Most of Eve is aware of The Imperium’s tenuous relationship with the truth. Mittens’ re-imagining of events surrounding BoB and placing himself at the center of the Haargoth incident both embellished the effect and the role he played in the incident. Yet it was by cultivating this myth that he rode his way up to the reins of his alliance. This myth was met with endless ridicule years later as facts came out. Despite the events being immortalized in a comic series by Dark Horse, few today still buy the story. The then “Cluster Fuck Coalition” rebranded itself as the “Imperium” in order to make their image more palpable to non-Eve entities. TMC, the predecessor to INN, was flooded with promotional articles advertising a variety of games. The infamous 2015 Kickstarter was supposed to be the crowning jewel for the coalition that saw itself completely secure in its position as the unipolar hegemon of Eve. Yes there were other powers, but none could really contend. Goons and their coalition could sally out for content before returning to the safety of their holdings. The north belonged to them as an unassailable impregnable fortress.
“Give me ten good men and I’ll impregnate the bitch.”
What followed from late 2015 to about mid 2016 was a massive multi-front campaign starting in low security space with a “loose confederation of pirates” called Lowsec Voltron, which later developed into the initial stages of World War Bee proper, January 2016 to late March 2016, when Co2 defected. Afterward, the subsequent Goonperium evacuation of the north into Saranen prompted Money Badger Coalition elements to hell camp the system until Goons had bled enough allies and members to finally call it quits.
For fun, check out this article Mittens wrote in April of 2016, about two weeks after Co2 defected.
The assurances that everything was going according to plan, the vengeance he was going to strike into his enemies. He’d been beating this propaganda drum every day for months. When that didn’t work he’d complain that CCP purposefully changed the game to weaken his coalition. When they defended sov, the sov system was totally favoring the attackers. When besieged in Saranen in Mittens’ famous “Fabian strategy” and they tried to retake sov, suddenly the system favored defenders. If there was an opinion on game mechanics in Eve during WWB, at one point or another Mittens probably held it. It was funny watching his subordinates try to keep up with the ever changing narrative at the time.
Much of Eve is based on propaganda, and unless a defeat is absolutely one sided, everyone can leave the field feeling like they’ve won. Killed more than you lost? Great, you won the ISK war. Lost more than you killed? That’s okay, maybe you won the objective. The magic of “objective winning” is that that objective can be pretty much anything and the value of it is so vague you can convince yourself and others that it’s worth more than the ISK lost.
But what if you lose both? Say you lose every single battle of note and all the “objectives” like how the Goonperium lost 6- 8 or so regions. Well then you move onto claims about cheating. An emphasized claim pushed by the Goons was that the Money Badger Coalition was funded by “dirty RMT money”. The claim goes like this: Casino bankers paid MBC alliances with “dirty RMT money” to attack the Imperium. Some casino bankers RMTed and thus all the money they got was likewise RMT money. But upon closer inspection most people realize how nonsensical this is. If you ask anyone who makes this claim to explain how the MBC is somehow corrupted by RMT they won’t be able to answer.
Casino bankers were already ISK rich from operating gambling sites like IWantIsk. If they were RMTing, they would be the ones selling ISK to buyers for real currency. The ISK would become “dirty” once it was sold to buyers for real currency. The “dirty” ISK didn’t flow to MBC because bankers didn’t hold “RMT ISK”. They held ISK made through gambling. Unless that ISK was somehow traded for real currency, it was clean. Casino bankers already being rich wouldn’t have any need to buy ISK with real currency. In effect the only way MBC could be guilty of having “dirty ISK” is if they themselves bought it from the bankers. But then that would mean that they were never “paid by the casinos” to go through with WWB. It all falls apart and is nonsense anyone with a 3 digit IQ can poke holes through. The other laughable claim by Mittens was that the ISK gambling sites victimized children. Poor kids were spending their hard earned cash at the ISK slot machine. Won’t anyone think of the children!?!?!? On top of that gambling sites were “unassailable”. Never mind that Mittens himself tried to establish his own gambling site which failed spectacularly. Or that his own unassailable site, which did and continues to, draws in revenue through ads that could just as easily be used to buy PLEX and fund ventures in game.
The remarkable thing about World War Bee is that the Goonperium did not lose the war during a time of weakness or decline. In fact it had not and still has not been stronger than in 2015. But in their hubris and attempt to create an almost alternate reality, they left themselves open and were brought down by a collection of alliances that only slightly tolerated each other more than they tolerated the arrogance of the Goons. Like Icarus, the Goonperium reached toward the sun, and the sun cast a solar flare striking them down. When one’s alternate reality is full of arrogance and mythology, cold hard reality can have a jarring effect.
