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EVE Online

EVE Online: The Chinese Exodus To Tranquility

Aaron Denyer Posted:
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One of EVE Online’s most unique and heavily advertised features is the fact that everything within it takes place on just one server. Since 2006, however, that hasn’t been entirely true, with the launch of EVE China separating that region of the game off from the rest of the world. This isn’t unusual, with massive games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends also having their own China bound localisations and servers, in order to reach government approval in the region. For EVE Online however, it provided a fascinating mirror of a sandbox, as Tranquility and Serenity developed in parallel.

At least, that was the case. Taking a look at the rankings for the Tranquility server now, we can see that the Chinese alliance Fraternity tops the number of systems owned, and a second chinese alliance Rangers Regiment comes in sixth. This transition hasn’t been a peaceful one either, with a nearly 500 man clash in Fraternity territory last week punctuating their ongoing war with their western neighbours, Legacy coalition.

Much like with everything in EVE, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact date where the story turned to get us here, but a date that was universally agreed upon being of crucial importance by those that I spoke to was the 25th of March, 2014.

This day saw records broken, as a 23 hour long fight broke out between arrayed and embittered opponents in the system of 49-U6U, a crucial chokepoint that both sides knew would determine the next stages of the war that was to come. What no-one could have expected however, much like with its equivalent on Tranquility in B-R5, was the sheer scale of the fight that was to unfold.

On one side there was PIBC (Pan Intergalactic Business Community) and their allies in Veni Vidi Vici, facing off against a coalition of other groups called the RACOA/FDK coalition, who formed with the expressed intent to “fight together against PIBC and prevent Serenity from becoming one man’s game”. So, as PIBC deployed to attack the 49-U6U iHub, their enemies struck back with their own supercapital fleet.

By the end of it all, 84 Titans, 39 Supercarriers, and nearly 1,000 regular capitals lay dead. This made it the single most destructive fight across either server, and on top of that pile of rubble, PIBC stood victorious. More importantly, their greatest enemy in R.A.C, lay broken in the aftermath, forced to retreat to  the NPC region of Stain.

With this, many, even those outside PIBC sensed victory. Whilst Fu1crum, an important FC within PIBC, recalls the troubles of re-organising and re-focusing following their victory - My talk with other members of the Chinese server has a distinctly different tone to it:

“49-U6U was another turning point for Seren die (in my point of view of course). I actually quit Seren pretty much next year, because no one could threaten PIBC anymore.”

Gungir, well known Chinese EVE content creator & translator

But this defeat wasn’t the end of the fighting, with various alliances holding their grudge and attempting to rebuild under the weight of this single alliance’s hegemony. In late 2017, this erupted once again, as war came back to Serenity. The Galaxy Alliance, in the east, began to rally it’s forces in an attempt to push back against PIBC in the north. This was accompanied by a message being sent out by TGA to anyone who wanted to aid them in their crusade, an act which would come to name the war as the Letter War.

Serenity circa 2015

“They asked every anti-PIBC group to join them. So, we can’t tolerate that.”

Fu1crum, PIBC Fleet Commander

This war itself had many interesting turns, as R.A.C redoubled their efforts in the south, and TGA attempted to set up an ambush for the PIBC supercapital fleet. But, it ended it tragedy, and one not quite a spectacular as 49-U, as TGA was forced to slowly retreat through their holdings. This retreat held with it loss after loss, as Titans were repeatedly caught in transit, and fleet numbers began to fall. Eventually, after surrender negotiations fell through, both R.A.C & TGA were forced back into NPC nullsec, and placed under siege by PIBC.

Facing indomitable odds as the siege raged on, the alliances facing this situation had to find radical solutions, and find them they did. Rather than trying to continue to fight a lost war on Serenity, members of TGA and R.A.C instead booted up VPNs, and began to fight in a completely different universe on Tranquility - Sending videos and propaganda back to those on Serenity to encourage others to join them as they worked with Fraternity.

PIBC now practically had Serenity to themselves, with no great power to challenge them, and continued their conquest. The South Western Treaty Organisation, Blades of the Northern Wind and China Soul Reaper joined the exiled anti-PIBC forces in Tranquility as they were pushed out of their space on their home server. This continued for months, until there was only one alliance left; STARCHASER Alliance.

