I will be interest to read what Andrew Groen has to say in his planned book A History of the Great Empires of EVE Online (the Kickstarter has six days to go as of today) about the state of affairs that exist today in null sec space.
Life is change of course. Nothing stays the same. But the very face of null sec seems to have changed quite a bit since I wandered out of empire space a couple of years back. (Maps from the usual source)
That is a pretty chaotic map, at least by today’s standards. And look at the bulk of the CFC packed cheek-by-jowl into the space between Cloud Ring and Deklein. We were such close bros back then and questions about who got to rat where seemed like a big deal.
I wrote semi-jokingly back in January about the nature of the conflict then running in null sec, describing the three in terms of the three competing empires in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It seemed apt at the moment, and the big battle at B-R5RB seemed to be quite a setback for the group I tagged as Eastasia.
And then Eurasia collapsed and now we have three big powers on the map again, only rather than empires constantly at war, they are starting to take on the look of mercantile empires, having turned their conquests into rental space. One third of the 3,524 systems that make up null sec space are part of one of the three great rental alliances, Northern Associates, Brothers of Tangra, or the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere, and I expect that number to grow some more as time goes on.
The CFC is the furthest behind in this regard, with only 134 systems in its rental pool. But it is also the last of the three accept rentals as a source of income, its past disparaging view of the slumlords of null sec being overridden by the ISK advantage it was giving potential (and actual) foes. The CFC also suffers from being something of a fragmented coalition, each with its own set of policies and ambitions. As much as Gevlon likes to call all non-GSF members of the CFC “slaves,” it is far more a coalition of the willing. The Mittani is more akin Caesar than Pharaoh. He has his enemies, but he gives the rank and file what they want, war and victories and ISK, all of which have been delivered regularly during my time in the coalition.
However, now we seem to be reaching a point of stasis in null sec… though every time I have thought that in the past, a new war has broken out. And while I do not share Gevlon’s conspiracy theory on what the purpose of the new alliance in the CFC, The Bastion, might be, they did choose to frame their relationship as a suzerainty under The Mittani.
That is a very specific term, which flags The Bastion as a vassal state to The Mittani or Goonswarm, handing over foreign affairs to them while keeping some control over its internal policies. Now, whether or not that reflects the true state of affairs or if it just a case of somebody breaking out the thesaurus for fun has yet to be seen. But if it does turn out to be something akin to the non-Goon recruiting arm of the CFC controlled by the Goonswarm Federation, the dynamic of the CFC could shift. And I have already seen one blogger from The Bastion talking about what new players should expect in the alliance.
Way out ahead in the rental scheme is Northern Coalition, which currently has 668 systems in its rental pool. Having wrapped up their consolidation of the southeast, they announced they were taking a break from sovereignty grinding to refit, emphasizing the need to get members into super carriers and titans. With their rental holdings, they will have the ISK to subsidize this effort, which makes it much more likely to come to fruition.
That seems to be the way things are headed. Pandemic Legion is heavy on supers, and in the CFC there has been a push to get pilots into dreadnaughts and carriers, while there was a comment at one point that we CFC pilots ought to push towards supers if possible.
After B-R5RB, Jester went with a historical analogy to describe why he thought that the current war in particular, and sovereignty warfare in general, was over in null sec. The dominance of the CFC in supers was going to crush the N3 coalition and then nobody would ever be able to challenge the CFC again. No more big fights in null sec.
Only N3 didn’t get crushed. Instead the CFC backed off, the Russians imploded, and now Northern Coalition and its allies blanket more of null sec than ever before. Meanwhile, what B-R5RB seemed to do is make having a force of super caps a requirement while making losing supers now and again acceptable. Now we have three entities building up supers on the backs of their rental income who know they can only gain advantage by taking out any super cap force opposing them. Plus, you know, kids want to take their toys out and play or they’ll get bored with them.
So we are back to three dominant empires ala the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, though I am not sure who ought to be who any more. There is at least one public sovereignty non-agression pact between PL and the CFC. There is a quiet super cap arms race going on, with each side building up lest they be left behind. And, as Daras showed, there is a willingness to whip them out when a choice target appears.
And then there is the slice of null sec that isn’t occupied by the three main empires, which is now thinner than ever. Looks like just Providence, Catch, and Querious at this point. That isn’t much. Everybody else has made common cause with at least one of the big three. And not only can’t that area expand without a mass of supers of their own (and where are they going to get the ISK for that without a vast rental empire of their own), that isn’t a lot of entertainment for what I suppose we might as well call Imperial Null Sec at this point.
So where will null go? Will it be stagnation or bloody super capital warfare?
I know, I know, why can’t we have both?
Now what is it going to take for me to train an alt up to a titan…