Disclaimer: The Author is a Member of one of the Alliances involved but the opinions and analysis found within this article are his own and not necessarily reflective of the actual position of his Coalition, Alliance, or Corp.

After over a month of raiding the Drone lands, it appears a settlement concluding the GOTG / DRF war has been reached and the Guardians are headed back to their home space amid some speculation as to the next move. In my last article, we mentioned how the war had settled into the back-and-forth and oft-maligned “Fozziesov” rhythm, punctuated by sharp and often massive battles.

However, those fights had to be earned. One such that Fafer and I discuss at length was the destruction of a DIVE Sotiyo (a somewhat complete BR is available here) a couple of weeks ago which saw pretty much the full weight of the Guardians pitted against a DRF + Test mass form that featured each side throwing wave after wave of fighters at the other.

The Road to Peace

Speaking as one of the unwashed masses, after that fight though, it penetrated the half meter of granite surrounding our skull that several other reinforced Sotiyos on structure timers weren’t targeted. Thus tipping off those frenzied voices in our heads to wonder if something was up, seeing as both the official rationale for the war was removed and the obvious strategic goal of taking the pressure off Triumvirate Alliance had already been achieved.

Dotlan 11-15-17 Sovereignty Movements

Mainly by forcing the redeployment of DRF assets off that battlefront, seeing as TRI was no longer on the ropes, there really didn’t seem much reason to stay any longer, besides some gratuitous content at the long end of a pretty thin supply line. Others note that once FCON spectacularly flamed out and abandoned their territory in the closing act of a long war against TRI,  the DRF was able to concentrate more resources on the northern theatre due to the now shortened front.

Disappointing the Tinfoil Hats…

There are of course the inevitable whispers of a huge isk transfer given to clear the drone lands of the rampaging heathens. While as glorious an image it would be to imagine the Dragon polishing his scales by rolling about on the massive resulting pile of trillions of ISK paid as Danegeld.  It hasn’t been proven by any source in either party.

Shortly after Sort Dragon’s ping announcing the peace deal, I reached out to Fafer, Alliance Leader of Ghost Legion. , and a renowned  DRF commander who I’d been following up with for an interview for some time.

A Chat with DCU Leader Fafer

Yossarian – So, for me, the biggest fight after the initial keepstar brawl was when DIVE lost the sotiyo in 83YGI, I recall you led the dread fleet?

Fafer – ah the unfortunate dread drop 50k off, lol I remember

Yossarian – So, what could have gone better with that drop?

Fafer – Well, we had some delay in handing out the dreads from the cache so I had to clone jump the cyno, and the golden rule is to always try to have your own cyno. The cyno that opened off the centre of the target fleet could have been desynched maybe, but otherwise, he is a great guy and I still love him and don’t blame him. Numbers were also not adequate enough but we hoped we could kill some more faxes. As it went the way it did, we only equalled the GOTG TFI losses so it ended roughly same isk lost for both sides. Shit happens.

Yossarian – It was definitely a bloody and enjoyable fight. It did result in the most expensive DRF structure lost during the whole campaign, was that the most challenging moment of the campaign for you as a leader or was it something else?

Fafer – We knew that we will lose something. The whole of DCU understood what we were doing, the “Russian Winter” variant of defense, and among them especially DIVE as they were first on the line. I’m very proud. If it were not for the before mentioned dread loss that I’m responsible for, the ISK trade would have been decisively in favor of DRF. However, as it is we are comfortable with the isk parity as the BR shows.

Yossarian – “Win or Lose, headshot or no headshot, form or no form, we can always count on the Reddisphere going toxic…. Do you feel that atmosphere is helping or hurting the community at large?

Fafer – It is a cultural issue, and also generational. As an old player, I definitely remember the CAOD on the Eve forums or Kugutsumen articles. So in a way, the banter was always present and its part of the game. Everyone likes to read good articles with jokes, or good battle report. Personally, I experienced a shift in posting culture, where many new people, I presumably younger generations, use forums as they would use text chat, with one line irrelevant comments that contribute to the clutter, however, I think I adapted to that.:wink: Another thing is toxicity, however EVE itself is a harsh game so if you are not ready to read, you should not. EVE is a hard and intensive game, and I suppose weaker minds use it to vent out the frustration. Then there are organizations and individuals, that use Reddit as a propaganda platform. They probably think that it may help with recruitment and morale, so whenever they win they write praises to high heaven, and when they lose they are silent, and when they don’t like something their post-squad downvotes. Such things I don’t respect, and I find them foolish because it creates bad culture and dependency. I rather prefer good people that are stable and don’t need morale support like that.

