This is where I try to summarize the major events and movements of nullsec within New Eden. But, in order to do so it is worthwhile trying to describe the larger nullsec picture.
The Big Picture
Thankfully, the big picture is pretty easy to describe. For a good number of years the political landscape of nullsec was formed of three major entities. These were the Imperium (Goons), PanFam and the Drone Russian Federation (DRF).
Each of these entities subscribes to a different view on matters, such as income generation, wealth distribution, and how to exert power within Eve.
The Imperium are empire builders of the highest order. Additionally, they are very keen that wealth is held on a member basis rather than at an alliance/coalition level. All members of the Imperium are treated equally. You need only ever buy one ship type, as the generous ship replacement program ensures you have funds to buy a replacement; there is always a ship available for you for free should there be a need.
PanFam is generally geared around elitism. The main alliances, NCdot and Pandemic Legion (PL), rule the roost. Other members are considered to be lesser entities that are simply not on the same level as NCdot and PL. Income for PanFam relies heavily on activities that require less effort. This philosophy has seen PanFam develop rental entities such as Rate My Ticks (RMT) and Brothers of Tangra (B0T) as major sources of income. Lesser members of PanFam had to develop methods of income for themselves. For example, PH went into the hisec extortion business as is visible by looking at the system of Perimeter.
The DRF was very much a closed book in many respects, unless you were able to speak Russian and were involved in the Russian forums. They had a fearsome reputation based on previous actions and were considered a numerous and capable super/titan force.
This landscape became even simpler once PanFam had removed the DRF from the picture. The motivation for this action is not exactly clear. It could range from a concerted effort to increase the PanFam rental empire up to PanFam accidentally killing the DRF via proxies. Regardless, there were now only two real power blocs present, the Imperium and PanFam.
How wrong I was.
In my previous nullsec roundup I foolishly predicted that the next few months would be relatively quiet. There was the Alliance Tournament on the horizon and even Eve players venture outside during the summer months to observe the day-star. Thankfully I was not alone in my prediction, so I feel a bit better for that. But, in simple terms, I was completely off the mark and this is something for which I am personally very glad, as I do like a good war or two.
The Method to the Madness
With so much happening since the last update, presenting all of the details would only prove unwieldy. So, I have broken things down to three distinct parts. The first section will recap the state of play of the more major names. The second will be a high level summary of the northern conflict—The Casino War: Big Bill’s Campaign. The final section will look to the future of the main entities and even offer some friendly advice.
Around the Map
Let’s start at the top of the map with NCdot and work clockwise around New Eden.
NCdot were feeling pretty pleased with themselves. Having been instrumental in the tearing apart of the DRF, they were quite full of themselves. They were very active in pushing the “renting is super great and everyone should rent from us” agenda. In essence, NCdot were on baby sitting duties in the north. There were some rather pathetic attempts at sub-cap deployment that did not really amount to much at all.
PL were still on content deployments in the south. These were being aimed at Providence and The Legacy coalition in the main, although the efforts of PL were mainly words not being backed up by action.
PH were leaving their home in the west for a new one in Geminate.
The east as a whole was either renter space or focused on attacking The Legacy Coalition. Amusingly, the Winter Coalition (led by Fraternity) and the Holy Rental Empire were keen to try and make The Legacy look like the aggressors and for them to be the plucky underdog. This was a sham that would soon be exposed.
The Legacy coalition were performing well against those attacking them.
The Imperium were still not deployed. A few SIGs and squads had seen fit to hassle GotG in the north.
Co2 apparently wanted to move into Fade, the former home of PH.
GotG were still being pressured by a few minor SIGs from the Imperium.
Hopefully, you got all of that and are now up to speed on the events so far.
Big Bill Orders Mittens to Declare War
This most recent campaign has already been extensively written about here on INN. Therefore, I will take a different approach toward the events of that time. But, if you are interested in more detail then I recommend you read:
But to set the scene. PL was south shouting a lot at the Legacy Coalition and getting spanked a fair bit. PL was particularly annoyed at all the faction citadels Legacy had liberated from Providence. PL had designs on those faction citadels becoming their own property.
PanFam as a whole were happy to assist and encourage Fraternity and others into making moves on Legacy. When PL moved super capitals to the south, it was very evident what was being planned. There were some who tried to sell this as PL just helping out the new guys, but anyone with an ounce of sense knew otherwise.
In the recent moves by PanFam, they had over-extended themselves significantly. In all likelihood this was due not only to their success in the destabilization and subsequent collapse of the DRF, but also their belief in their own narrative: “goons only krab; goons never commit; goons have no stamina.”
This view may have changed slightly for some once The Mittani gave the order for the Imperium to deploy. The first system to be staged from would be 6RCQ, where an Imperium Keepstar would be deployed. As you would expect, the Northern forces tried to resist this move, since killing a Keepstar is considerably easier when it is being anchored. PanFam forces were probably more than a little surprised at just who and how much came to defend the onlining Keepstar. The efforts of PanFam against Test had simply pushed the Imperium and The Legacy closer together.
