After the giant mess of the M-OEE8 Keepstar battle, Circle of Two announced that they would be pulling out of the north end of null sec. Neither they nor their allies, TEST, would defend their remaining holdings in Tribute or Vale of the Silent, allowing Pandemic Legion and NCDot to scoop up great swathes of the two regions to turn into rental space. Same as it ever was.
The question then became where would these two alliances head. They vowed to stick together to take new space, but there was speculation as to where. The decision has finally been made; CO2 and TEST, joined by FCON and The Drone Walkers… not sure why they are showing up, but there they are and their space in Tenal is being taken… will be attacking the Stainwagon coalition, which is spread over the regions of Paragon Soul, Esoteria, and Impass along with bits of Feythabolis and Catch. According to the Coalition Guide, Stainwagon is made up of:
- Soviet-Union – 2060 pilots
- Against ALL Authorities – 1151 pilots
- Desman Alliance – 956 pilots
- C0VEN – 1038 pilots
- Good Sax – 306 pilots
- FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT STELLAR SYSTEMS – 1409 pilots
- pwn-O-graphy – 275 pilots
- Wings Wanderers – 1335 pilots
- The Afterlife. – 656 pilots
- Kids With Guns Alliance – 2435 pilots
- Swords of Damocles – 374 pilots
- The Volition Cult – 2408 pilots
That gives them a combined total of about 14K pilots. (Yes, pilots don’t necessarily align to actual people, but it is the only measure we have.) You can see those alliances grouped up in the south on the current influence map from the usual source:
TEST, CO2, FCON, and the Drone Walkers bring over 17K pilots to the fight and represent a smaller leadership group, which may make them effective beyond their numbers against the dispersed Stainwagon Coalition.
The alleged political reason for Stainwagon being the target is their past friendship with Goons, though if that had to count against alliances then we’d have to bring up TEST, CO2, and FCON as fellow members of that club as well.
The REAL reason is more likely contained in a quote from TEST (and former GSF) FC Vily over at EN24 that I would sum up, in my own words, as “Nothing personal, but they have space and we think we can take them.” Ever a good enough reason for war in New Eden.
Some alliances the Stainwagon coalition did indeed come out in support of the Imperium during The Casino War (part of the Russian complication in April which also saw the Drone Walkers show up) and that relationship has been maintained, including allowing the Imperium to pass through the Catch region to hit FCON on occasion. In return the Imperium will be coming to their aid to fight against what has become known as the Circle of TEST coalition and whatever hangers on they bring. The Imperium has over 20K pilots on their roster, which is some weight to be throwing around.
War is coming, which is always good for the game.
But there is also a strategic question to consider. Circle of TEST has stated that their goal is to find space where they can build up their super capital fleet. Currently PL and NCDot have dominance on that front, having bounced back easily from their losses at B-R5RB just about three years back. That is PL and NCDot’s ace in the hole, the fall back “I Win” button when the outcome of a battle is in question.
Right now the Imperium is on a crash capital and super capital building binge to close that gap, and have had time to setup and rebuild in Delve, something that PL and NCDot no doubt see as a threat. But will they allow another defeated enemy in the form of Circle of TEST to also setup shop in the south and begin cranking out capital ships that may trim back the advantage PL and NCDot hold? Or does conflict in the south suite them as the build their new rental empire in the north?
And what of the powers closer to hand? The Imperium has already declared themselves in the fight. Will Provi Bloc and the Drone Region Federation be content to left Circle of TEST move in so they can build up an offensive force in their back yards? Provi Bloc generally keeps to itself, and the DRF has some animosity built up against Stainwagon. Will third parties piling into the area change any of that? Do the new neighbors look good or would they prefer the status quo?
So we will be going into the new year with a new war with its own set of New Eden-wide political and alliance questions. A new chapter in the ongoing tale of null sec space. (I’m tentatively tagging this as “Stain War 2017” until a better name comes up.) And, of course, there will be propaganda, sometimes the best part of these wars… especially when TEST is involved. I grabbed a couple of samples from /r/eve:
Coverage of events so far: