Sovereignty-pre-Word-War-Bee

The Strategy of World War Bee – Part 1 – Preparations

 

For some time I have wanted to explore the grand strategy of World War Bee. Due to the size and scope of the subject, it was quickly clear a single piece would never be enough, so I broke my ongoing work into several pieces: “Preparations,” “Proving Grounds,” “Guerilla War,” “Invasion!” and “Conquest.” Each piece covers what I identify as a distinct phase of World War Bee.

“Preparations” is an attempt to describe the general strategic situation as it existed when the foundations for the coming conflict were laid. The first section “Background – November 2015,” is intended to establish a baseline of the historical events. If you’re well read on all the previous material about the War you will find this an abbreviated retelling. Starting from “Initial Planning and the Fog of War,” I look at these events more analytically, considering what strategic hands the various participants had and how they played them. This article draws on numerous others, posts, and podcasts on various EVE media sites and discussion forums, as well as personal interviews with Lenny Kravitz2, Sabre A, and Lemba.

Background – November 2015

In November of 2015, in the middle of the floundering Fountain War novel Kickstarter, Pandemic Horde (PH) CEO Gobbins leaked information that he was forming a coalition in Cloud Ring to attack the Imperium. On 19 November this drew a massive response from the Imperium who deployed their forces to Cloud Ring only to find the region abandoned, with Horde having already fled and no grand “Clever Girls” coalition to be found. In his public statements The Mittani still maintains that Gobbins was building an anti-Goon coalition in Cloud Ring and the deployment of the Imperium’s fleets pre-empted it, but I Want ISK (IWI) banker Lenny Kravitz2 saw the deployment as a clear sign of the Imperium’s weakness.

Specifically, Lenny determined that if The Mittani could be so easily deceived by an obvious ruse, then the Imperium’s leader might be losing the situational awareness that had made him so difficult to challenge in the past. He could now be tricked. This might create a window for action that the Imperium’s enemies could exploit. Lenny contacted Mercenary Coalition (MC) leader Sabre A and asked how much it would cost to bring down the Imperium. Sabre estimated that such a war might take as much as two years, and would cost at least 7 trillion ISK to pay for the necessary number of mercenaries. He was stunned when Lenny blithely stated that he could provide that level of funding.

P0xV19k

forces willing to take Lenny’s ISK to fight the Imperium

Funding or no, the plotters would need actual forces willing to take Lenny’s ISK to fight the Imperium, which was by far the single most powerful entity in EVE. Mercenary Coalition was a single, mid-sized alliance of around 700 members. Compared to this, the Imperium boasted some 40,000 characters in ten alliances. Its sub-capital, capital and supercap fleets were all the largest in New Eden. It had controlled some of the richest space in the game for six years, and its logistics, economy and industry were thought to be without peer. In fact, it had once owned nearly half of New Eden, before contracting its empire in mid 2015 due to changes in the game mechanics, but it was still the largest sovereignty holding coalition in nullsec. It had been a coalition for many years which had created strong ties between most of its members. It had influenced the very culture of EVE, and enjoyed monumental reputation based on its past history of victory in several massive wars. It had not won all its wars, but it followed a fighting style based on “denying fun” to its enemies by avoiding fair fights and only engaging when its numerical advantage guaranteed a crushing victory. This strategy was often called “Helldunk or Blueballs.” All of this left its enemies reluctant to attack it.

Lenny and Sabre began sounding out the various allies they would need to bring on board to have a chance of success. Shutupandshave (or Suas) of the Omega Security Syndicate (OSS) was an early joiner. Suas had been a key leader within Goonswarm before his corporation was evicted from the alliance in June 2015, and provided the other leaders with valuable insights into the Imperium’s internal dynamics. Events would also bring Psychotic Tendencies (TISHU) into the conspiracy, and that alliance would play a vital role in the coming months. Lenny also approached Vince Draken and Elise Randolph of Northern Coalition. (NC.) and Pandemic Legion (PL). These were the “heavyweight” alliances with the only supercap fleets capable of matching the Imperium, and without whose support the war could never be won. They offered conditional support, but they had fought against the Cluster Fuck Coalition (the Imperium’s old name, before it rebranded itself in April of 2015) before and lost, and Lenny’s yet unnamed conspiracy (which for convenience I have chosen to call the “preMBC”) would have to show that it had a chance of delivering before they would fully commit.

knocking out the strongest non-Goon ally early would be a good way to shorten the conflict

While this was going on, MC moved to identify the strongest of the Imperium’s allies, and determine how to defeat them. Sabre was always concerned about the potential length of the war, and knocking out the strongest non-Goon ally early would be a good way to shorten the conflict. It was first assumed that The Initiative (INIT) was the strongest alliance in the Imperium after Goonswarm Federation (GSF), but INIT’s response to MC attacks on its money moons in Curse, while active, was not as impressive as expected.

