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ships_titan

I write this from a hotel room overlooking the Bosperous. Istanbul, once Constantinople, lynchpin of empires and synonympous with international intrigue, seems an appropriate venue for holding forth on the current state of affairs in nullsec.

My apologies for such a long gap between posts. My current location may give you some idea of the whirlwind June has been.  I’ve been keeping my hand in events but there’s been precious little time to write a finished piece and, as those who regularly labor through my dense walls of text will attest, short posts are not in my DNA.

Most of you will have been keeping up with events in nullsec through other venues. However, just so we’re all on the same page, a brief summary of events in the current nullsec dust-up:

If you were keeping up with The Edge through my last post, you would have been unsurprised with ClusterFuck Coaliton’s (CFC) sudden shift away from operations in Delve to their announced invasion of Fountain.

In so doing CFC left the reduction of Delve in the hands of Northern Coalition [DOT] alliance (NC). This would indicate that Delve’s income generation capacity was not enhanced sufficiently by the Odyssey moon-goo lottery to warrant CFC’s attention. Further, CFC obviously hoped that the NC invasion of Delve would bleed off Test Alliance Please Ignore (Test) forces that might otherwise oppose the CFC in  Fountain.

Things did not go quite according to plan.  More on that anon.

Now, “Why Fountain?’, you might well ask.

Much was made at the time of Goonswarm’s announcement that the motivation for the current offensive against Test was financial rather than payback for real or imagined past slights, or a war of survival against some existential threat.  Personally, I was surprised at the Eve community’s surprise. I commented on EN24 at the time that this was likely the first time The Mittani had been criticized for telling his followers an evident truth.

Goonswarm’s larger strategy for some time has been to move beyond the military and diplomatic aspects of the game and develop themselves as nullec’s dominant economic power, thereby providing themselves another means of projecting their will in New Eden. The Technetium Cartel and CFC’s ongoing campaign for Farms and Fields are early steps in the implementation of this policy. Thus, controlling a large share of rare and critical nullsec resources is crucial to Goonswarm, not only as as a means of financing military operations, but as part of Goonswarm’s larger economic dominion strategy.

In addition to posessing a large number of desirable moons, Fountain has the advantage of being adjacent to CFC sovereign space. Cloud Ring’s B-DBYQ, the region’s sole entry point to Fountain is also a terminus of the Goonswarm jump bridge network through CFC space.  In friendlier days B-DBYQ was a common through-way for CFC convoys supporting Honey Badger Coalition (HBC) activities in the South. It connects directly to the HBC jump bridge network in Fountain’s J5A-IX system and a few bridge hops later, into Delve.

For conventional ships without the benefit of a jump drive, the B-DBYQ/J5A-IX gate is the only direct road between Fountain and Cloud Ring. It is, in military parlance, a choke point, and its strategic value is attested to by the scale of the fighting that has taken place in and around those systems during the last month.

The first week of post-Odyssey fighting in and around Fountain was all CFC. Test appeared to have difficulty pulling together sizable fleets and those that formed up seemed heavily skewed toward Hurricanes and Stealth Bombers. CFC quickly took station systems in Fountain’s Mermaid, Minotaur and Manticore constellations as well as several systems around J5A-IX in the Centaur constellation. This last reavealed their desire to lock down that gateway in order to facilitate their own flow of subcapital reships and reinforcements while blunting Test counterattacks in the other direction.

Events in Fountain seemed to be following the classic CFC playbook; grind down the enemy’s will to fight, and then roll over him in a large scale assault. As the first week closed, things were looking grim for Test. Test leadership began putting out calls for the rank and file pilots to stand to their tackle and hold fast, promising that heretofore secret allies and reinforcements were on the way. As similar pronouncements had been made in the waning days of BoB/IT Alliance, EVE pundits began proclaiming this to be a desperate last-gasp effort to keep Test pilots in the fight and a harbinger of doom.

Then Test’s secret allies and reinforcements arrived.

On June 10, Pandemic Legion, who had left the campaign in Delve a week early to pursue other unspecified options, and NC, who CFC had assumed would continue their offensive against Test in Delve, took the field against the CFC in J5A-IX and B-DBYQ. Coordination between the new allies proved a bit spotty during this first outing, allowing CFC to rally and end the fight with a draw despite the unexpected presence of Test’s allies and the sharpness of the defense.

In the following week, the war between CFC and Test escalated into a pan-nullsec event, with almost every alliance of note falling on one side of the other of the conflict. In a key development Nulli Secunda’s coalition N3 joined the fight on the Test Alliance side.

