of mercenaries in 0.0 sovereignty contests.

Mercenaries are a great asset. From the well-chronicled adventures of  Seleene’s Mercenary Coalition, to the current influence of Pandemic Legion, mercs can clearly tip the balance in 0.0 – sometimes with frightening effectiveness.

However, when you rely on mercs too much it can lead to atrophy within your coalition.  You need to flex your own muscles as an alliance on a regular basis, otherwise they will eventually turn to fat.

I believe RA, XIX, and many others who benefited from their presence in the Drone Regions have put too much confidence in their hired help.

Mercs can be a great tool in a variety of situations, but the evidence available suggests that they make bad long-term guardians of sovereignty.

Operation Etherium Reach-Around

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Fleet Tactics, Killboard Stats, Pandemic Legion on February 29, 2012 by Easley Thames

Not often does one see AAA’s coalition, The Cluster-fuck Coalition (CFC), and tons of random people from all over New Eden cooperating spontaneously.

Tonight, something magical happened in Etherium Reach. In AAA, we will forever remember this day fondly as “Operation Etherium Reach-Around.” It will come as a shock to no one that this name was chosen by eccentric Maverick Navy CEO Avicenna Sarfaraz.

At the outset, let me tip my hat to Mukk Barovian, Perseus Kallistratos, Makalu Zarya, and James Kordent. These four FCs really pulled a rabbit out of a hat tonight, in more ways than one.

Things started off with a relatively small-scale conflict between the DRF and AAA/Nulli in LXQ2-T, with XxDeathXx forming a dread and carrier fleet to kill a Stain Empire POS that was coming out of reinforced mode.

XxdeathXx added two titans to their POS-killing fleet, something that caused AAA spies to raise an eyebrow. Presumably, the XxDeathxX FC was eager to add more muscle to their rather unimpressive fleet of about a dozen carriers, half a dozen dreads, and a small support fleet hitting the Stain Empire PoS.

An Avatar and Erebus were on field when AAA showed up solo, with only 60 sub-caps, but the Avatar cyno’d out at the first sign of trouble. The Erebus was not so fortunate. Once he was tackled by AAA’s Oracle gang, Nulli rushed to support their allies with a swiftly-traveling Naga fleet.

XxDeathXx and Controlled Chaos warped in some additional carriers to repair the imperiled titan, but a very smart order by the AAA FC team lead to the placement of defensive bubbles that caused the carriers to land outside of repair range. This allowed a relatively small battle-cruiser fleet to wear down a titan with minimal interference by hostile remote repair.

The Erebus exploded too quickly for PL or NCdot to arrive. This was due in part to the fact that he was not fully tank fit. Approximately one minute after the titan died, the pro-DRF mercenaries showed up to save the day — or so they thought.

PL and NCdot had around 30 supers on the initial jump-in, with no support to speak of on field. This might seem like hubris to some, but PL’s reputation is often enough to protect them from serious challenges to their super-cap fleet.

Tonight, AAA decided NOT to leave the field when hostile supers landed. Instead, a small number of dictors did their best to hold down PL and NCdot super-caps, while calls for help went out across New Eden.

Some of the first AAA pilots on-field burned to a nearby low-system to trade their current ships for additional DICs and HICs. There was a tense atmosphere, but everyone realized the potential for something special to unfold here. Everyone moved with a sense of urgency.

At one point, PL and NCdot were able to free up the majority of their super-cap fleet. They took this chance to warp out. However, a well-timed bubble by AAA FC James Kordent caught a single Aeon seconds before it entered warp.

To their credit, PL and NCdot decided to come back for their stranded comrade, but this decision would eventually cost them dearly. From the moment that the XxDeathXx titan was tackled, forces across the galaxy had been massing.

Reinforcements from every AAA ally were on the way, not to mention the hordes of neutral alliances who just wanted a chance to appear on the kill-mails.

It took some rather dynamic bubbling by AAA dictors to keep the supers bubbled. In particular, MVN FCs James Kordent and Perseus Kallistratos pulled off some impressive feats in the domain of interdiction. Together they used a combined 160 bubbles before help arrived.

