I think it says something about the nature of EVE Online that I end up writing about move operations as often as I do. Essentially, there is no magic bank or mail system in New Eden that will deliver your stuff. If you need stuff moved you have to haul it yourself or hire somebody else to do it for you.
And so it is that I sit with a pile of ships and supplies to move this month. By the time the June expansion drops, which will bring the next changes to how null sec sovereignty, The Imperium plans to be sorted out and ready to defend its smaller territory.
(New Eden map from DOTLAN)
The old CFC at its peak held a lot of space, and empire that ran from Tenal down to Period Basis, linked by a network of jump bridges that made moving a fleet of subcaps from one end to another a viable operation. You couldn’t base out of Querious from Deklein and conduct a sustained offensive campaign on a whim. There would still need to be a supply chain setup and replacement ships put on the market to keep operations going. But for defense you could move from Deklein and be anywhere in the empire in an hour.
Then came the Phoebe expansion back in November, and with it came jump fatigue and the end of the ability to defend on all fronts. That restricted the effective size of the empire and three regions in the south were sold off.
Phoebe certainly didn’t take offensive operations off the board, as we saw in Delve in April, an event that demonstrated how unwieldy holding large stretches of space could be The Imperium hit one front while paying PL and encouraging the Russians to hit another. And after the conquest of Delve and parts of Querious The Imperium is pulling back, leaving our allies to hold on to the space they grabbed. The Kadeshi are already retaking systems after having been cleared from the map on May first.
The newly christened Imperium has mostly pulled back up into Fountain. A few stay behind groups are active to harass the former owners and to keep their reconquest from being completely unopposed in some areas, but otherwise the march north has begun.
But Fountain is just a waypoint on the road home, as it is being handed over or abandoned. The Hero Coalition and Black Legion have both setup in the region and have begun to fight. (You can read about what is going on at the excellent Updates blog that covers null sec.) We are holding a few key systems to facilitate our exit, but convoys out have already begun, convoys passing through Cloud Ring, also to be abandoned, to the new core of regions that will make up The Imperium; Tenal, Branch, Deklein, Fade, Pure Blind, Tribute, and The Vale of the Silent.
Of course, we’ve held Fountain for a while now and were told to pre-position ships there to cover the south of the empire, so I have a dozen ships in our long held staging system that I want to bring home. Foolish me for following orders and actually staging ships there. In practice all ops came out of Deklein and I rarely ever used any of the ships I held there… most of which aren’t even part of official doctrine any more. So while I would like to be down in Querious with the Reavers (or engaging in other game shenanigans), I am over in Fountain planning my exit. The big ships, the battleships, will have to wait for convoys. I might have to activate my second account for a stretch just so I can fly two ships at a time. (None of our freighter services are running out of Fountain any more, or I would just strip the ships, repackage everything, and ship it all back to Deklein… or Jita to sell. Losing the rigs would be worth it, but no such luck.)
Other ships I should be able to slip out on my own. For some reason half of my ships down there are stealth bombers of various fits, including a special Mister Vee fit that was required for a short period of time during the 2013 war in Fountain. I did manage to slip a Scimitar into Imperium space last night.
I ran the route to Pure Blind in a stealth bomber first, then back in just a pod. The route was clear both ways so I decided to risk the Scimi, and managed to get it home safe.
Of course “home” is a relative term. They are docked up in Imperium space, and in systems held by my alliance, TNT, but other changes are coming. There will be another big reorganization of alliances in order to spread forces around to hold the seven
kingdoms regions of The Imperium.
This is, of course, causing some grumbling of its own. We can be a very conservative bunch and the idea of giving up long held systems in which we have ratted and mined for ages (as long as five and a half years in the case of one system), rubs people the wrong way. It means yet more moving and learning new places and figuring out where to rat and where to mine, all while wondering if the promised infrastructure that will improve true sec (which could make currently nonviable ratting/mining systems worthwhile) will make it in June or not. The opinion of the leadership is that we need a much higher density of players in our space in order to hold it, which means every system possible needs to be viable.
And then there is a rumor about a pessimistic view of the upcoming changes, in that we aren’t even sure if we have enough players to hold the regions we have staked out. The Bastion was added as an alliance a while back in order to give corps a home if their alliance folded up shop, in order to retain players. Now there is a big drive to recruit more players. Karma Fleet was a started, but other alliances in The Imperium are apparently looking for their at their own variations on that. I don’t claim to know what is going to happen come the June expansion, but we certainly seem to be hunkering down should a storm blow in.
Meanwhile, we will see how the rest of the null sec map changes over the summer. I don’t expect any of the old names to disappear… Against All Authorities, Ev0ke, and TEST all just resurfaced yet again on the sov map recently… but will the those names be able to hold on to huge swathes of space they once held?
So it is off for home, though I am not sure which system will technically be “home” at this point. In all likelihood I will spend more time which ever system becomes the staging system for The Imperium than any system held by my alliance or frequented by my corp. But that won’t be much of a change from how things are now for me. The chaos of the changes though, that could be something new and interesting.