The Rise and the Fall
EVE Online is a place of continuous turmoil. For as long as I can remember, I have always heard about an Alliance in the south that is legendary for one thing, if nothing else - Persistence. Failcascade after failcascade, invasion after invasion they hold on, rebuild and eventually come back. That Alliance is Against ALL Authorities, or -A- as they're more commonly known. I don't pretend to be an expert on what happens in the South of EVE Online. For all of my time playing this game I believe I've spent a maybe a month there spread out over the years. From flying with Goonswarm in Curse during my infancy as a player, to comedic hustling Feythabolis Gas out from under the nose of Red Alliance for a few beautiful weeks in the winter - and finally to my short stay in Delve. This is the limit of my experience with the South and its inhabitants.
I've always seen the South as this strange briar patch of regions. Some of them exist further away from Empire space than any other region in the game, the Deep South is a hard and distant place to live in, filled with considerable logistical challenges, and long nights with little to do than stare at the wall. Unlike the North which has seen considerable heat as of late, the South is cold until Legion of xXDeathXx and Red Alliance move to punish -A- and their associates for some minor trespass, as they have done historically.
The defeat and ruination of Against ALL Authorities at the hands of XIX & Friends is a tale that is told and retold, a video that is wound and rewound again and again and again. But it appears that this time, in this episode of the Days of our Lives-style tale of betrayal and joy that -A- seems to perpetually live in, they might not be beaten back so easily.
After the Fall of Delve, the region became home to a series of squatters. The largest and most powerful of which, Pandemic Legion and Ev0ke, stayed only for a brief period of time. Recuperating instances in which both Alliances could take time to rest and relax before moving on to bigger and better things. After Ev0ke left to assist RaidenDOT in their retaking of branch (a move I'm confident they now regret) Delve once again fell to whoever could simply be bothered to take it. And parties amicable to the plight of Against ALL Authorities have comfortably taken up residence, and their strength grows uncontested as TEST Alliance and their ancillary Alliances to the North in Fountain have no interest conquest in Delve and Querious. Never before has -A- had quite a significant party of 'friends' to fall back on, at least not that I know of.
Enter: The great Russian war. With XIX and Solar Fleet going at it like two vicious dogs in a cage, -A- had the time to rest and rebuild while the scuffle went on. But it appears that -A- has a long memory, and a battered one at that. Persistent 'bullying' by XIX and it's associates over the years have left -A- with a bitter taste in its mouth, and now, as we enter the spring -A- seeks to repay the debt of blood to Legion of xXDEATHXx and their friends for literally years of torture and violence at their hands.
So far -A- has only made a series of knife-jabs at the weakened empire. Pandemic Legion, Northern CoalitionDOT and Legion of xXDEATHXx form the base of strength in a strange war that turning them on the defensive, and with all of the vultures flying overhead, they likely feel its only a matter of time until the mighty beast lumbers and falls, and when that happens, -A-'s newly formed and still immature southern bloc will be there waiting for it.
Further afield in the North, the fires of war have truly slowed down to rolling embers. Cold once again returns to the technetium fields, as RaidenDOT's 'Grand Crusade' to retake Branch has all but ground to a halt. Wars of attrition are hard to fight in EVE Online. When a soldier is unhappy with the decisions of his commanding officer, he can simply defect to the other side, or worse yet - Remove himself from the war all together by leaving the corporation/alliance and venturing off to greener fields. Thusly these sorts of long, drawn out affairs of minor tactical gain and loss can quickly tire and bore an Alliances constituents, meaning that meaningful and correct decisions must be made to avoid both external AND internal crisis.
I had suspected that cultural elements may eventually begin to decide the fate of the Northern war long before it became a slow, unpleasant slugfest. The Clusterf*ck Coalition has one singular point of strength that dominates all others when it comes to keeping the grunts happy: Culture. Not necessarily real life nationality, but rather Internet culture. Both Goonswarm Federation and TEST ALLIANCE PLEASE IGNORE, the core Alliances of the Clusterf*ck come from large, culturally centric internet communities, SomethingAwful and Reddit alike. Even the 4Chan Alliance, Elite Space Guild, maintains a home in the ranks of the Clusterf*ck Coalition.
And while no self-respecting member of each one of these communities would ever openly admit that they have a single thing in common, their cultures can relate to each-other in a way that allows a cohesive, loyal and meaningful bond to form. Where Goonswarm leads, TEST is often not far behind, and vice versa.
This unique loyalty which supersedes nationality and language has resulted in a coalition which is able to wage wars of attrition without the fear of loss of membership setting in until long after the other side has virtually failcascaded. As a result, the unbreakable hardiness of the CFC has resulted in the successful defence of Branch, and the subsequent routing of RaidenDOT and their Allies when it came to the retaking of said region.
But this does not mean that all sides of the CFC are inexorably linked. Contrarily, just recently long-time member of the Clusterf*ck Coalition IMPORTANT INTERNET SPACESHIP LEAGUE[BDEAL] was given its marching orders. BDEAL seemed unhappy with certain chains of events which lead them to be placed consistently within the firing line of resident Fountain gnat The G0dfathers, who derive no greater joy than from the misery of those that make a home around them. The word gnat is apt, given that they lack the strength or desire to conquer Fountain alone - Yet they persist with seemingly endless relentlessness in their goal to sabotage and irritate anyone and everyone around them.
I assume this needle of irritation eventually broke the spirit of BDEAL, who began the work of attempting to negotiate new sovereign holdings within the greater CFC, specifically with Fatal Ascension, or 'FA'. Sufficed to say, their back-room dealings and sneaky tiptoeing resulted in their subsequent reset and expulsion from their long-time home. Cohorting with an enemy under the shadow of darkness is one thing, but cohorting with an Ally is quite another.
In the end all blocs and alliances go through their challenges. Some, like -A- are able to fight off death seemingly forever, while others, like BDEAL, are fit only to crumple at the sight of danger. Which ones survive and which ones die are often left to the ever-spinning wheel of Darwinism that exists in EVE Online.