As of the 14th of March 2018, we are in the second week of the POS Party wormhole eviction. The past week has seen a Vehement kill, hundreds of billions of ISK in damage, and a whole lot of Reddit drama.
It might seem like chump change to many nullsec groups, but a battle of this size is a serious business in wormhole space. The commitment required to seize control of and make an assault on such a hole can only be described as herculean. It begs the question: “Why?” What series of events led to hundreds of players staying up all night and thirsty for POSPY blood? To answer that question I’ve gathered a number of key players on the attackers’ side to share their story.
For starters, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do and what your corps are about.
Steel Roamer [Shekel CEO]: Shekel is kind of a new group to C5 space. New in the sense that we don’t have the history of the other corps, but have been here long enough to have learned most of the hard lessons and figured out the “politics”. We are a casual C5-C5 corp, in the same vein as other groups like TDSIN. We take players who might not make it into other corps, and try to get them into the larger fights and brawls while they are interested in the space. We have some great people who I’m proud to have flown with and proud to undock with on a day-to-day basis. This corp is run by the members, this is important to note!
Seth Cane [Vision Inc CO-CEO]: Unlike Shekelsquad, Vision Inc has been around for a few good years now. I joined two years ago after I’ve made my first steps in wormhole space in Odin’s Call. At the time, Vision Inc was in a C5 with C5 static, and the time I joined in was the pinnacle of activity in C5 space, giving you plenty to shoot at every fresh static.
After the attempted eviction of Vision Inc last year, we decided to retire into a C2 with 0.0 static, handing over our old C5 to another corp in Hole Control for them to live in. We still brawl out of our C5 static though, just without caps.
Veck Abilene [Holesale CO-CEO]: I am the USTZ Director of Holesale and one of our main FC’s. I also handle pretty much everything from recruitment, internal affairs, external affairs, doctrine planning, and planning our large scale ops. Holesale is primarily a C5>C5 PVP group with a specialization in evictions. We do take on merc work, but not as often as we used to. We are a very tight-knit group of people, and we pretty much welcome anyone who is willing to PVP in wormhole space and has the SP and ISK to fly our doctrine ships. A lot of us play other games together, and several of us have had RL meetups whenever possible.
We’re also joined here today by three Shekelsquad directors who’ve put in a lot of effort towards the eviction: Keeperofthe7keys af-Septem, Teddy Gbyc and Viktor Pvolman.
Why are you actually here anyway? Is this a grudge match or are you just along for the ride?
Steel Roamer: We got invited into something that was already a framework. There were people who wanted to do it, but the critical mass needed to pull it off may have been a challenge. As more people started agreeing to come, it went from what could’ve been a passing joke on comms, to a real plan.
As for why Shekel is here? It’s because my members got fed up and I felt horrible diploing their revenge away everytime. You hear this a lot in Eve; “The content gets diplo’d away”, and for a while, I was guilty of this. POSPY and friends were close to us, very close. But a shift happened recently where groups got complacent that because we are friends, any issues or anger or frustration between the groups could just get diplo’d away in back channel convos. You could do anything to Shekel and they won’t do anything because we are friends.But friendship is a two way trade, and Shekel members felt like they got nothing for it. And when I heard and saw how many members were willing to partake in collecting what they see [as their] due, I said yes. You can only keep a bear on a tight leash for so long.
Would I call it a grudge match? Maybe not. More like making an example and showing that if you want to play dirty, we can too, and you can’t diplo it away.
Keeperofthe7keys af-Septem: First and foremost, as leadership I am here for my members, I am responsible for their enjoyment of this corp and of this game. Over half a year ago at this point, POSPY and Shekel were as good of friends as corps could be without being blue. Steel and I picked their leadership up at the airport and roomed with them at Eve Northeast, we helped teach their main FC, we even evicted a farmhole for them. This was a period where we were trying to help several groups grow because more sizable and competent groups in wormhole space means more content for everyone, it’s a healthier environment for the space. What changed our attitudes towards POSPY was their treatment of us the last few months in spite of all we’d done together, and for them.
There are several reasons and events that caused our relations with them to deteriorate. I don’t care to name every instance, but the major ones include incidents like cap-blobbing us, apologizing for it, then doing it again anyways and rolling us in that time. But the final straw was when TDSIN asked us for a brawl, and we agreed despite it being a slow night and them having twice our numbers, only for us to engage and not five minutes in, have a pre-batphoned POSPY jump into the hole. Getting good fights can be hard these days, and people don’t appreciate stuff like this happening every time one could have happened.
I don’t personally hate them or their membership. But corps need to understand, the assumption in wormhole space is that you are here to have fun fighting each other. When you do things like repeatedly cap blob in your home, it removes trust, and leads to not getting fights in the future. In the case of POSPY, they called us their friends, and they proved through action that their words were meaningless.