Sabre was now convinced that Circle of Two (CO2) had to be the strongest of GSF’s allies. MC moved to Hakonen, just two jumps from CO2’s staging system of M-OEE8, and poked them. The aggressive CO2 response quickly confirmed Sabre’s suspicions. The preMBC leadership, including members of MC, PL, NC., TISHU and OSS, conducted an extensive review of the best options available to defeat CO2 and determined that the optimal way to do it would be to “flip” them, convincing them to leave the Imperium. This had the potential to defeat CO2 with far less time and effort than grinding them down fleet by fleet, system by system, in a bloody and time-consuming slog across Tribute.

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At this point the overall objectives for the war were set. The preMBC would build its strength by attacking the Imperium where it was weak, demonstrating success and drawing more alliances to its cause. Once its forces were strong enough it would attack from multiple directions to mask its intent, but the main focus would be on putting increasing pressure on CO2 until they could be convinced to leave the Imperium. With the Imperium thus weakened, the allies would then be in position to grind it down with an extended campaign, with the intent to break the Imperium as a functioning coalition and remove some or all of its sovereignty. More specific plans would be developed later to better realize these general goals.

Initial Planning and the Fog of War

The key strategic factor of this first phase of what would eventually become WWB was intelligence gathering: the preMBC’s seeking it, and the Imperium’s lack of it. In the case of the preMBC, the initial assumption of the planners was that The Initiative was the strongest entity in the Imperium, after GSF. PreMBC planners postulated this as a hypothesis, and then took action to confirm or deny it with measurable and verifiable results. When results failed to meet their expectations they discarded their initial hypothesis and created a new one, which they then also tested and verified. This is sound pre-conflict intelligence gathering policy.

growing history of friction between the Coalition and CO2

Then, once the proper target had been identified, the preMBC sought creative solutions for dealing with it. Rather than just resorting to pure military force, the preMBC thoroughly considered their options, and settled on subversion. After CO2 left the Imperium following the Battle of M-OEE8, GSF diplomatic corps released excerpts from their internal logs, detailing a growing history of friction between the Coalition and CO2. Who said or did what to whom is not important for this analysis. The important factor is that the logs show that the preMBC planners were on point with their assessment of CO2’s vulnerability to subversion. They had a clear awareness of at least some of the internal weaknesses of their enemy, and moved effectively to exploit them.

So sound initial intelligence work set the preMBC up for future success, but what of the Imperium? Assessing the effect of the Imperium’s intelligence efforts is hard because there is little publicly available information on their activities. Their effectiveness can only be measured indirectly by looking at what the Imperium knew as the war progressed.

Pandemic-Horde-fleet-fight-bubbles

Firstly, it is important to make a distinction between strategic intelligence on the high level plans of the preMBC’s senior leadership and tactical intelligence on the lower level movements of individual member alliances. The Imperium’s tactical intelligence on individual alliances and fleets appears to have been generally good, although Sabre states they were susceptible to overly fixating on one front and failing to pay proper attention to the others.

Giving up tactical intelligence to the Imperium was not a critical problem for the preMBC, but if the Imperium were to get a clear picture of the preMBC’s strategic leadership that was another matter entirely. The preMBC’s plan relied on the Imperium believing the coming attacks were nothing more serious than routine harassment by random opportunists. Certainly, the Imperium’s leadership were confident they could handle anything that a gaggle of uncoordinated attackers could throw at them. According to Lemba, a former director within the Imperium, “Every year this type of thing happened and every time the CFC had prevailed.”

Even so, The Mittani was not complacent. When declaring the war in Cloud Ring he stated, “We know from the formation of the HBC [Honey Badger Coalition] that when a whole bunch of people get together who are made up entirely up of our enemies… that it is only a matter of time before we end up with a Montolio style coalition that is ‘totally not trying to kill us guys, no, they just want content.’[sarcasm] That is bullshit.” If the Imperium realized early that it was facing a coordinated enemy then it could mobilize its considerable resources before the preMBC was ready.

Information compartmentalization guarded against spies

Because of this, the preMBC’s leaders took the threat of Imperium spies penetrating their strategic councils very seriously. At the upper levels they maintained strict compartmentalization of information, and operated on a need-to-know basis outside of the small circle of senior leaders. Individual MBC alliances – from line members to FCs and even to alliance leaders – were no more aware of the overall strategic plans than their opponents. Information compartmentalization guarded against spies in any one alliance or front from blowing the entire conspiracy.

These measures appear to have been effective. As late as 27 March 2016 in the Boson leaks, Elise Randolph commented; “I have been talking to Mittens… and he lives in a different reality. He has no grasp on the situation at hand.” Had the Imperium’s intelligence apparatus been providing The Mittani with useful strategic information on his enemies it is unlikely he would have appeared so out of touch to Elise.

