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This article directly responds to an article entitled “The Serenity Superstition,” by Seir Luciel, a frequent contributor to INN and a member of Pandemic Horde. This article, then, offers a counterpoint to the arguments made in “The Serenity Superstition.” Just for kicks, I’m putting this article in the form of a presentation to a jury, which I see as you, the reader.
First, the question before us is simple: Can the Tranquility server become another version of Serenity, in which a giant blue donut rules nullsec and results in stagnation?
Exhibit One: The Sov Map Right Now
I’ll start by saying that has already happened. Above is Exhibit 1. This is the null sov map dated March 29, 2021. Everything in blue and purple (with minor exceptions) belong to PAPI. We have small pockets of gold and red and a little sliver that the Freemen still hold. That leaves very little sov space not currently controlled by PAPI. So, should we fear that Tranquility will turn into Serenity? That ship has sailed, people. It already has become Serenity2. The real question is: Is it too late to turn Serenity2 back into Tranquility again?
Seir Luciel has stated that to accept the proposition that Serenity2 will come upon us, we must accept three assumptions:
- “The forces of PAPI wish to create this specter.
- The forces of PAPI are able to create this specter.
- The forces of PAPI would be able to maintain this specter, once created.”
Regarding the first and second bullets, these scenarios require no assumption at all on our part. They’ve already taken place. I’m not sure what game my learned colleague has been playing recently, but PAPI not only wished to create a giant blue donut, they have already accomplished it; therefore, we have had nine months of a blue donut, which has gotten bigger and bigger over time, as PAPI has penned in Imperium and smashed other small groups like the Freemen of the North.
So, we see from the evidence presented so far that the Serenity2 situation in our New Eden is not a “specter” or a ghost story. It’s a fact. Therefore, the ONLY question left to answer is how long Tranquility will remain Serenity2.
Toward that end, let’s examine the question of how long Serenity2 might last.
Exhibit Two: Noraus Believes PAPI Will Stay Blue After the War
I present Exhibit2, a quote from Noraus, speaking on Talking in Stations, dated Feb. 6, 2021 (I will make slight changes to the transcript so that the text reads more grammatically; no substantive changes were made, but please, fact check me for yourself): “I believe there is no way to kill Goons. They will always come back at some point, somewhere. So, the PAPI coalition might persist longer than people [once] expected. Just to keep, [pause], not to make another mistake, [like] World Bee One. People [then] immediately [turned] on each other, and Goons [slipped] into Delve and [came] back and [came] back ever stronger. I don’t think PAPI would make that mistake again. They probably [will stay] united longer than people expect just to keep Goons in check, maybe.” 50:41 A bit later in the interview, Noraus says, “It’s the exact same group of people who organized World War Bee, except for me. I wasn’t in World Bee One. So, I think they have learned [from] their mistakes and probably won’t make them again.”
Let’s unpack that. Noraus represents the WinterCo coalition, a very large group of people, many of whom have come from the Serenity server to the Tranquility server. When he speaks, he speaks for thousands. He’s the CEO of Fraternity, which has over 16,000 members. So, when he says PAPI “might persist longer than people expected,” we should pay heed. Note: in the context of the question, he’s referring to what will happen to PAPI after the war, so his response quoted above is not in regard to how long PAPI will stay together to fight the war, but how long PAPI will persist after the conflict is over. He believes, he says, that after the Casino War (what he refers to as World Bee One), those people fighting Goons made a mistake and immediately turned on each other. So, this time PAPI will not make that same mistake, clearly implying that after this world war, PAPI will not turn on each other as they did before.
In response to a question about why PAPI might stay together, given the fact that Americans tend not to learn from their past mistakes, Noraus continues: “You have to understand, PAPI coalition [members] are from [a] very diverse demographic, so not everybody thinks the same way you [the question giver] might do. Even in the US. People DO learn from their mistakes. Even Goons do. That’s why they rebranded CFC into Imperium. . . .” Again, Noraus’ views are clear. He believes PAPI will last longer than people expect and that we cannot predict the future for Tranquility by judging from the past history of Tranquility. After all, he notes, he was not involved in the Casino War, but he is now involved in World War Bee and he intends for his voice to be heard. Therefore, to predict the future of Tranquility based on the past history of Tranquility is a mistake, because we have a much more diverse player base now and that player base includes Fraternity members, who have a different cultural mindset than others.
In response to another question regarding why Fraternity, who has fought multiple wars against Legacy, is now working with Legacy, we get this insight: “It’s the right way to work with TEST; it’s the most profitable way to do at [this] point.”
We should not let that word “profitable” slip past us unawares. Working with TEST, rather than fighting them, will increase FRT’s profit! It already has, as FRT has added Tribute and Vale of the Silent to their holdings during this conflict. Also, look at the most recent MER figures for ratting done by FRT in Vale. It’s astronomical, especially in the era of the ESS. But that’s what a group like FRT can accomplish when they are left alone and unhindered to do whatever it is they do up there. It’s very profitable indeed for FRT to have joined PAPI because their partners are, among other things, no longer calling them out for botting.
