Bee Prepared


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. You can read the first of this two-part series here.

So. Say you’re Goonswarm. You’ve got allies, but you’ve managed to drive some of them off – implying that they’re mentally handicapped in the process. They’re telling your secrets to your enemies. Those enemies are invading. In the meantime, you’re also being invaded from three or four other sides at once, and virtually every major power in the game is kicking at your door. They’re all blue to each other. Hell, you’ve managed to make so much of New Eden angry that even Provibloc has declared war on you and is invading! What happens now?


As with part one of this piece, in this part two, I’m going to again focus on the big picture. Who is going to be holding sov in Fade in six months? I haven’t got a clue. Will The Imperium win? I don’t know that either. But I am going to focus on what happens next both in the short term and in the long. Ready? Here goes.

I’m going to start by invoking my one and only World War II analogy of this piece, and it has almost nothing to do with World War Bee, I promise. On 22nd June 1944, the Soviet Union launched Operation Bagration, their invasion of White Russia, Poland, and ultimately Germany, three years to the day after the German Operation Barbarossa which launched the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The common factor in these two invasions (besides the date) was the fact that they were mirror images of each other. The 1941 invasion introduced the Soviet army to the blitzkrieg style of the German military: concentrated armor operating under a withering rain of aircraft and artillery strikes falling on relatively static troops too married to defending fixed positions who were given “hold or die” orders. The 1944 counter-invasion was its mirror duplicate in virtually every respect. The Germans were even given the same “hold or die” orders that were so fatal to Stalin’s troops three years earlier.

The Russians had three years of schooling from the German army, you see, and had learned their lessons truly and well. They turned those lessons against their enemies.

Want to really annoy Goonswarm leaders? Use their own tactics against them. There is nothing so ironic on this planet or any other as the image of The Mittani on his most recent Meta Show complaining that The Imperium is being blobbed. But it’s a terrific example of something that every ally attacking The Imperium has in common. From NCdot to Test Alliance to Provibloc to the members of Low-Sec Voltron, all of us have experienced their tactics first-hand – for years – and we’re finally not above stealing what works. If anyone in The Imperium tells you this doesn’t scare them, they’re lying their asses off.

Something that The Imperium has always excelled at is their flexibility in battle: they rapidly shift tactics on you, making it hard to respond effectively. You’re trying to counter-punch their last punch, meanwhile, they’ve changed their attack dramatically, leaving you flat-footed. The allies of the Money Badger Coalition – I’m not a fan of this name, but it seems we’re stuck with it – demonstrated this ably when we conquered the UMI-KK station. Declaring he was no longer going to fight fair, The Mittani came at us collectively with massed groups of interceptors supported by Drake and T3D Entosis ships and bombers. The MBC, meanwhile, had formed Voltron and were responding not-particularly-effectively with a massed Proteus fleet. The Proteus ball just wasn’t responding well to the interceptor distraction, allowing enemy Drakes to Entosis in peace in a half-dozen systems.

Rather than sticking to a strategy that wasn’t working, our fleet commanders ordered a split into our respective alliance fleets, each alliance ordered to hold one or two systems of the nine-system constellation of X-VN63. Staying together as Voltron wasn’t working, so we split back into lions. The Red Lion of Snuffed Out (I don’t claim we’re the head, but with our discipline, skill, deep FC bench, and broad time zone coverage, we’re definitely the sword arm) was assigned NL6V-7 and GKP-YT. We defended our two systems, crushed eight or ten Drakes trying to Entosis in our area, swatted a pesky bomber ball, and when four nodes opened in GKP – enough to finish the job – it was Snuffed Out who called the lions back together to reform Voltron in that system. The Imperium’s fleet wasn’t able to respond effectively to this mid-battle change in tactics. UMI’s fall was the consequence.