Our brave dictor pilots nearly died on multiple occasions. The AAA, Nulli, and  CONDI logistics pilots deserve a huge amount of credit for saving them both repeatedly.

When I personally landed on-field in my Heretic, along with other reinforcements, the situation was still in flux. No one knew for sure which neutrals were going to help PL and which had come merely to pile-on the tackled supers.

Neutrals from dozens of alliances were showing up. Many were bombing the field indiscriminately. TEST’s tornado fleet was firing at both sides of the conflict, while most of the other Clusterfuck members seemed to be focusing primarily on PL and NCdot (though by no means exclusively so).

However, despite the chaos. NCdot and PL supers were now completely covered in bubbles, and they started dieing one-by-one. They deserve recognition for choosing to go down fighting instead of initiating self-destruct. PL and NCdot have a good tradition in this respect, and I wish more people would follow their example until CCP fixes the mechanic so that a kill-mail is produced.

There was only one other moment where PL and NCdot had a chance to escape. The grid was badly contorted, and their supers were able to cross from one grid to another. We spotted this phenomenon early, and had dictors on both grids to prevent any escape.

This is what the end result looked like from my perspective in the AAA fleet.

Some are pointing to this battle a great example of the weakness of an unsupported super-capital fleet. In my opinion, the fact there there were no PL or NCdot titans on field to blap things was a major factor. Even without titans, the super-carriers nearly escaped on multiple occasions.

Super carriers were already neutered to an extent when they lost the ability to launch anything other than fighters or bombers, but titans remain very capable of killing support ships. Perhaps the lesson from the battle in LXQ2-T is that titans are what are imbalanced right now, not super carriers.

In any case, it’s food for thought, and I’m sure CCP is taking everything that happens on Tranquility into account when working on future balancing. If Titan tracking does get a nerf, fights like this – where a small sub-cap fleet holds down many supers until help can arrive – might be far more common.

This victory was preceded by PL losing 2 other super carriers to AAA, and morale among the Southern bloc is improving at a time when XxDeathxX and RA are both holding high-level meetings about the future of their coalition.

Ultimately, super-capitals can be replaced, especially by rich alliances like PL and NCdot. What can’t be paid for is the psychological impact of a super-capital being destroyed. Whether or not this harms the DRF, PL, or NCdot – it will definitely positively impact on everyone else involved.

Battle Summary: http://dog-net.org/brdoc/?brid=5104

Capital Kills —

Ship Class Total
CARRIERS 9
DREAD

6

SUPER-CARRIERS 6
TITANS 1

The Five Most Destructive Alliances of All Time :: A Short Review of the Data

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History, Killboard Stats on October 24, 2011 by Easley Thames

While bored at work, I decided to construct a simple table comparing the most destructive alliances of all time. The data is taken from Battle Clinic, which is the largest and oldest-running kill mail database available to Eve players.

This table includes the top 5 ranked alliances on Battle Clinic (based on their all-time rank). Though Battle Clinic rankings are based on kill-points, I find that the most interesting data is the overall amount of kills, losses, and isk damage caused by each alliance.

A note about “BC” rankings. Battle Clinic ranking is based off “kill points,” not the raw isk value of kills.

For example, killing a T2 frigate in another T2 frigate is worth 20 points, while killing that same T2 frigate in a battle-ship is worth much less points, even though the isk value of the kill is the same in both cases. This system is supposed to judge the difficulty of a kill, and in most cases it works well.

Sharing a kill with multiple players spreads the value out, so solo kills are the most valuable. This tends to benefit alliances that have many small-gang and soloist pilots.

Of the top-5 alliances, it’s easy to see why each of them are there:

(1) AAA has held down the top spot for years. While AAA’s current enemies in the DRF tend to portray AAA as cockroaches that refuse to die after losing space, the truth is that sovereignty is a secondary priority for most AAA pilots.

AAA has maintained an almost compulsive small-gang roaming culture with multiple gangs across multiple timezones since their formation.

That tradition is very much alive today, and the alliance is now more active than ever in the U.S. timezone, in large part due to the addition of  The Maverick Navy’s fleet commanders.

Looking closely at the numbers, the sheer volume of kills by AAA pilots tells the whole story. The kill total is un-matched by any of the other alliances listed, and this tells me that AAA has been constantly involved in fighting.

AAA has more kills than the all-time #2 and #3 ranked alliance combined, and is – in that sense – the most destructive.

(2) The Privateers. Ah yes, the greatest terrors of high-sec. These campers regularly scored mission-fit battleship kills with small groups, which is an excellent kill-point generation strategy.

You can see the relatively low number of losses for Privateers, which is evidence of the well known fact that their prey is mostly unsuspecting high-sec fodder. However, the lack of large-scale battles means less overall kills as well.

Privateers also suffer in the isk damage category, largely because you cannot score high-value capital and super-capital kills in empire. I guess ganking in Jita has to have some drawbacks to it.

(3) Triumvarite, the phoenix that keeps burning itself out, only to rise again.

This alliance, which can be considered the precursor to Northern Coalition(dot) of today, was a nasty menace that kept a much larger norther force on their heels for months at a time, periodically disbanding when the e-peen of involved parties got in the way of operating a single alliance.

Triumvarite was well known for both small gang roaming and ganking capitals, both of which generate copious kill-points.

Unlike privateers, who took very few risks, you can see from the numbers that Tri definitely took heavier losses as a result of fighting an organized opponent while out-numbered.

(4) Pandemic Legion, the game’s one true king-maker for hire, and the force whose fittings and tactics have been most heavily imitated in the last two years.

I expected that, being the game’s most successful super-cap killers, their isk destruction total would be very high, and it is. PL is only 5 trillion isk behind AAA, despite killing roughly half as many ships.

PL certainly has a healthy kill-point generation source in large battles, where they are generally un-matched, but perhaps they are not quite as active between major battles.

Since PL is well-known for playing other games actively (like myself), I think this is probably explains what we see reflected in the data.

(5) Stain Empire is a tough group of Southerners with a long-held regional alliance with Coven and AAA. These Southern alliances tend to place a strong emphasis on roaming and casual pvp, which is reflected in their strong overall ranks.

Much like AAA, Stain Empire appears to care more about fun battles than holding space. SE is even more extreme in this regard than its neighbors, and they have proven they are perfectly content to live in the NPC-owned Stain region.

During the invasion by the DRF, which caused a massive wave of counter-balancing, Stain Empire stuck to its principles and temporarily reset many of its allies to keep the kill-mails flowing.

The stand-out statistic here is the fact that SE has apparently caused 68.3 trillion in damage, which is more than twice the next closest  total. Unless there are fake mails involved, that means AAA trails SE with 31.4 trillion destroyed, despite killing more than twice as many ships.

This amount is larger than the sum total of PL, Tri, and Privateer’s totals. Without going out-side the top-5 ranked alliances, this feat is un-matched and makes SE a strong outlier.

Stain Empire – at first glance – seems to be the single most destructive alliance in Eve history.

The Super-Cap Gap

Posted in Eve History, Fleet Tactics on October 5, 2011 by Easley Thames

These days, everyone is talking about super capitals. The DRF is mass-producing them, the South wishes they had more of them, and the Goons wish they were never put into the game.

These ships have become the single most important factor in determining who controls null sec territory, and they seem to have cornered the market on frustration & butt-hurt at a time when customer satisfaction with CCP is at critically low levels.

Because of the high damage of fighter bombers, which require no ammo or energy from the host ship, super carriers have been firmly cemented as the new bulldozers for sovereignty infrastructure.

Compared to dreadnaughts, super carriers have far better offensive and defensive capabilities, with none of the built-in disadvantages that dreads bring.

Super carriers, like titans, have full e-war immunity at all times. Unlike dreads, they don’t need to siege to obtain this immunity, and therefore it is much harder catch them with their pants down in the same manner that often happened to dread fleets.

While in siege mode, dreads can be killed even by a comparatively small number of sub-capital ships. This is because dreads in siege mode cannot receive remote repair, dock, or jump.

This was a great way to balance the behemoth tower-killers of yore. No such balancing mechanic exists for super carriers. Super carriers are far from helpless against sub-caps thanks to their drone bay, fighters, remote ECM burst, and considerable buffer tank.

