Silver Linings


In my last article, I talked about the GSF withdrawal from then north, and their potential destinations, as well as the impact this would have on the political climate of both the MBC and nullsec as a whole. After doing that I was, perhaps rightfully, called out for having a negative tone. As it turns out, talking about an alliance’s potential future destinations and the challenges they will face often come with a frank assessment of their weaknesses and the needs of their organisation, which are often not too flattering. So, to compliment that, I will be going over what GSF did right in WWB, and the strengths they’ve acquired over the last six months or so of bitter fighting. As things stand, they managed to survive having their coalition bested in the field, a fall that has broken innumerable alliances in the past and rendered yet more in need of years of recuperation, and can now actively relocate and take a region. Given this is not an empty threat, it is a testament to how well they have ultimately handled themselves. As such, I decided to talk about some of the things that the GSF and Imperium did correctly during WWB, in the hopes that people not only understand what they did right, but are able to better emulate the successes of the organisation.

Protecting Line Members

GSF and its allies have always held the treatment of line members in high regard

GSF and its allies have always held the treatment of line members in high regard, from introducing what has to be one of the most robust and capable SRP programs, ensuring that they have a way to acquire enough ISK to achieve their in game goals, and making life as easy as possible for content creators (through PLEX for FC’s). And this is a position they have maintained throughout the affair. Their retreat to Saranen, whilst widely mocked at the time, ensured that the vast majority of players were able to extract their assets to near un-interdictable safety, before the war had even touched their main holdings. The continuation of constant skirmish fleets and taking larger fights wherever it was possible to win ensured that both FC’s and line members were not lead into discontent with leadership, with ‘Oppression Fleets’ offering what was felt as a real way to fight back to everyone who wanted to get serious about it. It’s also no coincidence that the first announcement that came after them publicly declaring that they would be leaving was the ‘Undergoon Railroad’, which has the stated aim of helping to extract their line members assets from hostile territory. GSF has, as best as possible, insulated their line members and content creators from the effects of their eviction as the events of WWB unfolded, which is why GSF is still the single biggest alliance in the game, and why its line members still trust and follow the guidance of their leadership (or, at least, do not openly disagree with them).

The Mittani

Externalisation of Blame

This piece of narrative control is something the GSF has always found itself uniquely gifted at, but never before has it been challenged in such a way. It is to their credit that they have been able to – even externally – stop the buck of blame from being passed to any member alliance or individual within their coalition. Despite the fact that SMA leadership is almost singularly to blame for the inception of the war, and the showing of weaknesses that lead to the eventual mercantile dogpiling, never once did The Mittani or any other public figurehead come close to scalding them for their actions. Nor has any alliance been publicly singled out for being ‘sub-par’ at aiding in the defence. The overwhelming focus of the narrative has been on the lack of morality and honesty within their enemies, and the supposed hypocrisy of their narrative, memetic functions which have kept the blame for the coalition losing its space centred on external factors. This is something other alliances have failed spectacularly at in the past, by either over-demonising people who joined the enemy but are known by line members to be good people (-A-/SoCo’s collapse), or by blaming all non-head alliances for the overall failures of the coalition (BoB/IT). GSF have walked the fine line of making their enemies clear and despicable, but without going so overboard that their line members are being 1984-ed, and in doing so kept the main alliance together and on the same page to keep the momentum of the organisation intact.

Threat Assessment

They recognised immediately that any battle that escalated to the super capital level would lead to the destruction of the supercap fleet of the Imperium

This is a point that I contend the leadership has done an excellent job in, and one that will immediately be attacked with quotes from various public figureheads of GSF, talking about how the war will be won, though in more eloquent displays of sophistry. The important thing to look at here is not the words spoken by leadership, but by the actions taken. They recognised immediately that any battle that escalated to the super capital level would – without clear and present DRF support – lead to the destruction of the supercap fleet of the Imperium, and with it the power of abusing Escalation Theory to dictate the ship types opponents could bring to smaller engagements. See how the greatest subcap clashes of the war (2DWM, M-O) took place in either cyno-jammed systems, or were done with minimal capital presence that would necessitate escalation to save committed assets on the Imperium side. Note how once the MBC began to form into the single biggest coalition the game has, and likely ever will see, they moved their coalition staging to Saranen. It is worth noting that I believe this is the reason for the ‘Hellwar’ rhetoric previously established, to test the resolve of the remaining MBC alliances to withstand continued assaults and engage in the Aegis sov equivalent of SBU spamming. When it turned out that this wasn’t going to be enough to dissuade the major forces, they began to look for routes out of the situation, to assuage the threat of their own pilots burning out after seeing no visible progress in the war, which lead to the Oregoon Trail manoeuvre.


