If you replace Syndicate with Deklein in the image above this post, you have a way forward for the Goonswarm Federation. The last few posts of mine that have been dealing with World War Bee have dealt a lot with the spin coming from TMC and Mittens in his fireside chats. Goons at their hearts have always taken things lightly. They are bad at this game. They hail from a comedy culture at Something Awful. The propaganda that Mittens has been spinning lacks any vestige of that. That, at its core, is what I understand DJ to be saying. It’s certainly what Goons all over New Eden who are not in GSF are saying. It actually saddens me to see that GSF Goons are picking up so little of this and are buying into the gossamer shreds of hope that are being pelted out by TMC. I say this because it will ultimately be the end of Goons to a degree completely avoidable.

Of course there will always be Goons in Eve. I fly with them in Horde and PL. Great folks. Darius is building a crew of them. And of course there will always be a GoonWaffe and a Goonswarm Federation. So when I am talking about an end of the Goons to a greater degree than otherwise, I am talking about an end to the current situation that will take GSF far longer to recover from than if it adopts other paths toward the future. Let’s take a look at some things.

First, World War Bee is not totally and 100% one-sided. Goons win some battles. PL makes some mistakes. Both of these phenomena have happened before, and they should not surprise anyone. Longwinded articles making much of the occasional won battle or successful tactic will not win this war. Right now the CFC war chest is enormous. We know that the MBC chest is too. However, MBC alliances control space and moons. The MBC has revenue. GSF revenue is a trickle of what it was. Money buys a will to fight. Goons have their storied history with which to rally themselves, but will that be enough when the war chest runs dry?

Recently, Seraph IX Basarab wrote an EN24 article explaining the Fabian Strategy in specific, historically accurate and academic terms. I’d like to add an observation to his statements, and further cement the truth that the CFC is not employing a Fabian Strategy. GSF is not Rome, but Carthage, and the GSF doesn’t have Hannibal’s war elephants that enabled him to break Roman infantry and get so far.

It may well be that Goons are geniuses, so much superior to PL and NC. and the remaining MBC alliances, who of course are all idiots compared to Mittens. If this is the case, then rather than describe the situation as a Punic War, we might liken WWB to the Nazis’ invading Russia. The Nazi regime had 35 million barrels of petroleum with which to conquer the world. They weren’t getting any more. Thus the attack on the Soviets. Thus the North African campaigns. Thus the war in the Middle East. That’s why it all happened, folks. Don’t kid yourself into thinking there was another reason for WWII. But in WWB, Goonswarm is not defending its space by drawing the MBC into it. GSF is attacking MBC space. I don’t know how you guys are missing that. You will be as effective as the NPC trash you once mocked before Lenny and IWI came along. Yes, you will indeed be annoying. That’s about it.

GSF is now a lowsec alliance. Your bank balance is what it is. You are being rallied by tales that you have won a few battles and your enemies have made some mistakes – that you’ve done a bit of good. If the tales you hear are not of your FCs winning them ALL, for a long, long, long time, you need to consider that the news is bad. The spin you are being fed is nothing but bread crumbs leading you to a big, bad wolf.

Lately, the spin seems to be centered around a hit to PL’s killboard. I’ve long touted that an alliance reaches its point of invulnerability by its reaction to tough times. Not to say that PL hasn’t suffered defeat before, but if their killboard stays low for a while, they will do nothing but become more resolute. GSF knows this. You guys have suffered some horrendous defeats. NC. has too. This does nothing but grow mojo. You’d better have more in mind that muddying a killboard. That’s not going to get you victory.

Victory almost always involves attacking from a position of strength. Instead of spinning yarns of delusion that you are on the verge of breaking PL because you jacked with their killboard, you should learn from them. Their traditional strength has been to ensure that they attack from a position of superior power. That’s why their killboard is as it usually is. And though they may suffer some casualties in a war (imagine that!), they are being true to form. They are farming you. Sometimes it will cost them more, sometimes it will cost them less. Have no illusions, however, concerning what your efforts are really going to get you.

Buying the spin will hurt you. The truth is that you have a leader that cannot take things lightly. He must be serious. Your leader also cannot be wrong. Mittens will never tell you what Remedial did: hey, it’s time to do something else. This will result in a tragedy of lasting effect. I hate to tell you this, Goons, but the day will come when you will go do something else. Unfortunately, with Mittens in charge, that day will be the day that your bank account is empty. You’ll be just another alliance forced to start from scratch. You could avoid this, though. You could conquer some space with trillions in the bank.

If Mittens won’t change his mind, get rid of him. If you can’t get rid of Mittens, Darius Johnson has the right idea. Go back to what you were. Lighten up, and don’t be stupid. Let yourself be bad at the game so you can go have fun and victory in times to come. Great adventures are in your future. Probably even some payback. NC. got theirs. Victory is waiting for you, but it’s not sprouting from Saranen, and it’s not taking root in Deklein.