And then there are the titans.

There is no other ship class that has caused so many problems in the history of eve. Titans have been broken since release, and every change has simply replaced one game-breaking super-weapon with another game-breaking super-weapon.

Titans have never been fun to fight against. Originally, they could remotely AOE ships from another system through a cyno. In those days, they didn’t even have to jump through to set off the weapon.

Later, they were forced to jump through in order to deliver the doomsday, so people started bring “waves” of titans to ensure it wasn’t possible for anything to survive and tackle the titan.

Now, with titans being something like a super-capital sized battleship, people are not bringing a handful titans in waves before quickly hiding them, they are dropping dozens of them at a time on everything that moves.

And why not? It’s not as if there is any risk involved with dropping 50 titans, unless of course there are 51 titans nearby who are ready to counter you. Some refer to this as the “n + 1” counter.

Titans not only reduce capital fleets to ash, they also have an equally strong impact on key sub-capitals ships. Titans can turn a “sub-cap advantage” into a long list of loss mails rather quickly unless you have obscene odds in your favor.

The common retort when discussing the primacy of supers in 0.0 is a two word reply, “cyno jammers,” as if these were an easy counter to sustain 23/7.

All it takes is an unannounced form-up by the enemy in your weak timezone, and rather quickly the jammer will be gone, usually too fast for a coalition to communicate and respond with sufficient force.

The enemy can jump in their supers and dominate the system from then on. If they need to log, they can log in system, and erecting a new jammer will do nothing to eject the supers who have already made it in.

Once you have hostile supers logged in a system, they will be able to log them in unpredictably to take down any new jammers. They can also cause all kinds of other misery for you.

Even if you could protect your jammers 23/7 and lock-in your own supers to crush invaders, you will have to cycle the jammer eventually to move your own caps into the system. Otherwise, the enemy could simply hit every other system first while you hide under a single jammer.

The bottom line is that a determined attacker will get their supers on-field if they want it badly enough.

To make matters worse, an incapacitated jammer prevents the anchoring of a replacement, so the defenders will have to repair or destroy their own busted jammer before they can re-jam the system.

So when speaking of “jammers,” remember that they are not an invincible on/off switch that the defender can flip at will, it is simply another pos module that can be taken out in a variety of ways.

Currently, supers are getting a ton of attention, and with good reason.

One of the things that makes Eve interesting is the room for creativity and innovation in fleet warfare. At the sub-capital level, this kind of evolution in tactics and fittings has always been alive and well.

Even when carriers and dreads started being used in large numbers, there was a huge space for diversity in tactics and fittings (e.g. – sniper dreads, brawler dreads, pantheon carriers, triage carrier rotations).

In those days, any good capital strategy involved using sub-caps as well, and losing all of your support often meant your destruction.

What made the capital ship class interesting was that – while powerful – they were also very vulnerable. Triage mode and siege mode present a HUGE risk. This is a TRADEOFF you make for more power.

Super capitals are not forced to choose between power and safety. A large group of supers are very safe on any battlefield.

Even against a larger group of supers, inadequate log-off mechanics ensure that you are likely to save the majority of your fleet in the case of a well-executed trap.

Supers represent a dead-end. There is no reason to specialize in anything else, and there are no counters to be found in other ship classes.

I realize people have killed supers with 200-300 suicidal gank-fit sub caps before. This is fun and I cheer along with everyone else when “welp fleet” takes down a super carrier, but this is not a counter that will allow a side with less supers to win a major battle, it’s more like harassment, and it only works under specific conditions.

Instead of a “rock, paper, scissors” situation (example: armor hacs v. alpha BS v. Tengus), or a Achilles heel situation (example: siege mode for dreads), we have a class of ships that have no weaknesses.

When the only direct counter for a ship/class/character/team is more of that ship/class/character/team, this is the essence of a broken game mechanic.

Right now, a majority of the super-cap heavy alliances are part of the same coalition.

This coalition, lead by the Drone Region Russians, was formed for a singular purpose: the destruction of the Northern Coalition.

