Friday, 2 August 2013

What next for nullsec?

With the CFC's stunning finish to the hard-fought Fountain war denizens of sov null are waiting with keen interest to see what they will do next. The ball is firmly in their court.

In the Test camp there's some speculation on what we might do if kicked out of Delve but overall most of us are still up for a fight. Considerable reserves of ships are available and we're using the lull to recover our isk balances for Round Two.

Most analysts expect the CFC to move in for the kill but I think there's good reason to think they may not do this.

Let's consider things from their perspective.

1) First priority is never to take on a war they might lose. The Fountain invasion was launched at a time when Test was in full war with NC. and when PL was increasingly distracted by the upcoming Alliance Tournament. At one point things looked shakey for them with Test/N3/PL rolling back the gains made from Sort Dragon's selling out of his PL friends but a shrewd if expensive deal with BL allowed them to bring Razor alliance down to add weight and skill to their campaign. Razor's expert nado camp of the Karan undock was a significant contributor to CFC ascendancy in the late stages of the war.

The Delve campaign would see PL out of tournament mode and in the market for a fight. Meanwhile look at NC.'s position. They moved away from Fountain to prosecute a war with ROGUE alliance. As you see from the map of Cobalt Edge once NC. finishes conquering ROGUE that puts them right up to the CFC's eastern border, adjacent to Razor space. SOLAR has also been beaten back into submission again.

So the lineup for round 2, instead of a desultory and halfhearted effort in Fountain by the people allying with Test could see them launching their own campaign on the CFC's flank. The CFC management can't want to commit as deeply to Delve as they did in Fountain knowing how open it would leave them in the East.

2) Isk considerations.

While the biggest financial hardship of the campaign was almost certainly suffered by Test several of the CFC pets became seriously poor. Alliances like Li3 forbade pilots to go home to make isk, everyone had to be deployed for pvp or get kicked. Many of these newer alliances had not had the time or the financial skill to build up the kind of isk that Goons had. They may not be ready to redeploy so soon.

3) The supercap disadvantage.

 PL + N3 + Test massively outweigh the CFC super fleet, and would do so even with BL support. Therefore all CFC strategy has to be based around the notion that they can't deploy supers where there's a real risk of escalation. That means they can't deploy supers where there's a risk of subcap parity. Now they were able to deploy supers in the end stages of the Fountain campaign after NC. and PL withdrew. However with those two entities potentially willing to take a super fight they have to look at the logistics of moving supers into an already begun fight.

If a fight has max tidi local time moves at 10% speed. That means that if PL and NC. log on and move their ships several cynos across the universe to join in a fight in Delve taking 30 minutes the FCs on the field have just 3 subjective minutes to manoeuvre their forces to safety. The dynamics of marshalling reinforcements into a tidi-ed fight are like a turn-based game where one player takes 10 turns every time his opponent takes one turn.

And we saw in Fountain that sides don't get through a contested sov campaign very fast without supers. The front barely moved until the CFC felt able to use them.

4) "We've got them where we want them"

TEST in Delve is a known quantity for the CFC. Highly raidable, a source of continuous pvp entertainment without being a genuine threat. A TEST liberated from the shackles of sovereignty could go anywhere, likely moving somewhere as annoying as possible from a CFC perspective (like NPC Venal or Fountain).

Or Test could frustrate the CFC by moving miles away to Curse or Great Wildlands, or to faction war, where the CFC would lose the chance to fight us. And be left with the consequences of having blued everyone for 12 regions.

In my opinion (which is very much a minority one in Test) I wouldn't mind seeing an end to the Goon/Test "forever war" which is pretty ludicrous considering that they are 30k people and we're 12k people (sometimes helped by allies). I'd much prefer a Goon/N3 forever war that we could poke our noses into when it suited us.

Elsewhere in nullsec the Legion of XDeath has driven SOLAR underground (almost certainly temporarily), the Russians of DnD/-A- are slowly rolling over The Dinner Squadron and may be pushing Tribe space soon and everything else is ruled by either the CFC or the N3/PL pact. We're not quite at the blue doughnut stage but we are getting close to there only being two sides in nullsec.


  1. On CFC coms there has been a lot of talk about TEST being the new IRC; a neighbor we can fight with but whose sov we don't really want.

    I think moving into Delve would be bad, an over-reach by the CFC. It would escalate into an all-out war with just about everybody from Querious to Cobalt Edge.

    Besides which the summer campaign season is almost over. A lot of the key players have to go back to school full time.

    I'm interested in who is going to end up living in Fountain. Rumors abound on that front.

    1. We're actually not that bothered who will live in Fountain. We are expecting semi-permanent squad deployments so we'll see Suas, Vee, Eurogoons, Space Violence etc regardless of which pet actually lives there.

      If I had to guess I'd pick FA although they'll probably have quite a hard time if they do move there.