World War Bee: The Elephant in the Room

2021-06-07

Header art by Major Sniper

It is almost a full year now since the “first official” invasion of the Imperium’s home region of Delve began. The attackers, the largest mega-coalition ever assembled, PAPI (PanDaFam Alliance Please Ignore), number 150k characters-strong according to Dotlan. The self-declared best and most experienced FC team ever assembled in New Eden. A vast supply of materiel with bodies and causus belli aplenty.

PAPI have said a lot in the last year, so much that it would take several books to dissect, analyze, and comprehend – though due to conflicting statement of various PAPI leaders, comprehending should not be the goal. Rather, we will focus on just one statement that PAPI are brave enough to still present to their members to this day: “1DQ will burn.” Variations on that theme have been parroted by PAPI line members for the whole year. With this in mind, you would think that PAPI leadership had already formulated a plan to take 1DQ before starting the war and tossing out the “burn Goons” rhetoric. After all, to start a war with no plan to achieve a war goal would be foolish, surely.

In a shock to absolutely no one, except some pilots in PAPI, it would seem that the PAPI leadership did not have a plan to take 1DQ. But it gets better. You would think that after a year of back-to-back self-declared victories, that PAPI would have had plenty of time for formulate a plan, even if they started the war with a blank slate where the plan should be. But alas, the PAPI plan to burn 1DQ is hard to find.

A blue donut in need . .

Being the really helpful Goon that I am, I thought I would help PAPI out a bit. I have already done something similar in this piece from October 2020. In it I talk about how to invade Delve. Ultimately, after false starts and months of move ops, PAPI leadership formulated a plan shaped very similar to the one I laid out. Of course months had gone by, but Serenity has never been in a rush to close out self-serving wars.

It is most important to understand that the Imperium always knew that “all of EVE” would come for them again, sooner or later, under some false pretense just as in the past. This prophecy was hammered home by the continued camping and harassment of the Imperium’s home region of Delve. Cries of “Goons only krab and blob” echoed around Reddit from players who would soon form the mega-coalition of PAPI. To understand that the Imperium knew this day would come, one only needs to look at the Keepstar grid of 1DQ, which is mostly unchanged in the past year. That Dyson-sphere of death was created for just such a day as this.

Of particular note is the “Querns Hardpoint.” In simple terms, this refers to the combination of an iHub and a grandfathered faction Fortizar being in range of said iHub. This unique setup within New Eden shows great forethought on the part of Querns, GSOL Director of the Imperium at the time of setting up 1DQ. Destroying an iHub is a matter of using the sov mechanics. The initial event to create a timer would require the attackers to hack the 1DQ iHub under the fire of a faction Fortizar. It would be bloody. Not impossible, but bloody.

The key, PAPI, to taking 1DQ would have been to act swiftly while having the members of the Imperium somewhat dispersed, with assets strewn all about Delve that would need consideration. This is not to propose a “headshot,” as that would likely fail. But to place structures within 1DQ and to apply pressure on the home system would be essential. This would have been more similar to The Casino War, where the Imperium was trapped within the low sec system of Saranen. It is this type of action that causes a feeling of utter hopelessness that would impact the membership numbers of the Imperium in the way PAPI had hoped. Needless to say, none of the above has transpired in the way is should have for success. The long slow grind allowed the Imperium to reinforce 1DQ and environs, and the “Anaconda” strategy has meant that all of the Imperium are “constricted” into a tight ball, rather than being strewn about with assets all of the place.

Also, leaving the Imperium an escape route would also have been crucial. No need to begin by burning anything in Fountain or Querious. That could have waited until later. Apply the pressure to Delve and dissolve the Imperium from its core. Any student of history can tell you that an encircled enemy will fight far more fiercely than one that believes it has options to escape. Opponents might suggest, “Yes, by Goons would have just moved their home base to another Keepstar, and so we had to make sure that didn’t happen.” Of course Goons would have done that, moved their capital to some vastly less defended Keepstar somewhere other than 1DQ’s Dyson-ball of death. PAPI has shows a real facility for killing Keepstars.

