I'd like to explore the political and military implications of a reset within The Imperium, Eve's utterly dominant nullsec alliance. I won't explore the process by which such a reset might happen other than to say it will happen if Goon leadership (I'm pretty sure the lesser partners can't unilaterally secede) want it to happen and that I believe it is one option among many that they are thinking about.
Currently the Imperium comprises 42,738 players which is 43.19% of the population of players in nullsec coalitions. This proportion is growing, I remember it being 41% when I looked a few weeks ago. The next biggest is Stainwagon coalition at 13%.
If the 16,209 Goonswarm Federation, the Goon alliance, split off they would comprise about 16% of nullsec players, still larger than any non-Imperium coalition and would be surrounded by their former partners, comprising about 27% of nullsec players.
They could choose to retain some alliances in a much smaller coalition, effectively they can pick a size between 16% and 43% and be that size since it's unlikely any alliance spared the reset would then independently decide to leave. |They'd instead be grateful that they dodged a bullet.
A reset would not necessarily need to be a messy reset. Removal of the reset alliances from blue standings and from integration within Goon services doesn't preclude there being loose arrangements in case of some massive PL led bogeyman coalition, doesn't preclude infrastructure non-aggression deals. The status of former coalition partners could vary, eg Goons could have friendly neutrality with SMA with conflict limited to roaming fleets while persecuting FCON in Branch and burning them out of their space.
Any reset would have to consider recruitment. With no recruitment controls it's likely that everyone in a reset alliance would simply jump ship and join Karmafleet or some other easy way in to The Imperium. However it would be very useful to poach certain high performing individuals and the SIG system could be used to identify people who are worth picking up.
So early warning signs of a reset might include notable non-Goon players in Imperium sigs like Reavers and Eurogoons being encouraged to join a Goon alliance. Or lifelines could be thrown out to these selected people by SIG leaders like Asher and Mr Vee at the moment that Order 66 is issued.
Here's a list of Imperium alliance in order from the most likely to be purged to the least likely.
FCON - long has had an uneasy relationship with Goons including a principled stance against high sec ganking. Largely non-English speaking Europeans so perhaps not TMC readers.
Executive Outcomes - small almost dead alliance.
RAZOR alliance - one of the old leaders of the NC, the coalition that used to own the space before Goons. Have never been entirely comfortable in the CFC and often get assigned shitty border duty jobs - in the 2013 Fountain War they were assigned to stay home in Tenal.
The Initiative - highly independent alliance driven into the CFC by default due to the breakup of the HBC. They've always seemed to be keeping one foot out of the door anyway. For much of this year they have lived on the other side of the universe from the rest of the Coalition.
Space Monkeys Alliance - once had a well deserved reputation for being pvp averse carebears they were turned around and now are pretty effective and developing an ability to operate independently. They were fighting PH and Waffles and Brave with J4LP before the rest of the coalition dogpiled in and holding their own. Recruited massively this year to become one of the largest alliances in the game (maybe preparing in case they have to live independently?)
Circle of Two - Serbian led alliance with a reputation for being ballsy. Not very integrated into the Goon mythology. Would make excellent opponents, the ability to attack people like this is why they might do a reset.
Lawn - laid back alliance with a reputation for being nice fluffy people. Probably would not handle being thrown to the wolves well.
TNT - small alliance heavily co-dependent on Goons. They've been integrated for so long they don't seem to have done anything as an alliance for years.
The Bastion - set up as a way to collect refugees from collapsing CFC alliances when Li3 and Gents collapsed. The Mittani is alliance exec and controls their assets, Sion directs their broad policy. This could form the equivalent of Tribe to Goon's Test, an alliance that is kept around after a reset.
Resetting some or all of these alliances would give Goons an immediate and challenging sov war as well as potentially a huge influx of members (even with recruitment closed people would use vouches or contacts to try to join Goons). Some of these alliances might be able to hold their space (perhaps SMA), some are likely to simply relocate (eg INIT). We would then see a Goon war of conquest taking much of the same space that the Imperium owns now but exclusively as Goon space.
How would the reset campaign go?
First priority I think would be securing the route to high sec through Fade and Pure Blind. This means conquering space currently held by SMA as well as shoring up space currently used by Section 8 renters.
Next I think they'd burn FCON out of Branch. It's too dangerous to leave an independent and hostile FCON at the back of Deklein and it's premier space. Plus I really don't think Goons like FCON much and vice versa.
Tribute Vale and Tenal could be left to former partners and to serve as nearby frenemys to raid and spar with. These regions could see wars of their own which Goons could third party or join in late.
Would it be fun?
Burning FCON out of Branch, spectacularly revealing in grand speeches evidence of plots and treason and of course the chance for the rest of us to poke around in the resulting mess and blow up spaceships.
And the Goons would still be unbeatably secure with their enormous super fleet, their unsurpassed diplomatic espionage and organisational skills and well developed defensive set up.
And best of all we'd see genuine titan battles as regular events as the titan revamp comes in.
I really do think it's the adventure nullsec is waiting for.