Goons began with fun and irreverence of the establishment. A decade later, the Imperium plays you videos about discipline and robotic coordination. Oh how the mighty have fallen.  If you want to ruin somebody’s game, ruin Mittens’. He is who got you here. He is who is squandering your wealth and capability. And he is feeding you false yarns that will rob you of future glories.

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby Right Round Like a Record, Baby Right Round Round Round

“Just when I thought I was out, they’re pulling me back in,” seems to be a common theme in a blogger’s life. Due to some real life concerns I’ve actually taken a week off from Eve, something that I hope to change after the weekend. That was also supposed to include a hiatus from blogging, excepting an innocuous little role-play post about Eve technology. After reading the latest article on TMC, though, I just can’t resist rolling up my sleeves and commenting.

This article shows only the barest understanding of the state of supercapital warfare in Eve, in fact evincing a level of understanding dwarfed by my own as a player who has never so much as sat in any kind of super. It is riddled with references to a type of capital warfare that either no longer exists or is quickly fading into Eve’s history. It is doing this in order to prop itself up as a part of a spin wave churned to the fore in the wake of a recent battle in Saranen with the aim of keeping Goon spirits from waning. So first, I’ll talk a bit about the meat of things concerning super warfare, and then I’ll show you how the article is trying to spin you like tops, Goonies.

First, the article is replete with references to B-R and Asakai, trying to set up some kind of a “he who loses supers loses the war due to waning spirit” kind of a situation, talking about how a future battle of B-R where one side wins, (maybe the Imperium?) could totally change the course of the war. He neglects to mention that HoneyBadger lived far longer than Asakai and N3/PL lived far longer than B-R. Neither battle actually had the effect that he predicts from a future battle of the sort. He makes much ado that Fozziesov doesn’t have much to do with Titans, claiming that such battles will be rare and too costly, and for right now we just have to accept that two mighty supercap powers won’t go toe to toe, although they are probably of equal strength.

This is just comical. Let me explain a few things. To paraphrase the one intelligent thing this guys says: ‘structures might have something to do with something.’ The war you see right now is legacy war with a twist. Station games with Titans. Stations are going away. Future wars will be fought over moon goo and Fortizars. For reasons you will see, no Keepstar is going to be destroyed in K-space unless it was anchored by a moron in the first place. At any rate, camping a power in with an enormous supercap group is a result of two things. The first is that stations exist, and the second is that Titans are now specifically designed to slaughter large subcap fleets as a part of their target package. The phenomenon of a hundred billion ISK ship that can only fight like a 3 billion ISK ship (dreadnought), except for being able to do 3 million points of damage to a single ship is gone. Bye.

As of right now, the primary target of supercapital ships is actually a system of structures that have only begun to be implemented. The secondary target of supercapital ships is actually a hive of subcapitals. Shooting other capitals and supercapitals is actually a tertiary target for these ships to be employed against in the event of escalations.

If I haven’t said it before, the sov system is about ratting ticks. That’s pretty much it. We already see alliances not giving a hoot about what DOTLAN looks like. Once outposts are gone, Ihubs will be it. So this guy’s comment that supercap battles will be rare because the sov system doesn’t need them is just silly. We are just biding our time.

How will things look? Well, the players love to undock when they are going to win. CCP loves attrition. Players love to find some little system they can game such as killboard spying, use of local, or DSCAN tools to get a decisive edge that will cause them to surely win or avoid the fight. CCP loves the fog of war. They’ve already talked about delayed local. We had to scream until they saved fleet warping. Off grid alt boosters are on the chopping block.

Supercapital battles will generally be multicompositional battles where supers play a part, usually in a structure fight, as part of an escalation. With damage mitigation, a small number of ships can tear down a structure, but since that structure is going to be shooting back and have the ability to tear down your fleet, you will need to bring extras in order to actually take it down, and the tactics developed by the attackers will require defenders to actually have more than just their structure on field to be victorious.

This will create an attrition scenario in which supercapitals will be an escalation option available to either side. In the case of a Keepstar, the defender will be able to just undock as many supers as he needs, each one able to rip an entire subcap fleet to pieces. An attacker will need his own supers to keep pace with that. Now chances are, nobody is going to risk sending supers against a Keepstar with that kind of escalation capability. However, with the Fortizar, where defenders as well as attackers will face limitations on their ability to infiltrate the field with apex weaponry, things could get dicey. Asakai or B-R dicey? No. But situations will arise where parties will be willing to commit x resources to achieve an objective. Battles will be measured in lots of subcap losses with the possibility of small or large capital losses and with the further possibility of the loss of this or that super or Titan.

