Despite writing this as a critique piece of Kcolor’s “The Northern War: Lessons and Fallout” I actually rather like the piece over all. There are typical trappings expected from INN as a Goon media source, but overall the article is not bad. The more harsh elements of my critique piece should be read within the context of a few previous articles written in the same vein, albeit lacking the quality of Kcolor’s. I’ll simply be reading down his article, quoting relevant parts and adding my own thoughts on the subject matter.
There have been a few other articles of this fashion. Essentially these are Imperium self-congratulations regarding their victory in the recent northern war. As usual they like to name a number of key historical points.
KColor refers to the battle of B-R on January 27th of 2014. He mentions that the result of this battle “established Goonswarm as the dominant super capital power in Eve” and that the “N3 coalition withdrew from the conflict.” I actually had to check with a number of people to be sure I just wasn’t misreading this or that I wasn’t crazy. But B-R did not cause N3 Coalition to withdraw from the conflict. In fact N3 went on to take over the south and ended the war holding territory formerly defended by the Imperium (then called the CFC.) Either KColor is blatantly lying or he had too good of a time in Vegas and has a poor memory as a result. The result of the Halloween War is even on the map he posted later in his own article showing the majority of the south being held by “Northern Associates.” This kind of mistake is like saying America surrendered in WW2 after Pearl Harbor.
The other claim that Goonswarm became “the dominant supercapital power” in Eve is also questionable. I’m sure everyone in GSF would be wondering where that dominance was between 2014 and 2018. And a last note about B-R…I understand it’s important for an alliance to develop its mythos and narrative. Although everyone enjoyed watching NCPL “eat shit” at B-R, the reality of it is that battle result said more about the CCP servers than anything else. Due to lag and mechanical advantages given to the side that already fielded their ships first, it was essentially a coin toss. Dreads and any carriers/super carriers essentially became useless. In any case, a different perspective on the mechanics of B-R is up for debate. The facts of what happened after B-R…Goonswarm losing the entire south and their southern allies known as “RUSRUS” collapsing is not.
KColor’s portion of Fozziesov omits a number of different narrative changes from the Goons. At first it was lauded as a great change and their player base was hyped through the Providence campaign. It was a smart move to do this as many of the older “elitist” alliances like NC, and PL turned their nose up at it rather than try to adapt. But when World War Bee broke out and the Goon’s coalition was on the losing end, suddenly the system was broken and “favored attackers too much.” Once the Goons were kicked out of their space and living in Saranen, now they being in the position of the “sov attackers,” suddenly the narrative flipped again and Fozziesov “favored defenders too much.”
Of course we have to address the so called “Casino War”…or as literally everyone else calls it, World War Bee, and how it was supposedly “fueled by income streams that stretched outside of the game itself.” This claim ignores a number of facts:
To get to the core of the piece and similar other writings, you have a number of GSF aligned people creating self-congratulating articles. The narrative goes kind of like this, “How did we win so well? Well clearly it was our ability to adapt to the meta, empowering our line member’s industrial potential and organizing ourselves into a well-oiled machine.” This kind of rhetoric echoed throughout INN and other Goon surrogates resonates very well internally and has a good bit of an effect externally as well. Unfortunately it’s about as accurate as the portion of KColor’s article regarding B-R. Here’s the facts:
NCPL are bad at meta gaming and strategic planning. At the end of WWB, while TEST was following the Goons to Delve to put the “final nail in the coffin,” PL was hitting TEST space in Vale forcing them to ease off. A few months later NC promising Horde the region of Tribute (whatever happened to that plan) both attacked Circle-of-Two and TEST. After several months of fighting Co2 and TEST were forced out. This showed that diplomatically NCPL could not be trusted. This also hurt one of the most committed anti-Goon groups (Co2) and would eventually see TEST being pushed back in the arms of Goons. Instead of cultivating a strong partnership from Co2 and TEST… NCPL was left with Darkness instead. All of this gave the Imperium time to rebuild and recover.
NCPL lacked focus. You saw this with NCPL wasting man hours and energy trying to take stations from Provibloc. The campaign was not well organized, the members were not well motivated, and leadership failed to provide any kind of focus for this. Instead this added fatigue with no return. The lack of focus extended with the current Northern conflict where NCPL wasted their time also fighting in the south against TEST. If they wanted to open a secondary front, they should have hit Fountain breaking the Imperium’s logistics supply line to the north. Instead they wasted time and energy bouncing between the north and the south.
CCP changed the game in a way that favored Goon-style game play. What does this mean? Prior to the Rorqual changes/sov resource changes you had a fairly nice balance between two competing game play styles/philosophies. On one end you had the “1st position” or the “Elitists.” These were groups like BoB, NC, PL, Raiden, and so on and so forth. They focused on recruiting pvp oriented individuals and placed a heavy emphasis on super capitals. And for a long time this was the dominant path of success in Eve. Then Goonswarm came along developing the “2nd position” also followed by, TEST, and Brave etc. They focused on mass of numbers and industriousness. For a long time you had a nice balance in the sense that these two different styles would clash and there would be a narrow victory one way or another. Usually the 2nd position would outnumber the 1st position with the latter group having more quality and experience. CCP’s changes now heavily favor the 2nd position. How? The Rorqual allows individual pilots to attain many more ores than ever possible previously. The skill injectors now allow those individuals mining into easily attaining a super capital. So now that advantage of the 1st position has been completely overtaken by the 2nd position. Lastly the density of resources ensures a high enough level of security that groups like GSF don’t have to worry about attacks. The majority of the Imperium coalition can live and mine in a single region in range of their entire supercapital force. You have to be spectacularly dumb to lose a Rorqual in Delve. Notice anything about those 3 points? None of those things were things that Goons themselves actually did. Instead things happened to them that favored them. They didn’t even really change their play style. They still maintain the 2nd position: mass recruitment, heavy krabbing, and emphasis on quantity. It’s just that now they have the tools and game set up that they can do it even more efficiently.
Lastly the factors that Co2 took the brunt of the campaign after only just reforming, the lack of coordination on the side of Darkness/NC, poor planning and a lack of focus outlined in point two, all contributed to the results of this war and should not be ignored.
Am I saying the Imperium did nothing right and this victory just fell in their lap? Absolutely not. But they didn’t do anything new or “adaptive.” They simply did what they had always done: Focus on krabbing, mass recruitment, organization of masses. It’s just that the way the game has been developing, it’s been buffed. The question now is what remains of the “1st position” gameplay style? Does everyone have to play like Goonswarm in order to be successful? Will CCP actually do the proper thing and introduce more scarcity in space? One can only hope.
KColor’s article actually ends really well. The last section titled “Unintended Consequences” hits the mark completely. Essentially what he says is that due to how entosis mechanics works, it makes sense for smaller alliances to consolidate into a major alliance. Anyone can entosis enemy sov, but for the defender it’s only specific to their own alliance’s space. One’s ally can’t defensive entosis your space. This pushes consolidation and loss of individual alliance identity. My solution for this issue was simply making entosis module have an “offense” or “defense” setting so anyone can either attack or defend any space. More on that discussion here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/9r4i66/entosis_module_change_can_be_set_as_offense_or/
It’s clear that the division between the 1st and 2nd positions of Eve will continue but it would be nice for CCP to find a happier medium and we can see a balanced approach to quality vs quantity philosophies. In the future I will also be looking into the “3rd Position” and explaining the hybrid model currently employed by Blade Horde (Black Legion and Pandemic Horde).