The Art of War: WWB and TEST

2020-09-21

Art By Redline XIII

Author’s note: This article, the second in a three-part series, focuses on TEST. Click here to read part 1. Look to a future issue of INN for analysis of the end-game scenarios for the Imperium.

“[W]ho wishes to fight must first count the cost” – Sun Tzu

Lessons from History

As World War Bee continues, we look for analogous situations in other realms of war to help us understand how this conflict might play out. In New Eden we have the Imperium, surrounded on all sides, with the enemy at the gates. Similarly, in the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces had Russia back on its heels. The Germans had made huge conquests through Soviet territory to reach Stalingrad. A German victory seemed certain. The Russian nation had been largely overrun; all hope appeared lost. But at Stalingrad, the Russians managed to hold the opponents at bay until they mounted a Russian counter-offensive. Then, in one of life’s ironies that only occur in films and in real life, the Russians turned the tables and surrounded the German 6th army, eventually crushing their spirit and causing them to surrender after a siege of over five months.

In New Eden, we see that much territory of the Imperium was overrun and structures destroyed. Fountain fell into the control of Pandemic Horde (REKTD) for a time. While the Imperium has regained much of that ground, Fountain remains not particularly well defended. TEST/Legacy, to the southeast and east, continues to try and find a foothold in Period Basis or Querious, especially the latter. But the gains for PAPI have slowed down in recent weeks. At this point in the war we would do well to analyze what the end-game scenarios look like for TEST. After all, those who wish to fight must first count the cost. Assuming TEST counted the cost before entering this war, they possibly ran through the following three scenarios:

Hypothetical Best-Case Scenario

In this possible future, TEST gets its stated wish and the Imperium has been exterminated. But TEST’s leadership realizes that in nature and in EVE, you can’t have empty space. Some group will fill the areas once held sovereign by the Imperium—that’s inevitable. Pandemic Horde, by week eight of the war, claimed all of Fountain. They will doubtless claim it again should the Imperium be wiped out and Fountain re-conquered. TEST must hope that those gains will satisfy REKTD.

If TEST allows the Horde to take over even more territory, Horde may be the most powerful alliance in EVE. The problem for TEST with this best-case scenario is that they, TEST, are not experiencing similar gains (as of September 18, 2020) on their side of the map—Querious and Period Basis. Querious shows a blue Legacy blob in it, which reminds me of maps displaying the Battle of the Bulge, but so far not much territory has been gained by TEST.

Sharing the Spoils

In World War II, the British/American/French forces invaded Germany from the west and the Russians invaded from the east. The Russians were in a position to hold all the territory their troops had conquered (most of eastern Europe up to Berlin). In EVE, that “pincer” movement isn’t taking place. Most of the systems in Fountain are back in the Imperium’s control. So, if Delve is broken eventually via Querious or Period Basis, the “troops” that move in will be composed of pilots from many of the over 100 alliances in the coalition.

How is it possible, then, to divide up that territory among the victors, assuming a victory for PAPI? Do those areas of space become a bunch of “Balkan” states, with everybody claiming a small portion? The September 12 sov map shows that very trend, with PanFam holding a small portion of territory within the greater blue Legacy blob, as if to make sure Legacy understands that PanFam wants a piece of the pie.

SOV map of Querious, for Sept. 12, 2020. The map for Sept. 20 is almost identical.

No one will have first dibs. It’s hard to imagine that the same people who fought in this war of “extermination” will be content to go home without any of the spoils. That may be true for TEST, but other alliances within PAPI have suffered greater losses, especially Horde. They may expect tangible rewards beyond just the glory of glassing Delve. TEST must have planned for this very scenario. But it leaves open questions as to who fills the territory vacuum in this scenario of the endgame.

Due to this uncertainty, TEST may have opened the door for the endgame to turn suddenly nasty. If PanFam fills the void in Delve/Querious/Period Basis left by the extermination of the Imperium, its holdings will be huge: it will be north, northeast, and west of Legacy. Indeed, Legacy’s holdings will look a lot like Delve did before this war: sandwiched between opposition on all sides. It’s hard to imagine an insightful leadership going into war with this scenario as an endgame position.

Hypothetical Scenario: Stalemate, with PanFam Becoming #1

SOV map for Sept. 20, 2020

If we look at the daily SOV map of Sept. 20, 2020, we see that PanFam has lost much of the territory gained over the past two months. For a time it controlled all of Fountain.  We see that TEST controls the small blue blob in Querious. What if things were to revert to what they were on September 9? That’s a very real possibility as we have already seen defending Fountain may be impossible. If PAPI makes no further gains in Querious, PanFam is the big winner in this war. In effect, TEST will have helped REKTD become the most powerful alliance in the game.

