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GSF_HBC

The following blog post was published 4 days ago, still this is one of the best reads I had in weeks and brings a good perspective of what to expect of recent events.

The recent birth announcements for Britain’s new little Saxe Coburg Gotha princeling have gotten me thinking about Richard III and those who pay the cost of kingdoms.

Richard, of course, died at Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485, by some accounts taking a halberd to the back of the head as his horse foundered in the mud a mere sword’s length from Henry Tudor, whom Richard was doing his level best to kill at the time.

It is telling that this was the last time a king of England would actively take the field to defend his crown. Five hundred twenty-odd years later the cost of kingdoms is far less than the price paid by Richard. The royal line has moved so far from warrior kings toward its current collection of Disney characters that, when Richard’s remains were discovered and exhumed from beneath a Leicestershire car park in 2012, the current royal family’s DNA could not be used to verify his identity. A London cabinet-maker turned out to be a closer genetic match to the last Plantagenet king than the current Prince of Wales. 

All of which is excellent fodder for a novel or two, but you may well ask what it has to do with Eve Online. It’s a bit of a stretch, I admit, but hang with me.

Over the weekend the war in Fountain took a profound turn in favor of ClusterFuck Coalition (CFC). Test Alliance, Please Ignore and Tribal Band’s allies, Northern Coalition[DOT] and Nulli Secunda are once again drawn East to defend their territories from Solar Fleet and friends. This has provided CFC with a clear numeric advantage and stripped away the Allies’ supercapital high cover that has heretofore prevented CFC from deploying its own supercapitals extensively in Fountain during final timers.

Seeking to make hay while the sun shines, CFC is driving fiercely on the military, psyops and diplomatic fronts to bring the Fountain campaign to a quick conclusion and, if possible, to neutralize Test Alliance as a future enemy before Test/Tribal’s allies can return. Sole possession of the supercapital field of play has allowed CFC to extend their previous weekend’s gain in Pegasus constellation into Manticore and Sphinx. This move effectively cuts off the Wyveren and Taurus constellations, which provide Fountain’s sole empire access route, from the rest of the region. It also isolates from the rest of Test’s holdings in Fountain the Chimera and Unicorn constellations which contain seven Test station systems.

Outnumbered, with fewer effective FCs than CFC and lacking a coherent supercapital force, Test and Tribal leadership have called ‘balls to the walls’ for their members. Their hope is to pull out all the stops and bring sufficient numbers to keep the fight for Fountain alive and make the interlopers pay a price for the systems they take.  However, despite an uptick in Test/Tribal fleet participation, their FCs are having to pick and choose which timers to defend.

There is a certain irony to an alliance with twelve thousand members and a reputation for overwhelming its enemies with sheer numbers finding itself on the wrong end of the numbers game against a coalition that can claim in excess of twenty-six thousand members.  Still, CFC cannot allow those twelve thousand members to roam free in New Eden. No other known nullsec alliance or combination of alliances, however skilled, however well endowed with supercarriers, can come close to matching the CFCs numbers unless Test stands with them.

It has been shown time and again over the last year or so the advantage CFC’s numerical superiority gives them.  However, if Test stands with CFC’s foes on the field of battle, Test’s numbers make a genuine contest possible. Thus, if Test can be brought to heel and made to submit, or its numbers significantly reduced through failscade, it will remove an essential component from any opposition to the CFC’s hegemony over nullsec. Once that is accomplished, CFC can rule nullsec relatively unmolested and the rest of its enemies can go whistle.

This speaks volumes as to the motive behind CFC leadership’s recent ‘Testie, Come Home’ campaign.

You’ll have noted through various CFC media outlets that the party line is that CFC never wanted this war; that it was backstabbing by Test’s leadership – first by Montolio and then BoodaBooda – that brought Test and CFC, once best friends forever, to blows. Come back to the fold, goes the siren song of CFC psyops, and we can all be friends again. All we want is Fountain and your friendship. Give us those and we can have peace for our time.

Of course the cost for Test of such friendship and colloquy would go well beyond Fountain. The undermining of Test as actor co-equal to and independent from the CFC was well underway before Test withdrew from the Honeybadger Coalition.  Test and Tribal’s members appear to have no illusions as to what bending their collective necks to the CFC would mean. Indeed, both Test and Tribal appear to understand that this is not a war over Fountain. It is a war over the future and spirit of nullsec.