The next day for another fight, someone on Snuff comms asked if we were just going to split up into alliance fleets anyway, why don’t we just fly the doctrine we wanted to rather than what everyone else was flying? I responded that consistent doctrine was important so we could form Voltron if needed, all of us flying supporting ships with similar qualities. (Because I’m in Snuffed Out, the answer was not “That makes sense”, it was “Who are you, my mother?” 😉 )

Flexible tactics? Keeping a large group of blues together under diplomatic tensions? Coordinating them to use supporting doctrines? Big blobby fleets that break up into components, find targets, then blob back up for the set-piece battle? Ability to cover all three EVE time zones? Striking hard with a solid front while rear echelon troops harass behind enemy lines with cloaky campers? Patient discipline to hit one system after the next without overreaching? Uncatchable sov lasers or unjammable sov lasers? All of these tactics are The Imperium’s thing. Striking for and cutting off enemy staging systems? Definitely The Imperium’s thing.

Oh my yes, the MBC has learned The Imperium’s lessons, and learned them well.

The fact that The Mittani is sounding a little ragged and telepromptery lately isn’t a coincidence. The Imperium’s leadership has never had to face an enemy quite so much like them before, and they’re finding they don’t care for it. The fact that their narrative is swinging toward “There is no way MBC can stay together” and “They’re gonna get bored” and “Who wants to hold sov anyway?” also isn’t a coincidence. If anyone in The Imperium tells you this doesn’t scare them, they’re lying their asses off about that, too.

So, short term big picture? It’s looking really good for the Money Badger Coalition. The Imperium’s alliances are bleeding members, four regions are effectively captured, and MBC forces are advancing to hit Branch, Pure Blind, and Deklein. For the first time ever, YA0-XJ is in easy striking distance of a station held by the enemies of The Imperium.

Let’s look longer term and even bigger picture.

War Is Good For Business

What do the summer of 2013, March of 2014, and the summer of 2015 have in common?

(a) All of them were time periods in which The Imperium won major wars against their enemies.

(b) All of them were time periods in which the number of people playing EVE dropped off a cliff.

(c) Both (a) and (b).

You guessed it. The answer is (c). In the early summer of 2013, The CFC conquered the Honey Badger Coalition in the much-ballyhooed Fountain War. Shortly thereafter, logged-in players in EVE fell 12%. Things improved that autumn – more on this in a second – but in March 2014, the stunning CFC victory in B-R5RB resulted in EVE logged-in player counts cratering by almost 25%. The summer of 2015 marked The Imperium’s invasion of Provibloc, the net result of which was four or five days of chaos followed by another 10% drop of logged-in players.

What do October 2013, February 2014, and April 2016 have in common?

(a) All of them were time periods in which The Imperium was coming under major attack or lost significant conflicts.

(b) All of them were time periods in which the number of people playing EVE climbed dramatically.

(c) Both (a) and (b).



Wow, you’re good at this. Yep, (c) again. October 2013 marked the Halloween War, a significant CFC loss. It resulted in an 11% spike in logged-in players. February 2014 marked the run-up to the CFC’s conflict against RUS and Pandemic Legion. It still marks one of the biggest spikes in logged-in players in EVE’s history, a 13% spike in 45 days which also corresponded with the greatest increase in new player subscriptions CCP has ever seen before or since. The current spike in logged-in players is about 9% and is still growing. Every alliance in EVE – Imperium and Money Badger members both – are welcoming back long-lapsed players.

For the first time in almost a year, EVE is looking positively healthy and vibrant! We’re getting positive buzz from gaming sites and we were trending on Facebook the other day. New player sign-ups are spiking well and though we are not yet on a February 2014 pace, the trend is unmistakable. The EVE sub-reddit is full of new players asking questions. EVE Online is once again getting some much-needed attention from the outside world.

The conclusion is nearly inescapable: when The Imperium wins wars, EVE players unsubscribe en masse. Imperium members unsub super-capital alts and line members unsub because they lack a significant challenge. The alliances crushed by The Imperium lose members, or collapse entirely, players unsubbing in disgust over a blue doughnut which they have no ability to effectively attack. When The Imperium starts losing, the lapsed on both sides return to the flock and EVE enjoys a Renaissance. The more likely it seems that the baddies will lose, the greater the spike.

My friends in The Imperium are convinced that any loss they suffer will be the death knell of EVE. I’m sympathetic. But the evidence doesn’t support that position.