The alliance fought valiantly, and defended the wormholes which served as entrance to their home many times against the invading forces, with large fleets of carriers barring the way. But by timing their attack to coincide with a battle on Tranquility, which sapped STARCHASER of any allies returning to the server and distracted their members, PIBC were able to breach the gates and take control over these pathways. With hundreds of pilots now in place to continue the attack, another siege commenced, and the last beacon of resistance to PIBC domination on Serenity was extinguished - And sent running to Tranquility.

This influx of players caused a wave of both fear and excitement in the rest of EVE Online’s community, as people began to imagine a full blown invasion from the Chinese in a form of unity, something only bolstered by the nationalism invoked by the propaganda being posted on the Chinese video site BiliBili.

What actually ended up happening, much as one might expect, was a little less dramatic. EVE Online over the past year and a half has seen the rise of a coalition based around the Chinese powerhouse of Fraternity, known as Winter Coalition, but it’s far from the only place that Chinese players reside. Other, independent groups like Ranger Regiment and Peoples Liberation Army have found reason to align themselves with existing power blocs instead.

In an alternative universe, this might have been how everything had stayed, with a PIBC controlled Serenity and the rest of China staking claim to various parts of Tranquility. However, in July of 2018, Tiancity and CCP ended their partnership in bringing EVE to China. This was swiftly followed by their announcement of a new partnership with NetEase.

This change in partnership came with a list of new features needed to update the game for both the Chinese audience, and also for acceptance by the Chinese government, including a new punishment feature as reported on by Lee Yancy of Kotaku - Which would see players forced to spend time breaking rocks after being caught cheating, rather than being banned outright.

This particular change is likely due to the case Tiancity encountered after banning an alleging botting account, only to be engaged in a lawsuit by the banned player, which the company lost in the Wuhu People’s Court. This forced them to both reinstate the accounts, and apologise to the player involved, and greatly damaged Tiancity’s willingness to ban players for breaking rules in the future. Using an in-game punishment for players instead of account bans is much less likely to be met with successful legal action, potentially allowing NetEase to retain better control over the players on their server.

These changes have taken time to implement however, and as of the current date, NetEase’s version of the Serenity server is still in a beta mode. This means that progress made in the game will be wiped at the end of every month. In a game built around months and years long campaigns and efforts, this makes the server almost inhospitable, and that’s backed up by the server’s online numbers - Which fail to break 1,000 users most days.

Image courtesy of EVE-Offline

When I asked Fu1crum about this, and whether anyone was left on Serenity, he replied with the following;

“No, basically every single nullsec coalition has moved [...] Whatever happens on that server will be deleted, so what’s the point?”

So, with their domain dying and no more enemies to fight, much like everyone else before them, PIBC only had one place to turn: Tranquility.

In April of this year, PIBC finally jumped ship from Serenity and into the fray with everyone else on Tranquility, creating an alliance under the new name of “The Army of Mango Alliance”. Since that time, it has grown to be well over 3,000 players strong, and has secured a region of space for themselves with the blessing of Legacy coalition. This should give PIBC a well protected area of space from which to develop its economy, as this alliance is starting off at square one, in all but size.

This also means that due to Legacy coalition being at war with Winter Coalition, that the anti-PIBC forces and PIBC are once again find themselves on opposite sides of a war, with the fighting even taking place over the same regions those anti-PIBC forces once held on Serenity as they do on Tranquility. So whilst PIBC isn’t currently involved in the attack, one has to note the irony of Winter Coalition’s members being forced to fight almost the exact same war a second time.

Unfortunately, this is where the story ends, for now. The ultimate fate of Winter Coalition still hangs in the balance, as does the future of The Army of Mango, and even the Serenity server. But what we can say for sure is that the tagline of “One Universe, One War” has never rang more true that it does in 2019.


Aaron Denyer

A PC gamer who's been in love with the format before his teen years, with a special appreciation for PvP in MMOs of all stripes, having ventured into everything from WoW Arenas to Guild Wars 2. He's best known for his exploits in EVE Online, where he's a 10 year veteran of the wars and politics that embroil the game, including a 3 year stint as an elected community representative.