Further, setting realistic expectations up front for how the war would progress is another factor that could have had significant effect on events. The rhetoric used by PAPI at the start of the war should have been a lot more viable: something like “cause significant economic harm” was a good expectation from Gobbins, leader of Pandemic Horde (PH), though that phrase was used deep into the conflict. At the start PAPI used “extermination” and “toxic leadership” and “stop them from playing the game” as goals. Such language may seem wonderful in the heat of the moment, but it caused issues later as people started to think “what does extermination even mean in a video game?” The Imperium grabbed onto that non-sensical goal very early on, and rightly so. It galvanized the Imperium’s resolve to “not be exterminated,” which is a really low bar by the way.

Attack!

An assault on 1DQ itself would be a tidi-grindfest of the highest order. PAPI would also need to coordinate forces to assault other high value targets. Remember, the main focus here is to cause the feeling of hopelessness. No shit talking in local about how Goons are going to be crushed and the like. It would still require a massive effort on the part of PAPI. Days, if not weeks, of near constant fleets and continual harassment. Supplies would have to be in good order and PAPI line members amply rewarded for their efforts. What we have seen, though, is very sporadic attempts. A large attempt will be made and then many days elapse as PAPI seem to go back to the planning table to come up with new fittings with different ships.

Regardless of the time frame, the cost would be horrific under normal circumstances. Each major engagement in 1DQ would likely cost PAPI two trillion at today’s rates. For those PAPI members that find this number exhorbitant, remember it cost the Imperium 800B to over 1T to kill the unanchored Keeps PAPI put up. My estimate is probably conservative. This is the kind of cost it would take to reduce The Imperium’s ability to re-supply and provide ships for their members. The push on 1DQ would have to be relentless. There needs to be no time for the Imperium to organize its supply and finances. There would be no “war bonds.” Some Imperium members may balk that I’m laying out such a clear outline of a workable plan. People, these things are obvious strategies, not state secrets. I’m sure they’ve already been discussed at high-level PAPI meetings. And if not, well . . . .

PAPI would be prudent to make offers of free passage to new lands and a fresh start to member corporations of the Imperium. Perhaps PAPI could even go so far as to sweeten the deal by alleviating any burdensome costs.

Finally, and probably the hardest part for PAPI, would be to show some “class” in victory. Each time they won or lost an engagement there would only be “good fight” in local. The will of the Imperium is their strength, and it is only by attacking this seemingly unending will that PAPI has any hope of permanently dislodging them.

All in all, I would have expected this campaign, which I’ve just outlined, to last at most three months. I would also expect it to cost in the region of 20 trillion for the attackers. Now you may think I’m being fantasy-driven, but please do remember PAPI have three times the forces of The Imperium.

But Instead . . .

You may have wondered why I am comfortable in talking about how 1DQ can be attacked. The reason for this is just that these options are no longer available to PAPI, at least not for World War Bee. Over the last year it has become more apparent that PAPI had hoped that the Imperium would react to the all the posturing of PAPI forces.

PAPI relied on the “Anaconda strategy.” With this they intended to close slowly around the Imperium and encircle them, trapping the Imperium so that their line members would flee in droves. By taking this approach, PAPI only gave the Imperium more time to prepare. Assets were moved about. The “Horn of Goondor” was sounded. Almost no defections have occurred, except in PAPI’s somewhat fevered dreams (note the PGL speech from November of last year). The pressure being applied by PAPI was to the periphery, not the heart.

However, the achievements of PAPI should not be dismissed. PAPI have indeed killed a massive amount of undefended structures. They have also successfully taken away the Imperium’s home space save a small constellation in Delve.

