Citadels, Deliveries, and Mercs, Oh My!

2016-09-04

A few months ago, we told the story of the first Astrahus to die in high-sec, in Perimeter.  We interviewed the owner,Levon Bedros, and have featured his corporation and citadels in articles since then as he has put up a number of low-tax citadels in first Kylmabe, as the first Fortizar in high-sec, then New Caldari, Ashab and Botane.

Recently, he has switched the Kylmabe citadel to Perimeter, to take advantage of passing traffic.

DELIVERIES TO YOUR DOOR

Last week it was announced that his corporation, Syntonex, would be partnering with Red Frog to deliver to for free to Syntonex citadels. This ordinarily would be an article by itself, as it is an extremely interesting development in high-sec. Red Frog have not been doing deliveries to citadels so far because of the possibilities for scams, where the owner could revoke docking rights, preventing courier contracts from being delivered.

According to Which Frog of Red Frog Freight, to allow for couriers to citadels would require similar deals to those in place with Black Frog and sov holders in null sec. As over time there will be thousands of citadels in high-sec, at the moment this is just not feasible timewise to contact and make arrangements with each individual citadel owner, who can often be a one-man corp, and the risk to Frogs (Red Frog pilots) is large, as they would forfeit the collateral for any deliveries that could not be made.

Red Frog have decided to do this test appraisal of how couriers to citadels work, as with one citadel owner (Syntonex), they are able to do this in a controlled atmosphere, whilst getting an understanding of the mechanics so that they do not fall behind in Eve. This allows them to adapt to what will, over time, become the norm as other structures come in, without taking too many risks.

So far, the deal is, Red Frog will not charge you any fees if you are sending courier contracts to Syntonex citadels in Ashab, Botane, Perimeter or New Caldari (Levon is pre-paying the contracts). Which Frog can be contacted if you want to take advantage of this offer. Other citadel owners have already contacted Red Frog expressing an interest in this service, or in arranging for Red Frog to have guaranteed docking rights at their citadels, so maybe we will soon see couriers from New Edens biggest courier service at a citadel near you.

For Levon, the upside is to drive citadel traffic up a bit. At present the vast majority of orders are offshored – that is, they are set up as one-jump-ranged buy orders, so the items are sold to them in Jita for example. By and large, the sale of items still happens in the hubs.

If courier contracts take off to citadels, we could see more goods being sold from within the citadels, which would lead to more profits for citadel owners.

Profits for citadel owners brings us onto the second half of this article.

MERCENARIES

In the past few weeks, there has been an outbreak of attacks on high-sec fortizars, after months of quiet. The first of these came from LennyKravitz2, who we interviewed here about his plans for citadels, and people have assumed the subsequent attacks were also to do with LennyKravitz2 or I Want Isk.

LennyKravitz2 has since cancelled his contracts for hits on citadels, and has stated that his aims have been achieved.

Meanwhile, Vendetta Mercenary Group have continued to declare war on a number of citadels, both in The Forge, and in other hub regions of New Eden, along with other merc groups. The question has arisen: who, if anyone, is behind these intensified attacks?

The rumours have started flying around the highsec trade channels and networks, and one name keeps cropping up over and over again.

Things reached a head when a mail was sent to citadel owners, with various claims which initially seemed far-fetched. The claims were that one of the high-sec fortizar owners was behind the latest attacks, while using the cover of LennyKravitz’s attacks as a distraction. There was one set of trade hub fortizars that was not war-decced by Mercenary Coalition (MC) or Vendetta Mercenary Group (VMG) (both confirmed to be hired by LennyKravitz for his project).

These were the fortizars owned by Syntonex. Initially people thought that they were not being attacked because Syntonex had VMG on retainer on a defense contract. This line of thinking was dispelled when the first Fortizar was destroyed. The Fortizar that was destroyed (belonging to Riemannian Manifold Torus) also had the same group of mercs on retainer for 7 billion ISK per month.

The mercs had been collecting this ISK each month for 3 months, and when a war finally showed up, they told the citadel owner “Pack up and move, or die,” leaving the citadel unprotected. They also did not refund any of the ISK the owner paid to hire them.

So far, so Eve, but, the question was raised: why refuse to defend one citadel, while keeping the other contract active especially as the owner of the exploded citadel had told VMG that they need not turn up to fight if they had no chance of winning?

Other citadels began to die. Of the 3 in Ashab, only one is left standing under its original owner: the one belonging to Syntonex (who, as of the time of writing, have no active wardecs, making them unusual among citadel owners).

Information also came from people who had been in correspondence with LennyKravitz2, that he has stated that there appears to be someone else who is set on destroying high-sec citadels, and that he had an arrangement to not attack Syntonex citadels.

Levon Bedros states that Lenny has been behind the MC and VMG attacks in The Forge, and that although he knows Lenny, he has not reached any agreement with him. He said that Lenny and him run separate ops, and that it is just coincidence they went different aspects of the citadel business.

However, sources inside various mercenary alliances have confirmed that Syntonex have initiated discussions about contracts against citadels in Botane and Ashab.

Archetype (A-type), another one of the major high-sec mercenary alliances, have also been attacking citadels. Their diplomat Lukass Grey told us in a mail that the majority of their attacks have been for fun, and because they would like to become the premier citadel killers in high-sec (this would be good for business for them, having a proven track record of destroying various citadels, defended and undefended, and were behind some of the successful citadel defenses). At present, they are well on the way to holding that title, although VMG are closing in on them.

Archetype have also confirmed that the few contracts they have had are not from LennyKravitz2, but from another individual. Like all mercs, they do not discuss current contracts or employers, but it has been confirmed to us via mail from a third party that Levon has paid ten billion ISK per citadel that is taken down in Ashab, and has also been paying A-type to defend his citadels in the area. Whether Levon is behind attacks on citadels in The Forge is as yet unconfirmed, but it would seem odd to attack citadels in Domain, where he has one citadel in Ashab, and not hire mercs in The Forge, where he has two.

NEW DYNAMICS IN HIGH-SEC WARFARE

The take home from this is that citadels are bringing new dynamics to HS, which differs from NS in that a large number of players are in one man corps, and can hire mercs to do their business, while keeping a distance from the action themselves. Of course, the MBC vs Imperium was funded by one group, but, that is somewhat different than an solo corp, or an alt hiring highsec mercenaries from the anonymity and safety of a station.

Whilst high-sec is usually one of the more stable areas of Eve, with drama that people are aware of usually limited to miner gankings, or events such as Burn Jita, citadels appear to be changing these dynamics, with affiliations forming among individuals, and power grabs going on for the most profitable areas of space.  The difference between this and nullsec is you do not need to be an alliance, nor do you need a fleet. You just need a large enough wallet, and, there are plenty of those in HS.

How these dynamics change as the industry arrays, and drilling platforms come into play remains to be seen, but, it is definitely shaking up highsec (for those who are not just running missions or mining in belts at least). We live in interesting times.

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