On October 1st, 2019, after a decade of bloody war and countless conflicts, six major alliances from both Minmatar and Amarr militia groups suddenly made a joint declaration that Minmatar-Amarr faction warfare agent systems will be locked down for at least three months by swapping ownership of the systems. This means that mission runners will no longer have access to dock in these systems. Even though the relationship between faction warfare warriors has not always been tense, such an agreement between the two sides of this scale is rarely seen in Faction Warfare’s history. To learn more about this decision, we managed to contact the leader of Ushra‘Khan, Harkon Thorson, and asked him to share his story.
Rangers and Khan
Ushra‘Khan is the first and the longest-lasting alliances in New Eden. For years they have been guarding the border of Minmatar land against Amarr assaults. Harkon Thorson was just one of its members, having signed up in the war with his fellows like other new players before being invited to the corporation by then CEO Gelnamon. Like most faction warfare warriors, he survived (and of course, also died) in battles of all scales.
“I worked hard to get there (the CEO of the alliance) without really aiming for it”
His willingness and ability to take more responsibility finally led Harkon to the position of chief after alliance CEO left that role. Now Ushra‘Khan is an alliance containing 1/3 of Minmatar Militia’s population; still active, casual, and always ready to fight. Harkon Thorson and Ushra‘Khan are indeed fully qualified to represent the interests of many Minmatar players.
“We have waited and hoped for years now and have seen only very small changes in FW”.
Faction warfare has been a very important part of New Eden. Many pilots start their PVP careers from faction warfare and see it as a valuable part of their EVE journey. Players such as myself can speak at length to what we have learned from it: all the tactics, techniques, and friendships. However, CCP has been somewhat neglectful of faction warfare and the population loss is severe.
At the time of my writing this, there are only around 300 active players ranging across the Minmatar militia and the same thing has happened for the Amarr too. The easy access and low cost of the faction warfare mission system made many people rather do pure PVE than get involved in PVP activities. Battlefields where Minmatar and Amarr once frequently fought is now occupied by wandering pirates.
“We can’t just sit there and wait for the last players to leave FW. Just letting it die isn’t an option for the ppl that got involved in this agreement and while we can’t promise that our actions will save FW it has at least raised awareness and some new hope.“
People on both sides finally decided to do something rather than waiting for things to change, driven by an escalating atmosphere of uncertainty, hope, and desperation.
Friends or Foes
The plan, which was first carried out by Flyinghotpocket and Templar Dane, two Amarrian veterans, was controversial among both factions. Some alliances are willing to devote themselves to this action but they cannot agree as a whole, while others do not have faith in the long term good this plan could bring to faction warfare. Pirates who have alts in faction warfare have also started to harass, but so far no significant resistance has been seen since six major alliances from both sides are now united for the same goal; former enemies are now comrades. The Agreement Fleet has taken control of most mission systems with the exception of a few.
“Maybe some individuals will try to influence the warzone but again I have no doubt that if we organize and work together, we´ll be able to accomplish our goal and lock all the mission hubs even against some of the more influential pirates in the area.”
When asked for the worst result of this operation, Harkon Thorson said that they will have to succeed.
“If we fail to at least lock the mission hubs down and gain some attention it might be the end for the Minmatar/Amarr warzone as I am pretty sure some of the key figures in the warzone and behind the agreement will stop playing or leave FW”.
It is possible that the remaining factions are devoting their last breath to this endeavor. What is more, they are not doing this for personal profit. For weeks they have been plexing from defending or occupying infrastructures in faction warfare systems and using guerrilla tactics against superior forces. Not only are they creating more PVP opportunities in the plex area, but also inspiring people in the EVE community to think about the importance of faction warfare.
“We need to show CCP that a healthy FW has a positive influence on many parts of the game and that the death of FW will affect other parts in a negative way”, and to do so, locking down the mission systems is just a beginning. “My ideal warzone sees balanced militias with multiple bigger and smaller groups that fight constantly over key systems. An environment in which you can log in and be in the middle of the fight within mere minutes. No big waiting times and the perfect place for newbros and casual PVP as well as organized militia fleets with at least somewhat of a purpose provided by the fight for your empire”.
It is apparent much effort will be required to achieve this goal.
At this point, we cannot see the outcome of this operation. The flag has been raised and it is likely that more people will join in this battle. At least we can hold a positive attitude seeing change, eagerly needed by EVE Online’s faction warfare community.