Tag Archives: Circle of Traitors

Is Circle of Two Dead or Just Mostly Dead?

It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

-Miracle Max, The Princess Bride

It is difficult to kill an alliance, or a corporation, or any player organization in New Eden.  You can blow up their ships, pod their pilots, take down their structures, have spies or traitors disband organization and steal their assets, and camp them into an NPC station and sit on them for weeks and they’ll just come back once you’ve tired of the whole thing.

Player groups, successful player groups, exist outside of the game.  A change of pixels on a screen doesn’t change what holds that group together.  Yes, not everybody will hang tough through bad times.  The opportunist and hangers on and uncommitted will defect when times get tough.  We have seen that time and again, an alliance or a coalition will suffer a staggering defeat, be erased from the sovereignty map, lose a significant percentage of its members, and yet somehow come back again.  I’ve been through that.  I made the trek with Jay Amazingness from the north to Delve after the Casino War to help carve out a new empire after our total defeat.

So when it was announced back at the beginning of last month that Circle of Two had decided disband, complete with a SoundCloud recording of the meeting, I was a bit skeptical.

Circle of Two

Over at INN they quickly had an obituary posted, summing up the tale of the fall of CO2 in something of a victory lap.  That’s going to be a bit awkward if we find out, as we did over the summer, that CO2 had enough left in it to stage a comeback.

Meanwhile, over at EN24, Seraph was back again on his coming up on three year attempt to rehabilitate CO2’s reputation by trying to argue that the Imperium actually betrayed CO2 and that everything CO2 ever did was totally justified.  It is a long winded and completely irrelevant piece, but it is apparently all he has since he keeps re-running it.  No doubt he hopes that if he says it enough times it might become true.

The problem there is that even were his spin agreed upon by all sides as objective fact, it would make no difference.  He would do better to ape Marc Antony in Julius Caesar than keep up with his hair splitting irrelevance because his words won’t win back a single system of sovereignty nor restore any of the Keepstars that has CO2 lost since that fateful day.

The optics of the day, the optics of the betrayal, the optics of which played out before hundreds of Imperium pilots, will not allow that.  In the midst of the fight, while the battle for the M-OEE8 was still going on, while Imperium forces were fighting for them, with more on the way, the leadership of CO2 sent a messenger… declining to stand up and say it themselves… to tell the Imperium leadership they were pulling out of the coalition.

I had rushed home from work early and was sitting on a titan in a fleet waiting to be bridged in to continue the fight when word started to filter down.  A post on Reddit first got passed around, but was dismissed as a troll.  Then there was an announcement from The Mittani about CO2 having decided to leave no matter what happened in the fight.  I was there on coms and people were angry that CO2 let us burn through the day while already half out the exit.

There can be no walking back that particular offense.  Not in the eyes of those who were there, and the word quickly spread through the ranks.

All of which I add to remind people that it didn’t have to be that way.  They could have said they were leaving before the fight.  They could have let a decent interval pass after the fight and said they didn’t want to carry on.  Other alliances left during the war.  The Imperium isn’t out hunting down RAZOR with a burning passion for leaving.

CO2 would have had to have been blind to not be able to see how this would play out, how this would anger line members and leadership of the Imperium alike.  They clearly didn’t think it mattered.  The tide was against the Imperium.  We had already pulled back into Saranen as the Moneybadger Coalition overwhelmed us.  GigX no doubt thought we would be destroyed.

He should have read my first paragraph.  He should have studied the history of the game.  Alliances have been smashed on the rocks of defeat many times, only to come back as strong if not stronger.  Instead, CO2 seemed anxious to join the winning side, to share in the spoils, and to get some of that soon-to-be-banned casino money.

Their respite was short lived.  Eight months later I was there to see CO2 lose their Keepstar in M-0EE8 as their erstwhile allies sent them packing for the south as well.  I was there as we camped their ratters in Impass in what was alleged to have been cover for the first planned internal betrayal of CO2.  It did not go off, but we still made their ratters and miners suffer.  I was there in the fleet on the stolen Keepstar after Judgement day, when The Judge switched side and betrayed CO2, an act that got GigX to threaten The Judge so flagrantly that CCP felt they had to ban GigX for life.

