The drums of war beat once more in low security space

Writer’s Note: Salivan Harddin is a member of Lowlife. [LWLFE], a member corporation in Snuffed Out [B B C].

On the 3rd of June Shoot First. [SFQAL] leadership delivered a State of the Alliance (SotA) to its line members, preparing them for the coming war with Snuffed Out. The two alliances have a long history of animosity stretching back even before the foundation of Shoot First itself, as some of the alliance’s leadership team and member corporations hail back to the time of Escalating Entropy [CHAOS] which waged a long and bitter conflict with Snuffed Out known as the Placid wars.

The State of the Alliance

The SotA began with talk of the imminent deployment which had been delayed due to external factors, revealing that Shoot First will be pursuing war with Snuffed Out due to several factors including the long and bloody history the two alliances share as well as the fact Shoot First had grown to such an extent that it has no rivals in low security space outside of Snuffed Out.

The deployment will be to the system of Adirain in the Essence region, just one midpoint from Shoot First’s home and in range of its holdings in the Genesis region which it had wrestled from White Sky. [W.SKY] and its allies LowSechnaya Sholupen [-LSH-].

Speaking of which, Shoot First will adopt a similar campaign in regards to Snuffed Out, attacking refineries in order to claim moons and deny Snuffed Out any income from their mining, in particular targeting and harassing mining fleets.

That said, leadership cautioned its members that losses will be inevitable, even their staging Fortizar citadel may be destroyed by Snuffed Out, thus the alliance should be prepared for some setbacks during the deployment.

Logistically, explanation of the route and the infrastructure in place was made, including of doctrines to be brought along. Talk was also had of capital stockpiles, in particular of dreadnought hulls and setting up markets and contracts for the upcoming fights. The leadership however reminded its line members that the process of moving and setting up such things will take time.

Discussion of possible allies was had, with Iron Armada [FLEEP] mentioned as an ally in the deployment, which will join Shoot First’s campaign and the need to coordinate with its members, including opening channels of communication between the two groups. Shoot First didn’t dismiss options of working with local groups that had suffered under Snuffed Out’s iron fist, claiming it will make allies if any present themselves.

That said, the move also opens up new regions of space for Shoot First pilots to find prey, especially as locals will be unaware of the alliance’s history regarding capital usage and the like.

The end of the address will see the alliance start moving to its new staging system, effectively beginning the deployment.

History

Shoot First as stated before is a low security alliance mainly active in American/Australian time zones. The alliance was formed in low security space by various member corporations, some of which hail back to Escalating Entropy and even further back, to Snuffed Out. These members left Snuffed Out in the aftermath of the Vaaralen incident in which Snuffed Out betrayed Shadow Cartel [SHDWC], its ally at the time, and destroyed a Shadow Cartel titan and super carrier which used a Snuffed Out tower as a rest stop on the way back to Shadow Cartel’s staging in the final days of World War Bee.

This caused a small schism in Snuffed Out, leading to the formation of Escalating Entropy, which with the aid of Shadow Cartel, waged an unrelenting war with Snuffed Out. The roll call of battles known as the Placid wars saw the two sides in an all out war for supremacy in low security space. The two sides exchanged heavy blows, deploying and losing super capital squadrons in the fighting. In the end though, Escalating Entropy lost the war due to a combination of factors which included member burnout, lack of fleet commanders and internal strife which were exacerbated by Snuffed Out’s all out assault as the alliance managed to regain momentum after a string of defeats.

Following this victory, Snuffed Out cemented its status as low security space’s undisputed ruler and aligning with the Imperium in the post World War Bee cluster in order to combat Pandemic Legion [-10.0] and Northern Coalition. [NC]’s supremacy.

The fragments of Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel would coalesce into two major alliances; NullSechnaya Sholupen [-NSH-] and Shoot First. NullSechnaya Sholupen would move south, maintaining friendly relations with RekkingCrew and operating in small/medium scale. Shoot First would grow around the Bleak Lands region, forming a lasting alliance with Siege Green. [SGGRN]. Siege Green is a mixed Korean/Japanese alliance which lives in low security space and has been one of the few alliances able to contest Snuffed Out, in particular during the late American and Australian time zones. Snuffed Out wasted no time in reinforcing the citadels of the newly formed Shoot First.

With Siege Green, Shoot First grew rapidly, the two alliances clashing repeatedly with an aggressive Snuffed Out, leading to many battles which were covered by EVE Online news sites such as the New Eden Report. Its first major campaign away from Siege Green would be the Genesis war, in which Shoot First and a coalition of Chinese corporations and alliances would challenge White Sky. and LowSechnaya Sholupen for possession of the Genesis region.

The two month long campaign would see repeated capital clashes between combatants, as Shoot First and its allies managed to slowly but surely, push the two alliances out of the area, claiming their moons as spoils of war. With the war concluded by late April of 2019, it seems Shoot First has gained enough confidence to challenge Snuffed Out.

Planning Faults

There are several issues with the claims and plans laid down by Shoot First’s leadership regarding the upcoming war.

First and foremost, Snuffed Out and Shoot First have different time zones. Snuffed Out is primarily a European alliance, with some American time zone presence. However its main strength lies in the European time zone, which most if not all of its infrastructure would have its reinforcement timers set for.

Secondly, drawing on their Genesis campaign experience may not be applicable for Snuffed Out. The two alliances are different animals altogether. White Sky and LowSechnaya Sholupen have been small to medium alliances, more preoccupied with preying on moving super capitals and fighting local entities. Snuffed Out is one of the largest low security space alliances with a formidable super capital fleet and experience fighting similar and even larger opponents than itself.

