World War Bee Narratives Go Nuclear

2021-05-17

Header art by Cryo Huren

Narratives are very important in internet spaceship wars, for they drive people to do things. With World War Bee we have seen both sides parade their respective narratives. Some seem to have aged better than others. Let’s take a look at the world of the narratives.

The First Goal Posts

First, let’s go back to the lead up to the war. PAPI leadership were very keen to appear on any show that they could, espousing the reasons why the Imperium should receive extreme treatment. After all, PAPI’s original stated goals were revealed in quotes such as:

  • “For us, this is a war of extermination” (Vily, Polygon).
  • “To me the Imperium IS mittani. I left before it became the Imperium if you remember. To me the Imperium is the embodiment of the toxicity in alliances.” – Vily (Reddit)
  • “We cannot lose as long as we execute properly. We’ve got the numbers; we’ve got the titans; we’ve got the dreads, the FCs. Goons have the advantage of defensive game mechanics, but otherwise this war is ours to lose, and we’re not going to lose it.” – Progodlegend 2020-09-20
  • “Over the next few months, we are going to invade Querious and Delve and destroy everything Goons have built.” – Progodlegend 2020-09-20
  • “We have to finish the war with maximum effort. We have to kill every Goon structure in all three of these regions and drive them to lowsec and then sit on their face and make sure they truly understand how terrible their leadership is for putting them in this situation and start to realize that Goonswarm, is not, in its current form, a viable alliance in this game. Maybe one day in the future they’ll change and become something useful and maybe they’ll die. Who cares?” – Progodlegend 2020-11-15

Pretty strong language, as I am sure many would agree. Especially when you look at how infamous PL member and former Goon leadership Darius Johnson is quoted: “we are not here to ruin the game, we are here to ruin your game”. How has that been received over the years? In Darius’ instance, you have someone trying to defeat someone else’s gameplay. In the Vily/PGL references, you seem to have leaders expressing a desire for Goons to quit the game entirely.

With that intention made very clear, the measured response of The Mittani, leader of the Imperium, was distributed. In his response, The Mittani set the expectations of every member of The Imperium. It would be tough and bloody, with the prospects really not looking good for the Imperium. But the Imperium would resist “extermination” as best it could. The Imperium was not running; Delve would be defended.

The Last Goal Posts?

As in the real world, certain devices can help with narratives, little tricks of wordplay that keep participants invested in fulfilling the desired task.

For instance, if you have a project in the real world and you have no idea what you are doing, then you create an advertising plan that no one can decipher. Typically, such plans have many loosely defined phases, with even less clear specifics. Then, you can make demands for additional resources to complete the ethereal and unrealistic objectives. Peter Principle and Dunning Krugers abound. It is also likely that the “narcissist’s prayer” will be heavily employed. 

So, back into the world of New Eden and ten months into World War Bee, it is worth looking at the core narratives now, for both sides.

For the Imperium, their original war objective of “not being exterminated” holds as true today as it did all that time ago. There have been many things attributed to The Mittani by PAPI membership, without references provided. That is strange, for The Mittani is very good at repeating things once he is set on them, such as “not being exterminated” and “eat my ass,” which can be found in almost any speech he gives. Both are very well documented. So, when PAPI reference things (allegedly from The Mittani,) like “Fortress Fountain,” they should have had no trouble providing the hundreds of instances that The Mittani must have said such a thing. And yet, where are the references? This can mean only one one thing; that he never said it in reality.

PAPI leadership seems more fragmented on their respective war goals now. They are being described as “complicated.” But PAPI members are being assured that “everything is fine!” and that this was all part of “the plan.” So let us look as this fabled “plan of extermination.” Thankfully Vily – Sky Marshal of PAPI forces – has never really been shy, especially when he is riding high on what he considers a victory. So we may take Vily seriously when he says: “Phase 2 is Probing. Phase 3 is the approach on Delve. Phase 4 is the Big Battle. Phase 5 is Consolidation.” Vily, Reddit

You know Vily’s word is good, right? Well, PAPI has approached Delve, for sure. But how many phases have we gone through? How many are left to execute? Did the ‘Big Battle’ take place in M2-XFE? Surely he didn’t anticipate that back in August of 2020. So, when is the ultimate Big Battle?

We hear now there probably won’t be one. Do remember that PAPI has every advantage here, aside from being the defender. It is 150k vs 50k. PAPI also declared for years that members of the Imperium are not fighters and they only “krab” for ISK. This whole war should have been a walk in the park, surely?

But as of this writing, the stated goals of each member of the mega-blue-donut-rental-coalition still seem diffused.

The Narratives Tested

In order for a narrative to be believed, it must be tested for its “truthiness.”

The Imperium Will Survive

For Imperium members, their narrative has an easy test – we still survive.

You can easily find all the negative things that PAPI leadership have said about the Imperium all over the place: YouTube, Twitch, mainstream gaming news, and more esoteric sources all abound with talk of “toxic leadership,” “stagnation,” “too big,” and so on. But members of the Imperium keep logging in, which I believe remains one of the tests of “truthiness.” For PAPI members and pundits, the longevity and resilience of the Imperium shows we have all “drunk the koolaid” and are analogous to North Korea, etc.  And yet, I think they marvel that the Imperium hasn’t crumbled for all the external pressures.

1DQ1-A remains unmolested. NPC Delve awaits should the need ever arise.

The Mittani continues to bang the same drum to the same beat as at the start of the war. He still says “Eat my ass” frequently and remains “unrepentant” for any crimes laid at his feet. The only thing that has changed for the Imperium is the revelation that they were absolutely right about the mega-blue-donut-rental coalition called PAPI.

Eleven months now and recent war updates show the war grinding a snail’s crawl. We may soon see Ban Syrin’s weekly war update reduced to a single paragraph with the lede, “Nothing new this week. Check back next week. We still are in the ‘probing’ phase.”

The PAPI Approach

With PAPI, though, things are a lot more complicated.

Member corporations and alliances have seen the light, died, or drifted off elsewhere to further their own agendas. Some small non-aligned alliances became too bold and dared to take valuable rental space from PAPI. Generally, those small-fry groups have been “resolved” quite quickly and with overwhelming force; PAPI will let no one stand unaligned. If you have space in null, you had best be in PAPI (or renting from PAPI) or they’ll come for you, too. PAPI members have been told on numerous occasions that “the light at the end of the tunnel” is plain to see. That could be, but being stalled inside a tunnel may not be the best place to be.

If you were to look at killboards and Dotlan, you can see another truth of sorts: the Imperium has been pushed back to a single constellation.

But this has been the case for weeks now, and PAPI leadership declared the “final siege of 1DQ” three weeks ago. Meanwhile, ship losses on each side are still remarkably even. Furthermore, the numbers turning up to engagements remain significant for both sides, such that neither can claim real progress in that regard.

The Actuality

Some PAPI members have found that some of their original plans have been more than scuppered. For instance, the intention of Legacy to hold a number of regions to rent out has, at least, been delayed significantly. I’m sure you’ll remember that at one time Legacy proclaimed they would keep all their pre-war holdings and add Fountain, Delve, Querious, and Period Basis. That “truthiness” has been put to the test and been found wanting.

Further, the “extermination” element has been walked back as well, by all but the hardest of PAPI members.

Troops of PAPI forces have also been prepared by their leadership that the slow creep with sub-caps will continue for many months to come. This endgame now will be a slow grind to starve out the Imperium, as if the concept of a “siege” makes any sense at all in a video game with cynos and cloaky ships. Still, the siege narrative persists, as if PAPI were blind to the idea that Imperium alts can mine and rat in PAPI space as ‘happy’ PAPI members. This, despite the fact that the Imperium never seems to run out of ships, material, or wealth. 

The Sound of Winning, or is it Whinning?

