Monday, June 25, 2012

Fiddler's War

"I intend to demonstrate to this rabble the consequence of actually provoking us to true war.
You have three days to prepare. We – and ‘We’ means ‘Everyone’ – are going to Delve, and it will burn.  No mercy, no respite, no ‘freeports’, just brutal conquest – conquest which will not stop until this threat to our bloc is extinguished.  If that means that we must set all of Catch on fire to remind this ex-NC, ex-IT, ex-BoB excrement of their proper place in the universe, so be it."

- Mittens declares war against -A-, Raiden[DOT] and Nulli Secundus alliances

I write this floating in Goonswarm nullsec space; a song in my heart and a covert cyno generator glowing softly on my HUD.

Mittens' strategy for his war on empire space rests on the supposition that he will be free to call the tempo of the conflict.  His forces, he supposes, will launch attacks at the time and place of their choosing while his targets, the denizens highsec and lowsec alike, will be helpless to do anything but react to his attacks where and when they occur.  His own forces and resources based out of nullsec should be, by common Eve-O wisdom, secure from any credible threat from the direction of empire.

After all, the reasoning goes, highsec carebears haven't the will or the wherewithal to mount any sort of campaign against him.  And even if they did, and could make common cause with some of the small gang PvP elite who ply the lowsec roads to nullsec, the latter are too fractious and scornful of large fleet PvP operations to present a credible threat to Goonswarm's nullsec holdings. 

Thus Mittens feels himself free to turn his attention from empire in order to lead the Deklein coalition into a new nullsec war, this time in Delve/Querious/Fountain against the forces of Against All Authorities (-A-) and Raiden[dot] who deployed there over the weekend in support of Nulli Secunda.  The Delve scene has been slowly escalating for some time, driven primarily by the limited availability of meaningful sov war action elsewhere since the wheels fell off the Drone Russian coalition.

You'll recall that Red Alliance, driven from their drone space holdings, attempted to resettle in Delve and was battling with Nulli Secunda to that end.  For want of other mischief, Pandemic Legion pounced on Nulli and Red Alliance, playing the spoiler against both alliances, and were soon joined in the spoiler's role by Test Alliance Please Ignore.  Red Alliance shifted the bulk of their efforts to Querious while Nulli Secunda has carried on fighting in Delve.  Over time there's been a slow build up of Deklein forces joining the fray in Delve, and Nulli has been hard pressed. 

Now, with -A- and Raiden riding to Nulli's rescue, Mittens has announced publicly that Goonswarm will go "all in" on the conflict.  One might wonder why he would do so.  After all, the advantage in the conflict was arguably already with the Deklein/Pandemic forces even after the arrival of the -A- and Raiden reinforcements.  Adding fresh Goon forces to the fight needn't have been done in such a noisy fashion.  It seems that Mittens wishes to not merely win the fight for Delve, but win it in a manner as decisive as the Branch campaign earlier this Spring; to shatter the troublesome Raiden once and for all and land a crippling blow on -A- in the process.  Further, announcing a total war posture publicly allows Mittens to claim ownership of the conflict despite the fact that so many Deklein forces are already engaged.  Thus, though Mittens arrives late to the feast, the place of honor and the laurels for a Delve victory would go entirely to him. 


Regular readers of The Edge will recall that announcing an "all in" campaign is a door that swings both ways.  Having taken ownership of the Delve campaign, Mittens has staked his reputation on not only winning it, but winning it in a profoundly decisive manner.  Anything less will be a severe blow to Goonswarm morale.  Responding to Mittens' announcement, some wildly confident Goon posters in various forums are already declaring victory, though the all-in deployment has yet to occur.  A wise leader would recall what I've said elsewhere as to how much mass hubris has in nullsec.

War is, by its nature, uncertain.  Nullsec alliances, yet uncommitted, could get pulled into the Delve campaign on either side.  Secondary fronts may open in support of the anti-Goon forces.  Any number of nullsec entities, seeing Mittens fully committed in Delve, may take the opportunity to attack him elsewhere for a bit of payback or a few lulz, or a little bit of both.  War gives birth to the unpredictable, makes mock of the mighty and turns conventional wisdom on its head.

Which brings me to the subject of irony.

I have often pointed out that Goonswarm has a long strand of carebear in its DNA.  For many years a central tenet of Goondom has been that even the least pilot contributes to the greater victory; that in sufficient numbers, humble pilots flying humble ships can make life hell for even the best trained and best equipped enemy given determination, grit and a few good leaders. This is the idea that put the swarm in Goonswarm.  And amidst all that shiny technetium, and the supercaps and Tengu fleets it buys, it seems an idea Mittens has forgotten. 

Now, despite his own alliance's history and culture, Mittens turns his back on empire in order to strike at Delve.  Despite having raised a storm of ill-will there, he is confident that this rabble of carebears and pirates will not dare raise their hands against him while he's away.  And even if they did, what possible harm could those humble pilots flying their humble ships do the man who sits astride nullsec's Technetium throne?

Rise up you bears. Rise up.


  1. Forget it, the bears won't raise a finger. They always avoid beig shot at. Always and by all means available. Which is sad, really.
    Would be fun to see Deklein raided by angry carebears, while I fight the Goons on -A-s side in Delve.
    But won't happen.

  2. "War gives birth to the unpredictable, makes mock of the mighty and turns conventional wisdom on its head."

    Watch this space.

  3. We're watching. If the call goes out, I'm in and know some others interested in trading black eyes with mittens.

  4. 1. Goonswarm tried tengu fleets for about 3 weeks before giving them up. Their current fleet doctrines are the same t1 hulls as ever, plus limited t2 numbers for specialised roles.
    2. High/Lowsec alliances are unfit for war. They have no FCs, no logistics backbone, no centralised fleet comp (you'd be lucky if half flew even a drake) and low numbers of players with nullsec fleet pvp experience.
    3. High/Lowsec have no cap fleet. The caps they have are t1 fit carriers.
    4. Sov grinding is slow, especially without cap support. It took Goonswarm two weeks to capture a small region without resistance and they're one of the best in the game at it! A fresh-faced coalition could be reasonably expected to take 5-7 days per system.

    Most importantly, if such a coalition loses, there will be such a loss of morale that nobody from low/highsec will challenge a nullsec alliance again.

    1. 1) Which Goonswarm corp do you fly for? Given their recent success with Tengu fleets and since Mittens called explicitly for Tengus in his general mobilization announcement, you'll excuse me if I take this as Goon-speak.

      2) Heh. Heh, heh. I know a number of alliances and corporations that would be happy to disabuse you of most of these notions. True, many of them lack nullsec PvP experience, but you and I know that solid FCs can offset that initial disadvantage. And once they've been in a few nullsec scraps they'll be flying like bitter-vets.

      3) Well then, it's a good thing all the Deklein cap pilots will be in Delve. Of course they can keep supercaps in Deklein and clone jump the pilots back in order to hot drop a bunch of carebears. But gee, that means those pilots and ships wouldn't be flying against -A- and Raiden. Hmmmmm. It'd be awfully inconvenient for Deklein if the bear raids were coordinated with -A- and Raiden actions. Wouldn't it?

      4) Well I'll poll the bears and find out if they're interested in taking sov. If they are they'll have to hope the Delve deployment lasts more than a week or two.

    2. "4. Sov grinding is slow, especially without cap support. It took Goonswarm two weeks to capture a small region without resistance and they're one of the best in the game at it! A fresh-faced coalition could be reasonably expected to take 5-7 days per system."

      Apparently, you never heard about what happened to Branch.

    3. 2. High/Lowsec alliances are unfit for war. They have no FCs, no logistics backbone, no centralised fleet comp (you'd be lucky if half flew even a drake) and low numbers of players with nullsec fleet pvp experience.
      3. High/Lowsec have no cap fleet. The caps they have are t1 fit carriers.

      Are you serious?
      I happen to know of multiple high/low sec alliances who have large capital fleets, certainly not 't1 fit'. They have experienced FCs, up to date fleet comps and plenty of nullsec experience. I can think of at least one alliance which regularly uses maelstrom fleets with huginn and basilisk support.

      Simply writing off all high/lowsec players as useless and incompetent is a daft and frankly stupid idea.

    4. Being a non-goon (non-CFC even), I missed that Tengus are still in use. Mea culpa.

      I'm not convinced by your other rebuttals though.

      You talk about low/highsec having FCs, and it's true, some nullsec FCs "retire" and lead small gangs around lowsec. The FW participants among them see 50v50 battles once a month, and the rest top out at a 20 man gate camp! (A senior Gallente FW friend saw his first titan in two years a few months ago). Nullsec FC relies on large fleets, intel from spies, looking out for bubbles, super drops, etc etc. These things Just Don't Happen in lowsec, and it's disingenuous to claim they're easy to learn.

      And it's not "experience" the fleet member lacks, but the right ships with t2 fittings. Every 20 man corp has their own doctrine, together they'll form the ultimate kitchen sink rabble with drakes alongside dominii alongside ZERO dictors/hictors (what lowsec pilot has trained or used them, one of the hardest ships to fly in null fleets?).

      You also discount CFC capitals too quickly. Cynos let capfleets project power across half the map, let alone a quarter of it. Travel time from Deklein to Delve is measured in figures less than an hour. If 10 carriers are needed up in Dek, they can get there and back without issue.

      In short, even if high/lowsec can bring the numbers (and let's say they'll need fleets sizing 100+ to be a credible threat, goon home defense fleets hit 50 even while deployed), they have to learn from rusty retirees, convince the rabble to train for drakes, learn how to fight with null mechanics, show enough supers to keep the Goon titan hand stayed.

      Oh, and did I mention the need for a reimbursement fund?

      If you want to see what's required for a new powerbloc to form, check out TASHA. That is a group of carebears turned credible nullsec power. But even after months of work they could not hope to seriously dent deklein if they picked this moment to try.

  5. Damn, what a song Mr. Fiddler, as always a pleasure :-)

  6. So many innacuracies and wild predictions!

    First, your idea of highsec having any impact upon our campaign is laughable: they will be too busy gratefully mining veldspar or running missions uninterrupted. if they could thole organisation and risk, they would already be in nullsec. Thus, your irony is reflective at best.

    Second, regarding your "what new powers may swing the conflict?" ignores the fact that the enemies of the Test/PL/CFC bloc already outnumber us in certain areas, and that our escalations have been reactive. Doesn't matter: Delve will still be ours.

    Third, the attempts of you and others to straw man our war aims reflects badly on poor AAA: "well, defeating the whole South and East on their home territory is easy: anyone can do that! But can they take every region in Eve? If not they will have failed!" Thin stuff.

    1. Since I make no predictions your statement that my predictions are 'wild' is obviously wrong.

      Do keep believing your first point. It will make this easier.

      Your second point quotes a statement I have not made and then argues (badly) against it. Also, see my post above with regard to declaring victory in advance.

      As to your third point, it's rather incoherent, but I think you're saying that Mittens doesn't have to win big in order to live up to the hyperbole in his war declaration. I say that, having set such a high bar for himself, he's obliged to clear it.

  7. Well, Mord,

    Thanks for getting back to you strength--talking about nullsec happenings instead of the desperate drivel of the past two months.

    I do see a really big flaw in your logic. I'm sure you know that even an "all in" call will only see a relatively small percentage of members deploy. Deklein hardly becomes a ghost town full of helpless children and elders as you imply.

    And chequers is right. A hisec/lowsec fleet that suffers a loss will lose members. Even if they "win" a fight but suffer losses will still lose members. Goons are conditioned early on to expect to lose lots of ships and to whelp entire fleets. Even if morale gets temporarily low, they still reship and come right back. It's why their numbers stay strong despite losses that would crush other alliances. A hisec/lowsec alliance better hit fast and hard before they lose motivation in the face of overwhelming and unrelenting numbers.

    Of course you know this all plays to The Plan. Mittens just wants targets to keep the swarm busy. Every lull in external action has seen some combination of TEST vs FA vs GA vs FCON vs Black-Mark vs SMA, etc. He actually wants to be pressed in nullsec a bit. The only thing better than deploying elsewhere to fight is getting to fight close to home. If the swarm has nothing to shoot, they shoot themselves.

  8. I have no particular stake in the whole matter, neither am I involved with any NullSec alliance.

    I would however like to point out however that that the Goons have two things that really speaks in their favor of succeeding in their goal, Things I fear their opponent lack:

    Strategical AND tactical knowledge:
    Wars are not won purely on the battlefield. It's the leaders ability to dictate the flow of the whole was, as a WHOLE, that inevitably decides the outcome.

    Goons are Goons. They're people like the rest of us, but mostly they seem to identify as Goons. Their willingness to take a personal loss to further the Alliance is a huge asset for the leadership.

  9. I'll be interested in what you post when absolutely nothing happens.

    Because as it stands this is a "well, they COULD definitely win if they wanted to" post - which is pretty laughable and I imagine you'll backpedal when nothing at all happens and still claim the CFC nearly fell.

  10. Very well written, a tad optimistic maybe but well written!

  11. If you can't be bothered to build up and lead the opposition yourself, go hire some mercenaries or something.

  12. Burn VFK!

    If somebody had a LOT of ISK and started offering rewards for Goon gankings and gankings of Goon POSes, and if various highsec and lowsec (and even nullsec) alliances were able to get some ISK back for ship losses and were to start throwing fleets of varying skills and compositions into nullsec in large numbers, it's at least conceivable that the Goons would have a distributed enemy that was as hard to fight back against as the distributed and uncentralized "Hulkageddon" force is for highseccers.

    I don't know if Mittens and the Goons have pissed off the Eve player base as a whole quite enough just yet for this to happen, but he's on that path.