Mittens' Mailbox: Holotanks, TEST Recon and E1

Sunday: Where normal human beings might be relaxing and reading the paper, I'm trawling through reactions to my first two Traffic Control pieces and excerpting the best of the comments/insanity for your amusement. We'll do this as a regular feature on Sundays going forward; if you'd like me to respond to something, feel free to shoot me an Evemail or drop a note in Contact Us

The Woes of TEST Recon in Fountain

Two interesting comments popped up on my Update Dance piece

One of the greatest troubles TEST faced during the war was information overload. There was so much to organize and so many channels of communication were dead as people went afk.

Night after night it was a hairpull trying to find structures to bash. Just from alliance chat, we'd get 40-ish people in bombers with blops easy; getting someone in recon to provide the location of an SBU was the hard part.


I was in White Van during that war. The number of early mistakes the CFC made in not IHUBing captured systems, or letting me follow folks SBUing... After week three I gave up, my reports and scouting went nowhere... asked for jobs, got none.

This was because the GIA had compromised the spreadsheet that TEST Recon used to record all their scout information on. We wouldn't alter the spreadsheet in a flagrant way, just adding slight errors throughout it which were always written off as user error or incompetence. POS locations would remain on the right planet, but slip a moon or two to the left; key tower reinforcement timers would be adjusted by an hour too soon or too late. Because we were subtle, this 'incompetence' resulted in a ton of redundant and replicated work as the same targets had to be scanned and rescanned. Eventually the whole org collapsed under the strain, and without functional recon you cannot win - or even stay afloat - in a bloc war. 

That's the kind of thing that happens in the first few weeks of a war with the CFC, when our enemies are usually yowling to anyone who will listen about how we're 'not winning fast enough' or otherwise completely stalemated: we assault the people and the institutions of a hostile org first, and the actual sov is an afterthought. Watching your foes tear each other apart as they blame one another for errors your agents seeded is an added bonus. 

401k's Amazing Offer

One of the apocryphal pieces of nullsec bullshit was a claim by 401k, aka "The Retirement Club", aka "Yet another Molle Joint", that the CFC made some kind of deal/offer/peace overture towards them. This pops up from noted shitposter Kinis Deren, who for some reason I haven't banned yet. 

Is that why you made a "space offer" to 401K hmmm?

This never happened; the reality is that Zeroniss, at the time the leader of 401k, had approached GSF diplomats regarding the possibility of standings or reducing hostilities. That doesn't play well on TV though, and when Black Legion abandoned 401k to work for the CFC during Fountain, suddenly 401k had to scrabble for a narrative-friendly untruth: the CFC had approached 401k and made the same offer we had made to BL, but 401k was too cool for school and turned it down. 

The idea of GSF making a deal with a SirMolle-led org is the kind of thing that only the most frothing of the ~GrrGoons~ crowd could dream up, and 401k is toast now anyway. 

The Elusive Logged-in Mittani

Do you even still play EVE anymore (yes the actual game)? Honest question. Sitting in Jabber/Skype doesn't count.

The last time I logged in regularly was in the Halloween War, when I led the bulk of the supercarrier fleets which ground Immensea. I find taking gates to be tiresome as I get older and lazier, so I tend to stick to caps. 

It takes a lot to 'get me out of bed' and log into the client. I used to do a bunch of 3rd party Titan scams, but they lose their novelty after the first ten or so ghost supercapitals you sell; you'd think that earning 90b isk off a supercapital scam would get you hot and bothered, but one habituates rapidly. There's a World of Darkness joke to be made about Methuselahs and torpor here, but in light of the Atlanta closures I don't have the heart.

Enemy Mine

Xolve asks a dangerous question:

Who are your actual foes at this point?

All the non-hackers have been scoured from the landscape and all that remains is a larger red vs. blue of Apathy. You can't eliminate them, they can't eliminate you- "collect them rent checks" is our unified mantra.