In these endeavours we have seen probably the most monumental waste of combat resources ever within New Eden. PAPI decided to spend almost a year shooting mainly undefended structures. The whole war should have taken three months at most given any competence. Probably the worst part of the PAPI plan is that the rhetoric they initially used was then proven to be a lie. But the PAPI leaders were so confident of victory at the time, with the resources available to them, that they did not really care to “fix” the initially lame war goals. Nor did PAPI line members, who were still invested in being on the “winning team,” question what was going on.

The future of 1DQ . . .

PAPI have declared that 1DQ is now a “containment zone.” The “goon threat has been eliminated . . . for now” but of course it could rise at any given moment. What New Eden needs is something like rangers, paladins, or wardens to make sure nullsec is a healthy eco-system of human activity. This is exactly what PAPI seem to be proposing, for the good of the game of course.

Meanwhile, Fraternity are making moves against the independent alliances of VOLTA and Toilet Paper in the north, for the good of the game, I’m sure. FIRE are clearing out former valued ally IGC from so that FIRE has more room to grow, I guess, for the good of the game as a whole. Evidently, VOLTA, TP, and IGC also had to be eliminated or reduced to renters so that this game can prosper.

PAPI do keep trying to chip away at the final constellation belonging to the Imperium. PAPI line members chant the mantra “we only need to win once” while ignoring the fact that even if they had no cynojammer active in 1DQ, the Imperium is “pre-staged” and don’t need to jump anything anywhere. The Imperium only need to undock and they are set to go. This fact does not change and the 1st Palace Keepstar in 1DQ is at the very heart of the PAPI conundrum.

With the better options no longer available to PAPI, their choices are greatly reduced. They can sit in T5Z and “contain goons” while they “probe” for weaknesses. All the time PAPI leadership will continue to state how much they respect their members’ time, while ignoring the fact this war has taken far longer than it ever should have. PAPI can also hope that by some strange turn of events the Imperium simply implodes. Withdrawal is the final option for at least some of the PAPI members, although some are more committed now to Delve than others.

If you were to read some of my previous pieces on INN you would know I was fully expecting to be in NPC Delve well before Christmas last year. Over the many months and many missteps from PAPI, I have become increasingly confident that 1DQ will not fall. Not because it is impossible: quite the contrary, as it is very possible. It is just simply a case of PAPI no longer being in a position where they can convince their line members to pay the price required. M2 changed that.

When, and if, the Imperium leaves Delve it will be of their own accord. They have already made this very clear. Meanwhile, members of the Imperium get to watch the instigators of this war damage themselves. I can assure you that, as a Goon, I believe there is nothing funnier than this single fact. And some wonder why the Imperium did not accept Legacy’s offer to attack Panfam over a year ago. Look at Legacy then, and look at it now. Does that help clarify things for you?

A conflict of ideologies

Again we seem to see evidence of a very different approach, at least among the leadership, of the respective sides in this war. The Imperium is “all in” and has demonstrated its intent more than once. Bold moves such as “Enho” and M2-X have proven this statement (please remember M2’s first day!) and have given PAPI leadership pause for thought. The Imperium is prepared to lose capital ships in bunches, but PAPI seem less keen, especially after M2, to risk their ability to project force on New Eden.

PAPI also had to fabricate on the fly much of their narrative for the war. This is something not required by the Imperium. They could simply go and shoot people as they like to shoot people. Deployments either worked or did not. With the PAPI falsehoods now revealed, it is harder for their line members to feign ignorance of the map (PAPI line member, go check out Dotlan and then continue to deny Serenity 2) and the actions of PAPI leadership.

How the war plays out in the future is still uncertain in many respects. It is generally agreed that the “extermination” thing was a massive over reach by PAPI. What is certain at this time is that the Imperium is still standing when by all rights it should not be, given a willing and competent foe.

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Comments

  • Guilford Australis

    Don’t worry, Moomin. Gobbins has assured us the master theorycrafters of PAPI have new gimmicks “in the pipeline.” Maybe one day PGL will fine-tune his ingenious plan to counter our titans and supercarriers with assault frigates. It was such a brilliant strategy, truly masterful stuff from the best and most experienced FC team in the history of EVE.

