Thursday, May 24, 2012


But I got a word of warning for all you would-be Goon hunters. When you join Mitten's enemies list, you take on debit. A debit you owe me personally. Each and every Goon hunter owes me one hundred Goonsicles. And I want my Goonsicles. And all y'all will git me one hundred Goonsicles, taken from the ships of one hundred dead Goons. Or you will die tryin'.

You'll recall from Inglourious Carebears that Mittens has established an enemies list.  If you're on it, you're instantly elevated to super-star status. Instant celebrity.  Velvet ropes at the best clubs are pulled aside for you. Johnny Depp and Beyonce want to hang out at your table and buy you drinks. 

Best of all, you get to hunt Goons.  For free.

'Cause. let me tell you, if wardeccing an alliance of 9,000 hysterical Goons wasn't cheap before the new war mechanics dropped into place, it is outright stratospheric now.  Unless you're sitting on a pile of Technetium isk (which most of us are not) a license to hunt Goons outside of their nullsec habitat has gotten cost prohibitive.

Happily, some members of Mitten's enemies list are kind enough to share the wealth; to let a select few bask in the glow of their new-found infamy.  You see, the updated Inferno wardec system allows you to offer to ally yourself with the objects of Mitten's ire.  Thus allied, when the velvet rope in front of Club Chin Pussy is lifted, you too may slip past the jaundiced eye of the Maitre d and take your seat at the table of the just.  There we while away the late hours, drinking Johnny Depp's scotch and laughing over 9,000 Goons feeling the wedgie every time uncle Mittens gets his panties in a bunch.

But don't get so lost in the moment that you forget to send me my Goonsicles.  I want my Goonsicles.  They go so well with the scotch.

Tchin tchin

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm afraid my thinking's gotten down into the tall grass of late. So, slap on your pith helmets and grab your machetes. It's going to be a bit of a slog. 

Rational Choice Theory is a framework commonly used by economists to model social and economic behavior. In essence, RCT assumes that a rational person faced with a social or economic decision (aka homo economicus) is going to take the course which best serves the actor's self interest. Self interest is usually assumed to be best served by the decision that yields the actor the greatest financial benefit. For example, offered a choice between receiving ten fifty Euro notes and ten five Euro notes, RCT assumes a rational actor will decide to take the five hundred Euros and leave the fifty Euros on the table. Of course, there may be a few crazies, moral whingers and drooling idiots who would choose the lesser stack of Euros, but in the aggregate the stack with the greater financial value is going to be chosen.

Now, as many of you know, there are a lot of flies in the rational choice ointment. For example, rational choice assumes that the actor has access to and will consider all the information needed to make an optimal choice. Obviously most economic decision are more complex than the simple stack of Euros example above. More often that not all the variables needed to compute the best outcome in the real world are not available or too complex to easily calculate. So we rely on rules of thumb that are not always as rationally based as we would hope. Further, homo economicus as he/she exists in economic models doesn't have a lot of the irrational quirks and priorities with which homo sapien is burdened. Homo economicus is not subject to loss aversion, status quo bias, money illusion, self serving bias, most or all of which come as standard equipment on us, the real world counterparts . Thus, just as love laughs at locksmiths, real humans made mock of RCT, giving wings to the field of behavioral economics and the inclusion of bounded rationality and cognitive biases in the economic zeitgeist. 

So, why am I bothering you with all this?

Because as I look in the rear view mirror, the irrational follies seem to have been behind the collapse of both the Drone Russian Federation (DRF) and the Northern Coalition (NC - not to be confused with the Northern Coalition [DOT] alliance) before them.

In both cases we have coalitions that had it all going their way. Their space was secure, their systems were generating vast wealth, their enemies were at bay or on the run. Throughout the forums and blogosphere, all New Eden anticipated an imminent era of nullsec hegemony by each of those coalitions in turn.  Now, were these coalitions led by a band of homo economicus, they would not have messed with the status quo. In fact, perfectly rational persons leading these coalitions would have done everything within their collective power to maintain the status quo as it was obviously in their self interest to do so.


Though often dismissed as Carebears, the NC had successfully fended off collective attacks by elite PvP alliances and coalitions for several years. They participated with Goonswarm and Test Alliance Please Ignore in bringing about the downfall of IT Alliance. They had successfully adapted their tactics and internal ship production lines to supercapital warfare. Elite nullsec pvpers wailed, gnashed their teeth and made dread pronouncements of a coming pax carebear in nullsec. Every nullsec alliance, it was claimed, would be blue to every other alliance, capital and supercapital pilots would be forced to trade in their Titans for Rorquals, and "real" pvpers would be forced to flee nullsec for (horrors!) lowsec.

