The side with the most soldiers wins. Until the other side brings a tank or two. Then the side with the most tanks wins… until the other side shows up with some aircraft. Then air superiority is the winning condition… until you start flinging nukes.
* * * * *
EVE has been built from almost day one on bad assumptions or unintended consequences, and EVE’s playerbase has been tenacious in their ferreting out every advantage and optimal solution to every game mechanic the developers can envision.
The most basic premise of EVE is that players create and players destroy. It is the flow of raw materials through the hands of the producers to create weapons for the hands of the warriors so that the warriors may destroy each other’s weapons in their wars of conquest that ultimately drives the game. Where goods flow one direction, wealth flows the other; as long as there is balance, the game can progress forever.
But there is a failure in this premise, a fundamental flaw in the architecture that not even the Architect of the Matrix could have foreseen: human nature.
For all the talk that EVE is a world filled with psychopaths and trolls and thieves and criminals, we are very good at cooperation, especially in regards to accumulating wealth and building empires. While alliances and coalitions come and go, for the most part the players part of these organizations build wealth comprised of assets and capital. An alliance may lose everything as the pilots flee to low sec or a couch in a neighbouring region, but generally speaking players don’t. Their wealth grows over time and the next alliance is stronger for it.
And this has created a problem.
The coalitions of today would absolutely crush the coalitions of a few years ago. Not because of pilot quality or tactics or anything else, but simply because of the sheer aggregate wealth of these organizations and their ability to put battle winning ships on the field.
For example, let’s take a look at some things from a recent coalition level battle: BATTLE REPORT: SECOND 9-4RP2 TIMER PRELUDES THE START OF THE NEXT GREAT WAR.
The sub-capital composition was of the same theme for both the GSF led attackers and the NCDOT/PL/HORDE defenders; armor Machariels with logistic support. For the capital and super capital side of things NCDOT and co. use only armor based capital, and supercapital, doctrines; the attackers fielded a mix of shield, and armor, based capitals. From what I heard, GSF forces’ titans outnumbered NCDOT/HORDE ones for about a 30/40+ advantage.
Supercarrier 0 / 154 [Lost / Fielded]
The Goons had about 30-40 more titans than their enemies. Back when I was in the Northern Coalition which was one of the largest coalitions at the time, our largest supercarrier fleets were that size. Fielding 154 supercarriers was not even conceivable, and that was just the Goons Super Carrier fleet. As a whole, EVE players are better at building than destroying wealth.
This creates a problem because as the top of the organization tree in EVE gets so overwhelmingly powerful and wealthy, new alliances or coalitions have to bend the knee to the existing powers that be or try to scurry like mice around hoping to avoid the notice of these elephants.
And still the power accumulates.
EVE cannot exists forever on this paradigm. Its remarkable, really, how long has survived with this flow of power to the top. Only the Bittervet disease reducing the ranks of the obscenely rich have slowed the top heavy accumulation of power enough to give EVE hope for over a decade, but as the battle at 9-4RP2 demonstrates, the imbalance is reaching critical levels.
What will CCP do?
We are proud to bring you the stories, opinions and musings of a long time pilot who has dabbled in everything New Eden has to offer, he writes and podcasts about his opinions and adventures at Ninveah.com