Header art by Elthar Nox.
It is easy to lose one’s head in the midst of war, when the violent swings of morale seem to toss one about like a small ship on choppy seas. One moment you are on the top of the world; the next you are in the depths of despair. Leaders, propagandists and redditswarms only intensify these feelings, whether coming from the enemy or your own side.
The best course is to keep to a middle path of stoicism, especially in the face of disappointment, but also in the throes of victory. Things are rarely as bad, or as good, as they seem. Those who refuse to lose their head and keep their eyes on the path before them, rather than on the fanfare on the road’s shoulder, secure the best chance of getting where one wants to go. In essence, don’t get distracted. Instead, whichever side you are one, let us take a step back and look at how things stand in the larger scheme of things.
Congratulations. Your Leaders Owe You, Bees
I’m going to talk to my Goon readers first. Congratulations are in order. You have survived, as was your victory condition. As such, victory is yours. Through collective effort you managed and upheld morale better than your enemies, and you put in the effort to show up to fleets and fend off your invaders. These efforts deserve praise.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that each of you, from the smallest Goons to the greatest, accomplished these defensive efforts by your actions and efforts however small. Party line Goon rhetoric continues to emphasize the importance of leaders, and leadership. It makes good propaganda, but is an error and (deliberately, perhaps) misunderstands . Leaders, who are wholly dependent on the strength and will of their members, always receive too much praise/blame; it wasn’t Goon leadership who defended PAPI’s offensive.
You did that, you line members who perpetually log in and put in the work. Be proud of yourselves. Towards you, your leaders showed strength, but (though they might deny it) when no one was looking they clasped their hands and with baited breath awaited the results of fight after fight, praying members like you would carry the team through, even sustain their positions, all throughout the war. They owe average Goons like you a great deal. Don’t let your leaders forget that.
But I have more to say to Goons than just praises. Some considerations: seeing your enemies turn around must feel like the breaking of day after a long night. But the morning after brings with it more than just light. It also brings with it all the responsibilities of the day. Goons deserve some time to celebrate, but when that time is over they will have to reconcile with how much they’ve lost. Goon’s effectively lost every region they once held, hundreds of structures including over 40 keepstars. Goons suffered a staggering level of destruction.
Moreover, EVE Online is not the same game it was before the war started, before Goon losses. The isk needed to core the lost Goon structures alone, let alone to rebuild them, would be sobering for anybody. Without these structures, and cores inside them, it will take time and money before any land you retake in your upcoming counteroffensive becomes relevant. As PAPI’s former members return home (or make new homes) on the whole their krabbing potential and infrastructure will outpace your own, especially if they really capitalize on this opportunity.
TEST may be next all you like, but while you repair a charred landscape groups in Panfam, Fraternity, and AOM will be churning away like nothing happened, infrastructure fully intact. It may be feeling great to be a Goon right now, but I don’t envy your leaders the task of Reconstruction — 1) still in scarcity, 2) with a totally altered industry system, 3) with important materials like Nocxium scattered about in different sectors of the galaxy, making it extra hard for groups without a large reach to build quickly and efficiently. Goon Reconstruction comes at a bad time in EVE, and it is unlikely you will be able to find another Delve-Miracle-mechanic to propel you forward after destruction as they did after the Casino War. This could mean a sizable reduction in Goon strength in post-war EVE.
Your counter offensive promises some success, greater or lesser depending on how well PAPI morale holds up. However, there are two things which may slow, even halt meaningful progress. One is the exposure of your backline as you push forward. This is something that frustrated PAPI often during the war. Initiative and other neutral content seekers disrupted backlines, caused constant distractions. Turns out, taking all of your people out of one spot and putting them somewhere else creates a vacuum enemies/pirates/mercenaries/randoms love to fill.
The other thing the Goon counter offensive will face the same defense mechanics that served them during PAPI’s offensive. Should Goons find themselves having to go through a strong chokepoint, a vigorously defended Keepstar, and/or a motivated force ready to log in and clog up the server, Goons may find themselves in a similar position as PAPI did while Goons chase down TEST.
Who Is To Blame?
Now I would like to talk to my former PAPI readers, whomever may be reading this in. First, I’d like to commend your bravery for entering INN, especially now when the rhetoric you will see here will be extra painful to read.
I’m sure you, like me, found the speedy call for withdrawal shocking. Next came the ejaculatory outbursts from ecstatic Goons on every platform. “Good guys win!” etc. etc. The bees are buzzing and redditswarm meets their quotas; so be it. Let them buzz.
Goons push the narrative that it was our leadership that failed us. This is because, even after our assault’s end, they wish to drive a sword between factions (such as TEST and PanFam), but also between each faction’s own members (such as Horde members and Gobbins). A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, as they say. Goons know this, hence the content of all their propaganda spam.
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. As Dunk said, Goons managed morale better than we did. After M2 we were never quite the same. We stopped logging in, either because we allowed morale hits to affect us or because we were seduced by the real life enjoyments of summer post a long pandemic. Which is okay; go outside! The past few months I’ve also barely played; between wedding planning and (now as I write) being on an extended honeymoon, there’s simply better and more important things to do than play EVE. Human needs come first. I think of alphastarpilot, who broke away from EVE to care for his mental wellbeing, which is admirable, deserving of respect.