One of the enduring images from Judgement Day

At that point it seemed like the alliance was dead.  But then it came back again, appearing in the north where it found a couch to sleep on as it got itself back together.

Then there was the recent was in the north which saw a resurgent CO2, led by GigX (who wasn’t hiding his attempt to skirt his ban very well), drop into Fade.  That is a region with history, the place where the Casino War could have been said to have started, the home of SpaceMonkeys Alliance who were involved with the ISK being taken from the casino cartel, which got the casinos to hire mercenaries to camp them in their region until they paid back the ISK  It was there that CO2 popped up, on the periphery of the expanding Imperium.  They dropped a Keepstar and setup shop in that space and it was like waving a red flag before the bull of the Imperium.

They landed in Fade towards the end of May 2018, taking over from Pandemic Horde, which had moved east, away from the Imperium and into The Vale of the Silent.  Around the middle of June CO2 hit its post Judgement Day peak, with over 4,000 pilots in the alliance and some 70 odd corporations.

That ended badly for the north in general and CO2 in particular.  By the middle of July the Imperium was already trying to kill the Keepstar in DW-T2I.  That attempt failed, but the stage had been set and the outcome seemed inevitable.  Two months later, the Keepstar, just one among several to go, was destroyed. CO2 gave up Fade and retreated back under the cover of their one again allies in NCDot and PanFam.  GigX was banned yet again.  And there was the question as to what CO2 would do next.

Which brings us to the announcement of the alliance disbanding.

Once that came about I subscribed to the RSS feed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps for the alliance so that any changes would pop up in my reader. (Just click the Feed button.)  I was waiting to see if the alliance would actually close, would officially be no more.  The numbers have certainly been in decline. (If not in Deklein, right?)

CO2 Stats… also, the blank spots where DOTLAN was down

But as of my writing this, the Alliance still lives.  It has a little over 500 characters in it across 24 corporations.

Stats as of Dec 28, 2018

Most of the larger corporations spread out amongst the alliances in the north, with Pandemic Horde being a popular destination.  But there are still corporations lingering behind, like Moms of Doom, which now makes up almost 20% of the alliance.  However, the remainders don’t seem too active, though a few individuals still flying the flag are on the zkillboard.

So back to the question at hand, is Circle of Two dead?  Will it die eventually?  Or is there a revival in its future?  Does it have the sort of name and reputation that can bring people back to its banner?

Addendum: An odd move on the ticker a few hours after this post went live.

The Imperium Buys a Keepstar

During the recent CSM summit Aryth, one of the representatives from the Imperium, brokered a deal to buy a Keepstar citadel in the system of 68FT-6.  Let me bring that system up on the DOTLAN map.

Hey, isn’t that Impass?

Yes, that is in Impass, and the system 68FT-6 is the capital system for the Circle of Two alliance.

In one of those great moments that happen from time to time in null sec politics, CSM member The Judge, who appeared on the Imperium ballot despite being in CO2, finally got fed up with the way GigX, the leader of CO2 was running the alliance and sold him out.

The Imperium ended up with a Keepstar… ISK well spent… so I guess it was true, we could work with him.  (It isn’t the first Keepstar that GigX has lost.)

Things have not gone well for GigX and CO2 since they betrayed the Imperium a year and a half back at the battle of M-OEE8 during the Casino war.  His immediate gains in territory were stripped from him once his erstwhile allies had sent us packing to Delve and he too had to head south to form up with TEST.

After acquiring space in the south things began to slowly deteriorate, both within the alliance and with neighbors, until things finally broke down with TEST, their closest ally, in late August.  Then war opened, with only a few siding with CO2.

And now this.  The Imperium holds their Keepstar and has a hellcamp setup to try to catch and blow up anybody trying to escape.  There is a temp blue situation with TEST so we can work with them on this.

Live from 68FT-6

(screen shot courtesy of Naice Rucima)

Meanwhile, TEST now controls all of the CO2 Fortizars, The Judge emptied the alliance coffers, and the line members have to be in a panic or looking for an out.  TEST has said they would accept corps and individuals from CO2.

