World War Bee – What’s in a Name?

When life gives you lemons? Don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! GET MAD! ‘I don’t want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?!’ Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am?! I’m the man who’s going to burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m going to get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

Wars in EVE Online tend to pick up names of their own when they reach a certain scale or duration.  Probably the most famous three are:

  • The Great War
  • The Fountain War
  • The Halloween War

Those are pretty much the agreed upon names by all sides at this point, CCP included, and each name says something about the war itself as opposed to the parties involved.  “The Great War” is so named because of its scale and being a war like no other war before it.  “The Fountain War” is named after the region in which the primary conflict took place.  And the “Halloween War” was so named based on when it started in earnest.

We are now in the midst of another war worthy of a name that all will remember.

Over at the Nosy Gamer the start of the attack on Imperium space was dubbed “The Casino War” due to the attackers being funded by the online ISK casino I Want ISK.  That name carries on there through to today.

More recently, the war got “real” with new alliances entering the fray leading to larger and larger battles.  This led to CCP once again seeing such battles as a way to promote the game.  Again, nothing sells the game like epic, large scale battles.  Even The Scope, CCP’s in-game lore focused news service, began doing reports about the war.

CCP initially started calling this conflict The Easter War, due to the proximity of the holiday to one of the battles.  That name seemed somewhat forced.  Certainly I cannot recall anybody using that name before CCP started using it.

The war that started LONG before Easter...

The war that started LONG before Easter…

I am not sure where CCP picked up that name, as most common name I saw before that point was the previously mentioned “Casino War.”  However, CCP clearly couldn’t use that name as it would bring into focus, and imply endorsement of, gambling in EVE Online, and along with it the specter of RMT.  (However CCP didn’t flinch at “Moneybadger Coalition,” but the connection with online gambling isn’t apparent unless you know the story so far.)  So Easter seemed to be the plan, despite it being a religious holiday.

Meanwhile another name had begun to gain traction, “World War Bee.”

That name was a rallying cry for foes of The Imperium to unite them into a war against Goons.  The Goon symbol is the Fat Bee after all.

Look for the Goonion label!

Look for the Goonion label!

Somebody at CCP decided that this was better than “The Easter War” and they adopted that as their name for the war as well, and soon posts about “World War Bee” appeared on the somewhat neglected EVE Updates site.

CCP endorses the name

CCP endorses the name

CCP officially and publicly adopting the narrative of its foes for the war did not sit well with Goons.  That felt like a partisan response to a group that has seen CCP playing favorites in the past. (Roll clips from the T20 scandal, which caused the creation of the CSM, where other issues have come up.

So The Imperium leadership decided to come up with their own name for the war, which The Mittani announced yesterday during his fireside chat. (Streamed on Twitch every Sunday, replay available here.)  After sifting through some suggestions, the proposed name for the war is:

  • The War of Sovless Agression

Hrmm…  I mean, I like where it is trying to go, wrapping in a historical reference while taking a jab at our foes for not actually holding much sovereignty themselves.  But it feels like it is too much work for not enough pay off… something of a “try hard” name, which I think is the term of art.  I guess it would be fine for talking point propaganda, but it isn’t something that effortlessly slides off the tongue.  I have to think for a second before I say it, and I don’t like it sufficiently to say it enough to make it reflexive.

And, as with “World War Bee,” it is a partisan name being pushed by one side of the conflict.

In the war between the two names, “World War Bee” is going to win.  It is just easier, funnier, and with official CCP endorsement, not going to be supplanted any time soon.  Maybe after the war is over and assessed another, more fitting, less propagandist name will settle on the conflict.

But for now I think we in The Imperium are going to have to find what comfort we can in “World War Bee.”  Getting all Cave Johnson about the name isn’t going to do anything.

Fortunately, there is some comfort to be found there.

“World War Bee” is clearly and unequivocally a reference to World War Z, the zombie horror novel that was later made into a film.

The story, to sum up, is about society facing an overwhelming zombie menace and hunkering down in order to fight back in order to save themselves and the civilization they built.

It isn’t tough to assign roles in that scenario.  Who has the overwhelming numbers and who is hunkering down to defend themselves?