The CFC vision for nullsec has a decided corporate tang to it. It is nullsec leashed, controlled and sanitized for your protection. Admission to the CFC’s nullsec is controlled by its governing members, as are nullsec PvP events. It is nullsec as an industrial and economic power, with all the order and institutions that implies. Think of it as Nullsec, inc., where l33t administrative or political skills are a more certain path to lordship than one’s abilities on the field of battle. 

The nullsec vision of Test and its allies is a much more visceral, less secure place. In their vision warrior kings hold sway and battle for their place. One’s reputation is measured in the blood of one’s enemies and if the little grey men from the corporate office get out of line, they are quickly minced and thrown to the dogs. Empires rise and fall, barbarians swarm the gates, and princes of nullsec put their very selves on the line to purchase their kingdoms.

I am, I confess, somewhat torn between these visions. The CFC version of nullsec has demonstrated itself to be much more efficient than the old PvP-centric model, just as Britain under the industrialists proved more efficient than England under its warrior-kings. From a political economy standpoint, the evolution of nullsec in this direction was to be expected eventually.  Indeed, as a sometime industrialist, I’ve wished to see that aspect of the nullsec game more fully leveraged.

Having said that, I don’t log onto Eve Online in order to continue my RL work day.  Eve Online is an entertainment; a work of fantasy and science fiction in
which I can play a small part of the larger story. In such a work there should be warrior
kings and barbarian chieftains who lead vast fleets into battle. And
the consequences of such battles should be more than just entries in an ISK ledger or bragging rights over kill-board scores. I’ve no desire to see the better part of nullsec tamed and turned into a theme park and moon-goo cartel controlled by a small minority of the Eve player-base.   

In Real Life, warrior kings are no more, having been replaced by the more predictable and compliant likes of the Saxe Coburg Gothas; men and women pleased to reign without the burdens of rule. They are as much king as our modern age can bear.  Yet the aura of the old kings still clings to their crowns, commanding our attention, however dull and uninteresting the current wearers have become.

However impractical they are today, the raw and bloody-handed kings of old fire our imaginations in ways the thoroughly sensible Duke of Cambridge cannot. Good or evil, we will likely remember Richard III long after the Saxe
Coburg Gothas are forgotten.  He knew the cost of kingdoms, paid it in
full, and inhabits his still. 

Happily for Test Alliance Please Ignore and Tribal Band, they exist in game, where impracticality is the order of the day. Whether Fountain stands or falls, much in New Eden hinges on their actions in the next few days and weeks. This is a rare gift even in the digital world of MMPORGs. The individual pilots will collectively choose how their alliances will be remembered.  They may diminish or disband under the CFC assault and no one would blame them. They may bend to the yoke and accept a place in the CFC’s new order; an undeniably easier road than the current battle against long odds. Or they may choose to stand to their tackle and pay the cost of kingdoms.

The ends of such purchases are never certain and often go astray, but they are rarely forgotten.

– 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.

26 Comments

  1. ScaReMoNgeRinG

    i like it

    July 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm Reply
  2. NoName

    Well spoken good Sir!

    July 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm Reply
  3. Duh

    This was unironically a good read. Who was the dude who wrote about The Mittani’s first and last mistake a couple months ago?

    July 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm Reply
  4. I </3 Structures

    No doubt it takes a lot of effort to build a stable super coalition. So to CFC, great, you did it.

    We play in a game where a rival coalition has to put in as much effort to even have a chance. That is no small feat to play as seriously as the goons do while keeping allies on a tight leash.

    All I gotta say to CCP, while not discrediting the effort it takes to build coalitions, is that they need to reevaluate that barrier of entry into null space. If TEST goes back into the fold there is nothing anybody can do to shift that balance of power for a loooong time. Nobody should have to put that much effort into a video game.

    Oh well, I’ll keep on trucking from my wormhole.

    July 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm Reply
  5. orly?

    Well-written and about as apolitical as it is possible to be in today’s times: much appreciated.

    Thinking back to my first lessons in Eve, I can’t help but remember the storyline competitiveness of corporations; how one entire faction was based on the corporate model of business before bloodbath. The others may have freedom, democracy or holy vengeance in their hearts, but their daily lives still flow with the currents of markets, trading and industry. Perhaps, then it is fitting that CFC should be today’s most influential power in the lands beyond laws.

    July 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm Reply
    1. Anonymous Gallente

      Caldari scum!

      July 30, 2013 at 11:06 am Reply
      1. orly?

        heh. not… exactly.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm Reply
  6. FA Grunt

    What this is really about is test try to flex their muscles wether it was about not sharing moons to thinking the can take FA out of the CFC just by asking. They failed all roids and puffed up and being the single largest allaince in the game they can’t coordinate against the CFC…..come on stop using the excuse that N3 is busy and its a major factor. It’s a factor but test should be doing way better.

