OOC: This entry is in response to the EvePress Contest for July: The Hulkageddon Effect. The contest asks:
Eve Online is a great universe where anyone can do anything. Now in its 3rd iteration Hulkageddon has become a major event in New Eden, with many players creating alts just to participate in the event. With over 20 billion ISK in prizes who can blame them. But there are other consequences of such events: Hulk prices shoot through the roof, mineral prices rise, and players lose their hard-earned ships. So here is the question: do events like Hulkageddon do more to improve the game or hurt the game?
The Veldspar Dust Tavern, Minmatar Mining Corporation Outpost Station, Gulfonodi X, Molden Heath
Rhavas sat quietly at a table in the shadows, not far from three men at the high table in the center of the establishment. The tavern was at once exclusive and yet very unassuming – while only capsuleers were allowed in the place, few ever came here who were not miners, and the immediate assumption was that anyone there was one. The three were drinking large mugs of some un-nameable substance. Rhavas half suspected it was a Tritanium product as well – there was nothing else on this godforsaken rock. While it was expensive out here, Rhavas stuck with Quafe. They had put enough money in his pockets on trade missions; he figured he may as well give some back.
The three men spoke loudly, confident that anyone in this place would be in agreement with them. One, a short round man with dark hair, spoke in plaintive tones, almost whining. “I’m not sure who these goddamn pirates think they are, anyhow. We stay in the high security areas, they stay in low security, and we all leave each other to our own way of life.”
Many heads nodded around the room, and after what he hoped wasn’t too long a delay Rhavas nodded his as well to blend in.
“I worked my butt off for that Hulk, and was almost ready to buy an Orca when they destroyed it,” the heavyset man continued. “Why can’t they just leave us be?”
The man beside him, a tall, lean capsuleer with sunken features that seemed to suggest he was nearing actual death or had had a cloning accident in his last podding, spoke in a smooth, mellow baritone that seemed entirely at odds with his frame. “Well, be happy you didn’t actually lose an Orca,” he intoned. “I did. CONCORD is doing a pathetic job. They’re supposed to be stopping these criminals, but they never show up until you’re fleeing in your pod, if then.”
The rest of the audience was clearly upset and agreeing. Rhavas paid his tab, and moved as discreetly as possible toward the door. He stopped at the restroom along the way – less to use it than to not appear too much in a hurry to leave as the trio built up their rant. When he emerged, he heard the third man for the first time.
His voice was quiet and nondescript. It seemed that the whole group of miners in the room quieted somewhat to hear him, and the Amarr-like hood over his head didn’t help matters. “I just stay home. At least they’re fool enough to post where and when it will happen. I count on it for some good downtime every year.” The group frowned almost to a man, upset that one of their own had deflated the rage balloon they had been building. The man stood up and went to the bar to pay, and Rhavas ducked out and around a corner in the hallway.
As the hooded man passed, he followed, and watched as the man went to a nearby hangar, slid his sleeve up to show a tattoo to one of the hangar guards. Rhavas froze, not wanting to be noticed, and somehow managing to not be seen. At that distance, he couldn’t make out the tattoo in detail, but it was red and circular. The Python Cartel was running this miner-destruction extravaganza – maybe the man was one of them. The guard admitted the tattooed man.
A few minutes later the man re-emerged. Rhavas followed again, and saw the scene repeated in two more hangar gates. No one was allowed more than one hangar on this tiny station. No surprise it might have guards bought and paid for.
Rhavas decided he didn’t want to stick around to find out more, and he felt a sudden need to check his own hangar.
As he settled into the pod and fired up the engines of the Rifter, he opened a comm link back to his Trade Manager at Hek. “How much did we make on that 3-jump run of Mexallon last week?” he asked.
“1.3 million ISK, sir. Unbelievable how quickly the gaps are opening for us in minerals lately – they were such huge losers as trade commodities for us just a month ago because the gaps were so small.”
Rhavas smiled. Let the Pythons do their worst.
OOC: So, in case it’s not clear, I’m a Hulkageddon supporter, for a couple of reasons. First, they’ve been very above-board about it. It’s not like it’s news, or a surprise. It’s also recurring. Why anyone would even mine during that time is a mystery to me. It’s also something that is (or was until recently, see below) a unique event, and is aimed at what has clearly been reported in CCP’s own reports as an outsized glut of Exhumer ships in use. I can sort of see Helicity Boson’s point that there are just too many, and I also support that it’s occasionally useful to be reminded that hisec is not perfect-sec, and CONCORD exists not to prevent, but to punish.
On a side note, today’s announcement of a PI initiative of similar stature I’m less enthused by. Sure, they have the right, and if that’s what a group wants to do, so be it. But it doesn’t meet the “balance test” that Hulkageddon does, and especially following so closely it feels sort of like a weak copycat attempt rather than coming up with something new (a better idea for a cool event that’s not about flipping cans for prizes: Eve Death Race 2010 – I am seriously considering entering!). Needless to say, however, my Indy ships will just be staying home for that duration.