Header art by Major Sniper
This article is a brief discussion, between two INN editors, on the topic of why PAPI seem to be taking so long to invade the Imperium’s last constellation. Gray Doc is a member of KarmaFleet, while Seir Lucial is a member of Pandemic Horde Inc.
Gray Doc: Back about six weeks ago, several members of PAPI had SOTAs in which they expressed their intent to attack the last remaining Imperium constellation with subcaps. We’ve seen a couple forays into O-EIMK, but nothing has stuck, so to speak. My initial questions, then, are simple. What are you waiting for? Are you content just to sit one gate away from 1DQ and be a part of the Big Blue Donut for weeks and weeks and weeks while continuing to claim this donut won’t last very long?
Seir Luciel: Well, I’d challenge your assertion that we are waiting; the narrative that the PAPI assault was steady, until they reached the 1DQ gates only to peter out, is a false one. What we are seeing isn’t the cessation of PAPI aggression (as many recent, major battles can attest), but the beginning of a serious Goons defense, finally giving PAPI enough resistance to slow their movement across the map. What previously would have been an uncontested structure bash and sov transfer is now a major battle, without the quick transfer of power from Goons to PAPI. From your perspective, you ask “What are you waiting for?” But from my perspective it’s: “Ah, so you finally decided to put up some resistance.”
Gray Doc: You haven’t answered the question, but merely explained the long slow process to reach this point. You are here now, finally. The “enemy at the gates,” so to speak. The position usually calls for a massive battle. You actually edit Ban Syrin’s War Update articles, so you know full well that during the past five or six weeks very little has happened, except two rather large battles, one that favored PAPI and the last that favored Goons. Two battles in many weeks. So I ask again: What are you waiting for? Perhaps if you take another swing at it, you can answer the question this time.
Seir Luciel: It’s true; “usually,” wars in EVE end with a large massive battle before being decided; that’s how so many other EVE wars have gone down. But as we both can attest, there isn’t anything usual about WWBII: the time frame, the scale, the ISK cost, number of players involved, etc. All those are things that Goons, in my opinion, are struggling to come to grips with: this war is not like the wars of the past. We aren’t dealing with “just another war”; this is an Armageddon. Many of the old rules and customs don’t apply.
But to your question–why? I don’t want to oversimplify things, there is more than one reason why things have, in some senses, slowed down. One is simply the game mechanics, with the highly defensible chokepoints Goons have set up, combined with the scale of this war. Jumping 100, 200 people through a gate to fight another 200 players ready to meet them is challenging in its own right. Now make it 1000 on both sides, with time dilation and the risk of server weirdities like those seen at M2. The servers have never been pushed this hard, nor have fleet doctrines been tested at these kinds of scales to see which work best, which synergies are most efficient in dealing with such a turtled enemy under time dilation.
What PAPI is doing right now is effectively playing like it’s a test server, not madly rushing Goon defenses but undergoing a specialized dissection, accumulating data. What PAPI doesn’t want to do is lose a bunch of stuff in the testing process (right in the middle of CCP changing game mechanics and earth-shattering economic alterations; making war is hard enough when the economy and game mechanics are stable, and it’s not the time to be making mistakes), tanking PAPI morale while boosting The Imperium’s, which is quite high right now.
Gray Doc: My question was not “why” but “what?” Even given everything you said in your quite extensive answer, you haven’t answered the question and this next attempt will be the third strike as far as I’m concerned. Here’s the softball pitch: what are you waiting for? Server mechanics! PAPI knew very well about server mechanics and has known for years, so that’s a complete red herring. “Specialized dissection” “accumulating data!” Sounds like balderdash. For five weeks! There must be some tiny part of you that knows it because you avoid the question so well while using so many words. What are you waiting for? If you don’t answer the question this time, I’ll make my own attempt to answer the question for you, which PAPI folk, including you, might not like.