TEST’s stated goal, judging from the public statements of Progodlegend and Vily, was to eliminate the Imperium from the game. If that destruction cannot be accomplished, if the Imperium bends and shrinks, but remains unbroken, what then for TEST? Pack up and go home? How many titans should TEST lose in this stalemate scenario just to save face and show that it really tried to eliminate the “bad” elements from the game? Would a 50% loss suffice? Say, 300-500 titans blown up before TEST finally calls it quits and heads home?

That would have to be one of the most depressing move-ops in EVE’s long history. We must not underestimate the importance of saving face. Nor the degree to which that motive may come into play in this war. When leaders, or at least perceived leaders, make pronouncements, they risk desertion or mockery if they fail to fulfill on the promises. If PAPI fails to exterminate the Imperium, the Imperium, at the very least, wins the rhetoric, no matter what territory it loses. A stalemate with the current status quo as of September 20 probably must be counted as a loss for most of PAPI (with the exception of PanFam).

Hypothetical Scenario: TEST Flips

“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.” ― Sun Tzu

In a very real way, TEST has put itself in a tight spot in this war. Either of the above scenarios just leaves PanFam the huge winners of World War Bee. TEST may have shifted the balance of power in EVE by calling for this action, but the shift might not better TEST’s strategic position. Perhaps all TEST wanted was to shake things up, avoid lethargy, get rivals in each other’s faces. If so, they have accomplished that. But that was not the stated goal of TEST leadership.

On the other hand, lessening the power of the Imperium while simultaneously increasing the power of REKTD leaves TEST no better off strategically. Possibly just the opposite. TEST could find itself in a vice, squeezed by PanFam and by the Imperium, which has vowed vengeance upon TEST for this war. To avoid the squeeze, TEST needs to either take out the Imperium or PanFam, or perhaps make a wildcard move and attack Fraternity. But of course, TEST leadership must know this already and must have prepared contingency plans for just such a scenario.

If the sovereign space of Delve/Period Basis/Querious proves impregnable, TEST would have to look elsewhere to provide the content it craves. Then, TEST will have a weakened Imperium to the east and have a greatly weakened Panfam to its north (due to the destruction of forces in the past two months). If it can’t move east, perhaps it will move north against the momentarily weakened PanFam. Only this scenario makes TEST the most powerful alliance in EVE. Given the large disparity in losses between PanFam and TEST, we may well wonder if this hasn’t been TEST’s strategy all along: let the big dogs weaken each other and then attack when both big dogs are tired and hurting.

Conclusion

If crushing and eliminating the Imperium is the goal of PAPI in this war, as has been publicly stated, and the hypothetical best-case scenario comes into play, it may ironically end up weakening TEST’s position in EVE. The hypothetical stalemate scenario again leaves TEST no better off strategically and strengthens PanFam at the expense of TEST and the Imperium. Only the third scenario, where TEST flips and attacks its own allies, actually strengthens TEST’s position in EVE as a whole.

If you have a better take on possible scenarios for TEST, leave a comment below, or, write your own article and submit it to INN. Let your voice be heard!

Look for an analysis of the Imperium’s endgame scenarios next week on INN.

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Comments

  • Moomin Amatin

    PAPIs win condition is for Goons to stop playing the game. Let that sink in for a minute.

    September 21, 2020 at 10:37 AM
    • George Ewing Moomin Amatin

      So they’ve already lost

      September 21, 2020 at 1:11 PM
    • The want to ruin the game for goons?

      Huh. Seems a tad ironic. No?

      September 21, 2020 at 1:38 PM
      • Guilford Australis Noob

        No. They just want to ruin the game. Describe for me what happens if Piggles gets his way and significant numbers of the largest coalition in EVE stop playing and all that’s left is every other major nullsec bloc in a pure-blue love-fest. You think that’s good for EVE?

        September 21, 2020 at 1:45 PM
        • Still sounds to me like they want to ruin the game for goons, not everyone else. Especially considering that you offered no evidence or proof whatsoever to substantiate your asinine claim.

          Why is it ok for goons to do that to others (“ruin YOUR game”) but not have it done to them?

          And maybe ease off a bit on the ridiculous hyperbole?

          September 21, 2020 at 3:02 PM
          • Guilford Australis Noob

            Ridiculous hyperbole is a little rich in the context of this comment.

            I referred to Piggles’ stated goals for the war and the current reality that every major null bloc besides The Imperium is, in fact, in a gigantic blue mega-coalition. How is that hyperbole?

