Loss Means Even Less

Back in 2014, I wrote a post about why I felt that the loss of ratting ships means nothing to the average null-sec pilot. I still stand by that claim, although things have progressed to fleets of carriers these days. The whole problem with these ships is not the ability to earn piles of ISK with them, but the fact that you can do it while AFK; something CCP are supposedly against.

Unfortunately for poor old Gevlon, when Goons say the ship is already replaced, it’s a simple statement of fact. Those medium shield rep carriers pull down 90 million ISK per hour each, and many guys run fleets of the damn things. Yes, that carrier is a consumable item, I’m afraid. Of no more concern to lose than an Ishtar is.

Now that Space Monkey’s Alliance are enduring a campaign of AFK cloaky camping, we see the truth of that situation borne out. How? Well, for the longest time, people who complained about cloaky campers were derided by most pundits, due to the fact that cloaky campers can be nullified, albeit with a little effort. However, they can only be dealt with effectively if the ratter is at the keyboard.

Herein lies the rub; people are complaining about AFK cloaky campers, because while that AFK camper is there, they can’t rat AFK. Now, the argument goes that the camper is no threat if he’s AFK, because he can’t do anything. His power lies in the fact that one cannot be sure he is AFK, so an attack is possible as long as he is in local. When I was in 30Plus, we found the employment of the reverse worked equally well. People had gotten used to Ishtar pilots being AFK, and killing an AFKtar was a matter of routine. The advantage we found was to exploit the fact that, just as with a cloaky camper, one could never be sure the AFKtar pilot was, indeed, AFK.

Stratios pilots lost their 400 million ISK ships often enough that they stopped coming to our little pocket, because when they did, the pilot was often there, along with an unbreakable (for a Stratios) tank, EM damage drones with 800+ DPS, and a rack of neutralizers and Nosferatu’s that ensured said Stratios was converted into a wreck before the pilot even realized what was going on, let alone was able to warp out.

I’m not interested in debating the whys and wherefores of the ongoing campaign against SMA; that’s both theirs and, by extension, the Emporium’s, problem. What I find interesting is the ongoing enrichment of the null-sec players, and how their pragmatism grows alongside their wallet. SMA has taken a hit to its size, true enough. But, that’s simply the pragmatists adjusting their earning location.

Hostilities between entities always commence with a hit to the ISK earners, but these days that means little more than a day’s worth of alt movement to ensure the ISK flow continues. The introduction of skill trading has brought with it yet more avenues to farm ISK with no risk; by both SP farming and character wrecking.

High-sec alts now have even more ways to bring in the ISKies without the owner blinking an eye. All of this may see an interesting development in sovereignty null-sec. You see, ratting was always the way newer players would become rich, but once the wallet was sufficiently fattened, much more efficient ways to earn ISK became available. With the repetitive nerfing of bounties, the counter was to develop ways to turn ratting into a passive income, rather than an active one. Solo AFKtars became fleets of AFKtars, which became carriers, which became fleets of carriers.

This, in turn, meant that ratting once more became a viable passive income source for older players, as well as now being a requirement to keep your space.

I doubt the new carrier mechanics (along with the punishing new skill trees) will hinder the AFK doctrine for long. After all, the AFKtar is always there. The one real threat to the AFK ratter is the AFK cloaky camper, as SMA has discovered well enough.

If we couple the pragmatism of most sovereignty null-sec players with the rise in cloaky camper viability, what will we see? I would imagine a movement toward alts in renter corps, which are experiencing a significant upswing in popularity again. Don’t believe me? Then cop a look at the member chart of Shadow of xXDeathXx. No, no, not the individual membership, the member corp one. Many of those corps have but a few members, most of them likely to be AFK ratting alts. Nice, steady growth there, isn’t there?

Indeed, especially if you compare it to SMA’s one.

Is it possible, do you think, that we may witness a migration of ISK earning AFK ratters away from hostile space? Or, will there be a rise in AFK campers in the renter areas? The problem with AFK camping the renter space is that you can’t be sure who you’re hurting, and it’s a very long way from anywhere else, really. Plus, it’s a reflection of Russia itself; in that it’s flaming huge, mate.

I wonder if those who wish to hurt The Emporium ISK wise truly know what they’re up against. I’m no fan of The Emporium; indeed, I left the best corp in Eve specifically because they were in The Emporium, and that’s the one reason I won’t be going back. But, I’m more than ready to acknowledge that the fall of Mittens and co. will be a hard thing to accomplish. That much ISK, in the hands of that many players, united by the fact that everyone else despises them, will be a very tough nut to crack.

My sincere apologies to those who think that cloaky camping systems will kill off the ratters, but I’m afraid I’m firmly of the opinion that all you will ever achieve is to move them, and little else.

CCP has managed to foster an environment where wealth and space aren’t really related to any great degree. The cold truth is, to enrich oneself in Eve; if you’re actually playing the game, I’m afraid you’re officially doing it wrong.

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