    July 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm Reply
    1. Barkaway

      So sdhould every single alliance in the CFC, but they have proven that on their own they are just as or even worse than test, only in a big group you can get anything done.
      You suck just as bad, you just have more friends..

      July 30, 2013 at 10:28 am Reply
  7. Navo

    Good piece

    July 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm Reply
  8. Maru

    Small point of clarification: S2N never went back east. That was just NCDOT and some other N3 minors.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm Reply
  9. Errm

    What it all boils down to is the mittani needs a new car and fountain will fund that for him.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm Reply
  10. Tribe Anon

    We are Tribe. We do not bend the knee to the emperor in the north.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm Reply
    1. ex test tribe

      nope you bend over for most :P.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:42 am Reply
  11. Obliteron

    just another war for independence against the shackles of the empire.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm Reply
  12. Little bee

    Before this war started in Fountain, when the HBC was still in their peak, PL had the chanse to break the CFC.
    It would have been a war where CFC would have been greatly outnumberd, both in accounts and capitals.
    It would have been the Wars of wars, the most bloody war in the history of Eve.
    Both sides would have been going balls deep untill 1 side would have been totaly collapsed.
    Victory is never certain as CFC has shown to be one fucking ball of bee’s that needs many months or years to break.

    But PL dint, Mittani wrote a masterpiece to murder Montolio.
    Shadoo dint wanted to give up his greed for Moon Goo.

    Fast Forward to Fountain.

    Again the combined forces of N3ST + PL outnumberd the CFC.
    Both in accounts and Capitals.
    They had far less numbers then with the previous HBC at their peak, but still could have won that war to break the CFC.

    And once more PL was the key for a no show, they did formup at the start of the war tough.
    And showed up for battles after that.
    But they sure as hell dint go full out warfare mode in Fountain, While N3ST gave it all they got.
    Specialy at ther start of the war and we had quite some hard fights, and only winning systems slowly.

    Fast forward to:
    Things that might going to happen this Winter or beyond:

    CFC deploys East to return the favor to N3 and start taking out their renting empires.
    What i am most curious about is, will PL side with CFC ?
    Make a deal that Brothers of Tangra are not to be touched in this war, in flipside PL wont intervene in this war between CFC / N3.

    Is Shadoo a mastermind that can foresee the future ?
    Are things like this already discussed with PL / Shadoo ?

    I do not understand why Shadoo / PL had key to the gate’s of Mittanigrad 2 times in his pocket and decided not to open it.

    Sure you never know who win wars upfront.
    And you may gamble wrong, but its not like PL has alot of Sov or they cant recover.
    They can take what they want from any alliance in Eve that is not CFC, thats how strong they are.

    I just cant make out what PL’s agenda is…..

    July 30, 2013 at 9:08 am Reply
    1. orly?

      Initially some of the TEST n Friends plans for winning battles succeeded. Their plans for executing large-scale operations to win the war, however were either unsuccessful or absent. On the CFC side I’m not sure they HAD other plans – this was an operation to keep the steam-roller going at all costs.

      CFC built an effective war machine of thousands of pilots AND they were able to keep it fueled and running longer than the other guy. Pretty straightforward strategy.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply
    2. DubbaYooArr

      I was having a similar convo with someone recently about the Fountain war and the outcome. It’s unfortunate that such a watershed opportunity arose to change the landscape of Null and create a more engaging/diverse future for 0.0 only to fall by the wayside.

      The CFC took this engagement on their terms, on their time and with their planning. This was the major mistake. Montolio had the drums of war beating hard in the HBC and the morale to take an OFFENSIVE war to the CFC but because of backroom deals and propaganda he was essentially shut out. In the end it was CFC who had the offensive war, which everyone knows is a LOT more fun than a defensive war. Yes, N3 and friends (the coalition BORN to defeat the CFC) came to the aid of TEST but it should of been a proactive deployment rather than reactive. The invasion had already begun and the CFC wheels of war were already in motion. The delay in timing turned out to be even worse as Solar had enough time to rebuild and refuel enough to show their ugly mugs back East which eventually divided the N3/NC/PL deployment.

      Things did seem like they were going well for a bit as BL. and 401k rummaged through CFC’s houses while they were off and away but that was quickly put to an end with a couple hundred billion iskies. Obviously BL. is extremely good at what they do; its unfortunate they decided to take the isk in this situation and help CFC (No hate – BL is merc alliance and are the real winners in this war lol).

