The Numbers Game

As I see it, the “South” of New Eden is home to three super powers: IT, AAA and Atlas. I don’t think many people would disagree with that assessment, but I will explain my thinking regardless.

When faced with a serious threat, each of these alliances has the ability to deploy fully-filled conventional (sub-capital) fleets and 100+ capitals. On a good day, these alliances can bring 300 pilots together without setting any personal records. That is to say nothing of the many super capitals an alliance holding multiple regions for years has had the time to construct.

What recent evidence do I have?

Atlas: Look to their numbers during the fighting in Detorid and Insmother.

AAA: Look to the slaughter of CVA and its holders pets in D-G (and I think Aralis’s actions towards the leader of Paxton shows that they were, in the eyes of CVA, true pets all along).

IT: Look to the PL massacre at Y-2 or one of the many high-turnout ops across Fountain whilst reclaiming our home.

At the very least, each of these entities has deployed a large fleet in recent memory. While defensive wars usually tend to draw the best numbers (as we are seeing up north), all 3 of these entities have also shown that they can bring the aforementioned levels of troop strength during a war of aggression.

Other alliances in the south certainly qualify as major players in the 0.0 game (Red Overlord and The Initiative are the ones that have shined the most recently), but I have not seen evidence that they can match the deployments of IT, -A- or Atlas.

That is not to take anything away from ROL or The Initiative, in fact I have been extremely impressed by both of these groups during the last month. The Initiative’s RR BS and bomber gangs appeared well-coordinated to me even back when -MVN- was flying the Atlas flag, and DOOM (part of ROL now) has really livened up the U.S. TZ during slow days.

The 3 great southern powers seem unparalleled on paper, with the potential to deploy a fleet of 900 people between the three of them during the post-downtime “European” timezone. Adding in allies like ROL and INIT, it would not be hard to hit that mythical 1000-pilot mark that was once reached in the days of Kenzoku (although only once and with every friendly alliance in “red-pen” mode).

However, “on-paper” fleet numbers based on past deployments have not been seen in-game. There is no doubt that  from April 1st until the recent invasion of H-W, all three alliances have not fought anywhere near their potential. I think I can speak for most involved parties on both sides of the war when I say that this has been a great disappointment.

The general sentiment among IT pilots by the end of April was decidedly negative, they felt that their sacrifices were being used by others to make personal gains – much like how Atlas and -A- conquered vast areas in the East while Kenzoku played the role of a “meat shield” against coalition forces.

Problems In April:

-Timezones inequity (u.s.t.z. is a lack of manpower AND leadership compared with NC)

-Capital usage restricted, doubly-so for super capitals

-Less coordination with allies than NC (partly because we’re not integrated in the same way)

-Home front under siege (super carriers being used at home, not to mention valuable player time)

-Roadtrip Syndrome (various difficulties associated with being far from home)

-Dominion Sovereignty (much easier to save a system with 1 major defensive stand now)

-Dominion Lag & Morale (no one wants to jump INTO an enemy who has loaded grid… although both sides have)

What has changed in May?

+More integration of out-of-game communications channels and FC coordination

+Capitals taken off the leash, same for super-caps

+More aggressive fighting and direct sovereignty challenges are raising SC fighting spirit

+Against All Authorities appear to be committed where before they were tied up in Providence

+Major clashes in H-W have allowed low-priority systems to be successfully assaulted

So where are the numbers?

Fighting far from home presents unique problems for Southern sov-holders. Atlas, -A- and IT all put huge numbers on the field in recent times, but these fights took place adjacent to their current space. Fighting up North is a different reality. Players want to log in and have options, but being deployed in hostile space limits your options.

The timezone imbalance means few satisfying victories for our U.S. players. Meanwhile, on the flip-side, the NC pilots who operate in the Euro primetime – even when there is no operation – are still living at home and can simply go about care-bearing to their hearts desire.

I believe that the NC was genuinely concerned about a Southern Alliance blitzkrieg on multiple fronts before the events in April. However, our limited offensive moves and restrained deployment of caps allow word to spread that our forces were not to be feared.

Now that we are more serious, the NC has had a month to assure their members that they can handle the invaders and that there will be no “5-fronts” as Molle had claimed. The result will be strong defensive turnout where  we might have instead scared some pilots into a personal evacuation of assets.

People often cite “defense of the homeland” as the greatest motivator. Not so! It is only when the fight seems winnable that most alliances will rally to mount a relentless defense. There are FAR more examples of alliances folding before the enemy has had time to make a hard landing than there are examples of extreme under-dogs fighting until the last rifter.