Even with precautions it was almost inevitable that someone, somewhere, would eventually let something slip. This happened in early April 2016 when the Imperium gained a cache of logs from then-TISHU member, Boson Dubstep. These logs detailed the inner workings and some of the secret dealings of the preMBC’s leadership. What is particularly interesting is that the Lemba leaks include the moment when The Mittani revealed the Boson leaks to the rest of the GSF directorate (leaks within leaks! Leakception!). After reading the logs the Mittani told his directors on 8 April, “This began in Nov/Dec. The core group is Lenny, Suas, Boson and Sabre, before NCdot/PL came in and took over/took credit. All the money is Lenny, not IWI.”

While this was a generally correct assessment (the importance of Boson is disputed by some in the MBC), it is clear that The Mittani did not have this information previously and it was a revelation for the him and the directorate. This means that by the time the Imperium obtained enough information to create an accurate picture of the enemy’s strategic leadership, the military campaign was already well past the point of no return. Ultimately the information gained from the Boson leaks was only used for the Imperium’s defensive propaganda war.

Enemy Courses of Action

The question is, aside from relying on a timely spy coup, was there any way for the Imperium to realize the danger before it was too late? Lemba says that the Imperium was aware of the threat of a multi-front war, and believed that (along with the changes of Aegis sov) the possibility was considered when the decision was made to cut the CFC’s former space in half in the summer of 2015. It is unclear whether more detailed planning was conducted to determine exactly what a potential multi-front war might look like. If such planning was done, warning signs might have appeared showing the Imperium’s leaders that there might be very little daylight indeed between normal harassment, and the initial phases of a well-disguised invasion.

The preMBC intentionally set out to create an environment of strategic ambiguity that would have made it very difficult for anyone caught in the situation (on either side) to make a correct assessment on the fly. This is particularly the case because humans suffer from some serious cognitive flaws, one of which is that once we have accepted a belief (such as: “The enemy are a disunited band of opportunists with no grand plan,” or “The Mittani is a hated tyrant who rules through oppression.”), it is very difficult for new information to convince us otherwise (like: “The enemy has a plan, and a level of distributed co-ordination, and is guiding the disunited opportunists using very large amounts of ISK,” or “The Mittani plays a persona and is popular with his line members.”), no matter how logical. Incidentally, this is also the reason you never win arguments on the internet – or about politics, or religion.

The Mittani has spoken of human cognitive flaws on several occasions, and as a lawyer may have some experience in how to overcome them. Certainly the military spends a fair bit of training for some of its soldiers on this topic. The best solution is to apply structured analytical methodologies, such the as the Key Assumptions Check. The Key Assumptions Check involves laying out all the things you believe, and then actually attempting to match them to the known evidence, to see if your assumptions actually hold up.

Related to this is another methodology called the Analysis of Competing Hypothesis. Due to the brain’s tenacity in it holding to old beliefs, humans cannot rely on naturally changing their opinions to meet changing facts, and instead must actively work against what they believe to do so. To do this, ACH directs an analyst to construct a competing hypothesis with a different conclusion and then see if the verifiable facts (cut out all assumptions) could match that hypothesis as well. If they could, then that’s a warning to the analyst to consider whether their beliefs could be in error.

In the NATO militaries the execution of these methodologies can manifest in what is called Enemy Course of Action (ECOA) development. Before a fight, the military will attempt to create at least two ECOAs, traditionally describing the most likely enemy course of action and then the most dangerous. Rather than try to specifically predict the distant future (which usually relies on luck more than anything else), analysts instead looks to take the facts they know now, and the facts they believe they could reasonably confirm or deny in the future, to define what can be called an “arc of possibility.” Within this arc they then seek to determine what indicators would show that events are trending in one way or another.

To be a good indicator something should be observable, verifiable and exclusive. If an important indicator is not observable, this can be a sign to those running intelligence networks that they need to turn additional effort in that direction, but it can also be a warning that the indicator is functionally useless. If an indicator cannot be properly verified then it is vulnerable to enemy deception, and should be treated with caution. Also, when a large number of indicators for the most likely enemy course of action also could be indicators for the most dangerous, that is a huge warning sign. In such cases the analyst should make every effort to find alternate indicators that could confirm one course of action or the other, and if none can be found it is usually best to proceed as if the most dangerous were true.

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I’ve created some very simple ECOA’s for the Imperium to show the potential challenges involved (useful ECOAs for a game as complex as EVE would have to be an order of magnitude more detailed than these slides). The “Most Likely” ECOA roughly matches what the Imperium came to believe, and the “Most Dangerous” lines up with what the preMBC was actually doing. What stands out is that there is very little to distinguish the two ECOAs, at least at the start.

One conclusion from this thought exercise is that the Imperium would have to treat any hostile acts against its borders very seriously, as there would be no guarantee it could distinguish normal harassment from the early stages of a serious invasion campaign. The most obvious solution would be to immediately muster a strong response to any multi-alliance-level threat. However, this method of defence could also be exploited by an enemy to burn out the Imperium’s members and cause it a succession of PR embarrassments, as happened in Cloud Ring. It is also possible that overreacting to Gobbin’s “ruse cruise” burned the Imperium’s leaders and made them hesitant to be caught “crying wolf” a second time.

