Bee Careful What You Wish For


Editor’s Note: There are few names as legendary in Eve writing than that of Ripard Teg in his blog, Jester’s Trek. Love him or hate him, you almost certainly read what he wrote and had an opinion one way or the other. We’re delighted that he’s dusted off his virtual pen for the first time in years to write for us here at CZ.

Hello. My name is Jester. I was once an EVE blogger but I have been clean for 674 days.

Aheh… sorry. I was done writing about EVE. I’ve been done writing about EVE for some time. I was happy to fade into some kind of obscurity, keeping my opinion mostly to myself except for the occasional comment on EVE media sites here and there. You know… just like any other EVE player! But in the final post of my erstwhile EVE blog, I stupidly mentioned that if something earth-shattering happened, I might be persuaded to write a guest piece somewhere. I even gave an example of what I would consider earth-shattering: the fall of the CFC. Yeah.

Even then, I might have avoided writing this – hell, something earth-shattering in EVE did happen last autumn, hardly anyone noticed(!), and I mostly managed to avoid putting fingers to keyboard. But then in the midst of the current war, a few people had to go and remind me of my stupid “promise”. I again would have been happy to ignore this except that it was posted on reddit and a couple hundred EVE players had to go and upvote it. This would be insignificant too except that the large majority of EVE posts on reddit gets downvoted into negative numbers almost instantly. You know how EVE players are. Something getting upvoted that much is actually fairly rare.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, something like two-thirds of the group of EVE players that I really really respect all sought me out independently in game and on Skype and on Twitter and on Slack and all of them had the same message for me: “It’s time.”

Screw you guys. Seriously. You pushy bastards.

Sigh. Very well. Don’t say you didn’t ask.

Events in World War Bee – lovely name – are proceeding along at a dizzying pace. It seems every single day, major events are taking place. The timer board is full to bursting, and yes, I’ve personally been right in the thick of it. “I was there” in the 1P-VL2 constellation fight on 28 March, and I was there again to help the UMI-KK station fall. More than this, I’ve been in the thick of the fighting since The Imperium invaded low-sec months ago. But even if I were an EVE politics expert (hint: I’m not) it would be impossible for me to write about the moments of this war. What I wrote would be out of date practically before I was done writing it.

Nuclear physicists like to talk about nuclear weapons in terms of nanoseconds. Most nuclear weapons have a “primary” explosive of compressed fissile material, the energy shock wave from which then sets off a fusion “secondary” where the real destructive action happens. In the ridiculously short time frame of nanoseconds, the movement of individual protons becomes palpable and the shock wave from the primary moves along millimeter by millimeter toward the secondary. On this scale of time, literally half the weapon can be an expanding sphere of plasma while the other half of the weapon just a few centimeters away is completely intact and untouched.

And that’s what this moment feels like: a nanosecond snapshot in time of the blast of a thermonuclear weapon. The primary has gone off, the shockwave is expanding toward the secondary and we might have a major explosion or we might what physicists call a “fizzle“.

So I’m not going to write on that scale. Others are doing their best with the day-to-day events… and after it’s all over, maybe someone will write a book about it or something. But what I have done in EVE with some success is written about the big picture, so that’s where I’m going to put my focus. It was the main uniqueness to my blog in any case. So, Jester opinion alert in two parts. Part one, today, “roughly how we got here” in the big picture. Part two, tomorrow, “how does this war affect EVE?” in the big picture.

Are you seated comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

“Shiny. Let’s be bad guys.”

So… how did we get here?

Let me start by saying that I am not “grr Goons”. If you read my blog or any of the short opinions I’ve written since, you probably correctly discerned that I have a lot of respect for Goons and what they’ve built. I have lots of old friends in LAWN (of which I was a member once) and in SMA and in AmokDOT and within Goonwaffe itself. I admire The Imperium for their discipline, for their messaging, for their organization, for their leadership, and for their accomplishments. Anyone who denies the success of Goonswarm and what they’ve built is being ridiculous.

“So Jester, if you love them so much, why don’t you go join them?” a number of you are thinking to yourselves right now.