We are all probably aware that r/Eve is a place of “fine” posting about all matters relating to Eve Online. It also serves additional purposes, one of which is as a temperature gauge for New Eden residents. PAPI members and leadership turn up to shape narratives that have already been proven false by their very own words. Tricky questions, though, are never touched, such as, “Where is all the rental ISK collected by NC over the years?”

“Server weather” and other such ‘limitations’ have been trotted out as real possibilities that prevent an assault on 1DQ itself, let alone the primary staging Keepstar of The Imperium. Again, this narrative is proclaimed in spite of the fact that server weather has been an issue with EVE Online from the days of the first big battles fifteen years ago. A decent narrative would have to explain why the “weather” issue has suddenly caught PAPI leadership off guard, and caused them to make the most horrendous error in perhaps all online gaming history, with the debacle of M2. But not such narrative comes forth.

By listening to all of the sources, you get a feel for the tempo of the war. At this time I do not hear PAPI winning. But I do hear the Imperium laughing loudly at simply continuing to exist. That can happen when your main commanding FC begins by setting the goalpost at “extermination.”  And no, we’ll never forget it or let PAPI forget it. Why should we?

New Narratives Written

During World War Bee, words have been said aplenty on both sides. We can also catch a glimpse of the future narratives.

The Imperium has entered a new era. All that trash prior to The Casino War has been swept away. A new and improved Imperium has emerged from the trial of the 2016 war involving casino ISK, which was subsequently banned from the game. That casino ISK financed these same people, except WinterCo. So, five years after that war, here we are again. It’s no different.

Except! After holding out against 150k characters for almost a year, no one can honestly dispute the heroic efforts of the Imperium. In fact, monuments have been placed where their name rings victorious. No one can seriously claim that Imperium are only krabbers and miners. Of course, we were always more than that, but that specific falsehood, at least, has sunk like the Titanic.

Any member of PAPI now has a problem. They are now tainted by reputation of the PAPI mega-blue-donut-rental empire. “Join Brave and come and defend someone else’s rental empire in the largest blue donut ever formed” is not quite as appealing as the previous incarnations of Brave recruitment. And in the future, if alliances say (on Reddit of course) “Why do you hassle us in our space? Why do you form a blue ball to take us on when we are so disadvantaged?”

Imperium members will always have the reason in hand:  “You came for us in our home, twice.”

We have also seen something else hinted at. The Mittani has declared that blue donuts and renting are not the way for the Imperium. But he then went on to describe what he considers to be a fundamental dogma of PAPI. PAPI demand that people play the game the way they want you to. You will be allowed to exist at their pleasure. If you threaten their establishment you will be crushed.

So, two philosophies of gameplay are at stake here: the Imperium allows alliances to do what they want. Yes, we come and smack you, trash-talk, and then leave. But PAPI wants to control the very way you play – their way, or the highway.

Back to the Real World

One day, the New Eden servers will be turned off.

On that day our collective story ends, no matter what side we have fought on. It’s possible that EVE Online subscribers will move to another game, but it’s also possible that they just give up.

The broader point is that the stories we make for ourselves – right now, as individuals – are the important story.

Be it chilling on comms, doing elite PvP, Station Trading, or Meta-Gameplay, we all play EVE Online and we all love this game.

Your story is up to you.

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Comments

  • chimpy

    PAPI just want The Mittani gone. They need something to save face before they pack up and go home. The top scalp that mocks them so mercilessly is what they are hoping for. This war has cost both sides a lot. Each sides trots out metrics extracted for the sole purpose of “proving” they are winning, “look, they lost 0.x trillion more than we did” But being a bean counter isn’t very exciting. It’s the big headline grabbing plays that capture the imagination, M2- and Pando’s 3-D. In a game built out of imaginary spaceships sharing a single universe it is these epic stories that win the hearts and minds, and on this front one side is clearly winning. The game mechanics, alts, jump clones, and respawning on death make the stated goal of Goons genocide impossible. The worst that PAPI could possibly do is push Goons into NPC null and camp them. All this would mean is the Goons use alts until PAPI get bored, and then rebuild. Goon alt ISK is has the same value. Pretty much all Goon structures in Delve are already gone, the last few will cost exponentially more to destroy, and it will change nothing. Perhaps PAPI would get to be the ones gloating for a change. Do PAPI even have their own smugometer, never seen them need one, or would they hope the Goon smugometer drops? I think even the accountants are bored now, PAPI needs an exit strategy from an impossible end goal that was never thought out in the first place. I think PAPI has trapped themselves in a war that they can’t afford the loss of face to exit, and Mittens refuses to play by their rules.

