IT Alliance Myths, Mega-Coalitions & More

Detractors of IT Alliance like to point out that we’re the largest alliance in the game. The implication is that, since we’re the largest, we should therefore have overwhelming force during all timezones. The issue of alliance size is one that I have felt like touching upon as of late.

While IT is the largest alliance, the size difference between IT and the next-largest alliance – Goonswarm Federation – is not that great. The #3 alliance – TEST – is not far behind either. Both alliances are hostile, work together, and share similar cultures. Together they greatly out-number IT with over 9000 characters.

Of the top 10 largest alliances, numbers 2 through 9 in size are all unfriendly to IT. Of those 8 alliances, all but #5 (Shadow of xXDeath) are members of the Northern Coalition. The total membership in those 7 NC alliances alone is over 25,000 characters.

Rounding out the top 20 are IT’s allies and yet more hostiles. Initiative + Init Mercs (which are two heads of one beast) and Init Associates (renters who participate to a lesser degree in fleets) total up to an impressive 6098 players. That makes the Init family (as a whole) larger than IT. However, if you remove Init Associates (as is sensible IMO) the combined population of IM + Init (4175) would fit between TEST and Morsus Mihi at the #4 position.

Sys-K sits at #15 with 1679 members. Fountain allies like Blast, Blade, Hun and Talos are all below the top 20 with BLAST being the largest at 1336 members. These alliances are roughly the same size as mid-sized NC guest alliances like Fatal Ascension, F-Con and Demon Hunters (all between 1000 and 1500 characters).

Hypocrisy and Contradictions:

> Whenever we have a fleet operation where we’re out-numbered, such as nearly all U.S. timezone ops where euros don’t alarm clock, we are called an “AFK empire” full of anomaly farmers.

> Whenever we bring better numbers we’re then some kind of mindless horde that recruits noobs en-masse and “only wins because of lag.”

> Whenever we drop our supers we’re “only able to win because of our high SP and old money.”

So what’s the truth? Clearly we can’t all be newbies fresh from empire AND old 100+ mil SP characters at the same time, those are mutually exclusive descriptions. Clearly we can’t be inactive and also blobbers who lag systems to death.

The truth is that IT is not an amalgam of every propaganda “meme” used on the forums. We don’t have red phones to call CCP, we don’t have nearly as much moon income as the NC after CCP rebalanced in favor of Tech, and we don’t have nearly as many members or as liberal recruitment standards as our enemies (though some IT corps are sluttier than others).

I would also like to say that IT Alliance is not the devil:

Before Eve devolved into a boring war of super-coalitions and diplomacy, alliances like IT/BoB were among several with balls, and people signed up because they/we were revered for starting wars and generally keeping the game exciting.

Today, while everyone says they want such things, few back up their actions with resets that would revitalize their alliance and provide “fun” engagements.  In the words of someone who should never have run for office, “I am not a witch, I’m you.”

Ultimately, we don’t make decisions with any regard for popularity. Molle does not market IT Alliance to the population as a whole, and we don’t keep allies around if they are not both strong and loyal. We also don’t pretend that allies of conveniance are our “BFFs” when we barely know their players.

Is that something that weakens us in the long-run? Clearly so, but it’s our choice to make and if more people followed the same mentality Eve might be a more dynamic universe. This leads me to my next point. Permanent power blocs / coalitions / nap-fests have become ridiculously large.

While building a large alliance is advantageous, the real numbers advantage is determined by the size of your COALITION,  not just a single alliance. In those terms, IT and friends are dwarfed by our enemies, and the anti-BoB bandwagon is one that literally every sov-holder has jumped upon at one time or another in history.

It’s just too easy to side with the cultural movement started by Goons that has come to define most alliances, whether they recognize it or not.

The drama and animus of the old anti-BoB rivalries is sadly a thing of the past, replaced with an “inherited hatred” in new players based on events they never experienced. Real drama is engrossing, but what we have now rarely rises to that level. 50 pages of people saying “U MAD BRO???” to each other endlessly is not exactly space opera.

Alliances today are too quick to ally-up with big coalitions. Groups like Evoke are rare, and deserve to have a region somewhere, but it’s a little depressing that they choose to evict the Provi NIP which is – itself – full of independent alliances trying to cut into 0.0 without joining a major power bloc.  Providence is a subject for another post, so I won’t trail off into that subject at this time.

