So, things are quite bumpy in the North at the moment, it would seem. Ever the pragmatist, Mittens has abandoned Vale of the Silent and contracted the Emporium’s space yet again. That is wise, given the circumstances.
The problem he has is a matter of notoriety; the Goons have insulted so many people over the last few years with their obnoxious behaviour, that everyone has jumped on the dog-pile bandwagon. Now, some believe that the Emporium will shrink into an area it can defend, and that will be the end of that. After reading through the various articles pertaining to the Great 2016 Goon Wallop, it would seem this is emerging as odds-on favorite.
The argument has its merits. As I mentioned in the last post, PL and NC. both have a tendency toward the development of a short attention span as soon as ISK cometh their way. Mittens is yet to open the purse strings, but I don’t doubt that will soon happen.
There may well be another reason for PL, in particular, to rattle the Emporium cage, though. Stay with me here, all will be made clear later.
There’s another problem for Mittens and co. too. Yes, the current hordes of angry savages will find it tough going once they arrive within jump range of the big toys and discover PL and NC. aren’t proceeding any further. It is likely the current tidal wave will lose its height when the pay-off happens, and that will leave the Emporium with two solid regions; Deklein and Branch. Yes, I’m aware of Fade and Tenal, but both those regions have red highlighted bits, and I’m not convinced the Emporium will keep them, yet.
I would like to point out some practical problems with that two region scenario, if I may. The real issue lies within the fabric of the two alliances that hold those two golden regions for themselves; Goonswarm and FCON. They are big alliances, don’t get me wrong. According to Dotlan, by system count, they hold the most space in the Emporium, though they look woefully inadequate in that area when compared to Ivan and co.
By member count, Goonswarm is ridiculously huge compared to anyone else, while Bastion beats out FCON by a couple of hundred members. However, FCON holds Branch, at least most of it, while Deklein is the Goon heartland. It may well come to pass that FCON is asked to hand over more of Branch, once the Bastion, CO2 and various other refugees arrive on the doorstep, if that comes to pass. That’s the irony of FozzieSov; two of the biggest care-bear alliances in the game will end up holding the two remaining Emporium regions.
Which is what I’m driving at. You see, every null-sec alliance has a proportion of null-bears. These people are pragmatists in the extreme. They are there to rat and mine, build and sell, and join enough fleets to keep alliance and corp leadership happy. I can’t speak for Goonswarm (though they it is who came up with carrier ratting fleets), but I can assure you FCON has plenty in their ranks. If these two alliances find their regions camped, roams coming through and home defense pings aplenty, these null-bears will grow weary of logging in, only to find that they cannot play their game their way. Soon enough, excuses will be made, and they will wander off elsewhere, or simply stop logging in.
Thus, the fleets required to keep the sweaty masses at bay will wither on the vine, so to speak. Now, they were just numbers to begin with, in reality. They care only enough to get PAP links, and never cared whether they shot the primary or not. But, PAP links mean squat when your beds are burning.
I would expect the Emporium to keep shrinking; to whittle their numbers down to those who wish to be a meaningful part of something still, and shed those who don’t. The question is; will those alliances have enough space left to justify their existence?
With the introduction of citadels in just a month or so (delays due to implementation hitches notwithstanding), the implications are huge. You see, to get the most of the passive ISK income that CCP so obviously handed the big guys, one must have numbers, significant numbers, of null-bears. That’s where the real citadel income lies. I don’t doubt Goonswarm will hold their own, and the pockets of the few will be filled by the loyalty of the clueless fighters; as it is in real life, so it is in Eve. But, the real money comes from cashed-up null-bears, who just love to lose and replace blingy PVE stuff.
So Goons will be fine, they have enough chest-beaters to keep that yummy citadel tax coming in. But, one really wonders about the rest of the Emporium. The more independent alliances among them may well plonk up a citadel each and rake in that golden egg. There is little doubt those with the PVP player numbers can easily defend a small area around their golden goose. The goose itself, being so well armed and defended, can look after itself pretty well, too. But, would an entity made up largely of self-interested null-bears be able to avoid shedding said null-bears, when the pressure comes on? Can they avoid the slaughter of their goose?
Mittens may well look at the value of such organizations and decide they offer so little in the way of bums in fleets that they aren’t worth the cost to defend. Left to their own, such alliances would be torn apart in short order by NPC null-sec and low-sec denizens.
What will happen within Goonswarm? Up until now, they have laughed off the losses of bling-fit ratting ships as of no consequence. But, with the increase in said losses quite likely, will the null-bears among them break out the Russian translation books and head off to where the ratting is easy? PL has a vested interest in Legion of Death’s renter empire; it’s not going anywhere. With the massive number of systems between Shadow of Death and Brothers of Tangra, there is plenty of space to absorb the null-bears of the north. Then, with Malpais and its surrounding regions filled with ready customers, PL, Legion of Death and so on will be in a prime position to extract the most out of their XL citadels.
Thus does the intent behind the northern push reveal itself. Those despised null-bears, so often derided as the wastrels of sovereignty space, are the key behind the next passive income flow of goodness to the pockets of the few.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. Less tax, of course.