Truth, it has been said, is the first casualty of war.
- Phillip Snowden
I have been watching the Fountain conflict from the sidelines, sipping fruity drinks while quite comfy on my little island in W-space. Propaganda CEO updates and State of the Alliance speeches aside, you can be assured that Dotlan never lies. When anyone goes making bold statements about what has happened when, you can check facts for yourself. Don't fall prey to paranoia or sloppy thinking and memes.
With the war raging in Fountain for a little more than a month, the violent dissolution of the once lucrative OTEC partnership has come as the result of CCP's shell game involving moon resources. The Technetium bottleneck is a thing of the past, and the cartel controlling its supply in the market is now equally defunct. The once comfortably plump and content overlords of OTEC are doing what was deemed unthinkable just a few short months ago; they are fighting each other fang and claw to control moons that, at one time, were deemed next to valueless and definitely not worth fighting over. Is this really the best way to drive conflict? Will CCP simply shuffle moons every time peace breaks out?
From my perspective, the current Fountain conflict had its foundation long ago. Last year, power in the west consolidated into two blocs: the Clusterfuck Coalition and the Honeybadger Coalition. The Russians and numerous non-aligned groups in the east and southeast did not constitute a threat to either the CFC or HBC, and both were on relatively friendly terms with TEST Alliance having a long-standing and largely positive relationship with Goonswarm Federation and the CFC. Nobody in the east or southeast would have stood a chance against either the CFC or HBC. With relationships strong between the two, anyone bold enough to strike at either of them would have been ground to dust.
Montolio — leader of the Honey Badger Coalition — went looking for a war with the CFC last year, but he was overruled by his board of directors. Nullsec had gotten a bit dull with the OTEC agreement. Not to say that there weren't conflicts going on, but there wasn't anything major, and Monty wanted a fight. Wars are what keep people interested in playing Eve (That and good expansions like Odyssey). Despite Montolio's saber rattling, OTEC was simply too profitable to risk losing the stakes the HBC had. Excuses were made to the effect that large scale conflict was unattractive due to the “grindy” nature of the outdated Dominion-era sovereignty mechanics. Ultimately, Montolio stepped down from leadership, and the HBC began to come apart at the seams. At the core, neither the CFC or HBC wanted to threaten that income source. It was needed to keep the coalitions holding sovereignty and paying for generous social entitlements for the rank and file. They had to milk the cow as long as possible. Now that the Technetium tits are dry, the cow has been sold for slaughter.
Quite obviously, the old tune of “War is bad, mmkay?” has changed. Odyssey has left the previous OTEC members looking for alternatives to Technetium to provide for the living standards their comrades have grown accustomed to. Except for TEST, who suddenly found themselves sitting on the most profitable real estate in New Eden.
Those previous reasons to avoid conflict ring hollow now. The friendship and camaraderie that TEST Alliance and Goonswarm once shared is in shambles. The Fountain conflict resembles something more akin to a civil war between former allies; brothers taking up arms against one another, former loyalties now awash in wrecks and pod goo. Some have taken to calling it another “Great War”, I simply refer to it as the War "Everyone" Wanted. And by everyone, I mean those that have a bad case of Goon paranoia.
CALLING HERR GOEBBELS
Propaganda and politics go hand in hand with a war on this scale. Make no mistake, the digital primate dominance games are just getting started. With all the posturing and meme generation, there is a strange mental undercurrent prevalent on forum posting and Reddit comments from both sides. FCs will slip up, lose their cool, make a right arse of themselves, and someone will be there to capture the moment for eternity. Makalu did a swan dive into that particular patch of boulders with his infamous “You don’t talk back to -A-!” debacle back when the HBC was pummeling the south into submission.
Wading through that morass of jumbled and directionless forum posts, conspiratorial article commentary, and Reddit upvote battles leaves me with a slight taste of vomit in the back of my throat. There's some seriously sloppy thinking going on and it's positively embarrassing.
The idea is that if either the CFC or NPT (N3/PL/TEST shortened to something more manageable without sounding crass or overly clever) get walloped and lose all their space, that they’ll shrivel up and die, never to be seen from again. The Blognuts, Tabloid Papparazzi, and Hisec Forum Screech Owls would be beside themselves with glee if that happened. If TEST or Goons are gone, then the Renter Lords can slither back out from under their rocks and return null to the oppressive and shitty fiefdom that Band of Brothers was infamous for.
TEST turning Tyrannosaur and going extinct is about as likely as a naked man killing off a hive of Asian Giant Hornets armed with a fly swatter. Goons aren’t going to failcascade in the event of a military defeat either. Both ideas are pants-on-head stupid.
Seriously, if you think that’ll happen, you need to get a grip.
It is extremely unlikely that TEST Alliance will disappear completely if defeated. The same could be said of Goonswarm. Both have well-established cultures, and primarily draw their recruitment from outside of Eve Online. Each would inevitably regroup at some point and take sov back and/or seek revenge against the other for being ousted. That would likely lead to another “great” war, and if Dominion mechanics are still around, a shitty structure mudslog sporting blueballs the size of a Greyhound bus.
At the end of the conflict, though, nothing would really change. Unless CCP builds better conflict drivers, this war's sunset will likely leave us in the same situation as before, but with reshuffled sov.