The key takeaway here is that the intelligence problem facing the Imperium was complex and ambiguous, and without a lucky break they were highly unlikely to be able to solve it.

Summary of Preparations

a campaign of total war against the Imperium

By the end of November the strategic leadership of the preMBC had sounded out the alliances it would need to conduct a campaign of total war against the Imperium and gained tentative support, pending a demonstration that success was possible. It had also conducted initial intelligence gathering efforts and set the basic shape of a plan that would ultimately decide the course of the war.

On the other side, the Imperium remained focused on hunting down the chimerical Clever Girls Coalition. The difficulty of identifying the seriousness of threats on its borders suggests that, from a military perspective at least, a doctrine of overwhelming pre-emptive response was not unreasonable. Unfortunately, the purge of Cloud Ring revealed weaknesses to the Imperium’s enemies regarding The Mittani’s ability to correctly identify where the threat really was. The Imperium remained unaware of Lenny’s own newborn coalition, which made objective assessment of what would soon become an incredibly confusing picture nearly impossible. This was a weakness that the preMBC’s leadership was aware of and intended to exploit to the fullest.

In this, the preMBC would be aided immeasurably by their unwitting target’s next moves.

 

Continued in Part 2 – Proving Grounds

 

Tags: Melos Exelion, World War Bee

About the author

Melos Exelion

A retired Canadian Forces member and amateur historian who decided it was time to stop being scared of spaceships and spreadsheets and take the plunge. Joined Pandemic Horde for the war, and is now drowning in karaoke and local spam.

  • Stryder

    What a peace of over-bloated crap, 2/3 of the events you atribute to some elaborate planing were randomly generated by luck, bad CFC leadership judgement, and unanimous hatred.
    Its true that Lenny was throwing money left and right, but only after everybody saw Imperium empty shell blood was in the water and unstoppable.

    • factcheck

      especially the part of “flipping” CO2. You can actually dig up some of the first jeff raider podcasts regarding m-o where killah bee states that flipping CO2 is something they did not really see coming. And boy believe me, if they had made talks with CO2 to turn them, they would have been the first to admit and rain on mittens parade.
      For all your praise of the MBCs strategic and intelligence prowesss, it took PanFam at least 10 weeks into the major operations to realize “it is all about the stations”. As someone being part of the very first major sov warfare in the east under fozziesov, i fucking laughed when i read that reddit post.
      You praise Sabre A’s ability to check his assumptions, yet you fail to do the same in youre piece

      • Jump Clone

        I can’t prove what’s following, but…. Long ago, some now deceased (French speaking) PVP corp claimed having been approached by CO2 in 2014. That corp didn’t want to be affiliated to the CFC and answered to CO2 they would never join as long as CO2 would belong to the Imperium. They claim to have been answered that CO2 would leave the CFC in some near future.

      • Seraph IX Basarab

        The plan to work out a defection with Co2 began in December and was not a known factor by most of MBC leadership until about 5 or so days before the actual event occurred.

        • factcheck

          Right, the mango tree podcasts and ovenside streams, which started to come out after m-o (the day Co2 left) have noone of the MBC leadership or the mildir/campaign commands of the major alliances claiming direct responsibility. Yet somehow this was known to most of them 5 days before M-O happened… i hope you are trolling, otherwise you are into some mittens level of revisionist bullshit

          • Seraph IX Basarab

            What part of what I said are you disagreeing with?

          • You dumbie

            Why do you always pretend like you know what is going on? Every time you post you look like a dumb-dumbhead.

          • Seraph IX Basarab

            Because I’m not pretending. Maybe you’re projecting.

          • Smeghammer

            You know that gigantic set of pastebin logs that we(the Imperium) published? They flat out state multiple times that CO2 was a long-burn thing.

          • The Nigerian

            (This is Lenny Kravitz2…I am too lazy to make another Disqus account under Lenny and my banker alt is Nigerian Banker Prince…Just so you guys know).

            C02 was approached initially in February and the hard line for them was incorporating Bastion and Lawn. We had assumed that it would take a good bit of time to wear C02 out before they decided to leave the CFC. Then after battle of 2DW, we got word that Lawn and Bastion were heading to Saranen and essentially leaving C02’s front. Due to how the geography is in Eve, they could not guarentee helping with all of the timers that were about to be created and so C02 was at a significant strategic disadvantage.

            Mix in with that, the blow to C02, who had been adament about helping their friends, we pushed hard on getting them to leave. This paid off because C02 no longer had any real ties with the CFC anymore.

            So yes, the author is correct in this statement.

    • James

      /salt

  • Björn Jansson

    I find this article highly interesting and it really benefits from the heavy slant towards scientific analysis. Really looking forward to the rest of the series. 9/10, will read again.

  • Asher

    This probably sounds good to MBC members with all the shoulder slapping but the author clearly had no idea what happened inside Imperium leadership. Most of the speculation is egregiously wrong and is still spouting MBC psyops that were never true but are especially silly to still believe.