POSPY certainly isn’t the only offender of such acts, so then why POSPY instead of say, Collective Company? Because POSPY were our friends, because we had done so much for them. COCO doesn’t pretend to be your friend, COCO doesn’t negotiate terms for a “fair fight” before they are willing to engage you and COCO doesn’t apologize. COCO simply undocks and warps dreads at you, and people have fun trying to be the corp to defeat their cap-blob and gets that Vehement kill.
Teddy Gbyc: POSPY have typically been friendly with SHKL. After a few brawls that ended with POPSY refusing to lose honourably and dropping the cap hammer, many of our members were out for blood. We kept trying to say no, but time after time, we ran out of excuses to not do something.
Viktor Pvolman: POSPY and Shekel have been good friends in the past, but on several occasions they pulled some extremely scummy moves, being very unreliable allies on several occasions. That, together with the potential for very good content and loot was my main motivation for putting effort into this eviction.
Seth Cane: Personally? I strongly dislike two certain people within POS-Party, one of which is Prometheus Starfire, who was the CEO of Temporary Insanity, the corp that spearheaded the attempted eviction of Vision Inc back in 2017. I’ll keep the second person’s name to me for now, though.
On corp and alliance level, I can say we do it mostly for the loot pinata, because we enjoy evicting once in a while in general and obviously to make Prometheus and whoever hangs with him pay for what he tried to accomplish.
Veck Abilene: Unlike the other groups, Holesale doesn’t really have any ill feelings towards POSPY. We are simply here because this is what we do. Coming into 2018, we were looking for the next big thing after evicting Eyes.FR in 2017. The political drama, combined with our expertise in evictions and wars of attrition, made us ideal allies for a coalition that would form to attempt to evict a large, long standing wormhole group such as POSPY. Our combined efforts with Hole Control have always been positive. This is our first real joint op with Shekel, who have proven to be valuable allies in large-scale warfare.
How much personal effort has it taken you so far, and how many cups of coffee have you needed?
Steel Roamer: I was on for the first two days of timers, but missed the last day, which is a real shame. But I took time off of work for this, so I decided to flip my sleep schedule to help with the late night crew since that was my biggest concern. I didn’t realize how many people would be up all night for this, and that is partly why the Vehement is dead. I was on and noticed some weird activity, pinged ahead of time, and when the Vehement came out, we were ready to kill it.
The hardest part is keeping things organized 24/7 between time zones as people hop on and off. Keeping roles filled, keeping people on point, and keeping yourself one step ahead.
As for cups of coffee, I’m down a full box of 24 Keurig K-cups. Better than I expected haha.
Keeperofthe7keys af-Septem: Less than anticipated honestly, Seth, and Veck are amazing dudes to work with, tasks have been spread out well and we have around the clock coverage from different corps which narrows the window of time I have to personally worry about. That said it has still been long hours of hole control and after we lost the first structure timers, hours of debating and planning how we would handle the following week. My RL productivity has dropped to a minimum.
Coffee consumed: enough to kill a small mammal.
Teddy Gbyc: I’ve answered every single ping I can and spent a lot of time holding hole control with people. For the most part though, my efforts have been directed towards the planning over the last few months.
No cups of coffee for me, I need to clear the energy drink cans from my desk eventually though.
Viktor Pvolman: I have personally been very involved in the planning and execution of the eviction, being in charge of hole control for an average of 12h a day and very involved in high level decision making, so sleep was pretty hard to come by in the first weekend. This is the first op of this scale I have been involved in so far, and it has been an very good learning experience.
Veck Abilene: Too much to measure. One could argue I’m responsible for setting this in motion. I reached out to Steel when I learned of their [Shekel’s] desires to hit POSPY’s home. Seth had already asked us to form the Eyes.FR coalition again in the pursuit of the same goal. After Holesales keepstar successfully anchored, I brought all three groups together and we began to plan the demise of Hydra. It has been months in the planning, and more details will emerge once I release my full AAR.
Reddit comments have spoken about wormholer ‘e-bushido’ in passing. What does that actually mean to you and does it come into play here?
Steel Roamer: Well, I said before, we used to be friends with POSPY. This might be Mittani level backstabbing or something, but really it’s just us reacting to the environment we’ve found ourselves in. Lately, most fights we take end up in us getting “capital spaghetti’d” as I call it. We come in for a fight, and after we are somehow committed, we get a wave of caps dropped on us. That, or people ask us for fights and have backup to massively outnumber us already on the way.
