Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.
I got a message from someone Saturday morning, asking when I was going to write another post about Providence.
“I’m not,” I wrote back. “I’m pretty much done with Providence. Providence has become dull and predictable. It’s the New Jersey of nullsec. There’s nothing interesting going on in Providence.”
An hour later Ushra'khan (U'K) was disbanded.
For those of you who need a bit of catch-up, it seems a Hydra Reloaded mole spent about a year infiltrating U’K and working his way up the alliance hierarchy to chief diplomat. The administrative authority associated with that position allowed him to a kick out all U’K corps and pillage the alliance accounts and hangers. Enemies of U’K were given access to U’K stations and structures.
Now, strictly speaking, U’K was not “disbanded”. There are about 90 New U’K pilots still flying under the U’K logo; with 80 of those occupying the alliance’s executor corp. U’K systems and stations are still in place and under the control of New U’K. I prefer to think of this event as the U’K Purge (or UP for short).
To avoid confusion and keep the players in this little drama straight, I refer to U’K members and corporations who were kicked from the alliance during the hostile takeover as “Classic U’K”. U’K members and corporations presently flying the U’K flag post-takeover I refer to as New U’K.
Classic U’K pilots and corporations have called in help from the rest of the New Providence Holders (NPH) coalition and Against All Authorities (AAA). Classic U'K elements are presently attempting to a) regroup into a new alliance and b) take back their Providence holdings from New U’K. Pending stand-up of a new alliance, a number of Classic U’K corporations have joined Circle of Two (CO2), while others like Griefer-Be-Gone and The Littlest Hobos have chosen to mark time as stand-alone corporations.
CVA partisans, as is their wont, began Saturday by pre-emptively declaring victory and speculating as to how long it would take to scour Providence of the NPH.
However rather than waiting for CVA and Hydra to make the first move, Classic U’K pilots and NPH alliances quickly organized and were first on offense. Based on where major actions are occurring, the NPH objective appears to be not only retaking U’K systems and stations, but eliminating CVA sovereignty from any systems in Providence and turning them into a full-time lowsec alliance.
The fighting to date has been bitter, with neither side apparently able to take and hold the momentum.
NPH attempts to take systems have been blunted by the presence of a Razor alliance armored HAC fleet fighting for the Hydra/CVA coalition. The Razor players have been going after NPH fleets besieging sovereignty structures. Such fleets, configured for maximum DPS rather than pvp, have been easy targets for the Razor HACs and have taken a flensing.
Meanwhile, the Hydra/CVA coalition took a turn on offence and attempted to take the two Providence gateway systems R3-K7K and N8XA-L. If you look at a map of Providence, you’ll see that taking those systems would have given Hydra/CVA an unbroken string of systems running through the 04-H4M constellation – effectively controlling access to Providence by way of Misaba.
NPH and Classic U’K were able to gather a fleet, relieve the besieged sovereignty unit and destroy the Hydra/CVA sovereignty blockade units.
To date, little real estate has changed hands. The NPH has taken CVA system TU-RI6 and the New U’K system 4B-NQN. However those appear to have been targets of opportunity, lost to defensive indifference.
NPH and Classic U’K appear to remain solidly united and seem resolved to drive the interlopers from their territory. If they can find a means of countering the Razor HAC fleet they should be able to put the Hydra/CVA forces back on their heels. Classic U’K appears to be reorganizing on the fly and I’d say have a good change of reconstituting their alliance under a new name.
Meanwhile the Hydra/CVA side appears to be hoping for a replay of BOB’s demise, in which a vast horde of alliances, motivated by anti-BOB feelings and/or the draw of easy loot gobbled up Delve while BOB attempted to simultaneously reconstitute itself and defend.
If Hydra/CVA can keep a running fight in Providence going long enough, and the state of play elsewhere in EVE gets dull enough, bored pilots may wander down to Providence for a bit of pewpew drama. That could put additional pressure on the NPH and strain their coalition.
So far, the NPH’s luck is holding and they’ve refused to play BOB to Hydra/CVA’s GoonSwarm. The Classic U’K network of friends and allies has held fast and the horde of external invaders has not appeared. However, the clock is running. The presence of good Sov warfare fights in Providence is drawing attention. NPH needs to keep the combat tempo brisk and start taking systems if they’re going to discourage new actors who might tip the balance of power from entering onto the Providence stage.
Some bloggers have commented on the delight the EVE community at large seems to have taken over the U’K Purge; finding it out of proportion with the situation. Classic U’K is only a middling alliance and, while prone to the odd act of arrogance, is a far cry from BOB or GoonSwarm. CVA and Hydra are hardly champions of sweetness and light. Why, then, all the cheers and jeers over an event that has more to do with weakness in alliance management software mechanics than weakness in the U’K alliance itself.
The answer, in a word, is shadenfreude.
Delight in the misfortune of others looms large in the collective EVE psyche. Like many other behaviors we try to repress in real life, many players give shadenfreude free reign when protected by the anonymity of EVE. Hulkageddon is, in effect, shadenfreude as spectator sport. For good or ill, the misfortune of others pricks the pleasure center of a lot of EVE players.