    May 17, 2021 at 10:13 AM
    • Rammel Kas chimpy

      Doesn’t this imply that Mittens was never the problem though? Wasn’t it PAPI’s d-tier leadership holding stymied white knight dreams all along?

      May 17, 2021 at 10:51 AM
      • chimpy Rammel Kas

        Absolutely. Mittens is good for the game. He’s a great Bond villain wrestling heel. Every story needs a good villain. Mittens is only a problem from the PAPI leadership’s point of view. They don’t like what he stands for and more importantly how he does it. They are trying to cancel culture him. That’s why so much of the PAPI propaganda is directed at Mittens personally. Whilst Goon propaganda is aimed mostly at trying to drive wedges between the 100+ alliances in the blue suckfest, PAPI propaganda is aimed at trying to drive a wedge between Goons and their support for The Mittani. Also PAPI needs a face saving excuse to stop pissing so many resources up against the wall. Mittens’ head fits that shink wrapped easy to sell victory to a T. Of PAPI’s war exit scenarios, Mittens’ head is the only one that involves no loss of face to PAPI unless they can camp NPC null until the Eve servers go dark. Anything else is “we spent all your money for ‘at least we tried'”.

        May 17, 2021 at 11:09 AM
        • chimpy chimpy

          PAPI wants everyone is the sandbox to play Eve by their rules. Example : Matterall ( an old man trapped inside a slightly less old man’s body ) who runs the anti-Goon Talking in Staions propaganda outfit has complained about Burn Jita and hi-sec ganking in general. In his opinion it’s bad for the game and should be stopped. Even when CCP came out one year at Fanfest and said that involuntary combat in high sec leads to higher new player retention, Matterall said that what CCP said is not what CCP meant, and then goes on to try and put his own words into CCP’s mouth to back up his own opinion. These people don’t accept that the only rules that matter are CCP’s rules, they instead try and force their own rules upon other players. Listening to Matterall’s monotone voice drone on about Mittens and “toxic masculinity” is very hard to do without involuntarily nodding off. Love him or hate him no one ever falls asleep during a Mittani rant.

          May 17, 2021 at 11:28 AM
          • Kaldenur chimpy

            I am not gonna take sides in this war but i would much rather listen to the monotone voice of matterall in comparison to the childish behaviour the mittani displays in his meta show, where every 3rd word is a slur it really grates my ears. It reminds me of some teenie who has yet to leave his puberty hormonal fluctuations behind. .. nothing against him personally, people say he is a great guy outside the metashow and he is only the “hype man”. I respect that but lately in his metashows he repeats his points 3 times in a row (and every single time he uses mostly slurs to describe things) just makes it seem like he doesnt truly know what he is talking about and is just venting steam.
            I can respect that but i would not enjoy listening. But to each, their own, I guess.

            May 17, 2021 at 11:42 AM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Kaldenur

            Have you ever heard piggles? This guy is a classic angry teenager.

            May 17, 2021 at 7:20 PM
          • Malcanis Kaldenur

            Preferring boredom is your choice, but consider this: The Mittani doesn’t care if you don’t like him and don’t want to support him. Papi require both.

