The Razor’s Edge is a column written from the precarious middle that lies between the forever warring powers, BoB and GOONS (modern-day Northern Coalition and The Imperium, respectively).
The forever war continued in the wake of 2016’s volatility – Imperium lost their homeland as the Moneybadger mega-coalition moved in. IWANTISK and the casinos that funded the invasion were cut down by CCP banning their very existence, just as Imperium settled in Delve. By year’s end, the Moneybadgers fought amongst themselves, leaving TEST and CO2 exiled to the south, where FCON was already digging in. That is where 2017 begins.
New World Order
Frosty January air swirled around CO2 and TEST as they arrived in NPC Curse in search of a new home. Both alliances were evicted from the north by the New World Order – a group of MoneyBadger powerbrokers that among themselves agreed on winner and losers in the north. Once in NPC Curse, they made diplomatic arrangements with FCON to leverage their way into Catch, Impass, and Esoteria, displacing the Stain Russians that populated the regions. The Imperium, only now pacifying the neighboring Querious region, deployed to aid the Stain Russians (Russ), but they were too late. Russ opted to recede into NPC Stain where they would incubate until strong enough to emerge and reconquer their lost sov. This tactical retreat has happened many times in the past. With Russ out of the way, TEST, CO2, BRAVE moved in and formed from the Legacy Coalition. Years ago TEST and BRAVE had lived in this area as the Hero Coalition, hence the name Legacy. TEST openly declared their intent to join the other superpowers of EVE by securing a homeland to produce a supercapital fleet that can rival any other.
The south stabilized with five significant coalitions in place – Legacy, Phoenix Federation led by FCON, Vanguard led by Triumvirate, and Drone Regions Federation (DRF) led by Legion of xXDEATHXx. The fifth and largest coalition, The Imperium, continued to vigorously fortify Delve, keeping a watchful eye on the rest of the south. FCON abandoned The Imperium during the Casino War, CO2 betrayed them in the middle of it, and TEST disappointed Imperium leaders long ago after being close allies. The arms race was on.
The most apparent example of large-scale production is Delve. The mining and production metrics for the region spike higher than ever before in EVE’s history; EVE’s industrial age arrived in 2017. Factories operated at full speed trying to keep up with the minerals harvested by tens of thousands of residents. Delve’s marketplace rivals Amarr, the second largest in New Eden. This trend will continue, if not accelerate in 2018.
In high-sec, Jita stands surrounded by player-owned trade hubs that are low-tax havens for traders, granting access to it without the high tax bills. This is called “offshoring,” and is a massive tax shelter for high volume or high-priced items like PLEX or injectors. Those things make up 90% of Jita’s trade by value. Pandemic Horde noticed this trend and moved in to extort owners of offshoring citadels in the Jita area.
In early 2017, the New Eden Trading (NETC) company has set out a plan to place Keepstars around the map to allow for free trade to easily reach null-sec. NETC starts in the north, anchoring free-ported Keepstars in Aunenen, Maila, Basegerin, among other systems. They hoped to cover the low sec borders around the map with secure Keepstar trading outposts.
The Imperium was skeptical and vowed to destroy any Keepstars anchored within their sphere of influence. Once a Keepstar is in place, its hard to remove, and a free-ported Keepstar can be used to park supercapitals and titans. For groups like Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion (NC PL), which have substantial capital fleets and a record of nomadic campaigns, this is a future threat in the eyes of empire-building Imperium.
It did not help matters that Casino War financier Lenny founded NETC. His partners were Suas (former Goon), Seleene (MC), and EVE Mogul aka Jeronica (former PL), all enemies of the Imperium. Lenny stated that the NETC’s intentions were pure, but Imperium leadership would never allow NETC anywhere near Delve. With Lenny banned (for RMT, which he denied), the effort fell to his associates, but the effort stalled without Casino money backing the dream. New Eden is peppered with a few Fortizars a handful of Keepstars.
