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The Grind

By Ross McDermott on February 07, 2012 | Columns | Comments

The Grind

To fight a long, drawn out war in EVE Online is to be like fighting the thick molasses of time itself. You get stuck in it, it's hard to wade around, and every fight feels like it lasts forever, and every structure timer does nothing but put you one step closer to taking comfort in the end of a gun barrel. But in contrast, EVE Online has moments of absolute joy and exhilaration. Providing you with powerful adrenaline highs and screams of excitement as you bury that Loki pilot six feet under and parade his corpse around like a hard-fought trophy of victory. But for now we'll say that fighting a long war inspires the former sentiment rather than the latter.

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The 'War' in the North has ground down to a series of small bush-fires being repeatedly set by a horde of enemies who, while once presented a wall of angry Vikings, have now died down to a group of irritating and annoying Vikings. Not particularly interested in making a real push for the spoils of war held behind the POS shields, but rather just making sure that you don't enjoy your lunch or rest easy - effectively being satisfied by the fact you know that they're always there. Acting like a persistent housefly that won't go away probably wasn't RaidenDOT's intention when they made their 'Great push' back into Branch, but this is ultimately the effect they have achieved.

After Branch was quickly conquered and White NoiseDOT made to feel like a paper sloth rather than the metaphorical 'paper tiger', the re-distribution of the regions wealth occurred quickly, the fields were replanted with precious Technetium trees and their branches quick to bear fruit. A fertile area to say the least just like most Regions in the North she's a prize worth of any war, and a prize the Clusterf*ck Coalition is in some way shape or form in jeopardy of losing. As mentioned above, RaidenDOT's advance into the Region and attempt to reclaim her has degenerated from a mighty counter-War to a series of angry caws by birds encircling a prey they've lost the will to truly fight, but hunger for retribution keeps them with their eyes on the target.

To this end, the situation in Branch has resulted in a strange defensive grind, slow and poor to progress for RaidenDOT. Seeing 'Space Monkeys Alliance', and Alliance whose incompetence has become a running joke in the Clusterf*ck due to their inability to properly time their technetium towers - RaidenDOT & Friends have acted as a repeated thorn in their side, and see them as the most appropriate means of re-entry into Branch when it comes to the retaking of the Region.

Ultimately it remains in the Clusterf*ck's best interest to persistently show up to defend any structure that is reinforced by RaidenDOT. The occupation and ownership of Branch is a part of a debt that the Clusterf*ck see's as being owed to them as payment for the brash and downright arrogance of RaidenDOT, White NoiseDOT and others last year when their invasion and subsequent defeat of the 'Old NC' ended with an unsuccessful headshot on VFK, the centre of Deklein and seat of power for the Clusterf*ck.

When it's all said and done, the Branch situation may continue on like this for months: a quiet disagreement by both sides resulting in an endless, tiring structure pot-shot with each side becoming tired and bitter about the affair, yet each side needing to remain perpetually steadfast in each other’s faces. To RaidenDOT & Friends, the Clusterf*ck had their eyes set on Tenal and for that they must stay alert. To the Clusterf*ck, RaidenDOT & Friend's monstrous super-capital army and blood grudge means they too must man their watch towers. Both sides peer at one another across the Battlefield, and both sides want the prize in the middle.

Further afield in lands far away, the 7-day-a-week black comedy Broadway play featuring key plot components such as 'intrigue', 'disaster', 'love lost', and 'stupidity being rewarded with wealth' known as 'Delve' plays on. The entire nullsec world should sit down, pull up a chair and grab some popcorn as running joke alliance 'NEM3SIS' continues to strive further onwards to victory and perfection in their conquest of the fabled region.

Armed to the teeth with mighty weapons including but not limited to: Pots, Pans, Baking Soda, Dumbness, Cheese Graters, and Pixie Dust - NEM3SIS continues to show no sign of retreat or hindrance in their powerful war against undefended structures and free Neodymium moons. Truthfully, the culling of Delve has left NEM3SIS with small blisters and slightly reddened hands after a long day’s work of getting a region for free. But someone's got to do it, and the rolling clown-car of giggles and possible furry roleplayer's known as NEM3SIS are the just the men for the task.

The fate of Delve as a whole in truly one of the saddest tales of neglect that I've ever witnessed in EVE Online. For a Region which, for so long, was the perpetual star of the EVE Online show, the level of disarray the region has now fallen into is the sad end to an otherwise glorious war story. Delve, in my opinion, needs to be tended by the core of an Empire. It's wonderful trusec, many Neodymium and Dysprosium moons and plentiful juicy NPC bounties makes it a fine tiara for any ~Pretty Princess~ Alliance. For a while, forever-striving-to-be-elite Alliance Ev0ke tended her fields and kept the weeds out. But their ridiculous crusade for Goonswarm's blood in the North have made them abandon a perfectly good region to a gaggle of perfectly placed buzzards.

But that doesn't mean the future isn't necessarily grim for Delve. Globular lumps of unpleasant dead matter have coagulated together in Delve and Querious to form 'something'. The regions now function as a perpetual garbage dump for entities such as Against All Authorities and their friends. Waste matter created during their many violent deaths and subsequent rebirths at the hands of angry Russians has gathered enough mass to depress space-time. But given enough time and effort even the dregs of EVE Online can come together to solidify into something more noteworthy than what preceded them.

Examples include Intrepid Crossing. A running joke of the Drone Russian Federation who were left to tend their dirt-farms for many years and when their lords and masters, Solar Fleet came under the grinding wheel of Legion of xXDeathXx, Intrepid Crossing showed just what they'd built in their dirt fields and unveiled a rather significant super-capital fleet which they then used to lay down suppression fire in Oasa, conquering and maintaining considerable swathes of enemy space. No one could ever say long-time Deli-bar Operator and Alliance CEO Oldma hadn't got a long-term plan ahead of him. Unfortunately that plan wasn't particularly creative or unique but it's one that appears to work satisfactorily in EVE Online; build a billion super-capital hulls and grind whoever looks at you funny into dust.

It appears that after the fires of Winter and the Christmas season, EVE Online's major powers are stuck in some sort of hang-over day-after cleaning up routine. As we make our way into Spring, stabilization of regional assets will likely be the seasonal tone in preparation for the long drought of War that tends to overcome nullsec during the summer months.

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