Despite the well-known status between the CFC and the HBC, past relationships between individual alliances belonging to both groups have been tense at times.
In particular, the heat has been building between Test and Fatal Ascension which, you might remember, are not blue to each other. This particular issue has reached a point at which it was addressed at the Fatal Ascension forum, following the alleged constant camping of their systems by TEST pilots:
You’ve likely all noticed that TEST has been camping our systems over the past several weeks. As a reminder, our current policy with respect to TEST is as follows:
• Do not attack structures owned by HBC member alliances
• Do not afk cloak in systems owned by HBC member alliances
• Do not camp the stations or jump bridges owned by HBC member alliances
Some of our members may be disappointed with TEST’s lack of adherence to these terms. These blatant provocations have particularly affected our ratters, miners and industrialists. We hear you and have this to say:
It is not like this is the first time we’ve dealt with AFK cloakers hunting our ratters. A big part of why we’re still around is because of accepting and adapting to undesired events, and this is barely a bump in the road compared to the rollercoaster we’ve been on in the past.
Let’s put this seemingly irrational agression into context. Reach inner peace through seeing and understanding the big picture, so to speak.
TEST prides itself on callous trolling, always have and always will. Their core membership stems from reddit, 4chan and 9gag where the social norm is circlejerking and one-upping each other. In Eve, where social consequences are minimal, this means that for every rule or agreement set down, members will go out of their way to push the limits and see how many toes they can step on before someone snaps or they get clubbed down by the leadership. Whoever proves most successful is crowned king for a day. They do it to themselves and they do it to other alliances.
With that in mind, there are a number of reasons why TEST are poking at us:
TEST have explicitly stated that they want to go it alone without the training wheels and the support of our coalition. They are now at the head of the katamari-like Honeybadger Coalition and as such they are looked to as a source of content and direction for their coalition members. Many of their partners are openly hostile towards our coalition since we’ve had a hand in booting them (and rightfully so) out of our neighboring regions, and as a consequence there are calls for blood. Our blood. This puts the leadership of TEST between a rock and a hard place. Instead of maintaining a firm stance regarding the CFC and telling the loudest critics in the HBC to sit the fuck down and deal with it, we now have this situation which is both a conflict and not a conflict at the same time. It is neither fowl nor fish. Their failure to act consistently has brought about this nonsense.
However, they lack the courage to reset Goonswarm Federation, their last lifeline to the Clusterfuck and their only safe harbor to return to if the HBC were to implode somewhere in the future. Therefore they require a scapegoat for a reset and a war, someone to point to and say “We tried to coexist with you until X started this war, but we hope we can still be bros after all this because it is only X we are really mad at. Fuck X”.
Essentially, they wish to provoke a war while keeping their best possible friend and worst possible enemy on the opposite side on relatively good terms. Their worst fear going down this path is us just sitting on our hands and watching them dig their own grave diplomatically as they come up with inventive ways to overstep their boundaries and goad us into doing what we are most proficient at: Shooting first.
At the same time they are terrified of giving us the soft treatment and honoring our agreement, with a desire to look upright and independent in the face of their blues who hate us. Going easy on us and backing down would in their partners’ eyes confirm the memetic stigma of “Goon pet” that gets thrown around. Although we understand their predicament, we as an alliance are disappointed in TESTs inability to rise above such banalities.
As of now, their leaders are becoming fed up with the internal drama created by their own culture, since their diplos, IT crew, CEOs and other important people are becoming more and more the focus of this endless torrent of mean-spirited behavior and they need an external point to focus towards now that -A- has ran away. The recursive nature of the problem is only made worse by prominent trolls having a different set of rules apply to them, blurring the line on who you can and cannot have a go at, depending on who you are.
TEST is desperate. Their recent practice is that of indiscriminately absorbing when they should be showing restraint and consolidating. This is putting stress on them internally as an alliance and externally as the head of a coalition. Failing to account for the abyssal chasms of culture and standards between their alliance corps and coalition partners is turning the daily lives of their leadership into a pressure cooker, and the pressure must be relieved, lest it tears them apart.
In short, they need an alliance like FA to pester and infuriate in order to not turn on themselves. They badly need to project their bad impulses elsewhere and we’re the closest neutral entity to them, with a solid track record of gunboat diplomacy.
The relationship between TEST and FA at the grunt level has always been a fairly good one, and our unorthodox methods of resolving our conflicts when they spiral out of hand is a bright example of intra-coalition realpolitik combined with solid fun. Therefore it is saddening to see their leaders trying to sweeten the pill pushed from the rest of the HBC, selling the narrative that we are now someone to be loathed, embezzling our shared history, past burdens and successes. They have nothing we want, but we have never thought less of them for it.
