July 28, 2013

What is the True Measure of a Mercenary's Worth?

I'm sure many of you are aware that Poetic Stanziel wrote a "humorous" blog comparing Noir. Mercenary Group to one man in Gallente faction warfare.  He claims that Noir.'s high cost to hire is not worth it since one man can wrack up more kills in faction warfare during 30 days than the entire Noir. Mercenary Group alliance can in three weeks.  Clearly this is a straw man argument.  But, some people may genuinely wonder why Noir. Mercenary Group can consistently charge large amounts of ISK for a contracted service.  Well, let's see.

Let's start first by focusing on Delve, the location of the most recent NMG contract.

Delve is a TEST stronghold, and it's where most of their renters live.  Ratting is a primary source of income for the residents in Delve, and with the war in Fountain going on right now, the ratters are pretty much the only residents right now.  So why does Delve matter? Why send mercenaries in to do anything, especially to the poor ratters?

TEST is rumored to be having a lot of financial problems right now.  Whether those financial issues are causing TEST to become hobbled or not, I honestly can't say.  I've not experienced the war in Fountain, nor am I one to really crunch the numbers of the entire campaign.  It seems likely to me that no alliance that is relying on donations alone could survive a lengthy and costly war, though.  Not without some other source of income.  Which is where we come in.

Like I said, Delve is full of people who enjoy ratting and mining and all those other things I've heard people talk about in EVE but never really tried.  There's a lot of people who live in Delve that pay money to TEST for the opportunity to do so, too.  What if someone came in and they shut down that income? What if someone was paying TEST a portion of their profits for the right to hunt there, with the promise that they'd be protected in return, and suddenly neither of those things turned out to be true?  What if the income source dried up because anyone who tried to rat or mine was killed or interrupted? How long would they be able to pay their landlords from the profits they had saved? How long would the people renting put up with being constantly harassed when they're paying for a peaceful, safe area to hunt?

Not very long, it turns out.  There were a few people who left their organizations after being killed, tired of not being able to make any money.  Three solid weeks of no income was the best case scenario for anyone in Delve while NMG was under contract.  Losing very expensive ships was the worst case scenario.

When NMG is hired to do a job, whatever that job may be, there are parameters.  Those parameters differ with every contract.  One time it may be that we're only allowed to count any kills made within a certain area.  Maybe we're only able to count kills from a certain organization, or maybe we're simply hired to make life for the occupants as difficult as possible.  To even have a hope of accomplishing any of these parameters, there is a ton of planning, coordination, and effort involved.  The logistics of moving an entire alliance every few weeks to accomplish drastically different goals each time is not something to be taken for granted. Once the "boots hit the ground", the work hasn't just begun - it's simply one step in the process, and one of the last step, I might add.  At the end of the contract, the true test of a mercenary's worth is how pleased the employer is.  

At the time of this writing, NMG has destroyed 93.52B ISK worth of enemy assets.  This doesn't show the actual damage caused, however, which is measured in denied income stream.  How much income has TEST and its renters been denied? That number is certainly much, much higher than the amount listed on the killboard; and that number is what we were paid for.

Of course, if you believe Poetic, the employers could have saved their money and hired one man to shut the entire region of Delve down, right?