Illustration by Major Sniper
Three years ago in Eve Online, an invasion caused the destruction of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of in-game stuff, an action that made gaming news. After that invasion, known as The Casino War, EVE’s greatest player The Mittani took his merry band of bees south to the Delve region. Despite the derision of the many enemies of the Imperium, Delve turned into a power house of economic and military force.
This force was projected north in New Eden against their former forever enemies, PanFam and friends. PanFam suffered defeat after defeat; once the Imperium had been bought off to halt their attack, they returned to Delve chuckling to themselves. But the Imperium was not alone in its efforts against PanFam as they were joined by Legacy Coalition, headed by Test Alliance Please Ignore.
Test had suffered greatly over the years at the hands of PanFam and now they could smell blood in the water, especially after their successful campaign to take over the valuable hisec trading hubs formerly owned by Pandemic Horde. Legacy had been on a minor deployment to the northern region of Geminate, but now things have entered a more committed phase of hostilities.
Test is invading the homelands of Pandemic Horde in the region of Geminate.
Hi, I am an F1 Monkey from the Imperium in the MMO video game EVE Online. EVE Online is the game that many of you “love to read about, but would never actually play.” I don’t blame you, it’s a complicated time sink, and if you’re not careful it can add a few years to your college career (plenty of people take six years to graduate though, so it’s no big deal).
It’s likely that the last time many of you read about this game was back in 2016 when the Imperium was thrown out of the north by almost the entire nullsec population of New Eden, led by PanFam. This was of course The Casino War. Well, nearly three years later, a crazy timeline of events has led us to what is going to be a completely normal invasion of space. Large scale invasions involve thousands of players who sink huge amounts of time into their respective war efforts.
Once you crunch a few numbers you will find that million dollar invasions in EVE are more frequent than you would imagine.
A super basic guide to EVE Combat:
EVE combat really isn’t that hard to understand if you’ve ever played even just a few video games and understand basic video game concepts. EVE has many many ship classes, divided into three main groups: sub capital, capital, and super capital. But there are really only two that matter: Titans (the biggest super capital class), and Force-Auxiliary Carriers (the only capital class ship that can efficiently heal capital and super capital ships).
Titans are the best ships in the game because they have the largest hit point pool by a large margin and they do the most damage. Titans are also the most expensive ships in the game by a large margin, which is why two sides with lots of titans rarely fight each other, and when they do it tends to make the news.
An invasion will have hundreds and at times thousands of players all bringing their big expensive toys on a campaign to stick it to the other side. Sovereignty war is the means by which such campaigns are measured. In simpler terms, how much space do your enemies own and how can you reduce that? The stories that the players create for themselves within EVE Online are like no other. The scale and complexity dwarf competition completely.
Why is this a $1,000,000 invasion?
I am going to keep this really simple and also only base this on historical information plus a guess or two. Test alone are likely to have 500 real players involved, each are likely on average to put in about 40 hours a month into the strategic objectives of their group. This is a low-ball figure to say the least and some will put in hundreds of hours of effort each month in making sure their side wins.
Putting an average figure on the earning potential is more of a guess, but $20 per hour is not an unreasonable figure, if again a little on the low side. Three months for an invasion campaign is also a guess and again keeping the numbers low. So you have 500 x 40 x 20 x 3 = $1,200,000. Do note that is just the figure from the attackers side and not taking into account the defenders or any allies that either side may be able to pull into the conflict. The final figure is likely to be far greater than what I have described here.
Why are so many nerds investing so much in this invasion?
Mainly because the day-star is very bright and that forming real relationships is tricky and at times disappointing.
However in game there are far more reasons as to why this is all happening. It is important to note that Test alliance and other members of Legacy Coalition have had to endure great hardships by the so called elite of New Eden, namely PanFam.
With the recent victories by both the Imperium and Legacy, the strength of PanFam has been greatly diminished. Some could even go so far to say that PanFam has just been a paper tiger for some time. With the most recent defeat of PanFam and friends, their member alliances/coalitions turned to infighting. A number of alliances have fallen apart due to the tension created by their losses.
This even saw former “valued allies” turn on one another in invasions of their own. Surprisingly, even these failed despite choosing a target that PanFam considered to be weak.
Blame by some of the PanFam leadership has been thrown about, notably by Gobbins, leader of Pandemic Horde. Perhaps Gobbins has been taking a page or two from the very fine book of diplomatic policy by Circle of Two. It is possible that after all the smack talk offered by Pandemic Horde over the years this will be their chance to either put up or shut up. And to this end, Test has taken the decision to be the vanguard of that.
So what will actually happen?
It is not unreasonable to expect a few major battles that can still go either way. This will be the real measure of the determination of each side to claim victory. It can be said that Legacy has no interest in the space currently occupied by Pandemic Horde as the space Test holds in the south is far better in all respects. So this invasion is one that will simply look to burn down as much infrastructure as possible and then go back home after a job well done.
The Imperium is likely to be involved in some respects. Pandemic Horde has not endeared themselves to The Imperium over many years and this would be a fine chance for The Imperium to sit on the side lines and jump in as they see fit. Other entities are also likely to join in with the Test efforts as they are so inclined, whereas Pandemic Horde may find fewer allies than they had hoped for. The leader of PH, Gobbins, has a bit of a reputation. It could even be said that he talks a lot bigger game than what he has actually ever delivered.
There are differences between the two sides that also need to be considered. Legacy has a proven track record lately of being able to accomplish its own strategic objectives. This is normally a sign of a well organised and robust infrastructure. On the other hand Pandemic Horde has never accomplished a serious action on its own, relying on the hand-holding of Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition. With both Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition spending time on restructuring themselves, they may not be in a position to offer the assistance Pandemic Horde will want.
Regardless of the outcome, this is a great way to start 2019 and I hope that there is much more to come.