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The Poacher’s War – A Retrospective

Nearly a week ago today, the Poacher’s War officially came to a close after the ceasefire that had been in place was replaced by a full blown peace agreement. The agreement defined SUN and YP territory, with Ypsilon Pact being for now contained in the southeast. Despite this, the treaty contained provisions for expansion that some might argue somewhat favor Ypsilon Pact, having greater access to the newly opened rooms. While this is a great impact for Ypsilon Pact, the newly found peace will give the alliance much needed time to recover and reorganize before the treaty ends this coming November- around tick 20420000.

Both parties preformed admirably in this conflict. The Screeps United Nations under Atavus conducted an excellent and honorable campaign that was executed with the efficiency we’ve all come to expect from them. Ypsilon Pact, despite being outnumbered, outgunned, and outmaneuvered were able to hang on more than twice as long as even the most optimistic projections, and between increased recruitment and combat experience gained, Ypsilon Pact is set to come out in a strong position in the coming months. The Greater North-Eastern Co-Prosperity Sphere also deserves note, as their valiant assault on behalf of their ally against the Screeps United Nations is widely believed to have both allowed YP to better weather the SUN assault, and to have bought them better terms at the negotiating table.

All of this said, I’d like to take a moment to step back and look at the victors in this conflict, who over the course of the war took extremely low losses- all restricted to a single player- and who profited the most.

Over the course of the conflict, observers noted that the Screeps Community Market failed to follow standard wartime trends. Anyone familiar with the Great War will remember the chaos of markets that such large scale conflict inflicted on mineral prices. Without going into excessive detail for those less experienced with the Screeps Community Market, it was clear to experts and those familiar with the movement and patterns of the market that some third party was taking advantage of the Poacher’s War and manipulating the mineral market.

One clear suspect stood out in the Poacher’s War- with the south embroiled in war, Hive under assault by federation forces, and CoPS engaging from the northeast, Culture remained curiously above the conflict. Despite their allies, CoPS, being engaged in vicious engagements and their old enemy SUN busy assaulting Ypsilon Pact, a potential non-federation ally in the South, Culture remained silent. As I began to investigate Culture and after a number of comments in previous articles, I was contacted by The Culture’s spokesman, Tedivm himself, saying- “I can say for sure that rumors of us profiting off of things are greatly exaggerated.” Before going any further, I want to be clear- I think Tedivm’s a stand up guy, and he’s a great choice as a spokesman for The Culture. I have no doubt that he believed what he told me. That being said, if looking into The Culture would have revealed nothing, why did they feel a need to dissuade my investigation personally? What is “greatly exaggerated”? And greatly exaggerated based on which rumors?

Eventually, I was able to collect a coherent picture of what happened based on interviews, rumors, market and battle analysis, and some cold-hard speculation. Before the Poacher’s War, Ypsilon Pact, as a newly developing alliance, was seeking allies. At one point they may or may not have courted the Federation, but regardless they ended up speaking to the Screeps United Nations. As the dominant power in the South, an alliance with SUN would have brought unity to most of the South and secured Ypsilon Pact against threats, both now and in the future. Unfortunately, those talks fell through for reasons that are as of yet unknown- reasons that will likely be lost to the sands of time, opinion, and alliance politics.

Without the alliance with the Screeps United Nations, Ypsilon Pact was in a vulnerable position, one they sought to rectify. As such, a member of The Culture, possibly at the suggestion of an unknown member of the mysterious northwestern alliance undefined, reached out to Ypsilon Pact regarding the possibility of an defensive pact, while simultaneously leaking misleading details of these talks to the Screeps United Nations. Given the information he had, Grand Ambassador Atavus was given no choice but to push the SUN Security Council to declare war, and Ypilson Pact’s DoctorPC was given no choice but to meet SUN in battle- neither side being able to risk the time a negotiation might take while the other side was preparing for war.

Unfortunately Ypsilon Pact, despite dogged resistance, was unlikely to win the war, and as the war began to draw to a close, suggestions were made to CoPS that SUN, their old enemy from the Great War, might be vulnerable, which lead directly to CoPS declaration of war. Hive was also pressured by the unknown member of undefined, though instead of interfering in the war effort, Hive declared war on the Federation as a whole in retaliation and launched an assault into undefined, though that assault was rebuffed and counterattacks have kept Hive on the back foot since then. Throughout this process, Culture, with mineral profiteers like the famous market tycoon Dissi, were making a literal killing off the war in mineral sales. This explains not only Culture’s failure to get involved, but Hive’s sudden and unexpected war declaration against the Federation as a whole and CoPS delayed entry into the war. Early on in my investigation, I asked thunderkittens member Bonzaiferroni, sometimes referred to as the Thundercat of the South for his early campaigns in the Great War, for his thoughts on the potential allegations of Culture’s rampant war profiteering, as he’s an expert both on wars in Screeps and because his knowledge regarding the effects those wars have on markets is considerable. He said the following- “[…] truly the scoundreliest of scoundrels […] I would be absolutely outraged.”

To be clear, I don’t blame The Culture for any of this. Each alliance’s first duty is to their members, and the Culture was in many ways simply taking advantage of the existing situation to set themselves up better for the future- something they deserve to be commended for.

Let this be a cautionary tale, however. As each of you look to your neighbors and think that maybe you could use that storage full of ghodium better than they, or perhaps they’re not really taking advantage of a resource you need, look around you and ask yourself- who else might benefit from your war.

For ScreepsWorld, this is Knightshade.

 

EDIT [2017-7-26]: Those interested in another perspective, Grand Ambassador Atavus has also written a retrospective.

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