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The Lotka–Volterra equations, also known as the predator–prey equations, are a pair of first-order, non-linear, differential equations frequently used to describe the dynamics of biological systems in which two species interact, one as a predator and the other as prey.

I won’t bore you with MATH, you can go check that out on your own time. (It is rather fascinating.) But I do find the mathematical relationship between predator and prey extremely interesting. Especially in light of Eve Online.

Let’s take a look at some basic assumptions in regards to that relationship:

• The prey population finds ample food at all times.

• The food supply of the predator population depends entirely on the size of the prey population.

• The rate of change of population is proportional to its size.

• During the process, the environment does not change in favor of one species.

• Predators have limitless appetite.

Using this basic relationship equation it is possible to predict the general outcome of any environment in relation to each species. In other words, you can see how this will all end up. Too many predators isn’t good, and too many prey is also not good. Balance being the key in all things.

As CEO of an Apex Predator Pack in Eve Online, I am keenly aware of the challenges inherent in that relationship. Managing 200+ hungry mouths is not an easy task, for it to work we need prey. Lots of them. Otherwise we start to lose Predators and the Pack starts to shrink. In order for the Pack to grow and prosper, we need more prey. It is a rather simple and balanced relationship.

There are ways, within this system, to keep the Predator Pack happy and thriving. Let’s take a look at some of them:

1) Respect your Prey. This might seem counter-intuitive, but trust me it isn’t. Showing mercy, or respect, to your targets encourages them to continue in their chosen field. It also encourages them to spread the word about how awesome of an Eagle you are and how others should also respect you in return. (In nature, Predators tend to target the weak and sick, this is their way of respecting prey. By allowing the strong to live and breed.)

2) Increased Territory. Range is vital. In nature a single Apex Predator can rule over territory the size of a small country. In Eve it is critical to spread out and hunt in new areas from time to time. Bunching up in one spot depletes the amount of prey available to the Pack. Prey tend to talk amongst each other and the word will spread about how dangerous your cave is.

3) Distractions. The Pack loves a good party. Make sure to keep the beer stocked and throw lots of Events, Tournaments, activities, and other distractions at them. This keeps the Pack hungry for more.

4) Shake Things Up. From time to time it helps to change a few dynamics, to keep your Pack on their toes. Keep the edge honed, etc. Predators cannot get lazy. When they do, they tend to become Prey themselves. And that is just sad for everyone.

The dynamic between Predator and Prey in Eve, especially in Low-Sec, is a constantly changing, evolving, and adaptive balance. Herds tend to migrate, other Predators move into your territory, Fozzie changes something, or you’ve managed to over-hunt a certain area. Prey do not enjoy being caught. They are a crafty bunch and will use lots of cunning to avoid being kilt. This is important to remember, only a smart and crafty Predator will survive. One that is smarter and more cunning than his Prey. That is the inherent challenge of Predators everywhere. In nature and in Eve Online.

This dynamic often leads to “Creep”, and that is something we’ll discuss in another post. Until then.

- Rixx Javix

Rixx Javix is a null and low sec PVPer. He has seen some heavy warfare in the Providence region in the years he has been playing. His blog can be found here.

  • Eternal Corrosion

    Totally true, if you do pvp you know this. +1

  • Sold

    This article puts to words some patterns I’ve observed in Eve but couldn’t really articulate. Well done.

  • Pod Pilot

    That is why we shouldn’t kill the pods….

    • Ciaphas Cyne

      oh god i liked the same post riverini did. am i gonna die now?

  • Veng3ance

    Disappointing article.

    Thought it was going to be about eve history and LV alliance :D

  • Newton Sucks

    This is a gross oversimplification and misappropriation of the Lokta-Volterra relationships. I don’t necessarily disagree with the application of these equations to EVE online, however this is not a good way to do it. As the OP says, the math is too long to really put into a comment, but those who are familiar with partial differentials would have a heart attack looking at this misapplication of calculus in this post.

    • Bo Jangles

      Hmm, I feel you bro.

    • kysh

      Javix pulls impossibel conclusion’s out of the Lotka–Volterra modell. “Respect”, “Distraction & beer”, “lazyness” or “shake things up (variety)” are no biological terms but rather psychological/sociological terms.
      Since you can not logical conclude from population size’s (of combat-pilots or predator’s) to “respect” Javix theory is nothing but (entertaining) pseudoscience. Maybe next time he writes something about telepathy :D

  • santaclown

    “1) Respect your Prey.”
    bull… the only respect it deserves is to be eaten

  • Alex

    Mother fucker i thought this was a post about LV coming back, *dissapoint*

  • The Unknow

    Thought aswell that the article was going about LV.

  • Bemused

    For someone who claims to be at the apex of our bio system, your guys sure like to predate almost exclusively frigates

    • Kamar Raimo

      I guess they are more like cats then. After all those are apex predators when it comes to small birds and rodents :)

  • BDJ

    Did you literally just copy paste wikipedia for your article?

    • BDJ

      Also, I am disappointed this has nothing to do with the Lotka Volterra Alliance.

      • Joshua

        I came expecting the return of Lotka Volterra and am now disappointed.

  • yepyep

    No Graphs, no Pie charts, no cookies, no ice cream.. WTF

  • Ciaphas Cyne

    “Predators tend to target the weak and sick, this is their way of respecting prey. By allowing the strong to live and breed.)”

    i would disagree with that statement. id say that in nature the predator does not chose the weak and sick out of respect, or that they have some instinctual understanding of how breeding works. they chose the sick and weak because they are easiest to catch and will improve the calorie spent/consumed ratio. youve written a lovely piece otherwise, and i enjoyed reading it! i also look forward to what youve got to say about “creep” as its something that is rarely observed in nature due to the time scales involved in evolution.

    • lecorrecto

      unfortunately, there is no predators in eve. Predators do not use bait and trap techniques. Never seen a tiger pile up hay waiting for something to come along and chew on it.

      Eve poachers are much more cowardice. No engagement unless guaranteed win.

      You’ll see “elite pvpers” roam in expensive ships, run at the site of an equal force.
      honor is nothing of eve,

      • Ciaphas Cyne

        some species are pretty incredible hunters…

        oh and there are tons of good fights and brave pilots in eve. im sorry you are not among them, nor does it seem youve been graced by their presence. come to placid and soothe your troubled mind, friend.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Nope, there are no predators that use traps at all … like spiders.

  • The Observer

    Came here thinking Lotka Volterra was starting back up. I left dissapointed.

    ShinRa 4 life.

  • lecorrecto

    predator=blob, prey=someone exploring lowsec

  • Provi Miner

    dude your doing it wrong, create a place where people who want to pew pew can go with some chance of success. By that I mean if one groups brings cruisers then the other side doesn’t bring a shit ton of blops.

  • Not Impressed – Again

    Another derivative puff piece by this guy. Waste of space.

  • fasf

    Shinra&LV 4 ever