    • Kinis Deren

      Why not write & submit a response article? The war is over so strategic or opsec grounds for concern are a non-issue.

    • Sad…

      you are the saltiest little bitch these days. You lost, get over it, move on. Pathetic.

      • Asher

        LOL I’ve admitted we lost a bunch of times. But it wasn’t for the reasons in this article. Imperium lost to crushing numbers, Imperium lost to math.

        • Seraph IX Basarab

          nerf diplomacy

          • Nick

            Diplomacy just about killed EVE, jabbalon 5 is just about the worst thing to happen to the players, and CCP.

        • Justin

          Imperium was defeated by it’s own strategy you say?

        • Kamar Raimo

          If wars were decided by arithmetics, mathematicians would rule the world ;P

    • Rob Kaichin

      Ok, so lots of it is wrong, according to you.

      What specifically is wrong? Please provide evidence as to why it is wrong.

    • Smeghammer

      I’m with the other dudes; from the information I’ve gotten as a line member in Am0kdotte, this roughly lines up with what I’ve seen- if there’s more details to this, I’d love to know them.

  • Provi Miner

    or someone looked at how easy MOA was wrecking stuff and the CFC’s complete inability to do anything about it and said “dam they can’t handle MOA and goblins isk, then they must be ripe for the picking”. yours sounds better mine is a provable fact (moa’s ability)

    • Kinis Deren

      In fairness, MOA’s effects never exceeded harassment level. Yes, we’d taken a couple of PB systems when Aegis came out but we didn’t stand a chance of holding them whilst the CFC faced no other attacks.

      I personally think lowsec Voltron’s resistance to the viceroy program & TISHU’s campaign against SMA did more to expose the weaknesses inherent in the CFC/Imperium.

      • Provi Miner

        you miss the point the author directly points to a proof of concept in his article where as MOA provided a clear proof of concept.

        • Kinis Deren

          I’m sorry, I don’t see that mentioned anywhere in the article or do you mean your original comment? I’ll grant you that as a model, Gevlon showed that paying anti-goon groups to fight the CFC/Imperium was a legitimate strategy that could deliver results. This is a slightly different model to a standard mercenary contract in that mercenaries don’t usually care about their target nor their employer’s overall objective.

          • Provi Miner

            the cfc attack on cloud ring showed their weakness (months after moa did)

        • Owen Wells

          Even if that’s true, which I dont believe it is by the way, its largely irrelevant. Gevlon can desperately try to pin his little sign saying ‘I DID THIS’ to the whole operation as much as he wants, It doesnt change the fact he spent years of effort and hundreds of billions of isk to achieve absolutely nothing and that Lenny, Ironbank and Eep Eep will be the ones remembered for finally breaking the Imperium.

          Its kind of sad hes so desperate to seem relevant in a game he no longer plays and constantly claims he hates.

          • Provi Miner

            you know I think that’s what is wrong, you see he did accomplish something and it was sitting right there. When MOA took systems it meant the time was ripe to take goon (then). But then Falcon called him crazy and instead of eve following and destroying goons everyone laughed and walked away. Not unlike you come up with clever catch phrase use it a few times and then forget about then a year or two later that phrase is the “new cool” and you even doubt yourself wondering if in fact you did say way back win. Doesn’t change the fact you did, doesn’t change the fact that he proved it. All it does it shift who gets credit. You don’t saying anything about coming up with that catch phrase cause you don’t want people to look at you oddly, However glavon doesn’t care he is going to say “I did this”.

          • Owen Wells

            Except people didnt ally with MOA partly because they still didnt fully believe the Imperium could be beaten, that came later, but also because at the time it meant openly allying with Gevlon, something no-one wanted to do because of his well documented crappy behaviour and utter lack of anything resembling social skills.

            Trying to blame Falcon for that when gevlon himself had been pissing in that well with his own behaviour for years beforehand is just a bit disengenuous.

            The other thing is hes not just trying to claim a share of the credit, hes actively going out of his way to try and make out that nobody else did anything important. He’s basically shouting ‘IT WAS ME, ME!! I DID EVERYTHING, I BEAT THE IMPERIUM ON MY OWN’ and then getting offended when people point out hes full of shit for saying that.

            Look if you want me to admit that Gevlon had the harassment idea first then I’m willing to do that, but he had nothing to do with the campaign that accomplished everything he claimed to want to achieve.

          • Provi Miner

            so your trying to convince me, that besides and open source lexicon detailing in detail how to beat goons. that A: 0 mbc inner core knew about? WTF. B: that MBC inner core magically over a week came up with an idea that already existed? good fracking luck. here is the deal if you think they used goblins plan (in whole or in most or even as template) then it is his plan that won and it should pointed out. Goblins plan, Lenny’s isk, and the dog pile That I can believe. I just don’t believe 8 eve vets (who understand 90% of eve is out of game) came up with an idea out the thin air that matched an idea that is open sourced for 2 + years. all you have to do is type “how to beat goons” and bam there it is in your face.