To this end, Raiden (ex-BoB) and NCdot (ex-Tri) joined hands with the heavily Russian DRF. By this time, the DRF already included Red Alliance, Legion of xXDeathXx, Solar Fleet, White Noise, Intrepid Crossing, Red Legion, The Jagged Alliance, Controlled Chaos, and others.

Pandemic Legion, the largest super-cap force in the game, once again played “king-maker” here, joining the Russians and their comrades in exchange for a hefty sum.

At first, I was cheering for the NC to finally meet their end, as were nearly all of us in MVN, but soon I began to wonder if it really was such a good thing for the game to see a large care-bear oriented bloc that was notorious for welcoming new players removed entirely.

Combined with a null-sec income nerf, and the introduction of high-paying incursions, there was little reason for the bears residing in the North to fight and reclaim their space.

The result was more people playing in empire, which means less targets for everyone other than Privateers & The Orphanage.

It would have been fine if the replacement for the NC were simply a number of smaller coalitions, but what we got was another mega-bloc.

With the NC defeated, PL went back to playing better games than Eve, and they reset standings until they are needed again.

However, the rest of the coalition has remained intact, despite the lack of any existential threat to the DRF or any real re-consolidation of the NC to be found anywhere.

Next, the majority of the coalition that was necessary to pry the NC from the North was leveraged against AAA, and the other “Southern” alliances. Ostensibly, this conflict also involved the residents of the entire Southwest, among whom are several ex-NC entities.

I can say with confidence that very few supers are being built in the South right now. Some corps are crazier than others in this regard, but everyone feels the impending doom of the DRF and their new allies.

It isn’t really a mystery why Raiden and NCdot kept the DRF blue, they want to beat up on a weaker coalition more than they want to worry about defending their own space right now.

Their choices were to attack West into Deklein, attack east into IRC space, or bandwagon with White Noise & RA against AAA in the South. Considering the stomping the Russians took in 46DP, I can only imagine that the Russians were pleading for help at that point.

So, predictably, the groups that once resented the NC for having “too many blues” decided to keep their new mega-bloc standings intact and go South.

Down here, they have been helping White Noise take revenge for the CSAA’s AAA destroyed, and to “reclaim” space that White Noise took from AAA to begin with.

Initially, the war was going well for AAA and friends. Red Alliance + White Noise + xxDeathxx + Controlled Chaos + Ultima Ratio were a good match for AAA + ROL + Nulli + Cascade/Atlas + Nulli.

Relatively even wars are conducive to large battles where super-caps are frequently deployed on both sides. Epic battles ensue, and fun is had by all. The brawl that took place in 46DP is a great example of this.

Victories under relatively-even conditions feel earned, and tend to make for great stories to write about. These are also the kinds of stories that draw new players to the game.

On the other hand, one-sided wars raise the stakes of using supers too high for the weaker bloc. While easier for the conqueror, these wars harm morale on both sides because there is no suspense, and even fewer enjoyable fights.

With the alliances currently tied to the DRF remaining blue, and the power of supers unchecked, we effectively have a uni-polar world on Tranquility right now.  This means new coalitions are unlikely to be able to break into 0.0, and the current blocs not-allied with the DRF exist only at their mercy.

This situation does not provide much fun for current players, and worse yet, it doesn’t draw in new players into 0.0 – or even to playing the game in the first place.

The Dominion experiment has failed, perhaps even more spectacularly than the Incarna expansion.

I don’t consider it a stretch to say that a super-capital imbalances between major power blocs are bad for the game itself. Dominance by one power bloc, which is made possible by an ever-growing growing super-capital majority, inevitably contributes to apathy.

This is the super-cap gap that many people, myself included, consider game-breaking.

When people feel that logging in doesn’t matter, they are more likely to move on to other games. This is bad for everyone involved, regardless of who won and lost in their most recent campaigns.

Right now, when all the supers in the game are counted up, the DRF and their allies simply have too many toys, especially if you count PL on their side.

Everything mentioned so far is common knowledge. I think CCP, the players, and even the non-Eve-playing gaming media are aware that there are balance problems with this game right now.

What hasn’t been discussed adequately is how to fix things.

