Posted Tue, Jan 26, 2010 by The Mittani
At last, war has returned to Delve. We may look back on the past week and say that this was the beginning of the Third Great War, or we may end up merely smirking and giggling and making one of the de rigeur jokes about how dead alliances should stay that way - consigning Sir Molle's IT Alliance to the same category as Curse Alliance (1 and 2) and Triumvirate (who are up to either their third or fifth incarnation depending on how you choose to count the implosions).
Regardless of how we define this moment in the land of internet spaceships, the galaxy is involved in two major bloc-wars. In the north, just finished scuffling over Geminate, is a coalition of Atlas, Solar Fleet, Red Alliance and some others vs the Northern Coalition. Geminate has been lost to Wildly Inappropriate, that region's NC-aligned former owner; one of the major 'issues' in that conflict was unrecoverable bugs in the core Sov system of Dominion. Not too much fun to be an in-game beta tester and have said beta test ruin your territory.
In the southeast, the IT Alliance campaign against Fountain's residents (Pandemic Legion and Sons of Tangra) has been brought to a successful conclusion. This was an interesting campaign to watch for a number of reasons. While I am hardly IT Alliance's biggest fan, being as they are essentially the respawn of my old bete noir Band of Brothers, they picked an excellent strategy to take the region. Sons of Tangra was a renter alliance, like Shadows of xDeathx or one of BoB's many pets, and thus not reliable in their understanding of sov timing (which, let's clarify, is stupidly easy under Dominion and really shouldn't be a problem). Rather than attack Pandemic Legion directly, IT focused out PL's lowsec R64 moons, which PL didn't bother to defend on account of the R64 crash. When IT came to Fountain, all of their pressure went on SoT, who promptly failed to time their stations. Shortly after the invasion began, corps began leaving SoT without handing over the stations they owned to the main alliance, meaning that Sov instantly turned neutral and IT snapped the outposts up, completely skipping the SBU/TCU/siege Dominion sov process. Faced with a cascade of renter stations slipping to IT without a fight, PL essentially threw up its hands and left the region, with Shamis Orzoz, PL's leader, declaring that he was done with bloc warfare forever and resetting standings with everyone in the galaxy.
So from a traditional warfare perspective, Fountain was different; SoT experienced the usual failure cascade pattern, and did so very quickly, which isn't a shock because they were just renters. Pandemic Legion, however, was a pirate organization that was explicitly not interested in holding territory but somehow ended up taking chunks of Fountain between the two Great Wars. Unlike SoT and most other alliances who have just 'lost' a region, because PL abandoned the place without a fight and appears to have gone back to its roots, it has suffered no loss in cohesion or membership. Apparently they have since gone north to commence shooting Atlas (and anything else that moves) in Geminate.
For several weeks now, two blocs (Against All Authorities and Systematic Chaos) have been attempting to seize control of 49-U6U in Querious from Goonswarm. 49-U6U is like the Gibraltar of EVE, a critical chokepoint between the southwest of the galaxy and the southeast. It has been fiercely contested for years now by a whole variety of alliances that have inhabited the region. However, the assaults were repeatedly repelled; the attacking blocs primarily live in 'early Euro' timezones, where the defenders are mostly American. The only way the attackers could break 49- was by calling an 'alarm clock' operation, waking up at three or four in the morning local time to play an internet spaceship game, which quickly ruins participation and doesn't typically result in successful fleets; the blowback from a failed alarmclock is a thing to behold, as hundreds of players spend the next day fatigued, cranky, and unhappy with their leadership.
One of the blessings of Dominion is that when your enemy stops fighting, their territory changes sides almost instantly (ie, after a couple of days) rather than requiring you to blow up hundreds of undefended towers, like in Delve II. So when PL pulled out of Fountain, Sir Molle found his alliance with a shiny new region. Without pause he called for the full-scale invasion of Delve. And that's when things got interesting, because Goonswarm was abruptly in a (let us put this delicately) absolutely terrible strategic position. Pandemic Legion had been one of GS's primary allies in the Second Great War; not only had they lost their territory, but they weren't even allies any longer, completely off the political scene. Worse, while -A- and Sys-K couldn't break the US timezone defense of 49-U, the IT invasion added more than 4500 pilots into the fray, including nearly a hundred regular US-native pilots. With the Northern Coalition engaged against Atlas and unable to assist and Pandemic Legion gone, Goonswarm abruptly found itself heavily outnumbered even in its prime time.