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Sins of a Solar Spymaster #15: A History of the Second Great War, Part One

Posted Thu, Jun 11, 2009 by Dalmarus

The Second Great War is inarguably the single most catastrophic event in the history of New Eden. It is the largest war in EVE, with more than 30,000 pilots directly involved. It is the most destructive, with more assets destroyed, trapped, or ruined in the last few months than in any other conflict - and the sheer concentration of that devastation in time and space, the density of the carnage, defies description. It is a war with more regional scope than any other; the major players are powerblocs from every sector of the galaxy, with fronts and brushfire wars in the North, South, and East. Not even the normally peaceable Empire regions are immune to the war's influence, as the market disruption caused by so many assets changing hands has thrown the economy into a dizzying, scarcity-induced spike. Immense fortunes have been won and lost, notoriety achieved, reputations ruined.

There is no question that a history of the event is premature. Histories are written by the victors, and there is no clear victor to this conflict. Nonetheless, this is an attempt to illustrate what has transpired over the past four months, to take a series of events of dizzying complexity and break it down into discrete chunks that can be analyzed.

Whose War is it, Anyway?

First, there was the Great Northern War. It was a bitter conflict, but this was 2004; not many people played EVE. The GNW was heralded as the first 'Great' war in New Eden, and out of its aftermath an alliance called Band of Brothers (BoB) was formed. BoB considered themselves the best in the game, and let everyone know it; this resulted in a host of enemies, particularly the group now known as the Northern Coalition (NC). The GNW saw the creation of some of the first multi-alliance powerblocs.

By March of 2006 there were four major powerblocs in EVE: The Northern Coalition, Band of Brothers and their associated 'pets', Lotka Volterra (LV) and the Southern Coalition, and Ascendant Frontier (ASCN) and their allies.

In July 2006 (amidst various other wars) BoB invaded Syndicate. For two weeks they camped a corporation of 500 newbies from an internet comedy forum into the stations of S-U8A4. Boring easily, BoB declared victory and left; the newbies - of Goonfleet - vowed revenge. Two months later they left Syndicate to join with Red Alliance and Tau Ceti Federation to form the RedSwarm Federation, a new powerbloc opposed to both Lotka Volterra and BoB.

Meanwhile, BoB destroyed Ascendant Frontier with embarrassing ease. While the NC and the RSF had little but contempt for ASCN, BoB's acquisition of ASCN's former territory substantially upset the balance of power. Worse, Goonswarm spies found records of a conversation between the leadership of BoB and LV discussing the possibility of a secret treaty against the RSF. In retaliation, the RSF and the NC concluded their own hidden mutual defense pact, vowing that each bloc would invade BoB should they make an aggressive move. Then, determined to strike first, the RSF decided to try to exterminate LV before a BoB/LV pact could be formalized. While at first BoB watched to see if LV could handle the RSF on its own, when LV entered a failure cascade, BoB intervened, triggered the RSF/NC defense pact, and all hell broke loose.

Between March 2007 and April 2008, the First Great War tore the galaxy apart. BoB and Lotka Volterra struggled against the Northern Coalition and the RedSwarm Federation, resulting in the deaths of many alliances, including Mercenary Coalition, Dusk and Dawn, Firmus Ixion, Lotka Volterra and RISE. Band of Brothers was brought to the verge of extinction, but successfully repelled the invasion of Delve by coalition forces. Licking their wounds, each bloc claimed that they had won the upper hand. RedSwarm Federation and the Northern Coalition had cut BoB's territory from eight regions to three and feasted on the spoils; BoB laughingly held to the fact that their enemies had failed to unseat them from Delve, the most valuable region in the game and BoB's home.

The Second Great War abruptly began with the disbanding and seizure of the 'Band of Brothers' alliance and the invasion of Delve by the Northern Coalition (Morsus Mihi, Razor, and Tau Ceti Federation), Goonswarm, Pandemic Legion, KIA and Zenith Affinity on February 4th 2009.

The Setup

Compared with the First Great War, BoB's regional footprint was much smaller at the outbreak of the Second.  In the First Great War, BoB had lost most of their former territory save for three regions: Delve, their home base, and the pet-inhabited buffer regions of Querious and Period Basis. Pandemic Legion (PL), sworn enemies of BoB, were poised on their border in Fountain, which had once been BoB's. The Northern Coalition had recently been provoked by BoB during a failed invasion of NC territories - the so-called 'MAX' campaign -  between July and November 2008. Goonswarm had become bloated with territory, holding with seven regions in the southeast, from Esoteria to Scalding Pass, many of which had been pried from BoB or BoB pets by force.

February 3rd 2009 saw the war focused in Detorid and Feythabolis with Goonswarm being attacked by Against All Authorities (-A-) and BoB. This intermittent offensive had been going on since November, with no significant strategic gains or losses on either side; it was pos warfare at its most dull. The next day, everything changed.

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