Sunday 28 July 2013

Test v Goons: the battle of 6VDT

Am currently sitting on a Titan, one of a small fleet of bridging titans Test is using to move our massive fleet to the capital system of Fountain - 6VDT.

While the CFC has effectively won the attritional war TEST has gathered in huge numbers for a massive fight over this system. We have 1700 in our staging system at the moment and are under orders to continually reship and come back if blown up. The CFC is estimated at 2000 with 760 Megathron battleships. We're in ahacs and prophecies.

Friday 26 July 2013

Is Fountain falling?

The spirited defence of Fountain by Test alliance may be finally coming to an end. In the last few days the CFC has broken out of the north-east corner and made very rapid sov gains. Here's the current sov map:

35 conquerable systems are held by Goons with 2 more currently sovless (and about to fall to the Goons). There are 109 conquerable systems in Fountain.

Perhaps even more ominous is the very rapid progress the CFC has made in the last few days. Since the 21st July they've gained 24 Fountain systems.

What changed?

The key thing that changed is the distraction of our allies. In addition to PL's distraction with the Alliance Tournament PL and N3 have been drawn into conflict in the East against ROGUE and SOLAR. For Test the conflict is unsustainable if isolated - Test + Tribe is about 13000 accounts, the CFC is about 32000 accounts and both wealthier and older.

Another key element, a result of this, is that the CFC is confident about using supercaps. Nullsec game mechanics are an interesting balance of multiple opposing vectors. It's risky to use supercaps if the enemy has subcap superiority, it's painful to grind sov in subcaps, deployed supercaps can get into trouble very quickly because once a fight escalates to the point of tidi your supercaps are trapped in slow motion while reinforcements, new sides and tourists can race to join the fight in normal time.

So is Fountain falling?

As a line member the short answer is I don't know. We are at the point where it will fall quickly unless we get help but at the grunt level we have no idea whether our friends can fit us into their busy priority list.

However losing about 5-6 systems a day would suggest Fountain won't last longer than the Alliance Tournament so hopes that PL will finish there and come save us just aren't realistic.

Can we turn it around? At this stage the best Test can do is slow it down and make it as painful and drawn out as possible while our leaders explore diplomatic options. Maybe SOLAR could be turned if promised Cobalt Edge.

One problem is the lack of players in nullsec sov. With most of the big alliances/coalitions already involved there simply aren't many non-committed players who could change the political landscape.

Thursday 11 July 2013

But he knows you know he knows you know.....

I'd like to talk nullsec politics again because I think there's a sophistication and a depth that people either deliberately gloss over or simply fail to see.

The invasion of Fountain has ground to stalemate. Which could, arguably, be seen as a failure for the invader.

Was it just a mistake?

There's a lot going on under the surface.

Ever noticed how everyone promises Germany they won't attack them?

On June 6th following heavy pressure on Test Alliance from the rest of nullsec The Mittani announced the CFC would be invading Fountain because it wanted the moon mineral wealth of the region. Test had not long before split from the HBC and appeared diplomatically isolated. NC. was invading Test space at 1-SMEB and allied strategically critical space in Querious, cutting Fortress Delve off from high sec. For the 30000 man Clusterfuck Coalition Fountain must have seemed like easy pickings, with Test seeming more concerned about holding Delve against NC. than worrying about its less important region.

Test resisted the CFC for about 10 days with help only from Tribe alliance, a small wormhole corp and a handful of refugees from the disintegrating Raiden. alliance then NC. moved to our support having very clearly done a deal with Test to get Querious unopposed. The rest of N3 moved to support us and PL took a mild interest between Alliance Tournament sessions.

Was the Mittani suckered into an invasion that would turn into an ambush?

Hell no.

(Or at least, lacking inside information I'd be flabbergasted if he hadn't considered it possible).

He knew that a reversal of diplomatic alignment was possible. He may even have suspected that the 1-SMEB thing was a charade staged to draw the CFC out into a conflict it would be hard for them to win.

But knowing that it was still a very good move for the CFC to push Fountain. When a mouse gets hungry enough the cheese on the trap is worth the risk

The curse of the north is that people get fat lazy and unmotivated. A leader's job in Eve is to engineer exciting content. Branch/Fade Pure Blind Deklein is one of the most difficult areas of nullsec to manage because once it's secure no one pushes it. The old Northern Coalition bloated there and died, space rich and self serving.

See, that's what Mittens has to fear most - not that Goons may lose all their allies and all their space but the worse thing of all - that Eve becomes boring for them. As long as the game remains exciting Goons and Test are impossible to completely defeat - look how well Nulli bounced back from losing their space last year.

Now if 1-SMEB was a charade (and I don't know that it was but I suspect) then The Mittani knew that it might be a charade; Boodabooda Vince and Shadoo knew that he knew, he knew that they knew that he knew and so on. It's a very deep game that has seen Shadoo and Mittens circling around each other for several years now, conquerors in a game of space conquest lining up the sides to decide the fate of the galaxy.

It's a deep game that is now heading towards denouement and very interesting to see the subtleties of how it plays out.