World War Bee.

I think we should take it and run with it.  Even now over at Something Awful, the latest recruiting drive is headlined “Eve Online: Goons vs Literally The Entire Galaxy,” which is drawing people back to the game.  Goons under siege works with the right optics.

37 thoughts on “World War Bee – What’s in a Name?

  1. Dave Andrews (@proceduraldave)

    The funniest thing is what you get at towards the end here: World War Bee could be played as an homage to World War Z, in which the beleaguered Imperium can obviously be cast as the human race, while the Allies could be the zombies.

    Instead, Mittens wants to push for it to be called the War of Sovless Aggression, an homage to the War of Northern Aggression – i.e. what the slave-holding south used to refer to the Civil War. They saw the war as one of aggression, with the North being the aggressors. Well, the aggressors in this war happen to NOT be the Goons, so if you were to cast Imperium as one side of this…

    The most awkward part of that fireside chat in which he raised this point, though, was the fact that he was worrying about what to name the war while clearly losing it. Whether it is intentionally ceding territory towards a greater good, or just flat out losing, it’s still losing. I wonder, as someone still relatively on the inside – is the name of the war more important to you than the sov TNT is losing? (I realize that question could sound like bait or a dickish thing to say, but I’m genuinely curious as to how these things play within the Imperium).


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Dave Andrews – That last item is an awkward question. I could re-write it as “would you rather the war have a name you like or have your sov back?” Well, screw the name in that case. But it isn’t like having a forum thread to name the war is taking appreciable time away from fighting, and propaganda has a value of its own.

    I used the day after M-O88E to get my self in order. I moved stuff out of Tribute including my carrier and ratting Ishtar, shipped a ton of stuff to Jita for sale, got jump clones set in stations where I had to leave anything of value behind, and made sure I was ready to go in our staging system. It just so happens that I used a lot of Feb/Mar to rat, so with that and what I sold off I am ISK rich (for me) and ready for a long war even if without SPR. With it I am there forever. I would rather fight than rat in any case.

    But I am also an outlier. I joined Reavers to deploy away from home, so I am not around Tribute all that much in any case. If you looked at my assets in the last year you would have guessed I lived in YA0. I sold off all my mining ships in null a while back. I just need a staging system and a way to supply it to carry on. Even with a weekend where I was busy with real life I managed to be in six fleets.

    But people in the coalition who do mine or rat or need income are probably not as happy, and if I were in LAWN or Bastion I would feel justifiable pissed. And there is still a question as to where we will be able to hold the line. Losing ALL coalition sov would be a very tough blow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mikeazariah

    CSM was consulted about the name that CCP would use. I and others supported WorldWarBee. The other choices were there but this one was the best (in my and others opinion)

    If only the CFC had had a member or two on the council.

    heh heh



  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @mikeazariah – So no Imperium rep was included? You must be very proud of yourself.

    Meanwhile, having the CSM approve a partisan name doesn’t make it less so.


  5. SynCaine

    I was a bit confused halfway through as, to me, World War Bee is a name that very highly favors Goons. The enemy are zombies, Goons are humanity; so when you wrote that CCP picked it and Goons were upset, I was lost.

    I hope the war stretches out for a while, and has multiple ‘epic’ moments, only to see if something like this truly can turn the tide for sub retention/returns, and perhaps further motivate CCP into focusing on what drives EVE forward.


  6. bhagpuss

    It never occurred to me for a nanosecond that “World War Bee” was derived from “World War Zee”, which to me is nothing more than one of far too many zombie franchises about which I know little and care even less.

    From the moment I saw “World War Bee” I assumed it was a play on “World War Three”, the Armageddon War, The Big One. For that reason (and obviously taking into account the Fat Bee image, which is a great brand) I thought it was a fantastic name, one that would have instant recognition far outside either EVE and even outside of gaming. It would allow for non-gaming news outlets to “sell” the conflict to non-geek readers and viewers with a minimum of explanation and exposition.

    If it turns out it’s just a cross-genre joke then all that heft is lost. Mind you, it would still make it a thousand times better a name than The War of Sovless Aggression.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. flosch

    I’m in exactly the same boat as Bhagpuss. Even after you explained it to me, I’m still not sure what World War Z is.

