Header art by Cryo Huren
Has the Imperium lost all its sovereignty and is now on the verge of losing the war? Are TAPI and BRAVE bleeding the other members of Legacy dry, leaving them to be dumped on the ash heap of history? Are titan prices going up by 200%? Is EVE dying?
Have you ever wondered how the people who discuss topics seem to have the data and numbers that support their position? True, sometimes the data does support their argument. Other times, it can be tempting to manipulate numbers and figures to match the agenda you are presenting. People tend to gravitate toward the statistics which match their agenda, even if they are not consciously doing it. For example, advertisers, companies, and politicians will present you with what seems like hard believable numbers and charts. However, statistics are not as objective as they seem. People don’t even need to lie; they just need to flex the numbers. They change the dimensions and lengths of time a chart tracks. They present a series of data sets but leave out correlating data that would give it more context, or would change the picture being presented.
I will pick on The Imperium first, since I am a Goon. The narrative that has been presented recently is that TEST is evil. They treat BRAVE like crap. They’re leaching all the corporations, money, and sov from the other Legacy members. They’re leading them out of their traditional homelands to their doom. Any free-thinking, intelligent member of Legacy should leave the coalition for their own good; correct?
If you pull up Dotlan maps, zkillboard, and follow Imperium News the numbers and charts presented would seem pretty solid. If you run the numbers, they actually support the narrative you have just been presented. Rezeda Regnum (R-R) has lost half their pilots, half their corporations, and all their sov space since the war began. Even if TEST claims Legacy is winning the war, obviously R-R isn’t. The Watchmen have ceased to exist. Evictus has lost about 15% of their members, corporations, and sov. Warped Intentions has lost 28% of their pilots, corporations, and almost all of their sov. Federation Uprising (FEDUP) has lost most of their established sov, and although they’ve taken new systems, they have to rebuild all that infrastructure. Eternal Requiem (REQ.) is down 15% and lost all its sov. VINDICTIVE (VINDI) numbers are down 15%. On paper, it seems catastrophic. Someone not familiar with EVE Online, when presented with these “facts” might almost certainly believe that Legacy was starting to lose the war. But let us examine these numbers from a different angle.
Legacy Coalition right now has around 12 Alliances in it and 45,000 pilots serving in it. I’m not counting Legacy Affiliates, PanFam, PanFam Affiliates, Winter Coalition, or any of the proxy wars going on. Out of those 45,000 pilots most of them come from TEST and BRAVE. These Legacy members have gained strength during the war, even if we look at BRAVE’s structure and sov losses. That means 80% of Legacy’s fighting strength comes from those alliances that are actually stronger than they used to be, based on number count. Therefore, the statistics in the paragraph I presented regarding the other nine alliances now has significantly less impact. Depending on what numbers and charts I show, what order they’re presented in, and other data sets I decide to put in or leave out, I can paint an entirely different picture of what’s happening in the war. Depending on the readers’ allegiance, narrative, preconceived ideas of what’s going on with the war, this report now has significantly more, or less, impact on them depending on the effect I want to achieve. I can lie with statistics.
Now I get to pick on Legacy. The narrative has been presented that Goonswarm Federation is evil. We’re crushing all the life and fun out of the game, and we need to cease to exist as a coalition for the good of all. If you look at Sov.space maps and check sovereignty settings on Dotlan, the argument could be made that we have been crushed. Most of the former Imperium territories in Delve now belong to TEST. PAPI has swallowed more than half the map. The Imperium is done for. The giant “Mission Accomplished” banner is hanging on an Avatar while Vily makes speeches. So, let’s examine these numbers and “facts” from a different angle.
Remember those Legacy pilot numbers from earlier? 45,000 pilots serving in Legacy. Probably at lease 25k to 30k pilots deployed to Delve as the main front of the war. Goonswarm Federation currently has over 29,000 pilots, 500 corporations, and still holds 17 Sov systems (at the time of this writing) even though we don’t currently appear on the map. The Imperium has over 40,000 pilots, a big chunk of whom are concentrated in Delve around the Imperium Capital system of 1DQ. After nine months at war, active pilot numbers have not gone down. Most of the Imperium’s Capital Ship Fleet is intact and deployed to fight in the coming battles. Goonswarm Federation is very much alive.
All the statistics you will ever hear are based on samples. Inevitably, these samples have a built in bias. Despite people’s best efforts and intensions, everyone is biased in some way. When you are looking into something you are really interested in, about which you really want to learn the truth, you need to consider the motives of those who are providing you with information and the accuracy of their findings. Someone once said knowledge is a three-edged sword. Your side, their side, and the truth. In the universe of EVE Online, the truth can be a fickle thing, especially when statistics are involved.