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EVE Online Column: For Whom the Bell Tolls

By Ross McDermott on November 29, 2011

When all else fails in the world of EVE Online, there are two truths, or rather common denominator states of mind that every single EVE Online player can and will fall back upon: Bitterness and resentfulness. Perhaps it's because you can build your world within EVE up to a level of incredible complexity, and slave endlessly for hours as you do. But there is always the chance that you build for nothing; your labour will end in fruitlessness or worst of all that you will have what you created smashed or stolen by those who seek only to ruin your enjoyment for their own personal gain. EVE is truly a Darwinian game; where the strong and witty survive and continue on to grow ever more powerful as players, and the weak and humble are trodden on with ease.

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No other game in the history of gaming can provide you with such immaculate highs, or such devastating lows. But even the great and the glorious all must fall on their swords and bow out as times change. Names like SirMolle, Kartoon, and Remedial are historic figures in EVE Online, and each as powerful as they were or are have all had themselves taken down a peg by the either their own fumbling or the fumbling of those beneath them. As Alliance leaders begin to drop the ball, more often the Alliance itself collapses without appropriate direction.

I can sympathize with anyone who leads an Alliance and feels the pressures of attempting to hold it all together. Some Alliances self-regulate and can be left to function without supervision - Others not so much and are constantly on the verge of collapse without the directorate and the leadership endlessly running back and forth to douse fires. Some variables come from the outside, such as an invasion of sovereign space; some variables come from the inside as grunts on the ground become disenchanted with their alliances leadership. Either way, the numbers are constantly in flux and the future for any one Alliance is never certain.

Recently the rumour mill went into full swing with regards to the apparent oncoming death of Morsus Mihi. I can't say I have any vested interest in whichever way this pendulum of fate swings. On one hand Morsus Mihi are historical figures in EVE Online. They kept the north in good stead for many years and were always reliable and stable. However as their lives in the North came to an end and the technetium wells dried up they found themselves in a strange position, an unfamiliar position, and a downright alien position. Ancient as they were, they hadn't felt the pain of eviction in many years and the events that followed left many of the remaining power blocks feeling the same sort of sympathy you'd feel for an old man who has truly lost his mind, yet in his youth was a sharp, well-kept gent.

After wandering aimlessly for a short while post-collapse, Morsus Mihi slimmed down and turned its attention to Delve where it would begin to forge a new Empire. With IT Alliance having truly gone the way of the dinosaurs and what remained having settled into 'Executive Outcomes' and 'RaidenDOT', each one perfectly functional as their own independent unit - Delve had become somewhat neglected and lacked a central presence to help define the future of the region.

In the interim period many smaller Alliances would attempt to squat in the region, most of them nameless entities who are easily forgotten, but as time wore on - older entities would settle the region too. Ev0ke and AtlasDOT are now strong in Delve and Querrious, and to the south long-time residents of Period Basis 'Romanian Legion' would reclaim their spiritual homeland, and find Nulli Seconda and Vera Cruz as their neighbours. A handful of constellations closest to the young yet powerful Test Alliance Please Ignore would become the new home of Morsus Mihi and Br1ck Squad. The future seemed bright for Morsus Mihi and their friends, until the day that Goonswarm came.

The North is quiet. Too quiet. The supercapital Mexican standoff that I have mentioned time and time again sees no invasions occur within the north. The battle for her spoils has long since settled and homes have been thoroughly cemented for many in her fields. Boredom is a curse for any Alliance of any size. Appropriate amounts of it can actually cause Alliances to shatter and splinter. Boredom is a disease and it must not be allowed to gestate.

With this in mind, Goonswarm decided it would most likely not be profitable and surely not feasible to kick-start a war with their new neighbours in the North. No, rather a nostalgia-driven distraction would be created in Delve, a new playground in which the combined forces of the Clusterf*ck Coalition would do their training in the long dark months of winter. Goonswarm called for war.

Not content to merely pester the residents of Delve and attempt to goad them into 'Good fights', a declaration of intention was made perfectly clear: Delve will become a freeport. Delve will be owned and managed by Goonswarm, but all stations within the region will be open for anyone and everyone to dock in. Delve will be forcibly transformed into a thunder-dome region, similar to the mechanics of NPC Nullsec, but lorded over by Goonswarm. Acceptance of these terms could even mean that entities would be allowed to retain their sovereign space but needed to make their station systems available for all to dock in, neutral, friendly, or hostile. The rules were simple enough, and the deployment had been called. And the first targets in the line of fire would be Morsus Mihi and Br1ck Squad who could most likely still smell the fresh paint on the walls of their new home.

The CFC had no direct complaint with Morsus Mihi, however as they faltered and took their first steps towards fading away rather than burning out, their directorate began to operate in strange and downright unusual ways. A severe and contagious madness had broken out in the leadership of Morsus Mihi. Not content to lose their space, they began to lash out at former Allies and viciously threatened potential new ones. Several flirtatious encounters with Test Alliance Please Ignore CEO Montolio saw the leadership of the much smaller Morsus Mihi routinely threaten and 'step up' to TEST, and TEST was content to laugh at them and wave them away like flies. Morsus Mihi could truly threaten no one, and their capability as an Alliance had been dramatically reduced, yet somewhere in the minds of Morsus Mihi's leadership: They were still running with the big dogs and were still able to make the big calls.

Many believe that it was this attitude that helped to sow the seeds of Morsus Mihi's eventual fate. Their inability to work competently with their own friends, Br1ck Squad saw regular squabbles between the leaderships of both Alliances. With Br1ck willing to make friends and forge new futures, and Morsus Mihi unwilling to associate themselves with those who they considered their inferior, and yet realistically they were no more capable than these supposed underlings.

Yet their stubbornness would see them happy to wage a gruelling sovereignty war with an entity like Goonswarm. Morsus Mihi were fighting for their potential future in Delve, while Goonswarm were simply staving off boredom. After endless battles, many reinforcement cycles, endless rounds of ammo laid into great structures, and much violence: Morsus Mihi broke and declared their efforts in Delve to be a lost cause. In the meantime they were happy to side-step their friends Br1ck Squad whom had been loyal to them, but I feel that Morsus Mihi were not quite so loyal to Br1ck. With their small yet sturdy home in Delve finally burned to the ground: Morsus Mihi decided it was time to go back to the North, but not before a brief stop off in hi-sec. This is where things become vague and strange and the information begins dry up.

Having accepted that they had been siding with the madmen all along, Br1ck decided it was time to deploy to Curse and rethink their purpose as an Alliance. The CFC frowns upon Br1ck Squad. While Morsus Mihi's leadership may be riddled with lunacy, Br1ck's leadership is often vague and undefined. Many still believe that Darius III, a man I actually owe money too in real life is in fact the leader of Br1ck Squad, however he is not - What he is an influential external figure for Br1ck, and to many he is the face of the Alliance. For whatever it's worth, I like Br1ck Squad, and don't think they deserve to be banished for evermore from the good graces of the powers that be. They made a mistake, and they will pay for it for many weeks and months to come.

But for Morsus Mihi, the future may not be so bright. The arrogance of their leadership combined with the chaotic and secretive nature of it has cost them a home, and may in fact cost them their future. As I said before, nothing is certain in EVE, everything is temporary - even you.

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In this bi-weekly column, Ross "White Tree" McDermott of the Council of Stellar Management takes us inside EVE Online to talk about, pontificate on, and ruminate about all things EVE.
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