"Most 0.0 alliances who enter FW don't have the stomach to stay in it long term most likely because of pride and the perception that FW is the minor leagues.” -X Gallentius
Faction Warfare. A haven for PVP scrubs, and failed 0.0 Alliances trying to get back on their feet. You heard it here first!
In all reality, that is a fairly common perception of FW for those on the outside looking in, especially when the majority of what comes out of the mouths of people talking about FW is about stabbed cloaky plex ships running from anything that moves. It's a farmer's haven, full of a different sort of carebear, and if the people in FW were actually any good, they'd be out in null plying their trade for the big boys, not mucking about in the kiddie pool, right? Well, that's one way to look at it.
Another way to look at it, is that the core groups in any of the FW militias are made up of very experienced small gang and fleet PVPers who have nothing on their plates all day but looking for “gud fites” and getting into one scrap after another. It's arguable, that your average FW veteran in any of the main corps or alliances sees more action in a couple of days than many null pilots see in a week. Said Uncle Irow, a Caldari pilot involved in the ongoing campaign against Nennamaila, “Basically if you want a fight in this area, just undock and you can find one.” ...Or it'll find you in fairly short order.
Ev0ke's entry into FW came at a fortuitous time for the Caldari. They officially became a part of their militia the same day that the Gallente capped full 100% control of the warzone. They made their entrance in the far Northwest of the map making their beachhead in Okagaiken, one of 2 entries into the war zone from Cloud Ring. From there, they quickly pushed east. The Gallente militia, nearly burnt to a cinder from over a month of solid plexing, did not have the will or the means to counter plex so far from their core systems, but groups such as Samurai Pizza Cats <SPCA.> spent a good deal of time in the area looking for fights, and getting some.
Early on, it was decided in core Gal Mil leadership circles that a line would need to be drawn in the sand before Ev0ke was able to get too close to the core systems and assault them directly. At the time, Ev0ke was sitting at about 800 members, and the task was thought to be a daunting one. Based on previous experience in having an absolute bitch of a time taking the system from the Caldari, that line was drawn up in the system Eha. Someone would need to move there to man the light house, and 3 man corporation Level Up [LVLUP] stepped forward to take the charge with pledged support from Justified Chaos [JUSTK] 2 jumps away in Vlillirier.
Both Ev0ke and the rest of the Caldari Militia began a savage offensive all through January and into February, taking back most of the war zone, even sacking the Gallente core system of Heydieles.
It was mid February when the first Ev0ke sightings began to be reported in Eha, with the full offensive hitting on February 20th. At the time, other Cal Mil entities also staged major offensives in 2 other parts of the war zone, the full story can be found here.
Despite the failures of the other attacks on Gal Mil home systems, Ev0ke's assault on Eha went on well into March, only faltering a few days before their departure from FW during downtime of the 28th. 5 weeks of constant pressure, and the system did not fall.
Initially, Gal Mil's experience in plex warfare gave them an edge. FW plex fighting is a very different affair from how things are typically settled out in nullsec, and Ev0ke were either unprepared for it, or they underestimated their opponents gravely. Eventually Ev0ke began to adapt and learn from their opponents, and things degenerated for the Gallente to the point where they could no longer hold a medium plex from Ev0ke if they were determined to take it.
LVLUP pilots praznimrak (known locally as “The Lion of Eha”) and Killer Rasta bore the brunt of the defensive duties like Spartans, and did their best to force Ev0ke to “ball up” instead of allowing them to take multiple plexes at a time, using hit and run tactics to pick off stragglers, and exploit weaknesses wherever they were found. LVLUP was also not alone, and received promised help from JUSTK, and several other Gal Mil entities whenever they could spare pilots and ships. The Eha campaign quickly degenerated into a war of attrition, with Ev0ke running up the contested percentage during EU prime time, and the Gallente running it back down over night with some skirmishes in the overlaps between. Weekends were especially hairy, seeing much fighting, and Ev0ke taking the majority of medium plexes, and the Gallente taking most of the small and novice plexes.
Ev0ke's offensive effort in Eha for little to no gain cost them more than just a few ships and mods. At the beginning of the assault more than 600 pilots carried an Ev0ke alliance tag (less than 1/3 of what they had during their Sov holding days last year) and after being bogged down for 5 weeks, those numbers dwindled to the 465 remaining pilots they now have as they leave the Caldari militia.
Had Ev0ke asked for and received help from the rest of their militia, things may have turned out differently. In speaking with a few members of Cal Mil, it was made plain that Ev0ke hardly had any contact at all with the rest of their militia, and thoughts on this range anywhere from Ev0ke simply thinking themselves above the rest of Cal Mil, to not having enough English speakers to communicate effectively. The general consensus from our sources in Cal Mil is that the loss of Ev0ke isn't a big loss at all, as they were never really seen to be key contributors to any general militia efforts. Either way you slice it, in the end a 3 man corporation (with a little help from their friends) was able to hold the line against an alliance 200 times their size, and possibly force an earlier than planned exit from Faction Warfare. King Leonidas would be proud.