A war of unprecedented magnitude on EVE Online comes to an unexpected and anti-climatic end. For more than a year now, some of the most important factions led by EVE Online players, including TEST Alliance, Pandemic Horde, Fraternity and Brave Collective, a super-coalition called PAPI, have besieged the villain Imperium with the only intention to remove them from the game completely. The war has been brewing since another historic 2016 conflict called World War Bee, and in the past year has led to some of the biggest fights in the history of EVE Online. But after 13 long months of war, the PAPI coalition has virtually dissolved at the main gate of the Empire.
World War 2 Bee is the second time some of EVE Online’s biggest alliances have come together to launch The Imperium. It is also the second time they have failed. Why resentment? It's simple: the Empire has dominated for years, the huge lawless ring of stellar systems surrounding the less hostile areas of the New Eden game. With tens of thousands of players under its banner and an industrial infrastructure that could rival a small nation, The Imperium is the king of EVE Online and goes out of its way to make sure everyone knows it too.
It’s natural for so many thousands of players to want to see the Imperium completely collapse. But that’s not what happened.
For 13 months, PAPI systematically invaded each of the key territories of the Empire and captured them. With about 52,000 more estimated players, they outnumbered The Imperium in numbers so significantly that in September 2020, Imperium leader The Mitanni sent an email to old Goonswarm members who had left EVE asking them to they would fight again. For Christmas, PAPI had The Imperium against the ropes in his home region, Delve, with a secured beachhead just a few jumps from The Imperium headquarters.
This led to some of the biggest battles in the entire 17-year history of EVE Online. On 31 December, both sides clashed at a Citadel star base in the M2-XFE system and, with a rare display of bravery, both armies deployed their Titan supercapital fleets. As the game's biggest, deadliest, and most expensive ships, the Titans are the last resort for players to change the tide of conflict. About 7,000 players fought for more than 14 hours in this single battle, destroying a total of 257 titans (and thousands of smaller ships). It became the most destructive battle in the history of EVE with a wide margin and even compensated the game developers with two Guinness records.
But as the new year unfolded, the momentum for PAPI seemed to wane. Months of grueling military operations began to take their toll. This was not the first time the Empire had been pushed into a corner by half the galaxy, which only boosted the morale of its front-line soldiers. Meanwhile, PAPI's own armies seemed to be slowing down, with commitments becoming less frequent. In a interview with PCGamesN, CCP Games community developer Peter Farrell speculated that reducing the pandemic quarantine meant fewer players wanted to make holes in the spaceships for hours on end.
Fearing a stalemate, the PAPI leadership renewed its war effort several weeks ago with the intention of dragging Goonswarm into a series of deadly battles that would eventually decide war once and for all. On August 2, PAPI launched a total assault on the Imperium headquarters in 1DQ1-A. The battle lasted for hours before PAPI forces began to withdraw unexpectedly. Minutes later the news spread that alliances within the PAPI were withdrawing from the war and heading home.
It’s not clear what exactly happened – and everyone has their own version of events – but within hours PAPI’s joint leadership completely collapsed into its separate alliances. In a emergency meeting of the city council, TEST leader Progodlegend announced the imminent withdrawal of the alliance and blamed part of the defeat on developer CCP Games and some recent changes it had made to the game's economy that allegedly damaged the game. TEST's war economy. "The timing could not have been worse. It was a severe blow to the CCP," he said.
"The war is over and we have lost," the Brave leader said address to his soldiers. "The Empire remained strong, did not hesitate and overcame the fiercest assault ever seen on EVE."
Immediately after the announcement, PAPI forces began evacuating their fleets to their regions of origin. Meanwhile, Empire forces have begun attacking the retreating PAPI fleets, recovering systems lost during the initial conflict and pouring propaganda to the EVE subredit rejoicing in his victory.
While the fighting is far from over, World War Bee 2 – EVE Online's biggest conflict to date – is sure to be.