War is invariably good for business, and not just for the participants. Doing industry in EVE in 2015 was a horrible experience: where is the motivation to build anything when nothing in this game explodes? PvE? Nearly as bad. What’s the point of doing yet another escalation when the product of the BPC or the faction mod that drops won’t sell? CCP Fozzie has been cheering over breaking PvP record after PvP record the last week or two. This is good for the PvPers, of course, but the goodness flows downhill to industry and PvE-minded players as well.

So looking at the big picture longer term, I see three possibilities.

Option 1: The Imperium wins World War Bee. This can only be realistically regarded as a worst case scenario. If The Imperium wins this one, at best we can expect a return to the quiet doldrums of late 2015. At worst, we can expect another post B-R situation. After B-R, with no challenges for either side and the failed CCP marketing push for a great war that never really happened, EVE players (both Goons and non-Goons) unsubbed en masse. The Mittani obviously wants this outcome, but if he gets it, how will the Goons avenge themselves on unsubbed players who have no sov and no assets in space to destroy? EVE would probably survive, but would continue to be Space Ultima Online. CCP, meanwhile, would definitely turn their full attention, marketing, and goodwill to Valkyrie and Gunjack.

Option 2: A bloody stalemate rages for months until the autumn drop. Every November, EVE players traditionally turn away from EVE for school finals, the holidays, and other pursuits. It’s hard to imagine World War Bee surviving that, so if the conflict turns into a stalemate, we’ll be seeing epilogues for this war in six months or so. Those six months will be a bright spot in the history of EVE, no question! But from a standpoint of the health of the game, this option is not particularly desirable. A split decision would not attract many new players for long and would be difficult or impossible for CCP to market. “Get out there and maintain the status quo!” is hardly inspiring.

Option 3: The Imperium loses World War Bee. New Eden becomes a whole new world. It’s hard to imagine a total Imperium loss. More likely, I can imagine a significant contraction, Goonswarm choosing a few much-trusted allies to hold a fraction of their current space, but hold that in near-impregnable fashion under a web of strong citadels. Still, can you imagine the joy in Reykjavik? Not over The Imperium losing… over the marketing possibilities. For only the third time in the history of New Eden, an unstoppable, unbreakable coalition will have been stopped, will have been broken. It would be a landmark event in the history of the game.

For a time, cynicism would reign over the former Imperium players, but that wouldn’t last. As I said at the top of part one, Goonswarm is too accomplished, its leaders too strong, its members too dedicated to stay down long. So best possible outcome: Goons lose, they’ll almost certainly stay subscribed, and launch (at some point) a brutal foreverwar of vengeance to either take back their space or wreak revenge havoc on someone. Goons will stay subbed, everyone else will stay subbed, and we’ll have content for a good long while, certainly the next year or more! Sov across the north and west and south will open to new alliances and existing alliances that have never imagined themselves as sov-holders. That will attract a lot of new players. So not only will EVE Online keep the players we have, we may very well recover to where we were in 2012-2013.

I can imagine no brighter future for EVE Online.

During their messaging push for their Fountain War Kickstarter book, The Mittani and other Goonswarm leaders claimed that they wanted nothing more than the health of the game. If that’s true, the best thing they can do is lose World War Bee. Will they? Well, Mittens would remind us here that wars are about hatred and vengeance.

The Money Badger Coalition definitely has that.

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

About the author

Ripard Teg

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

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    Great stuff. Would love to see Jester’s Trek back alive again, but I understand that’s probably wishful thinking!

  • Rob Kaichin

    I waited, I believed, I was rewarded.The mighty Jester has returned.

    Pleaaaseee keep writing, even if it’s just an article a month where you rubbish the righteous and condemn the cowardly. It’d make all our futures brighter.

    “My friends in The Imperium are convinced that any loss they suffer will be the death knell of EVE. I’m sympathetic.”

    Could it be that, considering the talent drain they’ve had, a loss might end with the disbanding of most, if not all, of their allies’ alliances? I’m looking pointedly at TNT and EXE, both of whom seem to possess about 5 active PvPers right now. (Yes, I’m aware that EU primetime doesn’t suit them all that much.)

    A more over-arching question is this: How many players stop playing once they lose a war? More particularly, how many *important* players stop playing?

    IF (It is a big if :P) most of their ‘middle management leaders’ quit, how, and in what form, will a reduced Goonswarm continue?

