Hello my name is Seraph IX Basarab, member of Psychotic Tendencies (TISHU) and I’ve been a writer here at EN24 since 2011. I write opinion pieces and all opinions presented here are my own.
So some of you may be old veterans that are more or less in the know and others may have started playing in the current year. I remember when the old Northern Coalition was falling apart under the combined weight of invaders (unrelated to current NCdot) and wishing to make sense of the multitude of factors involved. In any case I wanted to write a little bit regarding what’s going on and just as importantly what led up to it.
In October of 2015 the self proclaimed “Imperium” began promoting their kick starter about their 2013 war against TEST Alliance in which they took the region of Fountain. All that Mittens required was for people to fork over 150,000 dollars. You know, just a small loan etc. The reasons given were also somewhat questionable or at least vague enough that they did not inspire too much confidence. The level of hubris inflamed the reddit community and the whole project was mocked.
This further escalated when Mitten’s “diplomat”, Sion, went on a tirade on Goon state media about how the Eve reddit community…well wasn’t a community, but rather made up of a bunch of bitter people who were jealous and hateful. This compounded with Mittens’ call to expel Pandemic Horde from Cloud Ring because (get this) they were conspiring with anti-Imperium forces who were so bitter at Goons they would be willing to destroy them and the game just to get back at them.
Essentially Mittens equated someone wanting to attack their space pixels to wanting to destroy the game. For whatever reason Mittens decided it was a good idea to just basically adopt a Social Justice Warrior narrative in order to combat the reaction the Eve reddit community had towards the bookstarter. Nice move Sun Tzu, I’m sure that’ll work.
The result was the defection of many key high level members of Goon leadership and other capable individuals. This includes SUAS who is now leading OSS‘s offensive in Venal with other allies, Vily who is now FCing for TEST alliance and Endie who did intel work for the Goons and is now in Pandemic Legion along with his corp. These along with others were valuable assets to have and for reasons they’ve explained themselves, better than I could, parted ways.
On the way out many of them were out right insulted, called “mentally unstable” and other tasteless remarks were leveled towards them by Mittens. Even now on his fireside chats, in between the “rape them to death” and “twist the knife” rants Mittens makes, you’ll hear the phrase “bitter exes.” It’s these former members that provided the talent and work which afforded Mittens his throne. However as Darius Johnson, the leader of GSF before Mittens detailed, Mittens has a tendency to embellish his role or at least claim credit for other people’s accomplishments.
Along with this, Mittens decided to announce the Viceroy program. In essence Mittens was so full of hubris that he thought he could deploy his coalition around the universe and demand tribute from all the other alliances. Naturally the initial response was “go fuck yourself.” It was at this point that the “Imperium” leadership could have opted for a “ha-ha this was just a troll” and saved themselves a lot of trouble. But instead Mittens decided that it’d be a great idea to go on a lowsec campaign against the likes of TISHU, Snuffed Out, Shadow Cartel and others, probably because the people smart enough to tell him it would be a dumb idea had already left or were driven out.
To be crystal clear I want to underline that this war right now is happening BECAUSE the poor leadership decision of Mittens which galvanized all of these powers that would have never worked together in a million years. I’m saying this because I’ve run across poor little newbies in Fade that we’ve dropped on and gotten mails from them asking why we were so evil as to start an offensive war against them, Oh my god I can’t believe there’s PvP in this PvP game.
Anyway most of the “Viceroy Campaign” netted the “Imperium” a lot of lowsec moons mostly from Snuffed Out. However the problem is that all of these moons are spread out all over lowsec and on many occasions the “Imperium” fed billions and billions of ISK in ships in exchange for moons which will never earn enough money to offset the losses. Of course this is evident to anyone that’s been playing the game long enough. However for Mittens he could easily spin it to his less knowledgeable masses as a strategic victory because even though they would lose the isk war overwhelmingly despite out numbering their enemy 3 to 1, taking the tower from them meant that “the enemy” would somehow starve.
What he forgot to mention is that most of these lowsec groups make billions running level 5 missions in their carriers and holding onto the moons is more of a “well we can so why not” type of a deal. Did someone’s personal wallet get tickled a little? Sure. Does it matter much to the disgustingly rich lowsec power brokers? Not really, no. Of course for the average “Imperium” fleet member struggling to make 50 mil an hour that sort of scale of wealth is lost on them. But hey the guy with a website named after him says I’m doing something important so it must be true! The only thing it really managed to do is to get people that have always disliked each other in lowsec to work together. Most if not all of the gains made have been reversed.
