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I talked a bit before about content creation, especially as it relates to wormhole space. It is funny how that phrase comes to mean very different things to different people. For some it is making things in space, industry and construction of ships and modules used by players. For others it is the destruction of those space pixels in honorable combat and while for still others it is nothing more than suicidal destruction of their own ships to destroy those of someone else. Our identities in EVE are often wrapped up in how we view content creation.
"Ganking" is one of those content creators that is commonly found in wormhole space. It goes hand in hand with "blobbing". I don't have a problem with either one of these activities. A gank is simply a PvP engagement where one side is completely unprepared or unaware of his impending doom. Having spent a good amount of time in high-sec mining various things, I even have a level of respect for the suicide gankers of high-sec as they have perfected their art even though they prey somewhat on the ill informed from time to time. Most of those ganks are also blobs in their own right which again comes down to one side being unable or unwilling to bring enough force to the fight. The only issue people have with blobs is likely being on the receiving end of one.
I don't take a lot of pride preying on the weaker in any regard. The closer a fight is to a draw, the better it is naturally. That being said, as wormhole dwellers, we've participated in our share of what falls into the gank category. Being in a class 2 wormhole, we get visitors from high-sec frequently as well as those passing through and some of them simply get snared. There isn't, however, much glory in catching a week old player mining and destroying his ship, yet we do it. I've talked afterwards with quite a few of them and even have brought some into our corp later due to their obvious interest in wormhole space. It is not an uncommon story for many corps to recruit those they kill. I saw it frequently in the high-sec corp I was a part of when they hunted in their low-sec neighbor. I'm certain though that not everyone reacts so kindly to losing their stuff.
When I talk about content creation though, it is also about being in space, literally (well, as literal as it can be in internet spaceships). While there is plenty of interaction that can occur in EVE from a station, and market activity is still PvP however you look at it, more interaction is naturally going to happen when you are flying about. We try to instill this in our pilots. Wormhole space can be boring if you're not out looking for something to do. There are only so many signatures to scan, sites to run, gas to huff, or rocks to pound before you have to venture out from your home system looking for more. It is why we chose to live in a system with two static connections. More options for more content.
Last night was a prime example. Shortly after coming online, a new signature popped into my overview. Since this could mean anything from a connecting wormhole (with corresponding active pilots) to a simple gas site, I was already in my scanning ship and launched probes to scan it down. It turned out to be a wormhole which I warped to hoping to catch sight of whoever opened it. Turns out, that was me. We had what we call a wandering static to a class 2 wormhole. Now I was the one creating signatures in another system so I quickly jumped through to see what activity I would find. Turns out, it was just me again. But I was in luck. This class 2 had a class 3 static and I have been enjoying working in class 3 wormholes recently. Once again, I began to scan.
After resolving signatures, I was left with 4 wormholes, including ours leading to the class 3, high-sec, and low-sec. Unfortunately, the class 3 was at end of life already and wobbling badly but being early in the evening, I would have an opportunity to check out its replacement so I popped in to see what the current system was. With a null static and only two combat sites, this EOL hole wasn't what I was looking for so I checked out the high-sec connection (for some corpmates who were looking for paths to market) and then loitered on that hole. I recognized the system being one jump off my former high-sec corporations home territory. I knew it was a dead end system and fairly frequently visited by scanners so I thought that maybe someone would pop in and be content for us.
It wasn't too long before I noticed an Imicus on the hole. I had been up and down from the keyboard and hadn't noticed him arrive. He quickly left so I didn't think much of it until he returned not too long after in a Brutix. With only one combat site in the hole, I figured I knew where he warped off to and proceeded there cloaked. He wasn't where I expected and after a short time, I dscanned him at the high-sec exit and he left again so I returned to my perch. A wormhole crackle and now our Brutix friend is joined by a Myrmidon. Combat site, I think and warp again only to find they, again, are not where I would expect. Apparently my crystal ball is broken so I dscan around and find them at an ore site. Odd, but ok. I warp there and observe. They have already cleared the sleepers and have collected them with an MTU. They goof around with them for a while and do some very strange maneuvers which end up with the Brutix 100km from the sleepers and slowboating to them. The myrmidon leaves and to my surprise is replaced with a Retriever who starts to chew into some Arkanor. All this while I am keeping my corp channel updated and people are starting to smell blood in the water. A Retriever 100km off a Brutix is a nice target. One of the guys online is literally less than an hour in the corp and the other is my co-founder. As we are talking warp in points, I see an Orca on dscan. Now *my* mouth is watering. That is a juicy target which I expect to stay on the high-sec hole and I'm wondering if we can bump it off when it suddenly drops out of warp next to the Retriever. Jackpot! Now the race is on. We are quickly getting what we can. New bro is going to occupy the Brutix in his Ishtar while my co-founder and I will tackle with Legion and Astero (on my alt) while my main keeps watch in his cloaky Helios.
The plan almost went totally awry when a corp mate was trying to get into a ship and was delaying us from warping. I missed my warp out and my co-founder landed before I even left our home system. Luckily the Orca is a slow beast and he was able to scram it before it entered warp. The Retreiver escaped and the Brutix made for the hills while the three of us then, and finally joined by the fourth, ripped open the Orca. Welcome to the corp, newbro.
