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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Forget pirates, you should be emulating the mafia.

As I as reading through this morning's blogs, Mord Fiddle's article on low sec PI got my attention. I think that's understandable since being a PI industrialist is a good part of my business. Specifically, what really got me thinking was this statement,
"Ninja industrialists will, of course, be restricted to NPC offices unless they can cut a deal with a lowsec entity willing to provide them with access to a player owned structure and free passage to use it."
There's a name for that. It's called a protection racket. Organized crime has used it since time immemorial. It evidently is quite effective. And then it hit me. The problem with low sec isn't the real estate. All real estate is valuable. The problem with low sec is it is badly run.

Pirates are notoriously ill organized. They are, by their very nature, extreme individualists who place their own welfare above all else. The same might be true of the mob, except they keep their own in line. They reward loyalty handsomely and punish disloyalty immediate and with extreme prejudice.
So what is it about the mob that allows them to be successful in their racketeering? In a word, control. The mob controls their territory with ruthlessness and high-grade carbon-steel pistol barrels. In their heyday, it was the Thompson submachine gun. The Tommy Gun was a beauty and legal to carry on any street in the U.S. for a time.

If those in low sec want it to be more than it is today, they must make it that way. It will not be easy. Concord will be against you just like Elliot Ness was against Al Capone (pictured above in case you didn't recognize him.)
But Eliot Ness never had enough evidence to nail Capone for his gangster activities. He nailed him for tax evasion. There is a lesson there to any low sec corporation I think. The rules for being a true mafia and not just a roaming pirate gang are clear.

  1. Be visible.
  2. Control your territory with an iron fist.
  3. Make your territory safe for your "friends."
  4. Invest in your territory to make it more valuable.
  5. Protect those who pay for it at all costs. 
  6. Rough up those who do not until they too start paying.
  7. Never provide a free lunch to non-family.
  8. If they (other gangs) kill one of yours, kill two of theirs.
  9. Be ruthless.
Always remember, thieves have no honor but mobsters are not thieves. They're business men. You must act like one. Honor all ransoms. Always keep your word. Though you may be a ruthless tyrant, your "friends" must trust you. Acting arbitrarily and without a predictable code of conduct will get you nowhere.

So how does this translate to New Eden? Rather easily I think. Here is what I'd do if I wanted to be the New Eden Mafia.
  1. Recruit from all time zones so that an enforcer(s) was always online.
  2. Enforcers must continuously visit all territory assets eliminating rats (including those who would mine your roids without paying protection money) and keeping "customers" safe.
  3. Camp gates - always. Web and scram anyone who enters your territory. Extract protection money from neutrals. No exceptions. Blow up any who do not pay but DO NOT POD THEM. After all, you want to rough them up so they'll change their minds; not kill them.
  4. Pod rival gangs in your territory without mercy. Expect them to treat you the same if you raid their territory.
  5. Build customs offices in orbit of all your planets. Blow up anything you don't own. Charge high taxes.
  6. Protection money only keeps you safe. It does not allow you to use the customs office for free. Get it?
  7. Make sure you have enough legitimate business to properly launder your ill gotten profits.
  8. Be sure to reward your "family" lavishly.
This is just a short list. I am sure that any sufficiently creative boss can think of more ways to maximize the value of their territory. There really is nothing that needs done to post-Crucible low sec to make this possible. 
There is one thing that I'd like to see CCP do in low sec to make this more tenable though. No gangster worth his salt doesn't have a few of the local law enforcement on the dole. To facilitate the concept of territories, Concord should look the other way - for a sufficiently high payoff. This would, in essence, cede the system to the gang that pays the bribe. It would enable gang enforcers to operate with impunity within their own territory. Of course, there'd have to be a mechanism for allowing another gang to muscle in on the territory. Concord would have to see the old gang as sufficiently weak to warrant a new arrangement with a new gang. I think that if a gang's customs offices were all taken out, it would allow them to make a new bid for the territory to Concord. Of course, the price always goes up. This upward spiral could only be broken if all gangs stop paying bribes. Then Concord goes back to shooting gang members until a new gang builds customs offices around every planet and pays Concord off anew.

Fly careful.


  1. This is an awesome suggestion. What's more, it's an awesome suggestion that doesn't require any game mechanics changes; it can be implemented by any organization skilled and ruthless enough to pull it off.

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  3. Posts need an edit button~

    Trouble is, pirates (and especially lowsec pirates) aren't in it for the money. If they were, they would do something that makes money instead of being pirates.

    Well, that's part of the problem. There are probably half a dozen mechanical and psychological reasons this couldn't work in today's eve.

    But, maybe it could be implemented in mechanics, somewhat similar to what the OP mentions. Active policing wouldn't really work, but lowsec and 0.0 are long due for an overhaul, and a system which would allow an organization to take control of a system and make it profitable and relatively safe for their blues (possibly through disableable and destructible system upgrades) could be interesting.


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