There has been some talk, some mocking and some boasting, about TEST leader Progodlegend’s (PGL) announcement that they will be moving into Delve when the war is over. But what should we make of this announcement, as either a member of the Imperium or PAPI?
Firstly, we mustn’t focus on the content of the announcement so much as the reasons behind it. That should be a general rule when analyzing the rhetoric of EVE’s politicians (or other ones for that matter). At first glance, it looks as though TEST, if they succeed, has pulled one over on the rest of the gaming community. At WWBII’s end, no one will be better off than TEST. The Imperium will be in ruins, Horde will have expended their capacities and energy in service of TEST, and TEST will have doubled the size of their empire. Should such a scenario come to pass, it would appear correct that Goons were victims, Horde were dupes, and TEST were conniving empire builders–even backstabbers. At least this is the spin coming from Imperium members and illustrated by many INN articles and reddit posts.
But as I said, we should not focus on the content of PGL’s narrative and vision so much as its political purpose. If we do this, TEST’s victory, should everything “go their way,” doesn’t look quite so absolute.
Extermination is Just War Talk
TEST has declared, much to the chagrin of every Goonswarm member, a war of annihilation. Goons must be wiped out of the game entirely for the good of the game. And in a rather interesting rhetorical counter, Goons have declared that, since annihilation is the condition of victory, when they merely sign back into the game – after the dust has settled – they will win the war because they weren’t exterminated. In other words, PAPI can’t win, under their own stated terms, so long as Goons keep playing. Quite likely TEST leadership has been listening, hence the announcement to move into Delve.
It’s true. Goons will never stop playing. True extermination was never achievable, nor was it ever really desired by PAPI, in my opinion. As a Horde member myself, I never wanted Goons to quit the game. I wanted to kick their ass, and then hope they might come back one day to try to kick mine. Space guns aren’t any fun if there isn’t anyone to shoot. “Extermination” is just war talk.
But war talk has consequences, and because TEST can never eliminate Goons, the best thing they can do is to eliminate their name from the sov map, erasing some essence of their legacy. Goons might survive as nomads somewhere after WWBII, temporarily in low/high-sec to later rise again, while the map without Goon sov might well look like the Imperium, as a political entity, was indeed eliminated. “No they didn’t all quit. But look at the map! Where are they? Nowhere! We wiped them out.”
Further, I doubt that TEST would ever be able to hold the amount of space they are claiming; I also doubt that TEST leadership believes they could hold that much space either. But political rhetoric serves other purposes than the words it carries. TEST needs something to show for this war, some tangible evidence of victory. Both having more (claimed) territory, coupled with the elimination of Imperium yellow space in the bottom left of the sov map, would look pretty solid. It would be something for TEST leadership to point to, and would encourage TEST citizens that they gained from their war efforts. It could be something to reference when Goons scream “We’re still here!” “I don’t see you (on the map)” will be the reply.
Whether PAPI can actually eliminate Goon’s presence on the sov map is yet to be seen. If they do, it’s doubtful that TEST will be able to hold all the space its claiming. I think they know it too. Nevertheless, TEST claiming all that space in the meantime is the politically right thing to do. It would be a reasonable and measurable victory short term. There are many ways to convince your own that you’ve won the war and removing the Imperium’s name off the sov map for really any portion of time would be an adequate one. And while I don’t think it likely TEST could hold much of the space they are now claiming, there’s no guarantee lost space would be would be (re)taken by the remnant of the Imperium. TEST could fail to hold what they claim while succeeding in erasing the Imperium’ possession of sov space. Perhaps even for a fair amount of time.
I predict that at the end of all this, both sides are going to come out saying they’ve won. Goon’s will be saying “We’re still here!” and PAPI will be saying “For the first time in a long time people looking at the sov map can’t find your name.” Not something to balk at when talking about the Imperium — a foe whose power and legacy is worthy of respect. At least, that’s what I predict if the Imperium doesn’t stop that from happening.