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Sins of a Solar Spymaster #73: Painful Lessons - Branch Falls

Posted Mon, Jan 23, 2012 by The Mittani

It has been a busy January. My bloc, the CFC, conquered Branch, wresting it from the Russian powerhouse White Noise; I was named the “Most Influential Player” of 2011 by EveNews24, even though the editor-in-chief despises me (there was a little mess involving Goonswarm wiping out his alliance in Delve), and I spent the vast majority of the month in Fairbanks, Alaska in -30 below weather, huddling in front of a wood stove with several layers of socks on while visiting my in-laws. By now, things have settled out to a point that we can safely do a postmortem on White Noise’s stunning loss.

Patroling Your EVE Corp.

The Setup
Branch was an ugly war that illustrated some of the principles I’ve discussed previously in this column. Since the fall of the Northern Coalition, Branch was held by White Noise, one of the primary members of the Drone Russian Federation (along with Red Alliance, Legion of Death, and Solar Fleet). Adjacent to Deklein, the home of Goonswarm Federation, the border was peaceful for many months due to the simple mathematics of time zones. White Noise was primarily a Russian alliance, and their sov timers were all set for downtime; Goonswarm, primarily a US-based alliance, lived on the opposite side of the world. Under Dominion sov mechanics, any attempt at a station would require four consecutive wins (two ihub timers, two outpost timers) by the aggressing party in the defender’s prime; this was unthinkable for either GSF or WN.

Yet the detente between WN and GSF began to deteriorate when WN’s leader, “PsihoZZ KAHI”, went absentee. White Noise had hired a number of English-speaking corporations and attempted to turn itself into a multi-ethnic alliance, most likely to hedge against possible GSF aggression in US Prime. Branch, a fantastically wealthy region because of its large Technetium holdings, should have enriched every corporation within WN. However, only Psihozz’s own Russian corps enjoyed that wealth, and accusations began flying from the English-speaking corps that Psihozz was selling the spoils on Ebay.

Real Money Trading (RMT) is a common refrain in nullsec; it’s always the enemy doing it, or anyone who disagrees with you, or whatever. However, rather than idle complaining, the situation in White Noise erupted in an outright coup d’etat, with the English-speaking corporations forming an alliance called Black Noise and seeking outside help to invade Branch and take it from Psihozz. The CEOs of Black Noise issued an ultimatum - redistribute the moons equitably, or else.

Surrender the Moons

Ultimatums are rarely wise in EVE, as in life. By definition they show weakness; Psihozz was expected to purge the Black Noise upstarts, as their threats to somehow take Branch were absolutely laughable from a military perspective. Despite this, Psihozz acceded to the Black Noise demands and appointed one of their representatives to the White Noise executor corp, empowering his enemies and incurring massive damage to his credibility as an autocrat. Emboldened by his newfound power, Endeva, the leader of the coup, began making the rounds among White Noise’s allies and suggested an invasion of Goonswarm-held Deklein as a method of mending the internal strife paralyzing White Noise in the aftermath of the schism.

GSF spies picked up on these plans, and the CFC bloc (which includes GSF) abruptly launched an invasion of Branch, catching White Noise by surprise.

The Campaign
Nullsec veterans know the dangers of absentee alliance leadership, and the coup-compromised Psihozz didn’t respond to the CFC invasion for two days before attempting to organize a response. The CFC struck from the West Deklein entrance to Branch and swiftly captured the border outpost of 1IX, using it to stage further incursions. The invasion coincided with the holiday season, and this allowed CFC pilots to play during Russian primetime, when at any other time of the year they would only be able to show up for a downtime sov timer on a weekends.

By the time White Noise mustered a defense, their primary form-up system of BKG had been lost to CFC forces. Crippled with doubt, the primary activity of White Noise line pilots was to evacuate their assets to Venal. The last serious operation of the war was the final timer of HB7 station, WN’s post-BKG capital. White Noise summoned their allies and amassed a sizeable fleet - but Psihozz slept past the form-up for the defense he himself was to lead, and his lieutenants stood the WN fleet down without a fight. HB7 was lost, and with it Branch. What was left of White Noise broke and fled to Venal, and the region was purged without further incident, its timers yanked from Russian Prime into US Prime.


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