The Art Of The Deal


Header art by Cryo Huren

Politics can be a fickle thing in Eve Online.  Corporations cooperate to form alliances.  Alliances cooperate to form coalitions or blocs.  Heck, sometimes coalitions cooperate to form mega coalitions such as PAPI.  Tens of thousands of individual players cooperating on one sever is what makes Eve Online possible. But how do they do it?  How do these organizations interact with one another?  They learn the subtle art of the deal.

The Great War: Diplomacy Reshapes New Eden

Let’s look at the Great War of 2006 as an example of diplomacy in action.  At that time nullsec was split into three major blocs.  Band Of Brothers (BoB) controlled seven regions in the west and south and was allied with Lotka Volterra, which controlled four regions in the south.  RedSwarm Federation controlled the southeast, and Northern Coalition controlled the north.  Each group has its own ambitions, history, and way of doing things. 

On paper the political situation was very stable.  These large blocs kept each other in check.  They had diplomats, economies, and governing bodies structured like real-world countries.  But, as I’ve mentioned in past articles, war is exciting.  A big chunk of the EVE community craves PvP content to keep themselves interested, or we would all quit. Therefore, the stability in null had to end and content had to be created.

As Remedial, a former Goonswarm leader, states in one of the first “State of the Goonion” addresses, “All good things must come to an end.” Some real-world shenanigans turned the community against BoB. The group’s rhetoric and play style was aggressive enough to make them a lot of enemies, but the actions of individual players, with a specific agenda, were about to push the situation over the edge. This was enough to get RedSwarm and Northern Coalition into an alliance, two groups that had disliked each other and likely would never have cooperated.  In their shared concerns regarding BoB, they made a deal.  The day before one of the major battles of the war SirMolle, the leader of BoB, posted the following. “Whatever goes down, it will be written into history.” And all because of deals struck or deals rejected.

The resulting war reshaped New Eden, utterly changed BoB, and established Goonswarm as a new superpower. 

Diplomacy Strikes Again in the Casino War

Let us fast forward to 2015. Goonswarm, formerly the CFC, had evolved into the Imperium. It was a massive coalition controlling the richest regions of the game.  Anyone who called for war with them was laughed out of the room. According to some, the game was stagnating.  Therefore, there were more real-world shenanigans by individual players and they turned the community against the Imperium.  A big business at the time was the running of in-game player casinos that dealt in ISK, a practice which has since been banned from the game.  “Casino Barons” had ridiculous amounts of ISK on hand at any given time, more than they knew what to do with.  They started funding mercenary groups which normally would not have had the in-game resources to take on the Imperium.  Therefore, the casino money people plus the mercs made a deal.  These groups formed a mega-coalition and were given over seven trillion in ISK, calling themselves the Money Badger Coalition (quite aptly named), and went to war with the Imperium.

According to Seraph IX Basarab, “By March, heavier and larger alliances such as Pandemic Legion, NCdot, and TEST had more or less committed to the ideal of fighting the Imperium head-on.” Many of the other major alliances in the game joined in, and once again, the actions and cooperation of individual players had reshaped the economic and political landscape of New Eden.   And once again it started with deals getting done.

WWB: The Blue Donut Gets Formed

Let’s look at the current war that started last year.  The Imperium had resettled in Fountain and Delve and regained, or even exceeded, its former strength.  Once again, the game had three or four major power blocs controlling various regions of the map.  TEST and the Imperium had a long standing non-invasion pact (NIP).  For the most part, they had agreed to respect each other’s boarders and not go to war.  That move, in itself, is quite a triumph for diplomacy, for TEST had been members of the Money Badger Coalition which had ousted Goons from the north.

In 2020, a former Imperium fleet commander, Vily, who felt he had been slighted four years earlier by Imperium leadership, had gone on to rise through the ranks of TEST and managed to convince the other blocs to form a mega-coalition and invade Goonswarm.  These groups deal in order to “exterminate,” or break up, or deplete, the Imperium. “When I came back,” Vily stated in a Polygon article, “they were like, ‘No, we don’t really need you anymore.’ So I said, ‘All right. If you’re going to ignore the contributions I’ve made over these four or five years, I’ll go do something else somewhere else. And I’ll enjoy tearing you down, if that’s the game you want to play.’” 

This real politique that exists in Eve Online was not put there by developers.  Individual players and player groups, and how they interact with one another, have allowed this game to survive for 18 years.  So, pilots never have to feel like they are isolation. They can be a large or a small part of one of these organizations.  People, not empires, have forged the long colorful history of this game.  Goonswarm has a saying, “Find your F2.”  Find the thing in this game that keeps you engaged, and if you have the ambition you can achieve anything. You might even want to become a diplomat and shape the EVE of the future.          

