So, the war that everyone (apparently) wanted has arrived.
Lots of pixellated things blowing up in spectacular fashion and the popular Eve press going mad with propaganda and hurf-blurf by the metric ton.
I am following events with a keen anticipation of change at last on the one hand, whilst the more rational side of my brain keeps reminding me it’s likely to be a case of “meet the new boss, the same as the old boss” and we all get fooled again.
One thing I definitely find interesting is the amount of people who seem to think a large-scale Eve war bears any sort of close resemblance to a war in the real world.
Lots of “fight to the last man, last Rifter”, “we shall fight them on the station, we shall fight them on the gates..” etc, etc, admittedly, just like the real world.
Also plenty of disparaging accounts of each battle, with a truckload of losses on one side, that losing side being totally dependent on whose account you read. This too corresponds with what we have come to expect in real life.
In real life, however, wars are usually fought by people who thoroughly believe in the value of their fight; in most cases their lives and those of their families are dependent on the outcome, in some way or another.
Thus people will fight under trying circumstances, enduring all manner of deprivation to “do their bit” in securing a positive outcome for their side.
It has been my experience that wars in Eve don’t go this way very often, if at all.
The reason is exceedingly simple – it’s a game.
“Eve is real!” some would passionately argue, pounding the desktop whilst scoffing chips and trying not to spill their beverage. Errr, no it isn’t, you fat git, get up and open the curtains, says I.
Some simply don’t comprehend the incredible balancing act that warring coalition and/or alliance leaders have to perform, if they don’t wish to find themselves in an alliance of six people overnight.
Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time in sovereignty null-sec will tell you that, for the majority of members in any alliance, there are certain expected conditions that have to be met to secure their tenure for any extended period of time.
Access to income is the most predominant one, of course.
Whilst many older players no longer require ratting or mining access to secure an income, most front line members and so-called “grunts” need to rat or mine to PLEX their accounts, buy ships and mods and work towards future plans (which always require liberal doses of ISK, let’s be honest).
Alongside income stream, there is the all important fun factor.
Structure grinding, system camping and logistics are all fairly low on the fun factor index indeed, right up there with mowing the lawn, washing the car, or the dishes, for that matter.
I’ve seen it all before, as things begin to get longer in the tooth, especially if things begin to look a little shaky, the sneaky evaccing of assets begins.
Sadly, all too often its corp and alliance directors doing the sneaking first, the second the “grunts” get a whiff of that going on, the trickle rapidly becomes a torrent and the fat lady commences the warm up of her vocal chords.
This war, however, sees on one side a very different kind of player – the nocturnal Neck Bearded Goon (Somethingus Awfullus).
Goonswarm members are very different to the average alliance member in Eve.
They are a complete contrast to your average grunt (Cannonari Fodderus). Goonswarm has a very tight, close-knit community within its folds, mainly brought about by the fact that they have, over the years, managed to annoy and disenfranchise just about everyone else in New Eden.
The CFC, however, is not just Goonswarm. The rest of the alliances that comprise the CFC can be expected to display a far higher level of cynical pragmatism than Goonswarm members.
Many Goons have been waxing lyrical about the fact that their alliance coffers runneth over with plentiful fistfuls of ravioli to spend on weaponry; what is not so clear, in contrast, is where they expect to source the pilots required to operate the apparent fleets of ships waiting in the wings.
Goonswarm alone, against everyone else?
Admirable, to say the least, but even for an alliance as well run, well-funded and incredibly well organised as Goons, it’s a bridge too far, methinks. I could be wrong, I’m no expert on matters like this, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch, even for them.
Thus Goonswarm leadership can reasonably be expected to be meta-gaming their little arses off to ensure the rest of the CFC stick around for the long haul.
Then, on the other side, we have Test alliance “and friends”, said friends consisting of everyone who hasn’t openly declared Test to be completely mentally redundant, who also have an axe to grind against those busy little bees buzzing around in Fountain.
The aforementioned disenfranchisement sees this list of Test “friends” growing by the day, everyone hungrily queuing up to get their chilled, frothy pint of Goon blood.
Those harboring such virulent animosity toward Mittens and Co. will not be the mainstream of those alliances; not the working class, as it were.
Sure, the troops probably harbor a general disdain for all things Goony, I doubt that it is the raging hatred we see manifested in some quarters, though.
Should the income of the general population start to suffer any significant setback, we can expect the ranks to commence thinning out.
Regardless of who can endure the longest, fight the hardest, use the best tactics and get the most timers done; both sides leaderships are really executing a very delicate balancing act indeed.
It all hangs on the average line members continuing to show up, show interest and log in – day after day, system after system.
They also have to keep a wary eye on the rogue factors, PL being the most obvious. Let’s be honest here, PL looks after PL, that is the only thing they can realistically be relied on to do.
Test will also need to keep a wary watch on their line members, a fractious and short attention spanned lot, most of whom may not stick around if this turns into a boredom competition.
Mittens obviously recognizes this fact and is already putting on the pressure through fight denial and the questionable use of Cheapandnastycat doctrine fleets.
In the meantime, as I mentioned before, the King of Space will need to watch his coalition mates, the temptation to shoot Goons runs strong in the veins of every non-Goon, let’s be honest.
Personally, I would love to see both sides contracting after a lot of ISK is spent, toning down their size and moving toward a leaner, meaner format.
Those hoping to see either Goonswarm or Test completely disappear need to remember it’s only a matter of a name change and they “disappear” from sight, but not the game.
Either side, or both sides, could indeed fade out of the limelight, contracting, as I said before.
Thus the other null sec entities could start to enjoy some growth, or re-growth, as the case may be.
This in turn may bring about a lot of shuffling around with plenty of good old Argy-Bargy and explosions, something we all love.
I remain skeptical, of course, I’m sure I’m not alone there.
It could all just end with a whimper, Goons leaving Fountain to Test with a classic rendition of “didn’t want that space anyways”, Test content not to pursue them any further due to financial constraints.
Should it happen though, should CCP’s attempt to “shake things up” in null sec actually work; I shall be the first to congratulate them on a job very well done indeed.
Then, it might be time to load up the new Thanatos my alt is currently training and has the glossy brochures for (not much left there, most relevant skills at five in my usual OCD fashion) and head on back to my favourite part of New Eden,
the real sovereignty null-sec.