Security through obscurity
With so much happening in the last week and with summary pieces being all the rage, it only seemed helpful to try and summarise in some way. Coverage has been great for many of the larger actions, but keeping an eye on the larger picture can be trickier.
Having a thin skin in Eve is something that will not serve you well, especially when playing at the higher levels in nullsec alliances. With that in mind, there has been a flurry of evidence from the PanFam that something is upsetting them. Signs of this have been more evident since The Imperium moved north for a “dirty war” against PanFam. But clues of this can be seen in recent months.
PanFam is an interesting array of alliances controlled by Pandemic Legion, often quite secretive in how it is organised with alliances formed full of PL members but not under the PanFam banner. This approach allows PL to attempt some sort of “plausible deniability” in order to protect its image. PL leadership will often deny anything about this. They will simply and loudly proclaim that “this is just a single line member acting on their own,” as was the case with the failed drop of a Keepstar by Purple Helmeted Warriors in the system of Jayneleb. In order to preserve their killboard statistics, PL members will even take drastic action such as dropping their corp to prevent a loss mail appearing. With this approach, PL members are able to play different aspects of Eve and still get the option to be part of the self-proclaimed elite. They can go leave their non-PL character and log in with their main, “dunk” a few Rorquals or supers, and then return to their alt character, all in a matter of minutes.
The complex web of corporations and alliances that can easily be described as falling under the umbrella of PanFam is large. Some bonds are stronger than others, but PL most definitely sits at the top of the hierarchy. The in-game standings between PL and others is often played so as to imply that there is not a relationship. For instance, I personally see The Culture as being part of PanFam, my logic simply being that The Culture has been quite open in calling in assistance from other members of PanFam. Members of The Culture have stated that they are as close to NC as they can be without being “blue.” NC, of course, has not done anything of note for many years without the support of PL.
Once you start to pull on a thread, especially a thread linked to ISK, then things get progressively more intriguing as you progress. For instance, C4W3 was leading the Care4Kids alliance while in PL. There was quite a bit of controversy over this alliance that ultimately led to it being closed. However previous members then setup the alliance Ghost Legion. Ghost Legion seems to have an uncanny ability to turn up to aid PL in many fights. But there is no connection at all according to some within PL. The same can be said for the NETC “project.” Want to live in a decent wormhole? Well, guess who you will likely be dealing with.
In this, there is nothing wrong. It is the way that PanFam members choose to play the game, and that is, of course, their choice. It can easily be argued that this has been a masterful approach which has served them exceptionally well for many years. PanFam undeniably controls considerable parts of New Eden, and its influence is disproportionate to its member base.
Collusion is a fundamental aspect of human nature. There are great benefits to this especially when applied to all, less so when not. Many former members of The Imperium have ended their Eve careers in PL. The same is also true for other alliances and coalitions. The appeal of PL to some as being the premier alliance in New Eden is well proven.
But this veil of PL’s seems to be slipping. More on this later though.
The PanFam Narrative of Old
If you look over the last twelve months or so with regard to the so-called Eve nullsec narrative you can see some interesting things happening. PanFam has been very keen to replace its lost income after the banning of Eve casinos. With this there has been a constant pushing of the idea that “renting is a great way to get into nullsec.” Additionally, we have seen supposed super-secret and effective “leak” channels being offered by the NC-run Kugu channel. Opinion pieces have been pushed even claiming unethical behaviour by The Imperium leadership in a thinly veiled attempt to control the narrative.
During The Casino War, PanFam was very keen to promote a beacon of consensual PvP that would be built in the North. It would be filled with alliances and coalitions all having a glorious time with “good fights” and regular “content.” This never came into being. Instead, PanFam evicted Test and Co2 from the north in order to secure a safe and stable rental empire.
In this, though PanFam had to address the need to provide its more PvP-oriented players with the content that they desired. In order to address this, PanFam deployed to where ever its members felt they could have the content that they so longed for.
Projects were executed that ensured stability and income. PH, for instance, started a hisec extortion scheme that has settled rather well in their favour. NC led the way with the promotion of renting, as is their forte. Laughably, even PanFam pets of pets joined in on this. Long time warriors against care bears and renters Mordus Angels (MoA) started their own rental empire. Imaginatively, it is called Mordus Legion. One can only wonder where their inspiration came from.
With regular frequency, posts would appear mocking The Imperium, generally triggered by the release of another Monthly Economic Report (MER) where Delve features heavily. In these posts, The Imperium were derided for being simple care bears that were only interested in ratting, mining and production.
So the PanFam headed to the south.
Keen to demonstrate their prowess, PanFam has made numerous raids on unsuspecting members of The Imperium within Delve. Some well-planned and executed traps were laid. But in the main, a simple slaughter of those less savvy or so stupidly rich that they did not care about the risk.