Our content mostly relied on getting fights with corps we connect to by simply asking. But this kind of dried up.. It was simply a numbers game. If we formed enough people to kill the overwhelming capital response we expected, people would tell us they refuse to fight us because we have too many people and would roll away. If we didn’t form enough, we would jump in and get the hammer. It was a lose-lose situation.
Bushido is a meme, but respecting each other as wormhole corps in the benefit of content might not be. When everyone just smashes a nullsec sized cap blob onto their hole, it makes the space stagnant. The mechanics make taking these kind of fights hard to take for the smaller and mid-sized groups like TDSIN, Shekel, Sound, MCAV. So we sit docked, make fun of each other, and eventually someone rolls. HK and Lazerhawks have the organization and “coverage” to handle this, and the reputation that if you do these things to them, they will do something about it.
So I complained. And boy, I complained a lot. Too much in hindsight, because the response I got was always “stop whining, and do something about it” from those who have been pushed into this corner before. So here we are. Doing something about it.
Keeperofthe7keys af-Septem: To me, I don’t care about some arbitrary rules of bushido. What I do care about is practical restrictions of the game and expected courtesy. As I mentioned earlier, you won’t continue to get fights in your home if people can’t trust you to jump into it. This is a video game after all. I’m not strict with exact adherence to every law of some rulebook. There is however a very definite line that gets crossed though when you roll people in, drop 7 dreads and then claim “we had to do it, this guy you weren’t shooting was dying.” If you want to arrange a fight to have fun, stick to it and don’t claim you just want fun fair fights when you don’t give them.
No one expects you to abide by some rules of honor when your rorqual gets ganked, no one expects fights to be completely fair, but when you refuse to fight on any terms that aren’t guaranteed killmails, I question why you’re existence is of benefit to me. When you make the only way for people to have fun engaging you is with 140 Machariels, that’s what you’ll inevitably get. One of best wormholers we’ve had in this community, Noobman, once said “You can push whatever kind of e-honor and rules on other people but if you don’t have the military strength to enforce them they are meaningless words to other people.” Well, here we are, enforcing them through strength.
Teddy Gbyc: To me, wormhole bushido is about not being a dick. It’s about bringing as much mass as you can reliably fit through a hole. If you’re in a C4 for example then you probably shouldn’t bring caps in most situations; a FAX in a low-class space can usually make you near-unkillable and it ruins the point of armour brawls.
Viktor Pvolman: I personally take wormhole bushido very seriously: big wormhole corps are pretty rare, and a big portion of wh fights happen in someone’s home. When you fight in someone’s home it is expected from them that they only bring as much as they could bring to a fight if that fight would happen outside of their home, so not too many battleships and no more than 3 capital ships. If people start to ignore this rule on a regular basis, people will not fight in each others home anymore because of trust issues, and all of wh space will get a lot less content. I do not have any respect for corps like POSPY that claim to be honorable but break this rule on a regular basis.
Seth Cane: This is EVE and for me personally fair fights don’t really exist, people always try to guarantee their victory before they even undock. That’s just my personal view on it though, based on observation. I think it does exist to a certain extent when fights are being pre-arranged solely for content. I don’t expect anyone to obey the bushido when I tackle their farming dreads or rolling carrier.
E-bushido itself comes into play here as POSPY not abiding by the “rules” by arranging content fights with rules, then ignoring the rules they set is the reason for most bigger wormhole corporations to dislike POSPY.
Veck Abilene: This is where we differ from many other groups. Holesale’s leadership does not believe in any form of bushido. It’s nothing but bullshit arbitrary rules that groups try to impose on others. There is no such thing as a fair fight in EVE, only good fights. There isn’t a single FC who undocks with the intention of losing. Wormhole space is a lawless, wild west, and we intend for it to stay that way. Perhaps this is why we have grown to be hated so much, as we burn peoples homes, one after another. If we have to be the bad guys of wormhole space, so be it. Conflict is what drives this game.
On the other side of the coin, there is a fine line to walk if you want to maintain some respect from other groups and have capital brawls in C5 space. If someone jumps a FAX and a subcap fleet into your home for a fight, and you drop 10 Dreads on top of them, that’s a very fast way to ensure that no one ever wants to fight you again. If you do this enough, you might find 140 Machs in your home one day.
For the k-space players out there, how is this wormhole eviction any different from a regular structure bash?
Steel Roamer: This is different because this is someone’s home, and there are much larger repercussions to this than some member of some corp somewhere losing their income for a duration. Shooting farmholes proves you have 36 hours of your time to waste. Sieging someone’s home means there’s more than just money involved.
POSPY is fighting, and they are fighting hard. I wish them luck. But this will be an exhausting war of attrition until one side gives up on trying to win. Loot would be great since people committed a lot of isk to this and getting their investment ‘refunded’ would be awesome. But we’re sending a message that if you become a content deadzone to other groups based on the way you treat them, then killing you becomes the new source of content. It’s the natural progression of things.