Conflict and Epic Betrayal
While the south was sorting itself out, Darkness and its allies dominated NPCs in the north, raking in billions of ISK while keeping warm diplomatic relations with NC PL and Horde. NC PL rented space and went on campaign. PL deployed south to harass BRAVE once again, and NC moved to Syndicate to confiscate moons from Initiative. The Initiative put up a respectable fight but was outclassed by NC firepower.
In July, TEST deployed north to attack Darkness krabbers, and Imperium moved north to harass the NC PL homeland of Tribute and Vale. TEST was allowed to pass through DRF space, a gesture that would come back to haunt DRF. The Imperium marched straight up empire space to stage in Hakonen. NC PL repelled them in a series of battles that turned back Imperium attempts dig in. The spammed citadels were rolled up by Mercenary Coalition (MC), and the Imperium dreads were defeated by heavier capitals fleets of NC PL. The distraction allowed Initiative to reconquer the Syndicate moons taken from them earlier.
While TEST was deployed in the North, their ally CO2 threw their support behind TRI’s effort to eradicate FCON. FCON retreated to the protection of the DRF. TEST had made a mutual support pact with the DRF and warned their ally CO2 that an attack on the DRF was an attack on TEST. TRI and CO2 attacked anyway, and TEST pulled out of the North to help defend the DRF. The CO2 diplomat, The Judge that had forged the treaties was incensed at his war chief, gigX, and betrayed him, giving over CO2’s Keepstar to The Imperium, while stealing capital ships and the war treasury. The Judge also presented himself to the alliance and broadcast their inner chat channels live. The enraged gigX made threats that landed him exiled from EVE, banned for life. The alliance could not hold without their war chief, and CO2 came apart.
Darkness, angry at DRF for letting TEST move through its territory, mounted a surprise attack. A full supercapital invasion was launched with the intention of anchoring a Keepstar in DRF territory. The DRF rallied around famed FC Manfred Sidious, formerly of PL. DRF died over and over but did not give up, handing them a hard-fought victory over the invaders. The anchoring Keepstar was destroyed, the supercapital fleet retreated. Darkness returned to raze the northern borderlands.
In the south, TRI watched its ally CO2 crumble, but did not give up; TRI bashed FCON until it broke apart. TEST, now in the south, defended DRF as it fought on two borders. Ultimately DRF defended its space, and both Darkness and TRI were turned back.
In the west, the Fountain Region sov holders, The Culture, broke apart and a sizable part of the region was sold to The Imperium. This gave Imperium a bridge from Delve in the south to Cloud Ring in the North. The Pandemic Horde home. The Imperium quietly sent excursion teams north to harass Horde, to test their will to defend.
NC returned to the North to winter in the cold. Their supplies in the south stilled, abandoned.
For null-sec, 2017 came to a smoldering close. Underneath it all, thousands of Faction War pilots and wormhole assassin squads hunted their prey day in, day out. New Eden vibrated day after day, month after month.
2018 – It Begins Again
NC Deployed south to assist PL, which appeared weaker than usual, in burning down Providence. PL started in on territory held by the much smaller Severance. NC PL’s campaign appeared to be an eviction. Possibly an early move to secure the station-rich region for themselves. Provi forces had nowhere to run. Their home and way of life were about to be overrun by raiders. They were doomed.
As Provi forces braced themselves the fog of war lifted to reveal a cold dark abyss. NC PL was not there. They had vanished.
NC dropped their invasion of Provi to repel an invasion into their own territory from The Imperium. The menacing of Horde space earlier in the year and the lessons learned from failed deployment in the fall created an opportunity for the Imperium to avenge 2016’s Casino War. The Imperium was pushing all their chips forward and NC PL was doing the same. Welcome to 2018.
Update: In this article, I mentioned some of the people involved in NETC, specifically Jeronica (EVE Mogul). Because of the brevity of my article, there wasn’t time to clearly describe what NETC “partners” meant. The result was the impression that EVE Mogul had more to do with NETC that it actually did. Here is an important note by Jeronica describing his association with NETC – Press Release.