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EVE Online Column: Blood on the Snow

By Ross McDermott on December 13, 2011

When CCP added the Drone Regions to EVE Online, the scuttle to acquire them can be said to have taken its time. With hundreds of systems full of mediocre moon minerals and NPCs that did not reward the player with flat ISK, but rather a large handful of mineral compounds - The community was perplexed at best. How were players supposed to survive in these regions? Who would fight to defend them? Who would care? Few bothered to answer that question, but one Russian man saw what the purpose of the space truly was: Industrialist nullsec heaven. That man is arguably one of the most famous men in EVE, that man is arguably one of the best Russian politicians in EVE. That man is UAxDeath.

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When the original Red Alliance fractured internally, many corps were set free adrift amongst the stars, some of them fell into Goonswarm, Against All Authorities and more, but two major groups settled into what is known today as 'Shadow of xXDeathXx' [X.W.X] and 'Solar Fleet' [SOLAR] using their combined might they swept through the Drone Regions and quickly staked their claim, then feverishly prepared to defend the regions whose profitability they had figured out. Yet the true invasion from the rest of EVE never happened, it would come to pass that Drone Space would require a logistical operation of proportions so immense that few could be bothered to take up the challenge, and as time wore on and the powers that lived there grow their roots ever deeper into the fertile soil it became obvious they would not be shifted.

As time wore on the roles of both Alliances took shape and their purposes became understood. UAxDeath envisioned a place where industrialists would be free to build to their heart's content with the benefits of Sovereignty to improve and strengthen the quality and profitability of their ventures. By grinding up Drones and processing their loot, impressive quantities of minerals both are and common were revealed, giving the region an ability to produce minerals for building far faster than mining did.

In addition to this, X.W.X began the effort of shaping and building the 'Renter' model and bringing it to its most advanced stage. Under the renter model, a corporation is obliged to effectively take control and make their homes in a single system. They work their metaphorical fields, paying taxes to the 'Lord' (the Alliance) and then using what’s left to fund their own survival. It's important to note that I personally find this system abhorrent - but I can't argue with whether or not it works. For many people in EVE Online all they have ever, or will ever know is a renter system where they are but peasants under their respective lords. But they can be secure in the knowledge that they will have relative safety for as long as they are able to continue to pay their bills. An industrious and creative corporation can utilize all of the available resources in a system to maximum effect. A lazy and or incompetent corporation certainly won't last long enough to see their bills be paid on time. It's a money man's game and the witty will happily survive.

However right from the beginning, the methodology of X.W.X CEO of UAxDeath and SOLAR CEO Mactep were apparently in conflict. The way both men saw EVE Online was dramatically different and as the years wore on it became ever more apparent. SOLAR are a tight, well oiled military machine. Having viciously conquered that which could not be acquired by friendship - Such as the region of Cobalt Edge, and always prepared to fight whatever threat came their way; Solar were and still are a powerful force to be reckoned with in the Russian sphere of EVE Online. However X.W.X's approach was often more subtle. The tactic here was diplomacy, and using their vast wealth extracted from the corpses of Drones to influence wars and shift unstable politics in their favour, and in recent months hire the prestigious Pandemic Legion to fight a war they were unwilling to soil their hands with. Indeed, the elegant politician was truly sharing his bed with the violent warrior and their grievances for one another were mounting.

There would soon come an incident of incredible proportion - the sort of incident that makes EVE Online a famous game that's stories are responsible for me being here right now - telling you about them. A long-time director and key man in Solar Fleet decided it was time to end his affiliation with the powerful Alliance and as he walked out the door he would help himself to some cash from the Alliance warchest. That is to say - He effectively helped himself to all of the cash from the Alliance warchest. Solar Fleet was stung for a number somewhere between 900bn and 1.3 TRILLION ISK. To translate that to real money, via the PLEX market, assuming plexes are roughly 400m ISK, and plexes are roughly $15, the player made off with roughly $48,000. Naturally Solar were not necessarily amused at having more or less their entire warchest, and a number that is actually a significant percentage of all of the ISK in the game happily removed by one disgruntled director.

To add insult to severe injury, Solar issued a coalition wide statement telling any and all Alliances in the sphere of influence not to allow this individual anywhere near them ever again. It was a statement that was directly ignored by their closest ally: Shadow of xXDeathXx. In an act of what amounts to a political stab in the back, X.W.X welcomed him with open arms, and happily gave him a home. Under normal circumstances this would be an outrage so vile that war would have immediately broken out. But Solar maintained a conservative side towards the end. Fighting a war in the south alongside X.W.X and unable to use their now vacant warchest to fuel a war of revenge against their neighbour, they took the slap in the face as best they could - and begun the long game of waiting.

In more recent months, several large corporations within X.W.X had banded together to form their own Alliance called 'No Value'. Usually this would be considered an insult to their forbearer, but they showed no intention of acting as a thorn in the side of X.W.X - Contrarily so they intended to create positive political ties to the Alliance that birthed them, and requested that they be welcome and use their former home as their temporary home until time and proper manoeuvre granted them respite. UAxDeath ever the politician that he is - Granted them their hall pass and ordered all subsequent Alliances in the coalition to set this Alliance to positive standings. A baby had been born! And they would all celebrate! - Everyone except Solar Fleet. I like to imagine that Russians sometimes work on a dilated sense of justice. Perhaps its being buried in bunkers in the long cold winter of the mighty wastelands that does it. Perhaps it's just natural and inherent. But a Russian will wait as long as he has too, like a slumbering bear for his revenge and this would be it.

Unwilling to set standings for No Value, and looking like it wasn't going to happen any time soon: No Value set about doing what any good Alliance does - Create content for its membership, and that content involved shooting nearby hostiles. Those nearby hostiles were Solar Fleet. No Value had acquired space in the area during this time, and Solar Fleet set about sieging and reinforcing those systems as revenge for No Value's irritating actions. In response to this, No Value simple transferred the systems over to X.W.X, leaving their home systems safe and leaving the active PVP core of the Alliance with nothing to worry about defending.

The enemy had made his bed behind the invulnerable wall of X.W.X, and X.W.X had made their feelings clear: We are the top dog in the Drone Regions. We built this place with our hands and worked our very flesh to the bone turning what others saw as trash into gold. We are the mineral Kings, our word is law. Solar Fleet looked towards their long-time Allies, fevered with rage and simply reset them. The Drone Russian Federation, one of the oldest and most powerful entities in EVE Online has officially entered an absolute state of Civil War.

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