For most nations and peoples throughout history the ultimate goal of war is peace. As the Roman empire spread through conquest prior to 31 BCE, Pax Romana followed. Peace endured for approximately 206 years, something that had never been seen before. Essentially Rome had ‘won’ and were enjoying the fruits of their labour, adapting a martial culture driven by conquest to an entity able to hold and cultivate their territories for a time.
The same cannot be said for the Mongol Empire. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his heirs, the Mongol Empire was largest and most violent empire known to man. Spreading like wildfire it stretched from the Sea of Japan to Central Europe at its height. It was a culture fueled by war, based almost solely on conquest, quickly falling apart after a mere 162 years in existence.
In EVE Online, successful PvP alliances regularly end up in the same situation the Romans and Mongols did. Using those analogies, typically null security space tends to be Roman, able and willing to conquer space in order to cultivate it, while Faction Warfare militia tend to resemble the Mongols. Like the Mongols they need an enemy to fight, being an intensely martial culture. Essentially winning is losing.
The Gallente Militia finds itself in that very situation today. The ‘empire’ spreads from Aubenall in the west to Rakapas in the east, from Eha in the north to Old Man Star in the south. Amongst militias the Gallente stand out as the most successful, with kills well beyond even the greatest null alliances. An entity created through perpetual war knows no other way to maintain itself however, and Gallente FCs are finding it harder to keep the troops entertained each day.
Back to the front
Following the fall of Innia Gallente forces continued to march on remaining Caldari staging systems. The northern campaign, stretching to Kehjari, pacified the north-west, a front that is now ‘naturally’ held in check with the return of Sniggwaffe to their typical stomping ground of Kinakka. The blitzkrieg Gallente southern offensive in mid June overran Heydieles and surrounding systems with ease – essentially shutting down the southern front with fighting reduced to small skirmishes.
The fighting is now largely in the east, skirting Caldari highsec. Being the gateway to the north-east, Okkamon has seen heavy fighting recently, with the GalMil deployed to Rakapas to push the eastern front. The Caldari launch guerilla-style raids from the entry system of Akidagi with hit-and-run operations to the ring of systems that border highsec and the long-standing Gallente staging system of Nennamalia. The nearby Tama, legendary and synonymous with ‘here there be pirates’, has turned into a charnel house, with what remains of the Caldari close by and frustrated Gallente pilots looking for a fight flocking to the area.
Newly organized CalMil forces ran into a brick wall as they made an attempt on the station system of Enaluri. Caldari claim that the operation was nothing more than testing for new doctrines in an attempt to whip the militia into shape, while the Gallente see it as further proof of their superiority. What ever the case, the operation was a sign of change within CalMil.
“The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Traditionally plex farmers (and mission runners) have been more common in the Caldari militia than in their Gallente counterparts. Often pilots there are little more than tourists looking to make some money, but with no real interest in FW. Caldari leaders and tacticians had learned how to use farmers’ behaviour to advance the war, with an endless stream of eager plexers at their disposal.
With TEST leaving the war zone and the civil wars that followed, along with relentless pressure from the Gallente, CalMil has been reduced to a shadow of its former self. Lingering on in perpetual tier 1 and with the death-knell to farmers heralded by Kronos, the Caldari are at the point where they must re-invent the Militia from the ground up. Due to the nature of FW missions, geographical location and other factors, GalMil have developed more PvP-centric culture and are less affected by the Kronos changes.
Pioneers and leaders amongst Caldari ranks are looking to establish a new order from the hard core that now remains, with FC training programs and doctrines they are hoping to transform tatters into troops, ready and able to fight. True PvP-ers and veterans are eager to use this opportunity to re-create the militia in their own image, gladly rid of the farmers and tourists. It’s a hard road to travel and a substantial change in militia culture however, with limited resources and manpower they trudge on through sheer determination and the dream of a Caldari militia worthy of respect.
And they are not alone. On the other side Gallente wish for a worthy and plentyful advesary. An enemy that can provide fights as it has before, they grow tired of traversing the length and breadth of the war zone to find decent PvP. Although some Gallente are looking to engage pirate groups to keep them entertained, the eastern campaign sees no signs of slowing down – essentially pushing the last front in the war zone. The frogs want some squids to fight, but they’re not taking the foot off the pedal.
“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
It is not seldom that the argument from both Caldari and Gallente pilots has been that major staging systems should be left alone. Following the capture of Innia for instance, there were people on both sides suggesting that if may have been better to leave it standing. The logic is that these systems provide fights and content, so should be preserved, even though they could be taken.
The arguments presented by this line of thinking unavoidably smack of the infamous b0tlrd accords non-invasion pact struck between the CFC and PL (albeit on a smaller scale). To some a necessary evil that avoids the broken sov mechanics and allows pilots to enjoy PvP, to others a familiar tale of greed and corruption. Whatever the case, in one thing all agree; they wish there was no need for it.
With a non-invasion pact in effect conquest becomes hollow. One of the most profound and important qualities of EVE is the sense of loss, and consequently the sense of victory. When opposing forces in EVE leave each other’s resources in peace the sting of loss diminishes and subsequently devalues one of the key content drivers of the game.
The CFC and PL may need b0tlrd, but Faction Warfare doesn’t. Although elements within the militias may not agree, the majority have made their position on the matter clear through action, leaving no stone upon another.
When the Caldari return earnest their victories will not have the bitter aftertaste of riding a handicap and the Gallente will have an enemy worthy of the title.
Re-inventing the pendulum
In 1368 the Ming Dynasty put an end to the Mongol empire, ushering in an era of rule that would last 276 years. As the Gallente push on in the east they are looking for their Ming Dynasty, not an endangered species that they must preserve in order to hunt for sport.
The first signs of a leaner, meaner and more focused Caldari militia may be on the horizon, and everyone is hoping for a rough winter.
Tags: calmil, fw, galmil, lowlife, lowsec, niden