Updated Mon, Feb 08, 2010 by Space Junkie
The Politics Of 2009
Exeunt Band of Brothers
The most important event from the perspective of any null-sec alliance was the destruction of the storied Band of Brothers alliance. Haargoth Agamar's February betrayal paved the way for Goonswarm to abandon the southeastern regions and live in Delve. The power vacuum in the south-east was quickly filled by the nascent RED.Overlord and Atlas alliances. In many ways, this made null-sec more stable and easier to enter into. The "BoB" modus operandi was, in short, to attack weaker alliances that might be a threat in the long term, or to assist the winning party in a war against other alliances. Their removal meant that there was one less old money alliance throwing weight around in null-sec to keep people in empire. For most of the year, Band of Brothers was off the map.
In late November, IT Alliance mobilized to attack Fountain. As the successor alliance to Band of Brothers, and with much of the same leadership, it successfully recruited numerous corporations that were previously part of the BoB coalition. They even poached the occasional corporation from allies, which caused some friction. As of this writing, IT has secured two stations in Fountain, and has the second-highest member count in of any alliance.
With that kind of firepower, it seems inevitable that they will eventually find some kind of space to settle in, though it is possible that IT leadership might be unwilling to settle for anything less than the top of the mountain, a position that they seem unlikely to achieve at this juncture. If BoB leadership is unwilling to settle for what is within their means, they may be destined to fall apart.
Other Political Developments
The past year also saw Legion of xXDeathXx consolidate control of the majority of the drone regions, though some space is still rented out or controlled by allies. Old-time alliance KIA was knocked off the map, finally closing its doors Period Basis, under a complete leadership melt-down.
Rising star Atlas Alliance filled much of the much of the southern regions, and pushed an ailing Red Alliance and Minor Threat out of Insmother and Scalding Pass, respectively. Atlas is presently feeling things out in moon-rich Geminate, perhaps with the intention of gauging the northern response. If the local Wildly Inappropriate alliance and their Razor buddies can't dissuade them, it is even possible that Atlas may decide to abandon their old space and move back into Geminate, where their alliance began. This would again leave a large power vacuum in the south that, coupled with the changes to sovereignty mechanics, might give a number of smaller alliances an opportunity to find their feet in null-sec.
What To Expect In 2010
Technetium is the new dysprosium, making the north (particularly Venal) a very rich place. This is not necessarily to the locals' advantage, entrenched or not -- more concentrated wealth means the potential for more internecine warfare. Venal's status as NPC space also means that other alliances could more easily take up residence there, as well. Red.Overlord seems poised to make a power play for the Venal moons, and the northern alliances may not have the wherewithal to stop them.
Because the high-end moon fix has made warfare and, indeed, just controlling space more expensive to alliances, it remains to be seen whether war-weary older alliances will be able to adapt as fresher faces with more lucrative profit models make a go of controlling space. NPC regions, especially those with moons, may be more attractive to PVP-based organizations.
There is also evidence that some of the dinosaurs of null-sec won't be able to adapt to CCP's null-sec meteor: As of this writing, there is every indication that the francophile Tau Ceti Federation alliance is on its way out, or at least on its way down, with the loss of several important corps and indications that more are to follow. Can old alliances led by burned out war veterans hold onto their space without POS to hide behind, and shrinking corporate wallets? Pandemic Legion (and their renter-allies, the Sons of Tangra) seem to be similarly burned out, with weak showings from their membership and bitter infighting amongst their leadership.
Auld Lang Syne
This coming year will see Dust 514 released, making video game history. It will bring us new T3 ships, and probably new capitals. It will see new players join and find their niche, and old players trying entirely new aspects of the Eve Online. It will see the rise of new alliances and the fall of the old. Borders are shifting and coalitions are re-aligning along new lines in accordance with the new end-game battle-space. And who knows what other surprises CCP has in store for us? Any way you look at it, 2010 is going to be an interesting year.