          • Owen Wells

            As I said previously having an idea and successfully executing it are two very different things. Even if Gevlon had the idea first he wasnt the one who saw an opportunity and put the MBC together, he wasnt the one who payed out the double digit trillions of isk in mercenary fees and he wasnt the one who did the diplomacy to keep it target focused and on track.

            Ive already said he can have the credit for the initial idea, I have ceased to give a shit about that fact. But trying to erase the contributions of people who actually sat down and did the damn work to make it happen just because he’s jealous of the fact they did it better than he ever could, that I will always have a problem with.

          • Provi Miner

            you miss the point lenny and co are claiming “we came up with the idea” and I think that’s whats pissing him off to no end.

          • Owen Wells

            And you’re missing the point that whoever had the idea first doesnt matter, what matters is who executed it succesfully.

          • The Nigerian

            No…we said that we came up with it separately (tbh Manfred Sidious gave us the idea and I give him full credit on that…we tweaked it a little and adapted as necessary).

            If Gevlon came up with it before hand then we were just slow on that.

          • Provi Miner

            LOL um sure right… Here is how that has to happen: A: never ever look up a goon sight B: never read anything about eve ever for about 2 1/2 years. prove it then just maybe I might buy it. you don’t have to try to be slow there are at least 20 or 30 gobs articles that made it outside his blog (so you say we never read his blog) between reddit and other news sources you would have to be a blind stupid chimp to miss them and that would mean you couldn’t follow through on goblins plan.

          • The Nigerian

            You are assuming that Gevlon had such a major impact that everyone read all of his articles all the time (hint: he didn’t). I read a few of his economic reports (which were pretty good) but didn’t really delve into the other stuff because I was doing stuff in Brave Newbies and then in Infamous. It wasn’t until I read Gobbin’s post on reddit about how they trolled Mittani, when I was like “whoa, Mittens should have been able to see that a mile away….”

            Frankly I don’t care what you believe. That is what happened and if you and/or Gevlon want to be butthurt about it, go on ahead. Also, I have the skype logs to prove my conversation with Manfred. So

      • Jump Clone

        AFAIK “glenarvarn” -> https://zkillboard.com/character/92501210/ (which technically belongs to PBC and not MOA) did quite a lot of damage to the CFC, trading dreads for JFs for quite some time. What’s funny is that he used to belong to the CFC.

        Lowsec Voltron didn’t weight that much in the conflict : at that time, they were just looking for easy targets and found the CFC FCs were just dumb enough to be fooled by Brave Newbies (brave, yet inexperimented) junior FCs. Just remember the time they were bragging about taking down the “gaarasniper” SMA guy which was known to multibox 24+ ratting carriers and proud of their pvp elitness doing so.

        • Kinis Deren

          Don’t get me wrong, I loved what we did in MOA and glen did a great job harassing Deklein JBs too {FYI – PBC split off from MOA as a friendly Russian speaking alliance. Prior to MOA, Raging Ducks were in the CFC until kicked}. Thing is, hot dropping ratters and popping stupid freighter pilots wasn’t going to bring the CFC to it’s knees. Sure, it would rustle some jimmies but typically it was the average CFC line member that would get butt hurt. Furthermore, MOA was never big enough, nor had the inclination, to blanket a region with camping alts, let alone the several regions the CFC occupied.

          Lowsec Voltron’s part was pre-WWB – I wasn’t saying LSV played a pivitol role in the downfall of the Imperium, merely the fact they didn’t roll over and die but actually resisted goons expansionist agenda, seriously eroded the idea the Imperium were unbeatable.

          • Jump Clone

            You’ll easily find Lowsec Voltron people, like http://evewho.com/pilot/Lucy+Callagan who got top #1 pvper at least once to check their motivations, but there’s one thing for sure : pvpers don’t fight for moons, which was the whole point of the CFC initiative in LS.

          • Rob Kaichin

            LSV fought over moons in Hakonen every week.

            Being one of them, I know you’re wrong, especially as that person is in THERABOIS, not any of the Voltron corps.

          • Owen Wells

            Actually we do, we just dont consider them important outside of their value for generating fights. Shooting someones moon tower is as good a way as any to say ‘Oi we want to pew, come fight us’ after all

    • Chief Gumbo Speaker

      Thanks Gevlon, too bad you were too toxic in your dealings with other players to parlay this insight into anything useful.

  • Jump Clone

    As a merc. having worked for prolly most of the many different sides of this war, including some yet undocumented here, I’d like to point out a few public clues.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I have no revelation to make. I don’t care about whoever’s attention. My English is just bad. I’ll just mention a few public informations or statements.

    *) Lemba stated publicly he had felt abandonned by the CFC Upper Management during the Cloud Ring offensive of Nov./Dec., claiming he had to handle it all alone while some other were just yachting somewhere.

