News is coming in hard and fast on the CFC front. On the one hand, we have Get Off My Lawn and The Bastion abandoning Vale of the Silent. They're spinning it as an attempt to pull back to more defensible territory, but that's obviously a silly statement. If it were true, they'd pull back to chokepoints, and those rarely follow region lines. In looking at Vale, surrendering the whole region leaves Tribute undefendable, with no fewer than three entry points that leave fully half of the region in danger.
And, apparently, this has also been the last straw for competent CFC alliance CO2, who today announced that they were seceeding from the CFC.
Boy, when I'm right, I'm right.
In just my last post, written earlier today, I mentioned that the CFC would not survive intact as a result of the groundswell of pressure it was facing. This attack seemed fundamentally different from other attacks. Already, it has punctured the myth of the CFC and the perception that it cannot be defeated. It's taken far too many defections of good, capable people and the loss of hundreds or thousands of real PvPers in recent months.
I felt there were three alliances that might possibly defect as a result of the pressure. The first, Razor Alliance, defected during the last major war in the north, and did so for survival. Having lost their entire USTZ for the second time in a couple years, they're weakened, and it's within character for them to look to their own survival.
The other two - Circle of Two and The Initiative - could very well choose to leave not as a result of weakness, but because they're quire frankly too good for the CFC. They can exist on their own as discrete alliances. They're filled with competent PvPers and have proven themselves able participants in fleet warfare or small gang. I've only really feared traveling through Tribute and Tenal during my time roaming through Venal. Response gangs are quick and effective.
So, it appears that the first of these has chosen to leave. It's a decision that I can respect, although I'd certainly respect it more had it happened before this conflict began. Nonetheless, it suggests an awareness of the reality of their situation that shouldn't be discounted. Yes, they're trying to save themselves, but that awareness is greater than what much of the leadership has shown.
Moreover, they're a symbolic defection. Already, the "ungrateful traitors" and "not a real Imperium alliance" language has begun, but the simple fact is that unlike every other war, for this one, one of the CFC alliances has recognized that their best play is to cut bait.
If I was the coalition of forces, I'd be jumping on the chance to win their cooperation and immunize them from any sov battles. In exchange, of course, I'd expect a long conversation with the leadership of the key players to debrief on the current status of the CFC sttragegy, which alliances can be wooed over, and where the weaknesses in relationships are that can be exploited. Oh, and unfettered access to CO2 stations for staging the war and perhaps one station flipped to NC. or PL control.
But, I suspect CO2 will be treated like a conquered people liberated from an empire and welcomed into the fold as honored friends, treatment held up as what defectors can expect for changing sides before they're conquered.
This is turning into an unmitigated disaster for the CFC.
P.S. And, it appears Bovril, formerly of Razor and Brave, has decided to correct the mistake of joining a different CFC alliance, and has left The Bastion already. Dotlan hasn't even updated yet, but it can be confirmed in-game. Though they aren't a full alliance, they did have about 800 pilots, which is a sizable loss.
Ed note: I had a reader comment that i wasn't being partial because I was referring to the coalition as the CFC. I do this for two reasons. In the first place, I feel the rebranding was decided for out-of-game purposes, namely for TheMittani.com, and that offends me on many levels. Secondly, though, I believe this war is the direct result of all the vitriol, hostility, abuse, and arrogance displayed by CFC-alliance leadership over the past six or so years. To agree to rebrand them as "The Imperium" would undermine the fact that what is happening now IS resultant from the "twisting the knife", the "stabbing them until they're dead," and the "ruining your game" - the decisions they made. Consequences are sometimes temporally far removed from their causes, and rebranding is a common way to avoid those negative aspects of prior decisions. It'd be disingenuous to submit to that.