Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Death of Fort Knocks

Noizy: And give you enemy 500 billion to 1 trillion ISK in assets? That's not very EVE like

Null sec player: Who cares?

Fight like you give a shit.
Fight like you care about your comrades,
Fight like you want to defend your home.
Fight until they take it from your frozen broken pod.
Anything less is the coward's path.

Tuesday night, I watched a boosh Raven fleet from The Initiative. destroy the first keepstar ever built in EVE Online, Fort Knocks. The largest player-built object was built by Hard Knocks in their home system, a C5 wormhole known as Rage. The Imperium forces within Rage managed to keep control of the entrances to the wormhole for the most part, successfully repelling the major reinforcement attempt before the armor timer. After that, Hard Knocks basically conceded the destruction of Fort Knocks and began committing insurance fraud (self-destructing their ships) in an effort to minimize their losses.

The eviction effort was well executed. Over the course of several months, The Initiative.'s logistics team managed to seed Rage with enough ships and material to sustain the operation. The alliance's command team managed to keep the secret right up to the time their fleets entered wormhole space, catching Hard Knocks by surprise. The Initiative.'s theory crafters came up with fittings that made Executors more massive than Ravens, thus minimizing battleship losses to the keepstar's doomsday weapon. Notably, Hard Knocks had no answer to The Initiative.'s signature boosh Raven fleets. One of the more comical sights on the streams was watching the guided bombs launched from Fort Knocks endlessly chase the Raven fleet around the citadel. To top it all off, The Imperium came in with such numbers to discourage any defense not reinforced from the outside. A perfect bomb run by a Stuka fleet led by The Initiative.'s leader Sister Bliss ended those dreams.

Of course, we've seen the typical complaining about the losing side's conduct after a keepstar fight. Hard Knocks is not the first group defending a keepstar to not defend the final timer this year. From watching keepstar fights in null sec throughout 2018, I've come to the conclusion that if the defender loses the armor timer, then the defender will begin to evacuate the keepstar of ships and equipment needed in the short term and let the rest of the assets stored in the citadel go into asset safety. In practical terms, NPCs move the belongings of players still in a citadel to another station, charging a 15% moving fee.

In wormholes, though, if players want to salvage anything from their belongings from a citadel facing certain destruction, they have three options. The first is attempt a breakout of the wormhole. The second is get an alt into a cargo ship and manage to log out without the besiegers noticing. Then, wait a couple of months and reemerge into the game again. The third is to self-destruct ships and collect the insurance. Unlike null sec players, wormholers can't rely on asset safety to bail them out.

I normally laugh at the concept of bravery and cowardice in a video game. What type of bravery is it to risk a bunch of pixels in any game, much less one about internet spaceships? Is it really cowardice to look at a situation, decide you don't want to feed ships into a group of players a minimum of 3 to 5 times larger than yours (with the odds gradually increasing against you as the fight continues), and decide to salvage the most out of the situation you can? Is it really bravery to fight and lose ships you are about to lose anyway?

In EVE, we normally don't see leaders attempt to emulate King Leonidas at Thermopylae or William Travis at The Alamo. Instead, we see leaders caring about the survival of the organizations they lead, not the opinions of the unwashed masses. From The Mittani in the wake of The Casino War to Sort Dragon's deal with The Imperium this year, examples abound of alliance leaders who rejected the option of throwing both the wealth of their organizations and the assets of their line members away in a doomed gesture.

I'll just end with the thought that triggered this post. I get mocking people for not fighting, especially a group like Hard Knocks that for years won so many battles and did their fair share of criticizing their defeated foes. But to go so far as to disparage the character of people because they don't play a video game the way you think they should? I see enough people vilifying those who disagree with them in the real world. I play EVE to escape that type of behavior.

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