In some ways, this is the same old story of war in null sec.
A group on our boarder… and in my time that group has been White Noise, Raiden, Northern Coalition, AAA, TEST, Northern Coalition, and Northern Coalition… they do come up a lot in our wars… has made it clear they want a fight.
This is null sec in EVE Online, it is what we do. And so there will be a war.
And, in some ways, this is a new story of war in null sec.
In past wars our enemies have held sovereignty, have lived on our boarders, and thus have presented us with a target… as our systems have presented them with a target… to attack. Victory equaled conquest. If one side took the other side’s systems, they won.
Under Fozzie Sov, holding systems isn’t as easy as it once was. You have to actually live in the systems you want to hold if you want them to be defensible. Various groups responded to this change in different ways. CVA and the rest of the Providence Bloc, which has long actually lived in their, went on pretty much as before. The Imperium reduced its holdings to a more defensible perimeter and began actually encouraging people to rat and mine, things that raise the ADM of systems. And some groups, like Northern Coalition, got out of the sovereignty holding business almost completely.
At one point one third of null sec systems were part of rental empires, with Northern Coalition holding vast swathes of space as part of their Northern Associates subsidiary. If you go back and look at the sovereignty map from a year back, they are a giant brown stain on the south end of null sec space.
Instead, they are living out of low sec space near our boarder and ranging into our territory. As Noizy put it, a vision of the Roman Empire in a way, with barbarians of no fixed address raiding established lands.
Actually, that is the SECOND part of the coming war. As The Mittani announced in his State of the Goonion address yesterday (available here on Twitch), the first part is purging Cloud Ring of hostile parties. That should be the comparatively easy bit. The region itself, which has earned the nickname “content ring” of late, is already half in the possession of The Imperium or socially friendly elements already.
J4LP, whom I am going to refer to as Fweddit, since that is the corp that holds the sov (and their chicken logo is the best thing about their organization) was formerly in the CFC and remains an ally; they hold 14 of the 40 systems in the region, while Imperium member SpaceMonkey’s Alliance holds another 6.
So we just have to clear out the rest.
We can bring our weight to bear on that sort of mission, the whole thing being pretty much in our back yard. It is something we know how to do. I am not sure if it will be a mere six day campaign, but there will be timers and events and obvious points where we can bring our advantage in numbers. We don’t want the region, but we’re not going to suffer hostiles living there either.
After which will come the difficult bit. We will be heading into low sec in a punitive expedition to hunt down our foes living there. We will have some leverage to bring people to fights. We will be destroying any structures we can find, so more timers. But outside of that, our ability to influence events in order to force our foes to battle, barring any sort of days long hell camp, runs out fairly quickly. This could very well turn into chasing Pancho Villa around.
Also, low sec is an area where we traditionally do not operate and where the rules change, with gate guns and security status and no warp disruption bubbles and people fitting warp core stabilizers. It is bizarre. So much so that we require a new doctrine in order to face this challenge, one based on the Proteus strategic cruiser. More skills to train.
And finally there is the narrative, which our foes have largely represented as The Mittani being angry about various things. In listening to his speech, he sounded more tired to me. It was not an inspiring presentation. He said all the usual words, but seemed to lack the martial spirit required to make them stick.
And so it goes. We shall see how this plays out.
My own first action of the war was to jump back to high sec and buy the skills I needed for the new doctrine, so that I might be trained up enough to fly during the low sec phase of the war. I got the skills, injected them, set up my queue, and then something in the back of my head said, “You know the Proteus is the Gallente strategic cruiser, right?” I had bought and injected all the Amarr skills. So I bought and injected all the Gallente skills, redid my queue, and am now waiting for my jump clone timer to wind down so I can return to null sec.