If you’ve never bothered to look, this is the reality of the “numbers game” in 0.0. Here is the data, color-coded based on IT Alliance standings —

Alliances By Size [Source: DOTLAN Eve Maps]

IT Alliance Friends in BLUE

IT Alliance Enemies in RED


Alliance Outposts Systems Members Corps
1. IT Alliance IT Alliance 62 Show on universe map119 5667 27
2. Goonswarm Federation Goonswarm Federation 21 Show on universe map55 4836 76
3. Test Alliance Please Ignore Test Alliance Please Ignore 7 Show on universe map22 4371 32
4. Morsus Mihi Morsus Mihi 21 Show on universe map64 3766 22
5. Shadow of xXDEATHXx Shadow of xXDEATHXx 16 Show on universe map113 3408 134
6. United Front Alliance United Front Alliance 0 Show on universe map41 3283 50
7. R.A.G.E R.A.G.E 6 Show on universe map53 3040 24
8. Wildly Inappropriate. Wildly Inappropriate. 9 Show on universe map35 2894 34
9. Majesta Empire Majesta Empire 16 Show on universe map50 2810 30
10. Initiative Mercenaries Initiative Mercenaries 0 Show on universe map38 2549 29
11. -Mostly Harmless- -Mostly Harmless- 10 Show on universe map41 2418 26
12. SOLAR WING SOLAR WING 1 Show on universe map48 2380 96
13. RAZOR Alliance RAZOR Alliance 25 Show on universe map50 2165 18
14. Initiative Associates Initiative Associates 3 Show on universe map69 1923 66
15. Systematic-Chaos Systematic-Chaos 9 Show on universe map32 1679 23
16. The Initiative. The Initiative. 46 Show on universe map74 1626 15
17. Tactical Narcotics Team Tactical Narcotics Team 3 Show on universe map12 1609 24
18. Fidelas Constans Fidelas Constans 2 Show on universe map15 1599 28
19. Red Alliance Red Alliance 24 Show on universe map73 1574 24
20. Against ALL Authorities Against ALL Authorities 13 Show on universe map29 1546 12
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11 Responses to “IT Alliance Myths, Mega-Coalitions & More”

  1. […] Easley Thames Could Have Taken It Solo « IT Alliance Myths, Mega-Coalitions & More […]

  2. great post

  3. Good Post, an interesting read, no wonder 0,0 warfare has become so dull , why do so many people cram into one unplayable system ?

  4. Very interesting read. My corp has recently joined -FA- after getting tossed out of Providence by Ev0ke (whom I agree are an excellently-run alliance, at least from the outside). Personally, I’m glad to be with NC for the moment; after being tossed around with Enforcers of Serenity, Opticon, Primary., HTA, and finally Provi NIP, we needed someplace to actually make ISK for a few weeks. Not years, mind, but a week or two so we didn’t need to survive on PLEX alone.

    Thanks for the excellent article.

  5. Thanks for your comments.

    I agree the coalition-building is a little out of control, but as long as the NC provides safety it will only become more and more attractive for alliances who have been uprooted violently in the past.

    There is more of an allergy to blue standings in the South, but everyone is guilty of NAP-fest blobbing to protect sovereignty to some extent. Independent groups are definitely the exception and tend to get battered down when they are in the way.

    An interesting fact is that many old-school NC still say that the existence of BoB/IT is the “justification” for their coalition’s existence and perpetual expansion.

    We’re really the “boogey-man” of Eve I guess.

  6. First, I would like to wholeheartedly commend you on your blog. You express yourself with a combination of candor and eloquence which is rare and very refreshing.

    I do feel motivated to comment on a few points in this post. First, it seems a little hypocritical that someone so deeply involved in an organization as large as yours would be complaining about the size of other groups in the game. Given the numbers you list above, I have to assume that you are a member of the second largest set of pilots set blue to each other in all of Eve. And you are upset because there is a yet larger group of people who have set each other blue, and they are willing to get together to fight you?

    It isn’t as though we’re coming into your space without a history. I remember IT fleets camped out the north not very long ago at all, killing myself and my friends. And not long before that you were tearing through Goon sov as they were trying to recover from their little internal incident. So why would you not expect those two groups to get together to retaliate? That’s just human nature.

    But the main thing that frustrated me in your post was a semantic issue with one sentence. You say “…Eve devolved into […] diplomacy…” Wait, what? Diplomacy is the lifeblood of Eve, and, as far as I can tell, has been for far longer than I’ve even known about the game. Diplomacy, politics, constantly shifting networks of social interaction; these are the fuels that drive the machine which is the PvP that we enjoy.