WWB was the first major, publicised war to be fought under the new paradigm of sov control. With that, the methods of fighting it were effectively unknown to the Skyteam, with their only experience being a faux-campaign against Providence, which taught them little about defending any sov and was as such effectively irrelevant during the war. So, they were effectively running the defensive war from no practical backing, outnumbered, and with doctrines that had been crafted specifically to compete with the forces of the Lowsec Voltron. To deal with this they cycled through several new doctrines, and whilst some of them might have been ill-conceived, if you dig a little deeper, they are all based on the need to provide something that can be pointed as a victory for them and their allies. Swordfleet was an attempt to abuse the nature of Interceptors to pick off isolated targets and deny the numerically superior opponent a meaningful engagement. The re-rolling out of Baltec fleet was an attempt to re-rally into a strategic facing doctrine that would attempt to win the ISK war against the pirate BS focused doctrines, and then the move to Hurricanes as the default tactical doctrine cemented this mindset. The Siegefleets were an attempt to wreak havoc on the infrastructure of their enemies. Perma-MWD Caracals are a way to teach skirmish FC’s and deny ‘funfleets’ in the conflict by destroying frigates and destroyers. All of these are valid tactics, and whilst they are rooted in very classical Dominon thinking, they do signal the willingness to adapt to the situation. This will likely be one of their greatest assets going forwards, as they refine their MWD Tech 3, Naug & other, more heavy lifting compositions for their new conquests.

Regaining Momentum

GSF has been nothing if not deliberate in their timing of making both announcements and changes to their overall stratagem. This is veering into the realms of speculation, but I believe that the decision to leave now, when some gains had been made in Pure Blind already is not indicative of GSF leadership not ‘caring’ about the work done by the line members as some have suggested on Reddit. I believe it is a deliberate attempt to leave the north on a resurgent note, the momentum of which they can use to drive their line members to prosecute it. Combined with tactics that have been proven to be successful, and the last experiences with Aegis sov now being that of hard fought victories rather than bitter losses, this should aid them in bringing the huge well-formed fleets that GSF has been historically known for. The intent there would be to snowball said momentum as some parts of the MBC fracture off to come and aid those defending the target region, and grind them down in piecemeal, separating the diehard anti-Goon elements from the mercantile opportunists of the bunch.

These points all speak to the strong core leadership in GSF

These points all speak to the strong core leadership in GSF. It may have made some blunders, but the minds that drove the CFC and Imperium to its heady heights are still mostly there, with only a few (albeit well known) departures from this core. This is why, when I described the Imperium as ‘functionally dead’ in my last article, there was no hint of me tying that to GSF itself. They are still easily in the top three strongest alliances in the game, and whilst they may have lost WWB their next, great conflict has only just begun – The War of Goonish Survival. And, contrary to popular opinion, I think they might just win this one.


Tags: goons, gsf, Imperium, Jin'taan, wwb

About the author


Jin'taan is the wearer of a great many hats, being an FC, solo PvPer, dumb suit connoisseur, member of the CSM, political commentator and prolific producer of interviews. Currently, he resides within Test Alliance Please Ignore.

  • Kamar Raimo

    “This is something other alliances have failed spectacularly at in the
    past, by either over-demonising people who joined the enemy but are
    known by line members to be good people”

    I am with you on the whole “this is what they did well” thing except for that. They have cast Co2 as traitors and backstabbbers while that was not entirely true. There was even that whole manufactured threat of “they wanted to take out our supercap fleet” which was a complete fabrication at the time.

    The CFC have definitely demonised allies, and they checked all the boxes in an major failcascade, many of which have been established by The Mittani himself.

    • Vertigoe

      Co2 not backstabbers? You were not in our coalition then, were you in one of the 2 alliances evacuating Vale of the Silent or part of the coalition trying to defend Vale from attacks. There was no defending Vale, I was sitting on the border of tribute in Vale evaccing when we were told we had 30 minutes till a reset of standings, then that alliance did not simply reset us they actively joined in the fight against their former blues, that is a backstabber and a traitor.