And yet, in a fit of distraction, the leaders of the Northern Coalition ceased to look out for the common good. Petty grudges and resentments, long set aside in the interest of mutual survival, were suddenly back on the menu. The same DRF and Pandemic Legion fleets that had battered at the doors of NC space for months in vain, suddenly gained a foothold in Geminate against one of the NC alliances. The remaining NC alliances failed to respond collectively as they had in the past; by slamming the door on the invaders with overwhelming force. Unrealistic faith in past performance fatally slowed the move to a common defense posture. As the DRF foothold turned into a beach head, more nullsec alliances joined the DRF, opening up additional fronts on NC space. Even under direct threat, the NC alliances' efforts at coordination were sluggish and half-hearted. Failing to act together, the NC alliances were attacked piece-meal and overwhelmed in turn. As the NC coalition collapsed the invaders, wielding supercapital reserves the individual NC alliances couldn't match, gobbled up NC space in short order.

The DRF, in their turn took center stage as the big bad of nullsec. In the year prior they had destroyed Atlas Alliance and driven Against All Authorities (-A-) to the brink of extinction. They had fended off the Northern Coalition's invasion of the Kalevala Expanse and led the subsequent take-over of Northern Coalition space. As the Incarna era ended, the DRF and their immediate allies found themselves in a position of overwhelming strength. They controlled in excess of seventy percent of nullsec space, had -A- on the ropes in Catch, and had brought Mittens and his Goons to heel. By the beginning of December 2011, the DRF position seemed unassailable; an isk generating machine backed up by vast supercapital fleets and a reputation for steel jacketed cohesion.

However, once again, irrationality reared its ugly head. Alliance leadership within the DRF coalition succumbed to cognative bias and began to act against their own, sweet self-interest. What should have been a minor diplomatic incident between Solar Fleet and Legion of Death blossomed into a pissing match which grew into a somewhat controlled bout of shoving and hair pulling.  Meanwhile, the working relationship among White Noise's leadership team devolved into a noisy Irish stand-off. Seeing this disarray, Goonswarm removed the DRF collar and leash from around their collective neck and proceeded to throttle White Noise with it and, accompanied by Test Alliance and a fistful of allies, knocked DRF member Red Alliance and DRF ally Raiden[DOT] back on their heels.

Now, as soon as the Goons, Test Alliance and company attacked White Noise, Solar Fleet and Legion of Death would have been well advised to set aside their slap fight before things got ugly and put down the Goon uprising. Instead the Legion/Solar Fleet kerfuffle erupted into a full scale re-enactment of the Punic Wars with Solar Fleet and Intrepid Crossing playing the Rome and  Legion of Death standing in for Carthage. This put any chance of a united front out of reach, and effectively sounded the death knell for the DRF. 

As of this writing, White Noise is no more. Legion of Death has retreated to NPC nullsec where they make common cause with Raiden[DOT]. The latter is much diminished, having lost roughly a third of their membership and retaining only a single sovereign system in a sea of enemies. Red Alliance is attempting to make a go of it on their own in Delve and Querious (BOB/IT Alliance's space of old).

Of the DRF's primary Russian alliances, Solar Fleet alone thrives (for the moment) in post-DRF nullsec. It has selectively increased its members, trebled its outposts, and acquired a large renter population from Shadow of Death, Legion's now emaciated (down to 900 members from a high of 8000) renter alliance. As always wise renter bears don't lose nullsec space so much as trade landlords. Former DRF ally Northern Coalition[DOT] alliance appears to have made a separate if temporary peace with the invaders and has retained their possessions (as well as picking up some of Raiden's) in Vale of the Silent and Geminate.

Thus two interstellar empires, each seemingly at the pinnacle of their strength, have been laid irrationally low.

Now another player struts nullsec's starry stage and ponders the technetium throne. Whether Deklein Coalition will avoid the fate of its two predecessors (indeed, Deklein contains a healthy dose of former NC bears) remains to be seen. Mitten's ongoing holy war against highsec space may be, in part, intended as a post victory distraction; a hedge against the slack periods that often follow successful campaigns. As I've written elsewhere
"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."
An insightful policy I think. It is every bit as important to keep the troops busy following victory as it is following defeat and retreat. Slack time after victory has been declared can be as destructive as the enemy.

Idle hands are, after all, irrationality's playthings.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chin Music

Mittens and Friend
OK, this is an unpleasant truth, but one that has to be told.  It's tough love time.

The Mittani wears a chin-pussy.

The chin-pussy (as in, 'I grew one because it's as close as I'll ever get to one') is a beard that covers only the end of the chin with no accompanying mustache, or beard along the cheek or jaw-line.  Its colorful nickname owes to its resemblance to a mound of pubic hair.

