Monday, May 17, 2010

The Carebear disease

Many PvP-Alliances have succumbed to this problem.  You start out lean and mean, and end up dead.  Here is how I have seen it work...

  • Phase One; a fighting force/Alliance grows up together and operates, and ends up working well together.  It's been been forged in the heat of battles and secures a chunk of space through hard fighting, solid tactics and a DESIRE to PvP.  With your newly claimed space, the alliance hits a lul.  Alliance leadership heads off, looking to recruit to provide extra pilots/corps for defense.

  • Phase two is when the supposed support organizations bring more bears than pvpers, bring in numbers but no real pvp quality.  They usually integrate badly on vent, form mining gangs and complain when they don't get PvP "security" support for their ops.  Even worse are the "special bears", ones that think they can pvp better than the long time good pvpers of your alliance.  They end up on your forums, in your fleets, talking over the FC, following bad comms, bat fits.  Refusing to change their fits, thereby lowering the overall effectiveness of your alliance fleets.  Around here you also start to get an attrition of the elite pvp pilots as they leave to find new and now much better places to pew pew.  Sometimes engaging the very carebears they were driven off by in revenge, usually creating a integral part of Phase four.

  • Phase three; these support corps gain more power in the alliance, banding together in the directorate forcing non-pew related decisions, blues, miningfests, and they also take on more members as bears join bears when they have a good thing going.  Now your alliance takes a subtle shift from pew pew focus to bear focus.  If you are in a good pew pew corp in the alliance you usually won't even notice since you are off doing your own thing, engaging in roams and fighting off other roams and otherwise having a great time.

  • Phase four is ALWAYS initiated by external conflicts.  In this Phase your space gets threatened externally by a now up-and coming or established pew pew force, like C0ven and SE who don't have the bear rot in their ranks or at least not to the same extent.  Leading indicators of this is spikes of skirmish warfare on your borders, think of them like probing attacks.  Your remaining pew pewers and pew corps take up arms and do their best to skirmish and usually this stage can be a lot of fun, however it will lead to invasion when the opposing force realizes that you are now an easy target for a full frontal confrontation.

  • Phase five, failscade phase 1.  Invasion knocks on the doors of Alliance 0.0, but instead of the participation you are expecting, ie >55-65% alliance in fleet ratio like when the alliance was in full-fledged PvP mode, you get 5-10% with all the bears staying out of the pvp, or even showing up for the early battles, losing a few ships and then dropping out, sometimes reflected in whining on the forums, transporting assets out, and otherwise bitching, all the while failing to provide any of the pvp support or continued support they were actually brought in for.  This phase sets the stage for the most painful part.  The remaining PvP corps in the alliance STRUGGLE hard to keep their pvpers on the field, the remaining PvP corps usually offering the majority of the 5-10% response forces and usually more heavily engaged in the fight than anyone else.  Losing assets, isk and pilots to burnout.

  • Phase six, complete failscade.  Space is being taken, PvPers are now outnumbered in almost every fight, some continue to fight, growing more and more bitter, still taking some kind of sick enjoyment out of getting killed or getting 1-2 kills being outnumbered heavily.  Other PvP corps leave, sometimes joining the corps invading your systems.  Bears and bear corps start leaving the alliance, having evacuated in part 5.  The Alliance loses the space and either shuts it's doors or starts back at Phase one, down to a core of good and reforged PvP corps, hopefully smart enough to avoid going down the path again.

Phases two and three can take as little as two weeks or as long as two years, or might never happen depending on leadership.  It's not a forgone conclusion that bears in alliance = fail. 

It's not that having non-pvp corps is fail in an alliance.  It is that those corps have to contribute, and should be expected and, in fact, ARE expected to help with defense, muster some people to gangs and actually provide pvp support more with their numbers than with their isk.  Think of the NC alliances, largely considered carebears when not under attack, unless MM or RAZOR, who take frequent road trips.  When under attack they muster strong numbers in every TZ from all walks of Eve.  Bottom lime is that Eve sov is blobby so having a pure industrial corp when defending your own space, muster a lousy 0-10 combat pilots out of a corp of 100 means the pvp corps providing 70 or 80% of their corp overall membership per fight are just going to be outnumbered and beaten down.  Even during lag times, PvP corps aren't made to provide "security" for mining ops, or PvEr's.  Bears need to have teeth and not rely on the PvP backbone to be the line of defense. 