We saw attempts to cope with this by the many narrative tantrums. A notable example would be the attempt to change the name of the war itself. Everyone, including Goons, had been referring to the war as World War Bee. Mittens pushed the “war of sovless aggression” name, staying true to his southern roots, but eventually settled on the “Casino War” name. This was an attempt to control the narrative but also link the MBC to “dirty RMT ISK”. If I’m speaking honestly I think Casino War probably does sound cooler. Or even the alternative “Mercenary War.” However WWB won out and that’s that. At this point calling it the “Casino War” just makes you sound like a salty Confederate calling the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression.” I figured the spin pretty much just ended here and most of us could just kind of sensibly chuckle and move on. I was wrong.
I’ve made no secret that I’ve been part in the Goonperium for about half a decade now and it’s always interesting hearing about things from their perspective. Fun activity is to ask “who is Co2” and listen to the channel seethe and foam at the mouth for a good twenty minutes. People will go in great detail explaining every aspect of the event to me despite most of them not even playing Eve at the time let alone having any proximity to any of the relevant actors involved in the event. Thus I get to have an ear in the conversations of the line members.
One narrative that has emerged was the claim that “actually the Imperium won the ‘Casino War’ because we’re doing great now in Delve.” This is all very adorable coming from newbies and can be excused as them not knowing better. It gets a bit more concerning when you hear it from people that actually were active through the events and I’ll show you soon what I mean.
Yonis posted an AAR showing Goons meeting some resistance in their lowsec deployment to say the least:
I made a joke noting the similarity in the recent performance detailed in the AAR with how unsuccessful their lowsec Viceroyalty campaign was in 2015.
Just a passing ha-ha and that was that that wasn’t particularly heavy intellectually. But no! This would not stand! Thought crime must be corrected! Enter Malcanis an individual of some standing in Initiative. Rather than making his case directly he implies his point through passive aggressive posturing.
You see the Goonperium being evicted from their northern holdings, being hell camped in Saranen for months before eventually retreating to Delve far enough away that most MBC forces couldn’t be bothered to pursue, was actually just the “pearl harbor” of the war. Malcanis claims that actually if you squint hard enough and turn your head a little, you can actually see a reality in which WWB was won by the Goons.
I can somewhat sympathize with why Malcanis thinks this. Init’s role in WWB was to take mostly undefended moons in Syndicate while abandoning the north. I honest to God can’t recall anything else Init did and for all intents and purposes were with one foot out of the coalition by the time things got rough. They perhaps never truly felt the “string” of losing space since they mitigated many of their income stream losses with conquests in Syndicate. They kept an arm’s length from the sinking ship that was the Imperium but made sure to reaffirm their loyalty once Goons were in the clear and the weather stabilized. So now as a cope, Malcanis and others are extending the timeline of WWB to years and years later to a point where the Imperium has obviously stabilized and rebuilt spectacularly, and now that things are great for them, now is truly the end of WWB…which of course they’ve won.
Yeah I don’t think so.
Unsurprisingly, Malcanis isn’t the only Imperium member of note to push this revisionist narrative either.
Asher must have found the same koolaid bowl as he echoes the same talking points. Fortunately Asher has slightly more self-awareness and walks back his claims saying he was “only trying to wind” me up.
If you say so Asher. Anyway…
The purpose of this article is to combat a false narrative but also to draw some lessons from it. Failing is one of the most important things one can do in life. If one never fails one is likely not growing or experiencing the learning process of the event. Recognizing failure, learning from it and moving forward is not just a testament of character but also a pragmatic approach both in life and Eve. Unwillingness to recognize failure ensures you never develop beyond those failures. Inventing a reality where “well we actually won” and deluding yourself ensures you’ll remain stunted mentally.
Imperium members, you guys have rebuilt your coalition from a catastrophic debacle that you narrowly escaped. You’ve used every tool CCP has created in Eve to greater effect than anyone else. You’ve achieved your return which in and by itself is commendable. Anyone who is being honest can give your coalition huge credit for that. However don’t drink the koolaid and over three years later, claim that you somehow won a war that was clearly lost. Not only is it a lie to other players but it’s a disservice to your selves. By trying to re-write history you are seen as petulant and delusional instead of tenacious and commendable. No one can truly take that away from you…but you can certainly give it up yourself with this kind of nonsense.