In this series we will be looking at the decline Northern CoalitionDot and Pandemic Legion have been undergoing in the past few years listing some of the key events and mistakes and the some of the reasons behind them. This was actually meant to be written as a single article but the number of mistakes plaguing NCPL was so extensive I needed to break it up into multiple parts.
You cannot really analyze NCPL’s decline without first understanding the dichotomy between this group and Goonswarm. These two entities form a sort of Yin and Yang of Eve Online both from a doctrinal and ideological point of view. We could do the old tired thing of talking about Band of Brother’s “elitism” vs the Goon’s numeric zerg nature, but I would venture to say these concepts existed prior to both entities. BoB and Goons took over these archetypes. As time went on elements of BoB became NCPL, although it should be noted that former Goons also make up a strong element of NCPL as well. To simplify it NCPL came to be the “quality” vs Goon’s “quantity.” Militarism vs constructionism. NCPL’s source of strength came from its passive income sources that allowed its members to focus on developing their military capability. Goon’s strength came from recruiting anyone regardless of skill or ability and developing doctrines and strategies around numbers. Since 2016 CCP’s game development direction has come to favor the latter “numeric constructionist” ideology far more. Passive moon income vanished. Skill injectors meant that anyone with enough money can become a supercap/titan pilot overnight. In order for your alliance to succeed you needed to excel in PvE/industrial activities. This shift was not difficult for groups like Goons to adapt to. There was very little to adapt. On the other hand NCPL’s way of doing things had to change drastically. Their “distance to adapt” was and is much greater. NCPL’s decline is not wholly due to this factor but it certainly plays a role and should be noted in this critique. One can take it as offering some kind of excuse for NCPL’s decline, and it certainly explains some issues. However what could be considered less excusable is the number of mistakes that ran parallel with these game changes.
The running theme for NCPL seems to be a lack of a long term strategy coupled with actions that produce results directly against their own interests.
NCPL in World War Bee
There’s a misconception regarding NCPL’s participation in WWB which affords them a larger role in the conflict than honestly deserved. Yes NCPL provided manpower and did grind Imperium structures but they also essentially gaslit and later directly caused the resurgence of the vanquished Imperium. WWB could be said to have started on the 1st of January 2016. In truth it was more or less a continuation of the “Viceroyalty War” of late 2015 where Goons attempted to extort nullsec and lowsec entities. In response a number of lowsec “pirate” alliances banded together to defend their assets and basically trounced Goons and their coalition at every battle. By January of 2016 (the start of WWB) some of these pirate groups had been hired as mercenaries to push into Goon/Imperium space, not to take it but to kill whoever lived there. This multi-front low intensity campaign went on for some three months resulting in the effective death of SpaceMonkey’s Alliance and a number of other Imperium coalition alliances disbanding.
In March, alliances like Northern Coalition, Pandemic Legion, TEST and Darkness finally became curious enough to deploy north sensing weakness in the Imperium. PL notably harassed TEST’s move ops. NCPL however only regarded this as a “gudfites content” deployment meaning there would be no strategic move against the Imperium. Their tone changed once Circle of Two defected which brought any serious attempt by the Imperium to retake the north to an end. The next few months saw NCPL sit in Saranen with the Imperium remnant and essentially play docking games and even serving the Goons a few morale boosting feeds. Pandemic Horde was at least smart enough to occupy Fade while Darkness greedily clutched the Goon’s old seat of power in the far northwest.
Eventually the Imperium abandoned any pretenses at taking the north and pushed into Delve. TEST opted to follow the Goons to the region and hamper their attempts to take space. Pandemic Legion on the other hand preferring short term ganks over long term strategic results instead started hitting TEST in their newly acquired region of Vale of the Silent. This perhaps more than anything ensured the survival of the Imperium coalition.
Turning on Allies
Not to be outdone by Pandemic Legion’s strategic blunder, Northern Coalition opted to invade Tribute and managed to string along P Horde for the ride. The justification given for this invasion was 1) Gigx is hard to work with. AKA Gigx wasn’t going to grovel at the might and splendor of NCPL. 2) P Horde needed space closer to Jita. In truth the space was turned into a rental tax farm for NCdot. 3) Content. Except what kind of content can you hope to get dropping Panfam on a much smaller alliance like Co2 that had been at war almost non-stop for about a year? Despite this it still took several months for Co2 to lose Tribute.
TEST offered support in the form of badly positioned Dreads and token Caracal fleets. When Tribute finally fell, Gigx initially wanted the alliance to move to Venal and continue the war. TEST and Judge argued to move south and most of us know how that ended up. But essentially with one war PL managed to hamstring Co2, a strong ally to fight any resurging Imperium, and turn TEST into an Imperium ally. NCPL completely nuked their diplomatic credibility.
This concludes part 1. Expect part 2.