(Editor's Note: This is an alliance update originally posted on Goonfleet.com)
Sov Wars are brutal, ugly things which - for some obscene reason, most likely clinical sadism - we adore like nothing else in EVE. They last for months; tidy explanatory narratives for who is winning and losing are nowhere to be found. Every day, moons and sov are taken and lost; one day we are up, then next day we are down. Those who know what is going on say nothing; those who know nothing bleat on every forum in the hope of being heard. We are now on day 21, the third week since launching this war, and we appear to have gotten our heads out of our asses; while it is but one victory, I write this in the aftermath of us forming 1000 nerds, of which more than 350 were in doctrine-approved Megathron hulls, with a posted op. In response, the foe stood down with ~600, losing the last bit of bridge-capable sov they possessed in Northern Fountain.
The Fine Art of Fucking Up
So now that we've had a clean victory, it's a good time to talk about our fuckups of the past few weeks and what we've done about fixing them. The CFC typically begins every campaign by faceplanting due to outdated doctrines, running into a brick wall of off-tz timers, and welping caps or supercaps; we did this in Tribute, and we did this in Fountain. This might be scary for a newbie, but the CFC lost three Titans before we even took the first sov in Tribute: we're pretty bad at this game.
We began the invasion with pre-Odyssey doctrines. Doctrines are key in EVE; in TEST's abortive 'SOTA' given yesterday, many complaints were voiced about a lack of doctrinal compliance by TEST, who bring... whatever, really, to their fleets. It is for this reason that the war has been a war between the alliances who can put real fleets on the field (CFC, N3, NCdot) with TEST as a sideshow, holding the capes of their more capable allies. While the CFC has excellent doctrinal discipline, the Tengus and Tempests we brought to the party were almost immediately rendered obsolete by the Dominix-blob post-Odyssey sentry meta. It is amazing that we took much of anything in the first week of the war given how outclassed our doctrines were. While our FCs immediately crafted a superior set of doctrines to use - Baltecfleet and Lokifleet - it takes many days to source and supply the ships for a coalition of our size. It is only in the past two days that the CFC has been able to form with modern doctrines at a coalition-level scale, and the terror inspired by 350 Megathrons is what won us EI- tonight.
tldr: Our doctrines were shit, we fixed it. Get a Megathron, Loki, or Oneiros, don't end up like TEST flying an unreimbursable garbage ship in a doctrine fleet.
Trying New Things
Wars are also period of desperate innovation. We're trying out a lot of post-Odyssey fleet comps. Skirmish doctrines are in wild flux: while Fuckyoufleet and Caracals have served us well, we're experimenting with Wolves, Retributions, combat Stealth Bombers, Oracles, allied AHAC fleets. It's a war right after a major balance patch: roll with it. If we do not try new things, we'll be outclassed and in the Tengu/TFI box again, and that's bad.
tldr: Outside of doctrinal ops, it's snowflake season.
Coordination Issues Ultrazone
For years we have relied upon a single Sky Marshal to run our wars. In the dark ages before I was CEO, that was often me; when the Era of Rydis began we could simply rely on her to handle everything, and we did to much success. Sadly, all good single-person-dependencies come to an end, and Rydis' real life became too busy (in a good way) to do everything herself for this war. While she had a small staff - the Sky Team - coalition-scale warfare has grown too complex for only five people to handle. Much of my work after returning from E3 has gone into developing an entire coordination group which is tasked with 'battlespace management': ensuring that skirmish commanders are given constant strategic tasks and goals to complete, goals which are stored in a central clearinghouse/pos app coded by the illiterate supergenius coder Gossamer DT. While the foe forms up for ops several times a day, under this new system the coordination group has kept CFC skirmish commanders warfighting 23/7: purging SBUs, nuking Ihubs, racking up timers, and getting tons of experience. Our skirmish commanders are getting so much experience so rapidly that this war will hopefully spawn a bloc-level FC or two by the end of it.
tldr: Shit was haywire, we fixed it, and now it's better than ever.
Capital Imbalances and Siegefleets
This is nothing new to the vets, but might scare the newbies: as usual, we are outgunned in terms of caps and supercaps by the ~elite pvp~ foe (I imagine that there's no one left dumb enough to think this war has anything to do with TEST anymore). Goonswarm has been outgunned on supercaps/caps since 2006, in every single war we've fought ever. While it's shitty that we cannot throw around a blob of supers with impunity like NCdot can, we have ways around this issue. One of those methods was recently developed to great success: using swarms of torpedo bombers, which are essentially unstoppable and can operate with complete impunity in the warzone. While shooting a structure with 30 bombers is a miserable, time-consuming process, 150 bombers can nuke an Ihub down into reinforced within 20 minutes: we've racked up quite a number of timers in Fountain using this method, and it drives the enemy crazy.
tldr: We're always outnumbered in caps and supers and we win anyway, grab a torp bomber and help out.
The Missing FC Accountability System
Some people simply shouldn't be given keys to drive expensive cars; similarly, we shouldn't give random newbie FCs a Techfleet. We didn't have a system in place to determine which FCs were authorized to use what doctrines, which meant that we were spewing Caracals at anything that moved, even in the hands of skirmish commanders who should have been busted down to using Wolves or tackle frigates. As of today, TheAdj and Reagalan are in charge of making sure that only the proper FCs have keys to the best toys, and those who fuck up foolishly will be busted back to easier doctrines until they can prove through victory that they've learned from their mistakes.
tldr: Less welping and FCs will be held to account for repeated fuckups - even FC directors.
The War So Far
Two weeks ago we were firmly on the back foot: no useable doctrines, being harassed in the north by Black Legion, outnumbered heavily in Fountain, no functional coordination, and no offensive timers being racked up. We shed many former-TEST towers in Fountain while we fixed our shit; thankfully, TEST has focused obsessively on the former Mistakes Were Made stations deep inside southern Fountain, which we picked up due to a sov drop rather than conquest; delaying tactics there have ground down the hostile numbers to a more manageable level. Sov war is a game of endurance and sacrifice, and we picked up those MWM stations for nothing with no expectation to hold them; they have been an excellent cliff face for the foe to dash themselves into. Between hiring Black Legion, fixing our coordination group, unfucking our doctrines, and using siegefleets to rack up timers, we're now pivoting. Though there are welps to come, the momentum appears to be shifting.
This weekend while much of our leadership was gorging themselves on the delights of Memphis, the N3/NCdot group was forced to bounce east - to Cache and Wicked Creek - four times between Friday and Tuesday. This is due to the increased activities of Red Alliance, Solar Fleet and Gorgon Empire, who have been gunning to retake the Northeast from N3/NCdot. While I cannot confirm this, I've seen a log from the Russians accusing N3 and Vince Draken making a number of racist comments about Russians and their women in local chat, a mistake most notably made by the leaders of Lotka Volterra in the early days of Goonfleet history. Expect pressure from the Rus to mount.
It's important to note that this war is truly between the CFC and NCdot/N3; TEST has not been allowed to deploy their own SBUs for fear of them getting stolen, TEST fleet doctrines are aspirational at best, and as we speak TEST sov structures are being repaired and guarded by NCdot/N3. From a strategic perspective, the moment that NCdot and N3 stop wiping TEST's ass for them, Fountain falls - and everyone (except possibly Viktor Villiance) knows it. Today, not a single TEST fleet formed up to defend TEST assets on its own: the entire 'TEST war' was run by NCdot and N3, mostly Progod and Vince doing the heavy lifting.
As a result, interest in the war from the combined hostiles has steadily declined: with a few notable exceptions in AU TZ and one dread welp, the foe is either being blueballed or massacred entirely, and not having much fun. Some perspective: TEST and Tribe formed 1100 for 1-SMEB weeks ago, yet after a SOTA yesterday could barely put 400 in a fleet.
This weekend is the Testival; TEST expects us to make a major push and is praying that N3/NCdot have a lot of toilet paper and baby wipes on hand. Yet we in the CFC take a longer view of these wars; we do not focus for 'big pushes' as we know those inevitably fail, just as the enemy's repeated 'big weekend pushes' have ended in stalemate already. We plan for the long game, after the enemy's desire for quick dramatic wins has been replaced by the numbing horror of an endless sov grind against griefers who do not tire.