…but this tireless swarm of maniacal bees is somewhat unexpected
-Noraus, Fraternity Alliance Meeting (translated)
In the week 54 war summary I mentioned that there was a big war related announcement expected for this Saturday, July 24th. Earlier this week Fraternity had an alliance meeting to prepare its members for this announcement, as well as bringing up a couple of additional topics.
Fraternity is a primarily Chinese alliance and so a transcript was posted to Reddit initially in Chinese with a brief summary. Translation from Chinese to English is problematic both due to the lack of exactly parallel idioms and the jargon laden nature of the New Eden, and the Google Translate attempt to bridge the gap is hilarious. (The quote at the top becomes “The tireless raging bee colony is indeed beyond everyone’s expectations” via Google.)
There have since been a few translations. I am going by this one that appeared on Pastebin.
Fraternity is also the third largest sov null alliance in the game when it comes to membership and the largest when it comes to total systems held in New Eden. So what they are up to matters to the rest of New Eden.
The meeting started with a summing up of the current situation, recognizing that the Imperium has held out for more than 90 days in the 1DQ1-A constellation and shows no sign of breaking. The Mittani is said to have cultivated a group of diehard loyalists.
This is what happens when you declare a war of extermination. If you say there are no terms save destruction, there is no reason to for us to give up.
So the failure to break us is because of maniacal bees and game mechanics, the latter being TEST’s favorite “why PAPI hasn’t won yet” hobby horse.
Faced with the stalemate, Noraus says that there are two paths forward. They either have to go all out to destroy the Imperium regardless of the costs or they have to somehow break up the blue donut that is PAPI to foster null sec content while maintaining the containment of the Imperium in Delve.
The goal is to end the war in 60 days. The announcement about which path they will take comes on the 24th.
I want to say that, to actually end the war, they have to go with the former. They have to go all out and attack the Imperium and evict us from 1DQ. There is no undisputed victory without that. Fail that and the Imperium will never let anybody forget that all of null sec blued up and couldn’t take us down.
So it has to be an all out attack, right? Why bother if it isn’t going to be an immediate all hands onslaught? Nothing else wins the war in 60 days. They have to be going on the offensive.
Maybe? Maybe not. Winning the war and ending the war in 60 days could be two different paths completely.
PAPI has been reluctant to commit to a big fight since the battles at M2-XFE more than six months ago. They have been careful, using their numbers to squeeze us down to the last constellation in Delve, since which their progress has been stymied.
Given this hesitance and the regular reference to game mechanics and servers favoring the Imperium, it is kind of a hard sell that PAPI has suddenly decided to go all-in on taking 1DQ. Certainly this past weekend they demonstrated levels of torpor in the face of Imperium actions we had not previously seen as we ran around their staging system setting timers, then sent in a salvage fleet uncontested to clean up the battlefield.
And Fraternity itself has reportedly withdrawn its capital fleet from T5ZI already. Not that they could not return, but that says something about their level of commitment to taking 1DQ. Then again, Fraternity has used the war to expand its holdings and enrich itself in the northeast of null sec, so their level of commitment seems very much related to their own interests.
But breaking up PAPI in any serious way means disaster for TEST and some of its Legacy allies. If Pandemic Horde leaves, PAPI’s conquest is over and the Imperium will retake Delve.
Perhaps this means a reduced PAPI with some of the alliances leaving the war. I suspect FI.RE in the southeast and Fraternity will pull out along with some of the smaller alliances that were tagging along. But PAPI has to keep a critical mass of player… Legacy and PanFam… to have any hope of keeping Goons from rolling back into their old holdings.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out on Saturday that the big announcement is that PAPI will no longer be however many alliances they have left in the war.
Adding to that is the next item on the agenda for the Fraternity meeting, the TTC.
The Tranquility Trading Tower, the trade hub located in Perimeter, one jump over from Jita, controlled by the Tranquility Trading Consortium which is run by TEST, Pandemic Horde, and the Imperium.
The continued existence of the TTC, which sends trillions of ISK to the three partners over the course of a year, in the midst of a war where one of the partners joined the other to exterminate the third has raise questions. There were one or two threads a week about it on Reddit for quite a stretch. There was a point when Snuffed Out threatened that Keepstar, after destroying the low sec TTC Keepstar, where it looked like we might be at war in Delve and fighting shoulder to shoulder with TEST and PH in high sec in order to preserve the status quo in Perimeter.
The existence of the TTC has been used to suggest that the war is fake, but it is really a matter that all three partners know that one of them could make the situation untenable and they would all rather collect the ISK than fight the war in high sec.
Fraternity is not happy with the TTC because they feel they deserve a cut. Their move from the drone regions into Vale of the Silent and Geminate was in part motivated by a desire to set up a competing marketplace under cover of their own forces.
So they have set up a Keepstar in Oijanen, which is in The Forge region, so checking region-wide market orders from Jita will show items listed there as well as those listed in Perimeter.
While there is a skill limit on setting up sell orders remotely (Marketing V lets you do so region-wide) buying is available region-wide by default, and for things like PLEX or Skill Injectors, which can be dealt with remotely (and which make up much of the Perimeter trade), means that Fraternity will be setup to compete with the TTC. Their Keepstar being two jumps into low sec is mitigated somewhat by it being one gate from null sec and one of their home regions, so it can be defended.
What does all of that mean?
I’ve said a number of times over the past year that Fraternity has used the war to expand its own power while its allies were committed to attacking the Imperium. The MER shows them amassing wealth every month and the sovereignty map has shown their expansion. Now Fraternity is set to assail the golden goose of the TTC, pitting them against TEST and Pandemic Horde.
I think, at a minimum, it means that Fraternity will be stepping back from the war… stepping back more so, since their level of commitment had be fairly low. Maybe if there is a last big offensive they will contribute some, but they have been hanging around the exit for a while now.
Barring any sudden PAPI military victory, the question becomes what happens when the third largest null sec alliance assails the combined income stream of the first, second, and fourth largest null sec alliances? Does ISK trump war? Do TEST and PH stick with the Imperium as a partner or do they kick Goons and maybe invite Fraternity into the agreement to keep a cartel going?
There is no possible peace with PAPI in T5ZI. There is absolutely no peace with TEST in Delve. There is likely no peace with TEST anywhere close to the Imperium. Can the warring factions find a compromise? Can the war end in 60 days? Is Fraternity going to be the big winner of World War Bee? Does the war conclude with Fraternity becoming what PAPI alleged the Imperium was threatening to become?
We’ll have to wait and see what gets announced on Saturday.
(The final topic in the meeting was related to the reserve bank keys that will go live next Tuesday. As rumors suggested, they are nationalizing the output from a couple of regions for the alliance and encouraging their members to go steal from other people.)