It's a simple concept but a surprising communications disconnect in almost every alliance I have ever been in with both PvPers and industrialists/Pvers.  "They" tend to think it's the PvPers job to clear their systems out and keep them safe all the time, while they still profit off alliance space, rats, roids and members sometimes selling their modules out in market systems in their own 0.0 space when selling alliance mates.  Often even price gouging vs Jita to same alliance membership.  To be successful to the alliance the bears have to contribute more than just isk in taxes, ships and modules to defend space.  The need to be able to fight for it as well.


  1. I left my bears at home when I went out to 0.0 mate. I cannot say I am a good PvPer yet, but I WANT to be one and enjoy the few fights I have had.

    I have to say I get mad when the "safe up" order comes in response to 2-5 reds in system, when we have 30-40 folks in fleet. Thanksfully that order comes less and less now.



  2. I hated those safe up orders. Made me want to bubble the station myself. But in all even-keeled honesty, safeing up is part of eve, when a coherent fleet comes through it takes a little time to get your pants on and get ready to repel and we all know that, it's more about the lack of desire to WANT to chase these people off and expect someone else to do it for you that boils me over.

  3. Excellent POST and a very good description of what happened to many of the 'New' Corps within SyS-K. Tis a very very sad thing indeed

  4. I saw this over on Manasi's blog and wanted to come over to comment. This is well thought out and well said. Obviously the reality is complicated, but I've seen this in action many times. Ultimately this is what killed Providence, especially CVA/LFA. CVA especially took their eyes off the reality of the situation and become uber bears, building stations instead of cap ships. Now all those valuable stations belong to someone else.

    There has to be a balance between industry and combat certainly, it is hard for either one to survive and thrive without the other.

  5. It's a super complicated relationship between the two! A proper balance of industry vice pvp is so difficult to retain that long time space holding alliances like the BoB corps of old, RED, or even new alliances like the NC or individual entities like MM and RAZOR keeping it together this long is nothing short of a miracle!

    In the end it is so hard to avoid, because most avid pvpers will leave without active pvp, and most avid industrialists won't go to a place where there is high risk and lots of PvP. CVA definitely(<-I misspell this work more often than any other word for some reaon) suffered this disease, I don't know enough about LFA to say that for sure, but other suffering or suffered alliances include ASCN, Insurgency., Older NC alliances like FE and G, and numerous small alliances.

  6. I suppose this more or less explains why I have had so much trouble in the past finding a nullsec alliance interested in taking me on.

  7. Great post!! I think you've also done a great job of laying out why something like Dominion has not worked as intended as an enticement for small groups to move to 0.0 in order to exploit the new mechanics. I believe CCP stated it was hoping Dominion would get smaller, indy-focused corps to come out and work those systems, generate income for an alliance and leave the fighting to the fighters. Theoretically, everybody wins.

    However, reality seems to be that without security, non-PvPers have a much more effective gameplay session in high-sec. There appears to be little or no no benefit to going to 0.0 for other than PvP.

    Nether side is "wrong" in the equation. This is not real war. EvE is a game and everybody wants to get their $15/mo value for time played. Even should L4 missions, high-quality minerals or some other shiny bits begin appearing out there, it does not appear that it will entice large numbers of non-PvP optimized players to go through the hassle of exploiting it vice dealing with lower quality, lower risk ops in high-sec.

  8. Thank you!

    It is true though that the risk vs reward of the highsec vs lowsec vs null sec will never be high enough for some highseccers to become involved regardless :)

    In my opinion for smaller entities to have a chance in null currently, they either have to be Blue to everyone around them or currently in the New Provi where mommy ATLAS and Daddy A keep them safe from sov warfare, not that some of those entities over there currently couldn't manage some space on their own if they really wanted.

