An appropriate starting point with any discussion regarding DICE's role within BoB is the alliance's early days and an examination of who belonged. This is a quote from The History Of Reikoku Part 18 : BoB.
BoB was initially formed with ATUK (who had come up from a long time CA campaign), Evol, m0o and RKK.
RKK's Brothers in arms for a long time had been BNC so we asked them to join us too. Eventually they agreed and BNC between the 5th member of BoB.
Finally and more recently, some ex-m0o members made up a corp named "Rough Necks". Under Val Duane's leadership, they filled the last slot of BoB.
Notice who the very first corporation named in that description of the formation of BoB is, for the slow of reading it was ATUK a.k.a. DICE. BoB was started with six corporations ATUK, BNC, Evolution, m0o, Reikoku and Rough Necks. Since those early days m0o and Rough Necks have disbanded and most of their players landed in BoB corps, primarily Evolution and Reikoku.
Throughout the GNW ATUK mostly did their thing in the south east, for which they deserve an immense amount of credit standing largely alone against all their enemies and never being cowed. However, it was always understood amongst the leadership of the other BoB corps that regardless of the fact that ATUK were not always on the same path as us the day they requested our assistance it would be given unequivocally and that same commitment was made in return.
After the GNW when BoB moved south to engage and kill FA (yes the main objective of us moving from the north was to take on FA) we did so with ATUK in the vangaurd and already engaging FA. Many has the forum post on Eve-O been about the fact that BoB merely finished off FA after ATUK and Shinra had done the dirty work and broken their back. In response to those posts I simply state that ATUK were always part of BoB, their wars were our wars and that in the brief time I flew with Shinra (a matter of weeks) I came to respect them a great deal, Chow is a stand up guy. So yes, the trail had been blazed by others but the fact remained, ATUK were and are BoB.
Around the time of the FA war (or shortly thereafter) came the time of POS, soverignty benefits and the alliance system in game. BNC, RKK and Evolution formed the BoB in game alliance at around the same time that ATUK formed 'the Five' alongside Shinra, BOS, Supremacy and Black Reign. Despite the tinfoil asshattery on the forums at the time it was always understood amongst the BoB leadership that ATUK were still BoB. Membership of the IGA didn't matter, once a brother always a brother. Both BoB and The Five were constantly goaded by faceless alts to fight each other but the reason that never happened was simply that ATUK were BoB so it was about as conceivable as a very inconceivable thing living in inconceivable town.
As time progressed we ended up with BoB enconsed in the south west and the Five fighting in Venal up north. Then came the EC-P8R event with the BoB IGA, ASCN/AXE and The Five (primarily ATUK) holding the system whilst we annihalated the Trust POS in system and took the outpost in there.
BoB already had a plan to follow on from the EC-P8R event, namely that following the single biggest act of cooperation between players and groups of players ever seen in Eve (and quite possibly in any MMO to date) we would put into operation what we called Phase 4. We had a huge amount of fun teasing our members as to what Phase 4 really represented. Phase 4 was in short our standings reset and a return to our everything is a target approach to Eve.
Unbeknownst to us at the same time as we were planning Phase 4 and carrying out the EC-P8R event ATUK were coming to a watershed in their existence, largely prompted by Script's departure from Eve. We were approached by an ATUK Director (a good friend of mine who had always had my respect in dealings between the BoB IGA and our brothers in ATUK) regarding ATUK joining the IGA, he explored our feelings regarding this move, we discussed how it would work, whether it would be ATUK or a resurrection of the corp under a different name, how they would fit into the alliance and a myriad of different elements of merging ATUK into the IGA.
The response from BoB's leadership was simply "welcome home and it's about time".
I have to admit that given how slick the BoB IGA was at that time, how well organised we were and how the relationships between the three member corps was so well developed I was very nervous about how incorporating a fourth corp would effect us. Despite the fact we had always considered ATUK to be the fourth BoB corp it would have been a very niave leader who did not consider the negative ramifications and potential points of conflict in bringing ATUK into the fold.
We announced Phase 4 (to receive a barrage of criticism from the same retards who criticised us for NAPing too many people, as usual our enemies are nothing if consistently inconsistent) and within a couple of days the closure of ATUK was announced and quickly followed by both the formation of DICE and their admittance into the BoB IGA. For the first time since the alliance's conception we were complete and all the BoB corps had come home.
Given all that background, the months even years of support and the unwavering standpoint that ATUK were BoB it should come as no surprise that the general feeling amongst all our corp's members was one of euphoria that finally we had all of our Band of Brothers under one roof.
Since DICE joined we've had remarkably few problems regarding all the logistics that all alliances must face on inviting an enitity representing 25% of their numbers into the fold. Office space, access to moons, factory access, fighting style, FC's, use of different ship setups in combat and all the many other minor differences between the corporations.
BoB has always, even with the creation of the IGA, stuck to the principle that each corporation is independant. I could take BNC on a 6 month roadtrip to a different part of the Eve universe and abandon the alliance's current goals and still know that I and my corp are BoB until the servers close (and probably beyond to be honest). The upshot of this culture in the light of DICE's inclusion into the IGA is that because we respect each other's differences implicitly the integration of DICE was remarkably easy. Of course the whole integration process was greatly eased by the fact that DICE are so damn destructive and more than pull their weight in terms of damage to our enemies.