And the answer is: because they’re bad guys! And I mean that quite literally. The Imperium are the baddies in this story. And they don’t get to complain about that characterization because Goonswarm and their allies have always cloaked themselves in the guise of being the bad guys. As the joke in the skit points out, those of us fighting them didn’t get to design their messaging or their actions.


The Imperium has their Ministry of Love – where enemies of the Orwell’s 1984 were tortured and murdered. And they have their Reavers – who in Firefly rape and murder their victims and wear their skin. Before MiniLuv there was Jihadswarm, complete with a fat bee wearing a shemagh and wielding Russian weapons and a suicide vest… do I really need to get into the symbolism of that? For virtually their entire existence, Goonswarm has advocated scamming new players, using rental and membership scams on corporations and whole alliances, and suicide ganking. The CFC and The Imperium have invaded and conquered more regions in New Eden than anyone in EVE’s history. “Never Not Shoot Blues” was invented in Goonswarm, you can buy it on a t-shirt, and has been put into effect on scales small and large. The Mittani boasted in his most recent “State of the Goonion” and in his most recent fireside chat of the destruction of whole alliances at The Imperum’s hands. And of course the leader of Goonswarm himself has his own unique bad guy moment which has become infamous in EVE lore.

The Imperium are the bad guys. They’ve voluntarily cloaked themselves in bad guy symbolism. But it goes deeper than this… and for the big picture, this next bit is very important.

If you are not in The Imperium or one of their allies, the chances are virtually 100% that your first encounter with them was negative, likely strongly so! I’ve already mentioned scamming, which all new Goonswarm members have been advised over the years to take up as an initial income source. If you live in high-sec, your first experience with Goons was probably a suicide gank, the loss of a tower or a Customs Office, or a scam. If you live in null-sec, your first experience probably involved losing sovereignty to the Goon military machine or hearing about a friend who did. If you live in low-sec, you might have thought yourself immune, until Jihadswarm swept through low-sec clearing reaction towers or more recently, The Imperium started taking money moons.

My own earliest memory of Goonswarm was hearing the tales of a friend of mine, a few months ahead of me in the EVE grind, who joined Ethereal Dawn only to be permanently rousted out of null-sec by a Redswarm Federation invasion of Etherium Reach. I headed in to watch the invasion for myself and observed the siege of ED’s home station first-hand. That was seven years ago now. Not long after, I joined a corporation that was associated with RISE, which had their own stories about Goons to tell (later immortalized in the “People of RISE!” meme). If you read that story, make special note of The Mittani of 2009 and the contempt he has for pets that aren’t allowed to own their own stations as well as the effectiveness of a tiny group of cloaky campers. The latter will become important in part two.

Put another way: virtually anyone who has a reason to like Goonswarm is already allied with them. Virtually everyone else despises them for one reason or another, most for more than one. They just weren’t in a position to do anything about it. Until now. It’s absolutely no coincidence that everyone wanting to get into the action in World War Bee is asking how their independent capsuleer or their small corporation can join the war to “kill Goons”. Hardly anyone is asking how to help them. Pandemic Horde? Up 2000 members in one month. Karmafleet? Flat.

EVE entosis goons

The Mittani has been using the “we’re surrounded by enemies, being invaded by the entire rest of EVE” trope in his speeches for years, years before it actually came true. Hell, in the most recent fireside chat, he said with a straight face that even CCP is blatantly against them! From a big picture perspective, the only thing surprising about World War Bee is how long it has taken to finally happen. Why did it happen this time? Well, I am not an EVE politics expert, but I believe it came down to five Imperium mistakes, which happened so quickly, each one after the next, that they may as well have happened simultaneously.

And they all come down to startling failures of The Imperium’s diplomacy, long considered their strong suit.

1. First, the failure of the Fountain War Kickstater book, followed by Sion Kumitomo’s over-reaction to that failure (most notoriously in his “Shake It Off” piece), alienated a large portion of the politically active EVE player base, those that actually follow EVE media sites. The implication that EVE players were nearly literally “destroying the game” by not supporting the Kickstarter insulted many across a wide swath of null-sec. A particular focus of this insult was on current Fountain and Cloud Ring dwellers, who were threatened with invasion. This opened The Imperium’s western flank.

