For years, a very limited number of interesting things happened in nullsec. You essentially had two major empires, the CFC and the Russians, with Provibloc seemingly content with its modest region in Providence. But - largely, nothing of much importance happened in other regions of space. The whole south, for instance, was a vast renter wasteland.
Mind you, things happened. Empires lived there, they built up their space, and did all the things people do will null systems. But when you were planning a roam or deciding whether to roam around the systems near where your wormhole popped up, would you even really waste your time going through any other area of space? There was simply too much of nothing around.
And on top of that, Russian space outside of RUTZ was pretty well-known for being botland, filled with pilots who dock/safe up like clockwork when you entered local. I mean, ridiculously consistently, with - dare I say? - machine-like efficiency. It was kind of a dead zone for entertainment, despite the population.
Around each of those areas, you saw satellite activity pop up. the pirates moved there, and provided more targets for you to shoot. Both the owners and the pirates had to make isk and enjoy the content, so they tended to spread into the nearby FW areas, buoying the action there. You ended up with two main hotspots surrounded by opportunists and hunters. Two centers of content, if you will. But it was all made possible by the concentration of active players in the north.
And that's all about to change. Goonswarm is leaving the north.
One of the reasons I was so excited to see someone dislodge Goonswarm was because Eve needed a diaspora. The CFC was too concentrated in one area of space, which meant all the action was limited there. Because they were all blue to each other, the blob effect was real, limiting the enjoyment you could get roaming through.
The MBC conquering the north is actually the best possible result I could have hoped for. The component alliances came together for the goal of crushing the CFC, and it's only a matter of time before they reset each other completely (which has already begun to happen) and start shooting each other. Even if they decide on a non-invasion pact to prevent sov battles, the north will likely retain its value as a PvP roam destination. Already, the ratters are smarter, fleeting up and keeping sharp to counter whalers.
Provibloc will continue as it has, of course. That typically means small response gangs peppered in with full response fleets (ie. overwhelming blobs) peppered in every so often when gangs stick around for a while. I have no reason to doubt it'll remain as a worthwhile destination for roaming gangs.
For a new hotspot to emerge, it needs to experience residents moving in who both put down roots and have a culture of PvP, and those new residents need to be numerous and have enough of a multi-timezone presence to reliably fill those systems. Goonswarm and the remnants of the CFC provide that critical mass. So, wherever they go, they'll create a big enough target and make a big enough splash to draw attention. The whalers, pirates, and small gang roamers will come to them. Heck, MOA should even move to harass them if they truly want to remain true to their origins.
So, as Goonswarm moves for environs unknown (likely the south around Stainwagon), it brings with it the possibility of creating a third PvP destination, a third hotspot. It provides the chance for Goonswarm to stake a claim to an area of space that's largely forgotten and really own it the way they did with Guristas space.
If they do that - if they sell their Guristas Tengus forever and swap them out for Angel-ratting ships, if they settle and truly drop the price of Machariels from all the BPOs they farm, if they settle in and attract the flies to pick at them - then sov null will become a lot more interesting. I hope they succeed, thrive, and choose to plant their flag somewhere in the south for the long-term as a home, not a resting spot. I want them to abandon claims on Deklein and put it out of their minds entirely, building a new tradition somewhere in the south.
I want a new area of interest for PvPers. It's a great way to boost the interest in null, diversify the sources of entertainment, and bring back a healthy ecosystem.
I recall years ago when Evoke, White Noise, Goonswarm, Test, AAA, and NC. space was all vibrant and filled with pilots who paired PvP with PvE. From the south-central all the way around to Kalevala, you could roam in any direction and find someone to shoot.
And it was built on anchor alliances doing their thing. Dominion sov and the strength of the CFC killed it, and it's going to take time for it to recover. But even though the CFC bluing up was one of the key causes of the unhealthy environment of the past few years, those same CFC alliances can help bring it back. I doubt we'll see a return of CFC 2.0... that model utterly failed to achieve its objective (protecting its space), after all.
So, I wish Goonswarm luck in carving out a new empire far from the north. I look forward to more interesting landmarks in the south. The greatest testament to the worth of GSF wouldn't be reconquering the north, but rather creating a new empire in the south to prove the strength of its will.
Plus, it'd give us all somewhere else to go poke around for some action. So, win/win.