Narratives, whether true or false, impact and shape future events for years to come. In a previous article we explored how Goonswarm’s current leader, Mittens, rose from a semi-relevant secondary figure within his alliance into the undisputed leader through clever narrative manipulation.
The war of the past 10 months has been no different. Even the name is in dispute with most of Eve referring to it as “World War Bee 2” while the Imperium maintains its own nomenclature of “World War Bee” insisting that the war in 2016 should be named “The Casino War.” Each side has attempted to utilize various media outlets to push their side’s narrative. Legacy has leaned more on podcasts and interviews while the Imperium has kept their much more active Imperium News Network all cylinders on fire. Although I was more involved in the First World War Bee both through the Black Ops Campaign that would see SMA essentially fall apart and in the Co2 defection that would provoke the Imperium’s retreat from sov space, I’ve mostly sat out WWB2.
Despite this I have been watching with much amusement as the different sites have jockeyed for narrative position. It’s mostly been a one sided affair with the Imperium dominating most of the coverage via INN. I will say this much regarding Legacy however. They handed the Imperium a horse which INN has not taken a break from beating. Specifically I’m referring to the call for exterminating Goons because they are bad for the game. First of all don’t try to moralize Eve because it’s easy to poke holes through any such claims. There’s no morality to be had, just winners and losers. Secondly Goons can technically “win” even if there’s only 1 active member in their alliance doing PI. What Legacy should have instead said is “we’re gonna break Goon’s stuff because f*ck you and we can.” That’s all the reason you need to do anything in Eve. Not that this has stopped INN from doing the same kind of moralizing and referencing PAPI as some evil BoB entity. While INN’s been fixated obsessively over a fairly bad faith and dense interpretation of Legacy’s war time rallying language, they’ve been ignoring their own leader’s gaffs.
I’m old enough to remember when the conflict had just started that Legacy was going to break their neck at the entrance to Fountain in the north, how they were never going to be able to take Period Basis, they would falter in the floodplains of Querious and Fountain, and wouldn’t be able to breach fortress Delve. None of these Imperium predictions have really been addressed at INN which has tried their best to keep with their coalition leadership’s breakneck narrative goal post moves.
The most comical example so far has been the narrative regarding M2-. For the few that don’t already know, M2- was the stage for what was supposed to be one of the most climactic battles in Eve history. Instead the servers buckled and the attacking forces had to contend with game breaking issues which forced them to log off many of their supers whilst suffering a number of losses. Somehow this game mechanic server issue has been lauded as some sort of genius strategic move on behalf of the defenders and they’ve been more than happy to parade it as such for months. On March 5th of 2021, INN published an article by Elthar Nox likening Mittens as King Leonidas of the 300 Spartans.
“The Mittani (PBUH) tightened the great shieldwall of the Imperium last weekend in a rousing fireside speech that announced his intentions for the next stage in the war. Like Leonidas at Thermopylae, but with better abs, he declared, ‘There is no universe where the Imperium retreats from Delve, ever, EVER!’” Let’s see if this holds up or if it’ll be memory holed. Just like how during WWB1 the horn of Goondor was supposed to come sweep the MBC away and save the north. The article went on quoting Mittens “Our job is to hold the fucking line, hold the fucking pigeon in M2,”
The comment section was filled with usual sycophantic characters like Guilford, Ganthrithor and of course Moomin chest beating over their camp of logged off supers. All while the rest of Delve is burning down and the Imperium’s structures are getting glassed. None of that mattered of course because Goons would hold strong! Their Leonidas declared it so.
Yet quite the opposite happened only two days later on the 7th when Gwailar published his article announcing the M2 hellcamp would end. Would the sycophantic zealots recognize the inconsistency? Absolutely not. At least not with all the gallons of Kool-Aid coursing through their veins. Instead they lauded Mittens as having performed a brilliant power move because after all PAPI could not extract their supers unless the Imperium allowed them to. In a matter of less than 48 hours, the entire narrative flipped and the coping, spin, damage control flooded the comments section. “B-but PGL said we’d be exterminated…!”
More recently INN’s been trying to spin two contradictory narratives. First that if Goons do end up losing the war it’d more or less be the end of Eve because the entirety of Eve would be blue. Token talented writers such as Seir Luciel attempted to critique this self-absorbed claim only to be frantically jumped on by the Imperium zealots. The second narrative is trying to instigate conflict within PAPI by highlighting incidents like the recent battle between Fraternity and Army of Mangos. Calling this “carefully crafted” would be giving too much credit but it’s basically an article designed to instigate matters further while posing as analysis. Maybe just maybe if the spin is strong enough, the invaders will be distracted by something else and the Imperium will have a respite. Readers are supposed to simultaneously believe if Goons lose the war all of nullsec would be blue while also noticing the tired old “cracks forming” claim. This assumes everyone else engages in the same kind of double think this author often does.
Outside of this diligently maintained world of delusion, most people recognized what actually had happened. PAPI did suffer some losses mostly due to server mechanics, but the M2 camp tied down the Imperium’s supers just as much as PAPI’s. And during this time while the Imperium was hurfing and blurfing about Spartans, pigeons and holding the line, PAPI actually burned down countless structures. They struck down objectives of value. They moved the line forward. They did something. Today the floodplains of Fountain that were never supposed to be breached are being settled by several Legacy alliances taking one of the most valuable nullsec regions for themselves. Likewise Period Basis and Querious are being settled. The only thing that remains of the Imperium’s mighty holdings is a single constellation. And if you listen closely you can hear the frantic typing of INN’s propagandists hoping they can narrate themselves into a victory that with each passing day seems less and less likely.