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Seraph IX Basarab: The Trenches of War

January 2, 2014

By Seraph IX Basarab

Since last October the war between one half of 0.0 ( CFC and DTF) vs the other half (N3 + PL) has had its peaks and declines in activity. While the events of the past few months have been covered in detail elsewhere, the purpose of this article is to shine light on some of the notable factors and the possible scenarios that may occur due to said factors. As usual I’ll be pointing out issues on both sides and as always some people will be upset about that. The intelligent reader will gain something out of the discussion while others may not.

Slowcats, unfair?

I wanted to address this before anything else. There seems to be a pattern followed by Mittani. Any time there is a doctrine or tactic that gives the CFC trouble on the battlefield, it needs to nerfed. From tracking titans to sentry carriers, without missing a mark, if the CFC is losing or “not winning fast enough”, it must be because the game itself is broken somehow. This along with calling anyone the CFC fights as “BoB remnants” based off of the handful of guys in some random corps that were loosely assosciated with BoB at the time (the other half probably somewhere in the CFC but let’s forget about that) are staple Mittani talking points. Anyway, I’m baffled as to why the CFC doesn’t field equal or more sentry carriers. I find it hard to believe that an organization that has existed so long while sitting on some of the richest sov in 0.0, does not have the SP count nor the funding to do this. Assuming there isn’t some issue of corruption, the issue seems to simply be an unwillingness to put as much risk on the field as N3. And if that is the case, then you don’t deserve to hold the field at the end of the day.

But for the sake of argument, let’s help the guy out. Let’s see if we can’t think up of ways to counter the sentry Archons. First we should outline the Slowcat’s strength. They’re tanky, they can refit off of one another as needed and they can assign drones to a damage coordinator mitigating pilot error when trying to hit the primary target. I may be wrong but none of this stuff is new and it wasn’t an issue until it stopped the CFC from annihilating N3 with ease. They expect their wins in sub cap fights due to superior numbers to follow through when fighting even bigger ships. That’s just not going to happen.

Sentry carriers are slow and rely on proper sub cap support in order to be mobile. They’re expensive, not just for the hull but the modules that are fit plus the extra modules needed to refit. Contrary to popular belief, while the doctrine mitigates the complication of assigning damage, you still need a lot of managing skills in order to properly outfit your carrier depending on what phase of the fight you are in. On top of that, carriers are completely reliant to one another and their drones. Break the link between each other and they’re nothing more than expensive coffins.

But how can this be done? The Mittani’s Nag dread fleet concept is an interesting one although from my understanding the fighting would have to be done between 130 and 150 KMs due to the range of sentry drones and the Nag’s turret range. The idea is to “alpha” the Archons off the field mitigating any incoming reps. On paper, in theory, this can be done perhaps. From my contacts in the CFC there seems to be an uneasy optimism and even some skeptic sentiments concerning the possibility. You’re essentially hoping to keep the enemy in such a narrow set of range that any screw up can mean the end of your tactic.

Why not AoE?

As clouds of sentry turrets fill the dead space of Eve’s battlefields, why not turn them into wrecks with a couple of bomber wings? Sure, carriers can hold many drones but a constant barrage of bombs will limit their DPS consistently greatly. If the “perfect alpha of sentry drones” is the issue, why not use your Damp celestis fleets to resolution script damp the drones. Some will hit late completely out doing the “perfect alpha” which Mitten’s is so horrified about.

To finish it all up, you’re going to have to escalate. See, I think this is the issue for the CFC, it isn’t that they can’t win against Slowcats, it’s that they can’t win against them without escalating. They don’t want to put the risk on the battlefield because they know N3 and PL will drop supers and titans without much of a second thought. If you keep the cavalry in reserve and never charge it, it’s as good as lost anyway.

This seems like another situation where “the sovereign” needs to allow his general to fight the war instead of worrying about losing face. Mittens is a decent politician and propagandist but he’s not a military leader. Let those who are present their case and win the war. I still maintain that the CFC has the largest and best organized logistics in game and this grinding war which seems that it will be carrying on for a while longer, that will be the defining aspect of who wins and who loses.