    Incidentally, I wonder what it does to the morale of the average PAPI line member to have their leaders tell them for months, ‘Despite outnumbering our foe 3:1, we will do everything in our power to win by sitting here for the rest of eternity hoping they stop playing, or if necessary by developing some stupid trickery to allow us to avoid direct confrontation.’

    June 7, 2021 at 10:46 AM
    • Hey now. Don’t count PAPI theory crafters out yet. If they can come up with three one shot fleet comps in under a week they could theoretically take out any one structure of their choosing. Villy is more likely to get struck by lighting twice but the fact that it’s technically possible is what they’re banking on.

      June 8, 2021 at 9:10 AM
  • Novartis

    Good article, Moomin. Well thought and logical.

    I generally agree with you. War in games where both sides are handled by player need to be fast, else the general members will start to lose interest at the war, no matter the reason. People do burn out

    June 7, 2021 at 12:10 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Novartis

      Thank you for your kind words.

      To be honest I never felt very comfortable with the strategic comparissons made between Eve and the real World. The just do not mesh very well as they are so different in a fundamental way. So talk of things like “salients” and “sieges” is normally the work of fantasy when actually applied in game. Other aspects, more human ones, do though. Having more care to distinguish between the two is probably prudent. At some point members will stop listening to their leaders when the reality is in such stark contrast to what is being said.

      June 7, 2021 at 1:21 PM
      • Xelistren Moomin Amatin

        A siege is only as effective as the denial. The main reason I have never seen PAPI’s attempt to siege is that they allowed the stockpiling of resources before the siege began. 1DQ should have enough resources to maintain fighting for 1 to 5 more years and by then PAPI won’t have the morale to continue the war.

        June 7, 2021 at 5:50 PM
  • EVE Player #27482716

    The actual elephant in the room is this war is boring, sucks the oxygen out of the rest of the game, and needs to end.

    June 7, 2021 at 12:38 PM
    • William Doe EVE Player #27482716

      Blame CRAPI/sapi for that. They’re the ones who have to take some days to think up a composition in trying to get into 1DQ before being repelled. At least the good news is that their numbers are ever so slowly bleeding as time goes on due to lowering interest by their line members. May eventually reach a point where they’ll have to call it quits when participation on their end drops off badly enough.

      June 7, 2021 at 12:54 PM
    • Moomin Amatin EVE Player #27482716

      Boring? This the funniest war to date. Every minute of ever hour of every day that it continues it gets all the better. I do understand that if you are on the PAPI side of things it may not be quite as much fun. But as a goon, watching the people who started the war on a lie and to then kill themselves trying to keep it going is just the funniest shit ever.

      June 7, 2021 at 1:17 PM
    • Boring?! Dude, every other night I have to chose if I want to kill Papi ships in a super fleet, a Muninn fleet, an Eagle fleet, a bomber fleet, a Jackdaw fleet or a Harpy fleet. Our cup runneth over.

      And that’s not even counting the 10 hot drop fleets a day or just roaming solo.

      June 7, 2021 at 2:50 PM
      • Havish Montak Zaand

        This

        June 8, 2021 at 7:31 AM
        • And at least one of those fleets is a Havish fleet!

          June 8, 2021 at 2:01 PM
      • Carvj94 Zaand

        That’s why PAPI’s goal of burning out Imperium members is doomed to fail. You guys get a dozen guaranteed fleet fights a week while they’re grinding structures a majority of the time.

        June 8, 2021 at 9:12 AM
        • Jeet_Kundo Carvj94

          They truly believed the krab meme. We’re not them: our krabbing is to keep the war machine going, not because it’s our primary, most favored form of content. It’s like bringing an all-you-can-pillage buffet right next to your closest ancient Viking settlement, thinking they’re nothing but hunter-gatherers; war first. We lose more goons in peacetime from boredom of spending hours shooting sites and having to jump 15-20+ jumps to get blueballed than we do having our content only a jump away if they don’t come to us first. Like many others, I left during peacetime and I came back for the war.