    For CCP to give smaller entities a chance they have to introduce some type of drawback to massive blobbing other than Lag. I don't know that the solution is there. Most of the idea's I come up with fall apart after just a few moments of thought lol!

  9. I take issue with the way you describe it; you don't expect a carpenter to aid in a country's defense equally as a soldier -- he doesn't have the training, the will or the equipment. If an alliance recruits industrialists and PvEers, it should not expect from them what it expects from its PvPers. This is generally a failure both on the part of the leadership and the part of the "elite PvPers" who are too dense to see beyond their own blinders.

    However, this divide is exactly the reason I've been looking for a PvP corporation/alliance that is not interested in settling down and taking sovereignty. It's part of why I joined Star Fraction, and part of why I left Star Fraction.

    I also don't understand the fervent disdain for people who are in industry or primarily do PvE -- it's a great contributor to this problem. I don't dislike pilots who care only for ISK, I pity them; what can you do with all that ISK? I pity them in the same way I pity people who only care about their killboard stats; what does it truly say about you if you have destroyed hundreds of hapless, inexperienced pilots? There's a whole star cluster out there with a story to go along and the majority of the residents are too dense to see it -- blinded either by ISK or statistics.

  10. I generalized a LOT in the above post and it may be too general thus inciting feelings that I don't want PvErs in 0.0 Alliances.

    Rixx Javix said it best on the originating blog, where after one of my posts he says "it's difficult to maintain the proper balance."

    There is a equal PvPer disease that causes failscades just like the bear diseases. Only it ends up looking more like a drama llama-scade than a fail one.

    I even said that it's not like all alliances with Carebears fail. I don't have disdain for them, but I do have distain for people who complain on the forums, bitch about losing systems, but never show up to do any fighting, instead criticizing the active membership from their padded isk-piles. That's the type of bear that hurts and alliance. Am I expecting them to show up in a t2 fit sniper Apoc able to understand every command in the book and be able to FC? NO

    I do expect them to show up and try to fight though, in a t1 ship if need be, fit properly following forum guidelines, and with some clue about voice comms discipline.

    If a carpenter's house catches on fire, he's gonna fight the fire until the firefighters get there and even then he will continue to help in any way he can unless there is no way he can help. Firefighting used to be done by the community. Space defense in eve MUST be done by the whole and not a single small segment of an alliance or you WILL get steamrolled by superior numbers almost every time, or at the very least cause hate and discontent from those who have participated in defense and those who did not.

    I pity both the eve bear who doesn't spend his isk as well as the over-elitist PvPer who crys that nobody is as good as him and that everyone fails.

  11. I didn't mean to insinuate that you don't like non-PvPers. I simply meant to say that there are some who don't, and often it's without much reason.

    And while I agree that the carpenter would fight the fire in his own home, he would likely fail -- he doesn't have fire hoses, tools to connect those hoses to fire hydrants or any of the implements necessary to quickly put out a fire. He also doesn't have the training (though, with this example he'd have the will).

    I suppose I was thinking of space defense in the sense of a roaming gang instead of space defense from an alliance intent on taking your home. I think of the former as much more common while I completely agree with your assessment of the latter -- everybody fights, nobody quits.

    The day CCP makes PvE like PvP is the day more PvEers are fit to defend against a roaming gang (I rat in a PvP fit, but most don't). When the rats think to themselves, "oh my! That hostile stealth bomber would make a nice addition to my killboard, let me shoot it before I continue pounding on this mission runner's unending tank," then we'll have a little equality. When there are two rats who hit very hard instead of 50 rats who hit like 3-year-olds we'll be closer to a solution. When rats warp out causing you to fail the mission (or chase them somewhere else), we'll have finally arrived.

  12. If you don't mind me asking Logan how do you finance your ship losses?

    The reason I ask is I think a lot of times people who rat during CTAs etc are simply broke.

  13. The issue here is one of design, not one of player types. Currently, an alliance doesn't /need/ industrialists in any real way to survive. Miners help reduce the requirements for liquid isk, but isk generation comes just fine from ratting and moon goo. There is no infrastructure that industry skills are required for, there is not enough infrastructure to support real markets, and JFs make high sec market access a non issue. And if you do need an industrialist/builder for regular, sustainable (yet, never essential) production, one character can carry an awful lot of weight by themselves

    So you end up with a situation where the only skills /required/ by an alliance are PvP oriented, anything else is an optional extra, and when people focusing on those optional skills don't have the required skills as well, there is always going to be a level of frustration towards them, whatever the skills happen to be.

    The only way any that attitude is going to change is if CCP alters the null sec environment to require a similar number of characters with comparable investment in skills focused on the industrial side. At that point, when the bears really and truly give something back, and when hitting them genuinely hurts an alliance, the attitude might change.

    This works both ways as well. Currently, an industrialist is never a first class citizen in an alliance, which in turn means they often don't have the investment in defending it either, hence flying away at the first sign of trouble. Give them the opportunity to actually be useful (especially in war time), to make people /want/ to keep them around, and you'll be surprised how much that changes their mindset so that they don't hightail it to high sec when the war starts. When they're invested in people that are invested in them, they'll take risks.

  14. Once upon a time, moon goo and ratting was enough to maintain an alliance in 0.0. With the new Sov rules, it that still the case?

    Each system an alliance holds carries with it a hefty charge every 14 days. The more systems an alliance holds, the heavier that pile of iskies gets. Then there are the defensive upgrades - they cost a good bit themselves and increase the monthly payment the alliance makes for the system.


    CVA didn't build outposts because they had a sudden case of care-bear fever. They did it because the station fees pile up a very hefty stack of cash every month. And that helps pay the upkeep for those systems, cap ships and other PVP shinies.

    As I recall, one of the reasons CCP changed the SOV rules was to make the industrialist more central to life in null-sec alliances.

    As others here have suggested, the successful alliance is going to be the one that learns to manage and balance both types of play, and optimize the inputs from both.

  15. In reply to Stabs; Rote Kapelle (the Alliance I am currently in) lives out in Syndicate 0.0 aka NPC 0.0. So we don't have Sov bills or very good ratting, but the small gang warfare is largely unrivaled for our fleet sized, being between 3-25 people. Previously I have trained up alt charicters on a third account, specialized them in either combat or industry and then sold them for 3-4 Bil isk at a time, then I live off that isk while I train up the next alt. This last time thanks to getting married and buying a new home, I haven't had the money to do that. I am currently still coasting off my last sale, though I do run some occasional Plexes, level 4 missions and belt ratting, though the belt ratting is mostly for sec status.

    Before that, I made money mostly by belt ratting when I lived in 0.0 and while pirating in lowsec I sold my loot and ran L4 missions on my "money maker" alt. I was pretty poor during those times in comparison, but I just modified the ships I flew to match my income, so instead of flying t2 expensive ships like I tend to do now, I flew t2 fit Ruptures and Rifters (keep in mind this was before BC's were in the game). For the Rifters doing one l4 mission could supply me with 3 Rifters fully fit at a minimum, good enough for a while or 1 Rupture fully fit.

    I sympathize ENTIRELY with running out of money mid-conflict, as it happened to me 3-4 times during the South's(Veritas and The Five) last successful invasion of the north, read 4ish years ago. But there is time to rat between CTA's that can give you enough money to fly a cruiser/BC/frigate. Those are hardly the people I am talking about though, you see some of that as well, but even more often there are the same people that are always there, NPCing away, under attack or not, and you know these people have money to fight with they just choose not to.

  16. In reply to Belamar, I disagree that Alliances wholesale don't need industrial types. I think there is still a very large hole to fill there where many industrialists and industrial corps integrate into the alliance machine. The corps make the caps and super-caps that allow bigger alliances to replace large losses on the fly, as well as BS programs and BC programs or even smaller hulls that I know a lot of alliances replace out of hand for in-fleet losses means that industrialists are needed.

