If recent low CTA turnouts are not related to player apathy or inability to respond, we are left with the possibility that a significant body of the troops in IT Alliance are loyal to someone other than SirMolle; that someone is (or someones are) withholding participation as a political play to gain influence within the alliance. - Fiddler's Edge, December 29, 2010Late Sunday the Machiavellian churn in IT Alliance bubbled to the surface in the form of a forum post by FinFleet CEO Klez leaked onto the Scrapheap challenge forums. Most of you will have read both the original post in Scrapheap and the tsunami of speculation and commentary that has followed it in the forums.
In essence two sizable IT Alliance corporations, FinFleet and X13 declared themselves SirMolle loyalists acting to oppose a cabal of CEOs who had taken control of IT Alliance from SirMolle. They demanded said cabal step down. Ultimatums were given. Yesterday the two corporations parted ways with IT Alliance and as this writing have joined with The Ankou, a former Initiative corporation, to start a new alliance called Raiden.(-RDN-).
There's been a good bit of chatter in the forums about an imminent IT Alliance failscade. I don't see that happening, at least not in the next week or so. There are reports of IT Alliance corporations moving resources to empire or NPC space but, given the wolf at Delve's door, that may be more prudence than panic. I do expect more IT corporations are positioning themselves to leave, but a wise CEO would keep his head down and keep his movements in the shadows.
Internal events have resulted in a degree of defensive indifference by IT Alliance forces in Fountain for the last 48 hours. Test Alliance deployed TCUs in a number of systems yesterday without opposition. However, it is worth noting that Deklein Coalition forces haven't taken advantage of IT's disarray when it comes to taking station systems. As I've written elsewhere viz The Initiative's dealings with -A-, it's never wise to give an enemy room to recover when he's on the ropes. You keep punching until he's a bloodied mass on the canvas and the referee has counted him out and declared you the winner. Deklein may regret not taking greater advantage of IT Alliances's disarray.
Meanwhile IT Alliance is attempting to calm the internal waters and reassure the rank and file. In an audio file produced for public consumption and released to EveNews24, SirMolle reassures IT's members that all is under control. Operations are restarting. The front is Fountain, not Delve and all forces there are to remain in place. FinFleet and X13 are IT Alliance allies. Super secret allies are on their way to support IT Alliance. PL is attacking the Deklein coalition. The Northern Coalition is going to be too busy to help the Deklein Coalition. Rumors that RKK was withholding supercapital ships despite direct requests by SirMolle are "bullshit".
All is well. Really.
The IT Alliance plan at present appears to be to stabilize the Fountain front and engage Deklein Coalition there in a war of attrition. IT would leverage its deep financial reserves, repaying IT pilots for operation related ship losses in an attempt to bleed the DC white. The underlying assumption here is that the IT Alliance are the superior PvPers and, given even odds, can slaughter the inferior Deklein pilots. It should be pointed out, however, that even fights in sov warfare are a rarity. In Fountain, IT Alliance's CTA attendance has slumped, even when spurred on by SirMolle's previous "all in" offensives. Betting the house against repeated experience seems a long throw in the dark.
Further, the plan appears to assume SirMolle can dictate the battle lines in this fight and keep the war to a single front in Fountain. Unfortunately, the number and location of the fronts in this war are not in his control. If IT's opponents open up enfilading lines of attack into Delve and/or Querious he'll be forced to defend, which will bleed off pilots and ships from Fountain. Failure to do so will, at best, allow the enemy to disrupt his supply lines (critical in a war of attrition) or, at worst, leave his ships trapped in their Fountain staging areas.
The debacle at Z3OS-A suggests that, having learned their lessons at the hands of Pandemic Legion, the Deklein and Northern coalitions are the better PvPers when it comes to supercapital engagements. This, coupled with IT Alliance's pre-existing reluctance to risk their supercapitals is another speed-bump on their road to victory.
Finally, there's IT Alliance itself to consider. One might assume that with FinFleet and X13 purged from the alliance, the boil of discontent has finally been lanced and, from here on in, it's all man-hugs and free beer in the IT boardrooms. OK, unlikely. However, if IT Alliance can win big in the next few weeks, many rifts will be healed, and many grudges forgotten. If not, the backbiting and hedging against defeat will continue.
As ever, victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan.