PAPI’s Failure to Rationalize Defeat: A Response to Seir Luciel


INN’s Seir Luciel, a line member of the former PAPI coalition, recently published an article attempting to explain the factors he believes led to The Imperium’s victory and PAPI’s defeat in World War Bee. The article includes both compliments and criticism for both sides, as well as recommendations for future planning. Several fundamental errors crept into Seir’s analysis, and this article will respond to the worst problems while offering counterpoints.

Analysis of The Imperium

Seir begins by complimenting the Imperium’s resolve and success. He states that “party line Goon rhetoric continues to emphasize the importance of leaders, and leadership. It makes good propaganda, but it is an error and (deliberately, perhaps) misunderstands.” One wonders what he means by “party line Goon rhetoric,” as well as the source of his belief that leadership is its primary emphasis. The Imperium’s wartime rhetoric – and messaging in general – emphasizes many things, leadership among them.  But The Imperium’s primary explanation for its success was the resolve to win, as well as superior organization. It is true that the Imperium’s leadership is excellent, which contributed significantly to their victory, but also that PAPI’s leadership proved to be weaker (more on this later).

The Imperium’s loss of 40 Keepstars and temporary loss of territory is put forth as a lingering source of pain inflicted by PAPI. But PAPI is about to lose all of its territorial gains, and INN’s comprehensive loss tracker shows that PAPI has lost more ISK than the Imperium over the course of World War Bee. It is true they still have their infrastructure intact back home, but they are broken, demoralized, struggling with low participation, dealing with Legacy Coalition’s impending loss of all its previous space and any structures that cannot be unanchored before The Imperium destroys them, and a very grim future for Brave Alliance. Those are far larger problems for PAPI than the relatively minor obstacles the Imperium faces retaking sovereignty and popping up structures.

Seir speculates about a possible Imperium counter-offensive, and that is indeed a possibility given The Imperium’s wartime rallying cry “TEST is next.” But TEST won’t only be attacked in their apparent new home of Outer Passage in Dronelands (which, comically, is almost as far away from Delve as physically possible – that should indicate their confidence of success in resisting The Imperium’s retribution). Payback will also encompass their former space and infrastructure in the southeast, which is the likelier first target. One can imagine ProGodLegend hosting panicky Town Halls as the lossmails start to roll in, the sovereignty map begins to look very different, and his line members revolt about losing everything they once had while failing to get what they were promised.

Analysis of PAPI

Seir advances a novel theory of organizational responsibility by arguing that it is the individuals at the lowest level – line members, in this case – who bear ultimate responsibility for the failure of an organization. He argues, “Goon rhetoric is that it was our leaders that failed us; but that’s about as true as saying it was Goon leaders that saved them. The blame can only be laid at our own feet, us common foot soldiers.” He believes line members are responsible for PAPI’s failures because they stopped participating.  But this is completely backward. Line members can only work with what their leaders give them. They don’t have access to director roles, or the ability to make strategic decisions, craft doctrines, form fleets and decide where to send them, establish the coalition’s logistical network, and maintain morale. Those are things only leadership can do.

If leaders give their line members terrible content and relentless loss, disappointment, and frustration by failing to deliver a positive experience, line members bear no blame for deciding not to endure further punishment. The decisions of leadership define their experience, and those decisions are completely outside of their control. Blaming them for the poor decisions and failures of the decision-makers is simply deflection.

I’m struggling to imagine a true leader, say a Marine Corps general, reporting that despite his poor judgment and strategic failures leading to total loss, the real problem was that the grunts weren’t good enough for him. Or a CEO explaining to his Board of Directors that the company failed, not because of his terrible planning, bad decisions, and incompetent execution, but because his employees were too bad to make it succeed despite all of those things.

Frankly? It’s ludicrous.

Supposed Rhetorical Dishonesty

Seir uncharitably accuses the Imperium of insincerity in its praise of Dunk Dinkle’s honesty when explaining Brave and PAPI’s loss, taking responsibility without offering excuse. He contends that the Imperium is praising Dunk to “[ease] Goon consciences” should the Imperium later attack Brave. I don’t see the logic. Normally when I want to beat someone and feel good about it, whether in EVE or in a contest of wills with an annoying coworker, I don’t compliment them and feign admiration for them.

That serves no purpose, and if my goal is to win, my conscience has already come to terms with what I’m going to have to do. I belittle them, mock their faults and failures, wear them down, make my contempt widely and publicly known, and anger them so they start making stupid mistakes I can exploit while beating them into humiliating submission with a smile on my face. I believe that is the usual way these things are done, but perhaps Seir does things differently.

Moving Forward

The article concludes with a lengthy admonition to PAPI encouraging them not to despair, and to look forward to strengthening their alliances and coalition for future challenges. Despite its chin-up message, the tone is grim and defeatist. Seir knows that PAPI line members are disgusted with the incompetence of their leadership, the outcome of the war, the hasty and chaotic withdrawal from Delve, and the virtual certainty that they will never successfully challenge the Imperium unless something unexpected happens to the Imperium.

Final Note

Seir consistently refers to the Imperium as “Goons.” This little mistake, repeated endlessly, is one reason PAPI failed to break the Imperium. Their hatred of the coalition was based solely on hatred of Goonswarm, but Goonswarm is only a single part of the Imperium. Many alliances fought PAPI in the war, and PAPI even lost some alliances to the Imperium.

Seir and PAPI fundamentally failed to understand the tight cohesion of the Imperium, while ironically boasting of their own cohesion even as countless leaked internal communications showed discord, bickering, petty resentments between leaders, lies from leadership to line members, and a hundred other hints that this coalition was never unified.

If Seir is truly interested in understanding the rock-bottom underlying causes of PAPI’s disintegration, he might consider starting there.

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  • William Doe

    One thing I think Seir should give a try before writing another dishonest hit piece on the Imperium is trying to think differently as a third party group line member (not PAPI and not Imperium). One with no allegiance to either group. Trying to understand with a different perspective can lead to a better writeup that seems less vacuous and harder to malign.

    The inherent flaw here is his bias, and while hearing him express his opinions (seemingly misinformed) at various times due to being a member of Horde, it’s one of the only things that keeps this place from being an overall echo chamber for pro-Imperium rhetoric (yes I know what site I am on). Though that doesn’t mean all his points are correct as it’s shown time and time again as of late he can make absolutely devastating critical errors and judgements too.

    August 10, 2021 at 9:28 AM
  • Guilford Australis

    Clarification: My first Seir quote should have read “… the importance of leaders, and leadership,” as he originally wrote it. I somehow omitted “leaders,” which makes the quote read awkwardly.


    August 10, 2021 at 9:49 AM
    • EVE Player #27482716 Guilford Australis

      That’s the editor’s failure, not your own.

      August 10, 2021 at 10:23 AM
      • Guilford Australis EVE Player #27482716

        It was my mistake. But they’ve fixed it.

        Thanks, editors.

        August 10, 2021 at 1:26 PM
  • GuardianDevil

    It was amusing to watch Seir defending PAPI before the collapse but now it’s quite sad seeing him in denial.

    What I find even more amusing is the fact that in one of the first INN articles ( you can find all of the symptoms explained. From a decade ago. That might be an important factor, Seir is a new player, so he doesn’t know much about the past in EVE, while the Imperium knows it’s enemies for a long time, thus they can predict their actions/reactions.

    After Seir’s last article I gave up trying to explain things to him, it’s completely pointless.

    But I do have some advice for him:
    – loyalty is a virtue, but blind loyalty is something totally different
    – admit and face the mistakes, without that there is no progress (the last article is basically saying “let’s do the same thing but with more effort, it must work!”)
    – it’s not a shame to learn from your opponents, be open minded, someone described it perfectly:
    A: you have to understand
    A: hostiles consider our point of view to be a memetic contagion
    A: like
    A: when they are forced to interact with us
    A: they conjure the image of a brick wall in their mind
    A: to prevent the disease from infecting them
    A: changing their hands into crab claws
    A: and making them scuttle sideways off to the spod fields
    B: hahahaha
    A: this is only partially a joke