The scale of how content affects you and those around you in EVE is interesting. For many corps, this would be a good but perhaps unnoticeable notch on their killboard belt. For us, it was a huge win and a great lesson in being in space similar to our discovery of an unprotected SMA not too long ago. Being in space generates content and last night I happened to be in the right place and the right time, not so much for the Orca pilot...
There is quite the thread over at the EVE forums regarding the proposition by CCP to remove the NPC kill information from the API feed specifically for wormholes. The general reasoning is first that this was never intended to be exposed for wormholes, much like the previous removal of jump information and second that the reason it was never intended to be exposed is in keeping with the unique unknown nature of wormhole space.
I am quite on board with this change purely for the reasons give by CCP. It is in game data that is not available in game in any form (unlike k-space NPC kills which are visible on a map) and therefore should not be exposed via API.
Where it gets interesting is that this information is primarily used as an intel tool for PvP corporations, most commonly found in C5/C6 space, to determine prime gank times for capital escalation fleets. There are cries of outrage at the removal of this intel which has a not so subtle exposed hatred for PvE or "carebear" organizations. It is hard to even discuss this reaction without resorting to sarcasm and negativity myself at the prevalence of this attitude. At what point did PvE content become the scourge of EVE? I understand that some of the frustration comes from the tactics of these groups, taking advantage of the discovery scanner to safe up on contact as well as using logoff tactics to keep a fleet safe at all times other than when engaging in PvE. But at the same time, when did this also then become the crusade of these outraged organizations to need to remove these PvE organizations from the game and by extension any corporation that does not engage in PvP the way they do?
The lack of vision put forth by the corporations living in the high-level wormholes is a bit fascinating probably brought on by the high level of Goonswarm involvement in this thread. It is not so subtly speculated that the recent eviction of Goonswarm from a wormhole system prompted some kind of discussion at Fanfest with CCP regarding the use of this intel thus instigating this change. Maybe this is true, maybe not, though it doesn't really change the merits of the proposal. It does, however, bring immediate comparisons between how large null-sec operations run and how wormhole corporations do. I suspect that how Goonswarm views wormhole space and its inhabitants is that they appear to operate illogically.
Wormhole corporations are largely based around the idea of single system ownership. A corporation moves into a wormhole of the difficulty appropriate to their size and operate from that location. The higher level corporations tend to run in two camps, PvP or PvE. This dichotomy does not really seem to be that prevalent in null-sec, the space with perhaps the most similarities to wormhole space in terms of raw dynamics (no CONCORD, etc). I have yet to really hear of any wormhole organization (corporation or alliance) that has taken upon itself to control large portions of wormhole space. Some will occupy multiple levels of space, again, most likely based on difficultly in order to match up challenge with pilot skill in PvE, but it does not seem to be in the "meta" for any wormhole entity to begin to take over multiple locations. Why is this?
The first, obvious reason would be the very nature of wormhole space with its ever shifting landscape of connections. This makes force projection, reinforcements, and other logistical functions far more difficult than say in null-sec where jump bridges move ships across the universe at a moments notice. But does this really interfere with occupation? I don't believe it does. If you can build up 100 members to control a single hole, why can you not build up 200 members to control two or a thousand to control ten? Certainly they will not be able to directly influence each other as easily as other organizations but it is also not that uncommon for there to be relatively small distances between wormhole systems and with the prevalence of T3 ships in wormhole space, moving across those distances is not the same challenge it would be for larger capital fleets and who is to say that judicious use of well placed jump clones could not reduce those distances significantly in many situations. This would require scanning chains, finding connections most likely in k-space, and moving fleets through those connections. Ironically, these actions themselves might create plenty of content for PvP organizations simply by being in space.
But maybe that simply isn't the goal of wormhole corporations, yet it seems that those crying foul over how other corporations use the space they have occupied have no desire themselves to occupy that space. They simply don't want others to have it or to use it in the way they are using it. You will hear arguments that occupation by PvE corporations reduces PvP content which is bad. I don't buy that argument. In some ways, the NPC kill intel being available seems to restrict PvP content more than anything because if you do not have to have scouts and fleets out in space looking for targets.
As a lower level wormhole corporation, we engage in PvE more out of necessity than anything. Our income levels are lower, our members are newer, and the income is needed to keep them in the game. We have our PvP moments though will simply disengage from conflicts due to overwhelming force on the other side. Taking yourself out of a fight you cannot win seems to me to be a perfectly valid PvP tactic though I imagine cries of "Carebear!" will ring from PvP corps at that. Yet our members being out engaging in PvE, using our chain to find null-sec exploration or low-sec connections creates plenty of content for the rest of EVE because we are out in space, not logged off or at a POS waiting for NPC kill API to tell us maybe there is someone to attack.
I look forward to this API being removed. I think it will get more pilots into space and maybe, just maybe, spark something in organizations that have the numbers to grow into something more than a wormhole gank squad and actual engage in the empire building that many of us moved into wormhole space specifically for.