The ESS Changes, or “We want you to leave”

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“We don’t want to fight you, we just want you to leave our system.”

This is a quote commonly attributed to BRAVE representative and CSM member Dunk Dinkle. It is based on a CSM minutes conversation with ExookiZ and Aryth. The conversation was about fighting hostile intruders in your space.

The phrase “Helldunks or blueballs” is related to this quote. They are based on the idea that by fighting you are adding fuel to the fire. By denying a fight, you win by forcing a hostile to go elsewhere, and demoralise them and discourage their return.

This mindset seems to confirm the stagnation of nullsec alliances. It’s quite clear that the fight seeking mentality of past doesn’t exist quite as much today.

These ESS changes reward the daring, the aggressive, and provokes confrontation.

With the new ESS changes, the incentive to make flight and stay docked is now punished. This especially punishes those who refuse to fight (see: bots, RMTers, and the cowardly). Those that dock up or warp off with impunity to wait out hostiles are punished – they have left their wealth unprotected able to be pilfered by hostile heisters.

What’s more, these changes give an incentive for people to create a hostile situation. People want to roam knowing it’s easier to start a fight, or at least leave with some loot.

However, these changes quite negatively affect those who are unable to defend their system. It’s noted that many casual and non-PVP groups in EVE online have reacted quite negatively to this change, being forced to react in 5 minutes and form up a fleet against an already prepared attacking force and watching them pilfer a percentage of their gains.

On the other hand, groups who have aggressively defended their ESS such as Fraternity have found themselves raking in healthy profits from the bonus payouts and the loot from their enemies.

These changes bring a greater incentive to fight and discourages flight. Renter-vassal groups such as VVV – whom were once constantly attacked and consistently undocked and lost defense fleets – have now adapted and evolved at an accelerated rate. Using that experience, they have had far more success defending their ESS and home than other rental/vassal groups.

The ESS combat system as of current is still very fresh and new. A lot of thoughts and ideas haven’t been fully fleshed out.

Frequently I’ve spoke to people who have fantasied on their ultimate ESS defense strategy.
They’ve brooched me with seemingly invincible and unbeatable ESS defense setups. Huginns with five sentry Dominixes. Huginns with ten Gilas. Bhaalgorns and Blasters at zero.

Admittedly these are strong enough that even I struggle to create an effective way to combat them.

However one thing is certain. Whilst there hasn’t been many doctrines and strategies developed for fighting in a ESS bubbled grid, there is huge potential for so much more.

Every day since the ESS changes, I have seen all sorts of unique and varied fleets being used to attack and defend. This is clearly a blue ocean for fresh ideas and the ESS bubble creates a completely new fighting environment.

With these changes being made, I draw back to the mentality of not providing good fight.

I can recall my time in TEST, when a Goonswarm commander brought over 100 Talwars and Thrashers into the heart of TEST alliance home D-PNP9 looking for a fight. The FC at the time I believe was “Kryzhius”, a Test FC and once a member of the legendary Rooks and Kings PVP alliance.

Kryzhius/Cross refused to form up against the fleet and stated in Fleet 6 comms that “By fighting them we give them a reason to come back. Everyone stay tethered. Actually, no in fact dock up. Everyone dock up. Do not fight them. We’re going to wait for them to leave”.

This was the idea that by providing a fight – by providing content and entertainment – groups would return more often. As long as we stayed docked and did not provide any entertainment, they surely would never return right?

I don’t believe that. I never believed that. I never will believe that. I believe that for evil to prevail, all it takes is for good men to do nothing.

When a neutral enters system, I undock to fight them. Docking up meant they were free to harass someone else. Killing them meant I put an end to their terror. As long as we are engaged, they are doing nothing to hurt anyone else.

Maybe I’m built different.

I want you to fight. I want you to stay. And I want you to die.

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