As a fairly harsh critic of the Eve political landscape, and a general cloaky pain in the ass with Balkan tenacity and memory, I still have to give proper credit where it is due. Over at TMC, after wading through no less than five Hearthstone adverts..err reviews, I came upon a wonderful article by James 315. I know some of you probably hate James and I know I garnered some odd looks even from my fellow writers and editors here at EN24. All works are with their mistakes and contradictions, but over all a solid piece which was enjoyable especially compared with the last state ordered threadathonesque piece.

In his work, he describes the Fountain War, not as a war between the CFC and TEST and allies, but rather a civil war between two sides of the CFC as a whole. Few bought into the notion that TEST was anything else other than a continuation of the CFC’s influence. As such the Fountain War was a massive grind fest for the CFC taking systems which they had already held in all but name. This explains Mitten’s public shows of frustration and calls for revenge upon N3PL repeating the line of “honorable third parties.” Nobody likes foreign intervention in their civil war when they have the upper hand.

James further touches upon the relationship between the Goons and TEST and the propaganda on the GSF side portraying TEST’s departure as the result of Goons wanting to see TEST stand up on their own two feet. In reality it was a secession of the largest CFC member and a diplomatic blunder of the highest degree. James’ conclusion is that the GSF makes itself strong by making itself dependent on its coalition members. I would say the opposite is true, it makes itself strong by making its allies dependent on it. When that dependence no longer exists, you have as in the case of TEST, secession. The memory of FA/RZR attempting to prop up Solar in the east and their CFC media ridiculed misadventure come to mind, as does the bleak depressing SOTA from GENTS when their “decoy campaign” in the north was reversed in moments. As observed before, CFC members are kept strong enough to be useful together, but overall impotent on the alliance level. Any attempt to deviate from the official party line, as was the case with Razor, is met with ridicule and criticism from the GSF. Simply referring to matters such as “Razor and its CFC allies” is seen as secessionist talk. Some coalition members seem more equal than others.

Big Blue Donut

The overall point of the article was that the big blue donut is myth. And truly I can remember even in 2011 everyone was talking about a big blue donut, yet here we are in 2014 and we just had the largest battle in Eve history. The concept of the BBD is an eventuality that exists only in the mind of people who either don’t truly grasp real politik or use it as a propaganda tool to scare others into fighting whoever their enemy is. As soon as a large entity gets too comfortable, you’ll have internal struggle or a more determined external force to threaten it. Even if an entity took every last single 0.0 system, the fact remains that the majority of players live in Empire space. That numerical potential to go to war with any such entity is there, it always has been, and it only needs the right individual to harness it. So be it Goons, or NCdot or whoever else, Heavy is the Crown.

The Fountain Core Resistance

As anyone who has been following my articles know, I have always had a strong admiration for smaller underdog entities and resistance movements. The haiducs/hajduks of the Balkans and the Caucasus Mountains are among my favorite historical topics to study. As such I’ve grown very interested in the groups that live in NPC Fountain (as well as Delve) that maintain a low intensity war in the west. Some of these groups have existed there since before IT Alliance held Fountain, through the years in which TEST held it and remain there today.

The Fountain Core Resistance combined with TEST and BL had managed to destroy 2 CSAAs that held a baby Titan and SC belonging to the CFC. Of course state media portrayed this as a FA loss due to FA failure. After all, comrade, victories are achieved by the unity of the coalition whilst failure is a mishap of the individual alone. FA got a smack on the nose for it while Mittens propped up the victory of the eastern hellcamp. This mode of reasoning is not new by any means, nor has it fallen out of use in recent times. The recent Triumvirate ambush of a CFC Aeon was portrayed specifically as a GENTS failure. The article provides excuse after excuse of how “mistakes were made” on the case of the individual. While some aspects may be true, it does seem to be a common repetition that any time a major loss is made, state media is quick to ridicule the victim almost as if washing clean away the coalition of any responsibility.

King in the North!

