The Escalation Begins indeed. The initial ramp-up to Inferno dropped yesterday, and quite flawlessly I might add. I've been extremely busy recently trying to wrap up my last semester at college, but I've got to at least give CCP credit for getting the patch out cleanly. On my machines, the entire Escalation patch took about 20 minutes to complete with no errors. Judging by the tweetfleet, I saw much of the same. So much for the "set a long skill" of old days. That's not to say I didn't do it though (Medium Energy Turret V, Electronics Upgrades V, Armored Warfare V) ;-)
On the subject of Escalation, Goonswarm is really taking it up a notch with two things. The first is Burn Jita. As many know, its going to be an attempt to cause general havoc in Jita. According to the "leak" on EN24, there will be Tornado gangs to gank freighters and there will be roving Thrashers for all other targets. The biggest thing is that they are supposedly starting the attack a day earlier than planned. Don't be too surprised if its even earlier than that. They may try to catch people scrambling to make their freighter runs before the madness starts.
The fun part about Burn Jita is the opportunity to whore on some Concord killmails. RvB is organizing a response to the Goons. Personally, I don't like to claim it as a part of any "Save Jita" campaign. I just want to show up and either whore on some flashy KMs or pop the pods of some outlaws. Its mostly just for the lolz more than anything else. Also, this is a pretty significant "Eve is Real/I was there" event, and there's no reason not to check out the antics that are about to go down.
The second escalation I referenced that the Goons are apparently about to undertake is OTEC (Organization of Technetium Exporting Corporations). This is an attempt to collude and drive up the price of tech and its related goods. Jester's article on the uses of tech is a fantastic resource to see just how influential this could be. This makes me a lot more uneasy than Burn Jita or Hulkageddon. Sure, I may lose a few ships or pods while having my fun in Jita this weekend, but if the Goons are successful in driving up the price of Tech, watch the prices of all T2 goods start to skyrocket. In conjunction with the already high levels of inflation, the next few months could see some pretty wild ship prices. It also makes trading a little more risky, which is my primary isk source. Its all quite a step up from the ice interdiction, especially since its something they can continue indefinitely. A bit of an escalation you might say ;-)