On Wednesday, June 16, a coalition of Triglavian alliances representing 1200 pilots released a statement of their intention to burn their own Citadels in an act of protest against CCP and the current state of Pochven. In an EVE Mail entitled “Let it Burn” that was subsequently posted on the r/EVE subreddit, Maldavius, the Paramount Executive of Stribog Clade, gave notice that all assets and clones should be removed from Triglavian player Citadels or else face destruction (there is no asset safety in Pochven). Though penned by Maldavius, leaders of four Triglavian alliances have confirmed that the open letter represents a joint statement representing them all: Stribog Clade, Kybernauts Clade, Triglavian Unity, and the Intersteller Triglavian Collective.
An Irreplaceable Asset
When Pochven was created last October at the end of chapter 3 of the Triglavian invasion, the ability to anchor new Citadels in the 27 Pochven systems was removed. As a result, every Citadel previously deployed became an irreplaceable asset. Collectively those Citadels are the only source of Tether, Medical Clones, player-controlled markets, bonused Manufacturing and Reprocessing, and Insurance in the entire region (none of the NPC stations in Pochven offer Insurance). Player groups who have access to such Citadels have a significant advantage in the region over groups that do not.
Because of their strategic value and irreplaceable nature, much of the organized PvP in Pochven since October has centered on attacks and defenses of various Citadels. Fighting has often fallen roughly along pro-Triglavian vs. anti-Triglavian (EDENCOM) faction lines. However since the lack of asset safety makes every Citadel in Pochven a loot piñata, there has been plenty of third-party involvement as well.
Timer defense in Pochven is complicated by the fact that many of the tools traditionally deployed to control an attacker’s access to a Citadel grid (such as cyno jammers, additional on-grid Citadels, and gate control) are either not available or of limited effectiveness in the region. Each of the three constellations in Pochven is immediately accessible from anywhere in New Eden by the use of filaments, making YOLO roams or batphone incursions against a Pochven Citadel timer extremely easy to accomplish. In addition, massive NPC fleets that routinely roam the region (35-40 NPCs, some with Doomsdays) can make organized gate camps extremely difficult or impossible because the campers trying to defend a system are constantly at risk from an NPC fleet warping to the gate. And with the recent removal of standings requirements on Pochven gates, the sole reliable limiter on third-party participation on Pochven Citadel timers has been removed. As a result, the Triglavian groups’ Citadels have been under constant pressure in recent months.
An Act of Defiance
With their recent announcement, the Triglavian groups are effectively announcing their withdrawal from large-scale strategic warfare in the region. In doing so, they hope to achieve two objectives. The first is simply to relieve themselves of the burden of a Citadel-defense commitment that is essentially never-ending and unwinnable. They are done “being bound to timer hell,” as Maldavius put it in the announcement letter. The second is to send a message to CCP by refusing any longer to be “placed . . . on a dinner plate for the rest of New Eden,” as the letter puts it. “My anticipation is that the region will have much less content when [our] citadels are all gone,” said Maldavius in an interview. OpusMagnus, the leader of Kybernauts Clade, agreed. “By removing the citadels the major content drivers in the area will dry up,” he said.
The Citadels controlled by the Triglavian-aligned factions are not the only ones in the region, but they are a significant percentage. Almost exactly one quarter of the 86 Citadels in Pochven (at the time of the announcement) are owned by the Triglavian aligned alliances behind the announcement and stand to be destroyed by their owners. Because so much of the organized PvP in recent weeks has been attacks on these Citadels, once destroyed there may indeed be a downturn in organized fights.
With their Citadels destroyed, the Triglavian players intend to stage out of some of the 48 NPC stations in the region and engage in roaming, guerilla-style PvP. “We are going to live out of the NPC stations and continue on as the Triglavians we were meant to be,” said Maldavius in the letter.
A List of Demands
The Triglavian players’ act of protest is rooted in months of discontent at the state of Pochven. When contacted by INN, they provided a list of nine demands to CCP for redress in Pochven.
These nine demands are quoted below. The commentary in italics with each was provided by the leaders of Stribog Clade, Kybernauts Clade, Triglavian Unity, and the Intersteller Triglavian Collective. The material in [brackets] is additional commentary provided by INN based on followup questions to the Triglavian player leadership.
1. Fix seagulling.
This has absolutely destroyed the regions ability to make isk. We’ve worked with the current CSM. Worked with CCP on it. Sent in hundreds of bug reports. Enough is enough. 20 pilots decloaking 10,000km off and stealing all of your isk payouts is not PVP. It’s an exploit. Fix it.[“Seagulling” is an exploit whereby players can warp into a large ratting site in Pochven, tag one mob, and then hide cloaked on grid until a fleet of players come to clear the site, at which time they get a significant share of the payout from the site.]
2. Put standings back on the gates.
This was our only defensive option against filaments. Now we get 200 man fleets that appear in our home and can’t be cyno-jammed or stopped. They can do this from anywhere with no jump distance restrictions. This is now the most easy to enter space in the game. With the change to open the gates CCP has served us to New Eden as the main content for the entire region. We didn’t sign up for this and we’re not interested in playing their game.[Since the removal of the standings requirements on Pochven gates, the amount of batphoning by both sides to Citadel timers has increased dramatically since players with no previous investment in Trig content or Pochven can move around the region much more easily. The Triglavian player leadership believes the previous standing requirements should be re-instituted with the additional change that equivalent EDENCOM standings should also allow gate access. “This allows counterplay and still requires buy-in for our Red vs Blue war,” said Maldavius. “Yeah, agreed. I think having the counter play is very important and creates a healthy ecosystem,” said OpusMagus.]
