Archive for the IT Alliance Category

Mavericks in AAA :: 2 Month Report

Posted in Against All Authorities, Atlas Alliance, IT Alliance, Killboard Stats, Roaming on April 30, 2011 by Easley Thames
I am happy to report that things have worked out very well for The Maverick Navy since our decision to join AAA. Almost no one outside the alliance realizes it, but -A- has an amazing roaming PvP culture, and there are 4 member corps that are extremely active in the U.S. timezone.
This is a huge and very welcome change from IT Alliance, where casual PvP was bizarrely looked down upon and even discouraged at times. The cool things -MVN- has already done in -A-, like ganking a MM Aeon in low-sec, would NEVER have been allowed by the clown-shoes fun-police.
It’s nice not to have to deal anymore with IT’s 200+ member IRC-based “FC” club, of which about 8 people ever lead fleets. In IT, the rest were only there to nay-say anyone other than a very short list of official (but not necessarily talented) FCs. But enough about the past for now!
Eve Kill reports that -A- was #1 in game-wide kills over the last 30 days. That’s even more impressive when you consider that we don’t have a super-huge “forever war” on our doorstep to earn us thousands of fleet kills. Those kills are largely from “just for fun” pvp ops, with a small fraction coming from “official ops.”
As I have mentioned before, this is all nothing new. The “AAA is shit” meme has blackened the public perception of -A-, but the fact is that we are in the #1 ranked alliance of all-time on Battle Clinic.
-A- has always been notorious for roaming gangs in the South. I remember how much fear they stirred up in Provi when I was new to the game, and in the nano-age their gangs were top-notch.
It also helps that they’re very shrewd about when to drop supers, and have never lost a titan. This is something very few major 0.0 alliances can claim.
I’m not saying -A- hasn’t lost good people since the days of Evil Thug, but the current incarnation of the alliance has some very active new blood, and it really shows-through in the nightly activity level and kill-board stats.
Since joining, there have been two kinds of ops our members are flying in regularly: major ops and casual ops.
The first group includes larger ops (first against PL, now against White Noise/DRF). The fight with PL was mostly unexciting. Atlas brought low numbers, even though the war was for their sake, and AAA + Cascade brought decent (but not great) numbers. The CSAA purge in the DRF has been met with “revenge at last!” from the older -A- members while most of -MVN- sees it as “something to do” between roams.
The second kind of fighting consists of small-gang fighting. This is what attracted the FCs in MVN to AAA. -A- space has proved ideal for finding casual “pew pew” with ease. We border a number of very active pipeline systems, and it’s only one jump bridge from our core territory to the border of Curse (current small-gang hotspot and my long-time favorite 0.0 region).
-MVN- was neck-and-neck with The Collective for the most kills in March, leading slightly some days and falling slightly behind on others. In April we were neck-and-neck again for top-killers, but this time BUSA surged in participation due to absorbing another well-known PvP corp, and they beat-out both -MVN- and The Collective for kills.
Regardless of who wins each month, it’s great to be with people who give a shit about something other than making isk and maintaining more regions than they can use. Nearly all of the corps in -A- are active roamers who run a mix of corp-only and alliance-wide ops. The “fun” pvp culture is very strong in AAA, and most long-time Mavericks feel very much at home.
There are also some in the corp, mostly the types who joined in the golden era of Atlas or IT, who simply cannot enjoy Eve without a 1000 man fleet and being told where to be every day. Those people are drooling at NC-DRF war right now. Hopefully the fight with White Noise will escalate and they’ll have mega-blobs to smash into again soon.

As for myself, I have been very pressed for time IRL, but when I do play I have been bouncing between low-sec soloing, small gang roams in curse, and mid-sized “fight-starter” fleets traveling further Catch.
In 2 weeks, I’ll be much less busy and will start blogging about individual fights more often. There have been some very blog-worthy moments in the last couple months, but I simply haven’t had the time or energy to write about them.
Thus-far, I feel the decision to join AAA was the best move for the corp.

IT Alliance :: Administrative Shutdown In Effect

Posted in Alliance Leadership, IT Alliance on February 11, 2011 by Easley Thames

I have had some mails asking about whether IT is disbanding. I saw EN 24 posted something about this, so I just wanted to clarify what is actually going on.

RKK CEO Argentina announced to the alliance that February 10th would be the last day of “administrative functions” for IT Alliance until further notice.

While this sounds rather underwhelming, it’s an official declaration of some very serious changes:

1) The alliance will officially not be fighting for its remaining space.

While we haven’t had anything planned recently, this essentially does away with the uncertainty for some people who were still hoping to fight back. Roams are encouraged to pass the time.

2) Reimbursements are no longer offered for any ship losses.

This is only logical since there are no more official/reimbursable operations. Reimbursements owed up until the 10th will be paid out as usual.

3) Alliance leadership is officially on hiatus.

This means all issues should be handled on a corp level until there is some kind of reorganization after the evacuation.

Many corps are “doing their own thing” now in various corners of Eve, so I think this is another intuitive order.

4) Anyone who hasn’t moved everything to low-sec or NPC 0.0 should hurry up and do so now.