Ouch that hurt, what now?

It seems like human nature that when wars start out everyone rushes in shooting wildly making strong gains and suffering losses. Like someone that has never run a marathon before, we sprint past the start line only to realize how long of a run the race truly is once we run out of breath. Eve is no different and this war is no different. Staggering losses have been suffered by both sides in the south and the question is who will be able to replace the losses.

In all of this, it doesn’t seem like DTF Coalition (Solar, Darkness, AAA, BLegion) are making many gains in the war. Their preemptive strike was impressive and I was happy to see a third coalition rise up in Eve that can act as alternatives to the other two. Sadly, AAA, an alliance that has defied all reason, risen from the dead when all thought it would cascade, has not attained the level of success it had previously had. The update on December the 19th/20th shows an alliance leadership frustrated with the motivation of their rank and file.”12-50 people in fleet while 140 are online” seems to be an ongoing issue. If AAA does not find a way to motivate its rank and file, we may see the alliance go out with a sad little whimper.

Another telling factor is the self admitted issue that AAA members are not thrilled by being allied with the CFC. Let’s get this straight for you, you don’t have a snow flakes chance in hell to win this war without the CFC. Don’t let stereo types get in the way of building a good relationship with the CFC. Sure, their leader goes on ego-maniacal ramblings and you have a dedicated group of sycophants that are always trailing behind ready to dive neck deep into his rear the moment a puff of air tickles the great leader’s rear. But by far and large the majority of the CFC are no different than anyone else. You have your trolls, you have your cool guys, your shit talkers, back stabbers, loyalists, ideologues, generous types and newbros. Be pragmatic.

I hope the CFC can likewise understand the value that AAA offers. They have a tie and loyalty to Catch region that nobody else in the CFC likely carries. That’s especially important. There needs to be a fine balance in this relationship. If you are too overbearing, the AAA will become jaded and indifferent. Be too neglectful and they’ll fall apart against the combined might of N3. They need to be handled and maintained in such a way that they are both protected, but likewise allowed to find their own worth. N3 and PL misused TEST and were unable to defend Fountain because of it. They did not see that TEST’s interest was their own and today they are fighting a defensive war on their own soil rather than fighting it in Fountain. Don’t make the same mistake. I expected the CFC to see this long ago.

I was also expecting more from Solar and Dark. While they bring the numbers in the DTF coalition, I thought Solar would be more aggressive and that Dark would be more interested in developing their ally in Catch. Perhaps MACTEP is simply waiting for his allies and his enemies to tire themselves out before installing himself in the east as lord of the Drone Regions. While a smart gamble if it pays off, it really harms your progress if you don’t end up with exactly what you want.

Last but definitely not least is Black Legion’s involvement. They’ve gone head to head with Pandemic Legion in their rivalry but PL is really starting to show its logistic experience. While both can destroy the caps of the other, and both have done amazing jobs at providing us all with wonderful battles, ganks and mayhem, at the end of the day PL is simply better at replacing their losses. BL has had a historically terrible SRP program and while that may sound tough and hard-assed, at the end of the day if your pilots don’t have a way to replace their ships and they have to go rat instead of fleeting up, you’re going to see poorer performance. MACTEP or Mittens may need to write a check in order to keep the effective presence of Black Legion on the front.

Insidious Empire has Insidious Intentions

Gentlemen’s Agreement, a member of the CFC, had a fairly good idea. Invade the northern flank of N3 coalition and force them to choose: either hold the line in the south and lose sov up north or lose the front in the south and maintain holdings up north. This would had been a great idea had it not been for Insidious Empire (EMP) led by Phreeze. The guy actually seems pretty interesting. He’s former GoonFleet, and put several years into Pandemic Legion. From there he created his own alliance and carved out a corner of Eve in Cobalt’s Edge from ROGUE, Razor’s pet/buffer alliance in the north. I was ready to disconsider them after their floundering in the Providence campaign which seemed to be rather frustrating for both line members and leadership. However, EMP seems to have taken the lessons learned there and grown.

