Monday, 29 July 2013

Goon Doomsday - Complete failure, or a successful scam?

Yesterday was the day of more than one war for the Goons.  One was the final battle in the fountain war, for the shield timer of 6VDT-H.  The other was announced as a full high sec invasion of the home system of the Goonswarm Federation, VFK-IV where the Mittanigrad station lies.  This post is about the latter.

A 3 month old player, Harry Forever, who has appointed himself "King HighSec" took to the forum on 18th June to officially declare war on the goons.  He then followed that up on 3rd July by arranging the Goon Doomsday event on 28th July  The plan was simple.  Gather up every high sec player they could muster and throw everything they had at VFK-IV.  The aim of this was to cause chaos in the heart of the Goonswarm Federation causing them to failure cascade and collapse.  It was and interesting proposal, and it gathered quite a bit of activity on the EVE-O forums.  The idea evolved and prizes for best goon kill and most goon kills and the like were considered.  Donations ensued and the prize bank looked pretty appetising for any high sec newbie.  Considering all that was required was to fly a 10m Catalyst down to Deklein and try to gun down some goons in groups for the chance to win a Tengu or a Navy Issue Drake, it all seemed pretty good.  People were posting suggestions and ideas, and even the goons themselves were posting ideas to help the newbies be more effective.

The Problems
There were many problems throughout this event.  First and foremost what the organiser. Harry knows very little about the game, and is completely unwilling to learn.  Any attempts to provide him with help or educate him results in him immediately insulting the other party, then adding them to the blocklist.
There then is the problem of planning.  No plan was put in place to help the high sec players get down there.  Individual high sec players were expected to set VFK as their destination and get themselves down there.  This caused a bit f a problem as the main target audience for this event was high sec newbies and they are unlikely to attempt the journey though bubbled gates to null sec.
Next was the preparation.  Rather than hold off until the last day, Harry spent a lot of time down there beforehand.  This not only dulled the effect of the event when it finally came to pass, but meant that the time that could have been spent recruiting and preparing for the event was lost.  Ideally, ships should have been set up in a nearby NPC null station, reducing down time for the high seccers.
And finally there was execution.  The execution was destined to fail due to the cascading failures from planning and preparation.  Numbers were light, attacks were sporadic, and downtime was long.

The Scam
From near the start of the event, Harry was collecting donations to be given out to participants for various different achievements throughout the event.  All of the donations had to be contracted to Harry, and Harry would be making all decisions about who received what prize and for what reason.  The better prizes in the end god handed to the guys Harry hang around with the most for reasons not originally mentioned in the original event post.  The strangest of these was when Harry gave himself the most expensive prize, a Tengu, to himself for "smacktalking".  Most event leaders would exclude themselves from any prize draw to prevent bias.  Not in this case.  That said, while I'd love to believe this was all an elaborate scam from the beginning as that would be the EVE way, in this case I think this was just Harry taking advantage of the opportunity afforded to him at the end.

Overall, the event claimed the lives of a few cyno ships (which would have self destructed anyway) and a couple of guys that chose to engage.  The biggest brawl involved a CFC Cynabal, Hurricane and Rattlesnake vs a Raven, a Tornado and a Thorax all belonging to Caldari Strike Force.  The CFC lost the hurricane while the CSF fleet was completely destroyed.  Not a bad trade-off from the CFC perspective.

So the whole event was a bit of a disappointment.  I'm CFC, sure, but it still would have been fun to have a big fleet to deal with.  Since the idea they were initially talking about was in essence the same techniques originally used by the Goons, fighting by quantity rather than quality.  A strange technique to say the least, but very entertaining.  But when you lack both quality and quantity, it's not very exciting to say the least.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Fountain - The war rages on

DISCLAIMER: While I am a part of the CFC, I am making these comments alone and giving no inside information.  I do not speak officially on behalf of the CFC, all comments are my own.  I aim for this information to be as impartial as possible but this may not be the case given my exposure to the CFC side of the war.

If you play EVE and you've been even remotely awake lately, you will have heard that there is a war going on in fountain.
Just about everybody has a bit to say about it, so why not me eh?  Being involved in this war is pretty exciting.  This is the first time I've been involved in the combat side of a major war, and it's interesting to say the least.