We as an alliance have always been good at adapting to changing paradigms, and this is one of the strengths of FA. Allies come and go, and getting poked at by former blues is nothing new. Now is the time for pragmatism and adaptation. Let the TESTies rage at their leaders while we continue to keep our heads in the right place.
Looking at actual measures to take, it will be easier to flush out their hotdrop gangs from NPC Pure Blind now that we are moving everything to 3V8. Encouraging people in fade to rat in groups will help make the whole situtation more of a non-issue. Talk to your FCs, set up counter drops, login traps etc. Keep on doing what you always do, but adapt accordingly.
Fatal Ascension leadership is radiating a feeling of cautiousness, while clearly stating that they did not start this, that they should be ready for anything, and that TEST antics should not come as a surprise to anybody, specially when considering the criteria with which TEST has been consolidating their increasing numbers.
Today, Montolio has issued an official statement at their forums:
Many of you saw the mad-ass forum thread Fatal Ascension made about us. I wanted to address it. The post is pretty glorious though and it is truly the drama we’ve been missing since the collapse of Against All Authorities and IT Alliance.
The post was riddled with accusations of TEST pilots forgoing the NIP agreements between the HBC and CFC. This is completely untrue, as we’ve handled every violation of the agreement (of which there have been few) promptly on our side and paid damages whenever a violation occurs. The majority of the Fatal Ascension anger stems from a black ops team in Pure Blind. I assure you, killing Fatal Ascension ratters and fleets with black ops drops is completely within the scope of our NIP. On the other hand, Fatal Ascension pilots have frequently been caught violating the NIP in our space by afk cloaking, camping bridges, camping stations… if it is listed in the NIP, Fatal Ascension has violated it. Nothing is preventing Fatal Ascension from doing black ops work in Fountain or Delve, especially as both regions have an NPC core much like Pure Blind. Instead of fighting back fairly, Fatal Ascension pilots have taken it upon themselves to push the boundaries of our NIP and see how much underhanded rulebreaking our diplomatic corps will let them get away with.
We aren’t blue with the CFC, but we are blue with a few select alliances, most notably RAZOR and Goonswarm Federation. We have these alliances blue because we like them and because we have historically had a good working relationship or strong ties with them. We used to have an outstanding relationship with Fatal Ascension – we advocated for them, gave them a couch to crash on, and supported them militarily and strategically. When the drama with Raven Shadows was stirring up I support Zagdul 100% and sung his praises across GF Allies. However – since Test Alliance tried to take some independent action with minimal or no CFC support (Vale, Geminate, Delve) Fatal Ascension has been scrambling to occupy the #2 position in the coalition TEST arguably held. I’m okay with this, I wish them the best – but it might be difficult as Fatal Ascension’s only notable achievement is successfully living in Fade.
Letting off Steam
I have proposed multiple times to Zagdul that we conduct friendly controlled war games or we loosen the NIP between Fatal Ascension and TEST only. My offers have been declined or deflected every time I’ve brought the topic up. They are aren’t willing to fight us unless the entire coalition backs them, yet a very small selection of TEST pilots are causing Fatal Ascension unbelievable amounts of frustration and pain. Even more embarrassing for Zagdul, loosening the NIP would at best even the playing field between our pilots and childish FA rulebreakers, and save the diplomats in each alliance countless hours of reading through trivial FA pilot drivel. Fortunately for us, the tension in our relationship seems almost entirely one-sided, and Fatal Ascension is clearly in need of an outlet for their frustration. After all, TEST is still deployed to HED fighting local pubbies while Fatal Ascension has just moved their main staging system to a mere 2 jumps from NPC Pure Blind, with the intent of defending their space against the transgressions of Sperg Squad blockade runners on their way to rendezvous with a Panther and Loki in Fade.
That’s up to Fatal Ascension. I’d love for them to return to bro-status again. That isn’t going to be accomplished by passive aggressive posts and people getting panties twisted about ratting losses. The Fatal Ascension we used to know would have laughed at ratters dumb enough to be caught by TEST pilots. They would have engaged in fun war games and planned fights with us. Our pilots should continue to abide by the NIP and feel free to do active warfare as we have been – within the bounds of the NIP.
Happy new years.
It is worth mentioning how Zagdul (who was kind enough to reply to our requests for commentaries, but did not offer any additional information) does not share Montolio’s point of view on letting of steam in a way that does not lead to a full-scale conflict, and how each alliance accuses each other of breaking their agreements.
The situation is quite interesting, as it points out at the difficulties of keeping common sense rules of operational etiquette which allow a certain degree of aggresion (but restrict certain PvP activities) while being very easy to violate. And implying no consequences whatsoever.
It can escalate, and it would be logical if it did, unless blue standings are handed over, a war mentality is embraced by one of the parts to mount a preemtive first strike, or pilots from both sides show the necessary degree of restraint, something which is becoming more complicated with each passing day.