EVE Online: The Mittani dot com

So I am a few days behind discussing this news, namely that a new EVE-news site has launched: themittani.com.

Lots of people have had something to say about this, but I think the most interesting perspective I have read has been Mabrick in this post. I am particularly interested in his idea that this is an attempt to influence the “war of words” as Mabrick puts it.

The thing is, I suspect no one really knows the true make-up of the EVE playerbase. Oh, now and then we get told snapshots of the percentage of characters in hisec, lowsec, nullsec, and wspace. However, they don’t really mean anything given the proliferation of alts, and the fact not everyone in nullsec is actually a hardcore pvper. However, traditionally the pvpers tend to be the more vocal part of EVE’s playerbase. A few years ago there was an interesting conversation why so many EVE blogs (at that time) were written by pirates. The reasons seemed fairly obvious, the person who explores the pirate lifestyle benefits from the publicity. Contrast the industrialist, whose most effective weapon in EVE is anonymity. Plus reading about the intricacies of T1 manufacture is simply not usually as interesting as that of a roam.

Well, things have moved on, but pvpers still dominate the EVE bloggers, though there is no doubt a greater proliferation of them now than once there was. Amidst this group, events such as Hulkageddon and Burn Jita generally go over well – regardless of whether they take part in the events themselves (or perhaps even oppose them ingame in the case of Burn Jita). However, to state something very obvious, EVE bloggers are hardly representative of the EVE playerbase.

The strong impression I have always had is that the majority of EVE players do not even regularly check to see if there are new devblogs. I myself hardly ever read the forums as I decided life was too short to regularly wade through all the rubbish – I use EVE blogs basically as a filtering system for my news. If Ripard Teg, Poetic Stanzial, Mabrick, The Nosy Gamer, or several others find it important enough to mention, I will pay attention.

Most folks however rely on corporation chat channels, or other chat channels. There are many small, thriving communities in EVE that are focused on a channel of mutual interest, and this gamewide. In those channels usually a relatively few people filter the news for the channel’s members must like the bloggers I read do for me. So what?

Well, Goonswarm’s reach has been getting bigger. It is a general rule of thumb that the hegemon of any era will attract a fair amount of opprobrium. In modern times the British Empire attracted much opposition in the Victorian era, in part because it was so all over the place almost no matter what the Empire did at any one time it would offend someone (sometimes with cause, sometimes without). It doesn’t take many years of this for a great deal of the world to hold some sort of grudge towards Great Britain – and traces of this still remain. In today’s world, the role of Great Power and Great Antagonist has been taken by the USA. In the late seventeenth century it was held by Louis XIV’s France, and in the sixteenth century by the Hapsburg Empires, especially that of Spain in the latter portion of that century. Goonswarm fulfils this role currently in EVE. This means that somewhere in Goonswarm’s activities, be it Burn Jita, Hulkageddon V, Permageddon, or its nullsec activities, or even the Ministry of Love idea – they have been creating hostility.

A hostility that gets passed on by word of mouth (or typed text in a chat channel). This is not folks rage-quitting or anything like that, but just a general negativity. It does not occur overnight, but grows over the course of several months and years. This is dangerous to Goonswarm not in the short or medium term, but could potentially be very serious for them in the long-term. To be fairly blunt, BoB once held a similar position to what Goonswarm does now. Eventually BoB created so much opposition they brought themselves down. This is not so say their situations are mirror-images. EVE is a very different game from what it was during the Great War, but there enough similarities.

I am fairly sure the leadership of Goonswarm and the wider coalition realise this – they are smart people. So they are trying to navigate a way to avoid a fall, while somehow staying true to their own roots. History suggests at some point they will tumble – all Empires eventually do. Sometimes they crumble quickly, sometimes slowly. Sometimes they are able to stave off the inevitable for very many years (see the Eastern Roman Empire). I have no doubt that this new website is part of the effort to avoid this fate. I also believe this is only part of the aims of the news site. I hope the propaganda I am exposed to is more subtle that I can read in The Guardian or The Telegraph, but that might be expecting too much. In the meantime I am interested to see how the site does.

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