      • Provi Miner

        so the story of lawn and co2 holding the line is a lie? if you tell your best two non core groups to hold the line then pull one of them back leaving the other hanging I think it would be hard to fault them for switching sides

        • Vertigoe

          There was nothing to hold, against what we were against the entire coalition could not have held Vale. I was there fighting for vale it was a losing proposition without help. The line you are talking about is some secret plan of co2’s which did not include the coalition but some plan to leave and take lawn/bastion with them and that was never in the cards. Reason co2 flipped is because they did not want to be on the front line as lawn/bastion were, they knew it couldn’t hold so it flipped.

          • Darkwing

            They gave away restricted intel about where capitals and super capitals were being built its literally the definition of traitor, and treason. Selling classified intel. LOL come on Vertigoe seriously.

          • Vertigoe

            I am agreeing with you, you listed even more reasons they are traitors and backstabbers.

          • Darkwing

            How many times do you think in your life you shit your pants? Im at like at least 5+. Probably good for once every 2 years.

          • Vertigoe

            I have lost count, but that reset was one of them.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Well, I read those “incriminating” diplomatic logs Sion released, and after being patronised and talked down to for so long and then left hanging, I wouldn’t call what Co2 did treason, I would call it emancipation.

        • Darkwing

          Its treason dude, if they wanted to emancipate themselves just reset standings and be a bystander in the war. That has a different term called deserting, which is fine if they were mistreated.

          If your wife treats you like shit, and then you fuck another woman, is that cheating or not? it is.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Hey, it was against the Imperium, that makes it a Rebellion 😛

    • Smeghammer

      Please do enumerate the “major boxes” of failscading.

      • Kamar Raimo
        • Smeghammer

          We seem to have forgotten to collapse and disband.

          • Kamar Raimo

            The coalition collapsed, your fleet numbers are abysmal for an alliance that size. Just because you still keep all those inactives in your alliance and not officially pulling the plug doesn’t mean you haven’t gone through a major collapse.

          • Smeghammer

            This may be a strange concept to you, but a coalition dying(and yes, I agree, for the most part it’s dead) isn’t quite a failscade. There’s also the lack of stolen assets, alliance isk, department of major corporations, high level leadership, etc.
            Also, really, please show me the extensive list of alliances able to go toe-to-toe with our fleet numbers. I’m not going to say we have the best ratios ever, but seriously mate. You’re trying WAY too hard to claim goons are dead.

          • Kamar Raimo

            Well, the jury is still out. You retreated for now and we shall see which extensive list of alliances *you* guys can actually go to-to-toe with and win.

            I’m not declaring you dead, I am declaring you the losers. Whether that kills the alliance is unlikely. After all, even TEST survived losing.

          • Rob Kaichin

            “lack of stolen assets, alliance isk, department of major corporations, high level leadership”

            Everything you’ve listed there has happened:

            A Goon JF pilot stole a bunch of uncollatoralised contracts.
            A Goon Director stole the SRP fund, then left.
            Repercussus (250 guys) left.
            2 Freight service leaders left, 3 or 4 various directors left (or were kicked in a swarm [Hah, geddit?] of paranoia)
            Other leaders have gone very quiet.

          • Vertigoe

            And that has impacted us how? Enjoy your fight club.

          • Rob Kaichin

            Who said anything about impact?

            Keep attacking the words you imagined, it’s a sign of total sanity.

          • Vertigoe

            so by your thinking the list of things that have been done to us mean we are fails cascading but it didnt impact us in your next statement. Those are your words not mine, but enjoy the space I hope you make as much isk as I did.

          • Rob Kaichin

            Your reading ability continues to shine…

            From Smeghammer:

            “a coalition dying(and yes, I agree, for the most part it’s dead) isn’t quite a failscade. There’s also the lack of stolen assets, alliance isk, department of major corporations, high level leadership, etc. ”

            I was correcting that second sentence. I said nothing about the first sentence.

            Seriously, you’re hallucinating words on the screen. Take a break.

          • Smeghammer

            Hm, point. I’d hardly say it’s really impacted us(especially the SRP one, even the guy that stole it said it was irrelevant), but fair point.

          • Rob Kaichin

            Oh sure, absolutely, but gotta ~correct that record~.

            (Lookee that, a IRL and Eve reference!)


          • Kamar Raimo

            … also Am0k has left, but arguably that was before the war really kicked off

          • Rob Kaichin

            Am0k left?

            I swear that was a troll.

          • Kamar Raimo

            It was? Ah apparently it was. Well, i didn’t check back then just remember that someone told me that last year or so.