This is going to take some time to play out, but I felt I had to put a pin in the date to remember when it started.  This could be the end for CO2.  It certainly seems likely to be the end for GigX, who was alleged to have threatened The Judge with an out of game visit and has reportedly been perma-banned for this.

Sources talking about what happened:

And so it goes.  I was going to write something up about today’s patch, but aside from new skills coming in for the moon mining update set for the upcoming Life Blood expansion, there isn’t much to talk about.  But now we have this instead!

The Schadenfreude War

Haw haw!

-Nelson Muntz

The Casino War is long over now.  We lost, were driven out, had alliances, corps, and many individuals jump ship.  But we managed to find a new home in Delve in very short order.  In that, at least, husbanding our resources rather than squandering them against overwhelming odds worked out.  There we setup shop, made new friends, scared the neighbors, and settled into peacetime null sec life again down in south, far from our old digs.

Up in the north, with the primary foe gone, all of New Eden has been able to watch and see if the Casino Coalition would break up as promised.

Initially it seemed like the whole place would be blue in all but name, with skirmishes allowed but only the occasional political issue or failscade allowed to change the the map. (e.g. Short Bus Syndicate and TISHU)

Sovereignty seemed safe.

Even Darius “We’re not here to destroy the game, we’re here to destroy your game” JOHNSON and his GoonSwarm (not to be confused with the Imperium’s Goonswarm Federation) was given some systems to call home when they were evicted from Delve, while Mordus Angels, with a long history of being the insurgent, decided to settle down and be a sov holder and mind NCDot’s moons once bereft of their traditional Goon foe.

The north looked to be settling down to peacetime as well, its new occupants content to fight the Guristas menace between skirmishes.

The north currently

The north currently

Well, they are not ALL new occupants.  There is still Circle-of-Two sitting in Tribute.  Circle-of-Two who changed sides before the fighting was done at M-OEE8, who joined the war against us, who gave our foes intel about our capital building locations.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

The war that started LONG before Easter…

Their betrayal got them what they wanted.  They got to keep their sovereignty, plus the TNT sov they had been demanding from the Imperium for the last year (they were bad neighbors), their moons, plus whatever casino ISK they were able to wheedle out of those financing our foes.

It would be fair to say that there is a little bad blood left over from the war between us and CO2’s leadership.  I’m not on The Mittani’s “revenge on all the things” bandwagon, but I would make an exception in the case of CO2.

So imagine the collective grin in the Imperium when it came out that Pandemic Legion family of alliances, Pandemic Legion, Sniggewaffe, and Pandemic Horde, along with their side-kick NCDot, decided that they liked the far end of the Tribute region, where CO2 lives, so much that they decided to take it.  This came from the Pandemic Horde forums:

We are going to war.

Target is the tribute region, specifically CO2 sov: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/map/Tribute

The first targets are the systems UMI and AW1. Timer for UMI is already coming up on Tuesday.

https://timerboard.net/tribute

– Expected enemies are CO2, TEST and Snuff/PM.
– Have a Maelstrom ready if you can fly and afford one.
– Pull out your wands and start entosing as many hostile systems as you can.
– Summer’s over, let’s go boys

The plan is for Pandemic Horde to eventually move their home staging system from deep in Fade to M-OEE8 in Tribute should they take the region away from CO2.

Tribute is an improvement over our current space. M-O is in direct JF range from jita and easily accessible for new players coming from empire. That also means cutting down the load for logistics to one third compared to our current staging. This makes a big difference especially once alpha clones are here. Tribute maintains great access to content (brave and gotg) while getting us closer to TEST and to lowsec (10 jumps from Tama).

Basically, like all real estate related transactions, the primary aspects are “location, location, location.”  As for their feelings towards CO2… well, if you can’t screw over your friends, who can you screw over?

CO2 have been good allies during WWB and made a massive difference in the war against goons. Afterwards they became good neighbors regularly bringing fights to 7rm (ruptures, ONIs ecc…) and to lowsec. There is no component of hate for CO2 in this campaign, they are a good alliance full of great guys. The goal of this war is to secure a better access to empire and superior space while fighting together with NC and PL. It is my belief that CO2 will eventually lose this war whether Horde joins in or not, and then I would rather be the ones holding Tribute than letting test or a new alliance grab this key area.

