Header art by Quendan Comari
Do you want to know the cause of war? It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars. Take away the capitalist and you will sweep war from the earth. – Henry Ford
What a week last week was. Given the pace of the war – very slow indeed – things stepped up a notch, at least temporarily. First, on November 14, The Initiative (INIT) stated they were deploying to Esoteria. The following day, Test Alliance Please Ignore (TAPI) held a SOTA, during which they made some shocking revelations. PAPI also dropped a Keepstar (KS) in the system of T5Z, right next door to the main system of the Imperium, 1DQ. Soon after the KS was onlined, an unusual announcement appeared from the normally very quiet Pandemic Horde (REKTD, but often abbreviated PH).
To make sense of this flurry of activity, we need to go back to the stated objectives for this war against the Imperium.
PAPI sold this war to the world as a war of “extermination.” This is, and always was, an impossible objective. For PAPI to truly exterminate all Goons from the game, they would have to break the Goons’ will so that Goon players no longer log in. History has shown that trying to make Goons quit is very unlikely.
Vily has recently walked back on this war objective, stating, “I just want to reiterate, because sometimes the spin or narrative either misquotes me or indirectly chooses to say something: I’m not interested in anybody leaving this game, but what we do try to focus on is [to] make other groups more appealing, causing members of the Imperium to leave their corporations or alliances for other places in EVE. I don’t want anyone to leave.” We are left to wonder here who misquoted Vily? The Polygon reporter cited above?
The problem with claiming you’ve been misquoted is that the quotes are digital and we can go back and check them. Here’s the Polygon quote from Vily: “When we started this war, we knew that we were fighting this to the end . . . For us, this is a war of extermination. This is a war to the death. We are aiming for the removal of Mittani and The Imperium from Eve Online . . . We are here to purge them.” But even if the Polygon author somehow got Vily’s point all twisted up, he’s said the same thing in other venues. Note on that same sound file where he backtracks, he gets called on this “misquoting” bit immediately.
But for the moment, let’s say Vily is being truthful and never wanted Goon players to quit playing EVE. What was the motivation, then, for this war?
To understand the war in the greater context of EVE history, we must understand more about each of the actors participating in World War Bee. For the sake of brevity, we will only look at the larger alliances and coalitions active in the war.
The Imperium (Goons) – This is a coalition that works hard on its reputation and has fought all of EVE for a whole year (not consecutively) out of the last five years. For non-Goons, anyone associating with the Imperium means you are a Goon and therefore guilty of any of the Imperium’s sins, real or imagined.
PanFam – A coalition with its roots deeply embedded in Band Of Brothers (BoB) history. Originally the self-proclaimed kings of nullsec, who by deception maintained an incomparable rental empire. Given that BoB suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Imperium, we should always expect them to want a similar level of revenge, which has so far eluded them, despite having more than one opportunity.
The Legacy (Legacy) – This is a coalition, led by TAPI, that has a rich and complex history, including the betrayal of allies and the breaking of deals. They will never discuss how the Imperium helped TAPI into nullsec and gave them assistance once there. That is an inconvenient truth TAPI seems eager to forget.
The Army of Mangos (AoM) – This alliance is a relative newcomer to the Tranquility cluster of EVE Online. At this time, their interests seem to align well with Legacy and they are happy to be instructed back to Esoteria to handle the defense – some alliances wouldn’t appreciate having to guard another alliance’s holdings, while that same alliance takes over the best locations in the game, but AoM is new and may not know they are playing with experienced and crafty alliances here on this server. AoM are also acutely aware that Fraternity is very intent on attacking them once World War Bee has concluded.
Fraternity – Another alliance from the Serenity server finding its footing on Tranquility. They find themselves in a most curious situation: having recently fought and lost a war to The Legacy, they are now aligned with them. Even worse, they find themselves aligned with their forever-enemy AoM. Despite obvious economic prowess in Oasa, their lust for income is causing stress with their current neighbours, PanFam.