2. Next and nearly simultaneously, the announced Viceroy program greatly expanded that insult into low-sec. This announcement was punctuated by the invasion of northern low-sec by The Imperium forces. This invasion caused the first emergence of “Low-Sec Voltron”, as a half-dozen alliances across low-sec banded together against a common threat, something that never would have happened without the announcement and associated invasion. This opened their south flank.

3. Soon after, Bat Country left Goonswarm, which started a mass “brain drain” of other important or well-known members leaving The Imperium. Some departures were amicable. Others among these departing members were viciously insulted on their way out the door. The Mittani himself wrote about brain drain being an important factor in the fall of the first Northern Coalition and it has also become an important factor in World War Bee. Not only were the loss of leaders and content creators damaging to The Imperium, but these individuals fell into the arms of the remaining enemies of The Imperium and brought with them unique knowledge of Imperium weaknesses that could be exploited.

4. Not long after that, the leadership of SMA instigated a robbery of a quantity of ISK From EVE gambling site IWantISK. Whether you think the amount of ISK involved was significant or not, it created a motive and opportunity for a vengeance war against SMA and The Imperium’s center in Fade. It also created a schism both within SMA and apparently within The Imperium itself. The Mittani claims the amount of ISK lost by IWI was “insignificant”… but if that’s the case, why didn’t the vaunted Imperium diplomacy buy them off? This has been done successfully before.

5. Finally, The Imperium’s treatment of its “valued allies” in the east has been somewhat neglectful at best, shabby at worst. Circle-of-Two directly blames The Imperium’s diplomatic corps for their defection, and Sion Kumitomo’s vengeful selective airing of years of dirty laundry certainly does nothing to deny that allegation. Friends I’ve spoken to in LAWN and The Bastion also feel poorly treated, their morale is shot, and membership numbers in LAWN, Razor Alliance, and SMA are suffering badly. The Bastion is currently being reinforced with orphaned corps from these and other alliances.

The primary has exploded. The Imperium’s eastern flank is an expanding sphere of plasma as a result, advancing toward the secondary and either a thermonuclear detonation… or a fizzle. Will this war destroy The Imperium? Or will it fizzle out, doing some damage but not achieving critical mass?

Which brings part one to an end. Where are some of the places this can go? Stay tuned for part two.

Tags: goons, goonswarm, Imperium, ripard, ripard teg, World War Bee

About the author

Ripard Teg

Author of the legendary Jester's Trek blog (RIP) and former CSM member.

  • Kirith Kodachi

    Your way with words still impresses. Hope you robbed CZ’s coffers for this.

  • Love me some Jester. Good to see you writing again, especially here.

  • Been a long time. Worth the wait.

  • “I’ve been done writing about EVE for some time.” Except in hundreds of posts in the EVE Online section of Failheap-Challenge over the last 10 months and even further back, a few of which are almost blog/article length and done in your typical big picture analysis style. 😛 Anyway, good to see your guest post here and looking forward to part 2.

  • Kamar Raimo

    The recent excursion of Goons into lowsec was everything but negative. In fact I am looking forward to them crashing in FacWar space like all the others who get kicked out of sov 😀

  • Rob Kaichin

    Far better than anything I could’ve said myself.

    I agree with it all and can’t wait for part 2.

  • G

    674 days without Jester’s Trek… and it’s so damn good to have you back.
    Oh, and Mittens?
    When Jester refers to it as World War Bee, it’s officially World War Bee.

  • Jordan Geldart

    Hell yes he’s back

  • Bill Bones

    “something earth-shattering in EVE did happen last autumn, hardly anyone noticed(!),”

    WTF is he talking about?

    • Rob Kaichin

      I don’t know, but I really, really want to.

    • bitter vet

      jump fatigue

      • Rob Kaichin

        ‘hardly anyone noticed’

        Did you *read* reddit when it was released?

        I think everyone noticed it…

    • Mmmm grapes

      Citadels and NPC station tax increase. Maybe…

    • xanderphoena

      Not sure but I sure as hell would love to see an article on it here on CZ from Ripard, right?

