Since we wrote the article last week on Pandemic Horde declaring war on the highsec citadels, things have developed a little further, with Gobbins giving more information in his Horde Update Volume 19 on the Pandemic Horde forums.
In it, he says that at the moment, all but 2 of the Perimeter Fortizar owners have co-operated with them. The exceptions being Riemannian Manifold Torus (Owners of the Perimeter V Trade hub known as “Crowns”) and Omega and Friends Media Lab (Owners of the “Boobies” Fortizar), and so these Fortizars (and POCOs in the case of Omega and Friends) are the main focus.
The original impetus for the push into highsec is that they wanted to kill the first Sotiyo in New Eden, so teamed up with The Culture, and perhaps get some easy ransoms from owners of structures.
This is where versions of the story diverge. Gobbins alleges that he approached Karin Yang, the owner of Perimeter V, with an offer of 50/50 split on profits, and Horde to clear the competition out, and then Karin re-approached him to renegotiate the deal.
This sounds fairly similar to the claim made by Raknor Bile of The Culture on Reddit a few days back, which has yet to be substantiated.
From the Perimeter V side, we have been told that Gobbins demanded was 100 billion ISK, 80% of the profits, and a full API. Unsurprisingly, this was rejected.
There were rumours in the Reddit thread (which, you should read, if just for such insights as how 0.1% is really 0% for the purposes of advertising your citadel fees) that Karin made 30b/day from the citadel.
The 30b/day figure is vastly overstated, the reality is low digit billions per month, especially as many traders basing out of there were getting 0% fees. This income has only begun in the last few months, prior to that, the citadel was not making even that much
Horde have set the fee at 0% in their Fortizar in the system for now, but, this will not stay at that rate, and rumours of the final fee range between 1-2%. 1% seems a likely fee, as the 0.1% fee that other citadels have is not going to bring Horde the riches they aim to get.
Horde have gained 12b in the first week of their ransoming citadel owners, which is 3 times the amount they make in a month from a dysprosium moon and goes some way to replenishing their capital SRP fund, which Gobbins puts at around 50b in his post. This is perhaps the main motivation for Pandemic Horde’s incursion into Highsec. This is further reinforced by the claim that the losses the mercs suffered while successfully defending 2/3 of the citadels Horde attacked last week are significant. They are in the region of 20b, and, while it may be a lot of isk to a lot of players, it is not really losses that cannot be afforded. SRP is usually part of a defense contract for citadels, so the mercenaries lost very little of their own isk, if any.
The citadel fights last week were able to be viewed as a victory for both sides, Horde got to get some expensive kills on their killboard, and the defenders got to drive off Horde and successfully defend two citadels, saving them going into structure timer. What happens with future timers, now that both sides have adjusted to the blob tactics in highsec, remains to be seen, but, the mercenaries are in this for the long haul, so it may turn out to be a battle of who can do structure timers the longest. Gobbins for his part, has stated that Horde are only deployed to highsec until January 16. This date may need to be revised.
POCOs and Mercenaries
As for Omega Media Labs, Gobbins claims that they are an alt corp of Vendetta Mercenary Group, or at the very least a close partner, and this is why they are being targeted by Horde. The reasons he has for thinking this is that an enemy of VMG told him it, and that “Boobies” has never been decced by VMG.
The thing is, in highsec, many people have partnerships with mercenary alliances, this is hardly unusual, especially if you own structures. It is worth noting that “Boobies” has also never been decced by Pirat or several other highsec mercenary groups. It is also not unusual for citadel owners in highsec to have VMG on retainer for defense, and we have written about this several times.
Omega Media Labs told us that they have never been contacted by Pandemic Horde, and had tried to contact Gobbins unsuccessfully after the wardecs came in.
Gobbins also claims that the POCOs owned by Omega Media Labs have 19% tax. This is correct if you have no Customs Code Expertise skill.
In highsec, POCOs are subject to a 10% NPC tax, able to be reduced by skills to 5%. Omega Media Labs have a 9% tax on top of this, which is well within the normal range of fees for highsec POCOs.
Gobbins has given instructions for Horde members to stock up on Caracals, Hurricanes, T1 Ewar and Logi frigs, as well as Svipuls, and for the richer members, Rokhs and Rattlesnakes.
He has also instructed everyone in the alliance to make a Caldari alpha clone, and train them into Griffins, Caracals and Ospreys. These clones will be used to test out the viability of creating a swarm of T1 ships, and will allow Horde to defend their citadel, should it be needed.
He believes that Horde will be the dominant force in the isk faucets of highsec and Jita specifically, for the foreseeable future.
Whether this comes to pass depends on whether people use his citadels, and whether he can raise taxes high enough to make it worth their while. The problem with this is, as Karin, and all other citadel owners would have told him, if he had asked, is that to get traffic, you need to offer as low taxes as possible, ideally 0.1% or 0%, and this means you make minimal profits. If you increase taxes, you reduce your traffic, which reduces your profits.
Gobbins also indicated a wish to force CCP to revamp highsec wardecs, something that has been discussed at length in the recent wardec roundtables, and which all sides agree need to be looked at, as there are several uses of mechanics, especially involving citadels, which make wardecs seem quite broken. None of the fixes suggested by Gobbins cover the main flaws in wardecs, but instead primarily focus on the fact that you can wardec with a character who is not your main, so can continue isk-making while under wardec. This is also what most people in nullsec do, as well as lowsec. Yes, there are some people who have 1 character, or who live solely by PvP, but, most people have at least 1 alt for doing something while their main is involved in a campaign in null, or doing a wardec in HS, or doing Faction Warfare.
The Horde plan is to try to use Reddit and the CSM to force a change in the wardec mechanics. Hopefully, they will also join in the discussions at the roundtables, and in the channels currently set up for this purpose, to get a fuller picture of the problems with wardecs.
Finally, the Horde Update wraps up by responding to questions about involvement in the war raging in the South at present.
Horde will not engage down in the South until they have secured stable income to refill their cap SRP fund, which only has leftover ISK in it from the Dread Donation Fund. Once they have refilled this from their highsec activities, they will head to the south.
Whether the war is as quick as Horde think it will be, or whether they will be drawn into a protracted war with traders and mercenaries remains to be seen. Either way, highsec will be having some fairly large fights in at least the coming week, so, get your buy orders up for horde doctrines now.
Regarding Horde plans to dominate trade in The Forge, traders are notoriously fickle, and have allegiances that are hidden, what with NPC alts and one man corps. It remains to be seen if Gobbins can do enough to persuade traders to use his Fortizar. It will also have to be seen whether the income he expects from the citadel materialises, and whether they are able to remain peacefully in highsec.
There is a history behind why traders used Perimeter V for PLEX and injectors, and a large part of that is due to 1-2 people seeding for months at minimal profit using their alts (in fact, a large chunk of the traffic through the citadel is still a few people and their alts). The 0% fees also attracted people to the citadel for PLEX trading, and there were many complaints when it was raised to 0.1%. A lot of the traders, especially the bigger ones, were still getting 0%, even after Karin increased the public rate.
This history will affect whether people use the Horde Fortizar, quite apart from traders just being stubborn and moving back to Jita.
The ransoms have given an initial income which has buoyed Horde and made them excited for the future.
He mentions in his post that the only reason that alliances like Goonswarm, Pandemic Legion etc have not taken over highsec is because they have constantly been at war. Another option is that they ran the calculations, and decided the income was not worth the effort, and easier just to use other people’s Fortizars at preferential rates. It is also worth noting that the vast majority of The Forge trade is still run through Jita 4-4 even with the increased taxes.