Writer’s note: Due to the nature of income sources in Eve, some of these sources are difficult to verify. I have provided as many as I could realistically find. Should new information become available, this article will be updated to reflect it.
Alliance economics and renting
The EVE of today is not the one spoken of in tales of bitter veterans and nostalgia-eyed capsuleers. In the New Eden we live in now, income is more than a throwaway term. Depending on who you ask, income is a pastime, a means to an explosive end, a sport, or the sole reason to log into the game.
Alliance economies take various forms. You may only hear of the POCO empires of Low Sec in passing from an alliance in sovereign nullsec as they watch their field of Rorquals churn away at an asteroid field, or tales of an ice-fuelled combat entity squirreled away in NPC space as it bides its time, waiting for their chance to strike further into the depths of Null.
However, the Sovereignty lands have birthed an income source unique to its locale – renting.
Essentially a version of CODE’s mining permit on a massive scale, rental programs have numerous advantages, such as having a very clear understanding of what your recurring income is, an easy and direct method to pursue for economic growth, and a way to compartmentalize industrial and economic needs separate from the main combat grade.
However, in some cases renters can be treated very poorly. Such cases can be internal, as with Living Breathing Fuel Blocks which suffered heavily from the top down sources here and here, or external pressure from VOLTA who put intense pressure on Paragon Soul and led to TEST creating the “Miner 16” post regarding Rorqual miners, a meme embraced by their belligerents. This kind of pressure has made it difficult to rent out the systems, and the ADMs and daily NPC stats reflect this.
It’s hard to say if this is a direct correlation with an alliance such as TEST which favors outward deployments over home defense. Other alliances have had trouble managing renters as well. The Goonswarm ‘viceroy’ program which in of itself could be seen as a glorified rental program led to overwhelmingly disastrous backlash and a subsequent dogpile that completely changed the landscape of New Eden5. In the aftermath of the war – whose name of World War Bee / The Casino War remains disputed, Goonswarm has seemingly abandoned the renter mentality altogether in favor of flooding their own region with Rorquals and ratting ships of all sizes. While the number of losses accrued from this approach is certainly considerable, there is no arguing the stupefying results the Monthly Economic Reports show.
An interesting alternative to the income concern comes from Pandemic Legion which has experimented with renting out systems internally to their own members with a small section of designated ‘open’ systems for no rental fee. The levels of success on this are difficult to measure – the PL war chest often seems incredibly daunting, considering the presence they are able to field and construct. Yet even this solution is not without its failings, with the notable case of KillahBee sparking an argument over a ratting system and ultimately switching alliances to Northern Coalition, before proceeding to rat a mere one system away from where the argument started.
Northern Coalition itself has a pure and straightforward rental program, “Rate My Ticks PL / NC Rental agreement.” The systems are owned by the alliance proper, the systems paid for by their renters, and the sov itself backed by the PanFam super umbrella, as it sits in Northern Coalition’s name. There’s very little to tell about this system, other than it works thanks to the power sitting behind it.
In a fashion fitting their culture of results from means only they seem to attempt, Triumvirate relies heavily on rental income to support their alliance with far fewer internal income sources. If you scan the Triumvirate killboard, you won’t see the kind of Rorqual and VNI losses prevalent on another alliance such as TEST or Goonswarm. As a result, the primary cash flow is from an external source. This allows them to focus almost entirely on a combat core and placing a larger economic burden on their rental income.
The weakness of this approach, of course, is a successful attack on Triumvirate starts with an attack on its renters. Extended offensives on the rental alliances and their morale would eventually break the economic backbone of their protector – a weakness the DRF failed to meaningfully exploit in their war which ultimately put Triumvirate back on the offensive after Phoenix Federation and the DRF’s economic backbones were slashed. It will be interesting to see what approach is made regarding this now that moons can no longer be passively mined and the reliance may be all the heavier on renters. At the time of this posting, it’s far too early to tell.
Kids With Guns and Wings Wanderers
At the extreme of the rental spectrum sits the alliances of Kids With Guns and Wings Wanderers, entities that survive entirely by paying tribute of fealty to every nearby alliance with even the remote chance of posing a threat, “Does the alliance Kids with guns pay someone in order to keep their space in Omist?”. This has left these groups untouched for a considerable amount of time, in part because an attempt to remove them could encourage another alliance receiving money to pit themselves against the aggressors to protect their own income – and because the regions themselves are notoriously difficult to provide logistics to, making them undesirable for an alliance powerful enough to make the attempt in the first place.
With so many varieties of rental imperialism in the employ of New Eden’s power blocs, there remains the concerns of rental legitimacy and the choking of smaller entities through the needs of alliances to secure larger than necessary expanses of sovereignty for the use of their renters. Such concerns, while in some cases legitimate, are often quashed by the larger alliances, with the tendency to push smaller groups towards renting. Ultimately, the fate of New Eden and its varied and whimsical economies rests in the hands of the supreme powers, as is the collective will of the capsuleers of Eve.
It’s anyone’s guess what income plan will be attempted next.