Mord Fiddle believes that the future of nullsec's economy centres around the rise of renter empires.
I believe the next Great War will be a contest to become the premier purveyor of rented systems and that the first campaign will be fought on forums and news sites while an irrelevant sov war is fought.
Successful nullsec empires are always built on a solid bedrock of isk revenue. The Technetium revenues pre-Odyssey allowed Pandemic Legion and the CFC to rise to the top, helped by the OTEC agreement.
-A- have consistently proved able to bounce back from defeat by running missions in Stain until they get an opening to attack the sov of whoever displaced them. Currently owing to the dissolution of first the HBC then the Dinner Squadron they're pushing towards Period Basis. After a solid win against Tribal Band and a small Test presence last night they took Tribe's staging system, trapping assets and securing what must be the decisive victory.
There are now several south west regions completely ripe for the taking: Delve, which any day will see Test finally drop sov, Period Basis and Paragon Soul, currently being evacuated by Tribe, Catch, formally abandoned by Initiative, Impass, abandoned by EMP
It won't all go to the Darkness and Despair/-A- bloc - some of the Dinner Squad's old territory in Feythabotholis has been picked up by N3 and some minor CFC-friendly entities have picked up small parts of Delve already but most will.
So when all the unopposed structure grinding is over we'll see 3 major blocs: PL/N3, CFC and the russians in the south west.
Now nullsec wars work on a straightforward principle: if at all possible you pick a target you're sure you can beat. As the CFC and the N3/PL bloc are fairly evenly matched that suggests the target of both is likely to be the Russians who may find themselves attacked on two fronts and driven once more back to Stain to regroup.
But meanwhile another far subtler war will be fought - a battle for hearts and minds, for superior branding and higher market share over the latest hot commodity in nullsec: renters.
The Goons are starting a long way behind. For years they've derided the notion of renters and claimed that having subservients in the community is a fundamental flaw. They've also built a considerable economy around scamming prospective renters with skilled scammers taking a large security deposit, persuading the mark to pack everything they own into a freighter for "escort" to their new home, only to get killed and looted 2 jumps in.
So in the shadows of a ship v ship sov conquest war we will see the beginnings of the next great war take place on the boards of the Eve O forums, on /r/eve, FCed by the spinmasters of Themittani.com.
The first TMC articles have been attempts to convince line member goons not to screw up the new system by shooting renters, depose Mittens or ragequit Eve. The next step is to convince the Eve public that enlightened self-interest suggests that renting from the CFC is better than renting from N3/PL.
They have a few things in their favour:
- TMC is very popular and taken as truth by many Eve players (for the most part it is truth, the spin is subtle and generally well disguised).
- they have better rats - Serpentis and Guristas are much better rats than Angels and Drones.
- they have better ice - Caldari and Gallente ice in nullsec are more or less exclusive to CFC space - yes, they interdict the ice in high sec they mine in null!
- they have very good awoxers and cloaky campers. If they start trying to make opponent space hard on renters they will put players in to screw with PL and N3 renters, likely in anonymised alt corps.
So even though they're starting a long way behind if PL and N3 focus on good fights space brawls or even sov grinds they will eventually lose their position as the safest entity to rent from in nullsec.
Unless they in turn develop mastery in the metagame.