As a spectator… I can now be one of those sideline loudmouths with no skin in the game but lots of opinions… this is a dream match.

On one side there is our traditional foe, NCDot, against whom we have fought multiple wars in just my five years in null sec. (And they have lost every time they didn’t have PL backing them up.)

On the other side there is CO2, the last remnants of the old north still up there and… well… not our friends to say the least.

Watching just those two groups square off… with various allies lending a hand… should be interesting to watch.  I hope for a long and bloody war that ends up with CO2 finding a new home.  We shall see who has the stomach for it I suppose.

The propaganda war on /r/eve kicked off strong for the defenders.  If that could win wars, TEST would own all of null sec.  But instead the war is focused on the first couple of systems in the western end of Tribute, which is a long way from M-OEE8.

CO2 did attempt to really take the war to their foes by entosising all of the Brothers of Tangra systems in Malpais.  Those are part of the last remaining rental empires in New Eden and an income source for the attackers.  However CO2 did not follow up on that and have not touched those systems since, making me wonder if they got word that striking into Drone Region Federation territory would widen the war against them.

Anyway, we get to watch this one from the bleachers in Delve.  While it is starting slowly, I wonder if the Alliance Tournament is impeding the attackers some and if, once that is over, things will get bloodier.

Coverage of the war is available at the Game of Sov site, which keeps track of such things.

Other coverage that has shown up so far:

Addendum: Does CO2 bringing down a citadel (which then got stolen) mean they are evac’ing already?

Black Thursday, The State of the Goonion, VFK, and Circle of Traitors

Just some catch up on things from The Casino War this week, most of which I missed.

Black Thursday in UMI-KK

The Moneybadgers invested a good deal of time and effort after the betrayal at M-OEE8 reinforcing systems in Fade and Pure Blind which all came out in a great mass during Euro time on Thursday.

The foe prosecuted those timers in force and, as has become the norm in the last week, The Imperium was heavily out numbered.  In the face of that, the closer an objective was to our staging system, the more likely it was to get a fleet out to help it.

Unfortunately for TNT, systems in Tribute were also under attack including our capital system of UMI-KK.  We were easily the furthest from Saranen.  Still, our allies managed to scrape together an interceptor fleet to help us fend off the assault, leaving us only out numbered on the field by about 10 to 1.

While the hostiles didn’t get everything they came for, they killed the ihub in UMI-KK and freeported the station.  In addition we lost three TCUs, which is what changes the ownership on the map, and had a station freeported in Pure Blind.

CCP, getting in on the war to promote the game, included the battle in an episode of The Scope.

We were given notice by TNT leadership to pull non-essential items out if we could, but to otherwise have alliance specific doctrines and entosis ships ready to go in the region.  I had the foresight to jump my carrier out just the night before, since it was in a front-line system.  Meanwhile the enemy camp of UMI-KK has been sporadic at best so I was able to fly out four ships to our back up staging station and three more all the way back to Saranen.

The next timer for UMI-KK comes up later today.  We shall see what becomes of our capital.

State of the Goonion and VFK-IV by Next Week Maybe?

Yesterday was April Fools, and I couldn’t tell if it was an auspicious time for a State of the Goonion.  As noted in the episode of The Scope above, people were waiting to hear what The Mittani had to say. (Also, they included a nice little “more info” button on the video.)

Join The Imperium and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Join The Imperium and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

The Mittani’s speech… and I like to picture him in my mind just as The Scope illustrated him using his in-game avatar… was short, coming in at under eight minutes.  War is no time for bloviation. (I’m sure it is up on SoundCloud somewhere by now. I watched the replay on their Twitch channel, where the speech doesn’t actually start until 8 minutes into the recording.)

Most of what he said was unsurprising.  A change of tactics to deal with the unfavorable odds we face in nearly every fight.  A return to the Megathrons of Baltec Fleet.  Siege bombers to attack enemy infrastructure.  Clouds of interceptors to harass when we are out numbered.  A couple new allies to help us out.

And then something of a bomb shell.

