Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Loose Ends

"Where do you go -- what do you do  -- the night after you saved the universe."
    -- Howard the Duck 

Having neutralized Mittens (you're welcome) and sown deeply the seeds of Goonswarm Federation's destruction (regrettable, but necessary) I have put that corner of New Eden firmly in my rear-view mirror.  However I confess that, having finally reclaimed that time, I find myself a bit at loose ends.  Not that my life is any less busy that it was before, but nothing has really fallen in place to fill the time I set aside to write about Eve.  

Faction warfare appears to be more active than before, but that's largely due to ISK farmers swelling the ranks of winning factions in order to milk plexes for loyalty points; not so much playing a game as gaming a system.  There's no passion in the fights. It's just big FW factions kicking around little FW factions when the little guys show up, and soulless ISK grinding when they don't. All a bit of a snooze. 

Nullsec is similarly dull.

In the North, the Deklein coalition is grinding away at Northern Coalition[DOT] alliance and their DOT Brothers coalition (DOT Bros). The DOT Bros often wins engagements in terms of the ratio of Deklein ships destroyed to their own losses.  However Deklein has engaged the DOT Bros in a type of warfare in which winning on points doesn't matter.  Leveraging their numeric superiority in both sub and supercapital fleets, Deklein can absorb the ship losses inflicted by NCDOT and company, and happily does so; exchanging them for NCDOT real estate in Tribute. Somewhere along the line the NCDOT leadership got the idea that they could sit out the Branch war between the CFC and their one-time allies (Raiden[DOT] and elements of the splintered Drone Russian Federation), and then make a separate peace with the victors.  Seems not.

In the South, the other half of the CFC coalition, Test Alliance and their allies, including Pandemic Legion, are applying pressure to their borders with Against All Authorities (-A-), Stain Wagon, Red Overlord and the rest of the Stainwagon Coalition.  The purpose here seems not to be conquest (yet) so much as keeping the Stainwagon Coalition occupied until Deklein resolves matters in the North with NCDOT (and, possibly, Solar Fleet). Once operations in the North are complete, and assuming other events don't interfere, I look to see the members of the old CFC reassemble and bring their full strength to bear on Stainwagon.

Now, in the words of Bobby Burns:
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain:
 The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men. Gang aft agley
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain...
I've written elsewhere that irrational choice has a way of dragging events off their obvious and expected courses.  And there are often chains of events not immediately evident that can upset the conqueror's apple cart.  However, there is an awful lot of momentum driving the current direction of matters in nullsec, and even an unexpected upheaval will likely only delay matters.

As of this writing, CCP Greyscale's dreams of small alliances holding their own patch of sovereign space in nullsec are distant at best.  In fact almost every change impacting nullsec since that workshop was held has pushed such possibilities further out toward the horizon.

More on that next time.