    I liked the name better when I still thought it was about Three… My only hope is that this is what most people will make out of it, because it’s such an obvious option if you don’t know about Z.


  8. flosch

    And as a history nerd, a “War of the League of ” or “War of the Great Alliance” would’ve been a wonderful name, albeit with less *oomph*.


  9. flosch

    and now I’m triple-posting, because I realize that the comment function ate my placeholder in angle brackets. It was supposed to read “War of the League of INSERT IMPORTANT SYSTEM NAME HERE”.


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I suppose, for you, it would be “World War Zed” as well, so the rhyme wouldn’t be immediately there for WWZ.

    I considered the WW3 idea for a bit but discarded for a few reasons:
    -WW3 is pretty much a Cold War concept and hasn’t been in the forefront for 25 years, Cold War relics like Bhagpuss and I aside.
    -It came from Reddit, where things are always a pop culture reference.
    -WWZ and WWB follow the same pattern, ending on a noun rather than a number, naming the enemy in question.
    -Most of the related propaganda I have seen seems to substitute masses of zombies for masses of bees.
    -In the context of New Eden conflicts, this war should be WW4, WW5, or WW6 depending on how you count them, so we have already had WW3. Lore must be preserved!

    Or maybe I am just a stalking horse for The Mittani and am paving the way for Goons to grab the propaganda initiative by turning the works of Rixx Javixx in our favor.

    If I get a mention from Mittens at the next fireside chat, you’ll know it was so.


  11. Mark Hudson

    Even now over at Something Awful, the latest recruiting drive is headlined “Eve Online: Goons vs Literally The Entire Galaxy,”

    So it’s Goons on one side and everyone else on the other? i thought there were other alliances in the Imperium. Or in Goon eyes they just don’t matter?


  12. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Mark Hudson – And you just validated the one clear objection The Mittani had about the name, which was that it singled out GSF when there are, in fact, multiple alliances on their side.

    The SA forums are the Goon homeland, so pitching it as “Goons vs. everybody” resonated better than “Goons and some allies and some Russians on the other side of New Eden” I suspect.


  13. flosch

    @Wilhelm: Now that picture reminds me of those helicopters evacuating Saigon… not a flattering comparison, but probably not what they went for either. ;)


  14. Rob Kaichin

    ““World War Bee” is clearly and unequivocally a reference to World War Z,” (Copy-paste lost your fancy strikethrough)

    Echoing the multiple people here and in my alliance (and possibly all Europeans) that we thought it was a reference to World War Three.

    “In the context of New Eden conflicts, this war should be WW4, WW5, or WW6 depending on how you count them, so we have already had WW3. Lore must be preserved!”

    I thought BoB vs Goons was WW1, NC vs DRF was WW2, TEST (+various) vs CFC didn’t really get a look in, and this was WW3. The line of thinking goes with “it’s a world war if the previous overlord is losing big and losing repeatedly”.

    Then again, I still think MoneyBadger Coalition is a stupid name, and ‘Good Guys’ is much better. I’d probably settle for ‘L33T PvP’ vs Blobbing: Traitor’s game. That one at least has enough in-jokes for my liking.

    Also, “It came from Reddit, where things are always a pop culture reference”, coming after “Cold War relics!” How can an old fogey like you know about pop culture! :P (j/k)

    As for “War of Sovless aggression”, If that’s all the directorate can come up with, no wonder you’ve got problems. It’s bloody awful!

    You could’ve gone with “The war of Mitten’s beard” at least, it’s just better.


  15. Catalina de Erauso

    Just my 2ç

    “World War Bee” doens’t rings anything to me, and actually I thought that the official name was “The Northern War”…


  16. Easy Esky

    As someone outside the USA, The Mittani using a specific US reference has no resonance with me.


  17. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Rob Kaichin – “Also, “It came from Reddit, where things are always a pop culture reference”, coming after “Cold War relics!” How can an old fogey like you know about pop culture! :P (j/k)”

    I have a teenage daughter to keep me up with the latest dank memes. I knew all about “Damn, Daniel” a week before it was everywhere.