          • Smeghammer


    • dagger906

      It’s kinda sad. Mittani demonized CO2, the best and most capable alliance in his coalition, yet stood by Monkies, possibly the most incompetent sov alliance in all of Eve. SMA brought this war on goons, while CO2 fought hard for goons, dug their heels in and fought in Machs while others brought ceptors and cerebrus.

      Goons deserve the kind of allies they get.

      • Kamar Raimo

        How they kept supporting SMA was rather weird to me too. No idea what was going on behind the scenes there. In the end SMA left them anyway and collapsed, so all the effort was for nothing except maybe keeping your numbers up by widoting some of the alliance.

      • Vertigoe

        co2 was neither the best nor most capable that would be The Initiative. Have fun with Co2 but don’t trust them,

        • dagger906

          Init. brought t3ds. They were useless from beginning to end.

          How useful an ally is depends on what they bring to the fight. 250 Machs is a good sign. 100 Cerbs is better than nothing. 50 destroyers means they should be resetted.

    • Neckerll

      Co2 was no more ally at this point and they totally qualify for backstabbers and traitors, turning their coat without notice. Probably one of the most spectacular ones ever in EVE Online.

      • Kamar Raimo

        AFAIK they were bidding for taking Bastion and LAWN with them. If they were such terrible backstabbing traitors, why didn’t people in those two alliances report them to GSF immediately?

        I wasn’t in the diplomatic channels, but I have read and listened to versions of the story from all involved parties. The picture that emerged for me was that GSF was getting ready to throw Co2 under the bus and that Co2 basically pre-empted that by leaving.

        • cloaky sniper raven

          CO2 were going to leave WITH Lawn and Bastion to do their own coalition and be on good terms with Imperium, They just didn’t want to be under Mittani’s thumb any longer. But Mittens figured it out and got Lawn/Bastion to evac to Saranen instead.

          They could have flipped in the middle of M-O, but instead they waited, regardless of outcome, until after the fight.

  • Provi Miner

    Just curious why no voltron counter? it isn’t like on day 1 of wwb voltron showed up. Goons had at least 2 to 3 months of fighting with voltron priore to the “actual” start of WWB (the dog pile point).

    • Owen Wells

      I dont think they took us seriously initially and by the time they did things were already in motion that ended up neutering their ability to do anything about it.

  • trollsroyce

    Good read. The big picture is this: GSF still has friends and diplo connections. They still have a (frozen) supercap armada.

    Those two things make a great powerhouse. All it takes is the game atmosphere to forget goonhate, as well as goons not dying to losses, and there will be a resurgence.

    The future meta will be citadel throwdowns and sov skirmishing. Superfleets will own the citadel part. What PL and NC have really accomplished is total supercapital dominance for the time being. The longer they keep blockading Imperium supers the longer the buildup of newly important supercaps favors them.

  • Matterall

    There you go Jinn, nice to see balance return to the force.

  • jkr7117

    Let’s face it, WWB was an over-hyped joke and the MBC beat the Imperium by cheating. It was an illegitimate war started by a guy with a bunch of ISK made through a gambling website having nothing to do with flying spaceships or building space empires in EVE. Using funds from IWANTISK to subsidize MBC’s losses was nothing more than meta game “pay-to-win”.

    All these years I’ve been playing Eve, I though that alliances and coalitions had to fund their operations by pooling the resources of their line members gathered while they actually PLAY THE GAME. MBC members only formed a coalition when they knew their losses would be covered by the out-of-game casino. It’s like playing Monopoly against someone who gets reimbursed by the bank every time he lands on one of your properties. Of course he’ll never lose!

    I thought it was superior organizational, strategic, and tactical gameplay that propelled one group over another. Apparently, it’s not. All you need to win is a connection with a casino operator and your coalition can fight forever and never lose.

    CCP should ban any players running gambling websites, but they won’t because WWB provided them with much needed free publicity for their stagnant game.

    The Mittani absolutely did the right thing by evacuating. He saw the writing on the wall and realized a successful defense of their sov would not be possible and wouldn’t be fun, either. Even winning at Fozzisov hasn’t proven itself to be that much fun, so why would LOSING, and losing on a massive scale, be worth the Imperium’s players’ time, especially considering the circumstances?

    • Rob Kaichin

      ~Just keep spinning, just keep spinning, all we do is spin, spin, spin~

    • Seraph IX Basarab

      Once in a while I ask myself if we did the right thing in the MBC…then I see posts like this and I know we did. Thank you.