    *) Brave Newbies’s “Beyond Frontier” corp claimed victory on Goonswarm’s offensive on Cloud Ring after having fought the whole Goonswarm Federation fleets (for free). At their upper management request, they wrote extensively on the matter to help raise morale on what was at this time remaining of Brave Newbies. Lots of details about how the CFC’s Cloud Ring offensive was handled are to be found there. You’ll easily find Beyond Frontier people in DO6 in Fade & around at the moment.

    *) Cutting the CFC’s territory in half was easier to say than done, since the whole point of the CFC was to not leave anyone having served behing. And, as any goon member will tell you, one of the most important inside rule of the CFC was the sharing of the farming territories : this alliance farmed there and that one here. So, even if Goonswarm was aware of the risk for them with FozzieSov, the upper management of the various alliances of the CFC failed to adapt the farming sharing rules to it. Even when Fade was on fire, cloaky campers could hear players whining about people having came to camp & defend some territory and farming it meanwhile.

    *) Boson Dubstep is very easy to find since he’s mostly camping in Otalieto atm. He’s still quite popular in his own alliance and you’ll easily find lots of people to talk about his exact role.

    *) As far as I know (maybe I’m wrong on this one…) Pandemic Legion never claimed any credit for anything in this war. I can remember of one tweet from Elise Randolph saying at some point “ok, let’s get into this”. Of course, since lots of members of PL are disgruntled goons, there were prolly people inside PL following their own course, but afaik, PL itself stood aside until it became obvious that staying neutral was becoming hard.

  • Dans Fantom

    At the macro-level, It is possible assessment of the new fozziesov mechanic played a much larger role at all levels, and on both sides. CCP has an interesting habit of tilting advantage toward the attack vice defense, and fozzisov is no exception (Citadels might be the exception since it improves defensive capability somewhat countering the original effects of fozzisov). From the defense point of view holding large expanses of sovereignty under fozzisov is a major liability. Confronted with overwhelming ratios on the side of the attacker capable of flipping systems quickly with small ships, the obvious strategy is to contract, consolidate, and exploit opportunities for advantage possibly using time as an ally. This defense strategy probably contributed to the Co2 flip, the FCON strategic movement and other allied decisions, in that the retrograde movement was unpalatable given position and force evacuations on their flanks. From the point of view of the attacker, it is this fozziesov mechanic that enabled the attack-coalition uber-blob concept in a way that was different from, say, Honeybadger. Certainly organizing and funding the effort was an impressive feat for the attackers. And they achieved their objective of dislodging Imperium from their sovereignty areas. They should be given props for that. The issue for the attacker in this case is, and has always been, sustainability. The overarching requirement is not just “take”, but “take-and-hold” for a long period engaging in PvE functions that builds ADM as part of the sovereignty mechanic while at the same time employing sufficient PvP capacity for nulsec stabilization.

  • Falin Whalen

    I just enjoy reading MBC fanfiction.

  • Amber Skir

    It’s MLCOA and MDCOA if your going to try and use military abbreviations. Also they say hindsight is 20/20 what went wrong?

  • Afkforum

    Nice!

  • Alisanna

    That’s definitely someone’s writing. Not much else seems to be accurate; but it’s definitely someone’s writing.

  • Larry B

    An amusing bit of fiction, albeit a bit long-winded.

    If it weren’t for the fact that Gevlon had publicly documented his anti-Goon campaign on a regular basis on his blog, I might actually believe it.

    • The Nigerian

      And yet Gevlon couldn’t finish it. The main problem is that harassment is only a tool to grind down morale. In the battle of M-0, the CFC still were able to put up 1800 people. That was after 2-3 months of intense harassment on 4 fronts.

      Theta Squad proved that superior firepower could easily counter the harassment campaign when they show up in Fade to shore up SMA. They counter dropped the TISHU blops with supers and gave a morale boost to SMA (briefly).

      I don’t know if Gevlon had the idea first. I do know that Mannie from PL gave us a fantastic strategy. The first phase was the harassment campaign. If Gevlon had nothing beyond that then he would have failed.

  • Lilith5

    As some one who has seen this from both sides this is the first time that Gevlon’s blog has actually been more accurate. Back in October last year the OSS, SS, Tishu were all joking about making a coalition to take on goons with Snuff and shadow cartel.

    Just as entosis mods were being implemented Gobbins moved Horde from HED-GP to Cloud ring which was right next to Goon sov. How ever much Gobbins tried to pretend it was just a ruse to ‘troll’ Mittens it seems pretty obvious that Horde were there to put pressure on Goons but were totally not upto the job.