After the Dotbros loss of Tribute at the hands of the combined CFC/Solar forces, Black Legion packed up their things and headed for NPC 0.0 in the north. While not defending sov, they took to striking into the heart of CFC territory hunting capital after capital. The staggering losses were a complete embarrassment even to the CFC which had grown up on the joking mantra of “lol we’re bad” so much so that for the Fountain War, BL were eventually hired by their victims. Their contribution in the Fountain War was noticeable. Indeed, the CFC spared no expense at buying up anyone that would give them any sort of advantage. J4LP/Fweddit was brought on as nothing more than a propaganda piece in order to portray the state of Reddit based TEST as “in turmoil at home” but made no meaningful contribution to the actual war itself.
It was a major loss for the CFC to lose Black Legion as a hired asset. The stated reason was that Black Legion felt that the CFC was overbearing. For BL it was “just casual” but for CFC it was “hold on bitch, I bought you dinner.” Now BL is taking a baseball bat to the CFC’s Porsche and is teaming up with Triumvirate to do it. It’s quite telling that after the CFC’s/RUS’s largest victory of any entity in Eve, ***EVER***, and after the CFC’s “deadzone” move to trap N3 assets, they would just pack up and leave. So why did that happen?

Quit While You’re Ahead

This point deserves its own little section to discuss and digest. Most people think that warfare is won by “killing a bunch of the soldiers.” In truth that is not the case. You win by killing the army. But what’s the difference? An army is an entity whereas the soldier itself is what it is made up of. What one needs to do is destroy that army’s STRUCTURE as an entity. A a rule of thumb once an army loses about 1/3rd of its forces its cohesion begins to break down not because of the loss of the average grunt, but because the loss of people in leadership position. Indeed in situations prior to modern warfare , you would have two armies clash, taking steady losses but the victory would be had when one side’s formation breaks and the route begins. At this point it is up to the attacker to follow the enemies’ retreat and this is when most of the actual killing happens.

CFC/RUS had their “meet” of their armies against N3PL. There was also a “structure destroying” event in the form of B-R. There was even a route and chase in the form of the “deadzone” siege of N3’s retreat system, 0-W. Yet even after all that, the CFC refused to continue in their victory opting to retreat to the north in order to deal with Black Legion, Triumvirate and Mordus Angels. So why give that all up? Why not follow through and end it? The reason might be because “Well we don’t want to rule all of 0.0 then there would be no one else to fight lol.” That’s a bullshit answer. What would earn one the smuggiest of smug thrones than to pull off such a thing? What would earn one the title of “Smuggest of the Smug, Smug among Smug.” The real reasons are thus:

B-R, while an astounding victory for the CFC, has more propaganda value than anything else. Yes it hurt N3 and especially PL, but people often forget/ignore circumstances when it suits them. Circumstances for example like the fact that N3PL were outnumbered. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been one of the types to “cry about blobbing.” Everyone brings everyoe they can to win, it’s a viable game mechanic. You want “fair” go sign up for tournaments. But the role of numbers does play a role in morale and propaganda. Everyone was impressed during the fall of Old Northern Coalition when smaller fleets of PL Thundercats (AB super tanked Tengu’s) absolutely dominated against Old NC’s fleets with zero or minimal losses.

When Black Legion dominated CFC fleets in Tribute, even though they lost the “war” they won the heart of Mittens prompting him to sing their praises over at CFC media and then hire them. So numbers matter. When you win with smaller numbers, you’re automatically seen as more capable, cleverer, beyond just the average player. Losing with less people also soften the blows. One can mitigate the morale damage by simply stating “well they had more than we did” and they’re both relevant factors in any fight. Yet this fact is often whitewashed. Instead the narrative is spun that “We’ve even beaten PL’s Titan fleet! We’ve beat them at their own game!”

This sort of propaganda tactic isn’t reserved for just after the fight. If you pay attention, you can see it happening during. When the battle was going on, if you were following along on TMC, you would have seen that only N3PL losses were reported initially. This wasn’t due to “missing” any kills or losses, it’s hard to miss much in 10% tidi. This was a willing attempt to boost morale via propaganda. And that’s fine! This is Eve after all. Nobody is crying foul about it. Good on ya Mittens. But what this tells us is that the CFC was scared of having a repeat of HED-GP or even Asakai. B-R was the CFC’s way of hitting their mark with a lucky shot earning themselves a ticket to get the hell out of a soul crushing sov grinding war.

Evidence of wear on CFC rank and file can be seen especially within the GSF itself where participation has been less than optimal prompting Mittens to pony up some isk to the rank and file of Goonwaffe in order to boost activity. Sure the story is spun as some act of casual altruism “well I was just looking in my pocket and I found all this cash and I said to myself, omfg I need to give this to my corpmates! lol right?”

