Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ode to the joys of NRDS and space diplomacy

One of the big stories on Corporations and Alliance Discussions (CAOD) over the past week has been the disbandment of Foundati0n (FDN) alliance.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Foundati0n are an NRDS (Not Red Don't Shoot) alliance based in the Great Wildlands region and were involved in the recent Ethereal Dawn (ED) and Intrepid Crossing (IRC) assault on Red Alliance which subsequently came off the rails.

This was interesting for me as FDN were the only other entity outside Providence who operated NRDS. The multiple reasons given for FDN's disbandment can be summed up simply as 'internal drama'.

It seems not all FDN's corporations had the patience or discipline to maintain their NRDS policies. The systems required to police NRDS and handle the resulting 'diplomacy' can be complicated and time consuming. It requires real commitment, dedication and buy in from the whole alliance to maintain the necessary structures and it seems that some FDN corps simply didn't have this! Hence the internal drama!

Anyway, shortly after this 'drama' my alliance noticed a lot of Foundati0n pilots in relocating to Assah - a system in Derelik - on CVA's Providence border...

As Foundati0n had blue standings to CVA at that stage I decided (as any good NRDS diplomat would) to touch base with FDN diplomat and find out what the state of play was.

Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

XXX > Well for the moment we're definately NRDS, we aren't shooting you providence guys. We'll have to look for the new alliance though. Alot of people are bored of what we where doing in GW =)
Hardin > Okay I can understand that
Hardin > But as we have you blue we would hope that at least for decency sake that you inform us if you do decide to change your view on CVA and Provi
XXX > Yes. We definately would =)
XXX > We're always trying to be the Gentlemanly type ==


All fairly amicable and straightforward! However when I wake up I find that one of the FDN corps has started attacking people in Providence. Another CVA diplomat has the following conversation with another FDN representative:

XXX > o/
Amandi Casimi > What the HECK is going on again?
XXX > we are nbsi and shooting neutrals
Amandi Casimi > That official?
XXX > yes
XXX > have you read the FDN announcement in CAOD?
Amandi Casimi > Alright... consider yourselves KOS then.


I immediately sent a mail to the FDN diplomat whom I had originally contacted and got this mail in response:

2009.04.12 08:39
I need to shout at some people clearly. There's not been any official standings change to my knowledge.

Will get back to you with something definate on that and apologies if i was the one to mis-interpret the situation =)


I sent the following response:

Well I am afraid we will have to keep you at KOS until we get some kind of 'official' explanation!




A few more incidents followed leading to another CVA diplo talking to several FDN pilots. This led to this 'alliance' mail being sent to FDN members:

2009.04.12 12:36
I had a discussion with Equinox Daedalus of CVA today regarding standings.

Due to several recent incidents, we are giving conflicting signals to CVA. They have asked us to avoid their space until we sort our new alliance and our new standings. I think this request is reasonable as we will are still in the old alliance and have not changed our standings to anyone outside GW.

We'll be NRDS in Providence until our glorious leader says otherwise (hopefully today lol).
Actually - its best to just not go to Providence until we are properly sorted, and in a new alliance.
Once that happens, safety off... fire at will



Shortly after the pilot who sent the mail returned to CVA space and was ganked by a CVA gang. Leading to the following convo:

[13:30:44] XXX > why hello there
[13:30:55] Keown > Hey. Equi is afk, but just noticed your comment in local.
[13:31:09] XXX > yes we had come to an arrangement with equi
[13:31:18] Keown > I was just curious why you came to providence 1 hour after your alliance mail about staying out of Providence?
[13:31:47] XXX> the mail said: DON'T GO TO CVA SPACE AND SHOOT PEOPLE
[13:31:51] XXX > we were not shooting anyone
[13:31:54] XXX > just passing through
[13:32:14] XXX > here is another quote from the mail
[13:32:23] XXX > We'll be NRDS in Providence until our glorious leader says otherwise
[13:32:29] XXX > oh andplease stop shooting hans
[13:33:13] Keown > Let me read your convo with equi one more time, but from what I remember you were told you where set KOS until your leader decided what to do. And for that reason where adviced to stay out of providence.
[13:33:25] XXX > I will send you the alliance mail
[13:33:29] Keown > i got it
[13:33:41] Keown > im a diplo and got access to the info.
[13:33:48] XXX > the arrangement was a temporary nrds in providence
[13:34:00] XXX > there was nothing said about 'don't go through providence'
[13:34:28] XXX > well I did say its best 'not to go' but didn't forbid it.
[13:34:52] Keown > Ok. let me re-read the post.
[13:35:02] XXX > CVA is currently blue to us and we shot no blues in our earlier engagements
[13:36:03] Keown > Equinox Daedalus > well can i ask that you avoid prov until you decide.
[13:36:11] Keown > thats from your convo
[13:36:34] XXX > ok we'll leave it at that then


He then agreed to stay out of CVA space until FDN leadership decided what they were going to do. Unfortunately this did not last and now the ex-FDN corps (they left to form a new alliance) are KOS in CVA space.

The main reason I have recreated this entire 'drama' is that it is actually a good example of the kind of diplomacy that is required if you are going to operate NRDS successfully.

Now some would say why do it? It is after all a rod for our own backs and right old pain in the arse to manage...

From my perspective there are two main reasons:

1) CVA is a roleplay alliance. We see Providence and lo-sec Domain and Derelik as extensions of the Amarr Empire and 'piracy' is outlawed in the Amarrian Empire. We view agressions against CVA, its Holders and law-abiding neutrals in our area of influence as 'piracy' and such we will 'police' the area in the same way that Concord polices Empire space (albeit with a slightly slower response time)

2) From a pragamtaic standpoint NRDS has proved extremely rewarding. Providence is the most populated and highly developed 0.0 region in EVE. While the natural resources of the region are poor our markets are strong - providing lots of opportunity for ISK generation. In addition, those neutrals who do move to the area and start exploiting its resources and markets develop their own stake in the region and its wellbeing - providing useful intel and assistance in the event of significant raids and invasions.

NRDS (and our non-expansionist stance) does create the same tensions in CVA which eventually pulled FDN apart. However leadership in the CVA actively works against such pressures by only recruiting corporations that are 'down with the programme', that understand our roleplay history and are already aligned with our 'vision and values'.

Unlike many we do not recruit corps simply because they can bring X number of Capitals to the alliance or because they have impressive killboard efficiencies. Even more importantly we only recruit Corporations that have already lived in and helped defend the region for a significant period (over a year in some cases).

This waiting period mean that applicant corps have an understanding of what NRDS is about and will have demonstrated their activity, ability and, more importantly, the patience and maturity of their leaders and members.

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