      • Bill Bones

        Only if it’s really earth-shattering. Everybody loves his belly button, you know…

    • Kinis Deren

      CFC QQ’ing about the “Trollceptor” would be my guess, resulting in the Vanguard expansion change of entosis module not being able to fit on an interceptor. Although their QQ’ing managed to get a mechanics change out of CCP, more importantly it showed to the rest of EVE how weak CFC had become from ADM grinding Section 8 bloat and their inability to deal with threats within their sov space.

    • Bill Bones

      After thinking about it, it may not be something about EVE, rather CCP raising 30 million $ for VR stuff last november…?

  • Mike Dawe

    Welcome back. Been looking forward to this.


  • Feiryred

    Nice to see you mate! 🙂

  • callduron

    Welcome back.

  • Zaand

    For fuck sake, can we at least drop the narrative the Goons scam new players. What the hell is the point in scamming someone who has 3 million ISK and 2 merlins to their name. We scam people who are so fucking dumb or lazy that they can’t even bother to read the dozen recruitment posts warning them that if they paid to get into Goonswarm they are being scammed, and who have hundreds of millions or even billions of ISK to donate to the I’m shit at life fund. Hell, the publicly accessible Getting into Goonwaffe 101 page on the wiki even has it in big red letters.

    Having said that, I revel in being the bad guy in this fight. All these social justice reddit warriors wish they had the balls to be the bad guys. It just makes it that much sweeter when we win everytime.

    • Montolio Was Right

      2014: “we’re here to ruin your game”
      2015: “oh hey guys, donate us 150,000 USD for our shitty airport paperback about the fountain war”
      2016: “shit, didn’t work, back to ruining your game”

      • Zaand

        Yeah, pretty much. Just think of it as restructuring our corporate vision back to a more successful paradigm; mainly being horrible shitlers.

    • lolgoons

      You sparked them to fight alright. I suppose sitting in station until they go away was also part of the plan.

      • Zaand

        Well we tried sitting in space, but the shortage of chairs and our inability to agree on which direction was “up” made conversation difficult and uncomfortable.

    • CommunistAnimeTroon

      SJWs did 9/11

    • Knobber

      Goons stopped being the bad guys some time back. Now they just represent a toothless corporate entity. Goons a few years ago was fun, it was fun to be the bad guy. That Goons no longer exists.

      If mittens wanted a fight, why has he publicly stated he wont allow you all to fight and the strategy is to stay docked and take the sov back later? How is this being either the bad guy or good for players or the game?

  • Noisrevbus

    Very well written, as always, but it also misses the thing I always love the most when analysis cover both content development and player action or politics. Ripard has a leaning toward political analysis of political development and it always feels as some interesting opportunities get brushed over. For example, I find the political manoeuvering of keeping opponents out of content interesting when looking at how fairly recent changes has made that specific ideal backfire and how that largely promted the CFC to go out of the way to find content (eg., in the lowsec invasions Ripard brings up). It is an interesting step in who drives content even if the conflict now has expanded into Imperium sov space (the attackers now extend from a position of stability and that stability can largely be related back to content development and old policy). Anyway, I’m just storming, thanks for a good read.

    • Zaand

      To be honest, I think you have it backwards. The CFC (and thank you for keeping that mantle alive) was- and inspite of the blitzkreig we’re facing now, are still- in the position of stability. So much so, in fact, that we had to go far out of our way to shake that position and get our rocks off. We were the only power to come out of Aegis pretty much unscathed. It was the rest of nulsec that was unstable: after Aegis sov Black legion disbanded, TEST and friends splintered, N3 disolved, PL went back to being more or less nomadic, and pretty much everyone else gave up large swaths of territory and consolidated holdings in a last ditch effort to remain solvent. It wasn’t until everyone else (MBC) had less to lose by attacking CFC then they did by not attacking that they finally coalesced into a cohesive enough force to threaten the hegemony of the CFC.

      • Noisrevbus

        I hear you, but the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. It’s always difficult to get everything said and said with precision when trying to restrain oneself from long detours, so I only made vague allusions that could have been more precise with better examples.

