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Finding a War in EVE Online

EVE Online Columns - By Ross McDermott on August 23, 2011

Finding a War in EVE Online

The technetium oligarchs built their shining homes on the backs of the humming plates of an orbital moon extractor. When the mineral shift came and the desire for technetium increased dramatically, they found their empires enriched even more than they were previously. In their grotesque arrogance they set about shaping the market to suit their own desires, controlling a precious resource that only they had access to. These were the economic foundations of the Northern Coalition. These were the minerals and resources that allowed them to grow fat, docile and indifferent to the threats at their doorstep.

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In their infancy the walls of their citadels were patrolled by a watchful guard. Their torches bright and their response to hostility was to unleash a hellfire on enemies the likes of which they had never seen. The arrogant 'IT Alliance' had witnessed the Northern Coalitions fury in the north-west many moons prior and it seems ironic that the same arrogance which ultimate led to the defeat of IT Alliance would bring about the same end for the NC.

It was in an act of drunken hedonism that the Northern Coalition jingled its proverbial coin-sack whilst carrying the smuggest of grins in the direction of the Drone Russian Federation, and when the DRF barked the NC responded with a boot heel. You can picture the pompous nobleman kicking the street ruffian while he's down and then belly-laughing as mud greeted the face of the floored underling. It was these kicks, knocks, jeers and sneers that eventually led the urchins to band together and overrun the city. They kicked down the towers and put up their own in its place. The fat greasy technetium derricks would do no more work for the Northern Coalition, instead they'd work for White Noise, Raiden, and Pandemic Legion.

But that war seems so far gone now. Just another empire toppled by the invader, another knife in the belly of the Roman senator... another page written into EVE's history. Only the Clusterf*ck coalition remains. No longer a component of the NC but far more sly and youthful than the elder whose shadow it once stood in. The aforementioned invaders that overran the regions known as Vale of the Silent, Branch and Tenal were stopped in their tracks once they made their bull-rush towards the Clusterf*ck and now they pad back and forth like jackals at the gates of Deklein.

With the war long over and a new empire in its place, I thought myself quite the sneaky nightshade as I set off in my Rifter headed to the far North from the Clusterf*ck's seat in Deklein. I fancied the taste of new blood in Branch. After all, how can you complain about the prospect of PVP at your doorstep? You simply can't. I'd move quickly, silently, and hopefully I'd catch a few fools in the belts or on gates. I've always preferred the life of the solitary player. Soaring out of sight by my lonesome through space, preying on the unsuspecting. Depending on your perspective, I'm either the high-flying eagle or a rat sneaking in the dark. I like both analogies. I’m a flying rat.

I snickered as I went. The Rifter is a viciously efficient vessel. It’s flexible and fast, hard to pin down and it can unload satisfactory firepower. There's a reason that it was and still is a flagship vessel for our newer players. But in the hands of a skilled, high-SP pilot it’s an even more deadly beast and its big brother the Jaguar can be fit to do even more damage, and take even more of a pounding while retaining the same agility. But for now, with my wallet to consider - I favor the Rifter.

I wasn’t wrong about the hounds at our gates. Groups in their ones and twos like to wander around the entrances to Deklein to the North. They happily wait in the tall grass to catch the occasional flounder. I'm not one of those flounders. I'm doing what they're doing, except I intend to do it in the heart of their territory. But as I drift further and further from those systems, and approach what should be high quality space, plump with resources and perfect tru-sec I see fewer and fewer faces and am admittedly confused. One jump into constellation KWCZ-A, a perfect cluster of systems which is prime to be pillaged by greedy souls and all I see are ghosts.

There's no one in local chat, except for maybe one or two who are docked, snug as bugs in rugs and they have no intention of undocking to collect ISK via ratting or mining let along put themselves in danger with me lurking about. In my fervour I set out into the ruins of an Empire to prey on the fresh meat that should now live there only to find that the savages have turned feral or have simply died without the oligarchy that oppressed them to feed them their meals or provide them a reason to live.

But you might be inclined to correct me. After all it was I who stated just weeks before that the newly erected 'Russian Northern Coalition' had deployed to the south to rekindle old grudges. And while that may be true you still need a skeleton crew at home to turn the knobs and take inventory. There didn't even appear to be a night-shift running in the region. The lights were off, no one was home.

Despite my realization I was undeterred. I aligned to the out-gate and warped. Branch would provide me with no joy. There was no one here to shoot, no one here to prey upon and the desert was dry. Perhaps Tenal would provide me the fun I needed, the kills I desired and the satisfaction of my own personal vengeance against the same coalition which in previous weeks had the audacity to primary MY Maelstrom in a fleet battle. Oh yes, I'd find a fat pig to sink my teeth into. I'd have my cake and eat it too.

I was admittedly less familiar with Tenal than Branch. Mostly structured around a large ring of systems with a tail of constellations, making Tenal potentially a strategically fun region to fly in. Images of old British slapstick comedy can be conjured as you get chased around the circle by the local coppers, waving their auto-cannons at you yelling 'Oi, you! Halt!' only for you to spin up your heels and disappear like the Roadrunner being pursued by Wile E. Coyote. I even managed to get just that as a Malediction hilariously attempted to give chase after I happened upon his friend in a Noctis who was trying to salvage a wreck. A brief flirtation with PVP was all it was though. And for the most part Tenal was the same as Branch before it: A barren wasteland, devoid of life.

Venal and Vale of the Silent were little more than distractions, they were too far from home for me to be regularly flying too with minimal effort and they couldn't provide me with the sort of sustenance that I craved. Put simply, I wanted to punch White Noise ratters in the face for my own amusement, but White Noise in their infinite wisdom have chosen to simply leave the technetium wells to pump their cash directly into their pockets, and have chosen to neglect most other aspects of the region.

I suspect in time that they will adopt the renter model like their progenitors before them in the Drone Russian Federation and when that happens I will prey on the unsuspecting stupidity of the hi-sec renters. But until then I'll roam the lonely desert, waiting for the day when the herds return to the lush fields of the North.