Let’s sum up this point so far: Seir Luciel suggests in his article that “PAPI members are by no means a monolith; they are many different groups, with different goals, different playstyles, different aims. But it seems pretty certain that most PAPI members enjoy combat, warfare, and content too much to desire a situation that severely limits that aspect of play that so many members of PAPI play EVE for.” He asks us to just trust that PAPI will break up after the war and go back to fighting, as they have done in the past, so that Tranquility won’t become Serenity2. However, he provides no evidence to support his view, but we are asked to take his conclusions on faith. On the other hand, I have provided evidence that one leader in PAPI completely contradicts Seir’s point. So, I ask you, whose voice is more credible regarding what is likely to happen in the future? Seir Luciel, or Noraus?
Exhibit 3: Matterall’s Warden System After the War
Let’s move on to Exhibit 3, quotes that come from an episode of Talking in Stations. Matterall interviews RonUSMC and we get some real insights from these two popular streamers. Rahne, a frequent commentator on TiS, asked RonUSMC about the win conditions for the current war. RonUSMC replied, ““The aim is to really beat Imperium down into our level again, right? So their power or their ability to make war cannot be what it was or what it is now.” 108:59
Rahne: “How will you know when they are beaten down to your level again?”
“Eh, we won’t. Maybe when they move to lowsec or Deklein or wherever and we see how much they have, but this won’t end until we know it’s complete, right?” 109:20.
Ron’s answer is very telling. Regarding how PAPI will know when Imperium are sufficiently “beaten down” so that PAPI can call a halt to the conflict, Ron, a Legacy FC, sums it up in two words: “we won’t.” He creates an almost perfect blue donut circular argument: PAPI will last as long as it takes to make sure Imperium is sufficiently beaten down, but PAPI cannot know when that occurs, so must continue to beat down. That’s a recipe for an ever-lasting war in one small section of the map while the rest of the map enjoys the prosperity only provided by . . . serenity.
This, our second confirmation that our current Serenity2 will last an indefinite amount of time, represents the thinking of several important and influential voices in the EVE-related media. While their views may or may not represent thousands of other voices, they do represent the thoughts of two media personalities who are involved in EVE daily. How will PAPI know when to stop? Ron: “We won’t.”
Matterall picks up on this idea immediately following that stark comment. He says, “I can’t stress enough how the world is totally changed and the aftermath of this war won’t look like anything we’ve seen before.” 109:41 “So, thinking in terms of the past, what happens after a war, people go back and do their thing; they either rent or farm or take over moons. None of that is gonna look the same. I think what you’ll see after this, Ron I want your take on this too, is wardens of areas that will essentially occupy an area, waiting for Imperium to surface, I think. So, you’ll have a Warden of the North, a Warden of the East, a couple Wardens of the South. I think that’s the kind of domination we’re gonna see. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a Blue Donut, but it’s going to be like Game of Thrones, where Imperium are the White Walkers and zombies and then you have the Wardens guarding different areas. And I kind of feel like that’s how the game is going to shape up after that. What do you think of that hot take?” 1:10:34
Ron: “I absolutely love it. We’re gonna have the Imperium watch.”
This exhibit needs very little gloss. Matterall, a streamer for years, whose guest list is a Who’s Who of PAPI leadership and FCs, says “the world is totally changed and the aftermath of this war won’t look like anything we’ve seen before.” So, Matterall confirms what Noraus has already said. We cannot predict what will happen after this war by what has happened in Tranquility’s past. This “Warden” system Matterall discusses indicates that PAPI will stay united after the war. After all, you cannot be a Warden of the North while fighting the Warden of the South. Goons would take advantage of the chaos to break free. So, the entire Warden system is predicated on PAPI remaining on good terms with each other. Matterall also says of this system, “I wouldn’t necessarily call it a Blue Donut” and yet, when he describes it, we see that’s exactly what it will be. And Ron’s reply is also telling, “I absolutely love it.”
We have seen three things then, that take virtually no assumptions on our part. First, Serenity2 is already here and in full swing. Exhibit 1 displayed that clearly. Second, we heard the evidence from Noraus (Exhibit 2) that PAPI may not break into separate parts after this war is over. And Matterall and RonUSMC (Exhibit 3) confirm that idea, especially Matterall. While Matterall won’t “exactly” call it a Blue Donut, I will. If this war ends with the defeat of Imperium, our current Serenity2 server will remain blue. Get used to it, nullsec people, and learn to enjoy small-scale skirmishes and pushing around the edges. As Matterall says, “the world is totally changed.” The way you have played EVE for almost two decades will no longer be here.
Now, you readers tell me all the ways I’m wrong. Strange to say, I really want to be wrong, because I don’t want this game to be taken over and turned into Serenity2.