First off, a political solution could be reached that breaks the DRF into at least two smaller parts. This would be a temporary fix to the problems caused by the super-cap gap, but it doesn’t access the root of the problem.

Most importantly, this kind of political solution is something only players could control, since I don’t believe CCP is creative or ballsy enough to come up with a way to penalize players for having large blue lists.

Additionally, any temporary reset between group like NCdot and their Russian comrades is likely to be temporary. Any serious threat to either side would lead to a renewed bandwagon.

Second, supers could be nerfed. This is something CCP has already come to terms with, and I suspect a poll of every player in 0.0 would heavily favor this outcome. The only question is, how.

Right now on singularity, titans cannot doomsday sub-capital ships. This is the first step towards balancing titans, and by far the most needed change.

Titans currently get “rooted” for 30 seconds after firing their doomsday weapon, which is only a minor limitation, but they also cannot cloak or jump out of the system for 10 minutes. These restrictions are still present on singularity, but they have not been increased, which has come as a disappointment to some players.

The real problem with the current “penalties” associated with the doomsday weapon is that they make dropping a single titan on a hostile target (like a ratting carrier or jump freighter using a cyno beacon) hazardous for that one pilot, but they do not make large titan fleets any less safe when deployed together.

In order for 50 titans on grid to worry about their 10-minute timers, they would need to be in danger to begin with. Making them stick around is only a penalty if there is a chance that someone stands a chance of killing them.

So what’s still missing?

Titans need to be more vulnerable to sub-cap fleets. The DD target nerf is a huge step, but turret-based titans need to be unable to chew through hostile battleship fleets like they do. Nerf them all to the level of the Leviathan, which can only harm other capitals with its launchers.

I think that dreads also need a major boost in damage, effectively making them a viable counter to supers if you can resign yourself to losing them in large numbers.

My biggest question is, what about the super carriers?

Super carriers are cheap compared to titans, and they out-class both carriers AND dreads in every way.

I think a dread buff would go a long way to indirectly nerfing super carriers, since they share the role of anti-capital and anti-structure powerhouse. However, that doesn’t seem sufficient to me.

Some have proposed limiting super carriers to fighters and bombers, removing the ability to launch other drones. I don’t think this really gets to the heart of the problem. Having only fighters for killing sub-caps and only bombers for killing capitals would not be particularly limiting.

I personally favor a hit point nerf, reducing them to about 5x the EHP of a carrier instead of their current form (which is around 12-15x times the EHP of a carrier).

As an example, a Thanatos has 125k armor while a Nyx has over a million armor, with more slots to add tank. Supers are usually dead-space tanked as well, while carriers get t2 or faction at best.

There is another more radical change that I support. I am a proponent of removing e-war immunity for super carriers and titans.

What better way to reign in the power of super capitals than to allow well-coordinated teams of e-war specialists to dampen, disrupt, jam, scramble, and web these behemoths.

It only seems fair that titans should be vulnerable to tracking disruption since they can benefit from remote tracking links. It only seems fair that super should be vulnerable to dampening since remote sensor boosting works on them.

I would absolutely love to see a smart group of players beat an over-confident super-cap fleet using ewar and superior tactics. Perhaps a group of sniper dreads supported by dampening from a large sub-cap fleet (all of which fitting a phased muon dampener) would be able to pull off an incredible victory.

Isn’t that kind of scenario the stuff that makes for great player videos and great stories? I think it is, and I also think it’s time to move away from a model where the side with the most supers always wins.

This change would also make it possible to keep supers tackled with sub-capitals, even if they clear away all hostile dictors. Bubblers would still be important though, since it’s hard to individually point a large number of ships.

Finally, I think it’s time for one more major change to the game, longer log-off timers for capital and super-capital ships.

Right now, a side that commits large numbers of supers to a battle can simply log them all off when things start to go south. Sure, they will lose a few of them, as the DRF did in 46DP, but the majority of the fleet will survive.

What we need to do is move from a universal 15-minute log-off timer (before the ship disappears from space after logging) to a tiered system.

I would suggest that all sub-capital ships disappear, as they do now, in 15 minutes. I think that capitals (carriers, dreads, rorquals, etc.) should disappear in 30 minutes. Most importantly, I favor a 60 minute timer for super-capitals to disappear.