Meanwhile, the Querious Fight Club has been under attack for some time by PanFam. The QFC was an experiment set up by Asher Elias of The Imperium as a way to foster new alliances and corporations into nullsec. Again, entities hostile to The Imperium have been very vocal about how terrible that this all is. These are the same hostile entities that are keen to have rental empires instead. PanFam actions in the QFC were put forward as being all about “content.” An argument that failed even the simplest of checks.
PL itself was setup in the system of Jamunda. Happy to farm CVA and The Legacy Coalition.
NC deployed to Gehi. The system’s position meant that they were more than able to assist PL when called for, and vice-versa.
PH moved to Kaira as well.
All one big happy family. Income secure in the north. Content secure in the south. Glorious.
The Drums of War
Those that were happy to mock The Imperium felt safe in doing so. Especially when believing their own narratives as strongly as they seemed to.
This was all too evident once The Imperium announced that there would be a State of the Goonion (SotG), and that there would be war. Speculation was rife as to the intended target of The Imperium. Some commentators even made so many guesses that there was barely a corner of New Eden left out. Despite so many guesses, onlookers still found themselves to be massively wrong.
Some were even inclined to not think much about the consequences of a larger deployment by The Imperium. I mean they were just a bunch of stupid care bears right? Others were probably more cautious having seen special interest groups (SIGs) from The Imperium active in their space.
The PanFam Narrative of New
More astute members of the PanFam recognised that The Imperium would not sit idle forever. In fact, a post comment had been made by PL leadership suggesting possible targets for The Imperium some time ago. These were directed to assets that interfered less with the self-interests of the PanFam. Who can forget for instance the enticing comment from Elise suggesting that Fountain is a great place to go?
Much to everyone’s surprise, The Imperium moved north with their intended target still unknown. Never in the history of The Imperium had such operational security been maintained so well. One can only assume that the alleged brain drain from The Imperium had meant that all the attention-seeking prima donnas had also departed. Therefore there would be no Reddit AMA entitled “if I get 10k upvotes I will tell you where we are going.” The Imperium fleet came to rest in Hakonen. This meant that they were poised to create havoc in Tribute, the heartland of NC.
The initial wave of ships sent by The Imperium had shocked many. Fleet after fleet was sent forth. Over many days, members of The Imperium would head to the front lines. Even now there are still some heading up for a bit of fun.
It was made very clear that The Imperium would not be bringing up its super carriers or titans. This was an obvious sign that this outing was to be far from the more commonly practiced tactics of modern nullsec warfare. The Mittani had already indicated that this was to be a “dirty war.”
The headline battles went as you would expect. Massive numbers turned out on both sides. PanFam was predictably unable to resist the use of the super carriers and titans to ensure that it “won” the major engagements.
Gobbins, the administrator given the task of looking after PH by PL leadership, spent considerable effort in pointing out the failures of The Imperium in this post on Reddit. Generally, the feel from this piece is that Gobbins would like The Imperium to provide them with the kills that they want.
Interestingly though, PH has been sending its members to the south in order to try and put pressure on The Imperium. The intent on the part of PH is seemingly to convince The Imperium to return to the south. If you think this is not the case then simply look at this post from an apparent member of PH paying attention to the last part. “Bees go home holy shit” is the closing line. This has been a sentiment echoed by other PH members.
Frantic action has been taken by other parts of PanFam to create dissent in the homelands of The Imperium. For some strange reason, PanFam think that hostilities in the north will simply cease by role playing Gigx, and killing ratting or mining members of The Imperium. The heart of The Imperium remains in Delve, but the soul went north.
Even a simple comment on an INN article rounding up the Rorqual and super losses in Delve, available here, spurred PanFam into action. Not only did this comment end up being posted to Reddit, seen here, but it also formed the basis of an opinion piece by a member of NC, a pet alliance of PL. Yet in all of this, the contents of the comment are not factually countered. The only counters are the likes of “you have drunk kool-aid” or “I have played this game longer than you.” Hardly the basis for a strong argument by supposedly well-informed players.
Considerable effort has also been made to try and create a link between Test and The Imperium. Test did indeed go north to fight PanFam members Guardians of the Galaxy, which is run by Dorkness. Test soon encountered the reality of the “big bluetral donut” in the north.
The Imperium headed north for a very different set of reasons though. There was never any collusion between Test and The Imperium. Test were just as surprised by the arrival of The Imperium as the rest of New Eden with Test heading north themselves. It seems that the actions of the PanFam had made them a target no matter the cost.
Strategic Objectives of The Imperium
During the State of the Goonion (SotG), The Mittani made the objective of The Imperium very clear for all to see. Well, clear to all who have even the slightest sense of nullsec politics and history. The Mittani said that the long-time enemies will be forced into making a choice.
PanFam in the main is deployed for fun in the south. With action being seen in the region of Syndicate by The Initiative, and Test being active on the edges of Venal, the stage was set.