    August 10, 2021 at 10:38 AM
  • chimpy

    First off though I might disagree with Seir I appreciate his trying to engage in good faith, and rationally with his enemy. Even Seir’s worst is much better than a lot of crap that some PAPI ostriches are coming out with.
    I think PAPI leadership has to shoulder all of the blame. If they had made a series of decisions, some good some bad, there would be more room for debate, but PAPI leadership has been a consitent disaster from the very start. The “exterminate Goons from the game” is an example of starting as you mean to go on, poorly, cluessly. When you think about it, it’s techincally impossible within the mechanics of the game. It also takes an emotinal hatred of Goon leadership and spreads it evenly across the entirity of The Imperium, bonding them together in a united common purpose – to survive the threat and incoming attempt at total annihilation. For most leaders facing a massive war the number one priority would be to get every last member on board with what needs to be done to win the war. This is a huge and difficult task for leaders to accomplish. PAPI started the war by doing this FOR the Goon leadership. How fucking stupid do you have to be to make sure the very first thing you do is unite your enemy and instill in them a shared common purpose?
    The PAPI leadership structure has been shown, especially with the recent leaks, to be death by committee. Every action to be passed by layers of fractious beauracracy and endless TPS reports. No large scale war can be fought like this. Every historical example of a great victory has a single leader at the top. Sure the leader takes advice onboard, but one person has to step up and take responsibility. You cannot win a war by playing pass the parcel in a roomfull of people some of who you hate and want to kill you. The cringe roleplaying Game of Thrones Council of Wardens was just the icing on the cake. Hey were in the bggest war in the history of Eve, know what we really need? Funny handshakes, and fancy names will win us the war. That just speaks to the insane priorities that emerged out of the Committe of Egos.
    PAPI has never understood Goon culture, it’s literally alien to them, and yet even PAPI members make use of Goon services like Mind1. The Imperium has fostered a culture of togetherness, putting the members first, building a tribe, looking after each other. PAPI to the Mittani is a pick up alliance of pick up corps. The same deep culture is missing in PAPI, and a culture they don’t and can’t understand is what they were afraid of. PAPI leadership entered this war to remove something they didn’t understand, and build egos and reputations off the backs of their line member’s efforts and wallets. It was never about making the game a better place otherwise we would not have had the blue donut that put Serenity’s to shame. They wanted to secure a place in Empires of Eve volume 3. Well at least the succeeded in that, but not in the way they hoped. The disaster laden leaders of the biggest military failure in the history of video games. Enjoy owning that entry. From the start, through M2, to the biggest rout and retreat Eve has ever seen it’s been failure after failure after failure. At least they are consistent.
    And now the Mittani holds all of the cards. He decides when the war ends, he decides who is first and who is last. He will decide if landlords getting fat of renting is in the future of Eve. He will decide the fate of the TTT. Why shouldn’t the Imperium take 50% of the TTT instead of 20%? Why not 100%? Maybe he decides the TTT should no longer exist at all.
    In the film Tota Tota Tora Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s famous quote after the attack is “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”. PAPI never had a Pearl Harbour moment, but The Mittani is awake and ready to fuck, and there a whole ton of angry bees doing an awful lots of fucking shit up.

    August 10, 2021 at 2:26 PM
  • “Seir advances a novel theory of organizational responsibility by arguing that it is the individuals at the lowest level – line members, in this case – who bear ultimate responsibility for the failure of an organization.”

    Just like Hitler and Goebbels IIRC: “Ze PAPI Volk hast failed in zeir mission: zey have shown weakness and proven unworthy of survival. Let ze Russians Gunovs burn it all to the ground: I care not. Ze war is lost.”

    August 10, 2021 at 8:20 PM
    • Seir Luciel Ganthrithor


      August 12, 2021 at 10:08 AM
      • It was a thing in the final days of the European theater, if I recall correctly. It’s certainly one method of leadership absolving themselves of responsibility, just not a good-looking one.

        August 19, 2021 at 1:38 AM
  • Garreth Vlox

    “Seir consistently refers to the Imperium as “Goons.” This little mistake, repeated endlessly, is one reason PAPI failed to break the Imperium.”

    You’d think that after Init, and Bastion, two alliances papi dismissed as small and collapsing spent the middle part of the war wreaking absolute havoc on the tapi backfield papi would have learned to stop focusing exclusively on goons, but they just can’t see past their own propaganda.

    August 10, 2021 at 11:46 PM
  • J Moravia

    I’m willing to consider the idea that Seir is just playing a character. His bio says he’s a rhetoric professor; perhaps he just wants to see what kind of ridiculous things he can attempt to defend.

    Lord knows I’ve shitposted on Reddit enough with an anonymous account just to see how much karma I get.

    August 11, 2021 at 2:29 AM
    • chimpy J Moravia

      Seir has a close family member who also plays Eve on the other side. Both of them post here. You and I may disagree with Seir’s opinions but he genuinely makes an effort to engage in good faith. This war is war of two vastly conflicting ideologies and cultures. It’s not a simple “we need some space and yours looks good”, it’s a deeply emotional jihad on both sides. It’s natural that each sides sees the war and their enemy through vastly differeing lenses. PAPI are going to see things in a very different way to The Imperium. It is good to see what the other side thinks, from the top to the bottom. We know what PAPI leadership thinks but we do need to know what the rank and file thinks and how they see the war. Also there’s the danger of living in an information bubble where only one point of view exists. Even when I disagree with Seir I welcome the chance to see what an intelligent articulate member from the PAPI side thinks.

      August 11, 2021 at 12:25 PM
  • David

    To Seir’s line member stuff: “Attitude Reflects Leadership.” It’s that simple.

    August 11, 2021 at 7:09 AM