        What I kind of alluded to though were the same things you bring up, so now we have better examples thanks to you. The only difference is that I looked at it from a perspective of content generation. Not just the sov changes but a combination of those with other things that regarded economy and other such large frameworks may have encouraged those groups to leave sov but it was your group that was left out of content – and moving in to get pieces of the action required you to take content in less advantageous environments (such as lowsec without timers [to stress nodes], bubbles etc., or where certain deep-rooted approaches to content is less effective).

        At least initially.

        • Zaand

          You’ve seen my writing. My detours turn into full blown road trips.

          I do agree completely with you, and not to blow smoke up your exhaust, but I think that you are one of the few who seem to be able to see the big picture of the last few years in EVE. This is the point i’ve been trying to make: CFC is the ultimate victim of its own success. We simply ran out of content. Instability breeds conflict and conflict IS content in EVE. No one would dare attack us, and there was no one left for us to attack. Say what you will about our deployment to fight Horde, but we went looking for content and it tucked tail and ran. Sure, we could have sent a few sigs to go and farm “gudfights”, but that’s not who we are. We just wanted it so bad that Mittani honestly thought Horde would hang around for at least a few weeks and put up a token defense. Whatever their motives though, I don’t blame them.

          Goons, and by extension, CFC, has always played the long game. We love grinding sov, in our own sick masochistic way. We live for the block wars. We lose battle after battle, yet we still win the war somehow. It goes back to our very roots and it’s a pattern that repeats throughout our history. Unfortunately, when our preferred style of game play became untenable, we refused to adapt.

          Of course the ultimate irony in all of this- and the point that most people are missing- is that because of our obstinateness we are finally getting the kind of war that we’ve been waiting for. I can honestly say that I don’t think there are too many members that would be disappointed if we had to rebuild the whole thing from the ground up again.

    • Montolio Was Right

      That ideal did not backfire. If it were not for such a lucky confluence of bad luck and a black swan event like IWI funding then Imperium would still be sitting pretty in the north untouched.

      Let me tell you about EVE players. They make a big song and dance about being so intelligent, but in reality they are the most stupid, dumb, sheep-like playerbase of any game ever. They are worse than Scientology or some other cult when it comes to groupthink and sheep like behavior.

      The great mass of EVE players today are all out for goon blood, sure. Yet only a few MONTHS ago even suggesting an “invasion of the north” would make you an absolute pariah on any eve releated forum or venue. You would be trolled out by almost everyone. When someone respected like Manfred Sideous suggested it he was treated like a kindly demented uncle. When that Russian guy posted on eve-o it was an invitation to mass trolling.

      So no, RECENT CHANGES did not make it backfire. CCP could have made an expansion called “EVE: kill the goon patch” and still the mass of risk averse, delicate-ego eve players would not have made a move. Only a lucky set of coincidences, that, if they had not happened then we would be seeing none of this.

      • Faraboot

        What’s with the fighting words friend? Have I offended you in some way for you to call me ‘the most stupid, dumb sheep-like part of the eve playerbase’? If I have I sincerely apologize, but I’ve no idea who are you, and even If I did, I wouldn’t be offensive towards you, but since you’ve called me out like this, feel free to go fuck yourself.

  • Knobber

    Bat leaving wasn’t so much a brain drain in itself but did put knowledge in the hands of the opposition and was a bit of a PR disaster. The brain drain started in mid 2015 when long time members either got bored and quit, disagreed with mittens/Sion and quit or booted like BOS. These were the military minds of Goons, the people who organised, designed and ran fleets, who’s loss is quite evident right now.

    It’s a confluence of events all tied to one another. I’d like to think Bat and BOS demonstrated there’s life after Goons, and a good one at that. I hope Matteral now recognises what severely diminished actually looks like.

    • Zaand

      Personally, BOS leaving hurt the most. I waited years for the eventual return of Uncle SUAS to lead our fleets in a drunken rage filled tirade of racial epithets, personal shaming, and singing, only to have him get booted by proxy. I still cry a little on the inside and pour a 40 every time I have to F1 him. Come back to us SUAS. We’ll even let you keep the Titan fund this time.

