A Year of WarNiden
A retrospective on the Factional Warfare year of 2014
As we close the books on 2014 I unavoidably find myself looking back at the year that has passed. Although it did have its slow periods, a lot has happened. Both war zones have seen dramatic changes and events that will be etched into the history of Factional Warfare and shape the year to come. From civil war and defections to epic battles and impressive campaigns, 2014 had a little bit of everything and it deserves being remembered.
As 2013 came to a close, TEST had recently decided to leave the Caldari militia. Their foray into Factional Warfare was paved with accusations of blatant farming from the Gallente as well as poor cooperation, even awoxing, from the Caldari. Altogether they were viewed from both sides as farmers and tourists, not particularly proficient at small gang PVP. Some Gallente even sentimentality speak of their time in FW because they were viewed as easy fat targets when actually caught in a fight.
“They took advantage of an opportunity at the expense of the Caldari Militia.”
Scylus Black, Templis CALSF
I took some time to speak with Scylus Black of Templis CALSF earlier this year, a staple of the Caldari militia and long-time front line fighters. During the interview he shed some light as to the internal situation within CalMil during TEST time there. Read it here.
Still, the TEST presence had pushed the war zone in Caldari favor, simply by virtue of plexing and numbers. Caldari were banging on the gates of fortress Eha and, had TEST been coordinating with the rest of the militia, might have been able to take the war zone.
The conflicts of 2013 had instead produced a Gallente militia that was even more tight-knit and veteran, used to doing more with less and fighting uphill. The Gallente had perfected the art of attrition warfare and it’s FC core was strong throughout the timezones. At the same time, State Protectorate forces were experiencing infighting and political discord. Deep rifts had been torn in the militia and it could not act as a unified force to meet the Gallente onslaught.
The Gallente pushed hard on all fronts as early 2014 saw coordinated campaigns to take systems. A milestone was reached on April 1st as fortress Innia fell. Caldari loyalists, marred by internal conflict, fought tooth and nail, but there was little they could do in the face of such focused and efficient effort.
Meanwhile, in the Amarr – Minmatar war zone, the Minmatar had their own internal problems. The resulting civil war saw WINMATAR. – a prominent alliance who were often seen at the spear tip of Minmatar campaigns – defect to the Amarr. This sparked a turning point in the conflict and ended the reign of the Minmatar, who had been enjoying tier 4 for some time. WINMATAR. and their associates brought numbers, coordination and efficient strategic logistics to the Amarr who proceeded to push the war zone hard.
Instead of securing the war zone at large, the now bolstered Amarr decided to go for the jugular – Fortress Huola. WINMATAR. declared the Burn Huola campaign as materials and troops were marshalled to take the long time stronghold of the Minmatar. As the assault got underway however, Gallente forces began to appear in the system, coming to the aid of their allies. Having crushed the Caldari back home, they had the time and forces to spare and the inter-militia connection was strong. The troops were looking for a good fight and Gallente leaders seized the opportunity.
Ten days of fighting and 10 000 ships destroyed turned Huola into a charnel house, a memorable moment in the history of Factional Warfare. When the dust settled however, the fortress system remained in Minmatar hands. Read more about Burn Huola in this Lowlife article.
Shortly after, WINMATAR. announced their departure from FW. How the Amarr reacted to this failed campaign and loss would shape the future of the war zone.
Domination and reorganisation
Returning to their own affairs after the Huola defense campaign, the Gallente leadership decided it was time to take the final step and conquer the war zone. The Caldari had not offered much in the way of fights since the fall of Innia and it was the overwhelming belief amongst Gallente ranks that it was time. Under the leadership of some of GalMil’s most senior FC’s an aggressive campaign was launched with key battles happening in Kinakka and Asakai, among other systems. The newly joined Bohica Empire, now a major player in GalMil, proved their worth during this campaign, cooperating with leaders across alliance borders and opening their fleets to other GalMil.
Although the Caldari that remained fought valiantly to defend their homes, they were outnumbered and outgunned. By this time the Gallente militia was a well oiled war machine with doctrines and tactics thoroughly ingrained into militia culture, along with strong inter-alliance bonds and fleet command. At 05:58 of August 26th the final system fell into Gallente hands and 100% war zone control was proclaimed after downtime.
Meanwhile the Amarr were making a recovery from the ill-fated Burn Huola campaign and the loss of some of militia members. With Dirt ‘n’ Glitter leaving I Whip My Slaves Back and Forth and re-joining the 24th Imperial Crusade, Amarrian leaders set about creating the Scorch OP coalition. The new organisation unified a long list of corporations under the same banner and pushed for unification of operations and comms – a model pioneered by the Gallente and that has worked well for them over the years.
As winter approached the Amarr could not be denied. Scorch OP ground on like a behemoth and bled the Minmatar white. When they came to Huola this time, it was a hollow shadow of its former self. Minmatar staples such as Iron Oxide and Late Night Alliance saw the writing on the wall and left the militia. Before the year was out, Amarr reigned victorious and took control of the entire war zone.
The State strikes back
On the other side of the map things were finally happening for the Caldari. After months of relative inactivity, State Protectorate forces got back on the offensive, now bolstered by Spaceship Samurai (HONOR). Unlike TEST, HONOR elected to work with the rest of the militia and it’s proving to be a potent combination.
With swift efficiency State Protectorate forces have taken back the north of the war zone, including some staging systems left over from the last Gallente campaign. As 2014 came to a close the Caldari approach the gates of Nennamalia, Eha and other important systems.
Meanwhile, the Gallente seem to have been caught off guard somewhat. Perhaps having fallen out of practise during the summer and fall, the response to the Caldari offensive has been slow. Early 2015 will tell how well Federation forces are able to mobilise and get back into their old groove again. Meanwhile the Caldari push their advantage, perhaps 2015 is their year?