Header art by Major Sniper
(Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series that explains and summarizes the alliances and causes for World War Bee.)
You may have recently read, in several of the leading gaming magazines, about the world’s largest Internet gaming war ever in EVE Online and wondered what the war is all about. This article provides the background and history you need in order to understand the war and its causes and effects. In part I, I’ll briefly discuss the major alliances (groups of corporations, which are like clans in other MMOs) and coalitions (groups of alliances banding temporarily together in a common cause). I’ll also provide a lightning fast and simplified history of the past four years years of EVE’s history in order to place the current war in some context.
It is important to become informed, if you are to make sense of the complicated story you are about to read. We encourage you to read from multiple sites to further your understanding of this war.
The number of characters involved in World War Bee exceeds 100 thousand. These are spread over many corporations, which in turn band together to form alliances. But, even large alliances occasionally feel the need to band together into even larger groups called coalitions or mega-coalitions. As you can imagine, it requires complex coordination to create a functioning coalition or mega-coaltion.
With EVE Online deep into its second decade as a space MMO, the groups of players that have formed into alliances and coalitions have also had a collective history spanning 17 years. It is impossible to look at a simple moment in time without taking into consideration that vast history. At times, the actions of the past can play a massive part in the present of Eve, as shown by the iconic CCP trailer “The Butterfly Effect.”
For World War Bee there are five large nullsec player entities forming the bulk of the participants. (No disrespect is intended to any organization not mentioned specifically; it is just a really big list.) The Legacy coalition started the war against The Imperium. The Legacy are also aided by PanFam coalition, FI.RE coalition, and the Winter Coalition. So, let’s go over each of the main coalitions briefly.
The Imperium (The Defenders)
In the simplest of terms, they are empire builders. They love to build, go to war, lose it all and do it all again. Each time they come back with new and improved methods to make a better empire than before. A core philosophy of the group is “our people deserve the best,” whether that involve PvP, PvE, ganking, WHs, market trading, scamming or anything else. There are rules for certain, but they are simplistic in nature and they have to be, because these players are rooted in history as “goons.” The Imperium will happily play the villain and at times they have been. But it is generally considered that their word is good and that their aggressive acts are simply business or revenge. They are generally known as “goons” or “bees,” the latter moniker based on their mascot, the cigar-smoking giant bee.
The Legacy (An Attacker)
A collection of alliances that are willing to follow the lead of Test Alliance Please Ignore (TAPI). Generally, they like to be seen as behaving honorably, although their history contains acts of deal-breaking and betrayal. The Legacy, at its core, has to be seen as run by TAPI. The core mentality of TAPI seems to revolve around the leadership deciding how ISK is to be spent, rather than making their members rich and letting them choose how to spend their ISK. The military wing of TAPI is also responsible for the “hell dunk or blue balls” strategy – taking on the enemy only when The Legacy has the opponents outnumbered and outgunned.
PanFam (An Attacker)
This is an alliance with a very long history in EVE, with some subgroups coming from elite PvP players and fiefdoms within the context of New Eden. For a long time the identity of PanFam was similar to that of a caste system, with Pandemic Horde being like a farm team for Pandemic Legion. Players started in Pandemic Horde (PH) and “graduated” or were called up, to continue the baseball metaphor, when they gained more experience. Players could move between castes, but each of the main alliances forming PanFam had a specific identity. Over the years this farm team element has become less apparent, as Pandemic Horde has become the more powerful entity in the coalition. Ironically, Northern Coalition Dot (NC.) and Pandemic Legion (PL) have taken negative and elitist views toward newbie groups in the past, but Horde has surpassed the other two entities, by most players reckoning. Generally, PanFam likes to be perceived as a PvP powerhouse. They have many ISK-making characters and at times have had schemes that involve rental groups and secret agreements. Renting space, both in nullsec and in wormhole space, has been a large part of PanFam’s history. They have always been a force to be reckoned with and should never be treated lightly.
