Metrics that Matter


Art by Major Sniper

The fall of Fountain was lauded as a major accomplishment by the attacking PanFam forces. It would be dishonest to pretend that losing Fountain and the structures in the region did not hurt, despite many assets being evacuated beforehand. It was a necessary decision by Imperium planners that the region be ceded, and fortunately the structures destroyed were lost prior to the upcoming Quantum Core changes. Fighting in 3 to 1 odds across multiple fronts required some territory to be strategically ceded.

Our enemies mocked the Imperium at length for not deploying super capital assets in Cloud Ring to fight over regions of mere peripheral importance. Today we can see the wisdom in that decision, as having done so would have left us open to attack in Delve. Likewise Fountain was ceded with a similar mindset. We let the enemy tire themselves out grinding structures while we saved our strength for the fights that really matter. Imperium leadership always understood this would be a war where we needed to pace ourselves and not spend needless effort on defending every single thing. Prior to the Drifter invasion last year, we likewise glassed Tribute and Vale of the Silent, which belonged to PanFam at the time. Unlike PanFam with Tribute and Vale, the Imperium was able to reclaim Fountain systems in rapid succession. As of writing, almost the entirety of Fountain has been reclaimed.

Flags in the Dirt

Nobody is claiming that this is in and by itself meaningful. A flag in the dirt does not much count for anything regardless of whether PanFam or the Imperium plants it. But it does at least illustrate the ease with which the Imperium can spring back compared to Panfam. When the Imperium glassed Tribute and Vale, PanFam ceded the territory almost completely, aside from some minor proxy groups. They are just now regaining some minor influence in the area via unorganized and informal relations. When the Imperium lost Fountain, PanFam was unable to capitalize on this to any meaningful extent. Without an occupying force in Fountain, PanFam is building sand castles on the edge of a beach only to be knocked down by the waves moments after being built.

The Imperium was prepared for its attackers to have a much better strategy, and for us to win through endurance over the course of months. Instead the attackers’ strategy has been found lacking, and the Imperium’s endurance has not yet been tested. Taking 2 to 1 losses when outnumbered 3 to 1 is something the Imperium can continue to endure. As PanFam has to continually rebuild their losses and transport them to the front, Imperium is doing everything faster and more efficiently right from home.

Not A Stable Base

PanFam’s wealth comes from its massive renter plantations to the east. Individual players who have no interest in defending each other’s corp mates when they get tackled, let alone PanFam’s interests as a whole, are not a stable base on which to build a war effort. The Imperium’s wealth comes from its players, and by ensuring its resources stay in the hands of its line members, the coalition as a whole is much more resilient.

As the attacker’s momentum wanes, the Imperium’s veteran players are coming back to the game. This is in stark contrast with the distrust and suspicion that pervades the Legacy camp regarding Vily, and the TTT and where the wealth is going. These kinds of wars are about durability and commitment. And with PanFam unable to capitalize on their gains, not to mention Legacy failing to even make any gains, the war is in a state beneficial to no one else but the Imperium. In the end the metrics that truly matter are not the number of flags that are planted, or even just the amount that are destroyed. Instead the metrics that matter are the people that make up one’s community, their commitment to one another, and the determination they have to see things through.

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  • Moomin Amatin

    Losing Fountain was a thing. No doubt about that for me. But Sister Bliss knew exactly what they were getting into when setting up shop in Fountain. Arguably they have probably lived there longer than they intended to originally. They still have a home though, in Delve. Whenever they want it and for as long as they need it.

    But with the recent PAPI restaging and also the INIT SOTA being released you have to wonder what now for Fountain. It will take a month or so to be able to get jump bridges up. But at the rate of this war so far a month is plausible. Then PAPI have the fact that the strategic gains they made may be undone. The gains that were apparently essential in order to be able to assault and destory the Goons.

    The bit that still baffles me is why PAPI seem to be struggling with their plan. Time will tell I guess.