            May 21, 2021 at 5:41 PM
        • Seir Luciel chimpy

          “Mittens is good for the game.
          He’s a great Bond villain wrestling heel. Every story needs a good villain.“

          Haven’t you heard? PAPI’s the villains now. Our leaders have replaced your villainous god-king because we want to control the very way you play the game and there’s no one powerful enough to stop us! Muahaha! *wiggles villain fingers*

          May 17, 2021 at 3:12 PM
          • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

            So what was worse again? “here to ruin your game” or “here to stop you from playing”? I seem to find it hard to get an answer out of PAPI members. Not that it really matters to us Goons of course as Darius Johnson was last seen in PL during the Casino war.

            May 17, 2021 at 4:37 PM
          • Deni'z von Meanace Seir Luciel

            While you’ve tried to be sarcastic its an sctual truth. PAPI turned to be all three – Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo.

            May 17, 2021 at 7:17 PM
          • Xelistren Seir Luciel

            “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” situation, or is it “absolute power corrupts absolutely” situation?

            May 19, 2021 at 9:15 AM
          • Malcanis Seir Luciel

            Once again: their words, and their actions.

            May 21, 2021 at 5:40 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    “Oh come on, Moomin. Our leaders don’t actually mean anything they say, nor do we expect them to deliver the things they specifically promised. It’s all just war talk, don’t-you-know.”

    Sincerely,

    PAPI

    May 17, 2021 at 10:50 AM
    • Goons just want to ruin your game?

      May 17, 2021 at 11:59 AM
      • Guilford Australis Noob

        And here’s the old PAPI canard to deflect from their own hypocrisy.

        As you are very well aware, Darius Johnson (the source of that quote) was last seen in Pandemic Legion saying he no longer recognized Goon culture and was actively fighting against Goons. He also hasn’t played EVE in five years, so that quote’s a bit stale compared to the ones in the article from the past few months regarding a current ongoing war.

        May 17, 2021 at 1:00 PM
  • Majestic

    Vily ‘Weak Willy’ General comes out to be really weak.
    No SRP for Titans.
    No help for their pets in Curse, Feythabolis and such.
    No normal narratives for this war.
    And, finally, not a chance to become recognized equal at big boys table.

    So, the result of this war, so far, is title ‘Weak Willy’.
    He can wear it till the end of days….

    May 17, 2021 at 3:27 PM
    • kwnyupstate . Majestic

      All those titan pilots from M2 will sit and see hundreds of billions and trillions of isk spent on subcaps while they will never see their titans again.

      May 17, 2021 at 4:59 PM
      • Majestic kwnyupstate .

        I don’t know how much costs a Titan today. 80B, 100B? Or even higher than that.
        But Weak Willy keep saying – everything is fine, Horde is rich, they will pay our SRP.
        Btw, did you see any Brave pilots? Lol. They have 17k pilots and no SRP at all )))) Who are those 17k pilots/accounts? Ghosts?

        May 18, 2021 at 2:48 PM
        • William Doe Majestic

          BRAVE’s getting the shortest end of the stick for being the second largest Legacy alliance in their coalition. When this war ends and Goons retake their SOV back. BRAVE will probably be on the receiving end of a painful eviction since they reside in Querious before TEST is next. When that happens, where will BRAVE run off to then? Probably enough members will ditch it and go elsewhere or beg to join TEST.

          Should’ve gone for a more diplomatic approach Dunk when dealing with the Imperium before this war.

          May 19, 2021 at 9:49 AM
          • Majestic William Doe

            I still dont understand. 17k accounts in Brave. And only 20 players in KTA fleets…

            Seems we found a real dead alliance? 🙂

            May 19, 2021 at 11:12 AM
          • William Doe Majestic

            I mean aside from Horde who’s doing the SRP. I doubt FRT wants to cough up their hard earned botting dough for Legacy’s stuff. After all, a portion of that might go to AoM who’s obviously still in Legacy and has to deal with FRT wanting to eradicate them off the map.

            May 19, 2021 at 12:32 PM
          • Majestic William Doe

            I’m glad to the fact, that TEST and Brave are bleeding with ISK and pilots- that means = dying, slowly, but constantly. Failed leadership, failed diplomacy, failed relocation of assets.

