(Editor's Note:Alliance Updates are intended for internal audiences and should be taken with a grain of salt, etc. This THORN update comes to us from Argus Sorn after announcing that THORN is leaving the HBC.)
If like most people in the alliance you are wondering what all has been going down - it's high time I tell you. So gather around boys and girls for a little story, a wall of text to delight and amaze. And learn what's just gone down (in case you dont' know already). Now some of the details are still classified, and will remain so, but people deserve to know SOMETHING and so here it goes.
As you all know (or should know) that a few weeks ago we had some minor hiccups in Esoteria regarding IHUBS. There has been all manner of spin and lies made of these hiccups and so just to make a couple of things clear: these were relatively minor hiccups and neither hiccup was entirely THORN's fault. We took space in Esoteria because we were asked to, not because we asked for it and we rented it only because we were unable to give it away. We actually tried multiple times to give it away to other parties without success (we even gave one of those parties the ihub for the offending system - they never anchored it either).
That being said - I am not interested in going into why it was one person's fault or another - all that really matters is that for a coalition who's sometime mantra is "mistakes were made", these were really minor errors. Sure, it allowed a 2000 man alliance to take space, briefly, from a 33,000 man coalition. Granted it was an annoyance for some, but it resulted in good fights and capital ship kills and in the end lessons were learned. The fact that it was treated as a major crisis by a coalition more than ten times the side of the invader is simply, to me - ridiculous. The fact that this crisis has led to the level of unrest in the HBC that we have seen recently, even allowing for other factors, is to me - a sign of weakness in the coalition.
The fact is this - that inside of 6 months, I expect that the HBC in its current form will no longer exist. Indeed, listen closely to the words Fras and The Mittani use in their respective updates, and it almost sounds like the CFC and at least Dreddit are attempting to make up. Will test blue the CFC again in the coming months? Will they leave the HBC? Will Dreddit simply abandon the alliance they formed in order to join Goons? Watch closely.
But I digress. The bottom line is, we slipped up in Esoteria, it was fixed with good fights and THORN Alliance (under the leadership of MatthewMN as FC) sacrificed carriers to save the ihub and kill a few dreads. Things were spiffy, everyone should have gotten over it and moved on. The only one in command channels who did not have a virtual smile on his face the day it got clearned up was the now famous Kaisur, member of RDN leadership who saw fit to shit all over Ender and others as they cheered for the save of the ihub.
The very next day I was convoed by Montolio himself and the long and short of it is that I was asked that we give up all of our space in Querious to Raiden. Needless to see I was a bit taken aback. However, I knew that we were viewed as having too much space and as being unable to handle it. In an effort to save SOMETHING, and in my mind salvage our position in the alliance (because I knew that anything that resulted with the complete loss of our Querious holdings would lead us to the state we are in now) I gave a counter offer: we would give up all the excess space we had claimed in Catch and Querious and shrink our holdings down the the original 5 systems in the B-7 pocket we had held when we first started this gig. Clearly this would have been unpopular with many of you, and I am not sure Ender and Lucian would have agreed, and it would have meant a loss of over 1/2 of -S-F-'s moon income, but I offered it because I wanted to see if Monty would bite. I wanted to see if he would at least stick to his original deal with us and leave us five little systems. Would he stand up to RDN on at least that point? No. We were told it all had to go.
As a matter of history, that night is when I had the stations renamed to "Blow Me Kaisur". A few folks even thought that was the reason for the loss of our systems, or it at least contributed to it. The fact is, that the deal was done before even a single station name was altered.
My conversation was followed by convos with Ender and Lucian where they told Montolio basically the same thing: we were more than willing to shrink some of our holdings and share the wealth with Raiden, but that when we joined we made it clear that the B-7 pocket was all we wanted, we were told we could have it and if we were giving it up we should get something comparable in Delve. And there were allusions to space in Delve by Montolio, but none of it held any water. He began to avoid us, pushing only for us to drop the sov. He wouldn't even engage Keef in a voice chat - choosing instead to hide behind the chat screen. It ic elar that he knew what he had done was wrong. Every indication since his stepping down is that he was under a tremendous amount of pressure from RDN and that he simply couldn't stand up to them.