    • Jester

      The thing about Goonswarm and their allies that often gets lost is how resilient they are. They’ve not only conquered more regions than anyone else in the game, they’ve also lost more regions than anyone else in the game.

      They still seem to be around despite that.

      No, I can’t see anything like a total Imperium collapse in our future. Contraction? Sure. Lose a few corps or even a few alliances here and there? Absolutely (and the game will be better for it!). But The Imperium isn’t going to be crushed by this any more than PL was crushed by B-R.

      As for mid-level leadership, the last three or four years have been the *worst* possible time for mid-level leadership in the history of EVE. Every aspiring FC or alliance leader during this period has been force-fit into apprentices for the existing FCs and alliance leaders, with zero chance to develop their own style, structure, or methods. If the current crop dies off, good riddance to them. Seriously.

      A new generation will spring up and maybe we’ll have some fresh ideas about how things should be done in this game for a change.

      • Montolio was right

        A “few” corps? GSF has now nearly hundred corps who are literally renting. They will be 100% guaranteed to go. Then however many will jump ship because the game is not on easy mode. Look how many left TEST after fountain.

        TEST will probably be the largest alliance by the time this has ended.

        • Kamar Raimo

          :sigh: again?

          • Messiah Complex

            Largest alliance or not, they’re going to be huge.

      • Kamar Raimo

        It’s all fair. If GSF becomes something like a 2-3K account alliance with maybe a handful of pets numbering in the high hundreds and they collectively hold sway over a region or two I’d be happy.

        I am also pretty sure that The Mittani and his crew will fight tooth and claw to prevent this from happening because it could threaten their ability to monetize their playerbase and (gasp) force The Mittani to get a job.

        • Ampelbein

          “because it could threaten their ability to monetize their playerbase and (gasp) force The Mittani to get a job.”

          You really think that ad revenue/plex purchasing from TMC can feed even a single person? That is delusional.

          • INFAMOUS Pilot

            Yes. The company I work for has clients which run ad-supported websites in niches with a far smaller audience than TMC and they generate that much or more.

          • xanderphoena

            Feel free to drop me an email – midi2304 Would legitimately like to talk to you about this.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Well, the last most credible leak said that the man himself earns 1000-2000$ a month from this.

            This is not much of course by my standards, but I do understand that the United States are a Third World Country so that might be impressive.

  • GrouchyOldGamer

    Can’t believe how grrr Goons this site has gone, it is outrageous.

    PS: nice article

    • LePewPew

      Just give it time. GrrrrThoseBeeGuys is soon to be over.

      All hail our new GrrrrMoneyBadgerCoalition GrrrrOverlords!

      • James

        If you think MBC would stay together after CFC fell, then you are a dumb,dumb head.

    • Kamar Raimo

      We are gearing up to becoming the replacement of TMC as the authoritative source of coalition news once the MBC takes over.

    • I assume you’re joking, right? Or are you selectively not reading the articles from Imperium members?

  • G

    This. This is what I’ve missed most about Jester’s Trek.
    Forget the bias, propaganda and spin. The hatred and brutality.
    Just a focus on the facts, the figures, the big picture.

    And the hope of what World War Bee could mean for the future of EVE Online, and all the players who play it, no matter which side they fight for.

  • Assignment: Compare and contrast the statements above about the importance of this war in null sec to the future of the game with the oft quoted statement from CCP that only some small percentage of players ever enters null sec space.

    Does EVE Online revolve around null sec or not?

    • Maichin Civire

      Nullsec creates one of the best stories. I don’t deny lowsec content, but it’s nullsec, where empires are created.

      “Oh boy, remember when we’ve gotten that three Angel Extravaganzas one after another? That was wild!” sounds way worse than “Oh boy, remember when our two dominixes were dropped by blackops battleships and stealth bombers while running a Sanctum, but we managed to kill the ships that pointed us and run away?”.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Only that the reality is more like: “Remember when I lost my tenth ratting carrier against those guys dropping into system from a wormhole. Well, it was already replaced anyway”

      • Niko Lorenzio

        You have to realize that nullsec is not the main driving force behind Eve. It simply one very visible representation of the core ideal that defines it. Our agency over our own destiny, being able to work together, our actions having meaningful visible consequences and our ability to affect the universe and each other. These are the things that define EVE and nullsec just serves as a bigger proof of these possibilities. They exist everywhere on daily basis and I promise you the average player cares much more about their own little highlights than these large scale battles that they weren’t a part of.