For a time there were signs of a second front being opened against CFC in the North.  Black Legion (BL) and The Retirement Club (401K)  upped their game in the North, taking the Q-CAB2 system in Tribute, taking down station services and camping the CFC relief fleet of dreadnaughts inside, aborting two supercapitals under construction in-system, and causing a number of pod-killed CFC capital ship pilots to wake up in empire space clone vats.

CFC has called these actions minor set-backs, however there is no doubt that the tail-twistings BL and 401K were beginning to take a toll. The attacks in the North by Black Legion and The Retirement Club had gone from small, harrying raids, to successful strikes against CFC capital ships in Deklein to a successful system take-down in Tribute. And the entry of Rooks and Kings into the Northern front against CFC at the same time could not have been comforting.

CFC kept matters in Tribute from escalating out of hand by paying BL a ransom in exchange for safe passage out of Q-CAB2 for their station-bound capital fleet as well as making a side deal (acknowledged by BL) to not attack CFC in Tribute for a time. While that deal seems to have somewhat blunted the immediate threat to CFC on their home turf, it provides an indication as to how seriously Goonswarm’s leadership takes the threat of a second front against the CFC opening in the North.

As of this writing, CFC has managed to keep the bulk of the fighting down in Fountain, at arm’s length from Deklein and of CFC regions and resources. To the extent the’ve done so, CFC can claim to be holding the initiative. The longer the primary front remains in Fountain, the longer the CFC Intel/Covops and Diplomatic corp will have to attempt to pry away Test’s allies in this war.  While the recent mass sov drop by S2N Citizens, a Nulli associated renters’ alliance, did not meet its goal of drawing N3 away from Fountain, it stands as an example of the sort of mischief Goonswarm can make to distract Test allies in order to undermine resistance there. 

However, the tide in Fountain appears to be turning.

In the last week Test and its alies has increased the pressure on CFC, collapsing their early beachheads in Fountain’s Mermaid, Minotaur and Manticore constellations and taking back a number of high value moons the CFC had rolled in the second and third weeks of the conflict. Fighting in Fountain now appears to be centered in around the choke point of J5A-IX and adjacent B-DBYQ Cloud Ring. Losing that strategic objective and the movement of the fight into CFC space would be a significant morale blow to the CFC rank and file, would embolden their enemies, and increase the probability of multiple fronts opening up against the CFC as entities across low and nullsec seek to participate in ‘Burn Mittanigrad’; a ‘must attend’ in-game event.

As usual, Pandemic Legion, having taken up Test’s cause, retains the tang of a wild card.

While PL has been seen in some engagements, they have not often shown up in strength down in Fountain since the second week of the conflict.  The absence of Titans in engagements involving final system timers suggests that PL, while not grinding structures (yet), is providing its allies with high cover against CFC Titans.  One wonders, however, where the bulk of the PL fleets are. It is possible that PL are preparing for a coordinated strike against the Goonswarm homeland, with support from The Retirement Club and (possibly) Black Legion, while Test, Northern Coalition and Nulli Secunda increase pressure on the last CFC beachhead in Fountain.

In that case Goonswarm and it’s allies may find themselves caught between the hammer and anvil and, as Doc Brown once said, we are going to see some serious shit.

On the other hand, PL has tended to hedge their bets where the CFC is concerned and may be playing both ends against the middle. A worst case outcome for the Legion would be a CFC triumph over forces PL enthusiastically supported. No doubt CFC diplomats are heavily focussed on PL, offering both eternal friendship and heady amounts of cash should PL abandon Test, N3, Nulli and company. Despite the threat so recently posed by CFC to PL, it would not be uncharateristic for the latter to temporize; entertaining offers while waiting for the outcome of the struggle to be more clear before striking decisively for one side or the other.

At this point it appears that the Test and Allies strategy is a brute-force push to collapse the CFC bridgehead in Centaur and Pegasus constellations, punching through to Cloud Ring. From there, Deklein can be invaded by way of Fade.  As stated above, expect to see a second front opened elsewhere against the CFC as well as attacks against the CFC jump bridge networks to disrupt fleet movements. 

The sooner the anti-CFC forces move out of Fountain, the better for Test’s fortunes. It is always more fun to tear down an enemy’s systems and assets than it is to defend systems and assets not your own. Test’s allies will enjoy the fight much more once they’re breaking CFC stuff rather than defending Test Alliance stuff, and CFC will enjoy the proceedings far less. 

– Mord Fiddle

About the Author: Mord Fiddle’s writings are an invitation to high tea in a world of rave parties. His readers gather at http://fiddlersedge.blogspot.com/ for thoughtful analysis, daring prose, deep insights, and Mord’s tendency to use words not writ nor spoken conversationally since Middle English went out of fashion.