With the Imperium Keepstar now erected, the attacking forces were well placed to push further into PanFam territory. Plenty of action took place in the north, but now our attention must turn south for a moment.
The south saw a power play by PL and its proxies (Winter Coalition and Holy Rental Empire) in the form of increasing super capital and titan numbers. This move put a strain on The Legacy, as they were facing some tough issues. Part of the strain took the form of WC being mainly AU time zone and limiting the ability of The Legacy to escalate with supers and titans themselves. The fear of PL being present meant that caution had to be exercised.
Things came to a head for the south in the system of UALX. The Legacy had taken the bold move of anchoring a Keepstar of their own. PL and its proxies were keen to ensure that it never anchored. This laid the foundations for a super and titan battle between The Legacy and PanFam. Observers noted that with the Imperium armor capital fleet staged in the north, any involvement from the Imperium would be in the form of subcaps.
When the battle for UALX was underway it was all too evident that the Imperium had sent its shield capital fleet over to assist The Legacy. This move, in conjunction with the capitals from The Legacy, made the fight a lot less certain than originally envisaged. There is more to this story, a lot more. But the key point to take away is that PanFam claimed they had won the battle. In fact, PanFam had won so hard that they were not able to log into Eve for about a week.
In this battle PanFam had again been bested in a real capital fight. With PanFam not being able to immediately extract their capital fleet, the war in the south took a turn for the worse. Possibly the worst part of this “win” was that it strengthened the ties between the Imperium and Legacy Coalition. They both had a common enemy and the veil of deceit was pulled away from PanFam.
The Imperium were able to take advantage of this event as the PL capital fleet was of a size that would be very influential under more normal circumstances. This was seen in the preparation for the PanFam staging Keepstar in the system of X47, way up in the north.
For the final timer both sides of this conflict would hold nothing back. This was a “do or die” moment, especially for the defenders. Well, the defenders didn’t “do” so the keepstar “died,” yet another humiliating loss for the PanFam forces.
For many years PanFam had relied on its fearsome reputation rather than its performance in any real conflict. Again and again PanFam had chosen its targets based on their confidence in winning the fight. But with such a path PanFam were becoming weaker and weaker. Worrying about their killboard stats meant that they never wanted to face a real battle, especially if there was a risk of actually losing and suffering the wrath of PanFam leadership.
The Imperium, however, had a completely different approach. They would do stuff, new stuff that had never been seen before. They would take the risks and suffer the derision of others, as their quest for knowledge was more important than killboard stats. This work was now going to pay off.
After the defeat of X47, PanFam felt the tensions increasing, especially with its allies. Already they were throwing blame at their “valued allies,” which is of course going to affect the numbers that turn up on their side. After all, who wants to log in to defend the assets of the people that are insulting your efforts.
Not long after this the only defense that PanFam put up was in the form of hollow statements: “Goons only krab and have no stamina” was the favored line near the end. The “Goons never commit” line had been brushed aside, given its lack of “truthiness.”
Soon the PanFam defense of the north collapsed. The Imperium even managed to kill four Keepstars in a single day. The will of the north was shattered. Some within the PanFam sphere knew only too well that the stamina of the average goon F1 monkey was a lot higher than they were publicly comfortable admitting. GotG offered tribute to the Imperium in order to secure some respite from the onslaught of the goon invasion. This was with good reason, as The Mittani had made it very clear that the Imperium were not there to stay, simply to burn the whole lot to the ground.
The deal GotG managed to secure gave them peace from the bulk of the Imperium forces for six months. For the GotG allies, there would be but a single month. You can guess how PanFam received this attempted noble act. Yes, you probably got it—not very well at all.
PH were the first to declare their outrage at GotG making such a deal. The same PH that decided not to fully deploy to DO6 as the rest of PanFam had. The same PH that sent fleets of burst-jamming T1 frigates to larger engagements. This was followed by others. Sort Dragon had back-stabbed yet again.
Even the “mighty” Co2 have run away. They are probably still trying to work out a way for their leader, GigX, to evade the ban issued by CCP. Co2 even claimed a high level skull with Fafer. The rental manager for NCdot made a mess of things by inviting Co2 over, although the public declaration was simply conveyed as being one of mutually agreed separation due to differing ideologies. But, in this we still see Co2 now having to suck up to yet another stronger entity in the hopes of returning to any type of credible combat strength.
Meanwhile, the story in the south had also developed. Winter Coalition managed to reach a deal with The Legacy for peace. If you need to see who won that part of the conflict, you need only look at Dotlan. But just in case you are a lazy goon I can tell you it was not Winter Coalition.
Ultimately, in the last few months we have seen the complete collapse of a narrative. NC and PL combined are far from the power they once were. One could even call them a “paper tiger” and not be instantly dismissed. Those who claimed otherwise were simply living in another time or benefiting from the continuation of such a tale.
Where Do We Go From Here?