    • Bill Bones

      EVE is a game so well done, that only works properly once each two years, when something as exceptional as a war of tens of thousands happens…

    • sayod

      “War is invariably good for business, and not just for the participants. Doing industry in EVE in 2015 was a horrible experience: where is the motivation to build anything when nothing in this game explodes? PvE? Nearly as bad. What’s the point of doing yet another escalation when the product of the BPC or the faction mod that drops won’t sell?”

      (yes I am too lazy to write my own answer – don’t complain, you were too lazy to read)

  • Kamar Raimo

    “Rather than sticking to a strategy that
    wasn’t working, our fleet commanders ordered a split into our respective
    alliance fleets, each alliance ordered to hold one or two systems of
    the nine-system constellation”

    Finally you nullsec scrubs have learned how to capture constellations with multiple conquerable targets. Took you long enough since Aegis 😛

    • EVE players are retarded

      It’s funny because upon release of Aegis CCP released a video spoon-feeding you the literal strategy to use.


      CCP even made it really simply with little colored toy ships so even a 9 year old child could understand, but still it takes a year for the average retarded EVE player to realise “oh, maybe we should do this”.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Social Adaptation Time Lag is the best friend of all smugposters 🙂

    • Rob Kaichin

      Are we nullsec scrubs because we’re new to nullsec, or are we nullsec scrubs because you think we’re bad at nullsec?

      • Kamar Raimo

        No, you are scrubs because you are in nullsec and don’t know how to fight properly 😛

  • Gunnplox

    Jester, thanks for writing this. As an Imperium member who has only been playing for about 18 months, and wasn’t around for all the glory days of old, I keep finding myself looking for a real voice in all of this. I mean, look at my information outlets: r/eve, and Both incredibly biased, and both, well, unreliable. So, thank you for coming back to pick up the pen, even if just for a bit.

    I see a lot of talk about how the end of the Imperium would be a good thing for Eve as a whole, at least the end of the current style/shape of the Imperium (as you’ve noted, it will likely live on just in a modified form). Are you concerned that the CCP marketing push, the reactivation of old accounts from both sides of the Imperium/MBC, and the new subscription numbers are all going to essentially create nothing more than a temporary “bubble” of interest in Eve that will soon collapse leaving Eve in an even worse place than before?

    I ask because it seems that all this new/renewed interest is based around the CCP marketed idea of sov-empires, massive fleet, large-hull doctrine, epic space battles!! .. and I’m worried that the changes in Sov mechanics, combined with the defeat of the Imperium as we know it, will leave all those returned vets and newbros that came to/back to Eve precisely to enjoy the current situation will soon feel disappointed or bored and subsequently unsub and walk away.

    TLDR: If the explosion of interest in Eve is based on the current war.. what happens when the war ends? They came for a huge war.. will they stick around afterwards? Isn’t this supposed to be the last war of this kind due to ~game changes shifting meta~?

    • Messiah Complex

      No one knows what comes after. Part of the reason people are fighting this war is because they want to find out.

    • Anubis714

      If MBC wins this war, don’t expect them to stay blue. Too many of them enjoy shooting eachother too much for that to stay that way. The MBC is an alliance of convenience, of shared animosity. Once that’s gone, it’ll descend into chaos as everyone scrambles to gobble up the remnants of what was once the CFC.

      Provided the MBC wins soundly, that is.

      • fdafdsf

        Exactly. Since the days of BoB, the new power that replaced the existing one has always created their own new blue dohnut.

        MBC is different – for the first time, the new power isn’t a hegemony sandcastle builder, but former enemies and pillagers. Look at the players in this flash mob: BBC isn’t going to suddenly warm up to their archenemy Shadow Cartel once goosn fell. PL isn’t going to make nice with TC(formerly known as BL). Take an even more extreme example in MBC, Spectre Fleet – they literally can’t blue anyone anyway. This time, there will be no new blue dohnut to replace the old one.