    September 17, 2020 at 2:20 PM
    • The bit that baffles me is that the last uncontested Fountain keepstar timers fell two weeks ago. Fountain itself has been back in INIT’s hands for a week already.

      We’ve entered a “phony war” phase. The longer this drags on the better I guess for The Imperium. I’m not sure why the attacking side are allowing this delay to exist as all evidence from the past shows death of momentum kills offensive deployments.

      Maybe the Querious iHub timer is them starting the next push. I guess we will see this week.

      September 18, 2020 at 1:45 AM
      • Garreth Vlox Mick

        It might not be a case of allowing, they might not be getting the numbers they need on average to achieve strategic goals. They just rage formed well over a half dozen full fleets in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, for an ihub timer… you don’t do that unless you can’t get the numbers any other way, it’s entirely possible TEST “taking their time” is code for “we are getting shit fleet numbers unless we rage ping for them”, if that’s actually the case they have already reached burnout and are in the process of having their war momentum start to reverse.

        Super forms and massive multi coalition forms for an attack like the one we saw this week are usually used very infrequently and only for the most important timers that allow you to take a massive step forward. In wars past you can only do that so many times before people just stop showing up.

        Yet all they did was run the timers that were set, and reff INIT space and a handful of goon Querious systems and go home. No big push towards goon space, no massive wave of station timers set to force goons to pick and choose which to defend allowing test to use their numerical advantage to its fullest. No massive snapping of JB’s across the whole region to disrupt goon counter fleets. Not even an attempt to use their massive numbers to reff the pipe of systems in querios that most goons consider to be a part of delve due to the position between 1DH and C3N, just another slow plodding step in a long line of slow plodding steps.

        September 18, 2020 at 5:50 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Garreth Vlox

          The 49-U “stand-off” is huge. It could even be the defining moment of the war.

          September 19, 2020 at 9:44 AM
          • Garreth Vlox Moomin Amatin

            Especially given how last night’s non-fight went, they have a 300 pilot advantage with us multiple bridges and jumps from home reinforcements and they elect to go home and let us reff the ihub they put up in the station system they claim they “took”, and they stiff haven’t reffed that keep… you just don’t see that from attackers. I’m still partially convinced they stood down because PGL got podded and didn’t feel like jumping his character back to system to FC since they have no one else to do that job.

            September 19, 2020 at 3:57 PM
  • Seir Luciel

    As a Horde member I am naturally inclined to tilt my ear towards talk of Fountain and its significance (or lack there of as many are claiming). So far I have picked up a couple of different narratives:

    Narrative 1: PAPI glassed fountain, we got em boys. Mission accomplished. On to the next one.

    Narrative 2: Horde and friends were fools to attack fountain. Look how much time they’ve lost! They are already getting tired out and they haven’t even entered Delve! This was the plan all along. Fountain was a stall tactic from the beginning, and was used to buy time for Goons to prep and fortify Delve, the real prize.

    Narrative 3: Losing Fountain did hurt the Imperium, but not much. After all, sov is already moving back to where it was before. So much for losing Fountain. One wonders what the point of the whole thing was worth it for PAPI. Seemed like a waste of time.

    Given my limited experience with the game, I don’t know if I am the best judge of which of these narratives is the most accurate judgement of what the consequences of Fountain were. But from an economic perspective, it doesn’t seem much worth it to me to consider a scenario where Fountain is not attacked by PAPI. I wouldn’t like the idea of attacking into Delve knowing they are still getting income from mining and unattested ratting space from Fountain.

    And from a military standpoint one would still have to punch through Querius or prep in some other system; there is no highway to Delve, its an insulated system. Leaving Fountain intact would also allow for increased maneuverability for the Imperium. It is space to fall back to if Imperium started getting pushed out of Delve; certain structures could have been used as staging sites for Imperium counter attacks back into Delve. The (now lost) keepstars there also represented safe checkpoints for moving Titan fleets, or really any fleets.