      If things had gone a bit differently in the start things could have gone a lot different in the end. Had CFC taken the brunt of an offensive invasion, Nullsec would have been a lot better off with the a sov map much more diverse, fragmented, and divided. CCP altered moon goo to trigger a great war and it worked, but now that CFC has taken fountain, Null will basically be the same as pre-odyssey except CFC will hold more sov.

      I know the war is not over. I hope TEST has a hatred for the CFC and doesn’t buy any of the olive branch friendship crap. One thing this war has done was create a catalyst for a change in perspective in Null – CFC is the BOB they claim to hate so much and it is clear everyone hates them. It may be a long time before they see defeat but the wheels are in motion. I hope N3 sticks with their goal of defeating Goons/CFC and continue to fight hard.

      July 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm Reply
      1. Arrendis

        Doesn’t add up.

        One of the things you say the delay cost TEST was N3’s ability to mount a pro-active, rather than reactive, campaign, because SOLAR had time to rebuilt. But Montolio’s push for an offensive against the CFC was in January – before SOLAR lost that space in the first place. NCdot had only lost their space in Tribute and Vale 3.5 months earlier (late September), and weren’t yet in a position to wage a pro-active war at all.

        And while an offensive sov war is ‘more fun’ than a defensive one, the CFC forces in this conflict spent the first half of it more or less bottled up – taking control of the entryway into Fountain slowed us down a lot more than anything after it did. Put us on the defensive, where we’re going to have the range to bridge into theater from a number of directions, where we have the jump bridge network to be mobile and the CFC’s logistical capabilities are available to protect/replace cyno jammers and deny the enemy’s capital fleets the opportunity to even get into the fight?

        You’ve seen how well we can just keep pouring people into subcaps. There were CFC pilots still sitting in 4-E, waiting for the call for a reinforcement fleet, when 6VDT was raging at 4070 in local. Do you really think that actually threatening their ‘safe’ income sources in Deklein/Pure Blind/Fade/Tribute/Branch/etc would spur less of a response?

        August 1, 2013 at 8:12 am Reply
  13. twatbag

    what nullsec needs is the duke of edinburgh, not cambridge

    July 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm Reply
  14. dafuk did i read

    What has been seen can not be unseen

    July 31, 2013 at 7:23 pm Reply
  15. X

    Well written article, very enjoyable

    July 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm Reply
  16. Thomas Rainsborough

    Good article but slightly marred by the fact that Charles I was at Naseby and whatever ‘actively’ means, I myself consider his actions that day to have been actively taking the field in defence of his crown. He also paid the ultimate price for seeking to retain his crown, if under very different circumstances. As it goes, I’m inclined to think the ECW would work even better for your purposes as that was far more a battle over the future nature of the English realm than a dynastic war between two warrior kings.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm Reply
    1. Mord Fiddle

      You’re looking well Thomas, despite your years ;).

      Charles held nominal command of a small contingent of reserves at Naseby while Rupert held overall command of the Royalist army in the engagement. To my knowledge Charles was not allowed to enter the field of battle itself and fled when Rupert’s infantry was routed and the Parliamentarians continued their advance. Thus he did not actively command, nor did he enter the actual fighting at Naseby.

      Thereafter, as you imply, Charles wound up sold to his enemies by the Scots, and put on the scaffold by commoners.

      In the end Charles was a chess piece in a larger societal struggle (see Milton’s ‘On the Tenure of Kings and Magistrates’). His reign certainly provides a clear transition point between King as ruler and King as national symbol. However, you and I will have to agree to disagree as to whether his mere presence at Naseby constitutes actively taking the field to defend his crown.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm Reply
      1. Thomas Rainsborough

        I’m afraid I do disagree with you, particularly as the reserves were positioned relatively close in, Charles was active in his command of them (perhaps too active for Rupert’s taste!), and attempted to lead a charge before, as you say, being prevented. But perhaps you’d take the much lesser known Battle of Cropedy Bridge? It is not a matter of doubt that the King commanded and, indeed, it was the last battle on English soil won by an army under the direct command of the sovereign.

        In the end, your use of ‘actively’ as a means to brace your claim is highly subjective and I fear dismissing Charles (for whom I hold no brief when it comes to his policies, as you may guess) in this regard is probably to pay too much heed to the last echoes of Parliamentarian propaganda. The undoubted fact that Richard was the last king to die in battle in defence of his crown would put you on unshakably safe ground. Still, as I said, this relatively minor point doesn’t really alter the quality of your piece overall.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm Reply
        1. HCAndroidson

          Your both history nerds .. AND I LOVE IT !^^

          August 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm Reply

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