That’s what things are going to look like, folks. The picture will become clearer after the drilling platforms come out. I expect they will come out in various sizes and with various capabilities, and that platform on your dyspro moon might just tempt someone to drop supers on it or at least a lot of dreads supported by supers.

The article is woefully ignorant of all this and pretends that the present and future will consist of the same world that we have known for years of supers normally only being dropped in huge masses completely obliterating their targets or, by some freak accident, are dropped on another unimaginably large super force. Given this false future landscape, the author is drawing up an illusory comparison to WWI in order to con the readers into thinking that the MBC and CFC have a parity that we are never going to see because it’s just too risky, but don’t worry, the CFC is just as strong.

Along with this, you see laughable we-didn’t-want-that-anyways such as the statement that lone supers getting picked off is an acceptable risk for the CFC. Frankly, we’ve been well inculcated that the MBC can kill them with impunity, and with a minimal risk to killing them. The real deal is that if the CFC uses supers, they will get annihilated. The MBC doesn’t have this problem. So let’s not eat the hogwash of “don’t leave us guys, we still have our supers! That we won’t use because the risk is to great for both us and the MBC! It’s like WWI where our using our possibly giant super fleet that might not be camped into MBC POSes just doesn’t help with Fozziesov in a fight with MBC supers who would assume the same risk!”

Joseph Goebbels and Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf couldn’t get together and make this stuff up. Bravo Goons!

Eve Technology

So it’s been a while since I have written anything, and my real life is getting haywire. I haven’t really done anything in Eve since before the weekend and may go light for just a little bit, so I figured I’d write a post that diverges from the flavor of the recent ones I’ve been writing. Last week in Eve I ended up talking to some Hordlings about the lore of the technology in Eve, particularly the entosis idea. In that conversation, a few people, veterans by Horde standards, commented that they’d actually never thought about the lore behind entosis before. Following that conversation, my thoughts were drawn to a comment that Mox Nix made in his rather angry post explaining why he was quitting Eve. In that post, he says, “I expected futuristic technology based on real science, physics and realistic, believable science fiction. Not a horribly mismatched collection of unrealistic, unbelievable technology with absurd capabilities, equally absurd limitations, contrived rules and bandaid ‘fixes’ all cobbled together into one gigantic immersion killing mess.” I take issue with this statement, as I find the technological landscape of Eve Online to be quite artful and well-thought out.

Now when talking about Eve’s technology, we have to talk a little bit about Eve’s presentation. There are certain things in Eve that we are expected to take as representational. For instance, we don’t really consider CONCORD’s budget and how it affords to pay out to capsuleers. We just accept that the Guristas are invading, and don’t think about how they constantly recruit people to be constantly slaughtered by capsuleer privateers in the service of CONCORD. Also, we see that as players we install upgrades to make more Guristas attack a system. However, we say that it represents an upgrade we install because more Guristas have started to attack. We just accept that New Eden is a galaxy with only 7,000 stars in it. Eve has a certain balance that is representational, that we look at one step removed. That being said, the conceptual art created via Eve’s systems and technology is actually quite elegant.

So from there, let’s look at the historical influences on Eve’s technology. The latter half of the 20th century is generally labelled by historians as the Space Age. This is the era of both Dune and Star Wars, Isaac Asimov, and the great hard science fiction novelists of old. The central technologies of this science fiction are interstellar travel, spaceships, and laser guns. Now around 1990 with the creation of the internet, and certainly by 2007 with the creation of the smartphone, mankind entered the Communication Age, where information and surveillance are everywhere. Modern science fiction tends to concentrate on advances in this area. In between these ages, in the 80s, there was a genre created by a guy named William Gibson with his story Johnny Mnemonic and Neuromancer novels called “cyberpunk.” The movie Bladerunner was a part of this genre, and while outer space was often a factor, the theme was the dehumanization of humanity through technology and unfettered capitalism. The gadgets of this genre were cybernetics and virtual reality, which are still the mainstay of modern science fiction. So we have a science fiction environment developed over the last 75 years of spaceships, virtual reality, cybernetics, cloning, etc. Eve actually combines a lot of these archetypes.

