Header art by Major Sniper
In 1096 the first of several religious wars, known as The Crusades, began when the Byzantine Emperor Alexis Komnenous requested the aid of Pope Urban II against the Seljuk Turks. The attackers wanted to capture the Muslim-controlled Holy Land. In this first assault into the middle east, the European Crusaders were successful in capturing the city of Jerusalem and establishing new Christian kingdoms there.
It didn’t work even for Indiana Jones
Over the last year, EVE Online has seen its own Crusade play out – in the form of PAPI’s invasion of Delve. The aggressors sought to purge New Eden of what they considered to be the evil forces of The Imperium, especially Goonswarm. However, this digital war was not one of religious ideology. Rather, it was a conflict of leadership styles mixed in with good old-fashioned revenge.
Vily, a leader in PAPI, was once in a leadership position in the Goonswarm Federation. However, returning from military deployment he found that his services were no longer required, or rather, he was asked to function as a common Goon pilot before he got dropped right back into command roles. The story varies, depending on the source.
The Devilish Problem with Holy Wars
However, what is beyond question, in 2020 Vily led TEST in building the largest mega-coalition in the game’s history. Their goal: to make war on The Imperium, with the intent of erasing them from the game. Legacy, PanFam, and Winter Coalition formed a leadership council, and the mega-coalition invade the space of heavily-outnumbered Imperium. The Imperium’s singular leader, The Mittani, defiantly invited them all to take their best shot at cracking fortress Delve. Over the 13-month conflict, The Imperium lost almost all its sov systems. But, during an all-out assault on the Imperium’s capital system of 1DQ, the PAPI coalition melted, TEST retreated to Outer Passage, and Vily disappeared for a time, no longer in a leadership position of a coalition that no longer existed.
PAPI lost for the same reason medieval European kingdoms ultimately failed to conquer the middle east. There was a distinct lack of coordination between Crusader leaders on most of the major crusades. Difficulties on the front lines led to finger pointing, disputes, backstabbing, and rivalries. This eventually led to many crusades to be abandoned, so the kings could go back to Europe to make war on each other.
As Monty Python said, “Run Away!”
PAPI infighting has, for the most part, now been made public in the halls of Reddit. Although technically they should have had the resources, will, and pilots to achieve their goals, asking a bunch of cost-averse nerds to load $7000 capital ships into the meat grinder with no end in sight isn’t as clear cut as it looks on a spread sheet.