3. Fix the LP store so all of the items are obtainable.
There have been clothing items on the LP store that aren’t obtainable since Pochven released. None of the tokens required to purchase them drop in the game. Either remove these clothing items or add the tokens to the drop tables.
4. Drain isk from the Dread Sites and put them in the smaller sites in the region.
Dread Sites are the only profitable content in the region. They are too profitable and need to be drained into the smaller sites. This helps promote small gang PVP and gives smaller groups the ability to function in here. Right now all PVE content is locked to 15 man fleets. That is terrible for smaller groups.[Upon questioning, Maldavius provided additional details: “Right now the Dread sites pay out 236m per player in a fleet of 15 in 15 minutes. This is absurd. The low end sites take 15 minutes and 1-2billion ISK on field to complete for 6-8m. This is also absurd. They can just drain one into the others to make the region deliver the same overall output but allow more variety.”]
5. Make the Anchorages dockable and actually do something.
We built an empire and its biggest feature is a paperweight in space. Two of the three home systems in Pochven don’t even have an NPC station. Let us dock in these and be Triglavians and roleplay to our hearts content.[Anchorages are massive structures in the Triglavian home systems which are gated behind gates that require 7.0 Triglavian standings to access. Two of the three home systems have no NPC station, and the large Anchorage structures are not dockable.]
6. Fix NPC AI.
Trigs still attack high standings Trig players. Trigs also still attack one another. I have 8.5 and I still get attacked by them randomly. We have had over 100 ships as an alliance replaced by CCP due to this bug. Drifters will also kill you in warp, kill you while you’re cloaked, and kill you from 300km instalocking. This needs to stop.
7. Put more Triglavians in Pochven.
Every one of these systems has roaming Drifters/EDENCOM/Drones and very little if any Triglavian presence. We feel pressured at all times by the NPCs in the environment when we should feel like this place is primarily Triglavian with outside invaders. Right now it feels completely in control of hostile entities. If you haven’t seen these NPCs, come to Pochven, you will die to a drifter, I guarantee it.[Maldavius spoke at length with INN about this point. This issue is related to the static wormholes that regularly spawn in each Pochven system. These wormholes will randomly link each Pochven system to either a Highsec, Lowsec, Nullsec, or Wormhole system. These wormholes also spawn waves and fleets of NPCs on each side. On the non-Pochven side, they spawn Triglavian rats. On the Pochven side, they spawn rats depending on the kind of system they link to: EDENCOM rats for Highsec and Lowsec links, Sleepers for nullsec links, and Drifters for wormhole links. These rats will congregate over time into massive fleets that warp around the Pochven system from location to location–including gates, NPC stations, planets, and other celestials. They will attack players and other rats. Critically, while the spawning wormhole is open, no Triglavian rats will spawn in the Pochven system. Because these wormholes are static and a new one spawns as soon as the old one collapses, quite frequently a system in Pochven that is ostensibly controlled by Triglavians will be filled with deadly non-Triglavian rats and extremely dangerous for players with high Triglavian standings. Maldavius emphasized the oppressive power of these fleets of rats. They instalock, and some have Doomsdays. These are not your nullsec gate rats.]
8. Do something for EDENCOM.
They have literally no reason to exist right now. Nothing they did in the invasion mattered at all. They have no reason to live in EDENCOM aligned systems. They have no reason to come to Pochven. Do something for them that is tangible and not just buffing their ships.
9. Make industrial bonuses in Triglavian NPC stations comparable to upwell structures.
If we can’t make citadels then give us refining and manufacturing bonuses based on our standings with the Triglavian collective. There is tons of ore in here and we can’t even use it to refine or build anything without citadels. Since you can’t place new citadels this is effectively useless.
For additional perspective, INN spoke with Debes Sparre, an FC and part of the leadership for Electus Matari (EM), an EDENCOM-aligned alliance that has seen frequent conflict with Stribog Clade in particular.
EM’s perspective is that Pochven is indeed broken, and they support many of the nine demands put forth by the Triglavian players (“Opening gates to both standings is something we have promoted since day one,” he said), but they believe that some of Stribog Clade’s problems–particularly the relentless attacks on their Citadels–are of their own making.
“We sympathize with feelings of being left out and ignored by CCP,” he said. “We know how that feels, as EDENCOM was not even given a broken region when the Invasions arc Chapter 3 was completed. Irreplaceable structures will not last forever, and with the recent change to the region [the removal of the standings requirements on gates], it is perhaps inevitable that something like this would occur. However, Stribog was complicit in their own demise. Ultimately, while their decision to abandon their holdings rather than bleed for them is not unreasonable given the circumstances, it feels as though they are hurting themselves far more than their opponents, or CCP.”
Debes provided additional perspective on what he meant by Stribog being “complicit in their own demise.” He was specifically referring to the amount of attacks and batphoning against their Citadels. “They started the attacks on structures by attacking one of ours, and issued ultimatums that they couldn’t follow through on,” he said. “They antagonized multiple groups, causing people who would otherwise not work together to find common cause. They drew a target on their back, claiming that their structures were strategic Imperium assets (even if they later said ‘they should not have said that’). They took diplomacy conducted in good faith and misrepresented it to their own members and to the public. As I said before, the loss of the structures was probably a question of time in any case, and especially with the recent gate changes. However, the above probably speeded things up.”
Despite these caveats, he reiterated EM’s general agreement with the Triglavian players’ demands.
“Most of those demands are reasonable and something we share. Of course, many of them are understandably written from the Triglavian perspective: for example, the NPC AI is broken for both sides, not just Triglavians. . . . We do not see Pochven, out of character, as ‘the protrig region’, we see it as ‘the new content’, which while storywise belonging to Triglavians should be of interest to both EDENCOM and Triglavian supporters. To this effect adding content for EDENCOM in Pochven would be welcome.”