There are two types of people who can get away with this facial fashion faux pas.  The first includes Marvel Comic villains, like Spider Man's sometime nemesis, Morbius.  The other type are baseball relief pitchers possessed of a 92+ mph fastball, wicked breaking pitches and an ungodly low earned run average.

At last check, Mittens was neither of these.

Now, I don't know about you, but I cannot listen to dire pronouncements, threats of doom or maniacal laughter and keep a straight face when the mouth from which said dire pronouncement, threats of doom or maniacal laughter issue resides above a chin-pussy.  I know, I know, it's meant to look all sinister and menacing and stuff.  But no.  Not so much. Gives me the giggles.

Sorry man. Someone had to tell you.

Edward Norton
Now if Mittens wishes to connect with his inner Mephistopheles without evoking peals of laughter, he might consider the van dyke as worn by Edward Norton or, um, Mephistopheles.  Mittens does need a bit of facial hair in order to avoid being mistaken for the bass player in a boy-band.   Growing a mustache that connects to his current...ahem...adornment would allow him that touch of evil maturity he so obviously desires without giving him the air of someone who just fell off the cheese truck from Haywagon, Wisconsin.

Oh. Wait a minute.

Anyway, as they say in the forums, I'll just leave this here.  Think of it as friendly advice, like Grace Bedell's letter to Lincoln about the beard.   Sort of.  I mean, obviously it's not an exact parallel; what with Mittens being a self aggrandizing, would-be monomaniacle despot of a universe of cartoon space ships who wears a chin-pussy.   Whereas Lincoln was (at the time of the letter) a future paragon of presidential virtue and clean-shaven.   Still, the sentiment's the same.

Of course Mittens is going to be Mittens, facial hair and all and it's unlikely he'll hear, let alone heed this sage advice.  However I felt it important he know that, in the meantime, as he goes about his nefarious day to day, there's a common thread of thought passing through the minds of every friend, foe and minion that hears his name:


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Inglourious Carebears

Now, I don't know about y'all, but I sure as hell didn't come down from goddamn Sing Laison, cross five thousand aster-nomical units of lowsec, fight my way through half of nullsec and jump into effin' Dek-o-line to teach the Goons lessons in humanity. Goon ain't got no humanity. They're the foot soldiers of a bear-hatin', chin-pussy wearin' maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed. That's why any and every son of a bitch we find flyin' a Goon ship, they're gonna die.

- With apologies to Quentin Tarantino

Last week Jester posted a blog entry featuring some leaked Goonswarm intel. Most of it was 'Burn Jita' strategy and timing, which I found mildly interesting. However, at the very end of the post, Jester dropped in this little gem:
"GSF is creating an internal group specifically with the intent of hunting down and killing 'enemies of Carlotta':
'The purpose of the [Goonswarm] Death Squad is to hunt down and punish every bleating pubbie who has felt that they could hide behind Concord and speak out against us without fear. In nullsec we have fought wars of extermination over seemingly innocuous offenses (such as Tetsujin's sig)‚ yet human garbage like Jade Constantine and Issler Dainze reside securely, squatting in their empire shitholes, squawking about Goonswarm with no risk. No more.'
If anything in the leak shows off what Goons might be capable of now that their leader is unshackled from the CSM, this is it.  Say something nasty about Goons?  Prepare to lose a ship and most likely a clone as well."

Of course the central question here is, who's on the Goon enemies list? Am I? 'Cause, that would be totally cool.

I'd be all, "Hey baby, I'm a marked man. Ol' Mittens is so scared of my l33t word-smithing he's ordered his death squad into highsec to kill me. Yeah, you heard me right - ol' Mittens just can't take me calling him names. Makes him craaaaazy. "

As word of Mitten's enemies list spreads, being on it is going to carry enormous prestige. You're going to be a big fat nobody if you don't have a crew of Goon death squad assassins dogging your heels. And if the assassins get you it's no more that what's expected. Goon pops pubbie. Not a big deal. But if you manage to bait and pod some death squad members? Total bragging rights.

Now, I am not the type to sit around and wait for an invitation to the dance. I'll just assume I am on the Goon enemies list and behave accordingly. Which is to say, Mitten's minions are now in season. Hulkageddon is bringing the Goons up into highsec, so I have the perfect opportunity to hone my Goon scalping skills. Mitten's eventual and inevitable retreat from highsec will bring him no respite. I will harry his Goons where I find them, even unto the doors of Dekline.

Now, I know what you're going to say. There's nearly nine thousand Goons out there, and only the one of me. And those are pretty lopsided odds. But, hell, I figure if things get too far out of hand Mittens has a Der Fuhrer-size pile of technetium money lying around.

He can always hire Pandemic Legion if he needs to make it an fair fight.