The reason I ask this is because some people have been referring to the latest conflagration in Delve as the next "Great War" but I find myself rather cool on that idea. Yes, there is a hell of a lot of people involved, perhaps more than any of the previous great wars of Eve, but the motivations and grandness of the storylines seem flat to me. "We went down to delve for gud fites, they brought more people, so we brought EVERYBODY" doesn't evoke a lot of emotion. It doesn't help, of course, that the Southern Coalition have been getting curbstomped on the numbers and sov fronts.
For me, the last truly Great War was the Northern Coalition versus Drone Russian Federation...
*WARNING - The following is based on memory and recollections and opinions and not absolute fact! I'm too lazy to do a lot of research right now.*
In the fall of 2010 two of the largest (if not the largest) power blocs went war. The Northern Coalition (NC for short, consisting of Morsus Mihi, Razor, Rage, Majesta Empire, and others) launched a strike against the Drone Russian Federation (DRF, aka the Legion of Red Noise consisting of Legion of xXDeathXx, Red Alliance, White Noise, and others) by taking LXQ2-T in Etherium Reach in the largest battle in a single system ever (2500 pilots in local). NC leadership claimed the DRF was planning an invasion of the NC regions so it was called a pre-emptive strike but whether that's true or not is beside the point. I'm confident war between these two titans was inevitable anyways.
The NC had the advantage of pure numbers, able to field large capital fleets and support fleets to dominate the North American time zones. The DRF did not have the massive numbers but had the dedication and financial resources (Shadow of xXDeathXx was the largest renting alliance at the time) to compete, and dominated the Russian and most of the European time zones.Once they re-secured Etherium Reach, they turned a NC ally alliance direction to flip a number of systems and stations in the old war ground of Geminate Region.
The war waged back and forth for control of strategic systems in Geminate with neither side able to gain the upper-hand for long... but then the DRF made a winning move. They hired Pandemic Legion to assist in their war and suddenly the balance shifted. As I wrote in April 2011:
Pandemic Legion alone is causing untold mountains of grief in US timezone ops with their considerable supercap assets and willingness to commit them to battle, not to mention the Tengu/Scimitar fleets of doom. [...] There is a definite uneasiness in the rank and file that perhaps the fuel of the war machine was spent in Geminate in the winter and now there is not enough to withstand the renewed onslaught.
With PL dominating the less skilled NC fleets in the NS timezones and the NC becoming paralyzed with fear for deploying their super capital assets in any timezone, the NC began to fall back and never recovered. (Side Note: This period was when full Tech III Tengu fleets started to become reality and they were nearly impossible to counter with the existing fleet doctrines of the time.)
By June the NC existed only in the history books:
So how did we go from fighting tooth and nail for O2O-2X in Geminate in February to writing obituaries in the beginning of June? One simple truth, my friends, and I'm going to say it loud and clear:Note: This was before the Super Carrier nerf and changes to logout mechanics.
There is no counter to a super cap fleet except a BIGGER super cap fleet.1
The NC was out blobbed on the field, pure and simple. Not by sheer bodies but by number of super cap pilots in the warzone. As soon as Pandemic Legion entered the conflict with their supers in the North American timezone, and the willingness to use them, all subcap and sub-supercap ops were vulnerable to a hot drop and the NC became terrified to use their own supercaps in retaliation due to spies and fear of getting whelped.
Without the NC super fleet, which became effectively stood down from that point forward, the long slow failure cascade began. Unable to easily destroy or reinforce SBUs, enemy deployment towers, stations, TCUs, IHUBs, etc, and with the enemy able to do so, the advance was simply a matter of time. And with each station taken a few more players were knocked out of the fight, a few more decided to say "screw this" and moved back to empire to regroup.
By the time Goonswarm and TEST weighed in on the NC side to defend Tribute, the psychological and emotional state of NC leadership appears to have been broken beyond repair. Analysis paralysis, fears of spies everywhere, blue ball frustrations when FCs decide to not jump in, failure to adequately lead pilots into battle safely, etc it was all very morale breaking.
Blob wars often go like that: the out-blobbed only seems to shrink making their chances or winning smaller. Its a little ironic that the NC, which was often pulled out as the poster boy of blobbing and why its bad, was killed by a blob of a different sort.
* * * * *
So back to the current war in Delve. This time the side with the numbers (the CFC, natch) also has Pandemic Legion on board making it even more difficult to resist the waves of fleets coming at the Southern Coalition.. Whereas the NC-DRF war took two entire seasons to play out, this war appears to be already over with The Mittani speculating on whether or not invading Catch is worth it.
This is not a "Great War", its a sov curb-stomping.