  • Provi Bomber Pilot

    It is good to have you writing again Jester, even if it is a limited time return. You bring a great strategic view of Eve that I think has been lacking recently.

  • Montolio Was Right

    In 3 or 4 years time there will be another giant blob of pets centered around a powerful central alliance.

    In 3 or 4 years time everyone will again say stuff like “they cannot be beaten”, “we can’t find anyone who will do it”, “CCP please nerf them”, “it will never work”.

    Nothing ever changes, nothing is new under the sun.

  • ipvicus

    Good read. More to follow? : )

  • VessZ

    Good to see you write again Teg and good read. Welcome back to World War Bee.

    If Jester’s Trek also comes back to cover the new Null status quo, then the Goons are in some seriously deep sh**.

  • Scooter McCabe

    Hey its Ripard the guy who shamelessly exploited the Bonus Room scandal. Got called out on it and then “quit.” Nice to see this war is bringing back old friends and garbage alike.

    • Jester

      Glad to see you too, Scooter. Glad you resubscribed, unlike me, who has been playing EVE all the last year. I’m really looking forward to putting a few rounds into you.

      • J

        Never mind. Mission accomplished. Nice Falcon you had there. Briefly.

      • Scooter McCabe

        I never left.

  • Chris H

    It seemed like the Great Ennui in EVE began around the time you shuttered your blog. Good to have you back, looking forward to part two (and three and four, etc.). Time to start the Trek again …

  • Loan Wolf

    have to admit first time i have read any thing you wrote and i think i agree with most of it i dont respect what the goons done all tho i do admit that it is impressive

  • Proxay

    Great article mate, love seeing you around. Hope you’re well!

  • Easy Esky

    Good see you against posting Ripard. I will chime in with many and hope that it is not the last we see from you.

    Wars are usually regarded as ended when alliance disbands and/or their members quit Eve. I honestly cannot see that happening to the inner core of Goonswarm. It maybe a nuke going off in their space right now – but like any cockroach they will weather this firestorm with the usual rhetoric and trolling.

    I recall that Napoleon called for a boycott of English goods. It never really worked – perhaps it might be time to try again.

    • The Grid

      I agree that killing Goons to the point they become irrelevant is unlikely. However, there’s multiple outcomes that can be considered a win for the MBC:
      – The CFC is dissolved <- This seems very likely atm.

      – Goons are evicted from their space <- Less likely but still quite possible

      – The CFC supercap fleet is decimated, payback for B-R <- Unpredictable, it would take stupidity or a miss-click

      • dino

        I think they are going into AAA mode, however they are not very clear about it and they are not telling their players what they are going to do between now and when they try to take deklein back. As a result most the user will unsub. or switch side.

        So I am pretty sure that they will be evicted, that CFC will dissolved and that there won’t be any B-R reloaded.

  • Fearlesslittletoaster

    “But if that’s the case, why didn’t the vaunted Imperium diplomacy buy them off?”

    Hell, I’m a career goon and I can put out a pretty likely answer to this: because money matters more to some than others. If I were IWantIsk and an insult like that had been thrown down in front of me I’d be mad as hell. And when you get angry enough, or when you have reputational risk that threatens your business model, or in this case likely both, then not everything can be quantified on a spreadsheet.

    Frankly I’m impressed with IWI’s response. Instead of reacting like an accountant trying to make the ledger come out positive they have reacted like a leadership team, looking at broader considerations than just the fact they want Isk.

  • Jack Jomar

    I’ve missed reading your blog, it has to be said. I’m interested to see what you make of the CO2 chatlog leaks, pullbacks from Vale and surrounding areas, and lowsec deployments of all groups now that fozziesov is being used properly.

  • schwaboy

    If the Imperium made any mistakes, it was not setting 51% of Eve blue. If this war has taught me anything, it’s that numbers are still king.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    Thank god Ripard’s Back.

  • Kurbanis Araeleus

    Nice to see your work again Ripard.

  • John Wolfsson

    aaah , Jester is back 🙂 , nice piece , just like old times
    looking for part two

  • Savagebeanbag

    Yah! I miss your blogs Jester!

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  • Justin

    Fuck Jester, fucking crybaby.