Now, it would seem a bit far fetched to some, the idea that interdicting a single commodity could bring New Eden's artificial economy to its knees. However, it must be borne in mind that Mittens had an awful lot of bored Goons wanting occupation as they waited for the Winter Supercapital Nerf. Like Border Collies, if you don't keep Goons busy they'll start eating the sofa cushions and herding the household cats. Or the other way around. Both are messy and involve constant clean up.
Anyway, you might well ask how I know Mittens wasn't planning on breaking New Eden's economy. The answer is that Mittens told me so. Well, not directly. Well, yes directly, but not in so many words.
All of EVE depends on fuel, and an extra-special amount of EVE depends on Oxygen Isotopes. These are the fuel for the most popular types of supercapitals, the Rorqual industrial ship, and for Gallente towers, which are the backbone of moon mineral reaction chains and thus of T2 production all across EVE.See, as Mittens put it forward in his mission statement, this means that by systematically griefing Gallente ice harvesting in high sec space, his Goonswarm could bring industrial New Eden to its knees. An obvious lie. Therefore, Mittens did not plan on bringing the economy of New Eden to its knees. QED.
How do I know it was a lie? His lips were moving.
But that aside; the holes in this theory/plan from an economics standpoint are absolutely, unbelievably huge. To announce such a goal Mittens would have to be either made of two parts stupidity to one part hubris, or lying. So ask yourself this: Is Mittens stupid? See? Lying.
Oh, I won't say he doesn't entertain some secret dream of holding all of Eve hostage to his whims. We all need a dream. But there is more of Machiavelli than super villain in Mittens. No, this was an exercise in keeping the kiddies busy while engaging in a little market manipulation.
While it couldn't achieve its stated goal, the announcement of the interdiction by itself would cause oxygen isotope prices to spike due to market speculation by in game traders and the accelerated consumption of the isotopes needed to support the ongoing stockpiling of fuel cells. If the interdiction were successful in causing a production decline in overall oxygen isotope production, that would be bump the expected price spike further. But the impact of the actual interdiction was all gravy. All Mittens had to do was invest in the isotopes up front, announce the interdiction, and then cash in as the price rose. If the scam kept his troops well occupied while they waited for the winter war, all the better.
Of course, Mittens' announced goal of a complete 23/7 shut down of highsec ice production was never realized. I spent a good bit of time moving from one ice belt system to another observing the interdiction in operation, reading reports from sources on the ground and watching the supporting metrics. The effort was generally successful in the few designated staging systems, however enforcement of the interdiction elsewhere became sporadic after the initial excitement with the operation passed. Several systems appear to have been largely untouched after the interdiction's initial push. It wasn't uncommon to sit in a system for hours on end, watching a fleet of happy (if watchful) miners making little icebergs out of big ones - no doubt thanking Mittens for their the additional profit margin.
On Sunday, of course, Mittens called an end to the interdiction. He cashed in his isotopes at a nice profit and sent his goons into Branch to devil the Russians for a time. War against a neighboring nullsec power tends to hold the Goons attention better than war with mining barges.
An interesting byproduct of the venture was the degree to which some the miners worked to adapt to the Goon threat. Normally a miner will simply shut down operations and blue-ball a persistent griefer. In this case, without an expected end to the Goon campaign, and with the uptick in isotope prices making mining Gallente ice worth more risk, miners began experimenting with means of foiling the Goon attacks, or at least minimizing the related financial losses. Further, kill hungry PvE players began to haunt the ice belts in t1 PvP fit ships, waiting for an attacker. Knowing the Goon ships were fit for all gank and no tank and that their focus would be on the mining barges, it was a rare opportunity for the highsec PvE players to rack up some low risk Goonswarm kills.
I won't go into the precise tactics developed by the carebear side. Hulkageddon is just around the corner, and it will be interesting to see if the lessons learned by some of the carebears in the Gallente Ice Interdiction of 2011 get carried over and refined when the Hulk hunters come calling.
As ever, it's an ill wind that blows no one good.