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Sins of a Solar Spymaster #62: The Crisis of the Northern Coalition

Updated Fri, May 27, 2011 by The Mittani

Another EVE alliance is faltering thanks to some poor strategic decisions. Find out how it all happened and what The Mittani thinks is needed to save the day in this week's Sins of a Solar Spymaster #62: The Crisis of the Northern Coalition.

The Crisis of the Northern Coalition
Vale of the Silent has fallen, Geminate is long-lost, Majesta Empire and RAGE (for their sake, I have helpfully eliminated no less than four periods in their alliance name) are in retreat, evacuating to Tribute,  the bastion of Morsus Mihi and the core territory of the Northern Coalition bloc. Tribute itself is now at risk, and the eyes of EVE are watching,  wondering if the largest bloc in the game (with some 50k members, depending on how you do the math) is about to shatter in the face of an assault spearheaded by the Drone Russian Federation. Six months ago, the commentariat was espousing the consensus that the NC was almost embarrassingly invincible, that particular flavor of power which causes its enemies to beg for CCP to intervene on their behalf; now that same group heralds the NC's imminent doom. What the hell happened?

Unwise Strategy

From Kalevala to the Gates of Tribute
Peace is death in EVE, even for blocs who proudly self-identify as carebears. Overpopulated and facing no serious external threats, the NC found itself at a crossroads. With the demise of their former ancient foe - Band of Brothers, and later IT Alliance - the borders of the North were more secure than they had ever been.  BoB and IT had launched periodic mass invasions of the North, the so-called 'MAX' campaigns, each of which ended in humiliating defeat for the aggressors.  Nevertheless, these attacks kept the North in a defensive crouch, huddled together in a purely defensive coalition. The North did not engage in territorial aggression like other blocs; they reacted to threats, and were willing to travel far beyond their borders to do so (such as in the Great Wars), but they did not initiate conquests - until now.

In October 2010, Vuk Lau, the leader of the NC, gave permission to his fleet commanders to begin an incursion into Drone Russian Federation space. This attack was to be a purely destructive attack on Solar Fleet bridges and CSAAs, not an attempt to conquer and hold space in the famously undesirable Drone Regions. Responsibility for the invasion was given to a young fleet commander named Cobra2k, who had never led a strategic campaign before; Vuk Lau, who was occupied with the successful expansion of his real-world business, delegated command and control to Cobra2k and stepped back. Since it was to be a 'fun war' of little consequence, micromanagement wouldn't be necessary. Unfortunately for both Vuk and the NC as a whole, this proved to be a disasterous mistake.

United Enemies

Shortly after gaining control of the NC's military, Cobra2k launched an invasion of Kaavelava Expanse, the nearest DRF territory to the NC - territory controlled not by Solar Fleet, but Legion of Death. In order to accomplish the objectives Vuk had given him against Solar Fleet, Cobra2k explained that it was necessary to take and hold Legion space. Like a man who offers to split a beer and then drinks all of it, claiming that the bottom half was his, the NC found itself owning more than half of Kaalevala under the sovereignty of RAGE, a 'young and hungry' NC alliance which was swiftly outgrowing its territory in Vale of the Silent. The growing RAGE needed space for its members and its guests (each 'full' NC member can grant space and standings to three sponsored client alliances, each of whom hopes to eventually become  'full members' in turn), and new territory in Kaalevala was the answer.

Before the NC invasion, the 'Drone Russian Federation' didn't exist; Solar Fleet, Legion of Death, White Noise and Red Alliance spent much of their time feuding or ignoring each other. As Kaalevala fell, the NC provided an external threat significant enough to unify these disparate groups into one organization, now called the 'Solar Legion of Red Noise', with their leadership in one jabber command channel for the first time since the dark days of the Lotka Volterra vs Red Alliance wars. Angered by the disconnect between the NC's words and deeds, Pandemic Legion found themselves a contract with the DRF to assault the NC in Venal, taking nearly all of the NC's tech moons in that region. Overextended and now facing a united front, the NC's incursion faltered and was eventually pushed back by the DRF - a bloc which now hungered for revenge.

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