A Consolidation of Empires

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)

Null Sec as I joined it - Dec 18. 2011

Null Sec as I joined it – Dec 18. 2011

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.

Age of Rentals - May 18, 2014

Age of Rentals – May 18, 2014

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…

16 thoughts on “A Consolidation of Empires

  1. Jester

    Keep in mind that “The Last War” was written right after the CFC had blasted PL aside and forced N3 to their knees and put a knife to their collective throat. In short, it was written with the assumption that the CFC would finish the job — “stab them in the heart over and over and over again” is I believe the analogy that was used by Mittens at the time — rather than walk away and let both groups regain their feet.

    As a result, the possibility for a record-breaking supercap war does indeed again exist.

    As for the rest, this is yet another attempt to portray the CFC as underdogs, which is ridiculous given the above…


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jester – That sounds remarkably like “I was wrong in my prediction because what I predicted didn’t happen,” i.e. rationalization. Normal people say, “Whoops, guess I was wrong on that one.” [Addendum: BTW, I disagreed with your analogy shortly after you made it, so it isn’t even a hindsight thing. You were assuming facts not in evidence back then.]

    “As for the rest, this is yet another attempt to portray the CFC as underdogs, which is ridiculous given the above…”

    A strange interpretation from where I sit… not at all what I was going for, so I am going to assume you came over here angry about the above and felt you needed to kick some sand in my face.

    My point, in that I had any real point at all, was that we have three power blocs again… only not the same three we had just a couple months ago… that they have a lot of rental space, and are all building super caps. Do I have some facts wrong somewhere in my post?


  3. zaphod6502

    I find the constant hate for anything Goon-related somewhat perplexing. Do Goons not provide content for EVE? Do they not give players a reason to play? Are they not directly responsible for making more people want to play and subscribe to EVE?


  4. TurAmarth

    You were wrong in your prediction because…

    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.

    Was possible right up to the point where Mittens decided… decided mind you that…

    …the CFC backed off… The CFC backing off and not going in and, as Mitten said, “…stab them in the heart over and over and over again…”… ALLOWING N3 to grow to where, …now Northern Coalition and its allies blanket more of null sec than ever before.

    The CFC leadership DECIDED to back off. This was a choice… a decision to let N3 live and regrow… so you can write up propaganda like the above post.

    If not, then rationally explain why, as you yourself put it, “Only N3 didn’t get crushed. Instead the CFC backed off… why? why not crush N3? Uhhh…mebbe the CFC needs to keep them around… as a sparring partner, punching bag? boogeyman? someone to point fingers at? Otherwise The Big Blue CFC Doughnullt becomes an unarguable and obvious reality… instead of just a defacto reality.

    While they do give CCP and the rest of us lots to talk about, I would bet much that they are a direct reason some have left the game… after being griefed and scammed and ganked repeatedly…

    No, the CFC are not ‘why’ people join EVE, they are why large numbers of people from Something Awful and Reddit and such join EVE… and that is a plague in this game.

    Create content? Yes, they do, but only if you feel that ‘cancer’ creates ‘content’ IRL… but it’s not healthy content.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @TurAmarth – I am pretty sure that the Russians imploding had something to do with it. They were holding the sov down their. But it sounds like you have your narrative all set, so don’t let me get in the way.

    @Zaphod – Some people are more emotionally invested in the game than others. See the immediately preceding comment.


  6. Raziel Walker

    I do not believe the CFC suffers from being something of a fragmented coalition, each with its own set of policies and ambitions.

    In fact I’d be hard pressed to describe any CFC alliance as anything else besides ‘part of the CFC’. I fail to see much diference between the various CFC vassal alliances and I think that mittens keeps everyone pointed in the same direction.

    *I should note that my plans are to rejoin FCON somewhere in the next 7 months :). Wouldn’t want to be caught dead with a FA or SMA alliance tag though.*


  7. awoxing bastard

    The CFC, a “fragmented coalition”?
    Are you kidding me?

    Alright, I can understand some good old propaganda, but this is just silly.

    The CFC forces are entirely subordinated to the mittani, while their logistics and propaganda are the best in the game, at coalition level.

    The CFC has always flaunted the equal treatment of both goons and pets and the supposed integration between them.

    Meanwhile, your enemy in the last war was led by three different leaders, one of which signed an agreement withe the CFC while the war was still going on.

    The eastern bloc is far more divided than the CFC, don’t try to spin the facts.


  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @RW – If that is all you disagree with, that is a totally discussable point.

    I think, as an opener, the fact that there is this whole “The Bastion” alliance being formed, tightly under GSF control, is an indication that somebody thinks their ability to control their allies could be improved.

    Razor has run their own show up there in Tenal and managed to cause Intrepid Crossing to collapse, ending up with some sov they didn’t really want/need. I’m not sure that made anybody happy, and PL ended up with it in the end.