I’ll probably be painted as a big ol’ jerk on the comments section for pointing out something that’s obvious to anyone sporting a blip on the IQ radar. I’ll make it up by paraphrasing the CEO update and advertise that they do indeed need writers and to send a 800+ word sample about LoL, WoT or Hearthstone, etc. Would someone also please write a damn dota2 guide for Bane over there? He’s not working for me and I’m terribly frustrated about it. :3

The other major factor would have to be the relationship between CFC and RUS. While some elements of RUS are quite friendly with the CFC, others simply tolerate the CFC and in turn are tolerated by it. This leads me to believe that the CFC would have its own members retreat back home for some R&R while N3 and RUS tire each other out in order to maintain an advantageous position in the future.

Pendulum Swings in the South

With the CFC’s retreat from the Southern Front, the RUS bloc has been taking staggering losses at the hands of N3. -A- has had several leaks that show -A- in less than optimal shape. On the 27th of Feb, Lord Rahvin addressed the alliance in stating he was proud in -A- forming fleets of 50-80 in EU TZ and a “solid 40” in US TZ. There are small/medium gangs in lowsec that can “boast” that. While I applauded -A- for their return as a sov holding entity, I worry for its future. Two major setbacks have fallen upon the RUS coalition to further underline their troubles.

Brave Heroes Are Go!

Here is quite an interesting phenomenon. Brave is a combination of newer Eve players that have banded together to become one of the largest alliances in game. They are the literal antithesis of anything else in nullsec. While everyone else seems to be fighting over some petty ego driven reason and the assumption that what they accomplish in Eve will somehow whitewash their meaningless cold empty lives, made so by driving everyone that cared for them away through neglect brought upon by grind timers and “being there” TM, Brave seem to only care about having the most fun/time.

While fascinating in and by themselves, what has been equally as interesting to me has been the reaction of the other 0.0 players, particularly the Goons who naturally see an uncomfortable similarity between their younger selves as hordes of T1 fit Rifters and Brave. Uncomfortable why? Because Brave captures that most pure form of Eve enjoyment that the GSF perhaps once had. While Mittens has to write up a whole page of propaganda on TMC invoking the memory of BoB every other paragraph and paying out double SRP, Brave FCs need only say “fleet up” and members pile in. And while the former fleets up to “prove” something, the latter simply wants to “see how fast my ship goes with it’s MWD over heated” or “how the explosions look.”

When comparing the two perhaps the keenest difference between the two groups regardless at their stages of existence is this: The Goons derived their pleasure by making life unpleasant for others. Their goal is to “ruin other people’s game.” Brave is simply interested in having fun with a focus on themselves. There’s no malicious intent, there’s no bitter motivation behind it. It’s all “Hey let’s see what we can do next!”

From an ideological perspective of course the GSF is going to be very confused at all of this. Their entire narrative has been about how they are the outcasts of Eve fighting as the little guy against the evil elitist alliances. When once they were hordes of newbie friendly Rifters fighting the elitist mega Empire of BoB with all its…***renters*** (remember when that was taboo?), the GSF has become exactly that. BNI serves as that point merely by existing which is why the GSF has already begun spinning its propaganda wheels against BNI. They know that by next year those “meh” fit cruisers will become fully T2 fit battleships, and a year later they will be carriers. It’s better to strangle baby in the crib before he grows up strong and is a threat no? I guess the saying that “You die a hero or live long enough to become the villain” is true.

Of course the accusations that BNI are “N3 pets” are already being flung around. Brave’s deployment into Catch naturally puts them in a position friendly to N3. Beyond that there’s the little fact that the GSF’s old “project alliance”, TEST is part of the HERO coalition that BNI is head of. TEST makes it unlikely that Brave will ever align with the CFC, yet at the same time it’s almost as unlikely that that will act as a motivating factor to truly align with N3 as well.

To be blunt, N3 isn’t very good at the meta game. N3 is a byproduct of the GSF’s expansion of the CFC whose foreign policy has been “bend a knee or we’ll break your knee.” They’ve done this enough times that now 0.0 is polarized. Almost everyone is either CFC or anti CFC. In essence the GSF has created the CFC as well as N3. “You’re either with us or against us” and the likes of Nulli Secunda and Northern CoalitionDOT have said “well we aren’t with you so…” If tomorrow saw the end of the CFC as an entity I find it hard to believe that N3 wouldn’t cease to exist very soon after as well.

