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.