Grasshopper and Master Po Talk about the War


Header art by Cryo Huren

Grasshopper: Is this war about extermination of the Goons?

Master Po: No. Some people believe that because Vily, one of the leaders of TEST, announced via an article in Polygon that “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.” Other PAPI leaders have never used the “extermination” rhetoric, and instead talk about bringing Goons down to everyone else’s level – in other words, to damage them enough that they cannot dictate or dominate EVE nullsec. Indeed, Grasshopper, PAPI leaders do not chirp with one voice; we hear many different sounds at night from the PAPI side, which partially explains the complexity of understanding the war and the confusion regarding motivations.

Grasshopper: If no one believes the “extermination” talk, why have Goons repeatedly referenced it in articles and comments?

Master Po: Confucius says, ““The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” Goons enjoy pointing out when others do not heed this advice, even if they do not always abide by it themselves. Vily’s statement was ludicrous and unattainable and it made Vily look foolish.   Goons thereby draw the conclusion that PAPI, or at least The Legacy, are led by people who don’t think things through.

Vily himself must have realized how ridiculous that claim was shortly after saying it. He began walking it back immediately, actually in the Polygon article itself: “Of course, Vily knows he won’t be able to remove The Mittani from the game unless Gianturco literally deletes his account. But Vily says he is committed to permanently damaging Gianturco and his faction — potentially enough to cause its members to splinter and break apart into smaller groups.” Other walk-backs have occurred as well, including Vily claiming that he was misquoted.

Grasshopper: So, extermination was never the real goal.  The goal, on Legacy’s part at least, was to damage the Imperium very badly, and perhaps cause them to break into separate bits? Do I have that right, Master?

Master Po: No, Grasshopper.  In another interview with IGN, Vily makes it clear that he didn’t initially want to go to war against the Imperium at all: “We offered to go with The Imperium against PanFam first,” Vily said. “They were only willing to half commit to it – if at all – and we decided to go the other way.” This quote clearly indicates that when Vily was making war plans, he initially wanted to side with the Imperium. So, any suggestion that The Legacy believed the Imperium was too big or was “bad for the game” doesn’t match the facts.

Grasshopper: Well, since extermination of the Goons wasn’t the goal, and since Vily first wanted to ally with the Imperium against PanFam, what WAS Legacy’s motivation for the war?

Master Po:  We enter the shadow world here. We cannot always believe the words of others. But, let us listen to statements by Vily and Progodlegend (PGL), and see if we can gain some insight. In a November townhall, Vily stated, “ We are telling you [TEST members] now, over the course of the next one to five, six months, whatever, we will be moving out of Esoteria and into Delve and Period Basis. . . .  As a reality, I guess you could say, we cannot live in two places at once to the degree that we have traditionally done.” 3:31

A few seconds after this statement, at the 3:50 mark, PGL confirms the news that the move away from Esoteria was always the plan:  “The plan was always we were going to move into Delve and Period Basis at some point. It is better space. It is very much better space. One of the things we’ve talked about on the FC team is that if Goons actually knew what they were doing, it’s very likely we would have lost this war trying to assault it. Trying to break into Delve and Querious.”

Grasshopper: I think I’ve got it now.  So, the war wasn’t about extermination and it wasn’t about the Imperium being “bad for the game.” The real reason for the war was that The Legacy wanted Delve and Period Basis, right?

Master Po: No. But I admire your courage in trying, Grasshopper, more than your memory. You have forgotten already that Vily, prior to that last statement, admitted to IGN that he approached the Imperium first, seeking war with PanFam. So, The Legacy could not have wanted Delve and Period Basis at that time, when they planned to ally with the Imperium against PanFam.

Grasshopper:  I can see why people get confused. Every time I seem to get my head wrapped around this, the real reason for the war slips away.

Master Po: Let me see if I can help you.  Regardless of whether or not The Legacy went to war with PanFam or with the Imperium, what do they get out of either conflict?  Keep in mind TEST’s townhall statements from November.

Grasshopper:  Uh, different space.  They wanted different space!  They thought Esoteria was poor space, so if they attacked PanFam they could take over PanFam space and if they attacked the Imperium they could take over Delve and Period Basis.

Master Po: Very good, Grasshopper. Now tell me, what have other PAPI members, like Fraternity gained from this war?

Grasshopper: More space.

Master Po: You have said.

Grasshopper: Fraternity attacked Tribute and Venal so that they could have even more space. I think I’m getting this. In fact, didn’t The Legacy once want all the entire southern half of the map?

