This is the laziest post ever, I wrote a ~thing~ to reply to a reddit thread asking about PL & B0TLRD. People seemed to appreciate the response and no-one heavily disagreed with me, and people told me to post more things on this blog so here we go ^_^ You can find the thread and the full discussion here.
Original question – LongbowPilot
“Literally every other comment on this piece (http://themittani.com/news/pandemic-legion-kills-titan-cfcs-backyard ) is about how B0TLRD is the reason why we aren’t having a summer war/Great War II.
In the absence of such a treaty, what would conceivably change or happen? Under what circumstances would or should PL suddenly invade the western regions, and would the CFC do the same to the Drone Regions? What is to stop the existing aggressors such as NCdot/N3 from doing it on their own – I would imagine that their supercapital fleet strength rivals that of the CFC, if not exceeding it – without the assistance of PL?
Also, why is PL considered such a key player in the nullsec meta given that it acts strictly in its own interests most (if not all) of the time and its longstanding on-again, off-again relationship with GSF? Why do most people see them as an anti-CFC force instead of the svengali keeping the balance (and perhaps the peace) with its supercapital fleet?
Other perspectives and points of view are most welcome!”
My primary response
I’ll preface this by saying I have never been involved in NullSec politics as an active participant, what I am saying is based on talking to people any my own observations, and is therefore wrong and/or places emphasis on the wrong ideas. I DON’T FUCKING KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT BUT HERE’S SOME VERBAL DIARRHOEA ANYWAY (also my platform for AT commentary).
So, this could be an essay, but it’s important to note that at agreement lasts as long as both parties want it to. If one decides they aren’t interested in it any more it is going to blow up. I’ll try to cover some of the salient points that apply specifically to your question. For most nullseccers there are some axioms:
- I want more ISK
- I want to shoot at people
- I don’t like grinding unless it’s printing large amounts of ISKIf a big-ass war happened, it would be a war to control all of sov-null EVE.
- The victors are going to have to grind half of all sov space. I cannot express how little anyone wants to do this.
- There will be no-one left to shoot at.
Points 2 and 3 make this irritating, and the amount of ISK required to wage such a war is incredible, making 1 irritating. Now, you might say, with life as it stands there’s no-one to shoot at. That’s kind of true, there can only be “soft” war, such as the skirmishes we’re seeing in the North-East and South-West.
BOTLORD gives clear guidelines how everyone can fight as much as possible without worrying the other side about an invasion threatening ISK revenue. In simple form it is a way for PL to pay to replace all their shit lost in B-R (only finished recently according to Grath), have a bunch of funds for AT (PLs giant focus) and have an amazing SRP program for the shiny stuff they like to fly. It’s then a way for CFC not to have to worry about PL helping someone invading them, and without PL (or rather without everyone else working together) the CFC can easily wave off any invasion attempt with the current state of affairs.
To your question about PL, they have historically been the most powerful group of PvPers in the past few years. A combination of having a large amount of top-tier FCs (Shadoo, Hedliner, Elise, Manny, MrBlue, the list goes on), with a rich memberbase and the largest supercapital fleet meant that if PL was motivated to win a fight, they could do so. Before PL started Brtothers of Tangra and thus needed treaties to hold that space unthreatened, everyone wanted PL to be on their side in any war and PL could do whatever the hell they wanted. PL (or so I am told) generally chose which side they were on based on how much fun it would be for them and what they thought the end consequences would be for their future pew-pew. PLs supercapital dominance is now more a thing of the past, the CFC, after a long history of being terrible with caps, have skilled their playerbase into a large amount of dreads & supers, and finally have FCs with the experience and balls to utilise them (Laz, Vee).
We are at the point where the CFC has grown to have enough big-ticket items and the numbers to realistically take on everyone else in null at once. However, we are not at the point where it would be a guaranteed victory. Take for example the Halloween War, CFC + Russians were effectively stalemating with N3/PL, no real progress was being made either way. When CFC withdrew after PL withdrew after B-R the Russians were wiped out in no time at all.
