Art by Major Sniper
This article was co-written by Graydoc and Seir Luciel.
Editor’s Note: The following is a conversation between the author and his son, Seir Luciel. The author is a member of the Imperium, and his son is a member of Pandemic Horde. The conversation (via texts and emails) started when the author sent his son two articles from INN, one of which was The Mittani’s article entitled World War Bee: Avenging the Casino War.
Ultimately The Mittani’s argument for why they are going to win the war boils down to two claims: The enemies aren’t us (i.e. pubbies) and therefore by definition cannot be considered threatening, and we’ve beat them in the past so there’s no reason to think it will be any different this time.
As for the first point I don’t think it calls for any response; no substance; just chest pumping. The second point is worth responding to, though it’s still not a geo-strategic/military analysis (such as, we have more money, pilots, and capitals; therefore, we have nothing to fear due to the assets we hold vs. their assets). Goon success in the past isn’t a “cause” for success in the present. It’s only a comparison, but one not addressing the differences of the present circumstances and the consequences of those circumstances.
Here are the facts without any rhetoric. The Imperium is massively outnumbered, about three to one. Despite this, Goons have, through luck and better piloting and better strategic maneuvers (or no life-ing) managed to overcome this deficit so far. However, Goons have lost considerable territory to both the north and east of Delve. Many structures have been destroyed. To my knowledge, no structures have been destroyed by Goons in this war so far (Editor’s Note: True when written, but since then the Imperium destroyed a Brave Fortizar).
PandaFam is beginning to push directly into Delve with various strat-op pings. Imperium enemies have touched down on the motherland. The results of these actions are yet undecided. But as a general trend, we find: ISK losses about equal, with the border of SOV moving towards Delve, not away from it.
You list two reasons, cutting out the rhetoric, for why The Mittani says Goons will win. You miss a third, which might be a bit more subtle and is based in subtext, but it is still there: availability of replacement ships for a sustained war of attrition.
First subpoint: The Mittani notes that Goons had to actually vacate their owned space in the Casino War and lost that war. But he notes that in that war, which was another everyone-against-Goons-fest, the cost of the war was not financed by the anti-Goon faction, but by Casino money: hence Mittani’s name for that war—The Casino War.
Second subpoint: The Mittani notes that this war is NOT financed by an outside party; each side will pay their own way, which means TEST/PandaFam and Goons must replace lost ships by mining, production, etc.
Third subpoint: “This is the perfect war for us right now,” The Mittani said. “We have Keepstars, and they do not have any casino ISK … No one can fight a war of annihilation quite like us – and at a fundamental level, no one enjoys it quite like we do.” I think you have to understand the subtext for this last bit. Goons have been referred to as an autistic group. They seem to have a LOT of guys that play a lot and are fine with boring repetitive tasks. You call this in your text “no-lifing” and you are not necessarily wrong. But you are dismissive of that point and you shouldn’t be. I think The Mittani has hit on a key point: Goons can win a war of attrition because no one is better at boring repetitive tasks than the Imperium—no one.
This has been proven for years, month after month of the MER (Monthly Economic Report) where Goons consistently lead all other alliances in mining, ratting, production, etc. Why? They love the boring repetitive tasks. In The Mittani’s words, “No one enjoys it quite like we do.” True.
Imagine a whole bunch of guys, 47,000 strong, who play games the way I play games–gathering every herb in all of Skyrim, for example, to make money and potions. You can’t play the way I play—you go nuts doing that kind of gameplay. For me, you represent PandaFam and TEST as a whole. You want action, the battles, the intensity, the thrill. But in a game like Elder Scrolls or even Destiny, you just couldn’t stomach the endless hunting and gathering of materials, etc. Too boring. You’d rather shoot stuff, and I’m not blaming you. But Goons are MUCH more like me than they are like you.
So, I think you missed this third point, which is very valid if this war extends over a really long period of time.
You are right about the third point: that these forces are no longer being financed by casino money. But The Mittani doesn’t follow the logic to its conclusion; he leaves the reader to make the presumption for him, to follow his thinking without actually stating what that thinking is.
The presumption is that without Casino money Panfam and TEST will not be able to afford the war that they are committing to. That is a bold claim and one that isn’t followed by any supporting evidence.
Is the financial information of TEST and PandaFam known? Can their lack of funds be verified, rather than assumed and hinted at? And how are we to handle the fact that, because their war against Goons the first time was funded by casino money and not from their own wallets, that it is very possible the money not spent in the past is still available to be spent in the current war? In other words, how much have these groups banked in the meantime?
While The Mittani wants his readers to draw only his conclusions, I will refrain from doing so and instead be very critical of what he says given his stated position. The Mittani is the leader of a group under major attack—an attack mirroring a previous one which forced Goons to completely uproot. Whatever spin one wants to put on it, Goons lost the Casino war. Any good leader will fear that his/her players are going to read the writing on the wall: “It’s the casino war all over again. We will get overrun and uprooted and I’m going to have to move all my valuables through grueling move ops all over again, trying to find some place to settle. I could fight a defense; but maybe I should start right now trying to move all my stuff out and into high sec!”
The Mittani has to counter this narrative. The Goons have no chance if the above attitude were to take hold throughout the alliance. (To some degree I think it already has taken hold.) So The Mittani does what any good leader should do to keep morale up: he takes control of the narrative. “We will blitzkrieg; we are made for this; no one loves this more than we do; the barbarians are at the gates.” In other words, what you see is a huge spike in nationalist language, us good, them bad; us civilized, them barbarians; to increase the cohesion of a tribe under attack. The Mittani spins a little revisionist history, recalling a loss that completely uprooted Goons, but with the spin not of “we got our asses kicked” but “You see! We are still here; they couldn’t destroy us!” They lost the last war, but are conscientiously writing a narrative of a survivor’s victory.
We mustn’t forget what The Mittani is, at his core. He is not only the leader of the Imperium under attack, which demands that he show no signs of weakness or despair, lest his citizens fall out of the phalanx rank and save their own stuff. We must also remember that he has become who he is by being a liar. And I don’t mean that derogatorily.
The Mittani and Putin have a similar track record; and again I’m not trying to mud sling at The Mittani. The Mittani started out in EVE as a spy. He was one of the builders and original operators within the GIA (Goon Intelligence Agency). He was doing this before spying and trickery were a solid part of the meta; one could say he helped define the meta. This is why it is a bit ironic that he labels TEST as “backstabbers”. Sure, they are, but he made his name through being a professional, paid-for backstabber via his infiltration operations. Like Putin, he later became the head of everything.
My point is that The Mittani knows how to lie to keep his tribe ahead of others; he understands the power in manipulating truth, the power in narrative, in meta gaming. The Mittani is an amazing EVE player; but you are a fool if you take him at his word. In your case, he is lying on your behalf, and for your own benefit as a Goon. There is no doubting where The Mittani’s loyalties lie. He’s a Goon through and through. Just don’t expect him to tell you the truth. Expect him to tell you his truth.
Don’t YOU believe everything you are being fed either. Just one really quick counter to your point regarding financing the war. The Mittani doesn’t have to belabor the financial point. That’s the power of subtext. Years of the Monthly Economic Report (MER) have shown the huge disparity in Goon wealth and material. That’s why it takes 102 alliances to start a war against The Imperium–anything less and you might not even want to try. The MERs are boring as hell, but they tell the economic story of EVE and that story has been written with no spin for years. So, let’s just see how things “play” out as we play EVE. Good luck. You’ll need it.