Master Po: Your memory is improving.  Here’s the quote, which comes from the December, 2020 Legacy SOTC given by PGL: “Legacy will be taking Fountain, Delve, Querious, and Period Basis while maintaining all of the space that we currently hold. So we will be getting an additional four full regions. Every single Legacy alliance will be getting space in Delve, Querious, Period Basis, and Fountain. We will be divying it up as a coalition.”

It is irrelevant, Grasshopper, that they have subsequently changed their minds about that goal, understanding as they have that their dreams were unrealistic. Remember, the Polygon article. The Legacy has a history of saying something which they then must abandon. Confucius says, ““The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.”

Grasshopper: Master, why would they want so much space?

Master Po: You are learning to ask better questions, Grasshopper. Why do these PAPI members keep wanting more space?

Grasshopper:  For RENT!

Master Po: And why do they need to rent?

Grasshopper:  They need ISK.

Master Po: And why do they need ISK?  Remember, your answer cannot be that they need ISK to cover the war costs. There was no war at the time that they wanted more space, so the additional ISK was not required to replace ships and structures, which had not yet been lost. They should not have needed more ISK, Grasshopper, unless . . . 

Grasshopper:  Yes, unless what, Master?

Master Po: We have now gotten to the heart of it, Grasshopper. We are at that which cannot be named.

Grasshopper: But it has to do with renting and needing ISK and what that ISK goes for, right, Master?

Master Po: Confucius says, “Study the past if you would define the future.” I cannot do all the work for you, Grasshopper. Study. Research. Look to the past for indications of motivations and to make predictions about the future. You will uncover that which cannot be named, if only you are willing to make some inferences.  Look to the past, Grasshopper.

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  • Rammel Kas

    The lack of a common war goal can lead to underlying objective drift. Certainly does explain why it has now taken PAPI longer to conclude the war than it takes to make a baby. This is not by any means “ok” or “good leadership”. Since their own people have had to sit through it too. Since the Master Po person likes quoting Sun Tzu maybe he should diversify his scope to include on how wars end well. And to have started with the first paragraphs where the real master in antiquity laid out why nobody benefits from long wars. It would be interesting to hear if PAPI leadership have an answer to those.

    It really looks like they banked everything on at least one group in them having the reserves to outlast both the scarcity changes and the war. And it really doesn’t look like most of the smaller PAPI members will last, since we have seen the member counts, sov and even whole corporations die in the past month. So I don’t mention this without reason. We can see it destroying them from the inside by now.

    March 31, 2021 at 7:57 AM
  • Havish Montak

    I’m gonna sum this up for the slow among us. PASSPI all want to BOT. The Imperium was a thorn in their and so the war begins.

    March 31, 2021 at 11:31 AM
  • Artur Burzynski

    Did I understand this corectly Test plan was to pull Goons in to War with PanFam and backstab them at some point because they Test wanted to move to Delve?

    March 31, 2021 at 4:51 PM
    • Guilford Australis Artur Burzynski

      No one really knows. Vily and PGL claim they originally wanted to team up with The Imperium to fight PanFam, but then mysteriously sided with PanFam to fight The Imperium instead. Then they said their grand plan was to “exterminate” The Imperium and drive The Mittani and Goonswarm out of EVE entirely, but now frantically argue on Reddit, INN, and TiS that they never actually meant that. THEN they said it was just a land-grab all along and that their only intent was to take The Imperium’s regions and control half of nullsec.

      If you can make heads or tails of that, you’d be doing us all a favor.

      March 31, 2021 at 6:15 PM
    • Gray Doc Artur Burzynski

      The IGN article has Villy stating that he wanted Goons to join him in a war against PanFam. They didn’t go along with it. The idea that if Imperium HAD gone along with that plan could lead to a backstab is pure conjecture and we have no source for that information. We can only make conjectures about what would have happened if Imperium had joined Legacy to attack PanFam.

      March 31, 2021 at 9:41 PM
      • Rammel Kas Gray Doc

        What you’re missing is that by the time of the Nip Slip there was already weeks worth of warning signs. If you read your GEF pings very carefully back when it was spun up there are several salient points which tell me that we were already starting to take cares to be light. And a few fights we didn’t fully escalate on top of Snuff. So there is something very squirrely about Vily’s time line to me. My read is Piggles finally lost his cool when it became apparent that we weren’t the dupes he seemed to think we were. And that’s when his whole premature victory parade of utterances about removing “someone we’re going to fight and you all know who” started surfacing. Keep in mind there was that one TEST FC who kept running fleets into Delve each day every day for months before from the FAT6 pipe. He was in Delve so often you could mistake his “roams” for “camping”. And this was while the NIP was still “being honored”.

