The urge to write this came to me as I sat camping AAA into their staging system of LGK, reading the cat calls in local about how many blues we have - from ex-Morsus Mihi members like Overman.
Yeah... I know, I know.
To get where I’m going we’ll need to go way back, so sit down and lets take a little trip and look at the way numbers involved in conflicts have evolved over the years in EVE. In the early days, when the darkness was still receding, there were legendary corps that roamed around EVE, engaging against the odds and making a name for themselves in the heavens. Largely in hindsight, a lot of this can be attributed to the skewed game mechanics that people were taking advantage of, but it happened and it’s the stuff of legends. Over time, groups of these corps would end up working together, and the trend became so common that alliances were introduced by CCP as a mechanic.
From the primordial soup the first great alliances emerged, a collection of like-minded corps that operated in 0.0 and made names that still get talked about today. They in turn would be devoured by newer alliances, consolidating into creations of legend such as Band of Brothers and Red Alliance. This was human nature: strength in numbers and being part of a winning team.
But the universe was far from done turning. It had one more evolution that players from that era could scarcely imagine, the rise of the coalition.
As game progressed and more people are able to be stuffed into a system, human nature dictates that we do exactly that. Cram every warm body who can squeeze a trigger into the breach so as to clog it full.
Or as full as one particular group's diplomacy will allow for.
Historically, there have been three coalitions co-existing at any point in time in EVE. Arguably the first three that actually cemented themselves as true coalitions were the Red Swarm Federation, the Greater BoB Community, and the Northern Coalition. These three forces were the first to marshal diplomatic skill and military might to the fullest possible extent, though back in those days the integration hadn’t reached its current technological level. There were other minor extant powers concurrent with those three coalitions, but those were the movers and shakers of the sov warfare landscape. Most other entities were in the process of being consumed by or muscled out by those precursors to today’s modern coalitions.
Later we’d see the rise of the Southern Coaltion led by Atlas and Against ALL Authorities, the rise of the new Northern Coalition, and the eventual fall of the GBC, but always the primordial returns us to the 3 that cycle around EVE's edges.
Today’s coalitions are much more sophisticated than the early forms that wandered the stars. They feature shared comms, Jabber and IRC, uniform fleet doctrines, intelligence networks that dwarf anything that the first three could have imagined, and command channels that have more people in them then some mid-sized alliances have for alliance chat during peak hours.
But the core still remains the same: if you want to hold sov, you have friends.
Today's EVE has moved away from the Spartan warrior abilities of old. A group of skilled players can still take a fight and win it while outnumbered, but eventually, in the attempt to hold sov, the Spartans will meet the fate that all Spartans do – a brutal blody death at the hands of a mob.
And the Spartans all seem to realize it now.
People like Black Legion, Darkside, Northern Coalition., Pandemic Legion, Gypsy Band, who traditionally have run the route of the lone cowboy are even now starting to gravitate towards other likeminded alliances and forming smaller coalitions (and in some cases larger coalitions) because it's what the game now demands for progression in the Sov Warfare department. Even AAA, despite the elite hurf blurf uttered around the camp fires, formed a coalition to further its interests in the south.
The ability to hold these coalitions together is what makes or breaks them. This includes sufficient leadership capability to hone and direct the egotistical forces of its FCs and CEOs.
And what of the classical three coalitions?
Currently we have the CFC and the HBC, and around EVE we have had the forming and destruction of coalitions like so many tiny universes that spin in and out of existence. Northern Coalition. had a small entourage they were building that was fielding some nice numbers before She Who Shall Not Be Named poisoned the pond. Down south, AAA formed a coalition and then let it spiral downward through apathy and inability to put it on the line for coalition members. Solar Fleet has a loose confederation out in the drone regions but is now facing pressure that could fracture it. The Gypsy Caravan birthed out of the Curse area shows some promise as it steadily picks up interest and gains in its fights against the Solar machine.
One of these groups will eventually cement into the fully realized third coalition of EVE and return the balance. It will cement into the place that people who “don’t want to be a Goon” or “are too elite for little TEST retards” end up, and then we’ll start the cycle of destruction all over again as we have time and time before. Whats missing right now is that galvanizing leader who can bring them all under one flag. MACTEP seems to not fit the bill as he’s a leftover from a dying era, one of EVE’s last kings ruling over an empire of servants. Herculetz from AAA has shown that he has no desire to do the things that are needed to hold a coalition together, so that leaves luminaries like Progodlegend, Elo Knight, and Vince Draken, or possibly some yet unseen newcomer to take the reins of a third house of power.
One thing is obvious: crying about blues is a tenet clutched by the retard and the leper who can’t find enough friends to back their cause.
The coalition has been a part of EVE for years now. It's growing in its sophistication and ability. Eventually, if you want to play the SOV warfare game (which is just about all CCP have left us non-wormhole dwellers), then you will deal with a coalition. In fact, if you were to poke your head into a wormhole, there's a good chance that even in those quiet, dark, locked rooms you could run into a coalition, as a certain 0.0 alliance found out recently when it went after wormhole resources. It’s as much a part EVE as the corporation or the alliance at this point.
So the next time you find yourself and your allies outgunned and outmanned, maybe you shouldn’t complain about how many friends your enemy has, but rather wonder why your leaders haven’t made you any friends. The stakes are higher, the system has evolved, and you will either build your own machine or be crushed under the weight of somebody else's.