    Mittens kickstarter campaign showed just how much the majority of eve hated goons but had no structure or inclination to actually take them on head to head. It was only when deals were made and promises of large amounts of isk that people started to think ‘Yea lets at least give it a try’. PL had no sov to defend and Test were becoming tired of WC and lack of US content. The OSS were living in NPC null sec and only cared about the few money moons they had. MC were lacking content and MoAs only daily activity seemed to be to grind isk and shoot Goon ratters.
    What was strange was that goons were so split and seemed to rather just sit back and laugh at their allies ‘SMA’ instead of helping them. Fleets were plagued with ‘We are bad’ jokes and when the time goons finally were to step up and kick ass they just seemed to shatter like a chocolate teapot. It seemed more like everyone just piled on goons with 0 intel and 0 planning past knowing which towers they thought a baby titan was being built. Many of the fights were purely opportunistic and it was only pure numbers + goons total inability to fight this kind of war that produced this result.

    • The Nigerian

      We actually had pretty good Intel when this started rolling. We had low level spies in FCON, SMA, Razor, Lawn, Karmafleet and I think bastion. This gave us valuable insight on fleet pings, form up numbers, and how morale was. The various fronts were very on the ball.

      • Lilith5

        This is pretty basic stuff that any serious sov holding alliance should be doing anyway. The main thing is having high level dir spies who are actually are giving info on director meetings, not just people sitting in fleet with a spy alt counting numbers. This doesn’t really do much to change things.

        • The Nigerian

          Oh I agree that having a high level director would have been the best option but the various alliances put out more info than they should in their pings and alliance mails. We know if there was going to be a strong showing from multiple alliances on the same objective and could decide to engage or not. This gave us control on which engagements to take up and which ones to ditch for other objectives. We were able to make timers when not engaging or engage when we had a reasonable chance of success.

  • Provi Miner

    Here is IMO the big lie: despite an open source detailed plan, that is not only on one of the more popular eve blogs and has existed for over 2 years Lenny and the other members of MBC inner core were totally 100% oblivious to this and magically came up with the idea.
    Here are the small lies that after a long hiatus Sabre A comes up with a number that is fairly accurate for a long term war. I know guys who are out of game two weeks and off by 30% on the price of anything.
    That flipping CO2 was important: it wasn’t the moment goons abandoned them all it would have done is added a few days to the war. (as the guy who claims it was important I say this about as important flipping Romania in WWII did it help? yes. Was it important ? not really)

  • Fara

    mother of god

  • boson

    Although this is well written and thorough, much of the information that the author relied upon to construct his narritive – presented here to be facts – is categorically false. A simple google search proves this.

    Inaccuracies aside, good article, well written.

  • boson

    You misattribute a quote to elise that is actually me (see line 66 of your quoted pastebin).

  • Bozo

    The part about the Imperium’s intelligence dilemma is very good.

    The part about MBC planning is less so, you’re shoehorning things like attempts to break SMA – and the successful GSF defense of Fade – into a strategy of “we meant to flip C02 all along”. Lots of people knew there was bad blood between C02 and Sion. Nobody could know whether, let alone when, C02 would actually flip in the middle of a war.

    Part of the planning, like all good successful plans, was made up on the fly. The MBC poked at the Imperium and was serious about it. Mittani didn’t know how serious it was. The focus was applying pressure on SMA and C02. Note that making SMA collapse would have been almost as good as flipping C02: other alliances would have observed The Mittani’s (unlikely to be compassionate) response and drawn conclusions, and all the Imperium haters in New Eden would have tasted blood in the water and started to dogpile.

  • Matterall

    This is a well written juggernaut of a project. The graphics and writing are great. Pardon my advice nobody asked for: The “background” area here too closely resembles pro MBC narratives pushed in podcasts, articles, comments. The counter view relied on, seems to be spy notes instead of GSF sources, which makes if one sided. That gives the background information, the set-up, feel like it is being peddled, rather than investigated. I see strains of narrative by PL mostly – intelligence failures, gobbins importance, lenny importance, etc. These same strains were put out to several RL newssites. The analysis based on the setup is interesting, despite all this – very original writing.

    “Analysis of Competing Hypothesis” great point – If anything that is what is the most visible about the war to me. Entrenched beliefs overcome reality. This is why it is important to get to primary sources that are nuanced than the secondary sources. As a secondary source, it is easy to talk about others with certainty, but when it is your rep on the line (as a primary source), you are more measured in what you say. Sure there are a few sociopaths that dont care about anything other than their objectives, but you can tell who they are. They are the ones absolutely sure of truths. I’d names names, but it is not polite. Maybe in private, ha.

    At the end of the day.. (Lady Scarlet saying), ..this war formed like a storm, from random elements and a lot of luck, not a masterminded plan. The victory was handed to whoever brought the most people, and TIDI had a LOT to do with it (even more now with citadel timers). Something Goons have known a long time, which is why they deflated instantly, without a fight. MBC has not learned the lesson that if they dwarf GSF, they wont fight, same thing they used to complain about when it was GSF that blobbed. Still MBC does it, becasue they dont want to fight, they want to win, same as GSF did for years.

    What amuses me most is how hard people are fighting for credit, even before the bodies are buried the flashes of selfies are lighting up the field. It is kind of embarrassing to watch, and sad too. It reminds me EVE may be smaller than me – it was so huge when I started!