(Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a three-part series and focuses on PanFam. Parts two and three will focus on TEST and the Imperium respectively.)
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun Tzu
As World War Bee rages in EVE, we should remember other wars and what lessons we might learn from them. Sun Tzu, a Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China and who authored the “Art of War”, notes that a successful war is won before the combatants even join forces. The planning stage of war might be the supreme aspect of a successful campaign.
Lessons from History
We have historical precedents for what happens when a group does not plan well for the aftermath of war. Near the end of World War I, Woodrow Wilson intended to force the major combatants, including his own allies, to become more democratic and follow his 14-point plan. But due to Wilson’s ill health, Britain and other Allied powers pushed through their separate agenda of rigorous punishment for Axis countries, while also maintaining their own colonies. Most scholars agree that the seeds of World War II were planted in 1918 as a result.
Similarly, though on a much smaller scale, the United States had no exit plan when it committed troops to Vietnam. We all know how that conflict ended. Vietnam became a unified, Communist country and America’s worst nightmare. Why did that war end in disgrace, first for the French and later for the Americans? Because the United States clearly didn’t win the war before going to war, while Ho Chi Minh won the war before the U. S. sent its first “advisors” to South Vietnam.
Turning to EVE, in this particular conflict we have a mega-coalition, commonly referred to as PAPI (Panfam Alliance Please Ignore), versus the Imperium, led by Goonswarm Federation (GSF). Overall, we can reduce the major players to three subgroups: PanFam, TEST-led Legacy Coalition, and the Imperium. Using Sun Tzu’s advice as a guide, let’s break down what each group should have done before beginning this conflict, which will have direct bearing on what they do when hostilities end. We can also ponder what they should do now to make sure they shape their own destiny.
PanFam’s Endgame in World War Bee
“I am convinced, the way one plays chess always reflects the player’s personality. If something defines his character, then it will also define his way of playing.” – Vladimir Kramnik
A grandmaster in chess can see many moves in advance. If PanFam has good leaders, then they thought about the goals of this war before it ever began. They had a plan for how they wanted to be positioned when conflict ceased. Perhaps they ran through three or four possible outcomes of what might happen before Panfam ever joined the war.
Hypothetical Best-Case Scenario
In this hypothetical scenario, the war of extermination actually works. The Imperium is no more! Those corps which were in the Imperium have disbanded and some of the members are rapidly trying to find homes in other corporations. Others just rage quit. PanFam retakes control of all Fountain (as of September 12, 2020, Panfam had lost control of almost all the territory in Fountain it had previously gained). PanFam members look on the SOV map and see red blotches everywhere: Geminate, The Kalevala Expanse, and Fountain, just north of Delve.
But such rapid expansion has taken its toll. Pandemic Horde, only one alliance in PanFam, has suffered great losses. As of September 12, 2020, zkillboard’s “recent” setting shows Pandemic Horde has lost over 84,000 ships and more than 5.7t ISK. In comparison, as of September 12, 2020, TEST has lost less than 40,000 ships and less than 4t ISK. This differential might give PanFam leadership cause to ponder if they were more committed to the war than others in the coalition. Certainly some PanFam line members, including streamer Gigabiten2142, questioned TEST’s tactics in the fight at Y-2ANO.
Measured by losses and by SOV gained (as least temporarily), Pandemic Horde has established that they are “all in” and therefore, some might argue, deserve a lion’s share of the spoils.
Now comes the uncomfortable question of who gets Delve, Querious, and Period Basis. That area has been known as a source of great wealth. Goons have mined and ratted there for years and have been at the top of the MER leader board for mining, production, and destruction. Will Horde regain Fountain and then take Delve? Will TEST expand west and take Period Basis? PanFam leadership should have thought through these questions, because history has shown that it’s difficult, without war, to get victors to let go of territory once they conquer it. Just look at the Soviet Union’s puppet states after World War II.
Depending on the SOV holdings at the end of this war, PanFam will either be the first or second largest and most powerful coalition in EVE. If second, Legacy will be first. PanFam FCs and line members have probably been asking themselves the following questions: Can we really hold Fountain? Should we just rent out that space? Are we spreading ourselves too thin? Would we enjoy having TEST directly on our southern border, in Delve? Would our renters want to pay for space adjacent to Legacy, a coalition known for loving PvP?
Regarding the last question, PanFam leadership will no doubt remember that on July 5, 2020, Progodlegend (PGL) went on record saying the “stagnant” game Goons have played is not the play style he prefers. Rather, TEST wants player-generated content. PGL criticized Goons for just sitting in Delve and raking in assets—indeed, this “sitting in Delve” is the publicly-stated reason for the entire war. PanFam can be sure that TEST won’t just sit in Delve. Without Goons to bash, who better than PanFam or their renters to fight, especially since PanFam has lost so many assets in recent weeks.
Hypothetical Stalemate Scenario
In this possible future, Goons fend off the invasion plans of PAPI. Delve, Querious, and Period Basis remain Imperium territory. At the end of this war of attrition, this stalemate, what happens then? First, PanFam must realize that they will have an angry and vindictive neighbor in the Imperium looking to take back what they previously controlled (this has already happened in Fountain). Will TEST continue to stay blue to Panfam and even pitch in to help retake Fountain? Or will TEST pull back and call it a war? As of this writing, TEST has gained almost no SOV territory. PanFam has grown in SOV, prestige, and power. TEST has gained almost nothing.
Hypothetical Flip Scenario—TEST
PanFam leadership should have also thought that the following scenario could play out, starting with the premise that the stalemate scenario is so repulsive to TEST that they decide to do something else to shake things up. Instead of taking their Titans back to their homeland, TEST rethinks the situation and decides to flip. TEST’s thinking might go something like this: “We led everyone to war, the 102-strong PAPI coalition, but the losses have been high, especially for PanFam. But PanFam has grown even more powerful. They are gaining members while we are losing members. If we just go home, we get no Delve holdings, no Fountain space; we lose prestige while PanFam gains it. So, instead of vacating, we’ll create even more content. Let’s use our forces against our former allies and a) create content while b) salvaging something of our rep as bad asses. Maybe we still have time to turn this thing around.”
Hypothetical Flip Scenario—PanFam
Again, PanFam leadership should have considered the following possibility for how this war might end. This scenario starts along the same lines as the stalemate scenario. But here, PanFam suspects TEST might flip and so PanFam flips first. When the TEST move-op happens, PanFam prepares an ambush along the route. The PanFam rationale goes something like this: “TEST wants content and fights, but they are withdrawing from the battle against the Imperium. Delve is impregnable. But since Vily and PGL vow to make sure EVE has plenty of player-generated content, they will look to us next. After all, PanFam is the new Imperium, having clearly surpassed TEST in power and prestige. It’s only a matter of time before they turn their sights back on us. Since we know war with TEST is inevitable, we’ll strike first with a Pearl Harbor-style sneak attack.”
If these scenarios seem far-fetched, I suggest you propose an endgame for Panfam in World War Bee and write it in the comments section below. Or, write a full-length article and submit it to INN. Let your voice be heard!
Next time we’ll explore the war-game scenarios for TEST.