            September 21, 2020 at 9:39 PM
        • Seir Luciel Guilford Australis

          Goon’s aren’t going to leave the game. It just isn’t going to happen and PAPI knows that. It’s just some good pre-war trash talk. I wouldn’t read into it too much. I certainly don’t want Goons gone from the game. They are overall good for the game. However, if you pay attention to that early PAPI rhetoric, mostly from PGL, the major issue was that various other factions didn’t want to make any moves because they had to calculate whether Goon’s military might would make a counter-move. This, so claimed, resulted in no one making any moves. PGL’s rhetoric made it sound a little bit like a Cold War senario, where people perpetually built up weapons and WMDs (Titans), but didn’t use them much. And no one was going to catch up to the Imperium’s arsenal.

          We often talk of power vacuums. But I also think we ought to talk about “power gluts,” where power is built up, concentrated, into a small area and how that glut affects all the space around it. Imperium I think is a good example of a power glut, it is that aspect in my opinion that is “bad” for the game. Not Goon’s presence. Yall are Rome. Honestly, Rome was an accomplishment. Be proud. But also, yeah, all the other folks wanted Rome to get taken down a notch so they didn’t have to perpetually factor Rome in to their own agendas.

          I think I just found my new article.

          September 21, 2020 at 4:40 PM
          • Gray Doc Seir Luciel

            If Goons are Rome, I have two questions: a) What does that make you? and b) do I have to wear a toga, because that would clash with these terrific looking shades I’ve got on.

            September 21, 2020 at 9:30 PM
          • Simon Chui Gray Doc

            Oh history test! If Imperium is Rome, I think Panfam is Carthage, Legacy is Iberia, Fountain is southern Italy, and jumping supers into Delve is the elephants crossing the Alps. Doesn’t fit 100% but kinda close.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Punic_War

            September 23, 2020 at 12:12 AM
          • Havish Montak Simon Chui

            And they never directly attack the city of Rome as Hannibal knew he would lose.

            And Hannibal was being backstabbed politically constantly by his own nation.

            September 23, 2020 at 7:12 AM
      • Moomin Amatin Noob

        PAPI have become the thing they claim to hate? This is delicious.

        September 21, 2020 at 3:55 PM
      • Garreth Vlox Noob

        seems a tad impossible, even if goons lose every asset they hold, as long as they keep logging in test loses, what kind of idiot chooses that win condition when fighting an opponent reknowned for grinding out wins?

        September 21, 2020 at 10:45 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    I really don’t understand PAPI’s strategy in this slow-motion war. It was hinted early on that the plan was to do the hammer-and-anvil routine with PanFam attacking Delve through Fountain while Legacy came in from the east. Two fronts; nightmare defensive scenario for The Imperium.

    But TAPI has shown such incompetence in their own war that PanFam restaged to Querious seemingly in support of their useless allies. Now The Imperium has only one front that is much more defensible.

    Part of me thinks the “TAPI flips” scenario is likely, but not in the way described in the article. TAPI has been so uncommitted and so conspicuously obnoxious on Reddit despite doing virtually nothing of strategic significance that I wonder whether this entire “war of annihilation” wasn’t a diplomatic ruse between TAPI and The Imperium to lure PanFam south with their supercaps, whereupon TAPI flips back to The Imperium’s side and we murder them. Even if that *wasn’t* TAPI’s original plan, it might end up being their last resort as they realize the alternative scenarios described in the article (most of which involve them getting crushed after the war) are very plausible.

    September 21, 2020 at 10:53 AM
    • George Ewing Guilford Australis

      You’re getting warmer….. my own personal opinion is that we are enjoying a well-produced summer and fall production brought to us by who knows who 🙂

      September 21, 2020 at 1:10 PM
    • That would certainly be sexy. Then again, the whole thing about never attributing to premeditated malice what could adequately be explained by general incompetence… You’re right: TEST may end up there before this is over, but if they do I doubt it will have been part of some ~*grand plan*~. Or maybe it was all planned at the BBQ…

      September 22, 2020 at 4:12 AM
  • Simon Chui

    I think TEST has put itself into a no win situation. In any scenario where the Imperium isn’t annihilated, the Imperium will most definitely take revenge. And if the Imperium is annihilated, Legacy is too small to stand against Panfam. I think PGL and Vily have engineered their own destruction.

    And there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching people engineer their own destruction.

    September 21, 2020 at 12:03 PM
  • Michael Chase

    Seems there’s a few ways of getting rid of an entrenched enemy:
    A Encirclement and squeeze
    B Thrust and overrun
    C Betrayal

    Option A:
    At first, the encirclement looked to be working, then was abandoned. The Siege pulled back and allowed a breakout on the flank, giving the Imperium a place to go if they get squeezed too hard. But Eve’s got a lot of dopamine junkies, and seiges don’t have a lot of clicks. So they wont get squeezed, and it seems we’ve gone to Option B.
    Option B:
    Now we do have a true salient starting (see Sov Map above). But we haven’t seen the effort to overrun, yet. That may be coming after the move op. If PAPI does find a way to overrun, the Imperium just has to delay enough that they can get some infrastructure built in Fountain and keep sucking resources away from the attackers.
    The only way I see the stated goal of breaking the Goon’s will, and ability to fight, is Option C: a Co2 or BoB type betrayal.
    Something that instantly snaps any momentum, will or ability of the Imperium to fight. I’m not to saying that won’t happen, but I have to think the Imperium learned the lessons of those betrayals, since they did them.

    I think no mater what happens, TEST is screwed, unless they orchestrate Option C. If PAPI wins, it’ll be because PanFam put the strength to their spear. If the Goons Win, they didn’t do what they set out to do. Either option is a reputation hit and great propaganda for PanFam and/or Imperium, leaving TEST screwed. If things start going bad and they decide to save resources and bail on PAPI, they’ll be surrounded by two enemies that are honed and ready to fight, and screwed. If things start going south and PanFam decides to fight another day, it leaves TEST exposed, and screwed. the only long term hope I see for test is the knife in the back. Either the Mitanni gets it or PGL. it’s TEST’s only long term hope here.

    September 21, 2020 at 8:37 PM
  • Dissi

    It’s an interesting article but I have a problem with the metaphor that Legacy is the Germans and Imperium is the Russians. I mean, the Germans were the ones who were fighting a multi front war in WWII much like Imperium. To me, the failed advances in Paragon Soul and Esoteria are more like the Sieges of various cities in Russia (making Legacy the Russians in this hypothetical). So I’m just thinking you’ve got the sides mixed up in your metaphor if we look at the actual events of this current war.

    September 22, 2020 at 2:57 AM
    • Gray Doc Dissi

      You make a good point, Dissi, but where is the multi-front war? So far it’s been first in Fountain, now in Querious, but not really both simultaneously. And I realize that any analogy only goes so far. Let’s not stretch the parallels too thin. My point was that a “blob” like Legacy has created in Querious can be surrounded and trapped. I appreciate, though, your understanding of history.

      September 22, 2020 at 3:09 AM
      • Dissi Gray Doc

        Since the war started there have been attempts at sov and structure drops in esoteria/PS. That doesn’t count as a front where Imperium are the aggressors? Imperium friends in Stain have been more aggressive in Esoteria as well. I consider that another front.

        September 22, 2020 at 3:33 AM
      • Maybe he’s counting TEST occasionally killing a JB, like they did when Horde were busy clearing a whole region 😛

        September 22, 2020 at 4:08 AM
        • Dissi Ganthrithor

          actually im talking about defending Esoteria. Just like any good chess player, you need to defend as well as attack with every move you make. I mean, Imperium hired Wangs and are currently paying some of the Stain alliances to mess with Esoteria. It would be foolish to let Esoteria burn while Legacy keeps taking sov in Fountain and Querious. I think we will see something different soon though.

          September 22, 2020 at 1:31 PM
          • I know exactly who’s “messing with Esoteria”– I know because I’ve been there doing it. It’s like 20 dudes in fucking Tornados and you limp-dicked pieces of shit don’t even have the nutsack to field proper ships in response to the ~*existential threat*~ of a small gang of sniping battlecruisers! You took 60 dudes in Muninns and re-formed them into interceptors and Retributions, forfeited your original offensive objective, camped our Tornado gang out of system, and then FLEET WARPED your interceptor fleet 15 jumps the back-way around to get back to your staging system because you were too scared to jump through the gate we were perched off of. YOU ACTUALLY PRE-ALIGNED AND FLEET WARPED A FLEET OF INTERCEPTORS THE WRONG WAY THROUGH ESOTERIA AND TOOK A BUNCH OF JBS TO AVOID A GANG A THIRD OF YOUR SIZE WHILE FLYING INTERDICTION-NULLIFIED FRIGATES THAT CAN’T EVEN BE TACKLED. You guys are so fucking bad it’s literally disgusting. Don’t you dare bring chess into this: it’s a decent game and doesn’t deserve to be dragged down to your level of retardation.

            September 24, 2020 at 7:12 AM
          • Dissi Ganthrithor

            Im actually rated 1900 in chess… so i can actually use those metaphors. Wanna play some time? Ill play any challenger. 😉

            September 24, 2020 at 9:29 PM
  • Menaiya

    The only other thing that needs to be noted is Fraternity’s actions. they are actively scouting their own allies while this crap is going on.

    September 23, 2020 at 4:37 AM
    • William Doe Menaiya

      They even attacked their allies in Legacy (I forgot who exactly) over a month ago too. If the botting problem isn’t handled with, the next war will be against FRAT undoubtedly.

      September 23, 2020 at 9:09 AM