The Spoils of War
Each of these blocs within PAPI has something that it wanted from this war, otherwise they wouldn’t have participated.
PanFam – No matter the outcome, PanFam makes great gains in the nullsec meta. Not only do they have a chance to forge new relations, they also have very little risk. Panfam alone is more than enough to match the strength of the Imperium. The fact that they were courted by Legacy is probably prize enough, given their respective histories.
Legacy will now take ownership of Delve, Querious and Period Basis, the best regions in the game and a fortress. During the TAPI SOTA it was also hinted that Esoteria would have new owners and that they would be friendly enough for TAPI to retain Keepstars there. We also learned that Legacy would be claiming Fountain for lesser alliance members. This would seem to suggest that NIPs/NAPs have been put in place and that the nullsec regions of New Eden have been divided out for renting, content or floodplains. This would leave TAPI controlling Delve, Querious, Period Basis, Fountain, and perhaps Esoteria. Sounds like BoB back in the day.
Other PAPI leadership is likely to remain tight lipped about what they hope to gain by going to war. So, lacking much hard information, I will now engage in complete speculation, so please forgive this indulgence.
AoM – The possibility of acquiring more or better space. Probably the most tangible benefit is the opportunity to forge new relationships within New Eden.
Fraternity – It is hard to say exactly what Fraternity gets out of this war. They are currently fighting on the side of TAPI, who just beat them in a war, and AoM, who they are keen to have a war with. Meanwhile, they have some troubles of their own in Venal.
A Waking Reality
PAPI has now deployed Keepstars in both the YZ9 and T5Z systems of Delve. The latter of the two Keepstars was deployed to apparently cut off the Imperium’s escape route to Fountain. PAPI continues to destroy structures within Delve, but there are many thousands that remain, each with potentially three timers each. Although PAPI claims “all that remains is to clear out Delve,” that’s a bit like saying climbing Everest only entails walking 29,029 feet.
In placing this last KS, and in reconstructing/rewriting their narrative, PAPI have declared that they are in the final stage of their war. They intend to assault 1DQ in order to achieve victory. However, PAPI still seem intent on achieving victory by the “hell dunk or blue balls” warfare they have used so far. This means that the iHubs and the jammers that can be deployed, when iHubs are controlled, is still key in the final bouts of conflict. An iHub must be controlled for 35 days in order to use system-wide jammers. Anyone familiar with Fozzie Sov mechanics knows that it can be a difficult task to maintain control for that length of time.
So, where are we in the war?
- The TAPI SOTA held on the November 15 was hardly inspiring.
- AoM have already been pulled back to help Legacy in Esoteria.
- Fraternity have moved part of their forces home and also seem to be tasked with dealing with The Initiative again in Fountain.
- For PH, an internal document made known their stance on where the goalposts are for their alliance: “Our alliance objective of ravaging the goon economy has been met, leaving our other stated goal of burning Rome (1DQ). Besides that, there is a . . . lot of soft infrastructure to glass outside Helm’s deeps, plus the second rinse of fountain. Once that is complete, we will re-asses the situation regarding the war meaning its down to the appetites of the everyday FCs and line members if we continue or not.”
These PH sentiments did not quite align with those given by TAPI less than a week earlier. This is key, for if PH are thinking about doing something else (such as adjusting to the CCP changes and addressing their own border issues), then NC and PL will likely follow suit.
In the simplest of terms, if Panfam decides that they are done with World War Bee, then they can just exit. This would not change the Imperium’s dire situation, given the vast amount of numbers PAPI has available. But, it would likely significantly increase the length of World War Bee. In the five months of this war so far, PAPI have only begun to dent the vast quantity of structures in Delve. It will likely take many more months for PAPI to kill all the structures. Note: as of this writing, PAPI has yet to assault a single Keepstar owned by the Imperium in Delve.