Who is involved in this war?
Nearly everyone.  Officially it's the ClusterFuck Coalition (Goons & Friends) vs Test Alliance Please Ignore. Test have secured PL and the N3 coalition as allies for the war.  There are a lot of other alliances involved, and nearly all of them are helping TEST (because everyone hates goons as we all know).

Why is this war happening?
This war is the result of the moon changes that came in from the Odyssey expansion.  Moons provide materials which can be harvested by a POS, which come in categories.  These are R4, R8, R16, R32 and R64.  Prior to Odyssey, one R32 material was the king of all moon materials.  Everyone wanted it.  That is Technetium.  The Odyssey Expansion added more R64 moons across the universe, and added more reactions for R64 materials making them more useful for production and reducing the use of Technetium.  As you can imagine, this paradigm shift resulted in the price of technetium crashing, and the price of the R64s (Dysprosium, Neodymium, Promethium, Thulium) increasing.
Here's a graph to show you the Jita average prices from the end of march until now. Technetium is red.

As you can see that's a pretty big price drop.

Before the changes, the CFC were sitting on the majority of technetium moons.  This allowed them to build up quite a large amount of ISK which they could use to do the things they enjoyed, like Hulkageddon and Burn Jita.  These are pretty costly ventures and were always subsidised by the mass of Technetium.  With the prices sinking an alternate form of income was required, and naturally this was R64 minerals.  Fountain contains a lot of R64 minerals, and so the CFC declared war.

What has happened so far?
Initially the CFC managed to get a good footing in Fountain.  Part of this was due to Sort Dragon handing 5 systems across to the CFC, and part of it was due to TEST already being engaged in a lot of PVP being unprepared for an assault on Fountain.  While in the official announcement Mittani stated it would be a long war, and not a walk in the park, a lot of CFC members thought TEST would pose little threat and would be crushed in weeks.  While this may have been true if it were just TEST this was not the case, as TEST managed to secure new allies, even from enemies they were fighting with only days before.

This is where the war got interesting.  Suddenly about a week and half into the war, the fights became real, with both sides pushing to bring pilots into the field.  This turned the invasion into a proper war, and it will be months before we will see meaningful progress on either side.  Who will win?  Nobody knows, and anyone that claims to is either crazy or not very bright.  Both sides really want to win, and for the most part that dedication to fight is all that is needed to fuel the war machine.

In addition to everything else going on, on July 1st, an old director from S2N Citizens (Renter alliance for Nulli Secunda, a part of N3) logged on as an active director, stole ~400B is ISK, and disbanded the alliance.  Now 400B is a drop in the ocean to a coalition the size of N3, but by disbanding the alliance, all of their renter sovereignty was lost, which lost then 219 systems and around 40 stations.  This would normally be an absolutely crippling blow and caused N3 to have to temporarily pull from the war.  Amazingly, they took it all in their stride and with help from TEST and PL, managed to recover all critical systems in under 24 hours.  This allowed them to redeploy to fountain, to continue fighting the war, with a small group still working to stabilise the lost systems.  This will have an effect on their income for a while as it has no doubt damaged renter confidence, and all the systems will now be level 0, but with the sovereignty restored, it should be a minor inconvenience.

Being in the war can be pretty fun.  There are a lot of opportunities to get out and get into fights, and for the most part, both sides are delivering pretty good fights.  One thing this has shown me however is that Time Dilation is painful.  For those that don't know, Time Dilation is where the servers slow down everything when there are too many people playing on a single node for the servers to handle.  The slowdown gives the server time to process everything that's happening.
Most of the bigger flights are pushing the time dilation factor down to 10%, which basically means something that used to take 10 seconds now takes 100 seconds.  When you scale this up to the fight, a fight that would be 30 minutes long is now 5 hours.  It rarely works out to be that extreme for the whole fight, but they can feel like they are dragging at times (mainly when trying to warp out, feels like forever).

That's all super exciting, but I want to see it!
If you want to see the war for yourself, Mad Ani is trying to bring the war to the masses by streaming it on twitch in HD 1080, and it's really worth watching. Bigger battles he records for viewing later too.  When I'm not fighting in the war, I'm usually watching the stream (including now).  You can see it here: