Wormhole Evictions: The Myth of the ‘Fun’ Structure GrindJoran Jackson
Wormhole evictions are perhaps some of the most interesting structure grinds in Eve, for what it’s worth. In an eviction, an entity is sacrificing an entire weekend of round the clock vigilance to remove a number of POSes from a single system, which has no other benefit except the value of the assets inside them. Most competent residents will log off or self destruct the vast majority of those assets, leaving the attackers nothing but a few POS kill mails to show for their weeks of trouble. For this reason, evictions are left to extremely bored large entities, or long time arch enemies. Many wormhole residents still view them as “content,” and they do so with cries of “save wormholes,” and “avoid stagnation.” Let’s delve into the caverns of this tunnel of thought: where it originates, why some corporation leadership promotes these feelings, and what it means for the future of wormholes.
For those unknowing of strategic combat in J-space, a small primer is needed to showcase the human effort involved. The mass limits on wormholes prevent anything but a small number of capitals entering through any given wormhole. This is the standard “defender’s advantage” that has spawned much discussion and debate. Any established corporation will have, at the very least, dozens of capitals in their home system. This is countered in two ways: seeding, which means over months, dropping capitals into a system whenever you have a fortuitous connection; and rolling, which is crashing a known static repeatedly in order to maximize the amount of connections to a particular system you can achieve. Sometimes these strategies are combined.
You might be looking at the difficulty of these strategies and thinking that this means it’s impossible to evict anyone. In fact, it is surprisingly easy. Many of the major corporations and alliances have had their existence threatened at one time or another due to the sheer numbers of people allied against them. In truth it is a numbers game, just like it would be in any other part of space, but an applied numbers game. There might be 1000 characters that are willing to fight for your system, but only 300 of those are able to be in system at the time of the fight. And if you have a huge coalition of corporations aligned against you, there’s plenty more left that you can ask to help save your little corner of paradise. Therefore, after a connection, an invasion fleet will enter the target system and establish “hole control” which means controlling access to the system by maintaining a presence on each wormhole that is open, and forcefully closing all others. This presence must be maintained throughout the entire operation, in order to limit reinforcements. Evictions are won or lost over “hole control.”
So for the uninitiated, wormhole evictions are most analogous to a hellcamp in nullsec. Each one takes a tremendous amount of planning and scouting on the part of the leadership and recon, and effort on the part of the line pilot. These are hellcamps that will not likely net an entire alliances personal assets inaccessible, but will most likely see a couple self-destructed capitals, and far more logged off in cloaky orcas and carriers.
Why then, would an alliance put itself through the trouble? What is the gain of all of this effort? Aside from blind animosity, which can always exist in Eve, the majority of all wormhole evictions are born out of a desire to get fights. This usually takes the form of evicting large wormhole farming groups, banding together to remove nullsec entities who contribute little to the overall health of wormhole life, or most recently, throwing everything at another large entity in order to force them to put ISK on the field to defend their assets. The problem with this content is it is not born out of anything natural. In lowsec, the motivation is ransoms, warzone control, and loyalty points. In nullsec the motivation is sovereignty, moons, and supercapitals. In wormholes the motivation is boredom. The system you capture is unlikely to be used by anyone. In fact, if you were simply looking for a system, there’s bound to be plenty of options on the table that won’t even require a fight.
Now, to be clear, that’s not the worst motivation that could ever be conceived when you’re in a game like Eve. Most wormhole corps are fat, happy, and get to smack around people whenever they wish. Most are quite pleased with that situation, indeed, and will fight to keep it this way. As a wormhole resident myself, I am not particularly eager to see any changes on the horizon. The recognizable failure is the correlation between content and evictions. Wormhole residents fight over anything they can conceive to fight over, and in the end, almost all of us will fight simply to fight. It is a “friendly aggression pact.”
If wormhole residents want more fights for the sake of fighting, but it is impossible to get anyone to fight you, you must resort to evicting them, or threatening eviction, until they decide to do what you wish. In the same way Goonswarm knuckles down and makes siegefleet fun out of necessity, so must evictions be enjoyable. Fights in wormhole space occur not because of some larger strategic goal, they occur because the vast majority of residents find them fun. If you don’t make it enjoyable for both sides, your fights die out. At the end of the day, it becomes the only way you can get someone to fly into your fleet and lose their ships, and that is what keeps the wheels rolling.
Therefore we have a large portion of our CSM candidates that talk about creating content for wormholes by easing the restrictions for POS grinds. Whether it’s wormhole stabilizers, the “fortification problem,” or any other of the many topics discussed away from the eyes of most of Eve, the default suggestion is to make it easy for other corporations to evict each other. Two Step, the previous CSM representative from wormholes, understood where the conflict in our area originates. During his second run for CSM, there were a number of questions about what amounted to, aside from the various details of the ideas, some type of moon goo in wormhole space: a passive type of income for the residents. Two Step’s opposition at the time centered around the fact that it would make certain wormholes more valuable than others. Certainly a correct view, but also prescient. If anyone ever wished to create “content” for wormholes, adding such a mechanic would be all it would take. Coalitions would form and drive out the weak from the most valuable systems, and hold them for themselves. Farming operations would be set up in all major systems, with dozens of scanners for defense fleets to be brought in, and evictions would take place exponentially more often, without ever having to add a wormhole stabilizer into the mix. The next question we have to ask:
Would it be wormhole space?