FI.RE (An Attacker)
A relatively new coalition in terms of New Eden coalitions. This collection of eastern-European-centric alliances does have a very long history. The member alliances also have strong ties to PanFam and The Legacy in more recent times. The relationships that FI.RE have are probably best described as complicated. FI.RE has a large enough presence in nullsec to warrant inclusion among the major players. FI.RE players have good reason to dislike both PanFam and The Legacy. The Legacy enabled the landscape that ultimately led to PanFam cutting FI.RE from the rental business. FI.RE’s identity as an alliance has yet to be established. Are they looking to become landlords via this current war, as they were before, or is this conflict a push to become something else?
Winter Coalition (An Attacker)
This is the other main faction from the Serenity server. They have been around longer than their Army of Mangoes (AoM) nemesis and are more active and independent in many respects. Their leader, Noraus, has been quite notorious at times and is more than willing to be in the spotlight when it comes to opinions. What is very evident is the industrious nature of their members. Their activity has been dominating the CCP Monthly Economic Report (MER) for some time. Winter Coalition are still seemingly in a state of flux regarding where they fit into nullsec. Currently, they seem intent on expanding into new territories. Having lost a war to The Legacy not so long ago, and also having said they want to go to war with AoM, it would be fair to say that they are looking to keep busy.
A Quick History of the Past Four Years
With the main actors described ever so briefly, we now have to consider at least some of the more recent history between them all. Again, this is not an easy thing to do. Despite complaints of nothing ever happening in EVE, the reality is quite different. In order to convey events, I will simply list several major events involving the actors described above. Links are also provided to the INN coverage at the time. Please note, however, you could reason dozens of articles about events for which I use a single link.
We start off in 2016 with the Imperium dislodged from their home in the north. The Money Badger Coalition (MBC), funded by casino ISK, was crowing loudly in their victory as the Imperium headed south to forge a new home. The Imperium was in tatters. Their numbers were greatly diminished: the main alliance was reduced to only 15k characters. But one thing was certain: what remained of the Imperium after The Casino War were the most loyal and battle-hardened players. Also note that the members of that former mega-coalition, the MBC, that defeated the Imperium are pretty much the same bunch as the current attackers in World War Bee, which is why many people refer to this war as World War Bee II.
It would be fair to say that much of 2016 was occupied by The Casino War. This war lasted from around the end of February 2016 until the end of August 2016. Notably, the Imperium was forced back to the lowsec system of Saranen very early on in The Casino War. The year ended with MBC member PanFam evicting former allies TAPI and the currently disbanded (but then very active) Co2 from Vale of the Silent and Tribute. In this instance, TAPI moved to the south rather than contest their eviction at the hands of PanFam.
TAPI and Co2 evicted a number of smaller alliances from the south and started to make a new home in the region of Catch. The Legacy coalition was formed at this time, with TAPI taking the lead. Soon, Co2 were removed from The Legacy (I told you the history is complicated). 2017 continued to see drama in the south and east. Again, the real winners of 2017 were PanFam, at least in terms of control over space. But, situated in new areas of space, both The Legacy and The Imperium had an opportunity to rebuild and grow.
2018 saw PanFam start strong and then things really went awry. PanFam saw back-to-back losses in a number of key fights, such as UALX and X47. Arguably they were only saved by the actions of one of their allies, Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG), who struck a deal with the Imperium for a respite. The Imperium were seeking vengeance for what transpired during the Casino War. During this conflict in 2018, the Imperium and The Legacy become closer in their working relationships. The Imperium had saved The Legacy capital fleet from certain destruction at the hands of PanFam, so the Legacy, to some, were indebted to the Imperium and the two alliances continued to work together for a time.
Building on the successes of 2018, the Imperium set about invading the PanFam heartland of Tribute. Again, we saw very limited resistance from PanFam and they soon declared the region abandoned. The Imperium was the winner of 2019, with The Legacy also claiming credit when they could.
The start of 2020 saw a certain amount of stability. PanFam and friends were wary of doing anything too bold, whereas The Legacy was emboldened, due to their positive relationship with The Imperium.
When you look at the summer, fall, and now winter war we are in, you might marvel how quickly things can change in EVE. Relationships within New Eden can be a complicated affair. One moment an enemy can become an ally, and vice versa. Each relationship is fraught with both risk and reward. In the next article we’ll look at the Non-Invasion Pact between the Imperium and The Legacy, summarize quickly the war’s events from July 2020 through January 2021, and look at some informative data about the alliances.