All IT corps took care of this long ago. Truthfully, I thought the NC would be here camping pipes and incapacitating bridges much sooner. Their lackadaisical approach and choice to finish Fountain first made it a cinch to get out every last asset.

[And yes, I know, Evolution lost some freighters, but it wasn’t to Clusterfuck/NC, it was just a smart gank by an unrelated party].

Argentina’s Post for Reference —

Before I mention anything else, I just want to say that I love the RKK duck signatures. :cultural victory:

Now for where the clarification is needed. This announcement does not mean IT Alliance will be disbanding.

The alliance will remain open, and those who want to stay can stay. I do not know if there are concrete plans for the future yet, but there have been some efforts to make it easier for a future regroup if and when that ever happens.

Unlike the fall of Kenzoku, this time around the GBC breakup has been fairly ugly with several corps leaving with a strong distaste for the leadership of other corps.

It speaks volumes that there are dozens of familiar faces in other corps re-subbing now that the war is lost, simply because they won’t have to deal with people they hated in the alliance anymore.

A great deal of good will between IT corps has been lost since we reconquered our space, and I think it would take very strong leadership to bring a majority of the GBC elements under the same banner again.

At a bare minimum, some time will be needed to shake off the baggage from the last 3 months.

Down the road, I wouldn’t rule out a revival, but the chances of getting back the corps that have already left in the near-term future seem slim-to-none.

I was not surprised when IT was formed. Everyone, wanted revenge after BoB was disbanded and Kenzoku got dog-piled. This time, IT Alliance killed itself more than any particular hostile group, so I don’t know if the same strong motivation is there to reform.

That said, if it were any other group I would be far more doubtful. Ex-BoB and GBC corps have a way staying connected even after shattering defeats.

It will be interesting to see where each IT corp ends up. So far, Dark Rising and The Executives are the only ex-IT corps not to join a new alliance. The Executives just left, while Dark had been out since the early days of the Fountain invasion.

Other ex-IT corps seem to be joining new alliances together in pairs. Finfleet & X13 joined Raiden together, and now DICE + BNC are joining NorthernCoalitionDOT.

I do not know for sure who is staying long-term in the alliance at this point. Another week or two to allow the dust to settle is needed before taking an official “head count” of who is still around.

Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions

Posted in IT Alliance on February 5, 2011 by Easley Thames

With IT Alliance spiraling into oblivion, it’s only proper to look back and try to trace our steps to where it all went wrong.

In a sense, IT Alliance was formed with a specific mission in mind: taking back the space that was lost when BoB was disbanded. IT succeeded in that mission because participation was high, leadership was active, there was a clear goal, and we also had some exceptional fortune along the way to aid us in conquest (both in Fountain and Delve).

With our space restored, some time was set aside for empire building, but soon things got dull. Until Max 2.0, IT was asleep. There were not enough ops being run to maintain cohesion and keep up participation. This period wasn’t all bad though, making ISK and building supers helped us stay ahead of the curve when the super-capital buff came along, but many of them became personal toys that didn’t ever see much fighting.

When Max 2.0 happened, we slow-played our invasion, and our own players started to get bored. Instead of going for a blitzkrieg in coordination with our allies, it was a gradual invasion, and we ended up working independently. This allowed the NC to out-blob each enemy fleet as they came.

When we finally made a serious move in H-W, the plan drawn-up by Manny and Perseus was implemented wrong by Molle, who inexplicably started things off at the end of a weekend instead of the beginning. This made a huge difference and favored the home team.  When H-W became a perma-camp with many friendly super capitals trapped in system, relations with -A- and Atlas were strained to say the least.

After Max 2.0, confidence in IT plummeted. Our public stock was trading at an all time low, and internally people had serious problems with the way the campaign was conducted. Many also blamed our allies, some with good reason, but certainly we deserved a large share of the blame.

The NC showed the world that they were a far cry from the days of the original Max campaign, and we were – quite frankly – an underwhelming invader even with the best coalition the South has (and likely will) ever muster due the Southern cultural proclivity against building super-coalitions.

After Max 2.0, the seeds of our downfall had been planted. We had already achieved our mission to retake the homeland, and it was established that we could not wipe out the NC. What purpose remained for us?

IT’s imminent downfall has taught me that even small events can influence players in a way that spreads quickly, gaining force and momentum like a snowball that turns into a violent avalanche. Indeed, a huge part of the problem was that IT’s top-level leadership were too focused on BIG EVENTS to do the small things that make an alliance feel like a fun gaming community worth fighting for.

In the face of ever-growing opposition from the northern collective and their allies, there was an extent to which our troubles were beyond our control long before any corps left IT Alliance. The game has never seen a coalition as vast as the current “Extended NC Family” (old NC + Clusterfuck) and there is no clear sign that they will ever consider a reset or NIP arrangement so long as even one other alliance holds sov somewhere on the map.

And yet, despite the numbers difference, I don’t think there is a single person in IT that feels we fought back to our full potential. After all, paper numbers mean little when there are hostile alliances bringing only 20 people to major ops on average out of their 1000 members. What matters is morale & who wants to win more. That’s the key. A big part of sustaining morale is actually having fun in the process.

Needless to say, people in this alliance DID notice issues along the way. They brought them up, offered solutions, and were often met with silence or a couple empty posts full of posturing.

In the (defensive) Fountain campaign, which is now at an end, there were several FC meetings where profanity flew freely. Both sides of an argument would leave teamspeak channels pissed off and full of nerd-rage. That’s a sign of internal issue that are not being addressed by the high-level leadership.

The question people in IT have been asking recently is simply, “What can we do at this point?”

We can certainly fight and face the coming siege of Delve. I don’t see any reason why a well-motivated IT Alliance + friends (even without X13 and Finfleet) couldn’t make it interesting for several months if we had wanted to. Alternatively, we can just bail and take whatever isn’t tied down with us.

It seems many corps are going to cut out the posturing and leave. At the time of writing this, BNC + DICE + SUITS have publicly announced they will be following Dark + X13 and Finfleet.

This still leaves some of the more determined corps behind, but our fleet strength will be diminished beyond the point where it will be possible to field a large enough BS fleet to challenge hostiles over infrastructure. We will likely be confined to bombers and other gangs suited to hit-and-run tactics.

-MVN- is not among those who have left, and we will not be leaving until the end as long as Avi is calling the shots. However, as is only prudent, our pilots have been mitigating their risk by spreading out assets.

I think it would be fair to say that most IT Alliance assets are in NPC Delve/Fountain or in low-sec currently. When you have to resort to such measures, it’s never a good sign.

A few weeks ago, I could have honestly said that I felt we had a small chance to somehow hold the line. Perhaps at Y-2 or 5-C. Unfortunately, the loss of another wave of corporations puts us well past any measure of reasonable hope of winning.

I do not think there can be any question at this point that the alliance will be handing over sov without  making much of a fuss. A recent Kugu thread suggests one corp even tried to sell their space and others are trying to get in on selling off infrastructure/sov. I have no idea if it’s true, but I don’t see why anyone would pay for what will be free in the near-future.

-MVN- will be there for this last chapter of IT, but I would by lying if I said I’m expecting there to be any effective opposition to the legions that will inevitably descend. Bombers and small gangs, sure, but I wouldn’t expect to see many IT Maelstrom fleets up. Here’s hoping our scorch bombs strike true and hard.

Again the question arises, how did we fall so far that corps aren’t even staying to make a last stand in Delve?

Dissent, division, and a lack of clarity in purpose set forth by the leadership are the opposite of what a successful alliance needs when facing a larger enemy coalition.

I have waited a long time (out of respect to my corp) to write about what was wrong with IT.

Small indignities from arrogant has-been members of “old-BoB” corps that hardly run any ops of their own, baseless pride from untalented nobodies who were put into positions of power, and the pervasive sense of superiority over far more active and vibrant alliances: all of these things have I endured (mostly) silently.

Almost as bad as the culture in IT was the resistance to improving our fleet doctrine, which had changed little since 2007 by the time we were fighting the second Max campaign in 2010. It took many threads and conversations to get this alliance to open up to new ideas after our defeat up North, some of which (like bombers) we never perfected by our FCs, despite their incredible potential to influence large-scale fights.

Our fleet doctrine, for a very long time, was based around using long range “sniper” battleships with “mid-range” battle-cruisers providing anti-support fire against tackle & dictors. Flying anything else  was sacrilege to some, and it took far too long for this to change.

The biggest change came when a Finfleet member was appointed (by what process I have no idea) to revise our fleet doctrine. Gery Zon devised a Shield BS fleet composed principally of Arty Maelstroms, Pulse-Apocs and HML Drakes w/ e-war. The Drakes were later replaced with tracking disruptor scorpions.

We were bringing Maelstroms en-masse well before the enemy because we were constantly going up against drakes. Having superior range and high-alpha to counter logistics was the prefect recipe for dead battle-cruisers. The pulse apocs were initially included as a counter against a-hacs, which were FOTM among NC and PL gangs, and the apocs could also melt any light support that came near us during the fighting. When the BS were in close range, apocs were the top damage dealers, although heavy lag was more favorable to maelstroms.

Drakes were mostly there for e-war support and – honestly – those who couldn’t fly a proper battleship.Time and again, we had far too many drakes, but after weeks of yelling at people the maelstrom numbers rose significantly. Adding a non-T2 gun setup to the reimbursement list was also a big part of that.

The high-alpha was a strong counter to logistics, which were seeing greater use both with A-HAC fleets and drake blobs. Overall, it wasn’t a bad fleet doctrine, though I felt we should have stopped allowing drakes and apocs eventually.

For all its flaws, IT Alliance was not a joke. If you put IT up against an alliance with an equal number of pilots without allowing either to bring help, I think IT would win more often than not. Our problem was more complex than simply being too arrogant or too slow to change tactics.

I think many people would say diplomacy has actually been our weakest point. Bobby Atlas and Manny blamed Molle for failing to orchestrate a successful campaign in the North. Much like an unsuspecting sophomore who agrees to go to prom with the captain of the football team, they said they were rushed and weren’t ready when the big night came along, but that they were forced anyway.

I don’t want to harp on the H-W debacle, which I mentioned above, but this was the move that effectively ended any hope of working with Atlas in particular in future campaigns. I think this might be one of those “tipping points” that could be singled out in the story of our demise.

Others might point to Syndicate, where we retallited against an “enemy of my enemy” over a few moons that we didn’t really need. By driving off Evoke, we cleared the way for Test/GSF to expand into Cloud Ring.

Personally, I think everything was still in salvageable condition until PL attacked AAA. I will admit that I laughed, and made no attempt to help them. Supporting Initiative seemed the best course of action at the time.

In hindsight, we could probably have pressured Initiative to join us in defending AAA, and thereby earned-back a powerful ally. I think Blaster Worm essentially asked Molle to do this and was ignored, but I can’t confirm that. The problem was that AAA seemed worthless back then, and we also held a grudge from their half-hearted participation in Max 2.0.

Later, AAA would be renewed and reborn by this crushing defeat. They rose like a phoenix and assaulted Initiative systems countless times, showing impressive determination. Much like IT Alliance, retaking their space was a clear goal that resonated with the members.

Facing a war on two fronts, the top-level leadership in IT Alliance had to make a choice very early in this war. It was a simple decision, but it set the stage for many of our current problems, both internally and as a result of the impact on our enemies.

In late 2010, Initiative was feeling the blow-back from conquering more space than it ever really wanted. AAA had gone from being a sleeping bear to an active force, and they had significant backup from their oldest allies.

During this time, Fountain was being invaded by the “Western” NC alliances (later identifying as the “Deklein Coalition,” and today as the “Clusterfuck”) while the Eastern NC was occupied with the drone region residents and PL.

After being picked on by elite small-gang PvP groups like GK inc, the Fountain alliances had a weak public image, and internal morale was dampened significantly. Despite this, I have always felt our weaker allies were really no worse than any “guests” in the NC. I’m not saying they were amazing, but it was simply a mis-match for them to face the Goon-lead coalition without IT involved.

All coalitions have their major and minor powers, and the Fountain war was for quite a long time a one-sided fight between GSF/WI/TEST (major NC powers and 3 of the largest alliances in-game) and only minor powers (Blade, Talos, Blast, Hun) from the IT block.

In contrast, Init were in the big boys club by this point, with their own minor powers and indeed even renters within their orbit. Though they may have deserved “major power” status, Init + Initiative Mercenaries and friendly neighbor Sys-K were still not a match for the enemies they faced, and were slowly losing ground.

IT leadership faced two questions: (1) Should we divide forces and fight both fronts? (2) If not, which front do we deal with first?

The conclusion was that we would handle Catch first, with full force, and then regroup in Fountain to repair whatever damage was done. This decision caused major fallout internally, to say the least, and it would ultimately prove impossible to put the genie back in the bottle.

[As a quick note: This following is as accurate a depiction as I can give from my personal knowledge and conversations with people who were present at the time these decisions were made, but I don’t claim to be infallible or omniscient. I welcome any corrections.]

Dark Rising left IT over a combination of the Fountain issue and some long-standing grievances I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about to elaborate upon. Dark was responsible for the part of Fountain that was first to come under assault, and the loss of several key Fountain jump bridges due to improper preparation for their departure was a very real disadvantage. Perhaps even more important was the lack of a presence of “locals” from IT to set timers and generally provide a direct envoy to Fountain alliances with their home-constellation alts while the alliance was fully-deployed to Catch.

With drama brewing at a CEO level, RKK either limited its deployment or flat-out refused to participate in Catch. I believe it was limited to sub-capitals, but it could have been a flat-out refusal later on (I’m happy to see a comment clarifying it from RKK on this issue).

This defiance infuriated our lead FCs in the European timezone (most notably The Supremacy and Nuker Payback from X13). Later on this would lead X13 (a super-capital-heavy corp with strong E.U. timezone leadership) and Finfleet (the corp home to IT fittings/fleet doctrine masterminds Gery Zon and Cflux) to retaliate by limiting and/or flat-out refusing participation in Fountain.

A major undercurrent of discontent among FCs was growing because of boisterous CEOs and many long-since un-subbed veterans talking big and doing nothing in-game worthy of note. Even among FCs, we were not often of a single mind about how things should be done, but there was certainly a greater level of pragmatism among those actually involved in the war than those on the sidelines.

Let’s examine the reasoning behind the decision to go to Catch:

The general feeling was that our space in Fountain, while perhaps guarded by a weaker force in our absence, could be more easily reconquered by a strong counter-offensive. In comparison, the newly-emboldened AAA/Stain coalition were attacking an ally that had only recently started to tighten its grip on a new, vast empire.

With a bad reputation for letting other alliances lose their space while protecting our own, the alliance made a decision that broke with the expected course of action. We would allow the Goons/NC to do their worst in Fountain, perhaps even taking large portions of it, while we went on an official deployment to save our strongest remaining ally at that time.

Some at the top-levels hoped that demoralizing Stain/AAA/Others would be possible. While we were present in Catch, there were some good fights, and it was clear AAA/Stain would not be able to win a war against IT/Init together.

However, there was also no possible way for us to “win” a war against a foe living in NPC space. It was effectively a standoff. Realizing this, we would eventually pull out, but not before the Fountain situation had worsened significantly.

Meanwhile in Fountain, the Clusterfuck Coalition was rolling along. As victories were earned, people x’d up in greater and greater numbers to kill our allies. New corps were attracted to the bandwagon, and various NC alliances saw a good opportunity to win a chunk of space for themselves in the South in exchange for sending as little as 10 or 20 pilots on a daily basis to help Test and Goons.

The first battle after we moved back from Catch was the final timer for PNQY. We had lots of people miss the convoys up from Catch, and there were other mistakes including the choice of ships. When the system fell, people started to realize that Fountain would present a serious challenge, and would not be an easy area to cleanse.

Talos lost a station next, with little resistance from our side. However, the offensive slowed to a crawl at this time.

Our U.S. timezone crew was spamming SBUs everywhere, all day. The enemy had to shoot these, or else we would have opportunities to re-take lost systems. We were also ninja-dropping capitals on any infrastructure we could find to create additional timers for the enemy to worry about.

Things seemed to be improving when U.S. timezone efforts were matched by a strong Aussie prime-time crew, usually lead by Zammas, who was working to continue our daily efforts all the way through downtime before handing off the baton to the Euros.

The problem was, the traditional IT Alliance European prime-time advantage had disappeared. We weren’t capitalizing on opportunities created by the U.S. and Aussie-based players. In the past, this timezone was when we won our major victories, but increasingly our defensive timers were being set for Aussie prime to reduce hostile participation.

Fast-forward to a couple weeks ago. It’s the battle for Z3 (part 2 from my perspective, but there were other fights here as well). We’re going all-in with supers on field for the second time in this system. In the previous fight, we edged-out the enemy and scored a GSF super-carrier kill with no supers lost on our side. This time around, we’re losing, and the non-participation by several corps is no longer funny to anyone. Our resounding defeat influences morale on both sides of the war, and internal tensions rise.

With the disputes at the CEO level not resolved by this time, X13 and Finfleet made their exit.

The enemy had only taken two major systems by that point, but the result of the war was looking rather certain to many.

-MVN- continued stepping up. PK and Cardking ran snipe hac gangs and did what they could to cheer up IT pilots with some minor victories wherever they could be found, but it just wasn’t enough. The alliance was so far gone that morale plummeting.

Molle’s speech had a major impact, but his brief presence was a rare exception to the rule.

Honestly, if you’re getting married and moving to another country in real life, Eve shouldn’t be a priority. I get that, and most people in IT do too, but the truth is that his absence exacerbated other serious problems that might have been resolved if the alliance had his normal level of attention and involvement.

In Molle’s absence, the active FCs were the closest thing people got to alliance leaders that would actually talk to them on a regular basis.

When PK was banned for spamming local and Goons started camping 6VDT, people in IT started pondering the best way to save their assets in Fountain.

The last area where we failed as an alliance was in the area some might call “Soft Power,” which has been described as “the power to attract and persuade others.” I think that some alliances play the mind-game / meta-game / cultural war game far better than others.

Propaganda is a small part of being successful, but most people can smell bullshit. This kind of media is important, but only so far is it can get your own side excited about what they are doing.

Forums are a part of any cultural effort. For some alliances, far more than others. Some forums are also more important that others.

BoB was pretty active on Eve-O in its hey-day, and I seem to remember a pretty dynamic set of personalities that projected an image of strength. The fact that IT leaders felt they could assign a few alts to “handle PR” shows how limited our thinking was on this front.

Finally, a huge part of being successful – and perhaps the most overlooked by IT –  is communicating with your own members and having a “message” that articulates clear goals. We just haven’t had the kind of encouragement and communication that we needed to get maximum participation.

Eve players are not salaried employees, they need to be motivated on a personal level to show up for things, even when those things are in their own self-interest.

I might post again about the importance of alliance cultures, but for now I feel it suffices to say that many problems in IT Alliance stem from apathy in these aforementioned areas.

Other power blocs have embraced these tools and are thriving.

Numbers. Numbers? Numbers!!!

It’s plain to anyone that the North is growing in numbers, accepting into its arms numerous corporations and alliances who were either removed or choose to leave the south. The most notable examples would be Goonswarm (taken in by TCF and later inheriting their region) and the many former providence residents who almost exclusively NC guests.

With improved organization, teamwork, and downright better piloting than they had in MAX 1, the MAX 2 campaign showed everyone that the NC was more than formidable before growing. They’ve now grown to a size far greater than any other sov-holding coalition, without many serious threats left to work again.

However, the real story of this campaign is that of the resurgence of the Goons and the rise of Test Alliance as a major 0.0 player. At the time of writing, both alliances had surpassed IT Alliance in membership. Once they hold several new regions, I can only imagine their ranks will swell even further, as ours did.

*Several Corps Now Leaving Are Still Counted Here as Members

In my opinion, the NC is something like N.A.T.O. in the real world. It is an organization whose original mission has passed it by. BoB is no longer traversing the galaxy crushing empires, in large part because everyone else can fly capitals and T2-fitted ships now too.

PL is perhaps a substitute “boogeyman” for the NC, but the only remaining empire that really threatens them is the drone region coalition, which I do not think would survive a long war with the current NC in its current form.

In contrast, the South has stuck to the traditional Eve Online mindset: cold dark universe, trust as few as possible, revel in dangerous lifestyle of a feudalistic universe in chaos, and so forth.

If IT alliance only had to deal with the Clusterfuck, but not the “old NC” or AAA/Stain, then I think things would never have turned out this way. However, it was a foregone conclusion that the rest of the NC would support them.

That suggests that the most critical factor was our ability to get support from other strong Southern powers like Initiative or AAA. The existence of a 2nd front tied up both of those entities, and eventually drew us away from the bigger threat descending from the North.

We are truly saddened that half the alliance is bailing before a single shot has been fired in Delve. It is starting to feel like this region has some kind of curse for its holders, as many have remarked, but the reasons for our current troubles are not so mysterious.

In conclusion, -MVN- is here for the remainder of this rather bumpy ride in the clown car. I wasn’t always thrilled with our alliance, but there were much worse places we could have been, and staying with Atlas would not have allowed us to grow the way this opportunity did.

IT Alliance was where -MVN- grew from a desirable null-sec corp to an invaluable one. We’ve gained great new members, our FCs are more numerous & active than ever, an incredible number of new supers were built, and we will take with us great set of lessons that we will absolutely refuse to allow anyone to ignore in our future endeavors.

Comments and factual corrections to this post are more than welcome.

What is the State of Our Union?

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on January 30, 2011 by Easley Thames

Along with Obama, Mittani and Molle recently delivered important speeches regarding the status of their (internet spaceship) nation-states.

I think the difference between these two events reflects very well the current situation in Fountain.

To avoid any confusion, I caught both of these speeches after-the-fact via recordings (which are linked later in this post for reference).

Sir Molle addressed his remarks to IT alone, and was informal in discussing the current situation. He didn’t have a drafted speech, choosing only to repeat a few simple message: (1) we’re not running, (2) get your stuff back to Fountain, (3) allies are coming to help, (4) you don’t need to worry about what is said on forums, just listen to you CEO.

When Molle finished speaking, a Q & A session occurred where Molle growled at people for wanting to hear updates about their own alliance on a regular basis, instead of having to read about our issues from spies posting on Kugu.

I think the propensity to censor each other is one of the worst qualities of the “Old BoB” corps that was passed on to IT, and even the alliance’s U.S. timezone hero has recently caught significant flak for a less than optimistic blog post.

Our supreme leader seemed on edge, and when asked for clarification on various rumors, Molle responded with a Orwellian mantra: “if it didn’t come from your CEO, then it is BS!” At times, it honestly sounded like I was listening to children being scolded.

However, as a result of Molle making an appearance, people who had been quietly moving assets appeared to halt and reverse their clandestine evacuations. With a single speech, countless people could be seen in capitals jumping back to 6VDT.

It’s a real testament to how important Molle is to this alliance, and how much of an impact he can have when he wants to. Everyone was still unsure about the future, but the sheer panic of a full-on cascade was forestalled.

Unfortunately, jumping assets back to 6VDT worsened the situation for some members when the “cluster fuck” coalition and NC (if indeed one can make such a distinction) showed up to camp us.

Addressing a coalition of alliances including GSF, TEST and WIdot among others, The Mittani seemingly had drafted part of his remarks ahead of time. With little to add, Montolio and Tomcat briefly spoke in succession.

The Mittani’s message was simple: (1) IT is falling apart, (2) IT is evacuating, (3) Molle’s speech was degrading to his own members, and… (4) we’re going RIGHT NOW to go take 6VDT and hold it for several days 23/7.

In contrast with the Molle Q & A, this was not a discussion, it was a call to action that dove-tailed with a major coalition-wide combat operation.

When Mittens stopped speaking, a guy named after an anime character from the (truly awful) “Gundam 00” series formed up a fleet to immediately capitalize on the emotion and begin the camp of 6VDT.

Gathering the membership, delivering a rousing speech founded on REVEALING information rather than concealing it, and then channeling momentum it into an active fleet – I have to admire the effectiveness.

Apparently the "Anime is Cartoons" Meme Ended With Kenzoku

As for Bring Stabity? He must be from Rho squad with a name like that. Or is that not the ADTRW-posting otaku brigade squad? I never could keep them straight.

Regardless, the 6VDT camp has been effective so far. Most people who were docked have jump cloned, and those logged at a POS were largely able to get out, but some remain trapped.

We have not mustered significant forces to retake the system and – though people are still staging assets in Fountain – unease is slowly creeping back in.

Molle delayed an imminent collapse, and wisely made an effort to turn the tide by summoning allies for an all-or-nothing push to defend Fountain. I am sure he senses that this is a potential tipping point in the war.

However, we have not seen many major battles, as the numbers are still not there to do anything. I cannot help but believe that if Molle could play regularly, and lead from the front as he has done many times in that past, that our participation would surge again.

In the meantime, 6VDT remains very red. Unless people log-in and x-up with large numbers, it is only a matter of time until we are facing a Delve war again.

At a leadership level, the focus is currently on having fun and getting participation to increase. If we lose, we’d like to lose with a few good fights per station system, not quietly.

Everyone in IT can afford to lose some BS, and non-super caps are trivial to replace after alliance reimbursement. What we need is people to step up.

I think that we might as well USE the giant IT war chest while we still have sov. This is the most common sentiment I hear.

The Mittani picked the right moment to dial-up the offensive in Fountain. With corps leaving, things could not possibly be worse from the perspective of alliance morale. If given a month to recover, we might have repelled the initial push into 6VDT.

I cannot help but feel that Molle’s absence has been the cause of many of our problems. It isn’t all about corps leaving, though that is a related issue in my eyes. Much like Atlas, without our dictator things go to pot, but for entirely different reasons.

In Atlas, without Bobby there was no one willing or able to handle leadership. In IT, there are actually too many people who want to be in charge. It’s the opposite problem, but the results are very similar. We are paralyzed by innaction.

To their credit, the CEOs and FCs recognize the problem. We are trying to run ops and have been told not to stand down even if we don’t think we will win, if for no other reason but to get people active.

We are hoping to have fun for the remainder of this campaign, and most of us are holding out some level of hope for a hard-fought and memorable defense. However, I would be lying if I said I felt we had any notable advantages to rely upon at this time, and many operations have simply not come together at all.


Supercap Brawl in Z3 (again) :: This Time We Lost

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on January 23, 2011 by Easley Thames

The fighting in Z3 had just wrapped up at the time I started writing this. Having stayed up until 7 am to fight in this god-forsaken post-downtime war, I was  unable to finish my entry at that time.

Fortunately, this gave the boards enough time to pull from every corp’s API and ensured I now have a full account of kills and losses.

On a side note, IT’s kill-board may not instantly reflect losses right after they happen in-game, but they do get fed via director API from each corp so I really wonder why I see so many “IT NEVER POSTS LOSSES” local comments.

The reality is not everyone rushes to the board to post their own mails because they know they get pulled automatically. The same thing happens with kills (annoyingly) and I often have to wait to see a mail I’m on automatically get fed. But I digress…

This time things started out smoothly for IT with some sub-cap brawls where we appeared to pop more of them than they did of us.

Whenever we have reasonably close numbers in these major battles we opt to fight. If it’s hopeless it may not happen, or we may restrict the fighting to sub-caps only, but we would prefer to fight back and not sit on our hands whenever possible.

When the enemy bridged in capitals, we took the fight head-on and threw our own cap fleet (including supers) into the mix. Additional hostile caps cyno’d in on-grid moments later and warped down to join the fray.

The fighting dragged on for what seemed like a long time. Lag has a way of making everything seem tedious. Modules were reliable one moment and stuck the next.

I was in a light tackler this time and I buzzed around tackling ships outside the bubbles who looked like they were being shot, primarily carriers since dreads were in seige and supers are invulnerable.

I also locked up a couple targets of opportunity for me to engage solo but sadly my autocannons would not cycle on quality kills like this one:

The final result of this battle was not good for us, we ended up losing 2 titans and 2 super-carriers along with 24 non-super caps in exchange for 1 super carrier and 30 non-super capitals killed.

When we had all the hostile bubbles cleared we called for all supers to jump out. Some pilots had issues due to the patch’s change to capital navigation but we got the lion’s share of caps and super-caps off field successfully.

Losing 4 supers would not hit the corps who lost them very hard under normal conditions. The alliance heavily reimburses supers, and most corps have the means to help pilots replace supers. What is more disturbing is the impact on participation and morale this may have.

In this battle, two IT corps literally bought ONE PERSON. Two other corps brought NO SUPERS. It is not hard to see how we’ve been hamstrung by internal issues. Especially when you consider that the corp in charge of a key portion of Fountain bailed at the outset of this campaign when we were helping Initiative.

The alliance cannot exist for long if some corps are holding back when we go all-in. It’s as simple as that. Everyone who has good intel knows what this alliance is capable of deploying and we haven’t seen anything close in far too long.

Finally, as many have stated the reinforcement fleet from the “real NC” made the difference today. Dek Co is growing all the time with new allies from former providence holders, former-NC and everything in between.

Behind their well-motivated coalition that already feels like the war is a foregone conclusion is the “Real NC” that – while perhaps lazy – can bring serious firepower when needed.

Their last defeat showed them they needed broader NC help to ensure victory in a super-cap brawl, and this time it swung the other way. Looking at the titans who made it into the fight, you can see MM/RZR/ME made up 11 of 14 with Goons only fielding 3.

As for the tactical significance of Z3, the bridges to Delve don’t impact pilots deployed or with jump clones in 6VDT much at all. It may have an impact on the safety of logistics from Delve as well as “last minute” stragglers flying up for ops.

On a personal note – I wish I had whore’d onto some super kills! I didn’t get on the hostile Nyx (or any friendly super kills) because I was going after things that were not tackled. Also, my guns were stuck most of the time.

The Battle of Z3 :: A Limited Account

Posted in IT Alliance on January 18, 2011 by Easley Thames

Let me preface this report with a brief disclaimer. I was very tired during this OP (which started at 3 AM my time) and I had to leave early, as I was nodding off at the keyboard. I am by no-means claiming that this is a full report of the various engagements that occurred after down-time.

With that said, allow me to set the stage. Z3 is an important system for IT Alliance because it is the site of a jump bridge that helps us move between our staging system in 6VDT and Delve.

Forming up on the bridge titan in 6v in my Maelstrom, I waited for the green light to enter system. With “E” being towards the front of the alphabet, BS are always something of a coffin for me in large fights. Fortunately, IT Alliance has a very generous reimbursement program currently.

We had bridged-in our own two fleets right on the i-hub with caps, supers and BS positioned at various distances. Since our objective was to save this i-hub, they would have to come to us or we would simply use our carriers + SCs to rep the hub in a short order. Just as we started repairing the i-hub, hostiles entered system.

We had a quick skirmish at the i-hub itself with their sub-cap fleet. The hostiles could not match the firepower of our similar-sized BS fleet due to the fact that we had supers on-field.

The Hostiles escalated the fight by bridging in caps at their staging POS, which we had hit earlier in the evening in anticipation of this fight. We warped in our sub-cap fleet to the cyno first and capitals followed to their pos shortly after. I was one of the very first Maelstroms to be focused by hostile BS, and I died after literally only shooting at one enemy BS.

I was able to slip my pod away to reship quickly. After returning, I warped back in and started working on enemy BS. The fight was going very well for us by this point.

With superior numbers of super-caps on field the enemy retreated all their capitals into the shield. However, two super carriers were still not safe when the call came to primary an Aeon.

The GSF super-carrier dropped fairly quickly into half armor where he seemed to hover before diving into structure. Once in structure, he melted almost instantly.  My maelstrom was avenged, huzzah!

With nothing left outside shield to shoot, I went around to the hostile BS wrecks and collected a set of T2 artillery for my next Maelstrom. It was a little hard as many of them only had named guns, but I eventually gathered a full set of guns and a few thousand faction large ammo.

Suddenly, the hostile fleet made its move. They all warped to a gate and left system. We were informed of 100 hostile reinforcements nearby, and my presumption is that they decided to regroup.

The important victory in Z3 along with the Aeon kill put me in a rather good mood, especially since the pilot was making remarks like this a couple weeks ago:

With my eyes feeling heavier than the large rounds of republic fleet depleted uranium in my cargo hold, I bridged myself back to 6VDT and docked before falling asleep.  I suppose I might be guilty of quitting while I was ahead this time, but it felt pretty good to doze off.

What happened later that night? Anything I tell you about events beyond the time I left system will be second hand, so I suggest reading a more comprehensive battle report if interested.

Chronic Issues Persist — Major IT CTA Is A Failure

Posted in IT Alliance, North versus South on January 8, 2011 by Easley Thames

Today we had a major CTA scheduled that was originally posted by Molle. This is something that hasn’t happened in a while, and historically Molle’s participation inspires more people to log-in than FCs they are unfamiliar with. Many predicted that this could be a turning point in the rather bleak Fountain campaign.

Molle did not end up making an appearance today, at least not on any character I recognized from his rather large stable of alts. Regardless of Molle’s presence, fleets had been running since yesterday, and we had an unexpected Titan kill just after down time. All signs pointed to a big turn-out tonight.

When it came time to form-up, participation in U.S. timezone was decent, but not great. IT + allies mustered between 400 and 500 of the 1400+ in local. With 900 hostiles in system and more camping various nearby systems, we were once again at a decisive numerical disadvantage.

KB Link –

Well we ended up fighting briefly before warping off-field to a shared pos where the password was given to Fountain allies (and therefore our enemies as well via spies).

The DC/NC fleet warped right in with us to try to bowl people out. The supers landed first then various hostile fleets started warping in. Some were inside trying to bump people out while others sat at range.

The hostiles were begging us to fight back, both in local chat and by coming to our armed POS. They even went so far as to leave a single titan sitting outside the shields while tanking all the guns in an attempt to encourage us to engage them.

We absconded with half of our sub-caps through one of the gates, and the others left in system retreated safely via titan bridge. Our staging system was briefly camped after this operation and SBUs were put online in various systems both both sides. Most notably, 6VDT was successfully SBU’d and station services were temporarily incapacitated.

Goons also deployed some SBUs in Delve, presumably to serve as a distraction from PNQY. The Delve SBUs were killed before coming online.

What Went Wrong Today?

We were plagued in 6VDT by some of the same issues that have contributed to our other defeats in this campaign.

There has been a great deal of discussion about our target-calling in particular, which many find to be slow and/or illogical. Others have continued to question the utility of our Apocs & Drakes versus alternatives like Scorpions for those who cannot bring an arty-Maelstrom, which is the weapon of choice for both sides in this war.

Above all, when you look at the alliances involved in this war, the numbers simply don’t work in our favor. To beat a larger foe you need superior morale or superior tactics. We have neither, and that is why we are losing this war.

The NC and “DC” coalition have many more people to draw from, and there are have been several new corps & alliances signing up help them in Fountain since this campaign began. Many of those new friends have plans to live here if it is conquered, so their motivation is rather strong.

As always, Goons and those similar to them (especially Test) do a much better job drawing in support from outsiders than BoB/IT, which doesn’t have much in the way of public relations or cultural propaganda these days. We don’t even release PvP videos anymore, and external forums posting by IT members is very limited because most corps have policies against it.