    @Easy Esky – That’s okay, it barely moves the resonance needle in the US.


  18. Fenjay

    Adding my voice to the WW3 side. A World War Z reference is just another dimension to the name, in my view.

    I see BoB vs Goons as the first war (BoB died), Fountain as the second (HBC/Test died), and this one as the third. I don’t count the Halloween war since outside of B-R, who can name anything newsworthy that happened or alliances that died? It was more of a regional conflict that everyone dogpiled because they could.

    It also has the virtue of using the Goons’ bee as part of it, so it draws on symbology that the Imperium’s leading alliance favors, at least in principle. WWEPAIE (World War Every Pubbie Alliance In Existence) doesn’t have the same ring.


  19. Rob Kaichin

    Also, no mention of the Mercenary War articles on TMdC?

    /me mutters something about not following the party line :P.


  20. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Rob Kaichin – “Also, no mention of the Mercenary War articles on TMdC?”

    I made my obligatory nod to the TMC throne in my month-in-review post last Thursday, including mention of that very article.

    And I am not very good at following the party line when we’re doing dumb things. All that talk about revenge in the fireside chat seemed a waste too. Sure, you get to bring up CO2 as they have bought themselves a special page in the Book of Grudges, but everybody else we have to be flexible with in case the is a fissure within our foes we can exploit.


  21. AbsenceOfSubstance

    I actually thought “The War of Sovless Agression” was a dig at CCP: The trollceptor nature of Aegis sov together with the lack of incentive there currently is to hold sov.

    This more than anything else is the reason the emporium is only superficially defending sov. They have too much space to defend against this amount of enemies. As the empire contracts, so the defence problem contracts. In addition whoever takes the sov (if anybody) would then inherit that burden of defence.

    If nobody takes the sov then it sort of proves the contention that null sov is not worth having – also a minor victory for goons as they were very vocal about the short comings Aegis sov.


  22. Talvorian Dex

    Those who are complaining about there being other alliances on the goons’ side are missing the point. Yup understand why World War Bee resonates, you need to look at the win conditions. Literally any other alliance in the CFC could abandon the coalition and keep their space. The true target is Goonswarm, and every other alliance is a meatshield.

    That’s not to say Goons planned it that way, but the simple fact is that Goons are the only real target. Goons are the essential element of the CFC. Goons originated the culture of “…we’re trying to ruin YOUR game” that is driving such passion to destroy them. Goons are the ones who scam religiously.

    SMA, The Initiative, FCON, The Bastion…they’re all just in the way.

    If Branch survives and Deklein falls, this war will be over. If Deklein survives and Branch falls, this war will continue.


  23. Jenks

    Gotta throw in with the majority of commenters that I immediately thought of WW3. Without you mentioning it I would have never remembered the mediocre Brad Pitt movie.


  24. Fucknuckle

    Cute spin attempt on the world war z, unfortunately it simply gives away that you haven’t read the book.

    I mean it’s a little unclear in the movie, but in either cases the humans eventually overcome the zombie masses.

    In that sense it’s the perfect analogy for defeating the imperium.

    You’ve been the zombies in eve for so long, but now humanity has found a way to cleanse space.


  25. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Talvorian Dex – Let’s try this on for size.

    The problem with your statement is that the behavior of your side has been almost exclusively to attack GSF allies. Yes, you can argue that Deklein was out of range at some point, but in the last week or so you’ve been able to base closer to Deklein than Saranen. Yet if I look at the map today, I see exactly two systems in that region reinforced, and one of them is the last TNT system in Deklein. If we’re a meatshield, it is because you chose to attack us. You talk about the importance of the GSF heartland, but don’t put any effort into taking it.

    Meanwhile, your offer… surrender and you can keep what you have (for now)… is empty. It isn’t like we all just showed up here yesterday. We’ve seen how PL and NCdot treat their allies. NCDot leaves them the moment it suits and, to paraphrase De Gaulle, PL doesn’t have friends, it has interests. That you have less respect for us than Goons is made clear by who you attack. Alone and weaker, at best we’ll just be another region for PL to farm for fights the way they did with Brave Newbies. I mean PL couldn’t resist dropping on a TEST convoy coming to help with the war, they sure won’t have any problem sitting on some former Goon pets when they have a free moment. Surrendering now just means waiting for our turn on the chopping block. Better to go on fighting, because you only win if you make us stop.

