Here we are. The war in Fountain kicked off about forty days ago. Surely somebody must be winning the war by now, right?
The CFC has been able to maintain its foothold in the northern end of the region, with all of the outlying systems that were essentially handed to the CFC having been taken by TEST. TEST got those back but was unable to hold onto EI-O0O and Z9PP-H. And the fighting seems to be focused on 9-VO0Q now. Plus, TEST was unable to push back the sovereignty update on 4-EP12, so the CFC can now utilize infrastructure elements like a cyno jammer or a jump bridge terminus in that system.
And the war goes on.
All of the major parties involved say they are winning. The last CFC update says that all is going according to plan. The N3 Coalition says they are all in (or they will burn). And TEST… after apologizing for their simply awful live streamed alliance update… says they need donations but are still in and holding off the CFC. The main wild card in this seems to be the Russians in the east. They are purported to be done fighting amongst themselves and keen to reconquer territory lost. However, they were not able to exploit the great S2N Citizens Alliance sovereignty drop in the face of of the N3 Coalition’s full attention. So it isn’t clear to me how big of a distraction the Russians will end up being in the short term, as they clearly don’t want to make so much noise that N3 heads back to the east in force.
On the individual blogger front, Poetic Stanziel has been covering the war in greater detail than I can manage. He seems to feel that the CFC cannot be stopped, at least not by external forces. However, being in Fweddit, a CFC alliance, you could hardly be faulted for taking that with a grain of salt.
Perhaps more interesting… or less biased… or whatever… is Kirith Kodachi, an outsider in all of this. He was asking questions about the war and, after collecting answers from various sources (including Riverini at EVE News 24, who certainly is not in the CFC camp), came up with “TEST is screwed” as a result. He has a few reasons for that, but the key one for me is participation. Basically, as I said in the past, sov wars like this hinge on participation. The side that stops showing up regularly loses, and indications at the moment are that TEST might be struggling on that front.
But as much as I would like to endorse his conclusion, I think we still have a ways to go before that moves from possible trend and annoyed allies to “fail cascade imminent,” and a lot could happen in the interim.
On the TEST side of things, there is Gevlon who, after having been previously kicked by TEST, was let back into the alliance in what has to be a prime example of “TEST needs ISK.” He appears to be all aglow about how much the TEST rank and file have donated towards the war effort, the theme being “Beyond my wildest dreams!“
Gevlon advances the notion that now that TEST has harnessed its carebears, it cannot be bankrupted and thus, cannot lose the war. He compares this to the “Goon idea” that he claims despises carebears and which, according to the Gevlon world view, forced alliance members like Spacemonkey Alliance to purge carebears.
Unfortunately for his theory, he seems to have created that “Goon idea” out of wishful thinking and the perception that all Goons are alike. Goons foster plenty of carebears in their ranks. More likely he is seeing a purge of inactive members from corps within the alliance.
At the end of the war, presuming a CFC victory, the spoils, such as moon wealth and sovereignty, will be doled out to the various member alliances in the CFC based on participation rates in the war. Inevitably this causes some alliances to purge inactive members. My own corp did that at the start of the war, as there is some pressure within our alliance, TNT, to put up decent participation numbers. So the inactive players went, though they were sent notification that they were welcome back if they started playing again. To my knowledge, nobody in the CFC is purging carebears as a matter of policy. But every time somebody sees a sudden change in numbers on DOTLAN, theories fly. When the Goons did an inactive member purge a while back, there was an immediate “Goon fail cascade!” theme from some quarters based mostly on wishful thinking.
So while TEST might be able to get a handle on their financial issues via fundraising, I do not think that is necessarily the winning card.
Which, I suppose, brings us back to the map.
Everybody seems to like to point at the map to prove their point. TEST and pals will say that the CFC invasion has failed as they only have those ten systems in the north of Fountain. The CFC will happily point out that if you are in a defensive war, as TEST is, and the enemy is consolidating in your territory, you are not winning. Pick the narrative you like best.
Things have certainly changed since I wrote about winning just ten days into the war. Doctrines have been updated or changed. Systems have changed hands. Huge battles have occurred. But it is still a day to day grind of timers and camps and time zones and line members just showing up for the small fleets that get most things done. That is what sustains the war. While both sides are quick to identify weakness in the opposition, I do not think we are at the tipping point yet.
Addendum: Looks like 9-VO0Q got hot last night. I couldn’t stay up for a 1am fight, but it looks like both sides got numbers and the CFC turned the system.