    You mention other games in a more recent post, addressing how different they are from Eve in the aspect of controlled numbers of players per side, etc. When I really think about that comparison, and consider FPSs where alertness and reflexes are what allow one person to win, or an RTS like Starcraft where you can engage in match after match of constant PvP with speed, game knowledge and knowing the appropriate counters being the key to gaining an edge, Eve seems about as far on the other end of the spectrum as a game could possibly be. And, far from that being a devolution, I think people are learning to appreciate the subtlety of the game that allows our social behaviors to be expressed so dynamically.

    Certainly no one is going to want to play an Eve in which there is a single ruling power in null sec, all set blue to each other and free to spend all day linking boob pics while they gatecamp against the ferocious noobs from the tech schools. Power blocks will shift, some alliances will dissolve, others will split. A lot of people will learn dangers of social interaction, of people who will say whatever is needed for personal gain. And some may also learn about trust and communication as counters to such “diplomacy.”

    Sounds like evolution to me.

    • First, thank you for the compliment!

      I think your comment about diplomacy is well-reasoned to the extent that Eve is defined as being a sandbox where diplomacy often plays a role that is fully absent from RTS or FPS games. You are correct that high-level player interaction between players is one of Eve’s best features and something those other gaming genres tend to ignore.

      However, there is something else that defines Eve for me, chaos (or maybe I should say “danger” or “insecurity.”) The selling point for me has always been a “cold, dark universe.” If I want sunshine there are plenty of fantasy MMOs where I can get that.

      Today I think we have too many people that barely know each other feeling FORCED into cooperating as the default way of entering 0.0 space instead of opting to operate as small autonomous groups and proving their worth by carving out a small area for themselves. In smaller combat where alliances didn’t rely on 5-10 other groups to back them up constantly the battles would be more manageable for the servers are far more enjoyable for players involved. It would also showcase groups with skilled players since smaller fights are more amenable to advanced tactics.

      However, I need to make a distinction. What I am critical of is not diplomacy per se, but the extent to which diplomacy is used. Having as many allies as possible is surely good for an alliance in the short term but it also forces hostiles to do the same. Much like nuclear proliferation, if one side gains an advantage the other will counter if possible.

      The fact that the entity people were calling the “Southern Coalition” couldn’t even dent the colossus that is the NC with AAA, Atlas and IT involved shows just how many people are huddled together up North.

      SOME argue that the South and North are all the same but if you look at how often we end up fighting each other down south and how transient blue standings are down here you can easily see that the NC is on another level, it really is an “alliance of alliances” not a mere non-aggression pact or coalition formed for a particular operation.

      Here’s an older post on the subject: https://couldhavetakenitsolo.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/why-attack-the-nc/

      If you only go back to MAX 2 as the beginning of hostilities between BoB/IT and the Goons / NC you also miss a huge amount of the history that has defined today’s landscape. However, I don’t deny that BoB/IT are often the aggressors up North.

      You also said we attacked Goons when they lost sov and I sensed that you feel this was a bad thing. However, that’s exactly how BoB lost its space to Goons, they attacked us when we had sov drop due to a disgruntled director. The only difference was that he did it intentionally at the request of the Goons. That was pure karma when they had the same problem later.

  7. One thing to point out from your DotLan info is that IT and Init control almost 300 systems. Goons TEST control less than 80.

    I think this disproportionate control of space is the main driver behind pilot frustration with IT. Morsus Mihi for example only claims 1/2 the number of systems IT has, yet competes on close footing reputation-wise.

    I think a more equitable sharing of space is the true secret sauce that has led to NC success.

    • If we had friends who would utilize and could sufficiently DEFEND entire regions or portions thereof we would share sov gladly. I know that most people in IT are willing to give Initiative space from our own holdings if they ever lose all that they have now, for example.

      Furthermore, groups like Sys-K have a fair amount of Sov in Period Basis. Fountain allies (who are smaller) have a smaller potion of Fountain.

  8. I’m not entirely sure how you guys (supposedly) have more strict recruitment policies, but manage to actually be worse than some of the worst NC members and allies.

    • Both sides (as a whole) are far from the most talented or coordinated entities in Eve. At a certain point, coalitions become lumbering juggernauts and lose their edge.

      I didn’t mention recruitment policies in this post, so I am not really sure what you are directly responding to, but I won’t deny IT has had major issues in the last 2-3 months.

      As for the current war, the large fights with 1600 people are not going our way. Most of those fights have been determined by numbers / participation. Only a small part of it has been FCing issues or grunt-level piloting errors.

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