The Imperium would not be defending VFK-IV.  We haven’t staged out of VFK for ages, nobody lives there (so the ADM isn’t great), and so we wouldn’t be expending effort to salvage a system that is little more than a symbol.

VFK has been a rallying cry since the anti-Goon headshot attempt back in 2011 and reached meme status when “VFK by February!” became the shorthand slogan for the White Noise pronouncement that they would clear Deklein of Goons.  And the allure of the system is such that I wasn’t sure we could make that message stick.  Talvorian Dex wrote a long piece on his blog about the importance of VFK as a symbol, likening it to Stalingrad in the comments. (The station there used to be named “Mittanengrad” until it was renamed to honor Sean Smith/Vile Rat.) Over at Reddit, there was something about VFK perhaps being the biggest battle in the history of New Eden.

Instead of VFK, The Imperium would be headed to UQ9-3C in Branch to defend the staging system of our allies in the north.  Oh, and we are already on the way there.

That turned into a huge brawl, but only after the ihub had been saved.  The enemy had to slog all the way up there, then fight through tidi to come to grips with us.  They managed to freeport the station, which was a blow, but we still have access to everything of ours in it and they have to come back again if they want to finish the job.

And, while our foes were locked in that tidi morass, VFK-IV came out of its reinforced state and was saved in what was essentially a non-event.  If the Jabber info was correct… I was at work when this happened… only MOA showed up in any force to assail the system, and they were chased off almost immediately.  As I noted yesterday, MOA can take systems… so long as they have a thousand allies flying cover in the area.  Alone, not so much.

So maybe next time.

Circle of Traitors

Yesterday saw the release in the Goonfleet forums of a 99 page document consisting of diplomatic chat logs between GSF/Imperium diplomats and Circle of Two and some annotation by Sion Kumitomo, chief of the diplomatic service of The Imperium.  It covers the arc of the relationship from CO2 coming to the CFC, hat in hand, looking for a home for its 300 pilots, grateful for any help, through much incompetence (one of their officers was systematically robbing them blind), to a feeling that the alliance deserved more than they were getting and demanding that be changed.

In what must be no surprise to anybody at this point, the document is already up on Reddit.  The reaction there is predictable.  Sion, already hated, is accused, by turns, of making it all up, of selectively editing, and of being a horrible obsessive for even keeping chat logs of diplomatic interactions with other alliances.  The whole document is too long and I doubt most of the comment authors read more than a paragraph.  The whole thing will be denounced and dismissed.

Which is fine.  This document wasn’t for them.  It was for us.

If you have no context, you can spin it however you want.  If you lived in the coalition for the last few years, much of what is in that document will link up to events that happened at the time and the behavior of CO2.  Things like bad participation in coalition wars, provoking our neighbors in contravention of agreements made, complaining when others do exactly what they did (like recruiting ITAI from another alliance), and generally being dicks to my alliance, TNT, demanding our space from the coalition.

Goons, despite their espousal of a Realpolitik philosophy at times, have their own sense of honor.  They can look past enemies of the moment and work with them when the situation is right.  They keep their agreements.  And they remember when people betray them.

Goons have a frenemy relationship with Pandemic Legion.  Despite him being a long time foe, they can work with Elo Knight.  Despite some of the acrimony of the Fountain War, they didn’t go hunt TEST to extinction, or even go out of their way to attack them afterwards, save for a couple of Reavers deployments for good fights.  Despite the rhetoric at times, it generally doesn’t get personal… unless you betray them.

This document was to lay down the reasons why the war against CO2 is now a forever war, how CO2 were helped, given chance after chance, with bad behavior overlooked, and, while the alliance was spending enormous amounts of time and ISK to defend them they chose to betray the coalition.  The only question is really why we didn’t kick them a year ago.

It doesn’t matter what happens in the broader war at this point.  If the Imperium is swept from its null sec holdings and has to evac to low sec, if the super capital fleet is lost, if other allies defect and we have to all hide in a system in the far end of Feythabolis under Russian protection, Goons will still take time to go out of their way to hit CO2 no matter where they live.

The document ends with the the following:

Best possible friends. Worst possible enemies.

And they mean it.