It was around this time that the famous leaks occurred. Despite common belief, they really seem to have been an accident and nothing more. At no point did we discuss, intend, or even see any advantage in throwing egg in everyone's face. But the leaks did a few things. Foremost, there was a tremendous outpouring of sympathy for THORN. And this sympathy was not just from the HBC rank and file, but also some of the HBC leadership as well as leaders in other alliances. Many wondered why we even stayed behind and there were even a few offers here and there to hook up with other folks both from within coalitions and from without. Some in the HBC leadership were less than thrilled about the leaks. Why? They might say it was because they believed the leaks intentional, but I believe that it was because they knew that there were cracks in the armor and that they were about to be revealed.
And to prove that point: that is when Montolio resigned. But that wasn't all that happened if you payed attention: Test began to distance itself from the coalition at the same time, and leadership was handed to Sort Dragon (of PL). And despite this unrest, despite the change in leadership, we continued to attempt to find options to keep THORN in the coalition and end things to everyone's liking.
Indeed, with Monty out, we were hopeful that someone would step up, be the voice of reason and make things right. Once again, we may have been happy with our original five systems at this point, but the first we ever heard ANYONE suggest that was even a possibility was after they were already transferred, and no one ever said anything about us getting space back once it had been transferred. At this point we appealed to Sort, and to make a long story short he said to talk to Test. We talked to Test, and to make a long story short, they said talk to Sort. Oddly enough Sort then convoed us and said we never should talk to Test, just to him.
And thus, it was at this point - we knew it was done. We had been prepared for this however, don't let me mislead you. And so already we had some idea that both CFC and N3 would potentially be interested in us. Word came first from the CFC, and that is why you heard a lot about them early on (causing a great deal of panic in our dogmatic and die hard CFC haters), but it never really came to anything. Please understand that Keef, Ender, myself, and the CEO's that were involved in some of the decisions and polling, were trying to find the best THORN. We decided early on to put aside prejudices and just look for the best deal we could. I won't go into the details of what was discussed with each coalition or why things went a certain way other than to say that in the end of the day, we were very pleased with what we heard from the N3 coalition, we hadn't really gotten very far with the CFC, and so it was decided to work with N3 on a deal. The fact is that N3 is much more suited to our size than the larger coalitions, thus allowing us to be a larger impact player . We liked that ability to show up and make a difference early, and frankly there was a lot less negative emotion toward them than toward CFC and thus we've continued to work on N3.
You may ask why a coalition at all? And the fact is we asked this question multiple times - the bottom line is it came down to content. While being independent offers you the chance to do some creative and different things - it often leaves you lacking in a large volume of content doing bread and butter large fleet actions. However, when you join a coalition you get the large fleets, oodles of content and bread and butter fights and if your coalition is a fun one, you can ALWAYS take some time to do some other things on the side. Indeed this is one reason not to get too deeply embedded in promises toward any one coalition. Ideally you want to strike a balance between blues and autonomy - and that can be a tough like to walk. THORN has always walked it well however, being true to our own being yet still being good coalition mates and that is because we aren't afraid to fleet with other people or run fleets that include other people. We are a friendly, inclusive bunch, and it serves us well.
So what now? Well the kicker to this is we don't have space, and we've been asked to operate in a satellite capacity with the coalition. In other words, we're going to be blue to N3, but not necessarily be jumping in to full brosef, here is your sov, status right away. That may sound an aweful lot like the 'couch sitting' Sort talks about - but it is different. No one in N3 denies we are capable of holding sov. The issue is that they are fighting a war, dealing with all of the issues that entails and they are a little hesistant to toss space our way and deal with a new full blown coalition member while they are still working on building communication among themselves as it is.
But we are a low maintenance bunch, out to make an impact, make a difference, and earn our keep. So, we are deploying with some of N3 to geminate in order to assist them there in taking space from Solar. To do this, we are basing in lowsec. We are not merely "moving to lowsec" as some have lamented. This is a PvP deployment. It just turns out, that if you want to attack geminate, one of the places you stage is in The Forge lowsec - this is not new. Not to mention, it is a phenomenal place to catch your breath and rebuild. It has easy access to Gemiante, Etherium Reach and Vale of the Silent and it is within jump range of Jita for perhaps the easiest logistics you will ever find in EVE. Many a strong alliance was born or reborn in these systems on the edge of Geminate, including Black Legion. It is a GREAT place to get involved without being overly burdened with logistics, ihubs, upgrades and other nonsense. In fact, if I had my druthers - we'd live in this kind of place all the time and deploy for awesome PvP and just have blues that we buy our supers from (have no fear, I seem to be in the minority).