        • Gunnplox

          That’s a really good point. While I have every intention of seeing this thing through and not bailing out (I’m having a lot of fun to be honest, but I realize I have a lot less at stake than longer-standing Imperium members), there’s definitely a part of me that is excited at the possibilities that may follow our downfall.

          A huge map full of small and mid sized entities fighting it out, forming brief alliances, shifting around and revitalizing the game sounds incredible. It feels like that’s what CCP is after, and I fully understand why having a massive blue donut/oppressive power bloc present in the game could easily lead to boredom and dissatisfaction with the game for thousands of other players.

          I have enjoyed my time with the Imperium, and enjoy it still, but if the house falls I’ll continue playing and looking forward to future fun. Here’s to hoping that sub numbers continue their upward momentum.

        • RussianSOBR

          The Power that replaced BOB (Northern coalition, XIX russians, Goons, KIA and PL) all reset each other.

          The power that replaced the Northern coalition (Ncdotte, PL, WN, Raiden) all reset each other.

          Keep trying.

    • Provi Miner

      actually it will devolve back into brush wars think the dutch wars in Africa constant fights with nothing gained

  • Ok

    Its amazing how larger coalitions are bleeting about anti-blob / divide and conquer tactics that have been used in even the smallest system pushes in FW for years.

  • Easy Esky

    Maybe if MBC get bored of null – they can visit the usual mini-luv haunts of Uedama and Niarja to ruin that game.

  • schwaboy

    This presents some interesting thoughts. To beat what they hate, the rest-of-Eve coalition has had to become what they hate. The irony is not lost on me.

    The cries of Goons = BoB have been plastered across Eve for years — and maybe it’s true. Maybe in the end we became what we hated. And now, others have become what they hated.

    • Mike Dawe

      Depends on whether the Allies try to stay together AFTER. That will be whether it is ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”


    • Kamar Raimo

      Maybe Karttoon saw that this was the only direction Goons could go from their victory and this was why he disbanded. Mittani revived that corpse and made it into Revenant BoB

  • EL

    As a Provi grunt I may have this wrong, but I’m under the impression we’re there strictly for 3rd party kills. We shoot anything that’s red (MBC included) and are NOT allowed to entosis stuff.

    As far as I’m aware, we are solely there to pew pew reds (that’s about 90% of EVE)

    • EW

      I am under the same impression too… we shoot everybody that is KOS. we are not targetting Goons or attacking any Sov… we are there for the fights

  • Bill Bones

    Meanwhile as war rages in nullsec and CCP is in bliss over PCU being back to 2014’s levels, highsec and PvE are a centrifugal machine of players which slowly and steadily grinds out the base of the pyramid, one player at a time, bringing down PCU for no reason.

    This war will be over one day or another. Then PCU will go back to normal as big war soldiers unsub. And then, PvE still will be terrible, highsec still will be worthless for advanced players, solo players sitll will be second class citizens and EVE will keep dying from a slow bleed of the 62% who don’t feel compelled to pay CCP for the PvP.

    If big war is what takes to keep EVE alive, just fuckin’ make the ships almost free and call it a day as players pay for the privilege to kill each other forever without the hassle of abysmal PvE. It’s a model that works fine for Wargaming.

  • Joe Wagner

    I might argue its War that boosts the subs- not who wins or loses. Putting articles in the news about “X dollar amount of ships lost in OU812” makes more nerds look at EVE in a positive light— “3000+ people PvPing at one time? WOW!”

    I mean- its one reason I started back after B-R: thinking I could sell tons of stuff to rebuild all the Titans lost— little did I know they were already replaced 😛

  • Niko Lorenzio

    I really expected better from you than trying to tie future of the game with the future of the Imperium. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. I’m no fan of the Goons but scapegoating them for every Eve problem is getting ridiculous. CCP and players need to man up and take responsibility for their own failures.

  • Noisrevbus

    Damn, this is just like the other article. That example is superbly good, astoundingly interesting and rooted in some concrete data. There is so much that could be said about it, yet it is left at “playing the bad guy” or other past-self-titulated aspects (like “Imperium is good at organisation”) that sort of bases the analysis on propaganda rather than all awesome discourses Ripard could tie his gemstone of data to. It’s still a very good article, but oh boy, is he a tease.