May has been a tumultuous month in New Eden. The dissolution of the HBC along geopolitical lines has uncovered fissures within alliances that were hidden under the veneer of a united front. This instability has led some corporations in 'southern' alliances to jump ship - or even mutiny against their alliance leadership. Either way, the alliance goes into a tailspin, and membership statistics on Dotlan begin to droop into the characteristic slope commonly associated with failure cascades.
While Raiden. has yet to officially disband, here’s Unclaimed.:
And here’s their renters:
Well, actually, not SMA.
The precipitous decline in SMA member count is not the result of leadership squabbles or alliance failure, but rather one of the largest purges in the history of EVE. In the past two weeks, SMA has voluntarily given the boot to 18 corporations and 1300 characters as a part of a massive 'spring cleaning' campaign.
To put it gently, SMA has not had a glowing reputation of late. The alliance is used as the butt of jokes inside and outside of the CFC, some good-humored, others malicious. While SMA has always put up very respectable numbers for CFC strategic ops, the participants come from a relatively small number of corps - and the performance of independent SMA fleets tends to be uneven. Adding to the woes is the recent theft of 600 billion by a member of the logistics team, along with the leak of SMA diplomatic logs onto Kugutsumen.com.
Much of this trouble can be attributed to what SMA diplomat Oerlikon Llama calls “the Branch Curse”. When a formerly space-less or couch crashing alliance obtains good quality space, the immediate motivation that drove the alliance to fight for the space disappears, and members become content with ratting and other moneymaking activities at the cost of fleet activity and overall willingness to improve. Holding lucrative space also attracts a different kind of recruit: the kind that are more interested in Sanctums, Forsaken Hubs, and ABCs than answering the call for home defense. All this adds mountains of extra weight and bloat to an alliance without necessarily increasing the available pool of PVP players or talent that a nullsec organization sorely needs. Between December of 2011 and December of 2012, SMA grew from 800 members to slightly over 3000 - an increase of 375%.