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  • Rammel Kas

    Funny thing is there are logs of VIly’s exit from Imperium and all of this vitriol seems to have sprouted after he left. Fleet Commanders come and go continually. And it’s standard practice for them to start small again to get their feet under the desk if it was a lengthy break. It’s just good practice. So what he now later claims is a bit of a bad faith argument.

    April 22, 2021 at 9:09 AM
  • Alaric Faelen

    It has to be apparent that the leadership in other alliances are merely cast offs from GSF. We’ve booted so many problematic or weak people only to see them run off to lead or FC in lesser alliances. Their best people are quite literally our worst.

    We should call this Vily’s Daddy Issues War.

    And he will still never be The Mittani. His alliance will still never be anything but pets of someone- and if that someone is successful in Eve, chances are he was a Goon before too.

    April 22, 2021 at 2:06 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    And Villy still doesn’t have the balls to attack 1DQ. The war is done.

    April 22, 2021 at 4:52 PM
    • Seir Luciel kwnyupstate .

      “And Villy still doesn’t have the balls to attack 1DQ. The war is done.”

      I don’t know about that.

      The main point of the article is about diplomacy, and I think it is an interesting topic. It isn’t enough to simply be the baddest guy in space. Can you play nicely with others? Can you make friends as well as enemies? There are dimplomatic skills that are as equally important for the long-term health and survival of any group as being a strong military power. You can’t only have guns or only have flowers: you need both.

      April 22, 2021 at 7:26 PM
    • Deni'z von Meanace kwnyupstate .

      No need to attack 1DQ, since goons are done. It’s the same if you imagine Roman Empire are squzeed to the area of Rome and surrounded by Germain tribes aka “goons” from everywehere. There is no need to attack Capitol in this case. Since how long would it last you think?

      April 22, 2021 at 8:05 PM
      • Dave Stark Deni'z von Meanace

        that depends – how long do you want to wait surrounding rome while the romans are busy burning your homes? so far, the only people being evicted from their homes are the invaders – which is hilarious in itself.

        April 22, 2021 at 8:25 PM
        • Deni'z von Meanace Dave Stark

          Are you serious? Let’s compare the damage taken by Imp in home region vs. INIT dealing mainly to Brave and others at Legacy home. That’s peanuts. And keep in mind Brave is not equal to TEST.

          April 22, 2021 at 9:46 PM
          • kwnyupstate . Deni'z von Meanace

            Goons have done more damage aka won the isk war. The number don’t lie.

            April 23, 2021 at 1:40 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace kwnyupstate .

            You prob didn’t pay attention to the war weekly updates where you could find from what moment isk war started counted in a favour of Imp. And right that’s after M2 events including successful rescue ops of supers. But unfortunately for Imp who took the momentum of that battle they’ve lost it further during hell camp. And PAPI dealing much more damage killing infrastructure of Imp in their home region vs. Imp ops in Legacy home region. By the end of this month kill board stats would equalize if not move to PAPI favour.

            April 23, 2021 at 2:57 AM
          • kwnyupstate . Deni'z von Meanace

            Reality is imperium won isk war and with titans and supers being much more expensive now there is no way PAPI will win it back. Hell PAPI can’t even afford to SRP all the titans back even now months after the battle. Imperium have destroyed much more than PAPI has. Can’t argue with cold hard facts.

            April 23, 2021 at 3:24 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace kwnyupstate .

            51% vs. 49% is that isk war won? You talking about like war is over and all cleared. This is ongoing, and looking at latest br’s and km’s it’s obvious goons loosing more.
            1DQ, It’s coming anyway, I don’t know what TEST is doing, Horde is ready. But you know what stops wars? Correct, politics. I’m thinking this is more real than any other scenario to end this war.

            April 23, 2021 at 4:54 AM
          • kwnyupstate . Deni'z von Meanace

            Why can’t PAPI struggle and manage to destroy more than the Imperium?
            I thought you guys had huge numbers advantages?
            If you take the current value of what was destroyed in M2 the Imperium are WAY ahead.
            PAPI has no balls to attack 1DQ since they can’t even SRP the titans lost in M2 months after.

            April 23, 2021 at 7:24 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    The Imperium, PanFam, Legacy, WinterCo, and AoM were all fighting each other constantly before World War Bee. Then four of them teamed up to eliminate the fifth one, conquered 90% of sov nullsec (while denying that’s a blue donut), and now plan to live together in peace and harmony “a lot longer than people think,” according to Noraus, while controlling virtually all of nullsec.

    You think those are the same thing?

    April 22, 2021 at 5:21 PM