David, Goliath and the M-Other of All Fights


Last night, EVE Online broke the record for most players in one solar system at any one time. At the height of the Circle of Two Keepstar siege in M-OEE8, a reported 5300+ capsuleers had crammed into system for their own “I was there” moment. This was the crowning jewel of the Tribute war, which had been the entertainment of choice this fall for those with the means to participate. There were no brakes on the hype train and even The Scope reported:


Of course, as we all know, these “moments” tend to be hours long, 3-4 FPS grinds in soul-crushing TiDi where you pray and sacrifice many goats in the hope that your modules will work and that you can move. So, depending on your perspective, it’s either an “I was there” moment – the epitome of the EVE experience, to be found nowhere else in gaming ever… or cruel and unusual punishment. But that’s a whole other story.


Let’s talk about the Tribute war instead.

In essence, this was the ultimate David & Goliath story – only this is EVE, so of course Goliath wins. Starring as David, we have the stoic Circle of Two – traitors to the Imperium and heroes of World War Bee by the same token, respected by most and with a good record of battlefield competence. Tag-teaming with Co2, TEST Alliance Please Ignore – also erstwhile allies to the former regime in the north (albeit, a long time ago) – one of the main driving forces and boots-on-the-ground alliances in WWB. During the Tribute war, these were supplemented at times by the likes of Project.Mayhem and Snuffed Out, both high-level organisations that lack the sheer numbers of Co2 and TEST, but make of for it in combat experience and quality hardware.

arguably the most powerful coalition of forces in EVE today

In the role of Goliath for this tale, we have the giant siamese twin that is Pandemic Legion + PanFam / Northern Coalition – arguably the most powerful coalition of forces in EVE today. Within PanFam, we have Pandemic Horde that had the numbers for the daily sov grind of the war, with Pandemic Legion and NC. acting as the proverbial hammer. And the size of that hammer is what earns this side the Goliath title in the war.

While there were other allies that had also bent the knee to Goliath, chief among them concerning the Tribute war has been Mercenary Coalition, who while at the beginning of a conflict were neutral, opted to side with NC/PL after hostile disagreements with Co2. They played an active role in the war and were seen on the front lines many times, carrying out key operations. Because Goliath needed more allies, right? Ehm.

Anyway, back to that NC/PL hammer. Today, it is widely believed that these two combined represent the largest force of supers (supercarriers and titans) in the game, particularly NC., and they have made it no secret during the war. The battle of SH-1 earlier in the war, where Co2 lost several supers, is a prime example.

It is one in many. NC/PL would routinely drop ridiculous amounts of capitals on key timers, far outnumbering anything the opposing Co2/TEST/PM/Snuff could have dropped.

So no matter how amazing propaganda art Cymek made (and holy shit was it amazing, probably the best propaganda ever made in EVE), this war was always going to go one way, and everyone knew it. Co2 and TEST put up an amazing resistance, outwitting their opponents on several occasions, virtually stalling the invasion for the first two months, but there’s no stopping the hammer. Even half-heartedly, PanFam and NC. were going to win this war in the end. Once Killah Bee (PL campaign commander of WWB fame) came back about a month ago, the Tribute war became a one-way street.

This brings us to the question of why this war happened in the first place?

PanFam/NC. got bored and looked to an enemy they could comfortably beat.

The simple answer is this: PanFam/NC. got bored and looked to an enemy they could comfortably beat. They don’t need Tribute; this was just something they did. This was a heavyweight fighter picking a fight against an overly optimistic and scrappy lightweight who wouldn’t give up until the bitter end – but who also didn’t have a choice in the matter.

It might be argued that if NC/PL actually wanted a war with any real danger involved, they would have gone after the Imperium again – a coalition that didn’t even use their considerable supercap fleet in WWB – or the Russians in the east, as someone put it: “The Super Coalition of the East, the largest eve online player organisation you didn’t know existed.

Surely, one of these opponents would have made more sense? On the other hand, did Goliath want a fight, or did they want a win and something to do? They needed a war to keep their members happy, all those supercap pilots get grumpy when they don’t get to use their big toys. What better way to satisfy that need than to repeatedly drop them on an enemy you know represents no real threat to losing them?

Conversely, it could be argued that the Imperium have stated that if they were attacked in Delve, they would tuck tail and run again, and that the political landscape of the Russian east is a complex and obscure one – NC/PL are friendly with some, not others, who in turn have connections that complicate matters. And if you ask pilots in NC., they’ll tell you that Co2 were chosen because they could put up a fight.