First, we can't ever underestimate our enemies, even if the CFC/GSF has fought 4+ wars against essentially the same group of foes and, thus far, won them all. Hubris is a killer. If we rest on our laurels, we'll fall prey to the barbarians just like all the other 'safe' empires have.

In terms of stuff that makes me feel like my space-tribe is under actual imminent threat, mostly I worry about CCP getting a case of the 'vision thing' again and driving the game off a cliff.  Fanfest 2014 was notable for how little buzz there was, which shouldn't surprise anyone given that it was showcasing a fucking industry expansion. 

One of the things that matters in a narrative arc is conflict. Remember how siphons were supposed to be a 'conflict driver'? Yeah. Industry expansion, no conflict drivers, no narrative arc -> no buzz and a panicked Marketing department. 

Unleashing the Holo-Tank

While I don't give a crap about lore, the top comment by Seatox on my NPE rant comes up with a great excuse to eventually add another issue dear to my heart: Battle Arenas. 

From a lore/blah perspective, an EVE newbie zone dosn't even need to be in "Real" systems, just have the whole shebang set inside "simulator spaces", hidden from view in the same way we can't see wormhole systems on the map.

Then, at the end of the tutorial toss all the newbies into racially aligned teams and into a 4-way newbie-ship bloodbath in a simulated 0.0 system at the end of the tutorial experience, with their final tutorial objecive: DIE (While explaining how self-destruct, clone updates etc, work).

Then, after they die at the hands of another fresh newbie or self-destruct their pod, they wake up in the real bit of EVE.

Eve is fundamentally a game about PvP in many forms, and the learning curve is too intimidating for most, and the fear of loss a huge turn-off for some. Think of 'simulators' or 'holo tanks' as not only a good place for newbie capsuleers to have 'VR training' but also a place to teach the skittish the ropes of PvP. I use Jovians and Nanobots as a shorthand for "invent some bullshit lore excuse why this mechanic can be implemented," and don't have any attachment to whatever label ends up being attached to a gated and guided newbie zone. 

VR PVP/Battle Arenas: That's another sacred cow that deserves a messy slaying, and we'll focus on that in a later Traffic Control.  

On Erotica 1 and Gevlon's Trek

Mittens, you may be the only person I want to hear write about Erotica1. I think the EVE summer forum war would kick off to an unheard of degree, and you'd probably just outright kill half of r/eve

Erotica 1 got into GSF briefly on an alt through a membercorp, and I personally had him purged from the alliance long before any of the Jester's Trek drama. Why? I didn't like the guy, didn't think the Bonus Room thing was particularly clever, and the whole practice was both tiresome and sketchy. Taking advantage of greed, intermittent reinforcement, loss aversion and the sunk costs fallacy isn't pushing boundaries. I love a clever scam, but this wasn't one.

I didn't offer any commentary during the Jester vs Erotica 1 slapfight because it was a classic example of a self-righteous pearl-clutching media shitshow initiated by Jester in the same way I'd expect from garbage like Riverini or Brendan Drain from Massively; if I'd offered any kind of opinion during Jester's little blog crusade, I'd be giving it validation and acknowledgement, be it positive or negative - and attaching my name to Jester's drama in any capacity would fuel the fire.

I refused to fall for the bait. Obviously, digging up 2-month-old drama to incite the community into torches and pitchforks was rank bullshit on Jester's part, but similarly I wasn't going to go to bat to defend Erotica 1, a guy I despised so much that I had him kicked from the CFC.

The only proper response was to say nothing at all, wait for the storm to pass, then start referring to that blog as Gevlon's Trek.  

Mail Me And Maybe I'll Respond Next Week

With an enthusiastic call to arms like that, who can resist? We'll be doing these pieces on Sundays. Maybe I'll reply to your mail! Maybe I'll ignore it, and respond to random comments or trolls that amuse me instead! Who knows!