Keeperofthe7keys af-Septem: This is the biggest contested eviction to occur in years (HK/LZHX seeded an impressive number of capitals for the eviction of Inner Hell’s old home and keepstar, but they moved out before so it was essentially undefended.) and the largest contested eviction since the citadel patch. Most corps have historically given up after one engagement if any, and spent the eviction self-destructing their stuff on the undock.
POSPY, however, has made regular attempts during their strong USTZ to take hole control and bring in allies. It has resulted in several large engagements and despite losing all of them and not contesting the armor timer, they did everything they could to make a last stand on structure, fighting tooth and nail. Their members and allies reshipped – some over half a dozen times – until, by attrition, we had to stand down for the day. This is a scale of fighting that wormholers largely aren’t used to and the citadels played a huge role in the 4th fight that POS towers never did.
Teddy Gbyc: You’re still limited by mass, you can’t bring friendly caps in and you need to keep constant hole control to stop them from bringing reinforcements in. Each new sig is a rush to either collapse or crit the hole which adds a new dynamic to the fight. Given that cynos also aren’t an option, bringing in your own backup through these holes is always a risk in itself.
Viktor Pvolman: This is a rare example of an eviction of a serious eviction of a big pvp corp, so that means that a lot of parties are involved on both the attacker and the defenders side, which means that some of the biggest fights in wh space in a long time have happened so far, and a lot more are coming.
Seth Cane: This is the first time in a long time that someone puts up some serious effort to save their home from getting burned to the ground instead of just self destructing everything on the undock of their soon-to-be-destroyed citadels. Also both defenders and attackers have lots of friends, lots of people that want to get involved, it was bound to get big. It was obvious that evicting an active PVP corp would raise a lot of attention, so I can’t say im surprised.
Veck Abilene: We knew going in that this would be the hardest eviction we had ever attempted. POSPY has a very large member base, lots of capital ships, and lots of friends. Since they live in a C4, we can’t bring our own caps. Most evictions only last 3-4 days for us. This one will extend to days 11-12. It is the most serious war of attrition we will have ever fought. In wormholes, there are no cynos, and only so much mass can fit through a specific wormhole. The ultimate goal is to seed assets, maintain control, deny enemy allies, pod people out, and wear the enemy down, little by little, until you have destroyed everything in the system.
Best and worst moments of the eviction thus far?
Steel Roamer: Best? Blowing up the Vehement. It was the golden goose egg that was pulled away from us multiple times over 72 hours. Once it popped, there was an audible cheer in comms.
Worst? Running out of sabres to screen the caps off our mach fleet. The amount of assorted ships POSPY was able to re-ship into was seemingly endless. Keeping sabres on grid to keep the defensive wall up seemed like an impossible battle judging from the AARs.
Keeperofthe7keys af-Septem: Best: Holesale’s membership spamming “baby don’t hurt me.” every half hour during the 48 hour period we stood down after losing the structure fight.
Worst: Sleeping through the 5 AM ping as I’ve now missed both vehement kills this corp has gotten.
Teddy Gbyc: Vehement kill. I rushed home doing about 70 in a 50 zone, got on comms and joined the fight just in time to help secure grid before downtime. The bad thing was the C2 wormhole bug. We essentially had a one-way connection open for 1-2 hours, a wormhole which let POSPY in, but we could not see it. Obviously, that gave them a huge advantage, bringing in many more pilots who otherwise never would have had the chance to defend the hole.
Viktor Pvolman: The fight we had on the Fortizar hull timer. It was both the best moment because it was the most intense and exciting fight I personally ever had in wh space. The worst was having to give up killing the structures that were left because we had lost too many machs. That felt pretty bad.
Seth Cane: Best moment so far for me personally was Keskora Yaari (CEO of POSPY) telling everyone that it has been a blast and lots of fun fights and in the same breath begging us to leave their home on the “Talking-in-stations” podcast on twitch.tv
Worst moment? Definitely our anchor not turning quick enough and us feeding lots of Machs to the HAW dread blob and thus missing the rest of the timers.
Veck Abilene: It’s hard to pick the best moment. The entire event has been a non-stop emotional, face-melting roller-coaster of massive fleet fights and hundreds of billions of ISK destroyed. I have never done anything this insane in an MMO.
The worst moment was when I got deleted on the 2nd Fort grid. Since I was the anchor for our Machs, I knew this would be catastrophic to our fleet and most likely cause us to miss the next timers. Feelsbadman.jpg. Luckily, I’m not one to give up easily, nor am I one to let my failures stop me from trying again.