So while the Tribute War has been good fun, and relatively good natured – there was no real animosity on either side – calling it a real war is a bit of a stretch. It was a spectacle, an invasion, something to do and food for the headlines. Certainly, there was room for heroism, cunning and plenty of, albeit one-sided, fights, but this was the gladiators of the Coliseum with their backs to the wall facing Roman legionaries in full armour, twice their number. It was entertainment of patricians and plebeians alike, and the M-O keepstar was the tumbs down at the end – crowd goes wild, everyone went to the show. Furthermore, unlike WWB, David actually fought to the bitter end, making Goliath pay with blood for every inch gained.

But yeah, how about you pick on someone your own size Goliath?


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Tags: CO2, keepstar, M-OEE8, niden, Tribute War

About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.

  • DireNecessity

    Dramatic Reaction!!!


  • Free Can

    Goons still have the correct strategy against this lot, which is (SADLY) to bore them to death and never feed, and this war result will only convince them even more to stick to it.

    • justadickhead

      I don’t think goons will ever do that again. Unless it’s a hopeless situation, which at the end of WWB it kind of was

      • Wrong

        Yes we would. No point in throwing away your assets to 5000 bended knee PL/NC. Pets

        • Ghost Rider

          There lies in the problem with what I believe is a small but important segment of goon members. They seem to have forgotten that Eve is just a game, nothing more.

          Those asserts you speak off, they are just pixels. They are not real.

          You have a choice, enjoy the game for what it is and have some fun like Co2 and TEST have done or just simply log off and not play.

          I saw a lot of posts from goon line members who had lots of fun during WWB and would happily do it again. They realised that this is just a game and its much more fun blowing up ships then sitting in a station or just logging off.

          I know it goes against the Mittani’s narrative but for a long time now Eve Online is now just a method for him to make money (TMC, CFC rename and kickstarter) which is fair enough, each to their own and all of that.

          I just wish that goon line members would leave him to it, form a new alliance and have some fun. Eve would be a much more entertaining place with Goons flying around and blowing shit up just to have fun.

      • Free can

        Goons did it successfully for YEARS before wwb, and it would even have been successful in wwb, except pure hate for mittani drove many to continue the horrible uncontested entosis grind.

        Also this article has it ŵrong again that PL paid with blood, it was pets and wannabes that paid, while PL were barely touched. PL paid more blood while fighting hero coalition than they did fighting co2/test.

        • johnny

          You are right thats because PL didnt come in till the end. Without PL, NC was making very little progress.

    • cloaky sniper raven

      You should also add a note that this is known, collectively, as the limp dick strategy.

    • Niden

      I mean, sure, I can see that argument, and there are plenty of people that think Gigx has more balls than brains. But _for sure_ Co2 and TEST enjoy far more respect than Goons do now, specifically for that reason, and they _did_ amazing work initially, before PL and NC committed proper.

  • justadickhead

    so fighting to protect your space, after you find out that your former ally is using it to pay some other group in order to join the war, is now called bending the knee. Interesting definition.

    • Niden

      t r i g g e r e d ?

      • justadickhead

        a bit 🙂

  • Yakov

    The thing I dislike about this is the way elite groups team up with the other elite groups rather than fighting them. Its a lazy approach which makes the game less interesting than it used to be. You see it on a smaller scale in low sec where pirate groups often blue other pirate groups who are there best targets for good fights.

    • Niden

      Well this has been a thing/problem for ages, especially when it comes to nullsec fighting. In the case of NC and PL, they have such a long standing relationship that it’s unlikely to break up simply due to their long history.

    • Quesa

      While this has been a thing in Eve Online for some time, NC/PL are bound by more than just similar play styles. The top brass in both have been very good friends for the better part of the games life.

  • Zeghart

    Gigx is the type of character that you either love or hate

    I would guess that enough people in PL/NC. got tired of him being kind of a loudmouth and that painted a giant target over Co2’s head. Add to that the boredom and the fact that the two sides had history fighting each other when Co2 was a Goon pet, and the casus belli – although weak – seems quite clear

    EvE is often more personality-driven than gameplay-driven – there aren’t always good reasons for things to happen

    • Midtown East

      You don’t need a casus belli in this game.

  • Jangle UK

    Final round of the main event: Cost to Co2 = one Keepstar (300bn ISK). Cost to PanFam/NC around 1350 ships (200bn ISK). Co2 punch hard and are no light weight crew. The outcome was a foregone conclusion. The cost to PanFam/NC is in their pocket, not their pride.