(Full Disclosure: As a member of Executive Outcomes, I am both a member of the CFC and HBC and I was involved in the Tribute/Vale war. I haven't been personally involved in the war in the South)
In recent weeks we have seen the war between the CFC and it’s opponents has drawn to a close. While there hasn’t been a State of the Goonion speech from The Mittani yet I can confirm that there is a certain amount of smugness and backslapping within the CFC regarding the outcome of the war. In the end NC. caved as we all knew they would and we walked through Vale as we always expected to, right?
Rewind to the last weeks of Tribute before we moved onto Vale and my honest opinion is that it was looking grim.
It’s Not Over Until The Fat Goon Sings
I remember distinctly being on a fleet just before the fall of Tribute with a well known CFC Fleet Commander when they turned around and said in no uncertain terms that the war was a pain and he wasn’t even sure if he could be arsed to do it all over again in Vale.
I was quite shocked. The CFC is well known for being the most horrible group of alliances to fight a war against; we are an almost unstoppable force of dishonourable, blobbing, sov grinding, POS shooting, fleet welping, local spamming players who won't stop until your region has been burnt down (which I’m proud of by the way). Yet, here was one of the top FCs showing his resolve was faltering.
Looking back I get the distinct impression this was Vince Draken’s plan all along. Delay the CFC’s ability to take sov to make it a strain on both their player’s patients and sanity. Sure, you’ll lose most of Tribute, but they’ll sue for peace before Vale and you’ll get to be the plucky little alliance that stood up to the playground bully.
The best bit is it nearly worked.
As reported on TheMittani.Com a survey was ran of about 500 CFC pilots before the State of the Goonian The Mittani (the person not the website) delivered just before Tribute fell. The question was simple: Do you want to invade Vale? I was rather shocked at the results to say the least, because about 85% of CFC pilots voted in favour of the invasion.
At this point during the war NC. had burnt it’s bridges with most of it’s allies (or their allies sold their space to Goonswarm), and was facing an enemy who, despite an equally arduous period for NC. of asymmetrical warfare, seemed intent to push on into Vale regardless. In the face of such an opponent, Vince Draken made the smart decision to cut his losses and move NC. onto new things.
As Above, So Below
Now my HBC comrades are in a similar position in the south as the CFC was only a matter of weeks ago.
The HBC is reaching the end of a long period of structure grinding and sov warfare and its members are getting agitated. It has been fighting against the same type of “guerilla warfare” tactics used by the CFC’s opponent’s in the North where they are denied fights and generally harassed making the sov grind as painful as possible.
-A- has been saying all along that it will skulk off into NPC null and strike back when the HBC’s attention wavered. They have literally been saying that from the start and it’s what they’ve always done in the past. Recent attacks and setbacks against the HBC by -A- highlight that they are growing bolder and are starting to once again believe victory is possible.
The HBC were, if I may say so, doing a marvellous job of crushing the life out of their opponents. They were taking their space, their income and even their dignity. However my comrades are starting to falter, they are starting to ask “why are we doing this boring grind anyway?”
If they are not careful, if they are unable to bolster their resolve, they will give -A- the opportunity they need to drive a counter offensive back into the heart of Catch and kick out the alliances that the HBC installed there.
As soon as a coalition ceases to be seen as successful on the battlefield, you can be sure that cracks will start to appear elsewhere too. -A- both desperately wants and needs the opportunity to start being successful again, and if it get’s such an opportunity it could prove to be a turning point for the war.
I hope that the HBC won't be found wanting, for if the South turns into an embarrassing rout for the HBC, the consequences could be far reaching.