The next major step in the development of this conflict was the IWantIsk/SMA controversy. The short version of it is that SMA in someway or another misplaced some money IWI felt they were owed. SMA accused IWI of RMTing, something which almost four months later still doesn’t seem to have been prosecuted by CCP as far as I know, and so IWI put out a contract against SMA which TISHU picked up. Who really cares. The tactics employed ranged from awoxing by bumping rorqs and other capital ships out of poses and dropping blops on them to camping gates with cloaky sabres to sending in our very own lawyer Jayarr “The Icebergstein” to infiltrate the alliance and taking non collateralized hauling contracts which made it all the way to his personal pocket to the tune of 100+ bil ISK.
Plagued with spies and suffering repeated awox hits, the situation turned even worse when toward the end of TISHU’s contract, Pandemic Horde moved in and afk-cloaked Fade. Token attempts at taking sov were taken but most of the gains were made on the morale front. SMA went from being the 2nd largest alliance in the game and in the “Imperium” (after GSF) with over five thousand members down to three thousand with Bastion and FCON now out numbering SMA who is only the 6th largest alliance. Paycheck for TISHU? About one Trillion ISK. The salt posting that followed? Priceless.
Of course the usual explanations arose that the alliance is better off without the weight, SMA was now learning how to defend their sov, and that content was fun. Counter propaganda was made regarding how TISHU might have lost a 20 man Cerb fleet to 160 Machariels somewhere in the middle of Fade. That may all be true but at the end of the day a 30-40 percent loss of members within a very short span of time directly due to a military engagement is not something to scoff at. More importantly the contract was a sort of vanguard for future operations against the north. It should also be noted that while less visible (mostly due to the abundance of shitposters TISHU has on reddit) OSS, OOS, Chaos Theory, The-Culture and other figures had also been active in various areas around the north, some also allegedly hired by IWI and others simply joining in for the content.
This leads us to the present situation. March saw the shifting of heavy assets of several notable alliances toward the Vale of the Silent/Tribute front. In Hakonen we saw several “Imperium” Titans and supers destroyed by lowsec forces and more recently in 2DWM-2 witnessed the destruction of over 150 billion ISK, mostly Machariels. “Imperium” forces fought perhaps the first major engagement actually out numbered. This is key because up until now they have had the numeric advantage of 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 odds. These odds have netted them a few Pyrrhic victories but at heavy cost. Their opposition has a history of needed to “punch up” at their targets and generally killing more than losing before having to extract from the full numeric might of the “Imperium.” However with the tables turned it’s uncertain the “Imperium” can do the same when they have only had to “punch down” in their engagements.
What has been most intriguing for me as an observer is the lack of knowledge expressed by Mittens himself in his fireside chats or discussions on slack. I mean sure there are different degrees of spin all sides generally put into play when they’re at war. It’s only natural. But he’s been getting basic facts wrong like where certain alliances are deployed, whose towers are getting hit, and even just basic game mechanics like what shows up on a super cap assembly array killmail.
Over all he gives the impression of an extremely distant “leader” who has removed anyone that doesn’t agree with his vision of the coalition and sits in his ivory tower with a handful of yes-men that just nod and talk about how everything is fine despite the evidence to the contrary. The answers from Imperium leadership has been to claim that their opposition is funded by RMT while offering no evidence, writing pieces complaining about the current occupancy sov, even though they were strong proponents of it back when it was advantageous for them to cause N3/PL’s rental empire to collapse, and ranty cringe firechats talking about “raping them to death” and “twisting the knife.”
Now it is true, most of the alliances involved probably will not take sov to keep for themselves. This has been a morale cry by “Imperium” members for a few weeks now. But you know what? They’ll certainly take enough sov and dumpster enough fleets for the salt. Now it may very well be true that this mixture of alliances that have taken to attacking the north will eventually get bored or start infighting as one hopeful Goon member told me tonight but until that happens the north is going to continue getting farmed while the leadership will continue spinning excuses.
~Seraph IX Basarab