Another issue is allies. Shoot First did not take the Genesis region by itself, but with the aid of a coalition of Chinese players, the most notable of which both in numbers and hardware was Infinity Avenger [AVDOT]. However Infinity Avenger has maintained good relations with Snuffed Out, the two organizations collaborating against Shoot First itself! Other local allies that could potentially help Shoot First are either far smaller or operate in different time zones than Shoot First to help build a large effective coalition against Snuffed Out.

There is also the weird silence from Shoot First leadership regarding Siege Green. Siege Green had been an erstwhile ally of Shoot First, the two alliances aiding each other against Snuffed Out’s aggression. However Siege Green had deployed in recent months to the east of New Eden, aiding Winter coalition (WinterCO) in its war with Final Reunion (FI.RE) and Legacy coalitions. When the question was asked whether or not Siege Green would at least support Shoot First in major Call To Arms (CTA) operations, Shoot First leadership chose not to answer, bringing into question whether Siege Green even supports this endeavor.

There is also the issue of the deployment itself. Shoot First had chosen the Adirain system for its staging, allowing it to cover parts of Genesis and being only a single midpoint from its own home, thus allowing the alliance to quickly move assets back in case it needs to protect its Genesis moon empire. However Adirain is out of jump range of any Snuffed Out holding. This means any attempt to quickly escalate or reinforce will take too long, giving further advantage to Snuffed Out. Pre staging capital assets will just telegraph Shoot First’s intentions to Snuffed Out scouts. Even moving capitals to a midpoint would expose a coming attack, not to mention reactivation timers further lengthening Shoot First’s response times.

A huge issue is Shoot First’s doctrine stable. Most major alliances keep various fleet compositions for different situations. It is not rare for a deployment to have a limited choice due to ship maintenance hangar space. However Shoot First will only be bringing four major doctrines; Machariel, Bhaalgorn/Leshak, Cerberus and covert ops Legion. The Machariel is a staple of low security space, having been used successfully as far back as 2014. However Shoot First had only recently incorporated the doctrine, having seen very limited action. This means that current fitting might not be up to snuff (pun much intended). The Bhaalgorn/Leshak combination is quite good against capital ships but is a slow, close range doctrine which can be easily outmaneuvered. Cerberus as a doctrine is not terrible, allowing for long range and easy disengagement but missiles suffer from a huge disadvantage, especially in large fleet fights where an enemy is certain to employ a firewall (using smartbombs to destroy the missiles in flight). Covert ops Legion strategic cruisers are a black ops doctrine meant for quick drops on individual targets but have no real combat value outside of harassment.

Last but not least is the issue of timing. This deployment sees the Imperium only a couple of midpoints away with a massive super capital armada, grinding down the Tribute region. While the Imperium at large and Snuffed Out are not the best of friends, it is certain that it would prefer Snuffed Out to Shoot First. Thus Shoot First can only involve entities such as Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition who have the super capital fleets to contest Snuffed Out. However should they try, the Imperium may come to Snuffed Out’s aid and considering the relative balance of power, it would be a slaughter which Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition seek to avoid.

Even if the Imperium would to leave near the start of the deployment, both Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion will be busy reclaiming their territory and punishing Dead Coalition (DeadCo) for taking the territory the Imperium had burned down. Whether or not they’d be willing to deal in matters of low security space, which they often see as beneath them, would be up to debate.

Casus Belli

Shoot First had laid many accusations against Snuffed Out, some of which are true. However some statements may, in the court of public opinions, hurt the alliance. While it is true that Snuffed Out is a bully, Shoot First had admitted in the same SotA of employing similar tactics to force fights or just drop smaller groups, using their supremacy. While hypocrisy is not new in New Eden, it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Another accusation levied against Snuffed Out is the involvement of “Outsiders”, meaning null security space alliances, in what is ostensible low security business. While understandable, the fact is Shoot First and Siege Green had involved Providence Bloc in their most recent defense of their staging Fortizar in the Schoorasana system*. Providence Bloc is also a null security entity, though not as powerful as The Initiative. [INIT.] which Snuffed Out maintains ties with. That said, rhetorically it ties down Shoot First’s hands since only a null security entity could contest Snuffed Out super capital supremacy. However involving one in the conflict will go against Shoot First’s own words. It is a corner that Shoot First’s leadership had put itself into.

*Shoot First leadership did state that Providence Bloc’s involvement in the fight was unwanted and was contrary to the alliance’s wishes. Providence Bloc had gotten involved thanks to a third party which had been repeatedly asked not to call on them.

Shoot First had grumbled at the constant need to protect its infrastructure against Snuffed Out, and I get the sentiment. I won’t lie, I come from a group which had lost its home, its staging Fortizar, to Snuffed Out. However that is the nature of the game. Either you are able to protect your home, and thus deserve it, or you can’t, at which point you might as well leave or form a stronger group. This has always been at the heart of EVE Online and many alliances had been tested time and again by this and found wanting.

Shoot First has a stronger case when it comes to historical animosity and Snuffed Out’s aggression. In both cases, Shoot First had suffered from Snuffed Out’s attacks, forcing it into many desperate defenses of its infrastructure. As stated before, on the first day of the alliance’s formation, Snuffed Out had reinforced its staging citadel. Many groups in low security and even null security space share this sentiment, and its not hard to sympathize with such a cause. Whether or not this translates into open support is a different case.

In Conclusion

It seems the drums of war once again beat in low security space. Whether Shoot First will be able to take down Snuffed Out, the boogeyman of low security space, is yet to be seen. Yet there are many concerning signs regarding the aims and organization of the deployment to give one pause. That said, many in Snuffed Out relish the opportunity for content to come to them for a change. All that is left is for us reporters to count the dead and tally them up in neat articles.