    And on the famous past problems within, we cannot forget TEST and FA, who were shooting at each other off and on while they were both in the CFC, animosity that almost kicked off the Fountain war a few months early. And what is the deal with Legion of Death? They were in the CFC, then they weren’t, they sit on our border but aren’t really an ally anymore.

    We all live in different places and have our own side ventures our own fleet doctrines and are, as I said, a coalition of the willing not “slaves” the way Gevlon (and I guess Jester) would frame it. I am in TNT, which is the closest alliance to VFK and in some ways the most aligned to GSF, and even we were having a “We need to be our own alliance” time last summer, back when we went to Curse… four systems over from where GSF went, because we’re our own alliance… or something. And you yourself only want that FCON tag. It is all easy when we’re winning… which is about all we’ve done in my time… but what happens if/when we face a defeat, when morale goes down, when Mittens isn’t delivering victory and ISK? I think the cracks will start to show then.

    That said, I know some of my view on this is driven by my external perception of Pandemic Legion, which only ever has temporary allies, and NCDot, which only has Nulli Secunda to deal with as an ally. They look more efficient/effective from the outside, though that may be a matter of simply not knowing what problems they face internally.

    @AB – “don’t try to spin the facts.”

    Stock “Grrr Goons” response noted.


  9. Stabs

    I’m not in the loop but I’m guessing the reason the CFC didn’t finish the job was burnout. The Halloween War lasted from Halloween to March, Laz and the others pulled 20 hour shifts at B-R and the deadzoning as O-W was billed as “one last week of effort.”

    Leadership entropy seems to be a major break on the sort of galactic upheaval that most outsiders want to see in null.


  10. awoxing bastard

    No “Grr goons” for you, I was just stating several facts.
    I am in both FCON and S2N, and I have nothing against either.


  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @AB – The problem is that your facts include saying both don’t believe the propaganda and believe the propaganda. That sort of selective choosing of facts is often the hallmark of “Grrr Goons.” That was why you got that as a response.

    That was literally what Jester was doing, quoting the propaganda to prove his point (stabbing the heart repeatedly) while blathering about lying CFC propaganda. “CFC propaganda is lies unless it reinforces my personal bias” is not a solid platform on which to base an argument.

    And it doesn’t explain the outcome of the war. If N3 was so hard pressed with three command groups, one of which dropped out of the war with 75% of its titans still intact, how did the map end up as it looks today? According to Jester, the overwhelming forces of the CFC should have finished the whole thing off without breaking a sweat.


  12. awoxing bastard

    The map ended up looking as it does because of Mittani’s decision.
    I don’t know which reasons made him decide to stop the offensive, but he decided to do so.

    That’s not my point.
    My point is that the CFC isn’t any more divided than the east.

    However: you can’t deny what Jester wrote about LV, BoB and SirMolle.
    That kind of propaganda is outdated, as well as hypocritical.


  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @AB – “However: you can’t deny what Jester wrote about LV, BoB and SirMolle. That kind of propaganda is outdated, as well as hypocritical.”

    Expect, of course, that I was not trying to make that point, despite Jester stomping his feet and insisting that he know what I meant to say better than I do. (The most annoying and futile thing to argue ever, in my opinion.)

    My point, which I though was pretty clear from the title, my moaning about the lack of null sec outside of the three big blocs, and the final question, was about how null sec has changed over my time in it and not, as Jester insists, to whine about the poor, weak CFC.

    A side journey into who has the best organization… and the CFC in lockstep under one leader is as much propaganda as anything else you care to quote… or comparisons of how many rental systems each group has… which was mostly about a third of null sec being for rent and how we got there… do not change my main point.

    So I stand by what I said in my first response to Jester on his post, which was if he came here, read my post, and thought “Goon propaganda,” then he probably showed up with “Grrr Goons” on the brain to start with.

    Dinsdale Piranha showing up and claiming that the null sec blocs are in collusion and using the rental money to make themselves rich via RMT would be more on topic than Jester. In fact, I am surprised he hasn’t. I seem to have tee’d that up pretty well.

    (Meanwhile, if I got paid for page views here, I would have to send Jester a thank you note. “Grrr Goons” does drive a lot of traffic.)


  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    And, just to add to my being blindsided by Jester’s take on this post, the comment thread on the syndicated version of his post is more mature and on topic than I could possibly expect.

    Somewhere, something has changed in the universe.


  15. Chris

    I think your honest opinion (supported by facts re: rental programs) fits the narrative of “poor goons” even while that wasn’t your intent. Having read your blog for 3 years or so, I’m quite certain you weren’t trying to sell a tale of goon woe and torment. You write from the perspective of a CFC insider, because you ARE one, but you do so honestly. Jester missed the mark when he called your post whining, and when he included you as an example of “poor goons” propaganda.


  16. Kir

    > 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.

    This seems slightly silly. The book went to great lengths to argue that it didn’t matter who was who of the three world powers in 1984.


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