EVE Online is no stranger to war. "How goes the war?!" said one General to another as he peered over the bulwark. "It goes." the first General replied.
And so it does. Two weeks ago I reported on the initial call to arms that the Clusterf*ck Coalition had raised and the general order that the invasion of the regions known as Branch and Vale of the Silent would commence. Two weeks later, and my predictive musings have come true and the dead lay in their droves on the battlefield of Branch. Almost all of them belonging to WhiteNoiseDOT, former owners of the aforementioned region, victims of extreme unrelenting violence and conquest.
The storming of Branch had few setbacks; WhiteNoiseDOT's almost non-existent leadership resulted in the general member-base of the Alliance left to fend for themselves. Now only defending their home in a ram-shackle pots and pans army that stared down the barrel of literally thousands of Maelstrom battleships. Occasionally their friends to the East, RaidenDOT would offer a token showing of support, complete with Titans and Supercarriers designed to take pot-shots at the CFCs offensives. They even managed to actually defeat a CFC fleet, but only after the CFC had achieved the strategic objectives in the system where the battle played out.
The future is unquestionably grim for WhiteNoiseDOT, as they now haemorrhage member-corporations and numbers. Disgruntled and irritated with the leaderships lack of direction, internal conflicts and an overwhelming force having washed across their home from literally next door; The once mighty powerhouse of WhiteNoiseDOT has been thoroughly, and unquestionably defeated at the hands of Goonswarm Federation and its allies. You could call me up for bias here, what with my Alliance also being a part of the CFC - But denial of the facts at hand would simply be just that: Denial.
But that does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination -- That the forces which live in the far north are done, and all tired out. RaidenDOT's meagre participation in the defence of Branch belies a considerable structural regrouping in the region of Tenal. And their ventures into Vale of the Silent have significantly slowed the second front of the CFC invasion: The front led by TEST ALLIANCE PLEASE IGNORE. While not suffering great tactical losses, the front is faced with a continued stalemate at the hands of the RaidenDOT forces which are deployed in the regions defence. RaidenDOT appear to have a desire to draw a line in the sand in Tenal and Vale of the Silent. Branch was a necessary loss, perhaps, in their eyes - But now the game truly is afoot.
So far the RaidenDOT tacticians’ actions in Vale have been undoubtedly clever. Whether or not they intentionally sought to catch TEST + Friends in a defensive war is irrelevant, never the less: They have. After TEST managed to quickly break OWN Alliance and secure the systems which they once possessed, TEST + Friends set about reinforcing and taking a scattering of systems across Vale, and possibly more importantly: A large swathe of prized technetium moons. With systems and moons secured, RaidenDOT took the opportunity to begin immediately reinforcing those systems and moons with their immense Supercapital and Titan might. Immediately requiring the Vale wing of the CFC to turn up for defensive timers, and spinning the dime from an offensive war to a defensive one.
Whether or not RaidenDOT had intended to do this from the start remains to be seen, given that RaidenDOT is made up of the last vestiges of competence from within the former IT Alliance, and the bulk of the former Alliances high-sp pilots; it is entirely possible they did. However, it is equally likely that they simply stumbled upon pure dumb luck in the process and now, with relative success - seek to impede the progress of the second wing of the CFC offensive until something happens.
The problem is that something needs to happen sooner rather than later for RaidenDOT. Goonswarm is not likely to sit idle and consume Branch and then advance no further. WhiteNoiseDOT are merely an element to be dismissed, a stone to be trod over - The gap between Goonswarm and what remains of their most ancient nemesis: Band of Brothers, IT Alliance, or as we know them now: RaidenDOT. Raiden are holding out for a hero, a miracle, and have made what appears to be several unpleasant back-room deals with people who are just as likely to stab them as stab their enemies. Should Raiden fail to acquire a sufficient means to completely remove TEST + Friends from Vale of the Silent, Goonswarm and TEST are likely to meet in the middle of the north, and then RaidenDOT will face the combined and unmitigated might of the Clusterf*ck Coalition, a united might that - so far - has proven completely and totally undefeatable.
But this isn't the whole story. The whole painting shows us many more parties involved in this spat and many more elements compose the structure. There is a third wheel to the 'Drone Russian Northern Coalition', and that wheel is an Alliance called 'Northern CoalitionDOT', or 'NC.' They're allied with RaidenDOT and WhiteNoiseDOT, and live in the region of Tribute, which is right dab smack in the middle of all of this war being waged. The fires burn around them and they're quietly twiddling their thumbs. All of this thanks to the political jostling of TEST ALLIANCE PLEASE IGNORE and their friendship with Pandemic Legion and Northern CoalitionDOT which saw them form the 'Honeybadger Coalition', and lead excursions into the Southern regions before the new northern had war kicked off.
Pandemic Legion and Northern CoalitionDOT continue to play in the sandbox of the South, while the Clusterf*ck Coalition rampages across the northern regions, leaving Northern CoalitionDOT's home completely untouched. The Clusterf*ck have proven to be merciless enemies, but also extremely valuable and reliable friends. Northern CoalitionDOT's lack of interference in the affairs of the CFC with regards to the northern war may just prove to ultimately be beneficial to them, and they will most likely be told they can keep their homes as a reward for simply 'Not being a nuisance'. But only time will tell.
As for the rest of us? We can only sit and wait to see how the future of the north shapes up. Either RaidenDOT will find the friends they need to continue to survive in the north - Or the CFC is about to get a whole lot richer, and a whole lot more prosperous, and a whole lot bigger.