Art by Smultar
A Year of Nothing Happening?
It has been a crazy year in New Eden. New records have been set, and there has been more destruction than you can shake a pointy stick at. Heroes have risen, and villains have been slain. This is not bad for a game that ten years ago had some people shouting “Eve is dying!”
If this is to be New Eden’s death spiral then long may it continue, and in all likelihood it will continue.
There have been many game changes, events and other stuff which I am simply not well-placed to write about. What I will cover is the activities of the larger nullsec power blocs and high-level shifts in the meta. So my sincere apologies if you are missed out, but I need to finish writing this. As always if you do want to have your voice heard, then the comments below are the place to do it. Alternatively, you can always send us your own story, and to make that all the sweeter, you will get paid in ISK.
If you should be looking for a more detailed breakdown, but still quite high-level, then check out my earlier pieces:
In the Beginning
At the start of the year we had four main entities at play. Legacy Coalition, led by TAPI, were becoming far more established in the south. To the east there was the mighty Drone Region Federation (DRF) who had occupied those lands for many years. To the north and west were the PanFam-aligned entities. In one small sliver of space in the south-west was our final major group: the Imperium.
The east was where the action was happening in the first part of the year. Triumvirate was spearheading an assault on their former allies, the DRF. The intent of Triumvirate at the time was to destroy what they considered to be the “Big Blue Donut” that had existed for years. One could easily argue that it was a bit hypocritical of Triumvirate to turn on the group they were formerly part of. You wouldn’t even be completely ridiculed to say that Triumvirate back-stabbed the DRF.
Triumvirate were far from being alone in their efforts. Other alliances had heeded their call and rallied to their cause. Newcomers in the form of Fraternity were eager to establish themselves, and the space in the east seemed within their capabilities to conquer. An internal rift was even created within Legacy Coalition as former best buddies Co2 and TAPI had a difference in opinion as to where to go. TAPI had aligned themselves diplomatically with the DRF, and so had other Legacy Coalition members. Co2 however were not inclined to do the same, and sided with Triumvirate and friends.
This caused stress between Co2 and TAPI. Luckily for TAPI, Co2 would soon be judged by the head diplomat of Co2, The Judge. In what some described as a malicious back-stab, The Judge effectively neutralised Co2 in a single act by going to the side of the long-standing enemies of Co2. In doing so The Judge took vast amounts of alliance assets and handed over the Co2 Keepstar to the Imperium. With the storied history of Co2’s questionable loyalty to its allies, many were incredibly amused at their fate.
Despite some hiccups along the way, Triumvirate and friends continued to erode DRF holdings. As time went on, it could not help but be noticed that some of the assistance Triumvirate was receiving may have had things to gain by the destruction of the DRF. Increasingly the hand of PanFam was being shown in the east. Emboldened by the continued slow collapse of the DRF and the failure of their famed capital fleet to show up, PanFam increasingly dropped the veil of deceit.
Ultimately the DRF fell and moved out of their former homelands. With their future uncertain it was Legacy Coalition that invited the former DRF members with a couch to crash on as they needed. There the DRF licked their wounds, gained composure and planned their next steps. But more on this later.
The next part of the map to flare up was in the southern region of Providence. PanFam member Pandemic Legion had set their sights on the faction citadels that were to be seeded from player-created stations. Considerable effort was expended by PL in this venture. As the clock ticked ever closer to the citadel conversion date, a nasty hair appeared in the soup so desired by PL: TAPI also had its eye on those lovely faction Fortizars.
TAPI set to this task with vigour, claiming station after station, much to the pain of PL and disgust of Provi Bloc. Ultimately, TAPI claimed their valuable prize. Provi Bloc got their space back with a minor exception or two. PL were understandably upset and vowed vengeance on TAPI. The real shocker in this tale is that TAPI had bested PL. PL, for many years, had whispered in the ear of TAPI which led TAPI to make questionable decisions. Then PL had followed TAPI around the map farming at their will. But in this single campaign TAPI had finally had a significant victory against PL.
There were some big names that came to an end this year in Eve. The Culture gave up the region of Fountain in the west and folded into Mercenary Coalition. Mercenary Coalition were also to fall by the wayside as they also disbanded. Mordus Angels died, and Circle Of Two were destined for the same fate, again. It was particularly interesting to see the flow of where the pilots of these former great names migrated to. For many the way forward was into the arms of PanFam-aligned entities. We also saw just who the winners and losers were in the east with regards to sov. Quite simply, PanFam appeared to be the winners, and the DRF were quite definitely the losers.
As much as alliances, coalitions and sov were in a state of flux, so were historic income streams. It is with this that we can possibly see why there has been movement in the way we have throughout nullsec. The Imperium refined a new age of income generation with sheer industrial might. Despite having but a single region as their main form of income, the wealth being extracted was putting the rest of nullsec to shame. It was even rivaling the most productive of highsec regions, a feat previously thought impossible. Legacy Coalition had also embraced industrial power as the way forward. Previously PanFam had used passive moon mining and rental schemes as their main form of income. But with passive mining removed from the game and a nerf to certain features of space planned their had to be some changes.
