Today the Minmatar took over Kamela, the system that marked the line in the sand since Inferno hit. I congratulate, the Minmatar for taking it, however, the circumstances under it's fall is a bit disappointing. Within 24 hours of Moar Tears and Fweddit leaving the Amarr militia, Kourmonen fell. Kamela fell within 24 hours of long-time FW alliance Lost Obsession leaving. Apparently, Agony Empire attempted to mount a defense, but being new to faction warfare with no real backup, the results were pretty much expected.
I have a lot of thoughts and musings over the past month, so if this post wanders a bit, there's your disclaimer. Right now, the pundits on both sides seem to be circling and weighing in on the situation. I've noticed an interesting backlash against the former-Amarr's efforts now that we're gone. The truth is, Nulli and the tier 4 push ultimately marked the end of the current Amarr militia, but not in the way that many people seem to think. I think they just accelerated/delayed the inevitable, depending on how you want to look at it.
Prior to Nulli joining, things were pretty bad on our side and many stopped logging in due to the stagnation and boredom that was starting to settle over the Amarr militia. When it was announced Nulli was joining, this was put off a bit and there was a small resurgence of hope. Nulli ended up failing for a myriad of reasons, but at least many of us were able to cashout. Many argue that Nulli's failure to spike tier 5 demoralized the Amarr militia into quitting, however, I would honestly argue that its not so much that their failure demoralized Amarr, rather their failure failed to boost Amarr morale. Perhaps Nulli's biggest impact was showing just how dominant the Minmatar EU TZ was.
Regarding Lost Obsession, I find it amusing that so many people are pointing their fingers at them for their failure to do more. The truth is, Lost Obsession's focus, at least since I joined FW, has been on capital warfare, something which doesn't really have much place in FW. In fact, the fact that they held onto Kamela for long when nobody else was willing to defend, speaks wonders for their contributions to the warzone. While they may not have been a leader within the militia, if any of us ever called on FG or Starconquerer for extra firepower, they always rallied what they could for us. I find it interesting, that leaving FW ultimately changes little for them since they'll keep basing out of Kamela killing big stuff with their SOTF bros and farming LP on Minmatar alts.
The fact that we left due to lack of fights seems a bit counter-intuitive considering the Minmatar have more numbers, but the truth is, once groups get used to fighting each other, things tend to stagnate. PIZZA, a primarily US TZ alliance, experienced this problem early on and they left for Gallente after a few weeks. When Fweddit first joined the warzone, Minmatar would throw themselves at any Fweddit gang they could for cheap and easy kills. As Fweddit gained SP, flying experience, and began winning fights that they should win versus losing horribly, they found it harder and harder to find fights, and their log-in numbers dropped and dropped. Even though they still lost ships in droves, as they started to learn match-ups a bit better, many within the Minmatar were quick to label them as being risk averse. I fully expect the same thing to happen to Agony Empire who recently joined for the Minmatar. Sure they're getting fights now, and heralded as being the kind of pilots the Amarr need versus the bittervets that recently left, but I'm sure that will only last as long as they're willing to welp entire AHAC gangs fighting heavily outnumbered. I looked at their killboard since they joined and its an absolute mess, looking similar to Nulli Secunda's. Who wouldn't love fighting that? What i'm sure will happen is that as Agony figures FW out, while learning their enemies tendencies, their K/D ratio will become better and better until the Minnies become more and more reluctant to engage at which point they'll get labeled bittervet, heaven forbid they have anything negative to say and become "whiners".
This whole attitude is ridiculously prevalent in EVE and is just plain silly. I'm sure on both sides, whenever you have many small groups derping around, getting picked off by a single group, the winning side laughs and calls them disorganized, yet the second they form up into a competent counter fleet, they turn into blobbers. I want to point out though, that not all Minnies feel this way, its mostly forum trolls and pundits. Minmatar duder, Galdornae has a great article here which pretty much sums up all of my thoughts on this point. I want to say that as a PVP group, I greatly respect Late Night Alliance, and their US TZ is extremely competent, which was also part of the problem. You can only pull out trump cards so many times against a competent opponent, before the other side begins to predict them, and whether or not one side chooses to engage depends on how badly they've been winning or losing recently. Also, what a lot of people aren't taking into account is the time zone difference. During EU TZ, the Amarr were having difficulties getting together fleets that could take on any single one of the many EU TZ Minmatar groups. While during the US TZ, you had the opposite situation.
Things had kind of stagnated whilst fighting LNA to the point where, within Moar Tears we were having key members get bored and go inactive. This wouldn't be a huge problem, but we're only a 25 or so man alliance (we have 5 alt toons in the holding alliance). I imagine things were a bit different on the Minmatar side, since most of the PVP new blood was going into the Amarr side, so they had a steady influx of new people to shoot, but on the Amarr side, we didn't see many new faces outside of LNA sadly. Ironically, around the time Nulli had even announced their joining the militia we had joked on comms that in order to win, all the Minmatar would have to do would stop fighting us until we got so bored we stopped logging on or quit the militia. At the time, I actually pondered writing a blog post about this, but didn't because it would have been a bit asinine. Still, looking back it makes me chuckle.
Regarding the topic of pundits, many of them are currently weighing in on the situation. I want to say that the pundits on all sides make me facepalm. These guys aren't in the leadership channels, these guys aren't leading the fleets, these guys aren't in charge of their alliances, half these guys aren't even in our militia, and most of these pundits spend more time having opinions on things than they spend logged in. A lot of people, like Jade Constantine, seem to think we didn't correctly take advantage of Nulli's numbers, yet the brutal reality is that early on we had a good plan with great strategic goals involving Nulli, but when the time came to make these things happen, Nulli was off playing in nullsec, nowhere to be found in Amarr space. Even Cearain gets it wrong occasionally, frustrated with our "decisions" or failure to make strategic goals at key junctions, without understanding that sometimes real life happens for people and that communication and coordinating militia is subject to the laws of reality. Sometimes, you want to do something but key leaders go on two week long vacations during the summer (shame on them right?). Sometimes, no matter what you do or how you approach someone, they simply have no interest in coordinating or working with you. Sometimes, the best paper approach doesn't work because EVE is a game and people won't log in if they're not having fun. These are all things that pundits don't pay attention to. All in all, I think there were things that we could have done better, but I really think that we did the best with the tools we were given and I don't really have any regrets.
In fact, the only major thing I really would have done differently if I could go back and do it again, would be to start out in a militia other than Amarr. I don't think Amarr is a good militia for new groups to FW wanting to make an impact on things and might be too much of a gauntlet. New groups go in excited about being the underdog, but are quickly smashed down by the realities imposed on them by the game mechanics. Likewise, new groups might be a bit too sensitive to morale issues, while most of the Minmatar are longtime FW players who are more desensitized to shifts in momentum through the years of ups and downs they've already endured. I wonder how long it will be before Agony pilots begin to run low on ships/ISK and either pull out of the warzone or roll Minmatar farming alts. I laugh at people who claim we're bad for wanting Tier 5 without the effort in going Caldari. There's no honour in being poor 6 months from now because you failed to take advantage of the ISK printing press that is currently FW. No matter how you slice it, filling your wallet with ISK now to make a push later, puts you in a far better long-term position than valiantly fighting a short-term uphill battle on fumes and being poor months from now.
Anyways, I want to congratulate the Minnies for their warzone push, I think it was well executed and they deserve their victory. For us, it was a great opportunity to fly against some great pilots and hopefully we'll see them on the battlefield again someday.