After more than 13 months of fighting, World War Bee 2 is coming to a close. At least that’s the hope for PAPI leadership who announced yesterday, almost in unison, that they would be ceasing offensive operations in the region of Delve and begin making and enacting plans to withdraw their forces back to their home regions. The Imperium, however, insists that this war is not over until they say it is.
On Monday, around 1700 EVE time, PAPI forces formed up half a dozen fleets to make one final attempt at breaching the 1DQ constellation (the last Imperium held systems in the universe). Several fleets pushed right into 1DQ1-A from their staging system of T5ZI while other fleets of tech III cruisers attacked outer systems of N-8 and 3-D. Overall, more than 4,000 pilots ended up in the system of 1DQ but the entire constellation generated quite the butcher’s bill for PAPI.
Fleets in N-8 and 3-D were wiped out by Initiative and Goonswarm fleets while the fleets attempting to break into 1DQ1 were unable to even make it through the thick layer of bubbles wrapping the gate. The EVE servers strained heavily under the weight of the battle, with no one at CCP headquarters to prepare the fire extinguishers due to the summer vacation. Personally, I tried to jump into 1DQ in my trusty Merlin to get a bird’s eye view of the carnage but, unfortunately, waited around 25 minutes trying to jump in before undocking and giving up on the view. This did leave no less than 100 ships outside 1DQ desperately trying to get in to feed the woodchipper on the gate.
TEST saw it appropriate to begin unanchoring each Keepstar they had in Delve (except for the staging Keepstar in T5ZI). When this happened, the pings began to roll in, mid-battle no less, of alliances leaving the conflict for good.
Ironically, LadyScarlet was the first to announce the withdrawal of Northern Coalition from the war. She did not make this announcement in the Northern Coalition Discord but instead made it in the Talking in Stations Discord. Why an announcement would be made to all of your allies (and enemies) before talking to your own people is beyond me. Nonetheless, other groups added in their resignations from the war. After the pings began, both Brave and TEST announced emergency town halls with their alliances.
Dunk Dinkle, now Brave’s official chief commanding officer, gave one of the most honest speeches of the war as his pilots readied themselves to give up their new home of Querious. His entire speech is available to listen to here but the general feeling was that Dunk commended the Imperium on being a formidable opponent and prepared Brave for the next exciting chapter in their alliance. He let them know that Brave would be going back to the things that they loved, blowing up spaceships without the need for big politics, and find a new place to carve out a home in the galaxy.
After the meeting, the floor was opened up for questions from the line. Several asked if there was any way they would be able to get some sort of mercy as they were trying to leave the warzone. Dunk reasoned that the only way to receive any sort of breathing room would have been to join the Imperium, something he feels is most definitely out of the question now. Overall, it seems as though Brave will escape onto greener pastures and hopefully (for their sake) be out of the crosshairs of the Imperium for a while. We wish them all the best.
During the TEST town hall, broadcasted live on YouTube courtesy of the Imperium’s Black Hand, progodlegend had a different feeling for the linemembers in TEST. PGL echoed a lot of the same points to TEST’s linemembers as Dunk did to Brave’s, a staged withdrawal over the course of a couple of weeks to get whatever assets they can out of the Delve warzone. They plan to take themselves from Delve to Catch and, then, to the Drone lands to set up new space for themselves. PGL cited the recent changes to the NPC station taxes resulting in a loss of income from the Tranquility Trade Tower as one cause of the cessation of offensive activities.
PGL starts to bring questions to the table around the 13-14 minute mark and the questions continue throughout the remainder of the broadcast. At around the 28-minute mark, the floodgates open and linemembers can freely speak in the meeting– bringing concerns of the ability of TEST to stay together after this yearlong quest to accomplish nothing (in their eyes). Other linemembers are proud of the work they’ve done, saying they’ve won the war, to which another responds “We haven’t won shit!” Overall, the next few months will be pivotal for TEST as their leaders, PGL and Vily, were seen as the great orchestrators and planners of the offensive against the Imperium and, as such, bear great responsibility in its success (or failure).
In an official capacity, NC. leader Vince Draken addressed his alliance giving them much fewer details than provided by other alliance leaders. Simply stating that the war was over and that they and their allies would be moving back to Drones. One glaring line in this ping to the alliance was that TEST decided to start unanchoring their citadels before anyone had the ability to let their members know what was happening. This final nail in the coffin of the PAPI communication shows what truly allowed the great plans to fail in the end; too many cooks in the kitchen, but no one has any seasonings, so everything is just bland.
Later, progodlegend made a post that was copied to reddit giving more details to the reasons behind the end of the war. In the opening remarks of the post, PGL states that “it was pretty clear last week after the TTT got nerfed into the ground that we’d likely have to change [our] decision”. The decision he’s referring to is the announced final push into the 1DQ constellation which was scheduled to last 4-6 weeks and be a massive effort to break into the systems and drive the Imperium out. This is another in a long list of CCP and server-related complaints that have been tied to the outcome of this war.
Unfortunately, PGL isn’t wrong as, throughout the war, CCP has been pulling economic levers and pushing buttons that we all wish they wouldn’t. Not only that but the game’s servers, for some reason, don’t respond well when capsuleers numbering in the 5-digit range wants to fight each other. This was apparent in the “final attack” as just a fraction of the pilots required to cause the record-breaking disaster in M2-XFE caused game-crippling performance issues.
He goes on to explain that several key mistakes caused the result that no one in PAPI wanted, the largest of which is opting to take the fight in M2-XFE. He also details that no one could agree on the proper plan to move forward, giving more credence to the lack of communication revealed a few weeks ago on Trash Talk Tuesday. In his final paragraphs, he does give credit to the Imperium for fighting tenaciously and recruiting talent to make up for any place where it was lacking. Of course, PGL continues to blame the mechanics of the game as a primary reason for the lack of progress and eventual cessation.
At the end of the day, the Imperium can claim victory in this war, despite losing all of their holdings down to one constellation and all but a handful of structures they held onto to the very last. And, as Vily was so eloquently quoted in the Polygon article as saying, this was a war of extermination. It seems the Legacy coalition was the one that ate the cyanide pill though, as at least one of their members (FEDUP) is disbanding their alliance and the rest of them will likely not opt to follow TEST to the Drone lands. Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the null-security geopolitical scene will shake up after everything is all said and done and the dust settles.
As a victory lap, the Imperium hosted a special edition of the Meta Show and announced that, contrary to the belief of most PAPI pilots, this war is far from over. “You don’t have the right to say the war is over,” the Mittani said. And he’s right. After all, according to Imperium historians, the Casino War (as they called it) didn’t end until they had put Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion to pasture in Tribute and Vale of the Silent. Watching how their plan of vengeance moves into motion over the coming weeks and months should be interesting and, of course, we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest information here and on our Twitch streams.