Yossarian – Very well said…. yet, you’re allied with Test……

Fafer – I would like to skip that….{Redacted}

Yossarian – No worries. So, what effect did the arrival of the FCON pilots have on your tactical options?

Fafer – As far as I’m aware, most FCON pilots are still moving or are in the flux. Certainly, it is good that many players ended in various DRF or related entities, and that manpower will contribute in the future for sure. However, I think that certain defensive milestone was reached when DIVE switched their timers to EUTZ and that was instrumental.

Yossarian – So how do you rate the challenge of fighting Against the Guardians?

Fafer – Both sides had their advantages and disadvantages. For GOTG, it was deployment and logistics, although I presume they initially prepared some things before the attack. For the DCU/DRF, problem was to relocate forces fast enough back to the drone lands, once when it became obvious that MTO entosis was not an incident. GOTG had the advantage of having a supercap fleet, while DRF supers were located in the south. DCU had the advantage of being in its homeland with a lot of infrastructure in place. Therefore GOTG challenge was to hit the important enough targets, while DRF challenge was to counter the supers… and also to defend the sov timers. Defending the sov timers was accomplished easily, as we have many entosis-experienced people in the DCU, but also I attribute that ease to the fact that GOTG had weaker EUTZ and perhaps did not focus so much on entosis as they did against “juicy” targets like Sotiyos. So, the biggest problem was to counter the supers on important structure timers, and I believe we mostly managed to do that by using appropriate doctrines that enabled us to trade ships while staying pretty isk positive. The Abaddons we used were good and flexible enough against faction battleships, and we did few good experiments, especially with dread usage against the on-lining keepstar, and other t1 battlecruiser experiments.

I think that both sides had a good experience and learned a lot about themselves and improvements they need to do in the future. It was really challenging to manoeuvre and counter GOTG in the AUTZ, and also GOTG did good form-ups in other time zones, which was impressive.

Yossarian So how do you think each coalitions’ membership’s perceptions of the other side have changed, after all, where I’m from, you don’t really know anyone until you’ve been in a fight…..

Fafer – I’m positively surprised how both sides fought in good spirit and mutual respect without too much Reddit salt. Many new players experienced war for the first time, and others tasted capital and supercapital warfare also for the first time. This attitude is for sure sign of mental health and will go long way in the future.

Yossarian – Speaking of the future, the Peace agreement supposedly restores the status quo ante with a few extra provisions for either side. Do you think its a foundation for mutually respectful relations for the long term?

Fafer  DRF, and GOTG both live on different sides of the universe with their constant problems towards their south, so this episode was an anomaly that is not likely to repeat again. With people actually congratulating the other side on Reddit, I think for sure both sides have respect for each other and is a good foundation for furthering the mutual relationship in a positive way.

Yossarian Well, thank you very much for time and comments. There are always two perspectives to every fight, and, for me at least, being part of a top-tier Nullsec Alliance means the privilege of battling other top-tier alliances, and I agree its a good thing that this campaign was mostly carried out in the spirit of good sportsmanship.

 

Final Thoughts

The DRF certainly proved themselves as much more than the botting ratters some Redditors made them out to be. GOTG kept morale up and stood tall following the keepstar loss and kept up the pressure for well over a month from what was, at best, a precarious beachhead. Yet, I and dozens of other Super pilots maintained station and answered the call, again and again as did many new and returning players all eager to take part. The enthusiasm shown by everyone from vets multi-boxing in Titans to newbros in Support frigates was certainly found both sides.

The fights continued to be epic and challenging. Despite the (daily) best efforts to bump one of the Guardians’ Supers off their precarious perch on the MT02-2 Fortizar, not a single one was lost after the Fortizar was anchored there. And I for one am quite happy that my subcap alt now has something resembling a respectable zKillboard page. and I actually had a chance to develop another character on my main account (since the main was keeping my infamously mal-constructed Aeon warm) into a semi-competent Faction warfare pilot.

That there was very little of the rancour that featured in the last Guardians deployment is proof that nullsec PVP does not need to be an endless hair-pulling cancer-fest. The real heroes of this and all wars in the Eveverse, of course, are the wives and kids who patiently sacrifice time and plans to allow us our “fun”. If back-to-back stratops for 15 hours can be called such but, yeah, why not?

Now we can all sit back, have a quiet get-together, and return all attention to eliminating the true enemies of civilization, those damn Goo…ristas?

 

Featured image credit: Razorien

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