Amidst recent protests by unarmed creeps over the last few days, news of the War in the South has gone relatively unnoticed by many in Screeps. The silence on the world stage has been mirrored by the volume and tenacity of what was, before now, being called the War in the South, which began over a week ago today. Since then, rooms have attacked, hundreds of creeps have been lost, and untold credits of damage has been done by both sides.
The War in the South marks a period of growing turmoil and violence in Screeps. Wars involving Hive, protests involving Thunderkittens, and the War in the South are all symptoms of the gradual ‘reheating’ of Screeps after the war exhaustion of the Great Screeps War, sometimes called Thunderkittens Folly in these parts after SUN was forced to sign a peace accord considered humiliating by many. Since then, SUN has been gradually re-arming and expanding their base in the south, and now SUN is indisputably the major southern power.
Unlike most wars in screeps, which start due to personal ambition or the desire for resources, the War in the South started due to a dispute in membership. Ypsilon Pact, the considerably smaller member in the conflict, claims a number of their members were approached by SUN and offers made to ‘flip’ and join SUN, abandoning their once-allies to what fate might befall them in the dangerous world of Screeps. In a startling show of unity, Ypsilon Pact members universally rejected what they viewed as an attempt to undermine diplomacy itself, and came together to defend the territory, members, and honor of their alliance with creeps and energy, launching a vicious counterattack that has temporarily checked SUN’s territorial ambitions in the area. It’s no surprise that, according to one source, Ypsilon Pact has referred to this as the “Poachers War”.
That’s only one side of the story, however. To Screeps United Nations, this was an unprovoked attack made in retribution for attempts to reach out to a group that might have been allies, bringing unity to the South. “We reached out to individual members to make it clear we meant well”, one source said. “We had no idea it might end up like this.” Despite being considerably larger and better equipped for this war, SUN has been in an awkward position, as a number of their AIs have been unable to reach the front lines, and a number of their members (notably Joshua and Voroni) are in danger of being isolated and cut off, and major members are limited to largely material support via terminals. Nevertheless, SUN has weathered the war well thus far, and most experts had expectations of SUN being able to end the war with a minor victory within the next month. Atavus, famous veteran of the Great Screeps War, said he had been pleased with the progress of the war up until recently.
This all changed with the entry of the Greater North-Eastern Co-Prosperity Sphere into the war. The Indisputable Power in the NorthEastern bloc, CoPS is equal parts famous and notorious for their realpolitik, aggressive foreign policy, and skilled military. Their entry into the war on the side of Ypsilon Pact has tipped the balance, leaving it precariously placed on a knifes edge. Despite the great distance between CoPS and SUN, CoPS has shown a proclivity to portal combat that has had members of the Federation and even some of their allies nervous, going so far as to put considerable energy into developing counters to portal raids. This could turn the balance in the war and leave SUN fighting on the defensive strategically for weeks to come.
The entry of CoPS into the war makes this screeps first cross-map war in some time. Speaking to members of Ypsilon Pact, this deceleration of war on their behalf was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. In their Public Deceleration of War, CoPS compared themselves to Murirangawhenua, of Maori Mythos, who once fought the sun itself, and that they would not rest until Ypsilon Pact had achieved peace. Kotarou, CoPS diplomat and according to some rumors the brilliant strategist behind the portal raid against Vervorris in the Great War, said that while CoPS was declaring war against SUN for the sake of their southern brethren, they did not have a quarrel with the Federation as a whole.
“Unprovoked acts of naked aggression”
This has met with some skepticism across the Greater Screeps Community. “Unprovoked acts of naked aggression”, said one SUN member who asked to remain anonymous. Indeed, some have argued that there may be more to this than first appears- several SUN members have rooms just south of CoPS, well outside of the range of possible reinforcement by allies in the far southwest, leaving them alone to weather the onslaught of CoPS on their doorstep. Others say this is CoPS attempting to assert themselves to a greater extent in foreign policy against what is considered to be one of the “Great Powers”, and the cause of Ypsilon Pact is simply a convenient one. Still others claim that CoPS are truly dedicated to the cause of their southern allies, and that previous intimate relationships between the two powers have left CoPS unwilling to allow Ypsilon to be pushed around by the dominant power in the South, regardless of their range from the fight.
All of this begs the question: Who’s winning? In the opinion of this humble reporter, the answer is obvious: The Culture is winning the Poachers War, by a massive margin. Despite holdups with protests near the Thunderkittens border, Culture has been profiting heavily off the war due to their relative proximity, lack of interest, and easy access to minerals. As both sides continue to grind each other down and mineral prices begin to spike, their relative safety and economic investment in the war will only increase, and the entry of CoPS into the war only solidifies this role as the mineral dealer for the war. If nothing else, we should never see another Great War in our time, thanks to the massive economic profits available to those who choose peace in these trying times.
For ScreepsWorld, I’m Knightshade.