No-one wants to enter a war of destruction where either you win and you have to grind 14 regions and not have anyone left to shoot at, or you lose and kiss goodbye to that sweet renter income.
Personally I think that the most probable future of null resides in two potential situations:
a) One side gains a significant military advantage over the other such that the outcome would be clear. In the case of that being the CFC they just maintain the status quo and only engage in sov-grabbing when CCP changes the value of regions, such that the valuable regions are the ones they don’t own. In the case of that being N3/PL, CFC at the least gets pushed back and holds a smaller set of Sov, and NC/PL/N3 have less need to be blued up together.
b) (The more likely in my mind) Players get bored of not much going on, in-fighting and drama happens all over the place destabilising corps, alliances and coalitions, resulting in either a) or something else. Either way it’s a change. We can already see cases of this occurring (though can be explained by there always being drama). Some of the weaker CFC entities have failscaded into the Bastion, N3 has never been stable and NC. is allegedly going through some leadership problems with their core being busy IRL.
You’ll probably note that I have not mentioned HERO/BRAVE in this, because I believe they have largely survived at the grace of the larger coalitions. They took ex-Russian space that no-one else wanted and no-one with any clout wanted to stamp them out, either so they can farm fights from them a la Provi or that when their player base can start flying powerful Doctrines they might team up with them against the other guys. They also provide a nice buffer between the two big coalitions space in the south, as XIX does in the north.
Further thoughts – The untapped renter resource
One of the things that not many people are discussion, and I believe is relevant is what are the Renters themselves gong to do if and when a War breaks out between our two superpowers? While many renters will in fact be alts from those superpowers, I do not think it is a great leap of speculation to say that a significant fraction of renters do not partake in Sov Null, and would otherwise be in Hi/Low Sec. It is already the case where many Rental Alliances advertise the fact that as well at whatever PvE/Indy shenanigans that they get up to, also advertise themselves as having PvP wings. One needs only look at the E-Uni recruitment subform to confirm this. Twenty Questions is an example of a CFC Renter-turned Alliance member, and I do not think this is idea of renter corps turning into Sov-Bloc member-corps after time is going to be uncommon.
Should war come, will it be a thing for the Sov Null Alliances to marshal their renters into a fighting force? Let’s take a quick look at some numbers, specifically the member count of the main Rental Alliances.
Great Western Co-Prosperity Sphere (CFC Renters): 3580
Northern Associates (NC./N3 Renters): 12028
Brothers of Tangra (PL Renters): 10495
If we assume being a CFC, PL or N3 renter does not mean you are more or less likely to have any number of alts or be involved elsewhere in Sov Null, this means that N3/PL have 6.5 times the number of renters to call upon.
N3/PL have historically held their ground by fielding the lower number, more powerful fleets, if even a fraction of their combined rental Alliance can be convinced to defend their homes (assuming the CFC is the aggressor) then the CFCs number advantage may be mitigated or even turned against them. Assuming there are enough FCs to go around, it would be like having multiple HERO coalition forces to throw into the meat grinder and balance out the tide of battle. It was the case in the Halloween war that you would see BoT Archons in SlowCat/Wrecking Ball fleets, which of course may just be PL alts grabbing whatever assets they have to throw in the fray, but nonetheless sets an interesting precedent.
Should N3/PL be the agressor, the smaller CFC Rental Alliance have much less to offer their masters, as they can already log in enough pilots to crash nodes at will (not that I am implying they would ever purposefully do that, *cough* DBRB *cough*). However, there is less incentive there for PL/N3 renters to log in for these fights, as their rented systems are not under direct threat.
The main question, I believe, is whether or not, in a defensive war, could N3/PL convince their renters to fight? A rental agreement is such that effectively “We have and can defend this space, you can pay us to use it”, which could lead to the argument by the renters of “We’ve paid you for this space, why should we have to defend it?”. Could lessened fees provide an incentive to defend space, based on participation? Would this impact Alliance SRP for the main powers too much to be worth it?
It’s impossible to say for sure, but I think that the concept of renters and what they are to the Alliances that run their space, and how the two interact is not static as of yet, and will develop over the future in ways few, if any, will be able to predict.