The month of May presents a good opportunity to evaluate the deployment potential of Southern Alliances for the next several months. After implementing a better integration of our communication systems and with -A- joining ops in reasonable numbers, Atlas and IT have good reason to feel optimistic about the near future.

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7 Responses to “The Numbers Game”

  1. Excellent post, Easley. It has definitely taken -A- a while to get up to full speed in the North. We have never really done a full deployment away from Catch and I think it has shown. The greater integration that we’ve seen in the run up to the H-W assault has really improved morale so I’m very keen to see what we do next.

    Being deployed in hostile space can be a real burden. With battleships and above logged off in H-W it has been very difficult to extricate people and there have been plenty of losses along the way to boost NC morale.

  2. I’m an EVE noob, but looking at it as a NC pilot, I do think we’ll struggle – but not for the obvious reasons. The main problem is that we’ve only got a defensive posture.

    That means if you guys get off your asses, like you did for H-W, you’ll almost always be able to pick the time and place of engagement. The H-W attack worked because by the time most of NC were aware that it was happening, immediate retaliation was out of the question.

    From a purely strategic point of view, the best thing NC have done so far, was hiring PL to put pressure up back on IT. Because without some form of offense, all we can do is wait for you to either hit us to hard to recover, or give up.

    At the moment, the latter seems more likely, for most of the reasons you pointed out.

    • The problem for us hasn’t been successfully hitting systems and maintaining control long enough to reinforce key infrastructure.

      The problem has been returning to finish it off when the defender has called an operation to save the objective.

      While the NC is very defensive, you guys only need to be organized in the 11th hour while our side would have to maintain control outside our prime hours.

      However, I do think that the answer for us is probably to hit as many systems as possible H-W style. While a 24/7 station camp is a pipe dream, we can certainly set a huge number of timers across different regions and force hard choices.

  3. As a matter of interest, did you write this before Molle’s decision lost all those allied supercaps, a stack of capitals and large numbers of subcaps?

    H-W reeks of H74. After the failure of the multi-front approach, it showed that a major assault on a single system will end up with pilots unable to log their mains in for days as they are camped into bubbled, dead poses or soon-to-be-nerfed deep safes (if this had happened in a couple of weeks then there would be dead titans, too).

    Frankly, with Atlas speaking about the invasion in the past tense, I’d expect them to head south soon to deal with our invasion of their renter space, and that’ll be all she wrote.

    Just a bit of friendly opposition to the groupthink!

    • I posted several hours before downtime (when the breakout occurred) but on the same day.

      It was a mistake for sure, and a costly one. Like I said in regards to the Atlas titan, the only way these losses are game-changing is if the parties involved loss their resolve and go home.

      I would point out that I am not one of those IT members who deifies Molle or thinks my alliance out-classes everyone in the game.

      I asked if the NC had posted ops for downtime and Molle told me they “would be stupid not to” before others confirmed they were coming. Knowing this, I cannot fathom why we would log in caps.

      Evacuating sub-caps would have made sense, simply to get the pilots active again, but not capitals.

      Having them login and ctrl+q to end up in a safe would be reasonable before jumping them out later, but actually fighting was foolish.

      I don’t see my post as “group-think” it’s my analysis of the mistakes made in April and why I see May as a good time to evaluate our future chances for success. We did make progress in our cooperation and I am not opposed to H-W style assaults.

      H-W turned into a fiasco, but I maintain that simply hitting moons and fighting only in our prime timezone would not have been nearly as much fun and would never have impacted the NC significantly.

      New post is up, let me know how you feel about it.

  4. Nitor1013z Says:

    To be perfectly honest with you, the war really had R.A.G.E. and Majesta worried about our ability to hold Vale against the combined forces of an Atlas, COW, and GC blitzkrieg of our region. Personally, once Obe started to heat up I thought Vale would be lost within the week…it still stands strong to this day and Atlas rarely puts up SBUs and attacks jumpbridges after that whole NCGR fiasco (major plus for us, not so much for Atlas…) Anyways, this war shifted to the Pure Blind front fairly quickly and now its major blob fests on both sides to fight for low-end systems.

    All in all, a much slower, grinding war than I thought it would be.

  5. […] to replace the “bitter vets” as they burn out and to expand their deployment numbers in the ever-growing numbers race. When they come aboard, it’s best to have a history in place for them to identify […]

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