Glory, Gold, and Goalposts

2020-11-27

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?

The Actors

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.

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Comments

  • kwnyupstate .

    They are scared to attack a keepstar without a cyno inhibitor even though they have massive numbers advantage. Pretty pathetic. No will to fight a real fight. The only confidence they have is in numbers and even that isn’t enough to attack ONE keepstar?

    November 27, 2020 at 8:32 AM
    • William Doe kwnyupstate .

      Harkens back to when Vily said success in this war was a coinflip, and also when it was sort of a rallying cry to get more of their line members involved in the war.
      You’re kidding right? You got around 140k potential active participants in this war FOR YOUR SIDE and you still need people?

      This blueballs or helldunk bs is a sign of weak organization and inherently low morale. PanFam deciding whenever they choose to call it a day when they got their fill in would really signal the end of the war entirely. Legacy will fall flat on their face without the heavy lifters doing all the work for them.

      November 27, 2020 at 11:02 AM
      • Carvj94 William Doe

        It’s not like only fighting to your advantage is a bad strategy or anything. In fact it’s pretty much the only way to slowly kill off the Imperium’s ridiculous stockpiles of ships and structures. But you can’t brag about being a bad*ss who’s laying waste while fighting guerrilla style and not using your number advantage. That’s the main problem with Panfam. The undeserved bragging.

        November 27, 2020 at 11:08 AM
        • kwnyupstate . Carvj94

          And also they can’t destroy the stockpiles. The best they could hope for would be destroying the structures and it all going to asset safety and imperium gets it back and keeps it. They won’t even use their numbers; too scared unless they can prevent capitals from imperium from cynoing in; but they have more capitals anyway so again why so scared?

          November 28, 2020 at 12:28 AM
          • Carvj94 kwnyupstate .

            Yea. Besides asset safety I’m not sure if they’re actually making any progress considering deep Delve is still chugging along like normal. I don’t care to look up all the numbers but I’m pretty sure the Imperium is still operating in the green even with the ship losses.

            November 28, 2020 at 1:30 AM
    • Garreth Vlox kwnyupstate .

      They have no stomach for those 8-16 hour keepstar grind fights, this they made crystal clear when they had the chance to bait goons into a 5th “turbo feed” in NPC delve but instead anchored almost 200 bubbles to make sure there would be no keep fight. Test DESPERATELY wants to be able to start afk bashing structures with 5-10 people per structure because they are no longer able to insta form their whole coalition for a single station timer unless its a keepstar or critical ihub timer.

      November 28, 2020 at 9:08 PM
  • Rammel Kas

    Vily makes another grave miscalculation if he thinks he can dictate who I am allowed to play with. I have seen the way his dead-end shitstation TEST corporations treat people. And this practical observation runs back as far as HERO coalition and the initial Catch invasion. I have seen firsthand the way they rub their toxicity off on people like Brave. I have seen what you do guys. No thank you. Intelligent people pick a good group first. Not a secondhand infected group ever.

    November 27, 2020 at 11:32 AM
  • Simon Chui

    Fraternity and Mangos don’t necessarily have to gain anything, if they can lose less than everyone else, they come out relatively ahead. In fact, the most favourable outcome for them is if Legacy and Panfam completely fails and falls apart, then they pick up the pieces and grow. If the Imperium crumbles, they remain in the shadows of others.

    November 27, 2020 at 12:48 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Simon Chui

      AoM and Frat are a bit closed to me due to language barriers. I do know that both groups will have a chance to learn a huge amount about Tranquility in the coming months. I dare say that they have just both learnt a huge amount having teamed up with PAPI for the last half a year.

      Panfam is in no way going to fail in any respect in this war aside from prestige. They are the largest and most powerful group in the game. But they also seem very unwilling to risk anything by ensuring that they have significant numbers advantage.

      There are many in The Imperium who learnt the lessons of the Casino War and always prepared a bug out bag. Even I did and I never do things like that. So although things are bad for The Imperium this is not as dire as The Casino War.

      November 27, 2020 at 7:37 PM
      • Simon Chui Moomin Amatin

        I don’t have any spies anywhere, and I don’t want to overstate the Chinese culture thing, but being Chinese myself, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fraternity and Mangos have plans for every contingency, no matter how unlikely. Sun Tzu did say that if your enemy is good, you can’t force them to lose, you can only strengthen yourself and be prepared for when your enemy makes a mistake. Doesn’t it look like Fraternity is doing exactly that, krabbing furiously while everyone else is at war? This war didn’t start with the Imperium making any mistakes, and there’s an argument to be made that starting the war, itself, was the mistake.

        I agree that PanFam are robust, and a spectacular failure is very unlikely any time soon. I do notice you didn’t say anything about Legacy’s chances of failing spectacularly, haha. Anyway, since you’re being polite, I will be as well.

        November 27, 2020 at 10:59 PM
        • kwnyupstate . Simon Chui

          Contact the Chinese government and make them aware of how their citizens are circumventing the internet censorship and playing the western eve client and they will all get shut down and problem solved.

          November 28, 2020 at 12:38 AM
          • Simon Chui kwnyupstate .

            I know you’re probably joking, but in all seriousness the Chinese government’s internet censorship isn’t that concerned about stopping anyone smart enough to circumvent it, it’s to stop fake news and Western propaganda from reaching the less-educated and the gullible. If you’re not directly opposing the government or spreading lies, they don’t really give a crap.

            Which is to say: get a spai into Frat, start spamming anti-communist slogans everywhere, spread it all over the internet, and presto, Frat gone.

            Consider Animal Crossing. In March, players were building pro-communist shrines (probably ironically), nobody got blocked despite the game not being approved for sale in China: https://www.scmp.com/abacus/games/article/3076516/chinese-gamers-decorate-animal-crossing-propaganda-and-covid-19
            In April, anti-China propaganda appears, clamp-down follows: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52269671

            November 28, 2020 at 2:42 AM
          • Moomin Amatin Simon Chui

            Thank you for highlighting a point that is missed by so many. The cultural differences are very real.

            November 28, 2020 at 7:32 AM
          • kwnyupstate . Simon Chui

            CCP does business in China with the local client and server so they have a duty to prevent this under Chinese law. Just like the Chinese people have a duty under law not to play this client. If I were CCP I wouldn’t allow Frat to play on this client if I valued my Chinese server and the business that generates. Companies have an obligation to abide by all local laws in the Countries they operate within. What would happen if this was brought to the attention of the Chinese regulators?

            November 28, 2020 at 5:32 PM
          • Simon Chui kwnyupstate .

            Ha. If you feel strongly about it, you can contact the Chinese government and tell them about it. As for me, I don’t automatically assume that every law of every country is fair and just, or practical, or even necessarily of benefit to the government who made the law.

            But before you do, aren’t Ranger Regiment also Chinese players?

            November 28, 2020 at 10:56 PM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    Kind of late article about who is who in this war. But looking through the lines i can see that MA flirting with Horde again and trying to engage Chinese population that they just tools in dirty hands and plays second and triple roles in this war. While they could have been a powerhouse like Legacy and count for significant outcome. If it’s just strategic moves from their side than I’d say TEST would dig their own graves alowing Chinese to learn big scale warfare like this.

    November 29, 2020 at 11:03 AM