But even if we are getting our priorities straight, there are consequences to not logging in. Whatever 3:1 advantage we had, that never presented itself on the battlefield; even early on when Goon regions burned largely uncontested. On average we sat at about 1.5 what Goons had in any given battle early on, which as time went on continued to creep downward, especially after M2. By the end we hovered meekly around 0.7 of Goons’ numbers. Sometimes even less. No leader could take 1DQ with these numbers. Goons will tell you our leaders let us down, but in reality it’s the other way around. We let them down.
The Agenda of Goon Rhetoric’s
I would point out here the reasons Goons shower Dunk Dinkle with flattery for “taking responsibility” are so obvious, it’s a bit sad. As if Dunk single handedly were responsible for the politically impossible situation BRAVE was put in! BRAVE was fated to be the victim of history, being where, stuck in the middle of it all.
And deep down, Goons know this. My heart goes out to BRAVE and Dunk. The reason Goons praise Dunk for “taking responsibility” is because there is political capital in one’s enemies accepting fault; it absolves Goons of any guilt they might feel when they’re smashing BRAVE Newbies to smithereens. Praising dunk eases Goon consciences, while also advancing their “bad leadership” narrative to drive a sword between leaders and members of PAPI’s forces during a Goon offensive. What Dunk said he said to make sense of BRAVE’s personal, unasked for chaos for distraught Newbies; Goons jumped on Dunk’s “responsibility” bandwagon for political reasons, and they know it.
Goons would channel any negative feelings we have right now and assist us in aiming them where Goons know would do us the most damage, seeing us headshot our own organizations and fail cascade without even having to do the work themselves. They wish to weaken us so that, by the time their counter offensive reaches us, we are already a strife-fertile field to plant slaughter. Don’t fall for it.
I know. It stings. Despite all our accomplishments, a rather stunning marathon of Goon-grinding, region-taking demolition, unlikely to ever be repeated again, it wasn’t how we wanted it to end. Not like this. I get it. Close your eyes and swallow that bitter pill down. But when you open your eyes again: chin up, head high. We have work to do; no worrying about reddit or the comments below this article.
We didn’t take 1DQ or the last six systems Goons had, which would have been symbolically dramatic and incredibly satisfying. More importantly, though, we didn’t reduce their capital and titan fleet relative to our own. PAPI combined, I think we are about even (counting FRT). But separate—which we are, now—so far as I can gather, Goon’s big toys outnumber each individual faction’s stash. Their counteroffensive threatens with these titans with a morale-boosted Goons, swelling numbers. That’s the bad news.
Get Back Up; There’s Work to Do
But there is good news as well, some silver linings. As mentioned above the defense mechanics that aided Goons will also aid us. Goons never could push out of their containment; we were in a stalemate which pretty much meant that whoever attacked first lost. Since we wanted 1DQ, we kept attacking. But it is useful to remember that Goons were effectively as useless as we were in that situation. Their counter offensive has the potential to be blunted by these mechanics, despite their titan numbers, so long as we can form high numbers to meet them. Between these mechanics and tidi, even numerical/titan advantages are mitigated.
Furthermore, the further Goons push out the more they will leave their backline open. Our grindfest left nothing behind. Goons have a lot of dark, empty space with no spots to tether to move through in safety. It’s going to be harder for them to defend anything back home among the ashes than it was for us.
More importantly, while we didn’t take 1DQ, we set ourselves up to address the new future of EVE post scarcity/post industry changes/post resource redistribution. The fact is we are much better off to meet the challenges of modern EVE than Goons are, and these will have long term consequences. This is contingent, of course, on us logging back in en masse and getting to work. Luckily, that’s easy to do; simply log back in. Help fight whatever Goons send our way now find ways to help your organization get ahead of Goons economically. Spam-join mining fleets and don’t slack on your PI; ask which resources your organization most needs and acquire them, making yourself money in ways that also best help your team as a whole. Meanwhile, Goons will be simply trying to get back to where they once were.
We have an opportunity here that we should not squander. Goons have won an immediate morale victory by having us go home. But there’s a long-game we can play, and are set up to play well. We have two futures placed before us. One where Groen writes about how Goons after turning PAPI back grew to dominance yet again. Or one where Groen writes about how, despite Goons’ impressive defense, they were unable to adapt as well as others to a changed New Eden after the damages suffered. This second version of history might already be the most probable, but let’s not leave it to chance. So long as we prevent Goons from doing much damage to our infrastructure in this upcoming counter offensive we can win the long game.
Goons say they won the war. (Did you expect any different, even if we had smashed 1DQ? Goon prattle cheapens itself via loudness, superfluousness.) Answer yourself this question: looking at the map, who is set up better to prep for the next war? Every war’s end begins a cold one. Don’t lose your head, nor your lose heart, my fellow pubbies. Time is long, and Goons’ future may not be pleasant despite the passion of the moment. Sow today what victories you wish to reap tomorrow; and PAPI—even turning before 1DQ—just sowed a really big seed. Water it.
Fly safe; there’s work to do.