Seir Luciel: In a word, cracks. When a dam breaks it is easy to assume the event is a quick one, a sudden bursting forth, an explosion of water and concrete. But in reality a dam breaks over a long period of time; weaknesses form, cracks lengthen, until finally a threshold is crossed with explosive and rapid final results. It is a problem of perception. Does the intense pressure of tons of water “begin” right before a dam fails: What was the water waiting for?! Or was the pressure present the whole time, with only the outwardly dramatic explosion happening at the last? Take another example: when an animal dies, when does decomposition begin? Immediately. But so gradually, from hour to hour, one might think nothing is happening: one could falsely come to the conclusion that Death is “stalling.”
It may seem to you like I am not answering the question, because the question is inherently flawed. By answering the question, as you frame it, I would be accepting the presumption that PAPI is, in fact, waiting for something: we aren’t. The Imperium finds itself and its thousands mashed into roughly six, seven systems—a dam ready to break with the continuous pressure of PAPI leaning against it should cracks begin to form in Goon’s, so far, solid defense. I’d argue the more relevant question is not, “What are we waiting for?” but “How long until cracks begin to form?” How long until some aspect of Goon defense weakens, a place for water to rush in? A month? Three? Seven?
Maybe Goons will hold in the end; maybe the dam won’t break. But, as Legacy now lives in Delve, the day might come when people will ask “What are Goons waiting for?” The day The Imperium declares the PAPI assault concluded is the day their own “TEST is next” clock starts ticking. As a result, Goons might not want to call the end of the PAPI assault/Goon defense too soon.
Gray Doc: I’ll have to answer my own question, because “cracks” doesn’t even come close to answering the question. Here’s what I think is the problem. What is PAPI waiting for? Goons to fail-cascade, because the trenches are too deep, the defenses too good. PAPI has to hope that Goons just pack up and go away, bored to near tears with this game and go and play Cyberpunk, or something. Because PAPI has no strategy. This “cracks” scenario would make some sense if we were talking about a week’s worth of “probing” etc. But now it’s just stalling. Entire campaigns have been fought, and completed, in five weeks. PAPI reminds me of the character “Pigkiller” in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Somehow, he finds himself driving this train engine, having broken out of Bartertown, and now he and Max and all the escapees are barreling down railroad tracks being chased by the baddies. Max crawls up to the window of the engine and says, “So what’s the plan.”
Pigkiller, like PAPI, says, “Plan? There ain’t no plan!”
Seir Luciel: I can’t help that Goons don’t like the answers to their questions, and insist on answering their own questions themselves: I would say the Goon narrative not only speaks for itself, but it also speaks to itself ignoring outside opinion. But a question before we part: Goons believe PAPI are cowards, and are stalling, unwilling to pay the butcher’s bill. I think that’s inaccurate, but to get inside the Goon brain, let’s say we followed that logic to its conclusion. Let’s say, in an alternate universe, PAPI never launched another attack, just chilling in T5Z and all of Delve – mining, building, ratting, carrying on with their life. Considering PAPI has less of an impetus to attack, other than wanting to smash Goon’s capital city, compared to the Goon impetus to defend, how long would Goons stay in six star systems before coming out? How long before Goons did something, and what would they do?
Gray Doc: Well, then, we’d have Serenity 2, which you claim you don’t want and we don’t have. And of course, the way you’ve “framed” the question, that would all be Goons fault because they failed to attack vs. 3-1 odds. Your question goes to the very heart of the problem, though, doesn’t it? PAPI members, illustrated by your comments here, which granted may not be representative of PAPI as a whole, show you are in fact contented with the status quo, have no sense of urgency at all to get on with “the job.” This has been the Goon’s claim all along, which you, by the way, have decried to high heaven as false. And yet, here we are. In the end, when you had to answer the question, you answered with a dam(n) analogy about cracks, etc and then launched into the idea that Goons are to blame for the current state of boring warfare. I would say “Unbelievable” except I’ve seen this tactic many times. Complete denial until you absolutely must come up with an answer, then falling back to blaming Goons for PAPI’s own failure to have a plan. Well done.