It started out innocently enough. With the Delve thunderdome reaching new levels of heat and major players like RaidenDOT and Pandemic Legion rolling through the region, the chance to have new fun was offered. In an act of grace, Pandemic Legion made a tempting, yet simple offer to all Pilots of the CFC: Fly with us. Fly with us and we'll reimburse you. Fly with us and you too can feel as though you're a part of the legendary Pandemic Legion. Fly with us, and we'll give you the fights you crave. All well and good, and to many the offer was genuine. A new bro-pact would be formed, bitterness and hatreds set aside in the name of a singular, common goal: Fun!
And so, fun was had. Some followed, most were hesitant, and few considered the political ramifications of their actions. It took two pilots, two from Test Alliance Please Ignore and one from Elite Space Guild - The Alliance I happen to be the CEO of - to get caught in the crossfire before it all came tumbling down. After a night of fanciful free-flying through Delve, the fleet of Pandemic Legion, TEST and ESG were ready to pack up their bags. Good fights were nowhere to be had and tiredness and boredom were beginning to take hold. Sleepy pilots were ready for their beds, so ships were hauled towards the system known as 1DH and all the gates were green.
That was until intel reported that a Fatal Ascension fleet was on its way down the pipe. Not eager to force TEST and ESG to fight their long-time allies in the CFC, the Pandemic Legion FC ordered the respective TEST and ESG pilots to de-cloak first, and warp off to the station to avoid confusion should the Fatal Ascension fleet engage the Pandemic Legion fleet. What happens from here on out becomes fuzzy. TEST and ESG pilots maintain that, as they de-cloaked, they were shot at by FA. FA Fleet Commanders maintain that TEST and ESG pilots happily engaged the FA fleet alongside Pandemic Legion. What is known for sure is that friends killed friends, and what happened next was to set in motion a series of unpleasant events.
The situation escalated to directors in the relevant Alliances. Not eager to have ESG’s position within the CFC damaged, I promptly called for the pilot within my Alliance who was involved to have his access revoked from the relevant intelligence channels, unaware of the full story in greater context; I acted on the information that was presented to me then. I removed my Alliance from the numbers and immediately stamped out any fire which would have Elite Space Guild painted as traitors in any way. My loyalty wasn't going to be questioned today, or any other day for that matter.
TEST, on the other hand, were not so willing to simply discipline their pilots and let it go. Irritated by FA's disregard of context, and the conflict of stories between the pilots, Test Alliance Please Ignore CEO Montolio decided he would not discipline his pilots, and he would not dictate who could or could not fly with his Alliance. Tempers spiralled out of control and the ultimate result was that Test Alliance Please Ignore and Fatal Ascension declared a reset of positive standings to neutral standings, the game was afoot. Two entities within the CFC became hostile to one another. And as of writing this article, they still are.
Eager to not take sides, but simultaneously irritated by the prospect of friendly pilots flying with long-time enemies Pandemic Legion; Goonswarm Federation declared that both sides would be given roughly a week to get the aggression out of their systems. Satellite entities within the CFC have been told to not get themselves involved within the quarrel, with Alliances such as GENTS and ESG declaring neutrality in the conflict.
Whilst hope remains that both sides will eventually work through their conflict via bloodshed and through diplomatic means, one can't help but ponder Pandemic Legion's participation in this event. Whether or not PL's intention was to create rifts within the CFC is, at this point, unknown. Though on unofficial EVE community sites like Kugutsumen, PL directors and FCs maintain that they have no interest in causing internal conflicts within the CFC, rather, they simply wish to provide content for all, and cause trouble for none. Intrepid pilots of the bloc can only sit and wait, hopeful that issues will resolve themselves without the need for further conflicts, or escalations of political unrest.
The CFC has a long, storied history and exists now a separate entity away from what it once was - The furthest western arm of the Northern coalition. Together, the CFC has seen the fall of IT Alliance, formerly Band of Brothers and forever enemy to Goonswarm Federation. The coalition is responsible for breaking Ev0ke's long-time stranglehold on Cloud Ring, and in its mightiest of moments managed to avert disaster by preventing Pandemic Legion and the combined forces of the Northern Drone Russian Federation from spreading into Deklein and beyond. It serves no one in the CFC for the bloc to be split in two, except for those who would prey on its weakened state.
Outside of the complex political happenings in EVE, CCP continues to show us new tidbits from the dungeons of their design studios. We were treated to the knowledge that four new battlecruisers would be joining the game come winter, but unlike their counterparts in the battlecruiser tier of ships, these vessels would be able to fit LARGE Turrets, as opposed to medium ones. A firestorm of intrigue swept across the community following the announcement. Large turrets, on battlecruiser hulls? Strange days ahead my friends. I like to imagine they'll fill the role of gigantic destroyers: Dangerous and fast but also fragile. The more skill a pilot has when handling these hulls, the better it seems.
In addition to this, it seems that CCP made a minor blunder with their recent deployment of the test client update and inserted the list of changes coming in the foretold winter expansion into the cache of the game’s client. Clever little poppets from Reddit.com data-mined these changes, and granted us unparalleled access to the minds of the developers at CCP, and potentially exposed their future intentions.
We learned that CCP intends to powerfully buff Hybrid weaponry, increasing their damage and tracking, while simultaneously reducing their power grid and CPU requirements, potentially allowing hybrid hulls to overcome crippling fitting issues that many players have complained plague the ships. And, in addition to this, the respective hybrid-based hulls themselves would have their stats tweaked. Additional speed and agility is thought to help blaster-based vessels close the gap and operate in the challenging ranges they were designed too with more efficiency than they had done in the past.
To add even more sweetness to the pie, CCP plans to release new tech II modules. Any module you can imagine which doesn't have a tech II variant will likely see their incarnations come winter. Many of these new T2 modules also have strange additional effects, such as the T2 bomb launcher being able to fire torpedoes. Interesting to say the least. Not only that, but new art assets and the eagerly awaited Time Dilation system promise to bring new levels of depth to EVE Online.
So while strange days may lay ahead for the CFC and friends, the future remains bright for EVE as a whole. Dramatic improvements to Flying in Space are on the way, and dramatic events in Politics in Space follow closely behind them. Exciting times to be a pilot in New Eden, friends, exciting times indeed.