Eras of EvE: The History
Posted by Corelin
Ever since Cold War Sovereignty has been a major factor in EvE Online. For years nullsec has been enduring the rise and fall of alliances great and small and the storyline of EvE follows these alliances far more closely than the struggles of the NPC empires that CCP occasionally details for the RP community. These alliances have varied from overinflated paper tigers that exploded like hydrogen balloons at the first sign of danger, to hardened mercenaries, flipping allegiances at a whim or a payment.
The story of many early nullsec alliances looks almost totally unvaried. A hard core of PvP corps charge out and shatter whoever occupies the space they want, then leaves as there wasn’t a lot of friction between alliances, too much space and too few people. Eventually the alliance gets a reputation as a bunch of candy-assed carebears and someone else charges in to repeat the process. Capital ships were rare, alliances centered around a cluster of carriers and a handful of dreads, and super-caps were (literally) unheard of for most of this age. In addition the EvE economy was far less developed. Many alliances seem to have been reliant on building much of their own material further straining alliances that started shedding corps.
To me this era represents the first age of EvE Alliances. Starting with Cold War and ending with the Rise of Band of Brothers. Small numbers of significant ships, rapid fluctuations in membership and cyclical occupations of territory. Call it the Tribal Era.
BoB may not be the first of the harder, longer lasting mega-alliances, but to many of us that played in their EvE it personifies the superpower. Ensconced in Fortress Delve they had titans, motherships, heavily fortified systems and a leader with the power of personality to hold it together. Their core of PvP corps stayed with them instead of wandering off as the leaders sought opportunities to both make money and blow things up to balance the isk-makers with the pew pewers. Strict, centralized leadership and the shepherding of “pet” alliances became key features of the superpowers. Complex logistical arrangements to connect to the powerful highsec market hubs, including JF lines, Jump Bridges, and carrier relays became very common in this era. Atlas & pets, and the old AAA were other examples of this kind of alliance. RMT has emerged on an organizational level, with websites and shenanigans surrounding it, as well as botting, but it is still not terribly organized or consistent. Call it the Superpower era.
When BoB fell due to the epic disband button, and the reformed Kenzoku couldn’t hold off Goons & Co on their own, the power had already started to shift. This started a transition period away from the Superpower alliance and towards the Coalition alliance. These alliances were run more like a modern company, with boards of directors, complex staffs, and levels of organization that spread responsibility to those best suited for it without giving up the accountability that made superpowers so effective. Resources were allocated and production rationalized at the alliance level, with fleets of supercaps being organized and expanded on far more efficiently than BoB or Atlas could ever manage. RMT has gotten much more organized, and indeed this era could be divided into the early times, when Superpowers still had the resources to fight effectively with the coalitions (think Supermax I and II) and the later era where the greater resources afforded to the coalitions by extensively organized RMT simply put them beyond the power of the “Superpowers” and into their own stratosphere. Northern Coalition was THE Coalition when it existed.
So, for my money, the three historical eras that matter are the Tribal era, the Superpower era and the Coalition era. Next time I’ll talk a bit about the modern era, what the coalitions morphed into and what I think is in store for these powers.