So do not let the lack of sov, 0.0 space, or other random crap distract you from the mission. We are a 0.0 PvP alliance. We are here to PvP in 0.0. This is basically a deployment and it is great space to deploy to. Currently our mission is to assist N3 and if we contribute - in the end we will definitely get some decent space. But right now it has to be earned - and there is no reason to think we can't earn it - we are badass, we just have to continue to be badass so others can see it too :O).
In fact, if anything the lack of systems to upgrade and anoms to run is exactly what we need. The easy logistics is what we need. You should have a nice nest egg by now and so it's time to PvP. No excuses anynmore. We're a few jumps out of Jita with nothing to do but pew pew - so let's get it done. Get your PvP ships ready in Maila and remember: if you want nice space then earn it.
And always - be badass.
- We're out of the HBC, they did us wrong and no one could set it right. Trust me it was the right thing to do.
- We are hooking up with the N3 coalition and fighting in Geminate, but basing (for now) out of lowsec.
- Don't look at me that way, it's a common 0.0 invasion staging point and it's honestly great for us right now because we can focus on pure pew and not on carebearing and sov upgrading.
- EVERYONE FIGHTS! Why? Because if you want space, you need to earn it - and it's space earning time!
(Editor's Note: This Update comes on the heels of the following alliance mail from Lucian James, the primary THORN FC, regarding the decision to leave the HBC:)
It was in mid-August of 2012 that THORN - a fledgling 400-man alliance at the time, was invited to join the HBC. It was an unparalleled opportunity for us to grow and prosper. We believed in the principals of the coalition. We liked the philosophy. We liked the mentality. And we grew to love the other players in the coalition.
THORN joined the HBC because we had been considered equal partners despite the large powerhouses that were already in place. We never asked for anything while here. Upon joining, we were given one small constellation in Querious that we called home, and that's all we ever wanted. And we worked hard to earn what was given to us. Never did we hole up in our constellation. THORN was present in significant numbers in every CTA, every Strat Op, every roaming fleet that ever went out since we joined. We put out significant capital and even supercapital numbers when necessary. We selflessly sacrificed ships for the greater goal of the coalition without any hesitation nor expectation of anything in return. And it was the most fun any of us ever had playing Eve.
We grew close to many of you, particularly our bros in TEST. we may not quite be impartial here, but we think that of all HBC alliances, THORN were the ones that integrated best with the TEST culture, and learned the most from PL. It was easy, because we were so much like you from the start. We have to say on a personal note, after spending endless years shooting AT TEST Alliance, it was far more fun shooting WITH you crazy bastards instead.
Everyone is well aware of the recent events of us having the rug pulled our from under us and losing our space. Despite the fact that the majority including HBC leadership agrees that we got screwed in an underhanded plan to boot us out, no one is willing to step up and reverse the decision or even try to make up for it in any appreciable way, despite being previously told by Montlio that we'd be getting something else in exchange. We've now basically been told to suck it up and go live in Catch - space that we didn't want (no one does) but had been told to grind away from -A- and hold until someone else took it over from us. This would separate us from the rest of the coalition and prevents us from being to able to easily participate in coalition ops... as you can see by the JB network ending with RDN.s takeover.
With our income sources stripped away and forcing us to end of any meaningful SRP, taking away our ability to cover sov bills (for "coalition" sov we've been paying for several months now), and our initiative to put our members in supercapitals squashed, our ability to grow our numbers and capabilities has basically been crippled. We've been demoted to lower tier pet status and been stuffed into a dead end with no forseeable opportunity to get out. It's been made clear that we're no longer valued, welcome, nor wanted by the more influential members of the HBC who seem to be calling the shots now.
So it's with heavy heart that THORN is being forced to make the tough decision to leave the HBC. We gave everything we could to be valued members of this coalition, but it seems that wasn't good enough. We don't want to leave, but we have to put the well-being of the alliance ahead of everything else for a change. Under the current circumstances, if we stay in the HBC, it will mean the death of THORN. We've put too much work into growing this alliance in the last 10 months to let it all fall apart.
We hold no ill will against anyone despite what happened. We loved our time here and are all saddened that it has to end. We hope that no matter where we end up that we can remain on good terms with our HBC bros, even if we find ourselves on opposite sides in battle.
Stay (T)HORNY, my friends....