The best example I can give of this is how when different tribes with little in common united due to the threat of Roman expansion. None of the chiefs of those tribes ran around trying to form a coalition yet a coalition came to exist due to Rome’s pressure on their territories. So while the GSF are professionals at disseminating propaganda, and spinning a narrative for the line members to follow, N3 has relied, intentionally or not, on the fact that the GSF is a threat and maintains their “bend a knee” policy to those who have not already.

To me Brave and HERO Coalition is a great thing for the game itself. A polarized CFC vs N3 Eve is a boring one for me to participate in and to write about. I hope that HERO grows strong and I hope that RUS continues to exist and then I hope that even more non CFC or N3 coalitions arise to make Eve even more diverse and interesting. Alliances without coalitions simply do not exist in Eve but at the very least we can hope for a diverse group of coalitions each with their unique ideology and motivations.

(Edit: Since starting to write this article some events have happened such as the loss of HERO dreads in Catch. That event will be covered in more detail at a later time.)

Fall of the DTF front?

As most of you probably know, Darkness of Despair has been disbanded from within allowing N3PL coalitions to undo many of the gains the RUS/Stainwagon Bloc has been able to achieve with the CFC wind at their back. With -A-‘s numbers declining due to poor morale, this leaves only Solar as a solid standing contender in the southern conflict. The ‘Euro Goons’ have put up token resistance in a similar spirit Old -A- under Makalu helped Nulli defend their space against the HBC a few years back using kite Tengus. I would find it surprising if the CFC redeploys back to the south in full force and risk a demoralizing failure considering the entity that they backed up does not seem very stable. Instead they will uphold their victory in B-R and await for the next meeting.

The Future of DTF/RUS/Stainwagon

What are the possible courses that this entity could take in order to continue to exist in a meaningful manner in 0.0? Well first I had to outline one major criticism. -A- had returned to Catch and were fielding proper numbers. Dark/Darkness were getting their piece in the south. The only one that really had anything to gain from this war was Solar. They imagined that they would be able to push aside N3PL and reclaim their old throne in the East. This could only be achieved with the help of the CFC. Unfortunately many elements within the DTF coalition were resentful of this set up. The GSF has polarized 0.0 so much that there is a general dislike that exists even among people that have never really had a negatve interaction with Goons. I suppose when your culture is “fuck everyone else” than everyone else has a “fuck you back” reaction.

What DTF/RUS/Stainwagon could do is some actual diplomacy and talk with their counterparts in N3PL. There’s still a lot of territory in the south to negotiate with. Personally I think N3PL would settle for assurances, compensation and a nice treaty over simply having more territory. The whole of N3PL is still in need of some reformation and gods willing actual coalition like organization. If there is too much “bad blood” to talk, simply go back to what the CFC propaganda machine was saying about -A- in the past and see that enemies today can be your friends tomorrow. I’d refer to an older article I wrote about negotiating from a weaker position.

At the other end of the spectrum, they could simply join the CFC fold in full. You could crash on their couch in Pure Blind, reform yourselves and attempt to start new from there. Just understand what you are signing up for is a commitment and your potential and strength will only be good enough to be useful to the GSF but never strong enough to challenge it. In your case that may be a better situation than you are in now.

The third major option is to retreat to Stain again and remain unaligned. Naturally you’ll lose members, you won’t have the best resources and you won’t hold any real sov. But you will have your independence and your identity remained intact. Don’t look at the success and survivability of your alliance based simply on the numbers you pull in, but also by the identity which you stand by. In any case I’m writing based purely on worst case scenarios. The war is not over yet and there are still systems to be traded.

One thing that all 0.0 entities will have to deal with however is the fact that the Russians are not going to cease to exist anytime soon. This goes for any major alliance. If you squeezed PL or Nulli or FA out of their territory, they’ll remerge somewhere else. This goes double for ethnic based alliances such as the Russians. So if the RUS lose their territory in the south, where will they show up next? That may be an issue that neither the CFC nor N3PL will want to deal with.

Seraph IX Basarab

Keep Watch!

EN24 will unveil a revolutionary aspect of Eve related media never before seen on such scale or with such impact. We’re working on something that we believe everyone will enjoy and will act as a tool for our more combat oriented EVE players. I can’t give away any details but as reserved as I generally am, I must give a small heads up to our readers. There will be much bread dipping in bowls of tears.

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