This is crunch time for PanFam. With the evidence becoming available, it seems that there is still doubt regarding the direction to take. Resets of various sorts have taken place. In all reality, even the casual observer knows that it is for display purposes only. Lesser PanFam entities will fall by the way. There will be little love lost for the likes of Co2 given time.
If PanFam continue the path that they are on they could be in for some trouble. Although historically the lie of resets all around has worked, no one will be falling for it this time. The Imperium is all too wise to the tricks of hiding behind other entities in Eve.
Where the Imperium decides to strike next is going to be a matter of conjecture until it happens. The Imperium proved that it can move a lot very quickly as they did with recent capital battles. Additionally, the Imperium proved that they can move in such a way that their final destination is kept secret. At this time our story is held captive in the main, until The Mittani (PBUH) directs the goon will at a new target. What should not be in doubt is that the Imperium has a very large and proven capital fleet. After back-to-back victories, it is very unlikely that the Imperium’s war machine will remain idle for any significant period of time.
So as Elise is absent I have these words for PanFam. I hope they help. If you should see a point that seems a little familiar, then I assure you it is purely coincidence.
History repeats itself, so do not panic as your time will come. You just have to brush off the insults and look into yourselves to find that meaning, that determination, that fearlessness of a “true warrior.” This is not the time for accusations and the assignment of blame. This is a time to think to the future. A future where PanFam will be held as a bastion of ability, action and ingenuity. You could even think of it as a trident of a future! I know how it feels to lose and to lose badly. But through defeat we gain knowledge and if willing, a determination to get back into the fight. Remember that a coward’s mother does not weep.
With that in mind here are some things that may be useful to consider. How about consolidating your forces under a more manageable banner. It is well known that trying to defend the SOV of other alliances is simply painful, especially considering that there is so much space you hold. Ignore the cries of “PanFam will come; they must come” as the SOV system is so broken that keeping up the ADMs of all the systems owned is just not possible. Just imagine how bad it would be if CCP were stupid enough to allow for super fast ships being able to entosis at over 200km. Ridiculous!
Consider pulling your forces back to a single safe point. Keepstars are a thing that will prevent you from having to take such drastic action as moving to lowsec. That way you can keep your supers and titans in one place. Even drop a few Keepstars in a single system. That way you can easily utilize asset safety should it ever be needed. Keepstars are truly a blessing and just think of the hassle you would have to endure if you were reliant on POSs.
Discover new economic models. Models that can support a mighty war machine. Where losing a faction titan would be comparable to losing a Tengu. Embrace those losses as scars of battle and wear them with pride. No longer hide from the shame of defeat by dropping corp. Take in each defeat as a valuable lesson learned.
Mine your hearts out with a passion. Embrace the power of a well-oiled economic powerhouse. Even go so far as to create a unit of time—you could even call it the Tribute Income Time. This could then be used as the call to others that you are in the place to be. Embrace these new members and make them your own. This very game you claim to love is driven by new blood. If you give up on this effort, then you at least will simply die. Even go so far as to create a hisec recruitment corp. You could even call it “Descendants,” as its members would be descending down the path of battle and knowledge.
New talent has to be developed and nurtured. The brain drain from PanFam is all too apparent and is something that must be addressed. You had similar numbers and composition in the battles against the goons. You should have won. Everything you thought you knew has been shown to be false. Adapt or die.
Some fair weather friends will leave you. Just rest assured that the grass is rarely greener and that likely a grim fate of irrelevance and death await them. Be thankful that you were not openly betrayed with your secrets handed to your enemies with glee.
There have been incidents of turmoil within your hallowed organization. Traitors that were once brothers, and sisters, who cause you harm as they abandon the cause. There are still those that consider treachery. Own up to your mistakes, take your punches, give these nay-sayers and fence-sitters a story that is worth fighting for.
Cast off dependency on renters. You are doing a disservice not only to yourselves but to the game as a whole. It is down to you to unleash the killer that resides in all of us. Turn that multi-box miner into a squad of titans. Renters are not inclined to fight. If they do, then they often lack conviction. Visions are the thing that drive us as a species. The pursuit of profit longs for stability and stagnation.
Encourage new entities into nullsec and offer them a place where they can test themselves against the challenges of null. Even if they do crave for stability, they will still have made progress by virtue of leaving hisec. Let them reside there for free. Send out new FCs to train there, but not in order to smash them to pieces. Use cheap doctrines that will die in glorious battle. Truly test yourselves against overwhelming odds. Fight two or three times your numbers. You could even reach the heights of Asher Elias and be able to shout in local “You had better bring 4 to 1 next time!” as you leave the system victorious.
The choice is now yours to make. Will you rebuild and become the champion of nullsec that you once were? Or will you simply fade out into history as a once notable footnote? But remember that if you do something so rash as to quit Eve and play another game, that you lost to the goons. You lost so badly to the goons you quit the game. Will that be your legacy?
So, that is it for me on this topic for a few months. I plan to write up something in another three months so look out for that one. Before I go, I have covered a huge amount here and left out as much again. I would have loved to have mentioned a lot more. As always, if you want to comment then please do so and I will do my best to answer.