With war broken out amongst the null blocs and EVE celebrating various galactic holidays, clean up crews across the cluster are working overtime to ensure that the space lanes are litter free. But while salvagers will be getting plump on ISK from broken ship parts, one man is taking garbage detail to a completely different level.
Flyposters In The Space Lanes
Flyposting, according to Wikipedia, “is a guerrilla marketing tactic where advertising posters are put up” on the sides of buildings, light poles, telephone poles, and many other high visibility areas to garner attention from passing pedestrians and motorists. But in EVE, it’s tough to put a paper poster on a space station, so people turned to anchoring mobile depots – flyposters in space.
They can be found all over New Eden, but are most commonly found along the trade routes in high sec, or in major trading systems such as Jita 4-4 or in Cistuvaert. Just like in the real world, these flyposters promote people’s businesses, corporations, warning messages, or just words of encouragement. There was even an author who had a campaign waged against him via mobile depots that garnered momentary ‘flypost’ fame from someone claiming to be his “son,” littering stations and star gates from Dodixie to Jita.
Perimeter’s Poster Popper
Enter The Pilgrimage, or PG for short. He’s a relatively unknown individual with arguably one of the most unique jobs in all of New Eden: flypost removal. He explains, “Some friends and I saw PC Gamer’s article on the Guiding Hand Social Club and their Imperial Apocalypse assassination. We were big into competitive games, so EVE and its sandbox style gameplay seemed like the perfect game to play.” Once he and his friends joined EVE, he said, “I’ve not raised nearly as much hell as I originally planned on – and in fact I’ve likely quelled more hell than I’ve raised – but I’m here 14 years later, so it would seem I picked a good game all the same!”
After jumping headlong into space ships and shooting things, PG settled into the now busy high sec system of Perimeter, before the Upwell structures release in 2016. But there was a fast growing issue that he’d noticed following that update. “After Upwell structures came out (and especially after Tranquility Trading Tower was established), the number of flyposter mobile depots being dropped on the gates skyrocketed.”
Now we’ve all seen these depots around. There’s usually at least a dozen, though typically more, around the stations in the four major trade hub systems, and thousands upon thousands can be found along the trade routes of high sec. From Russian text advertising for a corporation to the latest space scandal, these depots clutter up stations and jump gates alike, and the establishment of the Tranquility Trading Tower made Perimeter a ripe breeding ground for these eyesores.
In response, New Eden Graffiti Abatement Team [CLNER] was born. PG said that the Boy Scouts of America rule – ‘leave the campground cleaner then you found it’ – inspired him to begin his crusade against the flyposters of EVE. PG said that “CLNER exists to keep other systems from ending up awash in mobile depots as Jita has been. People deserve to have a clean, ad-free experience in EVE. And while I can’t protect all systems, I can at least protect my home of Perimeter.”
“Ultimately,” he added, “this means I regularly set out and shoot down the flyposter mobile depots in Perimeter. Annoyingly, the darned things have a 48-hour reinforcement timer even in high-sec. So once I find them, I have to come back two days later to actually finish off the job (and they recharge fairly quickly, too). That means if someone successfully anchors a depot, there’s a two-day window where nothing can be done about it.” He said “the best I can do is to make sure that a depot isn’t up any longer than that. Every once in a while, I catch spammers in the act of anchoring depots (and) in those cases I can take out the depot before it finishes anchoring. Those are good days.”
But it was catching flyposters in the act that lead PG to a rather interesting conclusion. The infamous botting issue may not be limited to ratting and mining, but might be far more widespread than people know. PG described a typical encounter with suspected flyposter bots. “I will kill a depot and then the bot will immediately try anchoring another in the same place. This goes on until the bot runs out of depots.”
But not everyone that anchors depot adverts is a bot, which means naturally they aren’t very happy when they find out their depot is now space dust. “Some of the people who are putting these depots down really don’t like it when they get shot – it means they have to go put new ones down, and it shows up as a loss on their killboard. So that’s earned me some bounties over the years, and this is why I use an alt, as my main corp doesn’t want the wardecs,” said PG.
However not everyone that’s had their depots swept off of stations and star gates by PG was openly hostile in return, most notably, Mike Azariah, who is a prominent missioner, guide for newbros and CSM member. PG was very pleased he’d caught Mike’s attention and was able to change his mind. PG said that Mike “wasn’t terribly thrilled about me shooting down his political ads. But he was also surprisingly interested in the subject of flyposter depots in general and ideas to clamp down on them – and he was nice enough not to put more down after the fact.”
The biggest issue for PG and his mission is the lack of manpower. “Perimeter is about all I can handle. I would like to clean Jita as well, but with so many snipers out there it’s simply too dangerous to do do it alone (never mind the workload). Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attract many people to my cause. Shooting flyposter depots is important, but it’s also really boring – if you do everything right, you kill a few million in depots and make more work for yourself 48 hours from now. With the 48-hour timer it takes a fair bit of commitment to successfully clean space.”
Weapon of War
PG’s preferred ship in his conquest is the Hound, which has proven to be an invaluable tool in PG’s arsenal. “A stealth bomber is a perfect depot-clearing ship: it offers battleship-level DPS and high alpha damage. As a result, it can one-shot a depot to reinforce it, and then finishing off a depot can be done in two cycles. Meanwhile the fact that it’s a frigate makes it hard to catch )unlike, say, a battleship), and the cloak means I can’t be spotted approaching a depot to attack it.” PG said. They continued praising the Hound by stating “All the bombers are quite similar. But the Hound has the highest agility and the ability to easily fit 3 BCUs. So it has the greatest damage potential and the best ability to run away after the fact.”
The threats that PG faces, however, are typically much larger and more deadly than a lone bomber. “Since this gives me a suspect timer, sniper Tornados and the like have been known to take pot-shots at me = this is where the bomber’s small signature radius
The Work Continues
Despite many players, both knowingly and unknowingly, being grateful for the removal of space trash, PG was still very humble about his career choice. “That is the CLENR story in a nutshell. It’s just a nut doing what he can to keep the number of flyposter mobile depots in check. It’s a never ending task, but it’s one that I believe is worth doing in order to keep space clean for other players.”