Header art by Cryo Huren
The leader, Progodlegend (PGL), of Test Alliance Please Ignore (TAPI), gave a war update to members of The Legacy coalition on December 13, 2020. You can read a transcription here. PGL’s address informed the members about their progress in World War Bee and the decisions their leadership has made about Legacy’s future plans.
A “War Update” is an unusual term, and with good reason. Selection of language is key when delivering the party line to the troops, and has been known, in EVE’s past, to turn the tide of war. Good leaders craft their message, both rallying the troops and letting outsiders and allies know the coalition’s goals. There had been some hype for TAPI line members to attend this meeting, as leadership wanted to prepare TAPI for yet another move op.
Another Move Op
PGL starts the meeting and sounds very casual, to the point of being dismissive: “We haven’t had a war update in a long time . . . and this is going to kinda double as a war update/restage for a couple ships/any other thing we need to do that’s housekeeping today; we’re gonna lump it all together. 0:37 (All timer references are to the end of the quoted passage). He goes on to note: “You never want to call a coalition meeting without doing something at the same time, so at least Initiative gave us that excuse, which is pretty nice.” 0:54 PGL wants to set line members at ease, having just informed them of a move op. They are, after all, literally one jump away from their enemy’s home staging, so it’s natural to question a sudden move op. Therefore, the only logical next “move” would be to attack. As a kind of verbal pre-emptive strike, PGL couches this move op as an opportunity, rather than a failing. When plans fail and new plans must rapidly be instituted, it’s good to find an “excuse” for the new orders; it’s comforting for some to frame a change of plans as their own idea rather than something that has been forced upon them.
In a quick pivot PGL then moves into safer territory by calling the Imperium “stupid” in their strategy. He likes the term so much he uses it two other times in his address. PGL tells his audience that the Imperium’s intention of breaking PAPI control of iHubs, in order to reset the clock for PAPI’s ability to online a system wide cyno-jammer, is largely failing. These iHubs are considered essential by PAPI leadership, because they want to minimize risk and losses. This strategy has proven to be a double-edged sword. The “move slowly” technique has kept PAPI losses relatively low, but has stretched the war out to six months duration. Any war, even online ones, can only last so long before even those winning grow fatigued. PGL refers to this later.
Introspection then comes into play as he talks about how to invade Delve. Amusingly, it was only after I wrote about how to invade delve that TAPI adopted this stance; not that I was offering any secret knowledge, as anyone with any sense can look at Dotlan and know how to invade Delve.
Warning: Tactical Disadvantage Upcoming
Some rallying of the troops is then performed by PGL, a performance lacking in conviction and enthusiasm: “There’s not much left to do in Delve other than to assault those fortresses. It’s going to be bloody. It’s going to be intense. It’s going to be a good battle. But it is going to be a situation at our most tactical disadvantage.” 4:26. That last phrase “tactical disadvantage” is the kicker. PGL is setting up his troops for far greater losses than they have experienced yet. Perhaps he is concerned that when things get “bloody,” and “intense” and “ruthless” PAPI people will remember that Cyberpunk is out and find an excuse not to show up for strat ops. It’s easy shooting at Imperium when they don’t shoot back (as happened in the four Keepstar battles before the fifth KS was bubble-wrapped). It’s much more difficult when Imperium shoots at PAPI ships – note the language from another section of the address: “We took a shot at [destroying the cyno-jammers] last week when it didn’t look like the Goons had formed up and we had a form up going. So we kind of spur of the moment said, ‘Hey, if they’re not going to form let’s just take a shot at it, see what happens, get a gauge of the situation in there.’ Goons formed up pretty hard for it and we were able to pretty easily extract and now we kinda know what it’s going to take to get into 1DQ and E3OI.’” For “pretty easily extract” read “We ran like hell out of 1DQ, because when Imperium forms up ‘pretty hard’ we suffer more losses than we can take.” I’ve not seen better dancing. I give it a 9+.
Nearing their apparent objective of removing the Imperium from the game, PGL states that only two real objectives remain that provide any risk to the PAPI forces: the iHubs for the 1DQ and E3 systems that the Imperium has been defending so vigorously. Again, this stance is a bit puzzling because removing the iHubs won’t remove the Keepstars. It will only be easier to attack, and therefore less bloody, less intense, less ruthless. Imperium showed PAPI how to attack and destroy a Keepstar under these conditions. The Imperium repeated the lesson four times. Yes, it’s bloody–a trillion in lost ships on one occasion. PGL seems to keep hoping that some trigger event (a Keepstar being planted, a cyno-jammer destroyed) will make Goons abandon Delve, but it’s just not happening.
Every day PAPI kills more and more structures of the Imperium, and yet, we are still here. There is no arguing the destruction: the killboards show only too well the difficult situation within Delve. Economic destruction of a scale never seen before is happening right now in Delve. Further, we can expect this to continue, given the numerous advantages of the attackers.
There Will Be Blood
Xenismos – a ritual offering of great proportions – will be needed in order to achieve the immediate strategic objectives of PAPI in Delve. To put it more simply, you want to dance, you have to pay the piper. The cost will be very high. But, no offering, no 1DQ. PGL continued to prepare the troops for what is to come: “However, [these two big upcoming fights] will be different kinds of battles. Those Keepstar drops . . . and I know a lot of you had a lot of fun just fucking nuking Goon ships left and right and getting killmarks on your long-range dreads and you know and all of your ships, but they were a little tedious I would say. These battles are going to be different.” Yes, this time, Imperium will shoot you. That, perhaps, takes the fun out of “fucking nuking.” But, PGL reminded people that this war would be remembered throughout the gaming world and that Legacy would be on the winning side.
The “next month or two” is when these supposed battles are to take place. This was probably the most interesting thing said by PGL in this war update. Why not tomorrow? The Imperium only has one objective in this war: to survive extermination. PAPI, as a loose confederation of alliances, each with their own agenda, does have other considerations. It is not realistic to expect the rest of PAPI to support Legacy in taking new space and building it up into a fortress. And yet, PGL makes it very clear that he expects the other members of the mega-coalition to assist Legacy in just that way: “Legacy will be taking Fountain, Delve, Querious, and Period Basis while maintaining all of the space that we currently hold. So we will be getting an additional four full regions. Every single Legacy alliance will be getting space in Delve, Querious, Period Basis, and Fountain. We will be divvying it up as a coalition.” Note: This is addressed to Legacy, not PAPI. The “we” here does not include other members of PAPI. They will not be sharing in the spoils of war. Legacy has, for the second time, clearly stated that they plan to own Fountain, Delve, Querious, and Period Basis, without giving up any of their existing sov space. Pandemic Horde cleared Fountain and has consistently done the heavy lifting, and yet, they get no additional space. AoM is working to protect Legacy’s current holdings, since TEST can’t do it on their own, but AoM won’t get additional space. Fraternity dropped a Keepstar which was blown out of existence by the Imperium, but they will not be getting space. And what will Legacy do with so much space: “Our intention there is to build a proper fortress.” What this war has become – in spite of early pronouncements about extermination and Goons ruining the game – is a land grab. Legacy wanted new and better space, couldn’t get it by themselves, and somehow convinced everyone else in PAPI to assist them in a war of extermination that, when undressed, turns into a greedy move at appropriation in one of the biggest plunders (or is it blunders) in EVE’s long history. How long the rest of PAPI will support this aggrandizement of Legacy is yet to be seen.
Running or Wreaking Havoc: You Decide
Denigrating language is then used by PGL to besmirch INIT and the Imperium FC teams and members: “In addition to that, Goons don’t really have that much left, so they’re looking for other things to do. It’s looking like they’re looking for the door. Any time your main lead FC is taking his SIG and is pulling away from the war and leading 30-man fleets, instead of harassing us or doing anything to stop us from burning shit down, you know you’re kinda burned out. And that’s basically what happened. Asher has deployed his SIG to Catch. . . .” 6:39 If Asher were looking for the door, if INIT was running from Delve, surely now would be the time to attack, right? But no. It’s time for a move op. This emperor has no clothes. Everyone can tell why this redeployment is taking place. PGL even, perhaps inadvertently, leaks it in the very next phrase: Asher has deployed his SIG to Catch, in addition to Initiative, which you guys know about . . . and so Goons are looking for other ways to kind of fuck with us, kind of slow us down in any way possible.” Well, which is it, PGL? Are Asher and INIT running for the door, or “fucking” with you? If you leave it for your listeners to decide, I think they’ll be able to think this one through. PGL goes on to state that TAPI will crush the INIT deployment in its infancy, just as they did in Esoteria. But PGL, you said they were running? Are you really delaying the extermination of Goons to play whack-a-mole? To find any hope of accuracy, we have to compare PGL’s rosy glow with some other voice. I choose someone not likely to be accused of Goon spin – Elise, who was on Talking in Stations recently. Here’s what he had to say: “You also have The Initiative wreaking havoc in the back lines. They are being quite effective out in their deployment, which is amazing to see.” 1:43:19 Matterall chimes in: “They are wreaking havoc, but they are also kept in check.” 1:43:50. So, no matter how PGL spins it, everyone can see that INIT isn’t looking for the door, unless it’s the front door to your house, and it seems they’ve found it unguarded at times. And that is the reason for the move op; it’s not-so-pure but really quite simple.
“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”
One can only guess that the average Legacy member is not inclined to go back and check what has been said before. If they were to even go back a few weeks they would be hearing a slightly different message than the one delivered today. Of course, that message was for TAPI line members, so any conflict may just mean leadership tells some people what they want to hear and other people something different.
Only time can tell how accurate the predictions of PGL will be. If history is anything to go by, I would suspect that it would be wise not to put too much VALUE into the information PGL is willing to PASS on. Time and time again he has been found wanting on the battle field. Perhaps he will fare better with the support of the rest of PAPI.
Real intentions have been revealed in this update. The few regions held by the Imperium have already been divvied up as the spoils of war by Legacy. They were not content with the regions they already held, which numbered more than Imperium’s four. This whole war has been a land grab by Legacy wrapped up in a web of lies and half-truths. Strange that the land grab wasn’t mentioned in the very public article regarding Vily. Speaking of Vily, he was nowhere to be heard in this address. Perhaps he was busy preparing rental plans.