Header art by Smultar.
During his most recent State of the Alliance address, Sort Dragon addressed Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG), sounding a bit like a reluctant spokesperson.
“Hey guys, I just wanted to call you all together here… I’ve been asked by the (corporation CEOs) to come talk to you, give you guys an update about what’s going on, and what’s been happening. Recently we’ve had both good times and bad times here. We’ve had to deal with a lot of controversy inside the alliance, here recently.
“That has now passed, or hopefully passed, I will say. The people who, well, caused that controversy have been purged. It was a bit of a black mark on our alliance name for a while there. It probably still is, but it’s something we need to try to move forward from.”
The controversy referred to is the recent events involving Kenshin after a Keepstar and other assets were handed over to the Imperium, and the resulting actions of members of the corporation.
Sort Dragon goes on to address the profile and plan views of the elephant in the room without addressing the elephant itself, by acknowledging that Goonswarm Federation has filled a content hole left by the departure of Pandemic Horde. He goes on to state that in three months of fighting with Goons and The Initiative that GotG’s progress has been halting.
“…currently winning fights okay, or losing heavily…”
Sort continues with some trepidation and announces:
“… a lot of things slipped through the cracks, nowadays we have more teams, a lot more people running those teams. Uhm, it actually allows us to, I dunno, adapt in a better way.
“Uhm, yeah, I really don’t know what to say in this meeting. It’s just getting everyone together and chatting through things. I’ll have a Q&A here in a bit, and let people talk about things.”
Sort goes on to speak about how things went at Fanfest, but nervously circles back to having to kick allies, stating that it’s regrettable but the other alliances still with GotG are ‘presently pretty strong’ despite ‘having their own internal troubles.’ These statements are perhaps a desire to avoid treading too openly on sore topics discussed behind closed doors at the leadership level, or to skirt around the subject in such a way as to avoid sowing doubt.
He deflects by indicating it’s the Imperium’s intent to drive the allies of Darkness to fold and WiDot into GotG, which is not GotG’s intent. Darkness, he says, “is happy with their current place,” and so is GotG. This is either a deflection or pure spin, as none of the preceding comments support the idea that either GotG leadership, or Darkness, are happy with the current status quo.
Among the laundry list of other burdens weighing on GotG, Sort specifically mentions that GotG members have been called off of Rorqual mining and super ratting in their home pocket to be present in DO6 to help allies Chaos Theory, SLYCE, and a “French alliance in Pure Blind”. The departure of Horde left two regions empty that GotG was forced to annex or leave independent and that this unplanned expansion, and the necessary withdrawal from Cloud Ring, has left the Guardians overextended. “Even Fade was too far.”
June 5 will require a significant effort for GotG to hold onto the stations and structures they presently hold in Pure Blind and other regions when they flip to faction citadels.
“When the stations change we’re going to cede a lot of Pure Blind.”
He announces that when the change occurs there will be a new competition for defense, and that corps of specific sizes within GotG stand to earn proportionate numbers of faction citadels. This ‘incentive’ is clearly aimed to drive corp recruitment as it’s predicated on the number of mains in each corporation, with the threshold being ±25 mains. I am certain Sort also expects that this should hope to drive activity from these smaller corporations.
This glistening carrot on the stick starts to look a little slimy when your capsuleers face the prospect of an ongoing high-cost war of inches with Imperium in at least two regions, depleting reserves, fitting & logistics teams having to accommodate snap doctrinal changes, FC burnout, and the prospect of risking their supers in combat without the opportunity to replenish their wallets at home during downtime—what little there is left, given that his own members are scamming each other in the DO6 market.
However, as Sort puts it, “Finances are still strong, SRP’s still strong”, though he acknowledges the massive supply problems GotG faced in attempting to provide enough hulls for their Eagle fleets because GotG was behind the ball on T2 production from their moons.
It’s a little ironic that Sort Dragon segues into a commentary on the East, saying “Don’t expect much to change in the political landscape, except (Drone Regions Federation) dying.”
“I have said publicly, and I will also say privately here, that it wouldn’t matter what they offered us right now. Even if we weren’t fighting Goons right now, it’s their time to die. Everyone has their cycle, Goons had their cycle, we’ve had the cycle, IT & the GBC had their cycle, Stain had their cycle. It’s now time for DRF to either reform like a phoenix, or die, I guess. I won’t help them.
“Even if Goons left tomorrow we wouldn’t take any money to go help them. If anything, we’d probably help Skill Yourself if they asked, we have those agreements with them if they needed some help on their Fortizars in Drone Regions.”
I say it’s ironic that Sort spins this particular weave because GotG couldn’t come to the aid of DRF without putting their entire stake in the North at risk; they are spread too thin, with too many pokers in the fire, frustration building, and an entire Alliance being kicked – though with good reason – leaves them with a shortage of manpower. It’s ironic because he mentions the phoenix, and all of this feels very reminiscent of a previous piece I wrote.
It’s further ironic in this light that GotG has hired Black Legion to fill the gaps but Sort appears to have established a firm line on the potential joining of Circle Of Two (CO2) with GotG by saying that they don’t feel organizationally compatible with the Guardians. However, he does remark that CO2 is quickly growing in the wake of gigX’s return to the game, with many old alliance members rejoining and CO2 rapidly outgrowing the constellations they’ve occupied in the Vale.
It appears from the outside that the Guardians can use all the friends they can get. The real irony in pointing out DRFs current position is that he’s shouting it from the edge of a failure cascade.
Cracks are forming in the pillars of the Guardians’ temple, but Sort assures people they shouldn’t worry. They’ve got two new video editors in SLYCE working on propaganda, Goons are being kept busy in Querious, and Reddit is toxic and irrelevant. Guardians shouldn’t be concerned with Reddit, Goons aren’t. And hey, Fanfest was a lot of fun and Sort got to sing karaoke with Elo.
While the outlook for the Guardians looks bleak, and after much thought I can appreciate Sort’s opening trepidation, I can’t entirely fault the guy for attempting to spin things. You have to do what you can in these kinds of situations to keep morale up, confidence in your war chest high, and dissent low. The scammers in DO6 are a bigger threat than he thinks.
Perhaps in spite of himself, Sort Dragon almost managed to end the SotA by saying something decent. He recalled a meeting at Fanfest where he was approached by some GotG members who are part of the LGBTQ community.
“I don’t particularly care about your orientation. It doesn’t matter to me either way. You’re not going to get persecuted here. It actually saddened me to know that that’s how people felt. Not necessarily that they’d be persecuted, but that they didn’t know how people would react.
I actually wanted people to know that this is a safe place to bring yourself… (not this meeting, per-se, but Discord, this server)… You want to bring that out, it’s fine.
People also believe they have their freedom of speech, and freedom of speech is great, that’s fine. But, shut the fuck up. If you’re going to shit on someone, you’re not welcome here. We’ll put something out about that over the next couple of days, and that’s something I really wanted to address.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the controversy in GOTG has been to do with the departure of Blades of Grass. This has now been amended.