The last few weeks have proven to be turbulent to say the least in the world of EVE Online. The powers that be, men and women of influence in EVE, reflect upon themselves and their mighty empires with an eye to re-gather their minds. With the north now significantly cooler than it was during the spring, the southern bloc wrestles with itself, and with the eastern DRF.
I'd be lying if I said I was fully informed as to exactly what goes on behind the iron curtain. There's a language barrier that only now has become apparent to me. For all intents and purposes, the English-speaking world of EVE Online knows only that the DRF is a mighty, faceless entity which appears to spend most of its time asleep. A great red bear that people are either too afraid to poke, or too afraid to talk to. So they leave it like that. Why challenge the status quo? After all it's easier to just ignore it.
But what information we do have trickles through the thick wall and into places like Kugutsumen, and Eve News 24. And the word is? War. For a long time, the DRF and subsequent Russian playerbase have quarrelled intensely within their own sphere of influence. Men of power have come forward to founded great empires which intermingle with others, creating a complex web of social structures that, if threatened - can bring the entire bloc down.
Rumor has it that the CEO of Solar Fleet, Mactep, is allowing his ego to get the better of him. Historically Mactep appears to see himself as an extremely important man in EVE Online, and rightly so I might imagine. As a founding member of the now super-bloc power of the DRF, his opinion means a lot. But with many CEOs within his Alliance growing increasingly unhappy with his dictator-like methods, the pressures mounting externally and internally may result in a catastrophic explosion within the weeks to come.
Militarily, the Russian bloc has once again kicked off a monstrous internal squabble that sees Triple A and Stainwagon, formerly a collective power-bloc involved in a fist-fight with Legion of xXDEATHXx and Solar Fleet. This isn't unusual, the Russian houses have long been at war with one another, and never have they all seen eye to eye. Once the technetium fields in the North were secured, the forces of RaidenDOT, NCDOT and WhiteNoise more or less immediately deployed to the South to begin a campaign of pain against the collective southern Russian forces.
I predict we'll see the same old story retold with slightly different variables. The Southern bloc forces will retreat to Stain, a large swath of NPC-owned 0.0 space where their presence cannot be shifted as their assets are kept safe within the Sansha's Naton stations. In time the Southern bloc will once again emerge from their hiding holes an re-take the South, and, as we've seen time and time again, UAxDeath will come forth from the east and purge the land, setting the cycle in motion once again in what appears to be an endless play involving sock puppets wearing commissar hats, who drink vodka and dance the kalinka.
To the Southeast, Delve remains a strange place of chromatic wonder, a shape-shifting Chimera where nothing is as it seems and an endless, vague sea of variables sets nothing in stone. The combined forces or Morsus Mihi and Brick Squad have repeatedly failed to set down and sustain a foundation upon which they can grow. It appears Brick Squad are certainly interested in securing a future in Delve, but with the leadership of Morsus Mihi acting in secrecy, brokering back-room deals and shaking hands with parties unknown - or so they claim - their future and the future of Delve under their watch remains an unknown.
In the meantime as Brick Squad and Morsus Mihi fail to come to an agreement about their best course of action, long-time Germanic EVE Alliance 'Ev0ke' and their seemingly 'special' little brother Alliance 'EWOKS' have taken the opportunity to happily claim sovereignty in several constellations in the region. It appears that MM/BRICK offensives on Ev0ke have been nothing more than angry metaphorical fist-shakes. With Ev0ke possessing a respectable super-capital army, and Morsus Mihi's historical reluctance to deploy their super-capital ships, Ev0ke happily holds its space without true contest.
But there are other parties involved in the Delve salad. To the east of Delve in the region known as Querious, AtlasDOT and their respective pet Alliances have forged a home. But their security is fleeting, and their grip on the region not thought to be strong. Holding sovereignty for many Alliances of this nature has become less about creating a true long-lasting home, and more so about getting what possible moon minerals they can, as well as providing a place for the boots-on-ground membership to make some ISK from running anomalies or shooting NPCs in the asteroid belts. The ISK investment on an Alliance level in the space is minimal, for the future is never truly certain.
The same can be said for the region to the south of Delve and Querious, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, as period basis has returned to the hands of Romanian Legion. Period Basis has always and probably will always be the homeland of Romanian Legion. It's been snatched from them several times over the years but they've always managed to come back together and retake their glorious home, far from the watchful eye of Empire space and far from the bickering of larger power-blocs.
But as all of these Alliances, big and small, volley and jostle for control over the profitable region of Delve, an old threat hovers over the whole party like a knife over a wanting head. As I write this, the notorious Pandemic Legion issue alliance-wide orders to pull themselves from the North. Having satisfied their thirst for technetium, and having repeatedly been made fool of at the hands of Goonswarm in recent weeks, Pandemic Legion sets sail for lands unknown. Their message has been cryptic at best, but all we do know is that they don't intend to trifle with Goonswarm in the immediate future. This could mean that Pandemic Legion is turning its attention to Delve, but the chance of this happening is slim at best.
A little closer to home and The Mittani, CEO of Goonswarm Federation has posted his regular CEO update, explaining how the Alliance and the Bloc is doing on the whole. Things remain stable and pleasant for the CFC. Which is surprising to say the least. For now the bloc level power is content to sit and wait, like a man in a dark room with a cigarette and a bottle of fine cognac. Not necessarily unhappy with his position in the world but ever-watchful, and ever-imposing.
One of the core notes of The Mittani's CEO update concerns me specifically, and my CSM associates by extension. Our concerns over the amount of resources dedicated specifically to 'Flying in Space' inside of EVE Online have come to a head, and tensions between the CSM and CCP over the tone of the Emergency Summit minutes have resulted in continued delays when it comes to publishing them. This has led the EVE Playerbase to repeatedly ask us where the minutes are, and their frustration is our frustration. Suffice it to say, the situation will not be resolved immediately, but we feel that patience has its rewards.
The next few months should prove interesting for us all. The leaves turn and the nights grow longer... we recoil to our hovels to embrace the cold emptiness of space. And as always, "Winter is Coming."