            As I said before, this war (WWB2), is the level extinction event for Legacy, not for the Goons. If Legacy will make 1 more mistake, like M2 was, Legacy will cease to exist as megapower. Without Super Fleet they will be nothing, with no chance to rebuild or replace Supers with current Capital building complexity.

            And it will be fair punishment for their diplomatic and military miopia.

            May 19, 2021 at 8:48 PM
          • Malcanis William Doe

            Brave are already getting farmed to fuck by small groups, never mind what’s going to happen if a larger group gets the chance to really pay them some attention

            May 21, 2021 at 5:44 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    Goons are accused of wanting to ruin your game
    PAPI’s actual strategy is to get you to stop playing so they can destroy your structures
    PAPI actually wants to affect the real people behind the computers and make it so hellish that they give up even logging on. PAPI is what is wrong with Eve.

    May 17, 2021 at 4:57 PM
    • Bronze Condor kwnyupstate .

      That’s what i do when I troll.

      May 17, 2021 at 7:29 PM
    • 紫電改二 kwnyupstate .

      you gonna cry or?

      May 23, 2021 at 9:54 PM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    I think Eve has hit it’s World War I moment. Stuck in no-mans land across from each other in trenches, unable to go forward, effectively at a stalemate. Just like World War One, it took years before the war finally ended. The German worker’s decided to take matters into their own hands and held a mass general strike to end the war. Here’s hoping that Passpi line members, hold a General Strike to end the war and go back to crabbing in their own homes again… Otherwise, their line member’s own pockets will eventually dry up since passpi don’t have full srp for all their alliances.

    May 18, 2021 at 4:18 AM
  • Moomin Amatin

    An odd comment to add but I think it is really worth it. Kaylah Aideron from TAPI was very insistent that the Mitten’s comment regarding “Fortress Fountain” should be seen as factual. In this Kaylah Aideron would like The Imperium to admit that Mittens lied about “Fortress Fountain”. In my piece I mention that there should be more than the single time he mispoke it in a fireside where he was later corrected. Kaylah Aideron has not been able to provide anything other than the error I mention here.

    Kaylah Aideron is still totally onboard with “for us, this is a war of extermination” though. If I am wrong I am sure they will be along soon enough to get me to write another correction as they are not allowed to post on INN or something. Yes, I had to add a comment as a PAPI member was scared to or somesuch. But for the sake of truthiness and completeness I feel compelled to add it. So here it is Kaylah Aideron, a promise delivered for the World to see. Note I left out the spicy things you had no problems being said to me in local as well, most classy.

    May 19, 2021 at 5:29 PM
  • Crush Project

    so much literal interpretation here. whose dumb enough to believe test are going to try and take over the whole game and only win by griefing tens of thousands of players to leave the game entirely (when goon is the only one to ever do this in eve history, yes even if it was far in the past now)? more like goon is walled in and unless papi fractures or gets bored the chances for a counter offensive dim by the day. bam.

    May 19, 2021 at 9:41 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Crush Project

      You have seen the map yes? You do know where you can rent yes? PanDaFam are the real winners here. The longer this war goes on the better it is for them. A weakened if not completely dead Legacy that Frat can settle a score or two with. Rental empire all in place with all immediate threats eliminated. But of course The Imperium will hardly be losers now. To fight a fight that no other group has even ever dared to take on. The best bit being is that all us Goons were expecting to be in NPC Delve if it were not for the utter incompetence of PAPI leadership. Yet here we are still, almost a year on. Amazing stuff.

      May 19, 2021 at 10:56 PM
      • Crush Project Moomin Amatin

        ya dont think we’ve seen the last of goon either. and ya doubt papi will hold it together for too long. the one thing i always used to say about fighting the big alliances with all their pals was at least they couldnt afford to occupy forever. people will eventually get bored, or fight amongst each other or something else will come up some time. but ya it might end up being the next war to focus on then this one, even if its in the same place.

        May 20, 2021 at 11:16 PM