With the planned changes it would be necessary to increase some aspect of income stream for PanFam. Given the evidence of what was observed with sov changes, it would seem apparent that rental income was the horse they were betting on. This explained only too well the guiding hand that PanFam had with the destruction of the DRF sov holdings. The DRFs loss would be PanFam’s gain.
But now we head back to the south. PL were understandably quite annoyed at TAPI and friends. With revenge in their hearts and a cloud of hubris growing above them, PL set about the task of challenging TAPI in combat. PL set the stage with the intent of giving TAPI a kicking as they had done so often in the past, even going so far as to take their big toys down south to make sure that they got the job done. This was not to be a fun deployment; this was to make sure that Legacy Coalition knew their place in New Eden.
With PL deploying in force to the south, the Imperium made some plans of their own. They would strike north, towards PanFam-aligned member Guardians of the Galaxy. GotG had already been under pressure by small groups of players from the Imperium. Pandemic Horde had moved over to the region of Geminate. While this was supposedly because they had outgrown their former home in Fade, it seemed more as if PH had been moved over to the northeastern side in order to have plenty of warm bodies available, should PanFam rental space get into trouble. Understandably, PanFam and those aligned to them were quite concerned about the move by the Imperium. This was especially true once the full extent of the power that could be projected by the Imperium became clear.
Having the PanFam capital forces split in such a way was, of course, an issue that needed to be addressed. But PL also needed their win against Legacy Coalition. So with help from other PanFam-aligned entities, PL tried to push for a coup-de-grace against Legacy in the system of UALX, where Legacy had deployed a Keepstar as a forward staging structure. If this was to go online, then Legacy would be well-placed to fend off any attack against them, and to pressure the space of those aligned against them. Both PanFam and Legacy committed significant forces to this fight. As both sides dug in for battle, a spanner was thrown into the works.
The Imperium would also be sending over forces. But not just some subcap fleets—they would be sending over their shield capital forces. This was kind of unexpected in two ways. Firstly, the Imperium was not supposed to have sufficient wealth to have both an armour and a shield capital fleet. Secondly, the Imperium and Legacy had not always seen eye to eye. But as the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The very short version of the battle of UALX is that PL claimed victory. They managed to destroy the Keepstar being anchored by Legacy, but in doing so, PL won so hard that they had to log off their capital fleet for about a week. In that week Legacy managed to secure a further two Keepstars on sale from the well known PanFam member Matterall. Ooh the treachery!
The Imperium was now well-placed to strike in the north. They did this with fervour, and after some very key battles, PanFam found themselves in complete disarray. GotG sensed the writing on the wall and made a very generous offer to the Imperium to gain some respite from the assault. The losses on the side of PanFam had been significant. Additionally, the structure that they had in their relationships meant that they were not as an effective force as that offered by the Imperium. In these battles in the north, we saw losses that had not been seen since the famous battle of B-R, which the Imperium also won.
The deal secured by GotG saw them safe from major incursions from the Imperium for six months. But GotG also considered their allies and ensured that the deal covered the rest of PanFam for a single month. Part of the PanFam core were enraged at the deal and immediately set about turning on their former allies. Perhaps this move on the part of PanFam was to finally secure a win against a group that they considered inferior in every respect. Branch was to be the target, and Co2 were so confident in their success that they staked their future on PanFam winning the region for them. GigX finally called it a day for Co2 when the campaign for Branch stalled and then failed completely. As you would expect, GotG were now less inclined to come to the aid of PanFam in the future.
Despite the first part of the year playing out well for PanFam, the second half seems to have been a disaster. Panfam’s part in the destruction of the DRF is all too apparent unless you are being willfully blind to the details offered by Dotlan. It will be interesting to see if and how the DRF recoup. Of more interest is where they decide to turn their attention to in 2019 if they manage to recover. It will be unlikely to be Legacy, and probably not the Imperium either.
The year finished off with the eviction of Hard Knocks from their home wormhole system called “Rage,” in an effort led by members of the Initiative, and which showed levels of dedication that are rare within gaming communities.
Co2 have allegedly called it a day and folded into Pandemic Horde. Although it should be noted that Co2 still have over 600 members and are still active on zKill. It would seem that some within Co2 have not given up on the idea of a return.
In the last part of the year, we also saw that stability of sorts had come about. Demonstrations of power had been made but were not pushed too far. This is probably a good thing for New Eden, as it sets up 2019 to have at least one major campaign. This time it is probably in the interests of PanFam to actually do something. The biggest issue for PanFam though is that much of their credibility has been eroded. This means that they will need to act alone, something that has not been seen for years, or go forth and forge new relationships. The problem facing PanFam is that they have lost the valuable diplomatic currency by being all too happy to throw “valued allies” under the bus as it suits them.
All in all, 2018 was a very interesting and, at times, exciting year in New Eden. The perception of power have shifted a lot, and 2019 is set to be quite interesting. New friendships have been made, past grievances patched, and most importantly, new enemies made. Despite cries of blue donuts and Eve being dead, there has been destruction on a scale never seen before. It will be very interesting to see how the meta shapes up in 2019. This is especially the case for PanFam as they thought that 2018 was going to be a year of PanFam dominance at the start, but the reality turned out quite different.
As odd as this may seem, on a personal note I am most pleased for the Brave Collective. For years they were kicked about by PanFam. But this year they were able to claim, at least in part, a victory over those who had wronged them for so long.