    I'm not sure exactly what the failure point is that causes the failscade as far as PvErs vs PvPers percentage wise. But I imagine it is something pretty high like 75% to 25%. Sys-K at it's peak, had around 3000 members, quite an impressive alliance size in my opinion (Rote has around 200 members). When it came to fighting though if they were only turning out 5-10% of that, I'd imagine it would be close to 70-80% of their combat corps and 20-30% PvE types looking to help defend. That's only 300 people out of 3000, the bear disease is when the PvEr's, Industrialists look at the PvPers and almost literally state "Well I just PvE, you guys got this right?" Or even worse "I PvE, you fight, I'm not interested in PvP, so I'm not going to fight, no matter the consequences." It takes just one attitude, to make entire corps feel like that. Some view it like taxes, they paid their "taxes" in the form of replacement ships, cap production, NPCing taxes, sov crap etc, to the PvP pilots, so why should they have to do anything now? Combat in eve just does not work like that.

  17. Mord, I agree with you mostly, but a lot of the CVA stations went up before Dominion, true they were still used as a viable means of income, partly because Provi has bad moon minerals so production and NPCing were the two main factors of moneymaking there, usually through docking taxation. In addition it was a defensive strategy to some extent. Build enough fortresses and it becomes to painful to remove all of them, thereby making their space more difficult to conquer or invade. With Dominion strategy shifted in a way that isn't fully grasped yet, but the more stations the more venerable you are to an expensive but vast attack. Until -A- they had never faced something like that. Where a hostile force could simultaneously siege 5+ systems at once, spreading CVA and holder forces past the breaking point of morale to a bit of a "welp no way we can defend all that, so why even try" mentality that explains the speed of CVA and holder Sov loss.

    The Dominion changes did more for exploiting your NPC ratters than industrialists, and really more than a honest industrialists the NPC ratters who are interested only in their ever-growing isk pile and not in the defense of their space are more the problem than a industry corp trying to support the alliance through the making of ship hulls, modules and ammo. With Dominion having a solid base of NPCers whoring it up in your space is a more sound investment than having a similar number of builder-bee's doing the same thing as you get isk from the NPCers via taxation more directly/easier than via sell orders or batch construction jobs.

  18. Paritybit, I saved the best for last!

    Maybe I just fear change or something but I don't want to have mission = pvp vs NPC's. Or at least not all missions. Perhaps a new type of mission agent could be entered into the game for those types of missions. I find something (very strange) appealing about running missions in eve as they are now. Not having to worry about fitting a warp scrambler, or closing distance to get a point on the Guristas BS that orbits around 45km away from me, crawling out there in my slow ass BS doesn't sound like fun to me, but I can absolutely see the need for some kind of intermeditate step. Faction Warfare was supposed to provide that to some degree, but the standings hits you take for participating make it difficult.

    I totally agree that roaming gangs are the home of the PvPers in the alliance. Sure you are gonna get the ones who bitch and complain that the other people just safed up and didn't try to help kill ze invaders! But PvPers are a bit pre-Madonna ish like that! In this case you are right the Carpenter doesn't have all the tools that a firefighter would, however, he would still be able to help the Firefighters when they arrived, even if that help is just staying out of the way in this example. I'm not saying for the carpenters to fight off invasions without the support of their PvP wings, but they should still show up with their bucket of water.

  19. As for missions, I agree that it wouldn't be a good idea to replace the old-style missions; I was thinking about this on my walk to work this morning, but ... I think it's getting off topic here.

    I think we mostly agree; but if we don't, we can hash it out in alliance chat -- I joined Moira last night.

    To Mord's point about industrialists: When I was in Tread Alliance the leadership came up with an interesting scheme which was built on a structure of "citizen classes"; in order to be a specific rank of citizen, a member corporation had to participate in X number of kills or provide X number of ships and specific modules to the alliance at a very low or no profit. In the end, I think what didn't work about it was that it was really hard to track, but it was a valiant effort to form a middle ground. Oh, and the reward was minuscule and targeted to the corporation CEO which didn't necessarily make the little guy want to do anything.

    We also didn't hold sovereignty so ... no direct defense necessary.