Concerning Eve’s lore, for those who don’t know, New Eden was populated by human explorers from Earth in a series of distant, small, remote outposts and colonies, which ended up for some reason being isolated from each other when the Eve Gate wormhole from the Milky Way to New Eden collapsed. Because these colonies were small, think of the little colony in the movie Aliens, all of them ended up regressing back to the stone age except one. Over the course of 30,000 years, the colonies developed into unique societies on different worlds until interstellar travel again became a reality and they began to rediscover each other and form the human empires of the galaxy. That forms the basis of Eve technology: space ships, robots, and laser guns – standard Space Age hard science fiction. However, many of the distinctives of Eve’s technology come from that one colony that has not been climbing back up to the Space Age level of technology for the last 30,000 years, but rather has been moving forward. That colony evolved into what we call the Jovians. The Jovians developed unimaginable levels of genetic and cybernetic technology, to the point that they made themselves something completely beyond human, and actually genetically nonviable. Capsuleer technology, the ability to upload one’s consciousness into a computer and download it into a clone, was actually inspired by Jovian technology utilized by, I believe, the Caldari, generally known to be the most technologically advanced human group.

Further, a group of Jovians tried to escape their genetic and biological troubles by uploading themselves into a virtual reality similar to Neo’s Matrix called The Construct that is somewhere in the deepest, completely unknown reaches of wormhole space. These Jovians are called the Sleepers and have their own culture, being no longer really Jovians but something unique to themselves. Now lately in New Eden, we have seen these beings called the Drifters, who appeared shortly after the decloaking of the Jovian observatories and the appearance of the Circadian Seekers. We don’t exactly know what is going on between the Jovians and the Sleepers as to why this stuff is happening, but the Drifters are these semi viable biological entities that use cybernetic implants to stay alive, at least for a while. My guess is that they are Sleepers that are trying to get back into bodies somehow, if even only for a little while, in order to be able to affect things in our universe and somehow interact with these Jovian observatories and Circadian Seekers.

Now with the appearance of the Jovian observatories, Circadian Seekers, and Drifters, the human empires perceived new threats and began to advance technology reverse engineered from these new sources. One of them was this new shielding technology that the Amarr Empire developed from captured Drifter tech. This shielding is basically the foundation of the entosis system. The shields make that which is shielded, stations (for the time being), iHubs, and Territorial Control Units, completely impervious to harm. They have the ability to react to and counter hostile input with an accuracy so astounding that no computer that we can comprehend could be able to manage.

This is because the computers that manage these shields are not composed of transistors or integrated circuits or the binary technology that we in the real world know of. The “chips” of the “computers” that govern this shielding are actually sentient consciousness. Human souls power them. You know, like the unconscious mind that remembers everything you have ever experienced or whatever – actual perfect, unlimited computation. With capsuleer technology allowing humans to merge their consciousness with machines already being available, capsuleers in the vicinity of these shielded items (iHubs, TCUs, etc) integrate their unconscious minds with the defense networks of the shields. Therefore, the more capsuleers around doing more stuff and providing more “thought power” to a defense net, the harder they are to “hack”. This is the root of the Activity Defense Multiplier concept.

Of course it stands that the only way these networks can be hacked is through the merging of consciousness with the network in order to introduce soul-powered viruses into it, ergo the entosis module and the entosis hacker. Further, knowing that Drifters and Sleepers are pretty good at merging their minds with technology, the defense networks have a failsafe in order to facilitate the only advantage over these guys that we have: actual bodies in actual places, flying around all over the place. Whenever a defense network is cybernetically  hacked to a certain degree, the network jump drive launches its processing power to various points in space light years away, so if any entity capable of hacking a defense network gets through to a certain point, they will then have to get in ships and get themselves to these “nodes” and hack them too. That should stop the Drifters, who are few in number and can only be in a few places and for a short time, right?

Well as fate would have it, this technology that was designed to protect human empires from Drifters and Circadian Seekers and a possible Jovian invasion quickly made its way to us psychopathic rogue capsuleers and our empires out in null security space. Fozziesov has been born. So what we see from this is that Eve’s technology is based on a foundation of 20th century space age hard science fiction supplemented with concepts of virtual reality, cybernetics, and advanced bioengineering that have appeared in more recent genres. Yes, we have to step back sometimes and see it as a representative system that plays out a certain way in the game mechanics for the game to work. However, it is based on real thinking about diverse science fiction ideas. Eve is certainly not “bandaid ‘fixes’ all cobbled together into one gigantic immersion killing mess.” It’s quite immersive and very advanced. Microchips are small time in our universe, where computers are made out of human consciousness.

I know some of the lore in this post is old hat for a lot of the Eve lore buffs. I do hope that I am corrected if I have made any mistakes of fact. I do hope, however, that this post serves to show that a fairly advanced and truly faithful science fiction has been brought into our game to drive the systems that allow us to have fun. Hopefully some of my newbean friends learn something here.

Just Awful

Among Mittens’ diatribes against Eve players stand his comments that Goon forums are superior to the Reddit. I am no fan of the Reddit. However, the Something Awful forums are by no means superior to the Reddit, and in my opinion are substantially worse.

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This image is difficult to read. Click here for an Imgur that is easier to make out.