Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Hail Mary

During the Great Eviction, CVA (Curatores Veritatis Alliance) was not only pushed out of their Providence systems, they shed pilots at a furious rate. After the shooting died down, while CVA’s former holdings were divided up among AAA (Against All Authorities) vassals, CVA numbers stabilized at about 1,065; about a twenty-five percent loss in all.

Unsatisfied with one debacle, CVA persuaded their ally Paxton (Paxton Federation), who’d survived their alliance with CVA during Great Eviction with Paxton's holdings intact, to follow them into a second lost cause. This time the results were never in doubt. Despite some heroic stands by Paxton, the new Providence holders prevailed and Paxton was forced to retreat from their Providence systems.

While Paxton began to look for other opportunities CVA, ever the role-playing zealot, vowed to fight on and take back the Providence (Amarrian sacred ground, you know) no matter how what the cost. Roughly fifty more pilots left CVA, having decided that losing causes, while fun for a while, are a bit of a bummer in the long haul.

People don’t pay CCP every month for a bummer. They pay to have fun.

And this is a very important game mechanic. Like the Romans of old, capsuleers have only one leader: Victory. If your guys are getting their ass handed to them every other week, losing expensive ships and watching as the isk in their accounts dwindle and golden memories of their null-sec past dim, they are not having a good time.

And if you, as alliance leader, just keep yelling “On you cowardly dogs, once more unto the breach,” you quickly become part of a bad gaming experience.

Then your guys will go be somebody else’s guys. 

So, with 1,016 pilots remaining (based on fleet turnouts, I’d venture that only half that number are combat effective; and that may be optimistic), CVA is stuck on the horns of dilemma.

The smart strategy would be to temporize. Cut loose useless systems, use the sov funds to rebuild the fleets and rehab the remaining CVA pilots’ morale and numbers. Make some new allies. Wait for current Providence love-fest to end. After all, the presence of CVA is the glue that holds the new Providence holders together.

Alas, time is precisely what CVA doesn’t have.

Bad CVA decisions have been compounded by more bad CVA decisions. Now, for good or ill, they’ve boxed themselves into a corner. The longer they sit in place, the weaker they get; the best PVP pilots don’t want to sit in low sec playing pirates. After two full scale debacles, CVA’s got to get a win on the board if they’re going to hold onto any sort of a coherent fighting force. And by win, I mean they have to take and actively hold Providence systems.

In American football parlance, CVA is forth and long on the CVA twenty yard line, with only enough time on the clock for one more play.

Yesterday, CVA threw a Hail Mary pass and took X-R3NM from Chaos Theory Alliance. 

Smack-talk on Kugutsmen’s suggests this may have been made possible by internal divisions within Chaos Theory. There may be some truth to this as U’K (Ushra'Khan), rather than Chaos Theory seemed to be leading the system’s defense.  CVA, meanwhile, is claiming support from Core Factor and Paxton.

Paxton, however, having been burnt twice in following CVA’s lead seems disinclined to shed still more blood on CVA’s behalf for old times’ sake. Kill-boards from the dust-up in X-R3NM show very limited Paxton involvement. 

A notable exception was Tarkina Koslix who was a one-capsuleer wrecking crew in her stealth bomber. Unfortunately, one of her bomb runs caught fellow Paxtoneer and interceptor pilot, Giana Malakia, in the blast range. So she has the honor of being listed as a member of a U’K fleet on a kill mail.

The few Paxton pilots who made the battle were likely waiting for relocation orders from their leadership and tagged along for the lulz.  While Paxton is still blue to CVA, I’m guessing most Paxton pilots are happy to be making decisions that don’t involve CVA.

All things considered, unless CVA has some big guns behind it somewhere, it’s doubtful they’ve the strength to keep X-R2NM. Taking it is not enough for CVA. If they can’t hold X-R3NM CVA may be in a worse situation than if they hadn’t taken it at all.

Sadly, it’s not enough to throw the Hail Mary pass; someone has to catch it.

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