          June 8, 2021 at 10:51 AM
        • Vertigoe Carvj94

          We get guaranteed fleets in our backyard while the rest of nullsec stagnates with the new PAPI version of nullsec that they control.

          June 8, 2021 at 11:29 PM
    • Probably boring if you’re not in it. Personally I quit eve years ago because I got bored of peacetime, the repetitive nature of pve and industry. This war has made me interested in the game again and I’ve had more fun than ever before. Let PAPI keep attacking us, I’m loving it.

      June 9, 2021 at 8:46 AM
  • Jeet_Kundo

    They don’t want to pay the blood price, hence the narrative shift to “containment.”

    June 7, 2021 at 1:40 PM
  • chimpy

    How can containment possibly be a victory for PAPI given that it ties up PAPI material and pilots just as much as it does for Goons? There’s many works of fiction where some threat to the greater good is sealed up for millenia. In all these stories the people doing the sealing for the greater good have some of magic mechanism by which they seal up the threat and bugger off to party and leave the threat for future generations to deal with when it inevitably breaks free. If PAPI intends their pilots to be this magic sealing mechanic ad infinitum, then I don’t think PAPI have thought this through very well. While the Goons pilots are sealed in the 1DQ constellation, the PAPI pilots are equally sealed in place unable to leave. This denial of freedom is mutual. The cost to both sides is equal. “Haha we’re stopping you doing anything by expending all our time and resources on holding you in check” doesn’t seem like much of a victory, especially long term. When the seal inevitably breaks, just like in fiction, them Goons are going to explode out and cause chaos. Good job for eveyone else that Test is next.

    June 7, 2021 at 1:45 PM
    • sj chimpy

      I agree i dont think it would go well for PAPI if they tried to contain Goons in 1DQ.
      Makes me think of Rorschach in Watchmen ‘None of you seem to understand. I’m not locked in here with you… you’re locked in here with me!’

      June 7, 2021 at 4:49 PM
      • William Doe sj

        I doubt they’d pull it off anyway. Eventually more and more of their members cosplaying as GoT/ASOIAF “wardens” will eventually get overrun by Goons coming out in force when they’re caught sleeping.

        June 8, 2021 at 12:37 AM
  • Alison King

    I am not goon line Member but i just love how Papi are going to surely implode any time soon , and go home and chalk it up to lack of experience, even tho most there Fc’s having been playing years

    June 7, 2021 at 1:52 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Alison King

      lol, no, they are already setting the stage for blaming CCP for everything that went wrong with this campaign.

      June 8, 2021 at 4:04 AM
  • Zaand

    It seems the only strategy Papi has left is to buy more competent friends.

    June 7, 2021 at 2:47 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Zaand

      Kind of. It is the option Legacy seem keen to follow but PanDaFam, less so I think. PanDaFam can happily sustain this as long as their membership are willing to. The longer the campaign goes on the better it is overall for them.

      Also of note is that a merc is only as good as the result of the last contract they took. It will be interesting to see what merc groups show up on the side of PAPI. If I was a Legacy member I would be looking to make sure I have no SRP claims back-logged. Perhaps Vily has dipped into his 1 trillion in ship skins stash he was so keen to parade a while back to pay for merc services.

      June 7, 2021 at 3:47 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    The game isn’t designed and won’t work the way PAPI hopes where they want to kill capital ships with subcaps without huge number advantages (which they no longer have).

    June 7, 2021 at 4:42 PM
    • Garreth Vlox kwnyupstate .

      Even with numbers advantages, just a handful of FAX on field completely negate those numbers and allow the caps to continue slaughtering the sub caps.

      June 8, 2021 at 4:03 AM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
    And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive!

    June 7, 2021 at 7:09 PM