It's perhaps a little early but I thought it would be interesting to look ahead to Eve after the war.
I think the fall of VFK and YA0 on Friday, which seems utterly inevitable now, will mark the end of an era. The Age of Superpowers will end, the new age will be - The Age of Mercenaries.
Many of the most powerful alliances in the game are all very open to working on contract - PL, TISHU, MC. Fozzie sov strongly supports the mercenary playstyle where groups of highly incentivised people can devastate larger groups of more casual players. Huge accumulations of wealth have left a number of individuals trillionaires. Some of these trillionaires are ousted bitter Goons who may well be in the market for purchasing a little payback.
So we will be seeing a balkanised nullsec where local conflicts often get decided by the interventions of mercenaries on contract. After all why lose all your space worth hundreds of billions to you when for a reasonable fee you can make the other guy lose all his space?
The MBC is comprised of a mix of people who are happy staking a claim on a map and growing rich off their land such as Test and Snuffbox and people who prefer to work on contract, pvping while others worry about things like ticks and taxes, such as Mercenary Coalition.
So let's look at how things will shake up after the war:
This is simple, such groups will go where the contracts are and in-between contracts will ramble around the galaxy making themselves a nuisance. Expect to see rich banker/industrial types start to drive a lot of Eve. People like Eep, Gevlon and Goon trillionaires like Aryth, Mynnna and Weaselior will direct most of us towards people they feel angry with. (I say like Gevlon but sadly not Gevlon himself as that player has decided to move on from Eve and look for new challenges in another game).
The low sec people, the small gangers, the various people like NPSI Spectre Fleet will move on to new content. There's just not much to fight here - we're not supposed to shoot each other because it's meant to be all v Goons and the Goons are either hiding or bringing 90 interceptors which isn't all that entertaining to fight. There's already minor tensions and standings issues, someone from MOA got rather cross with us this morning. I've lost almost as many ships to "friendlies" as I have to The Imperium. I think we'll all be quite glad to get back to the clarity of NBSI with hardly anyone blue.
The Sov-holders will settle in. Test have the choice of Deklein or Vale. Personally I think they should take Deklein but Vily sounded quite committed to Vale on the Jeffraider show this morning. Pandemic Horde will have 2 campuses: Fade and Querious and may close one down, whichever seems the less entertaining. MC and CO2 seem quite happy in Tribute although I believe MC will always prioritise contracts over ratting sov. The grr Goons veterans MOA and OOS will probably hold a few constellations and there's enough space over for new alliances to move in and squabble for space. TRI PL and NC. will probably not take sov but at this point can do more or less what they like, and will probably start laying deep plans for tomorrow's metagame.
Enemies of the Imperium focus on the Mittani and Sion and say "how can people trust those awful men?" The directorship is not The Imperium, The Imperium is the community of players who like and trust and rely on each other in ties going back over a decade.
I think Goons is basically broken until there's regime change.
The recent decisions have been terrible. The Kickstarter, the Viceroy programme, the decision to abandon Vale (which effectively knocked two of their own alliances out of the war). The baffling decision to "cheap out" on this war. They've defended the most lucrative space in the game with frigates and Hurricanes. The brain drain.
GEEZ GOONS YOU'VE BEEN BUILDING YOUR WAR CHEST FOR FIVE YEARS AND YOU SEND YOUR GUYS OUT TO DIE IN FRIGATES?????
Next Mittens has been doubling down on bad decisions.
Look, here's roughly how the Goons could have got themselves out of this mess. Appease as many people as possible - the IWI guys would have gone away if exRiver had eaten a bag of candy dicks on stream. Silly but get it over with and get back to business. Alternatively they could have kicked SMA, an alliance they've ended up losing anyway.
PL have always had a door open to Goon diplomacy, maybe something could have been negotiated.
Enemies, most of whom aren't getting SRPed could have been overwhelmed by strong doctrines which trade isk efficiently, T3 cruisers, battleships etc. Lots of people who are invading are individually poor but we're not losing many ships so we're able to keep going.
Mercs could have been hired. It's worked pretty well for the other side.
NB the Goons are the richest players in the game, totally eclipsing the people funding their enemies. They have multiple individual trillionaires.
So here's a plan: regime change, mend diplomatic breaches, stop actively trying to be hated, move to NPC Delve and wreck the neighbours until it's safe to take sov there. That would put them in striking distance of two of the main MBC enemies - The Culture and Pandemic Horde - while the move would see most of the MBC not bother to follow them provided we stop getting wound up by someone promising to hunt us forever and drive us sobbing out of Eve.
The other plan, the plan Mittens has outlined as the future of the MBC is just utterly painful, so much more painful for his own members than for the people it's meant to hurt. Never have sov, never settle, keep fighting the entire universe. It's a plan designed for an epic narrative that's more about page hits and book deals than about protecting the interest of the people he leads.
While they go down that path they will shed people. People joined the Imperium for a certain playstyle - an extreme hardcore style where you live in low sec and wreck people with awoxing, fast raids and permanent pvp is such a switch. It's more hardcore than even dedicated pvp corps like Waffles and utterly unsuited to the member base. Plus the declarations that everyone in the MBC will be hunted down one by one and utterly destroyed mean that the MBC will in a sense never break up.
See the MBC isn't really a coalition. We share no doctrines or comms and coordination is minimal. We're just a bunch of people who shoot at almost everyone and who have organically accepted we should not shoot each other while there's Goons to kill or Goon stuff to burn. I still get gate camped but if I tell them I'm entosising they let me go. We don't need to be in a coalition to prioritise Goon targets and that will happen so long as Mittens keeps promising to destroy us.
So for me regime change in the Imperium is inevitable and the interim, months of pain and internal strife in low sec while everyone farms them isn't that important.
After the interim new Goon leadership will, I think strike out for sov. It will be a more diplomatic, less domineering Goonswarm, probably just a single alliance rather than a coalition.
The current member alliances will either get "widotted" - folded into the big Goons alliance - or will depart like SMA CO2 and now FCON. INIT will definitely stay independent, they've always had minimal dependence on the coalition. TNT, LAWN, EXE and RAZOR are not, I think viable. If they're smart they'll widot themselves into an alliance that isn't hated like FCON. If they're mulishly loyal they'll widot into Goons where they'll have a tough year but will never not be an interesting part of Eve's rich political tapestry.