My own interpretation of strategic goals is as follows:
- To force the hand of the PanFam into seeing what they truly value
- To allow the rest of New Eden nullsec to breathe without interference from PanFam
- Develop new tactics in nullsec warfare
- To highlight “broken” game mechanics (see Crime Watch and Citadels)
- To better position The Imperium with regard to upcoming moon changes
- To remind New Eden that The Imperium is still a force within the game
- Develop new talent within The Imperium
- Allow bees new and old the glory of war and a chance to claim a chapter in their own story
It can easily be argued that these are all very ephemeral and not becoming of a “true war,” but to suggest that there is any real intent on the part of The Imperium to return to the north and claim sov is foolish nonsense.
If there is any doubt as to the effectiveness of The Imperium on the wallets of the PanFam then perhaps when you are next passing Perimeter you should have a look at the tax rates for PH citadels. They seem to have been increased of late, and there is talk of putting pressure on others to do the same. Extortion racket, cartel or monopoly are all viable in describing the hisec efforts of PH.
Syndicate moons have already been released from the clutches of NC. There is a likely issue to result from this but that is a topic best left until another time.
Ultimately it is The Mittani who will know if his objectives have been met or not. More importantly, it will be The Mittani that will decide when this conflict is over. Probably the only unknown factor here is when the moon changes will be released. This would almost certainly bring to a close all conflicts in New Eden as there is a rush to establish control of such precious resources.
Out of Control
When times are good it is easy to maintain one’s composure. But when things are more strained it is often less easy to do. A fine example of this was the Open Comms show hosted on the Imperium News Twitch stream. The full Open Comms show for this past week can be found here.
With entities from both sides of a conflict present on the same show, you can easily expect a little ribbing. This was something that PanFam member Doomchinchilla was quick to do at the 24:50 mark with the comment “Progod is a massive tool.”
But things soon degraded quickly after a few relatively innocuous statements from The Imperium’s DaBigRedBoat. This resulted in an outburst from Grath Telkin. Grath went to great length to accuse boat of lying for last 45 mins during the Open Comms show. This was at 34 mins into the show with a fair chunk of the show being an introduction and talking about Eve Vegas. This would seem to suggest that Grath has more than one standard and an interesting grasp of time.
“I wish that you had wandered out into traffic and got hit by a bus,” said Grath at the 36:30 mark. Grath then continued on a tirade, befitting an angry small man, for a good few minutes until he rage quit the show.
The show continued on in the absence of Grath with the tone being far lighter in comparison. Now sometimes people will say all manner of silly things while stressed or even inebriated. To hold such things against someone for years on end would be foolish at best.
Doomchinchilla has even made the bold claim that, during the very early hours of the morning on Friday, MC managed to kill 9 out of the 10 Astrahus’ being onlined by The Imperium. Given the emotional outburst by Grath Telkin, a leader of PL, about lies being told in the show earlier it was probably a good thing he had left. Else he would only become further upset at this lie being told by Doomchinchilla.
Then another great show with Talking in Stations was also well represented by members of the PanFam. This was a more cordial affair than with the Open Comms show. Still very insightful for both what is and what is not said.
Reddit has been seeing a wealth of good posts and bad. But in recent days stranger posts have been sighted attempting to support PanFam and deride The Imperium.
Hater of New Bees and Christmas, Bneish Rankor, has also resurfaced hoping to gain some credibility with “GRR GON HAT GON,” which you can find here.
All seemingly to no avail as spirits remain high in general with TiDi and Crime Watch having more negative impact than feeble propaganda posts or ship losses.
Twisting the Knife
A couple of new twists have arisen over the last few days. The first is the public launch of “Roach Motels.” These are simply Astrahus citadels that are left in hostile space. They are open to all, with the exception of those hostile to The Imperium. On the Meta Show, another fine production from Imperium News, Aryth stated that these would be dropped in great numbers to act as a reminder of The Imperium’s existence. They would also offer the potential for some combat opportunities in the future.
There is then also the move by The Imperium to apply pressure to the PanFam via its hisec holdings. This can be seen in the wars declared against PH and IChooseYou, which both operate citadels in hisec. Hot on the heels of this, PL then declared war on The Imperium.
With not even two weeks of this war having passed, there is still the possibility of more surprises. As always at INN, we will do our best to keep you informed. But with so much happening all over New Eden you may be better off writing and submitting your own article.
Personally, I am really liking the name of “The Casino Wars: The Imperium Strikes Back” for this current engagement. It also seems that CCP may be in tune with my own thinking with this. “Revenge of the Skiff” and “Attack of the Drones” also seemed low hanging fruit but not without potential.
There will be some that will be quick to dismiss this piece as propaganda. Cheap insults and ad hominem attacks will likely be offered. To those dissenters, I offer you the same that I have for every piece I have written. If you think that some statement is factually incorrect then simply state what is it and provide some evidence for it. Unlike some, I am more than happy to correct any error and always look to provide the highest standards of truthiness.