Those of involved with the war for the war, which ran for almost 60 weeks in New Eden, CCP’s interest in it seemed lukewarm at times. They were happy enough to pay attention when we were setting Guinness Book world records for battles, but there were times when they were putting out videos from The Scope about capsuleers battling Triglavians in their scripted event while ten times as many players were battling across multiple regions of null sec.
Add in the economic starvation plan that CCP cranked up during the war, which seemed then, and now, intended to punish null sec and ensure that nobody has the resources to start another large war, and you might come away with the impression that really doesn’t like null sec.
Of course, there it is also a core belief in Goonswarm Federation that CCP is working against us, a view rooted in the T20 scandal, when a CCP employee was spawning tech II BPOs for Band of Brothers, and which has been renewed by CCP behavior regularly ever since. It is an article of faith in the alliance that the only sure fire way to get CCP to nerf something is for GSF to start doing it.
So the fact that CCP was kind of quiet about the war once it ended was easily chalked up to the Imperium successfully defending its space and driving out the invaders on its own terms once the retreat began. CCP was much more interested in strangling the economy than a Goon victory.
But apparently somebody at CCP wanted to make note of the war.
Dracarys member Satoshia posted to the GSF forums that they had been going through the EVE Online press kit materials on CCP’s corporate site and ran into a press briefing slide deck about World War Bee, dated August 17th, 2021. (Download at their site, or archived here if that goes away.) Sitting in a directory with the name Unreleased Pictures from WWB2, was the slide deck that nobody could recall CCP ever mentioning.
The slide deck is a reasonable summary of the war, which they refer to as World War Bee 2 because they they won’t call the 2016 war The Casino War, having bought into the narrative of the Imperium’s foes. (Another “CCP is against us” moment, along with CCP waiting until the Imperium was defeated before banning the casinos that generated the funds to sustain the war against us.)
Some of the bullet points from the back half of the slide deck are the more interesting and reflect the feeling of things back in August as the war was winding down and PAPI was trying to move home.
- The political landscape of New Eden is changing rapidly in the immediate aftermath of the war.
- The Imperium have miraculously recovered their home space in less than two weeks.
- The Imperium military leadership begin planning their revenge. The war is not yet over.
- Legacy Coalition has dissolved.
- A new PIBC Coalition has formed from some elements of Legacy.
- Nearly a dozen alliances disbanded
- What the Future Holds
- Both sides are walking away with most of their capital and supercapital ships.
- Fraternity, Pandemic Horde, and Northern Coalition. are returning to their unscathed homelands.
- TEST, Brave Newbies, and others are moving to hastily-arranged space far from the conflict zone.
- The Imperium are redesigning their territory to be more defensible – certain they will be attacked again.
- New small-scale conflicts are already sparking in other regions.
- Economic Impact
- This war affected over 100,000 pilots who depleted markets of key materials.
- Strategic stockpiles built over many years have been reduced or consumed.
- Jump fuel, necessary for the vast migration, has tripled in price and is hard to find.
- So many ships have been built and destroyed that Fleet Commanders must now limit themselves to fielding ships that have plentiful raw build materials.
- Many pilots are grateful the war has ended so they can replenish their funds.
- Power Dynamics
- This will be a war that players will speak about for many years to come.
- The apparent win for The Imperium has given them an aura of invincibility and high spirits.
- Public opinion and esprit de corps are hugely important in these highly psychological battles.
- New partnerships are being forged – as yet untested.
- War-time achievements are coloring how each entity is treated politically in the aftermath.
- Guinness Book World Records
- Largest multiplayer video game PvP battle (8,825 players)
- Most concurrent participants in a multiplayer video game PvP battle (6,557 participants)
- Most costly videogame battle ($378,012 USD)
- Most Titans lost in a battle of EVE Online (257)
But the points of the last slide in the deck are probably the most important for CCP to remember.
- History In The Making
- This is what a lot of these players have dedicated their lives to as Capsuleers in EVE.
- They are here to write history and be a part of these galaxy-changing events
- Both sides write and retell their own stories — the conflict and drama of it all is fuel for the players who take part.
- The next in-person EVE meets and fan festivals will be filled with retelling stories from this war – to allies and enemies alike.
This last part is what keeps me and many others invested in null sec. I have said in the past that, in many ways, EVE Online is an objectively dull game. The mechanics are difficult to learn and even more so to master, the PvE aspects, ISK generation and resource gathering, are especially tedious. PvP is sporadic and unpredictable. And when a few thousand of us end up in a single system battling over an objective, the game slows down to 10% speed and becomes unresponsive and frustrating.
But the sum of those dubious parts is so much greater, the players organizations and the people you fleet up with and the enemies you face and the politics and loyalty and betrayal and all the little moments in between that make up a war of this scale. That is what gets tens of thousands of players in null sec logging in around the clock to play an intractable and unforgiving game like EVE Online.
I don’t know of another game where things happen on this scale.
And I really wonder why CCP left this slide deck tucked away in a directory like that. Not a narrative they find useful at the moment I suppose.
Addendum: In digging around there were a couple of other interesting items, such as this infographic about the war.
And then a tally of Imperium and PAPI ISK losses over the duration of the war.
That charts ends in early August, before all of the PAPI structures in Imperium space had been purged and before many of the losses on the way home from the war that the coalition suffered. So it looks like the Imperium won the ISK war along with keeping their space.
Meanwhile, CCP has chosen to remove the presentation because… reasons. I suspect the fact that their economic changes choked off the war, leading to a period of stagnation, or that the Imperium coming out looking like winners irked somebody at CCP. Whatever the reason, it is gone now.