I would encourage one and all to have a read of an excellent article posted on Crossing Zebras by Niden, it can be found here.
I would have to say, I found nothing in that article to contradict, in regard to the Emporium’s farce of a deployment to low-sec. What piqued my interest was the reference to the low-sec entities’ inability to fight back, as it were.
Niden is quite right in his summation of their plight, and I would like to expand on why this is the case.
First off, it is important to understand WHY people live in sovereignty space. It is often portrayed as the true end-game in Eve; to conquer an area of space and hold it against all comers, while utilizing that space in the meantime. That scenario isn’t even remotely close to reality, though.
Space is obtained and held through political machinations and weight of numbers, and little else. It involves a lot of diplomacy, blue standings and the creation of “Content” for the members. It requires the careful manipulation of other entities, in much the same way as the world’s governments “play” their populations and the countries that are both allied with, or opposed to, them. Factional media, false flag sparked outrage, nationalistic exploitation; it’s all there in plain sight. But, just as in the real world, much of Eve’s general population doesn’t see it. Anyone taking more than a passing glance at Eve news sites can establish all this for themselves.
There are two very disparate groups of players in sovereignty null-sec. One group are the PVP oriented players. These players enjoy the whole fleet battle concept of Eve Online; they are the traditional “F1 Button Masher”, as it were. There are some scattered groups of small-gang players, who enjoy home defense and SIG activity more, but these are a minority. They tend to live a frustrated and tenuous existence among the fleet PVP’ers. PVP players see no reason why the second group are there at all. They tend to be quite narrow-minded at times, caught up in the fervor of “their” alliance. They have a heavy presence on the alliance forums, in alliance chat, alliance mail and on comms. There is a competitive atmosphere around these individuals, based on kill-mails and PAP link statistics. They it is who will foam at the mouth on the news site comments sections, Reddit, Slack and Jabber. These people are not a good angle of attack for the Emporium’s opposition.
The second, larger, group are the Null-bears. The traders, industrialists, ratters, miners, PI gurus and so on, who are there for their own game-play reasons. Most of these reasons revolve around the acquisition and retention of in-game currency. They have little to no presence in alliance chat, alliance forums, and will usually delete alliance mails without so much as a glance at the title. I know, because I was one for years. Their desired play-style comes at a cost, and the pragmatic among their number know this very well. They know that if they do their minimal bit in fleet PVP and home defense, they can then do their PVE stuff in relative peace, deep in the heart of some of the best PVE space in the game.
All this explains the terrible PVP statistics of Emporium alliances that Niden highlighted in his article. It also explains why Mittens and co. couldn’t care less. Most of these guys are unconcerned if they lose a ship, or a battle, for that matter; it costs them nothing and they can get out of fleet faster. To account for this, FC’s then withhold the PAP link until the fleet is finished, forcing the pilots to rejoin fleet or waste a PAP opportunity. The longer a deployment lasts, the more tension rises within the rank and file of this group; as their opportunity to play the game they want to play diminishes. This group are the Achilles heel of the Emporium.
All of this is head-scratching material for low-sec PVP’ers, I know. And therein lies the rub. We are discussing two very disparate play-styles here. Mittens and co. can FORCE their members to do stuff they despise, for hours at a time, and low-sec alliances/corps cannot.
Thus, the Emporium can affect the game of low-sec residents with relative ease while low-sec cannot return the favor, and that is a sorry state of affairs, in reality. As Niden pointed out, the Emporium has altered the environment for low-sec players, with virtually no threat of retaliation. The reason for the lack of potential reprisal is that, to upset the Emporium’s apple-cart, low-sec denizens would have to play outside their comfort zone.
How can low-sec alliances get their members to do this? Again, Niden points out that the best way to affect the Emporium is to camp and hot-drop Emporium space.In other words; hit the null-bears. I couldn’t agree more.
NPC null-sec players live for that style, but low-sec players do not. Why? Unfortunately, it means hours and hours of doing virtually nothing; flicking from alt to alt to see if a target has appeared, running around in cloaky ships and insta-warp interceptors to disrupt the PVE and snag the juicy kill-mails. It’s an extremely risk-averse play-style that sees the gankers with very impressive-at-a-glance stats, but no actual PVP content in the low-sec sense.
For low-sec residents to overcome this in a leisure activity environment is difficult in the extreme. I sympathize with their plight. The NPC null-sec crowd have their own agenda, and refrain from working any area of Emporium space too hard, as they start to lose ships, which, again, doesn’t fit their game requirements.
What these other groups have to understand is that the Emporium has grown through their leadership exploiting the game to meet their own agenda. Indeed, they exploit players to the same end. While low-sec plays Eve the way they want, the Emporium plays Eve the way the game demands. Thus, they always win, because they have access to a group of virtual cattle to tick the boxes in a manner no group of independent players can even dream of.
I wish I had an answer for the guys in low-sec, but I’m afraid I don’t. The only thing that will work is disruption of the null-bears, and for a long time. Recently, a group of hot-droppers worked Branch pretty hard, for about a week. They hit it hard enough to drop the indices to where others could reinforce all the things. This caused real heartache for FCON; rages in alliance, hurf-blurf alliance mails and plenty of chest-beating all round. Much discontent among the rank and file in both groups of players in the alliance.
However, the attack was light-hearted and, in the end, was little more than a nuisance. It proved the value of PVE intervention, though, well and truly. Null-sec alliances fall apart if the null-bears leave, just ask AAA. To get this to happen, though, it would take a concerted effort on the part of those opposed to the Emporium. Not a foolhardy, clownish campaign like Gevlon’s, which is merely funding NPC null-sec players to play the way they want, but a focused disruption of all PVE activity across an entire region, one alliance at a time.
I am sorry to say, I consider this out of reach of low-sec alliances. They simply do not have the ability to sustain a game-play style their members do not enjoy.
Unfortunately, the Emporium does, and it’s really that simple.