Yes, I know. Much has gone on within CCP.
It turns out the Hosne Mubarek school of customer relations is not a strong business model. Even a loyal customer will take his or her business elsewhere if one takes said loyalty for granted; doubly so if one is outright rude and condescending in the process. Mind you, the genetic material that makes for good customer relations managers likely runs a bit thin amongst a people whose ancestors had names like "Killer Hrap", "Sigvat the Red" and "Arni the Bitter", and whose most famous literary figure was axed to death in his home. Nevertheless, even in Reykjavik the maxim of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar holds true.
The near collapse of Hilmar's business plan and the resulting emphasis on Ships in Space for the Winter Expansion of Eve Online has a been good fodder for Eve bloggers and podcasters, and a good thing; there's been precious little action of any consequence to write about in New Eden itself.
The nullsec board is set in pretty much the same configuration as at midSummer. The DRF and their vassals rest easily 'pon their starry beds, occupying the better part of nullsec and renting it out at a tidy profit. The only change evident from that quarter is the transition of the DRF vassals from NAP to NIP. Delve is still standing in as PvP central. Against All Authorities (-A-) is still in Catch. All in all, the only thing notable seems to be the absence of anything notable.
Mind, I'm keeping an eye on CVA.
Way back in the Spring, Curatoris Veritatis Alliance's then leader Aralis, having failed time and again to reestablish CVA in Providence, left the alliance and the game. The game mechanics, he stated in his farewell address, were the cause of his failure.
CCP have made it clear they have no intention of fixing Dominion and there is thus no hope that what I wanted to do can ever be done. I don’t mind a hard road, I’ve been struggling to keep things going and hope alive since Dominion hit. Trying to do something impossible is just stupid and I don’t wish to stray from the path in Eve and CCP have made it painfully obvious they don’t intend to fix Dominion.Since his departure CVA has returned to Providence and managed to hold onto the space they picked up with the departure of Northern Coalition[DOT] and Ev0ke for points North. Leo D'Green was named head of CVA at the time of Aralis' departure. Indications are that D'Green reversed Aralis' practice of burning bridges with allies and began building a few instead. I'll have to look into whether D'Green is still at the CVA helm. If so he deserves credit for steadying that Alliance and guiding them back from exile in Catch and lowsec.
The fact that White Noise and NC[DOT] still hold key Providence gateway systems to Catch and Kari, and that CVA is engaged in a Sov fight with the much smaller Care Factor (CF) suggests CVA is still in recovery mode and adapting to the present reality of supercapital dominated warfare. However, the decision of many nullsec alliances to wait for the Winter Supercapital Nerf before engaging in serious sov actions has likely given CVA much needed breathing room with which to rebuild both its combat capacity and it's list of allies. It's an ill wind that blows no one good.
Which brings us back to the Winter Expansion. Driven by a need to shore up their subscriber base, CCP seems willing to take a more aggressive hand at curbing the supercapital beast than was previously indicated. Many nullsec corporations and alliances, dispossessed by supercapital fleets and nursing grudges, have been waiting for changes that will make those ships somewhat less than the "I Win" button they are today. The announced changes may satisfy them and make nullsec's supercapital-oriented powers more cautious about calling in the supercapital blob. With that in mind, knives are being sharpened and plans formed.
The DRF, meanwhile, will not be idle. The rich regions they have parceled out amongst themselves and their allies generate vast incomes for those alliances. Even if their supercapital fleets are less potent after the Winter Expansion, their large stockpile of the ships mean they can deploy them with abandon and simply replace any losses. Further, those deep pockets will put the DRF at the front of the line, positioned to outbid all comers when the new t3 battlecruisers make their debut. And then there's out and out bribery. Enemies who can not be beaten or intimidated can be bought in whole or in part.
There is a sound of drums in the deep. War, like Winter, is coming.