GENT’s campaign in The Kavela Expanse was a series of lighting raids and grabs for sov. And without EMP it’s hard to know where exactly GENTS would have been stopped. Unfortunately for GENTS, it has been stopped and reversed. EMP captured a GENTS station on their own turf. GENTS leadership has attempted to mitigate the damage with the usual “didn’t want that anyway” Damage Control, but as it stands their progress has been reversed. Worse than losing territory, their members are also frustrated at the turn of events. Hours of grinding structures in bombers, has been reversed quickly by the combined forces of EMP and allies.

Over a week ago EMP’s state of the alliance discussed the future campaign to strike GENTS in Vale of the Silent in full force. TEST has also proposed that they will do the same and while it would be interesting to see them back on the map, it remains to be seen how effective they are these days after their catastrophic loss of Fountain and Delve.In response, Razor has also “retreated back to Tenal” in preparation for the northern assault.The 4,000 man EMP alliance has effectively split the CFC’s strength much the same way that they had intended to do to N3. The CFC now has to contend with supporting a tired and frustrated ally in the south while also coming to the realization that without proper support, the likes of RZR and GENTS are going to lose the north and the renter fields the CFC has set up.

N3 Can’t get lazy

While CFC/DTF have not made any major gains in the south, neither has N3. The most that can be said is that they’ve managed to replace their losses better than DTF and that they are doing something right with their sentry drone carriers. I’m surprised Vince hasn’t upset another ally into breaking relations with him so I’m left to assume he’s learned his lesson from Tribute. While EMP is pushing up north, the rest of N3 needs to hold the front in the south. Diplomacy shouldn’t be something to be ignored. Knowing for a fact that many in DTF despise the CFC, that means that the DTF is not completely tied to the CFC. They only really need to turn one of the Russian alliances to their camp. Depending on how the CFC treats their allies, we may see this war switching fronts to Delve. If this war was going on in the north, we may have seen the logistical superiority of the CFC win out against N3. Supporting the fledgling DTF, the CFC may be somewhat hampered by fighting on uncertain ground.

0.0 Politics are kind of a funny thing

Try to follow this. AAA hates Nulli because when Nulli got invaded by PL?HBC/CFC, they did not feel that AAA helped them enough as allies and so invaded AAA space. The commanding leader of AAA at the time is now in PL which is allied to Nulli. So in effect AAA and Nulli are against each other over something the CFC did. Likewise NCdot invaded Solar’s holdings in the east due to the CFC pushing them out of Tribute. Yet today Solar and the CFC stand side by side against N3. Eve is full of examples such as these.

What are we calling this war?

Halloween War sounds nice if the war would have ended before Thanksgiving but I think this war really deserves the epithet “Third Great War.” Why not? You have half of 0.0 fighting the other half. What do you call that except a great war?

Last thoughts

The war has reached somewhat of a stalemate. We’ll yet see if EMP is able to break the great northern throne in N3’s favor or stagger. As far as the southern front goes, the two sides need to be more and more aware of the enemy’s weaknesses. Are they having morale problems? Insist on creating more. Are there issues in replenishing losses? Harass their logistical services. Are there issues of trust and loyalty? Use bribes, and diplomacy to make those unhappy, happy in your favor. Those that view this conflict simply on the level of “how many can we get in fleet in system X” are bound to lose it. Those who think on a more developed level will be the true victors. And as always, the purpose of this war is setting up for the next. Actions that may seem advantageous today, may harm you tomorrow.

Small heads up

Sometime this week I will finally publish a small project of mine aimed at promoting individuals, corporations, alliances and coalitions. As much as I enjoy causing havoc in space with a group of bombers, I also enjoy helping to build bridges of dialogue between people and helping them realize a better version of themselves. Details will be presented at a later date, keep your eyes open, and all the best.

– Seraph IX Basarab