Posted Tue, May 01, 2012 by The Mittani
Why did we do it? The usual reasons were trotted out: revenge, celebration, petty griefing, market manipulations, conspiracy with CCP, real-life sociopathy, class warfare. The truth is that we did it because we could: we wanted to see what would happen to Jita if we hit it with all the organizational might of a nullsec bloc. We succeeded beyond our wildest expectations; rather than merely driving up the price of minerals, trade in Jita itself came to a crashing halt as hundreds of goons tore through the system shooting anything foolish enough to sit still. By Sunday evening, almost a trillion isk of assets had been destroyed, and we withdrew. The more interesting question is how it came to pass, and what it means for the game as a whole.
An outbreak of rare peace across nullsec has unleashed upon New Eden a wave of macro-level market manipulations that have already begun to reshape the power relations between hisec and nullsec. Five critical events have coincided with this peace, two from CCP and three from nullsec blocs: the mineral supply changes in the Escalation patch released April 24th, a crackdown on botting and RMT by CCP’s security division, the creation of OTEC - a price-fixing cartel which controls the Technetium supply - the Sack of Jita, and the newly bloc-sponsored Hulkageddon.
The mineral changes in Escalation have essentially revived mining as a viable profession for the first time since 2007, when the introduction of the Drone Regions essentially killed mining - except as the province of bots, newbies, and the fiscally inept - with a flood of high-end minerals in the form of alloy drops. By removing these drops and replacing them with bounties, as well as removing common, easily-refined modules from agent missions, the supply of minerals across the game has disrupted. Speculation in advance of the patch drastically increased the price of staple goods even before the disruption occurred; that disruption was magnified by an unexpected crackdown by CCP on bots of all kinds - and the most common sort of bot is the mining bot, given the skull-crushingly boring nature of solo mining. Not only do the minerals in EVE now need to be mined, they have to be mined by humans.
The Gallente Ice Interdiction proved that an alliance could select a specific sector of hisec space, choose a good produced in that space, and choke off supply successfully to turn a profit - market terrorism as a method of macro-level finance. Anticipating the mineral supply shock, Goonswarm sank almost a trillion isk into minerals before the Escalation patch, and then chose the first weekend after the patch - the time where producers traditionally resupply their sell orders on the market - to strike Jita. Instead of spreading efforts across every system that produced oxygen isotopes as in the Interdiction, the Sack of Jita required only local superiority in Jita, Sobaseki, and Perimeter. The Sack was intended to exacerbate the disruption of Escalation, which would then be sent over the edge by OTEC and Hulkageddon.
In the past, Hulkageddon was an event run entirely by a crew of dedicated pirates, led by the irascible Helicity Boson. Previous Hulkageddons offered prizes to the teams which could destroy the most exhumers and mining barges during its run. These major prizes would only be awarded to the top winners (with a few additional prizes for achievements like ‘largest smartbomb kill’) , which meant that the contest tended to be devolve into a competition between a few dedicated teams fighting for the top spot, with less vehement gankers dropping out after the first few days. For this Hulkageddon, Goonswarm offered to sponsor the event and pay prizes to casual gankers, using a killboard scraper to offer 100m in bounties for every ten exhumers killed to anyone who participates. Hulkageddon was scheduled to begin immediately after the Sack of Jita finished - and instead of lasting only one or two weeks as in past years, this year Hulkageddon will last for an entire month.