Monday, 16 April 2012

The Politics of Looting

Money, in EVE Online as in the real world, is the root of all conflict.

This may not be obvious to the carebear in hisec, who is being griefed by a scurrilous bunch of cads who hunt his Raven or Tengu down in a mission and gank him, but this is still true: money is as valuable to a PVPer on his killboard statistics as it is in his wallet.

The competition for resources, rent, taxes, good belts and planetary interaction rights is as important to players outside of nullsec as it is to the venal, elite, anciens in sov nullsec who squabble over tech moons or good truesec with thousand-man fleets. Particularly, in w-space, a system will become fought over as much for its planets as it will for its static connections and tertiarily for its actual class.

This boils down to money. There is an extraordinary amount of ISK to be made in w-space, and we w-space corps fight over the plum systems like feral cats with rabies. This mostly occurs in the C5-C6 space, where the famed alliances and corps with the connections to EVE News 24 spout propaganda and make videos of their fights, voiceovered by Hannibal Lecter imitators (AKA Lord Maldoror imitators).

Nevertheless, you can still make a good living off the lower-level wormholes, and one should not merely assume that because someone is living in a C2 he is poverty-stricken, feckless and a noob. Kicking people out of their homes, you can uncover inordinate amounts of ISK, which they either bought or accumulated in the safety of their wormhole via habitually not probing their exits (the Schodingers Wormhole theorem having been proven via SiSi behaviour) or because they just...accumulate money there.

Similarly to Schrodingers Wormhole theorem, one never knows how rich is the pinata POS until you beat the candy out of it. Once you have the candy, that is when the angst and politics and greed and crazy really begins.

For example, our recent Operation Santorum against Element of Power RUS (EPRUS) resulted, of course, in total crushing victory. We had camped them all weekend (or a small cadre of people without a life, anyway, the bulk did IRL stuffs), trapping them out via wormhole collapses one by one until 3 of 26 toons remained. 5 hours before the tower came out of reinforced, they self-destructed 50 ships.

They couldn't board a cynabal, or the orca which had been taunting us for a week and a half, and of course we got the tasty morsels from the arrays and hangars. The rest, including 2 Tengus, 4 BS's, 3 dramiels, a firetail, comet, 2 retributions, etcetera, etcetera...all gone up in smoke. Nevertheless, including liberated ships, the total loot was 1.6 billion ISK.

The question inevitably gets raised: how do you split up loot from a POS bash? There were, all up, around 30 meat bods and 50 toons involved in the reinforcement, death and camping over 72 hours. We invested heavily in T2 large bubbles, nearly all of which my alt had to redeploy constantly due to lack of anyone having skills. 30 guys turned up for the final splattering, yet only 4 meatbods did the most vital camping during the AU TZ night on saturday, and successfully prevented more than a lone tempest escaping.

In the end, being the guy in control of the wallet of Sudden Buggery, it is up to me to decide how to dispense remuneration. I cose to honour commitment - one of our allies turned up with 9 BS's to the final push, just to show willing and rack up some karma we will repay. Then, I have also decided to honour the debt owed to the guy who almost solo camped the EPRUS guys in the hole by quad-boxing for 7 hours solid. The rest of the money, I am unafraid to say, will stay in BUGRY to pay for the POCOs we will be upgrading, and the POS fittings I embezzled when I shut the corp in December.

In the end, sieging out someone from a wormhole pays out in the long run, via access to the statics (in this case, a C3), the sites (meh, C2's), the gravs and ladars and mag-radars, and the PI. The fact is, if everyone invested 72 hours x 50 toons, that would be less than 500K per hour each. There is no way you can make money off sieging POS's like this. Yet, the division of the loot is always a bitter thing and can drive a wedge between people and corporations.

In the end, I believe you make a decision you think is fair, be firm about it, be ready to explain it...and make sure its not just you lining your pocket. In the end, people may get bored of doing sieges if their expectations aren't met - but that is only because they don't think it through and the leaders don't explain the decisions and loot split.

if this results in bleeding vajayjay, so be it.

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