    So was Fountain worth it? Honestly, I don’t know. I suppose it depends on which narrative you buy into. But leaning into my subjectivity here, in full bias, I admit it feels good to have it reset.

    September 17, 2020 at 4:12 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

      All three narratives are correct to varying degress depending on the person receiving them. There are more narratives as well I am sure. This is why it is best to look at the “facts”. What does and iHub cost? How many were lost?

      This leads onto why the grand plans are necessary when PAPI outnumber The Imperium so? I keep coming back to this because I find it unusual. If I had to offer a guess as to why PAPI are jumping through all these military manouvre and logistical hoops it would be because Vily wants to play Hannibal. By some method Vily has convinced all of PAPI to be his personal army to act out some Greek play. In this he will get to play the role of the talented leader and general which was cast out and treated badly byThe Imperium. Only to return and kill all of those that did not realise and appreciate his greatness.

      My main point with this is that I am no military genious and yet even I can win a fight where I outnumber the enemy two to 1 or even more. But I am happy for PAPI to take their time.

      September 17, 2020 at 5:20 PM
      • Seir Luciel Moomin Amatin

        I think you have to also incorporate the costs of time. As you say, you are “happy for PAPI to take their time.” Time is often just as precious a resource as isk (and all the other resources of war).

        I’m no military genius either, but theoretically what might not have been worth attacking Fountain in terms of isk cost, of iHubs, of other structures, might have been worth it in terms of time-cost. Placing structures back takes time, even with unlimited isk. Perhaps the time-cost to do this, specifically when trying to having to defend delve, could be justified. Likewise, PAPI spending a larger amount of isk to decrease a smaller amount of isk gain from the Imperium, but during a time when the Imperium needs all the money it can get to defend Delve, might also be strategically justified.

        This isn’t a counter to your statement. I’m merely saying we ought to also factor in the cost of time, and strategic attacks on the temporal-limitations of warfare.

        September 17, 2020 at 7:55 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

          I would say that attacking Fountain was exactly the right thing to do for PanFam. But I would have simply broken the jump bridge network while pinning INIT into J5A. Once the JB network was down it would take time for it to be established again, around 30 days. In that time I would then make the move on Delve itself.

          Anything else that happened in Fountain was for fun, revenge or reasons beyond a simple F1 monkey.

          The INIT SOTA mentioned moving to Fountain Core. This is not surprising at all to me and I think it is a good move on their part. It does mean that there is a clock ticking down now for PanFam. If INIT establishes a jump bridge network again then you would have to question the strategic value of the move on Fountain in the first place.

          September 17, 2020 at 9:59 PM
    • Guilford Australis Seir Luciel

      I essentially agree with Moomin that there’s truth in all three narratives.

      When The Imperium settled in Delve following the Casino War, we said we weren’t going to sprawl out the way we had in the north. But we ended up doing that anyway. INIT wanted to settle its own territory and held Fountain for several years. GSF said “We’ve got to secure the portion of Querious that runs right through Delve.” We then extended into further parts of Querious because we had allies next door, and why not? Then we decided to colonize Period Basis for a rental empire – something we had criticized PanFam for doing over the past few years in Kalevala Expanse and elsewhere.

      None of this was without good reason, but I think there might have been some “mission creep” in all of it. Now we’re realizing that, and I don’t think it was unreasonable to decide to consolidate in Delve like we originally planned circa 2016 and hold the gates best we can. The Reddit Moron Brigade narrative that ceding territory on the fringes of our home while focusing our efforts on solidifying Delve is somehow a sign of weakness when we’re facing 3:1 odds against is absolutely asinine. But Horde’s Fountain campaign did waste a lot of time on a region it has no intent to hold, and momentum is not insignificant in games like EVE that require consistent member commitment.