    And besides, where is the fun in not fighting? We have to keep going if only to give the CCP PR people something to promote. It isn’t like anything else in the game gets any coverage.


  26. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @fucknuckle – Nuh-uh! You’re the zombies! I’m rubber and you’re glue! Called it first!

    @Stabs – Videos? Who makes videos any more? I thought it was all about the memes.

    Anyway, even if I am wrong about the initial intention, we could still hijack the whole thing and turn it in a direction we wanted if leadership wasn’t so hung up on where the name came from. So instead we’re trying to brute force an unworkable name rather than using some Judo to flip the whole thing our way.


  27. Thomas

    I’m surprised The Imperium doesn’t like World War Bee. It fits into Goon narrative perfectly. Love us or hate us, it’s all about us.

    That’s the kind of name that makes you and your culture stronger. I guess Mittens has secretly got a bit of a fetish for the respectability of the previous Goon wars, even if that’s supposed to be a dirty habit.


  28. Rob Kaichin

    “You and your culture”

    I don’t get this, really.

    If culture is a shared set of attitudes, knowledge, precepts and perceptions, what exactly do people from TNT, SMA, FCON, C02 and so on share? (Including C02 because they were part of the coalition for a long time, and I couldn’t remember if there was another Euro-main alliance)

    The only thing you share is Eve, isn’t it? A communal identity which speaks in mutually unintelligible languages, where time-zones or even location aren’t shared, doesn’t seem very communal to me.

    As an aside, what I’d really like to see is the alternatives to “The War of Sovless Aggression”. It’s so unbelievably bad that my mind can’t fathom the sheer awfulness of the alternatives. Seriously, what could be worse?


  29. Thomas

    I just realised I was being naive with the complaints about the name. The Mittani doesn’t object to the name, and it’s not that it’s not good for The Imperium – it’s just that “Everyone is out to get us, even CCP” is a much better narrative.

    Also, maybe he’s worried World War Bee won’t go down as well with mainstream news outlets. That’s legitimate I guess.


  30. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Rob Kaichin – I am tempted to say “team spirit” is closer to the mark than culture, but culture includes shared customs, laws, and habits, which we do have to some degree, in addition to a shared set of large scale in-game goals. So what is culture then? We have less in common than an isolated Amazonian rain forest tribe, but more than just a random bunch of people on the internet.

    Or, to flip it another way, does The Imperium have any more or less of a culture than any other entity in New Eden?

    @Thomas – Yeah, that seems to be the thinking, though going full “screw CCP” doesn’t seem like a wining move to me. I am reliably informed that using the new Imperium portrait background will get you yelled at because it is attached to WWB and to use it means accepting CCP’s anti-Goon stance.


  31. Rob Kaichin

    “reliably informed that using the new background will get you yelled at”

    Well that’s just not cricket.

    ” addition to a shared set of large scale in-game goals.”

    Now, that’s something I can appreciate: a shared unifying purpose.

    It’s also something I understand too, unlike this unformed, clouded idea of ‘culture’. Maybe espirit de corps, or ‘shared soul’ is a better term?

    Considering your question, I really don’t know. I’ve always thought Test was the most ‘cultural’ alliance (certainly not the most cultured!). The shared meta-knowledge (and I have no idea what I mean by that, except that it’s kind of what I think I mean) of Test felt to me like what I guess you might mean.

    (There’s a lot of meaning I’m meaning not to miss, but the meaning is missing :P)

    Though, being realistic, you could boil down that comment to “Test has the best, most obvious in-jokes”, and you wouldn’t be far wrong!


  32. Noizy

    Personally, I thought CCP shouldn’t have interfered in the sandbox by giving its official imprimatur to the name World War B. Give the players time to come to a solid consensus. That said, I’m still going to call the conflict The Casino War until the sov portion ends. Which, considering The Imperium’s strategy, won’t be longer than 2-3 months.


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