If you commit supers, I want logging them off to be suicidal. Your choices should be to clear away tacklers and escape, fight to the end, or defeat the enemy. No more of this “logoffski” crap, it’s a giant source of blueballs and a crutch for bad fleet commanders.

DRF Scores A “HED-Shot”

Posted in Against All Authorities, Eve History on August 12, 2011 by Easley Thames

Yesterday was a bit depressing. Not only did our side stand down from a major engagement with over 600 people on our side ready to fight, but MVN took its first ever super-capital loss in a very un-glorified way.

When one of our Avatar pilots logged off the day before yesterday, NCdot was able to get his safe spot somehow.

They either had a spy in fleet who had warped to him and bookmarked the spot before he logged the previous day, or they were somehow able to probe him as he logged in yesterday. We do not know which.

Some people are posting that he cyno’d into HED. That is not the case. We did not jump anything into HED, least of all a single titan.

When he logged in at that safe-spot, expecting to be able to cloak safely before being found, there was a dictor waiting for him at the bookmark before he even landed.

The result was AAA’s first ever titan loss in their entire history, and a moment of great embarrassment for MVN. We’ll rebuild it eventually, but the loss upset us deeply. It was a far larger blow to our pride than anything else.

I had long resigned myself to the fact that MVN would probably lose a super in this war, simply because we actually use all of our toys on a regular basis while many in our coalition do not, but I was hoping any supers lost would at least go down swinging in a real fight.

The titan loss happened before we were even fully formed up, so there was no way to rescue him. We eventually gathered 500 people with proper ship types and had another 100 or so in a third fleet with a mixed composition of late-comers.

Our total fleet strength was around 600 sub-caps and a classified number of super-capitals. We had more sub-caps than the DRF, who had around 400 in their sub-cap fleet with, but the problem was their titans.

Even without heavy lag, a large enough group of titans simply makes sub-capital fleets irrelevant. Titans can pop a battleship in 2-3 volleys from their turrets (and sometimes less) and they can DD a command ship or logistic every time the cycle is finished.

In heavy lag, Titans get even more effective. Long cycling times for modules is no problem for a Titan. In comparison, close range battleships (like the Armageddon fleets we have been using heavily) will suffer immensely. Fast cycling weapons suffer the most in heavy lag, while doomsdays and XL-guns are rarely affected.

From the very beginning of this war, we knew that the presence of even half of DRF super-cap fleet would make beating them impossible. That is why protecting the HED cyno jammer was of such great importance.

Ultimately, the lack of active Russians in AAA made it impossible to protect our jammer when the DRF has good numbers. This was compounded by the Stain Empire reset, since SE have long been a key Russian timezone ally for AAA.

Because we couldn’t keep 23/7 system control, the DRF was able to continually break our cyno jammers down, and that is what allowed them to press the “i-win” button time after time.

The failure to protect our jammer made our strength in the U.S. timezone irrelevant.

We haven’t given up on fighting for our remaining systems, but the imminent loss of HED is a massive blow – both logistically and in terms of morale.

I think everyone on our side is proud that we held off the DRF in HED for 3 weeks. A month ago, we all expected that were going to be so badly out-manned and out-gunned by the DRF that we would have to immediately fall back to Stain. That didn’t happen.

AAA became a symbol of resistance to the DRF, and many alliances came to fight at our side. That is the reason we were able to hold out so long in HED. We saw regular participation from Nulli, ROL, Imperial Order and even Razor.

Unfortunately, the DRF seems poised to succeed at the monopolization of 0.0 like no other entity has done before. It is almost a cliche at this point to say that one side is “ruining the game” so I will just hope that the game’s new mega-coalition meets the same disasters that crushed the NC and GBC in the past.

Aside from mass-producing super-capitals, the other key to the success of Russian alliances like White Noise and XXdeath has been support from non-Russian alliances like NCdot and Raiden. If PL are needed, they also make an appearance – for a fee.

My hope is that the current DRF coalition fractures a bit. I can guarantee that they would see far more action from our side if they left their allies from the North at home.