Having recently read a post by Kirith Kodachi here I strongly resisted the urge to write an entire blog post on the subject (you can see my long comment), but one of the other comments posted a link to an article in ten ton hammer (here) regarding “pets”, alliances that pay rent in order to exist in space conquered by more powerful alliances. I highly recommend you read that article, it raises some interesting points.
My first set of 0.0 experience (apart from that gained from living inside a wormhole for 1.5 months earlier this year) was gained by being part of one of these pet alliances. I joined a corporation that was one of the first corporations I joined as a newbie because they had recently moved out to Deklein to join Defi4nt Alliance, a fairly small alliance which was at the time, renting space from Tau Ceti Federation. I spent about a month there, before moving to Mostly Harmless.
Pet Alliances have many pro’s and cons. The article I linked earlier seemed to very lightly brush over the pro’s and harped on about one specific example where the pet/master relationship went poorly. I think their example was particularly poor because the master alliance at the time was undergoing full-scale attack by the most powerful coalition that the eve universe has ever seen.
My experience within Defi4nt alliance convinced me that being a pet alliance can be a very good thing. and I’ll attempt to state my reasons why here along with some other discussion.
Firstly, the motivation of the alliance considering renting space needs to be examined. why become a pet alliance when your corporation(s) could just join an existing space holding alliance?
In the case of Defi4nt alliance, there were a bunch of corporations who either decidedly did not want to be absorbed by an existing space holding alliance, or could not meet the requirements for joining one (as was the case with the corporation I was in). The end-goal was to eventually become a space-holding alliance in their own right.
Although the Ten Ton Hammer article mentions all the way the pet alliance gets screwed (and a lot of them are true somewhat) there are a lot of benefits that can come from this arrangement. The most tangible benefit is access to better ratting, better minerals, better complexes than would normally be available to the alliance elsewhere, without having to fight to acquire it. Ten ton hammer says this is a raw deal because they don’t get the high end moons, I say that if they weren’t pets, they wouldn’t have any 0.0 space at all.
Prior to the dominion patch a certain levels of sov were required to build supercapitals. renting space gives the alliance everything necessary to build a capital fleet in relative safety (who wants to try building capitals on a large scale in lowsec or npc regions?)
Nothing builds ability like experience. In becoming a pet alliance, the previously empire-based Defi4nt exposed themselves to significant PvP and became closely acquainted with the rigours of 0.0 living. The members learned and practiced things that 0.0 residents take for granted such as paying attention to intel channels, learning how to care for pos’s. learning good discipline in defence and attack fleets, experiencing POS warfare, managing null-sec logistics. There is no way an empire based alliance could hope to take and hold sovereignty without having a good portion of its members with this experience, and it’s not like they would tell their members to go join a 0.0 holding alliance for a few months and then reform again.
other ways of getting experience?
Although an extremely good place to get exposure to nullsec, CVA space is not the answer for everyone.
Moving into an npc region is another way to gain experience, but it is still different. never having to actually defend your space (unless you hold strategic moons with your pos’s) is not the same as the “omg we’d better defend this system or we won’t be able to dock at this station anymore”.
Towards the future.
Not every pet alliance is happy remaining a pet. Defi4nt alliance always had the goal of eventually holding its own space. This sort of began happening before the sov changes in dominion were announced. With the help of their master alliance TCF, Defi4nt began taking sov in some of the systems in cloud ring despite heavy opposition from Evoke and Cry havoc. In the time that I joined them about 5/6 months ago until now, they have progressed from struggling to get 15 cruisers in a defence fleet to being easily able to field 50+ battleships for POS defence operations.
I actually predict that there will be more pet arrangements post-dominion…. I know, the dominion expansion is supposed to make nullsec more accessable, but the fact remains: there are huge alliances out there with lots of isk and lots of combat experience. Then there are alliances coming from empire and npc space with perhaps a lot of combat experience but either without the resources or without the discipline of the current space holding bloc’s. There is no way that they will be able to just walk in and take territory without negotiating with the current power blocks.
It is certain that a lot of existing alliances will have to shrink the space that they hold, but their military capabilities will not diminished in the slightest. With the possible guerrilla-like disruption tactics that will become available post-dominion it will be difficult to gain any space your neighbor doesn’t want you to.