As far as BNC was concerned we made a concerted effort to ensure that we spent a lot of time with DICE, gave them what they needed, bent over backwards to shift our operation to accomodate theirs and generally made them welcome. Partly that was due to my personal friendship with Stan prior to the creation of DICE, partly it was because of the long standing 'BoB is BoB' attitude, partly it was a calculated effort to ensure the IGA continued to be successful and partly it was because we genuinely recognised a lot of characteristics of DICE that clicked with BNC (RKK and Evol are filthy commies, BNC and DICE are not :P).
BNC decided that we would go on a roadtrip up north shortly after DICE joined, we'd been putting it off for weeks and months in order to further our capital fleet and deal with some of the more failed alliances giving us grief at home (hi VC and SA!). Although we'd had our roadtrip in planning and on the cards for months we discovered DICE had already gone on a roadtrip up north before ours started. This presented the perfect opportunity to work with DICE and do some bonding.
I'll just digress into some BoB history for a second before I go on to discuss the dynamics of BNC's relationship with DICE.
BNC was a founder member of BoB primarily because of RKK. See my earlier quote from DBP's history of RKK to understand that we'd been brothers in arms before the war with PA kicked off. In fact NORAD was dragged into the GNW because of BNC's relationship with RKK forged during the fighting over the Fade region's conquerable stations. BNC and RKK have often been referred to as two parts of one whole and although that is not factually correct it is true to say that we left our anti-pirate, m0o hating, comfortable, FA allied and alliance leading position within NORAD so that we could continue to fly with RKK (when you recognise a soul mate you stick with them in game just as you would in RL - if you have any sense). BNC's relationship with Evol was more complicated, as I've outlined in an earlier blog (yesterday) Evol thought we were incompetent noobs to begin with and if I am honest it was probably not until the FIX war that we truly overcame that, so our early relationship with Evol was rocky (as I have elsewhere admitted they were right initially by the way and I still appreciate the fact that they helped us become what we are today). Since the start of our move down south and subsequent campaigns down there BNC has however forged a strong relationship with Evol that these days is as strong as our links with RKK. A year ago I would have without a doubt supported RKK over Evol, now I couldn't pick between the two, it would be like asking someone which of their two drowning siblings they would save if they could save only one!
So, BoB had evolved into a very close knit alliance and here were DICE thrown into the mix.
BNC headed up north on our roadtrip regardless of the fact that DICE were already in the area. Tholarim and I had a brief IRC discussion about it where he offered to move DICE on and I offered to pick a different location for BNC's roadtrip so that we wouldn't step on each other's toes. Instead of seperating the two corps we decided to work together for a while and it poduced the best of results.
To a man I think all BNC pilots would say that they formed a special bond with DICE during that roadtrip up north. We got used to the way each other fights, we got used to each other's FCs and we had a fuck load of fun together.
Close on the heels of our roadtrip up north we had the CODA infestation of Querious which brought both corps home again to the Delve area, the Goonfleet incident and then the Celes/Outbreak move to Fountain.
I can freely admit that when BoB first responded to the Celes/Outbreak influx to Fountain we came off worst. We'd been shooting T1 frigate swarms and podding Goons for over a month and proper combat against Celes/Outbreak was exactly the wake up call we needed.
Rather than send all four BoB corps to Fountain and outblob Celes/Outbreak we decided to rotate the BoB corps in and out of the region. BNC and DICE got the first shift and after the initial hassle of us relocating from S-U in Syndicate to Fountain and the losses incurred in this time we soon got ourselves sorted and in position.
Although I missed a lot of the fights initially I soon started getting more in game time and FCing alongside Tholarim from DICE. It was very apparent that our roadtrip up north had helped gel DICE and BNC. Regardless of the outcome of some of the earliest fights against Celes/Outbreak BNC and DICE had together got their measure and were consistently bettering them when it came to our turn to rotate out.
On a personal level I can say with confidence that when working together Tholarim and I have never lost a fleet fight in any conflict against any opponent in the months since we started working together after DICE joined the BoB IGA.
Our roadtrip up north and our fighting alongside each other in Fountain has created a strong bond between BNC and DICE. Just as our initial closeness to RKK rather than Evol evolved into strong bonds between our three corps as far as BNC is concerned those bonds are just as strong with DICE.
That's the story of ATUK, DICE, BNC and the rest of BoB from my perspective. I hold DICE as a corporation in equal esteem to RKK and Evol. More than that, I have friends within DICE who I value just as much as I value my friends in Evol and RKK.
Tholarim, Dread, QD, Tiger, Traffic, the other leaders of DICE (including my old and very good friend Stan) and all their members are just as much members of our Band of Brothers as Galavet, Molle, TWD, Fitz, Dian, Gunstar, Dafuzz, Valora, Biz, Kally, Druid, Haze and all the members of RKK and Evolution (apologies to all 400+ people I didn't just mention in person!).
There is not now and there will never be any split between DICE and the other BoB corps as long as BoB lives and certainly not as long as I am CEO of BNC. DICE have my and my corp's respect as equals amongst our 'tribe' (look up what the BoB logo represents).
ASCN you need new and far more competent spin doctors.