      I think Horde took the low-hanging fruit in Fountain (and did so in a commanding fashion, it can’t be denied). Based on the campaigns I’ve fought with The Imperium, I believe they’re getting to the point that FC and line member motivation will soon dry up and the desire to return home and let the line members get back to whatever it is they normally do rather than bash their heads against Delve will increase very rapidly. But anything could happen, and most of the uncertainties revolve around the question of whether the PAPI coalition is really as solid as it claims.

      September 17, 2020 at 7:44 PM
  • This is pretty much what I think about things but the writing is far better. Thanks for this.

    September 17, 2020 at 8:49 PM
  • Simon Chui

    Aw, when I saw “metrics” in the title I thought someone would actually analyze the numbers. I guess that would give away too much.

    September 17, 2020 at 10:42 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Simon Chui

      Someone is tracking the numbers in a fine series following the war. The last one is here –

      September 18, 2020 at 1:08 AM
      • Simon Chui Moomin Amatin

        That is indeed a great series, far more informative than the reporting elsewhere. But even so, it only talks about isk value destroyed, which doesn’t lead to any conclusions unless we also consider income, stockpiles, and industrial capacity. But those metrics, the ones that really matter, are all secret.

        September 18, 2020 at 7:13 AM
        • George Ewing Simon Chui

          One of the crucial things in providing true ‘news’ coverage is to leave spin and narrative out of it. The value of the WWB week-by-week series is just that – it gives the readers the information and it leaves it up to them to decide what it means. Too many times journalists take the easy way out and just spew their opinions. True ‘news’ coverage avoids that and leaves the opinions up to the readers.

          September 19, 2020 at 12:56 PM
  • ntime

    As I see it from a purely strategic point of view, losing Fountain is a big deal, because of the loss of the jump bridge network. Allowing INIT to take fountain is just leftovers to appease INIT for the last 4 years of being allied with Goons. The strategic value was sealing off the Jump bridge network. No more titans or supers through unexpected places and it will take 30 days to reestablish that. So time to concentrate on the 3 other accesses to delve.

    I would expect PANFAM to attack from either Aridia or Querious or possibly both considering the quoted numbers of 3:1 difference in members. Or maybe they gatecamp one and attack through the other. That is very transparent to the casual observer. The Mittani can spin whatever he wants, as the old saying goes, the pride goeth before the fall. If I was him, looking at the numbers, I’d be very worried.

    Here’s why, If Panfam can seal the access to Aridia and attack through Querious, then that leaves TEST to push into Period Basis leaving Goonswarm no where to run to with the jumpbridge access cut off. They’re effectively boxed in and fighting on 2 fronts. Full on fighting on multiple fronts is difficult at best, even with good resources. Let’s not mince words here losing the Outer Ring and Fountain was nearly half of the goons territory.

    The war in Querious is going to be interesting to watch more than what TEST will do in Period Basis. PB is mostly goon controlled and most likely not that heavily guarded, but most likely has a lot of jump bridges, which means pretty good support for now.

    Querious on the other hand, is made up of Goons and smaller corps like Brave and requiem, warlords of the deep. If I was the CEO of the smaller corps, I’d be re-evaluating where my alliances should be right now.

    Test is up against only the goons, PANFAM is up against 4 or 5, maybe 6 other corps and one of those is Goonswarm. PANFAM is going to need a lot of dedicated members and serious diplomacy to pull this off. Giants are playing in the playground and there is going to be a lot of collateral damage.

    The question really becomes, can Goonswarm protect the interests of the renters or are they going to become collateral damage and lose it all. If I was PANFAM, I would be working on Brave and the others to turn on the Goons and save their space/corps. If Goonswarm can’t protect them then PANFAM will roll just from sheer numbers alone.

    PANFAM is rolling on a high right now by taking outer ring and fountain and that is good for morale. It doesn’t matter that they keep it or not. The damage is done.

    One thing is very apparent for sure. Both Goonswarm and PANFAM are going to have their hands full.

    September 22, 2020 at 12:58 PM