37 Comments

  1. TruthBeKnown

    CFC didn’t take any stations, Sort Dragon sucked some Goon cock and gave away 4 station systems.

    If you are going to report on something, please do yourself a favor and get it right.

    July 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm Reply
    1. Whaaaaaaa

      you sound mad that you still lost 4 stations.

      if you are going to cry on something, please do yourself a favor and cry in my tear cup.

      July 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm Reply
      1. Rand0m Dud3

        Only a cup?? You can collect buckets of tears at this rate!

        July 2, 2013 at 9:52 pm Reply
        1. Whaaaaaaa

          true, but i’m a heavy drinker so it never fills up.

          July 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm Reply
    2. Foley

      Yeah, still sounds like Goons getting 4 stations….then loosing them. So yeah, sounds right to me.

      July 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm Reply
      1. Snargle

        There’s a difference between “fought for and lost 4 stations” and “Had a dick flip them after TEST specifically didn’t fuck with his assets”

        July 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm Reply
    3. Mord Fiddle

      At the end of the day, stations changed hands. Capturing defensive strongpoints is always easier, but the end result is the same – the Goons took the systems. True, I could have gone into Sort Dragons alleged role in system turn-overs, but the piece was already running long and it wasn’t central to the central point: In the first week things the momentum was with the Goons.

      July 4, 2013 at 6:17 am Reply
  2. R Foley

    Well, that was, without a doubt one of the most straight forward and honest assesments of the war. It didn’t favor one side or the other like most other posters, and just laid things as they are. +1 for a good news article(rare nowa days).
    While we all have our favorites, the war could honestly go either way in an instant.
    One thing should be clear though, things have not gone just as planned for the CFC, and I’d say thats made for a very interesting war. I still want to see trillions of isk in Titans and Moms burn in a massive fire though. Either side or both can be on that pyre.

    July 2, 2013 at 8:44 pm Reply
  3. rhombus

    Nice job on this piece! It’s actually pretty accurate.

    July 2, 2013 at 9:01 pm Reply
  4. ssds

    FCK TEST aND PL !

    July 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm Reply
    1. YourTearCup

      Place all your tears in this cup kid.

      more qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq’s kthnxbye

      July 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm Reply
      1. takeyourcaptoas

        Can you sock my dack ? 😀

        July 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm Reply
    2. Snargle

      BAWWWWWWWW

      July 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm Reply
  5. Besbin

    Best write-up I’ve seen. Please keep up the good work Mr Fiddle!

    In regards to the must-attend thing, being a purely solo low sec pirate, I decided to go to B-D in a lone bomber, just to get me a “I killed me some Goons too!” T-shirt 😀 Needless to say I died horribly after a couple of days :-) Fun!!!

    July 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm Reply
  6. Provi Miner

    ? Didn’t PL join N3

    July 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm Reply
    1. Barkaway

      Maybe maybe not, but they just helped N3 grind up the major part of the dropped sov, if they werent friends that wouldnt have happend so I be pretty surprised of PL jumped sides tbh

      July 3, 2013 at 1:20 am Reply
      1. Chiggy

        Look. PL is no longer beholding to the coons. I would be very surprised if they went back to helping coons out.

        July 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm Reply
        1. Barkaway

          I know, that ended when the Tech got nerfed:)

          July 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm Reply
    2. watcher

      nope. They helped with the war against Solar, but they haven’t “joined” N3. They’ve got friendly relations more or less with similar objectives so they frequently end up on the same side, but only NC. and Scrap are blue to PL.

      As towards their recent help with the dropped sov, that largely goes back to their participation in the Solar War; they couldn’t let a resurgent Solar threaten the renter income they gained in the war.

      Time will tell how long friendly relations last and to what purpose.

      July 3, 2013 at 7:22 am Reply
  7. Provi grunt

    Yet another piece on “nullsec” ignoring the fight in the South.

    July 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm Reply
    1. The pope

      Fuck your shit alliances.

      July 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm Reply
  8. Fountainwarbestwar

    “it stands as an example of the sort of mischief Goonswarm can make to
    distract Test allies in order to undermine resistance there. ”
    As far as i know the CFC is not responsible for the S2N’s dismay, they only assisted the guy that actually did it with information about how to abuse his power.

    July 3, 2013 at 12:07 am Reply
    1. Foley

      Saying the CFC is not responsible sounds a lot like saying the CIA was not responsible for the Bay of Pigs. Sure, it might, MIGHT have happened without the CFC involvement, but as with the Bay of Pigs, it wouldn’t have gone as well otherwise. As to whether or not this works better has yet to be seen. But of course N3 is now rightfully pissed off at the CFC with (so far) every intent of cock slapping the CFC.
      Also, the CFC would like this to be an internal problem only, with the CFC wanting to stay well away from it, other wise people might get mad at them, place blame, and keep fighting in Founta…..Ooops. Too late.