        April 1, 2021 at 9:20 AM
  • chimpy


    March 31, 2021 at 10:20 PM
  • the elective crusade that totally isn’t becoming a serious mistake or at least a really bad decade for it(tm)

    March 31, 2021 at 11:09 PM
  • Seir Luciel

    According to the IGN article TEST felt they were the weakest of the three major power blocks and were getting eroded. Perhaps they perceived, rightly or wrongly, that they needed to do something quickly or else continue to diminish, seeing the writing on the wall down the road. The way weaker groups, feeling threatened, get stronger is by recruiting others to help them take out the big guy. I don’t know why people seem to be questioning the war aims. They seem rather straightforward. I don’t think it mattered who TEST attacked because it was about looking out for number one.

    What is interesting is that, according to that same interview, Vily asked Goons to join TEST attacking PanFam. Apparently Goons “were only willing to half commit to it.” To me, that says that they were willing to commit, just not in the manner Legacy wanted. If Legacy had accepted Goons’ lukewarm commitment to the war it is entirely possible it would have been PanFam lamenting blue donuts and Serenity 2.0 with The Imperium just one of the blues. In other words, it is an accident of history that Legacy were too uncomfortable with Goons’ non-committal attitude (though not, it seems, total unwillingness) to join up and attack another power block. It wasn’t the evils of Vily or PGL that is causing this war, but (anti-climatically) their desire for a more committed ally that lead them to offer another deal to PanFam.

    I wonder how Goons would have defended their position in the blue donut as TEST started settling in PanFam territory. I wonder if they would say the donut was the final nail in BoB’s coffin. It could have gone that way, as I see it.

    April 1, 2021 at 3:48 AM
    • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

      The Legacy was the largest bloc at the start of this war though. They owned around 200 systems more space than The Imperium also. Then you have Pandafam also being larger than The Imperium. Given what Noraus has said recently I think we can safely say that Winter Co and Panfam will be very close for quite some time to come.

      So the “The Imperium” is too big and powerful was built on a series of lies. I said months ago that some people are already fighting the next war. I would suggest it is going rather well for some also.

      April 1, 2021 at 4:55 AM
    • Gray Doc Seir Luciel

      Two things: First, you misquote the IGN article. Here’s the exact quote: “We offered to go with The Imperium against PanFam first,” Vily said. “They were only willing to half commit to it – if at all – and we decided to go the other way.” So, the actual quote shows the Imperium, with that “if at all” bit, wanted no part of a Blue Donut. That’s far different than your presentation above where you leave out the “if at all.” Second, it is NOT an “accident of history,” as you put it. It’s an intentional decision, by Imperium, not to join Legacy is some Blue Donut crusade. Finally, you say, “It wasn’t the evils of Vily or PGL . . . but their desire for a more committed ally.” That’s like saying it wasn’t the evil of Hitler in WWII; he just wanted more space for his people. I’m not actually comparing Vily and PGL to Hitler, that would be ridiculous, but you want to disconnect Villy and PGL from their actions, implying these actions were somehow inevitable. No. It was a decision by Imperium NOT to fight. And a decision by PanFam to willingly, perhaps happily, do what Imperium did not want to do. And a decision by Legacy to worm someone into fighting with them. No accidents of history here.

      April 1, 2021 at 8:16 AM
      • Seir Luciel Gray Doc

        You are focusing on the latter part of the quote, I’m focusing on the first part. As I read it, the Imperium was at least considering joining Vily in some capacity. If they had outright said no, the report would not have been they were only willing half commit with the “if at all” tacked on after. The report would have been “they refused the offer.” It seems to me Goons hadn’t made up their mind and Legacy pitched it to PanFam as Goons deliberated on pulling the trigger.

        April 1, 2021 at 3:00 PM
  • Dripple

    So Vily and PGL provided best content EvE has ever seen and Imperium is salty because they wanted to keep printing ISK and their “Delve hours” intact for RMT.
    I think CCP owns a lot to PGL and Vily

    April 1, 2021 at 11:50 AM
    • Moomin Amatin Dripple

      A keeper this one is “So Vily and PGL provided best content EvE has ever seen and Imperium is salty because they wanted to keep printing ISK and their “Delve hours” intact for RMT.
      I think CCP owns a lot to PGL and Vily”.

      You wouldn’t happen to have an interest in renting would you? As for the RMT claims, I do hope you have reported them. You did report them right?

      April 1, 2021 at 1:07 PM
      • Dripple Moomin Amatin

        RMT claim was just to highlight ridiculous speculation done in the article. Want ISK = RMT is just bad attempt to pin Legacy to RMT.

        April 1, 2021 at 1:15 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Dripple

          If there are specific points you wish to question then I am sure that the author will be more than happy to look at them.

          April 1, 2021 at 2:32 PM