Often blobs are described as a blight on the surface of Eve, but are they really all that bad?
In my experience the majority of ‘blob solutions’ appear on the forums only when lag rears it’s ugly head and fleet fights start to turn into sludgey slide shows.
And yet most .0 players and a good number of low sec players will have tales of losing a ship to a ‘blob’ and will decry ‘blobing tactics’. But what really defines a blob? Is it 100 ships? 50? 10? What if it’s 10 frigates – is that a blob, or a swarm?
In my view a blob is really based on ratio and ship class. 20 Battleships vs 1 Frigate might be justly described as a ‘blob’ (at least by the frigate pilot); 20 Frigates vs 1 Battleship is more of a ‘swarm’.
The classification of a blob comes when you consider how likely it is that a given fleet will outnumber and out size anything else it meets in a given area of space. That sounds a bit odd, but a 20 man fleet of Battleships is a medium to small gang in .0 ( say vs a 200 cap ship fleet). Whereas in low sec it’s a fairly substantial force.
So blobs are a matter of perspective rather than a defined number of ships.
Why though do blobs form? Well most people will recognise the ‘strength in numbers’ concept; the more of you there are the more powerful you become, and the less risk posed to each individual ship.
Blobs are also, to an extent, a requirement to accomplish certain tasks – attacking a enemy POS or Sov object for example means that removing a large quantity of Hitpoints swiftly dictates the type of fleet you need. Ever seen a POS attack undertaken commonly using 3 or 4 cruisers? No?
Blobs are also a natural conclusion of a social game – after all what’s better than causing mayhem and destruction with ALL of your mates rather than just a handful?
So, on the face of it Blobs should be a welcome and much loved sight in Eve. But that isn’t always the case. You only need to browse the recruitment forum, or chat to a few players and the majority will point to their love of ‘small gang warfare’ and loathing of blobs.
Is this just a factor of EVEs structure creating unenjoyable lag fests when ‘blobing’ occurs? Partly. But equally I think a lot of players see Blobs as just inherently unfair and boring. As a fleet increases in size the chance of it getting a comparable opponent decreases. Even when 2 opposing fleets do end up reasonably close to each other it’s increasinlgy likely that they do NOT engage -as the risk of loss increases as well; simply put the stakes get higher.
Overall then blobs aren’t an issue in and of themselves but they can be detrimental to the fun of EVE if they are the only option, which, as more and more players become cap ship capable seems to be increasingly likely.
What we need then, to broaden EVEs appeal is not a counter to blobs per se, but a counter or more precisely an alternative to blobbing as a increasing tactical trend.