      July 3, 2013 at 12:44 am Reply
    2. Joshua Blue

      Fact is if it was the Mittani who engineered the dropping of sov it would probably have gone far better than it actually did. There were so many glaring errors, such as timing it late in RUTZ, not prepping SOLAR, not considering that PL would come in to assist N3 etc. etc. I’m not a fan of Mittani, but he wouldn’t make mistakes like that.

      July 3, 2013 at 4:42 am Reply
    3. Chiggy

      I know. Now that mittens has apologized to pl, coons are singing a different tune. They never even heard of S2N. Coons did it and guided the director through the process. They all came out bragging about it. Just go back and read the posts. Quit trying to change your story.

      July 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm Reply
  9. Joshua Blue

    “Nulli Secunda’s coalition N3 joined the fight on the Test Alliance side.” Actually, N3 is not Nulli’s coalition. N3 is a coalition lead by NCDot, Nulli Seconda, and Nexus Fleet. Good article apart from that glaring error.

    July 3, 2013 at 4:36 am Reply
    1. Duh

      Vince Draken is obviously the leader of the Fountain campaign. Nulli and pets are just a tag along as they are too weak to do anything on their own. N3 should probably be renamed N2 because Nexus Fleet is non-existent.

      July 4, 2013 at 4:59 am Reply
  10. dags

    Pretty good article if i’m honest, although there should really be some mention of Sort’s alliance handing over the station systems as opposed to CFC taking them.
    Also 4-E had a CFC station erected pretty much the day the invasion began as something to stand at the front of the pipe to J5A.
    Not sure of the facts of this point, so welcome a correct answer, but the TEST bridge to Cloud RIng terminates at EI-O, or is that only since J5A was taken?

    July 3, 2013 at 8:44 am Reply
  11. Duh

    Why does this wormhole carebear keep bloviating about 0.0????

    July 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm Reply
    1. Mord Fiddle

      Mord’s does not play in a wormhole org, though I could use the income stream. Not a carebear in most senses, though I will mine and make from time to time. I’ve probably spent more time in nullsec than you, and certainly spend more time thinking about the nuances of nullsec than you.

      Bloviating allows me use fancy, multi-syllabic words that get me invited to high society parties where we deck ourselves out in black tie and top hats. There we dance the nights away, drink champagne, and say naugty things about you.

      July 4, 2013 at 6:07 am Reply
  12. Cloora

    You have no idea how PL works and what our motivations are…

    July 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm Reply
  13. Kamar Raimo

    It is a good article but has way too much speculation in the last third.

    I do agree though that the “Grr Goons” sentiment is strong all around, and that PL might just keep going against Goons/CFC just because they can.

    TBH how would you put your mark on contemporary EVE history if not by being instrumental in bringing down the most powerful coalition EVE has seen since the Greater BoB Community?

    July 4, 2013 at 1:20 am Reply
    1. Dave The Rave

      It’s ironic how goons have descended into comparisons to the entity they destroyed and clearly hated, in a years time when goons and CFC are defeated i wonder if TEST can pull off the same sort of absolute destruction that Goons did of BoB.

      July 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm Reply
      1. Barkaway

        they even turned out to be worse than BoB, BoB didnt have a holy crusade agains every industrial/miner in high sec, they
        didnt burn jita..

        July 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm Reply
  14. Daniel Plain

    too… much… sperg… must… resist… urge… D’OH!

    June 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply
  15. Tim

    I guess you must be right, I apologize. Clearly what happened is the goons entered the war, instantly lost and now are already out of money and on the brink of destruction, and stupidly I mistook this for just the beginning of the war.

    Unbelievably, I thought these Caracal fleets were part of a strategy, but you have shown me that really it’s because goons couldn’t afford to replace 80 TFIs.

    Thank you for enlightening me.

    June 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm Reply
  16. tricks are for kids

    “The victors write the history. in life and in Eve – that was. until CCP
    adopted ‘Reddit culture and gave our bitter defeated foes the ability to
    rage-dm, vnvote the truth of what happened in Goonfleet’s past in hopes
    of burying. distorting or denying their shame. The CCP “True Stories’
    website is a creaky thing, but it is running a lucrative contest. Should
    our two entries win, we will be given approximately 120 billion isk
    worth of PLEX which will go towards the alliance coffers. Perhaps more
    importantly we will cement our victories in the Great War as the central
    narrative of Eve Online in a TV Series and in a comic book published by
    Dark Horse: “There are no goons.” indeed.”

    Aww, poor goons losing at their own game :(

    June 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm Reply

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