When you commit to establishing a voice and a tone in a community, there are a lot of advantages. People recognize you when you fly through space. You gain the platform to share your thoughts and – importantly – improve them by having your readers point on where you’re wrong. It’s a nice thing, most of the time.
But, you also make a promise to speak honestly about the things that affect you, your mission, and your readers’ trust in you. Sometimes, that means you need to address the giant elephant sitting in the room, even though you may not want to.
If you fail to deliver on those expectations, you risk alienating any credibility you have. Sometimes, you need to comment on major happenings in Eve even though it can be awkward. This is one of those times.
So, here it goes.
You may have noticed, if you read reddit or the forums, that Goonswarm has been attacking
Providence. You might think that, as a
member of Goonswarm, I’d be down there doing my part to burn down everything
Provi built over the past five years.
After all, I was looking forward to these very sov exercises when the attack
I’ve participated in CFC campaigns for the past four years. I was an eager soldier from the beginning of the campaign to conquer the north. I deployed three times to Delve, twice to Fountain, and followed the coalition for every major campaign. The story of the CFC is my story as well.
But I’m sitting out of this
Providence campaign. I just can’t support the reasons behind
it. Recently, I’ve spoken a lot about
the kinds of fights I really look forward to.
I’ve commented in the past how I’ve tried to embed a corp thief, but I
couldn’t bring myself to steal from them.
I’ll happily kill someone, burn down someone’s space, or pressure them
into a failcascade. But when I do, I
want to do it for personal (read: personal/corp/alliance/coalition) gain.
When the details of FozzieSov came to light, the Imperium announced an invasion of
to test the new sov mechanics. At the
time, it sounded like a great strategy. Providence had residents
who would fight back, resisting attacks with all their might. They’ve proven tenacious defenders in the
past. And, as a force who has shown
little interest invasion outside of Provi and certain areas of Catch, they were
a “safe enemy – the lessons Provi learned would not be used against the
Imperium in the future.
To get the most out of such a test, I assumed it would naturally include balanced battles to examine the possibilities from every possible angle, as well as tactical attempts to overwhelm an opponent – to see how blobbing works in the new system. Winning wasn’t really important. The Imperium had no interest in Provi long-term, so the key take-away would be constructing a variety of scenarios to test the best response to each, right? Try to blitz some systems, try to ease into others, try to use small gang skirmish tactics on others – even try to fight under-manned to understand the tactics imperial enemies would use.
But then the invasion took a decidedly different flavor. The goal wasn’t to explore the possibilities, but rather to smash everything Provi had as quickly as humanly possible with overwhelming force. One of the stated goals was to use the opportunity to identify the most cancerous doctrines and fits to ruin the enjoyment of the enemy, apply every dirty trick, and leverage every overpowered mechanic to win as quickly as possible. The experimentation wasn’t to understand various tactics and how to counter them. It was to find the most exploitative method possible to erode the fun of the enemy. That plan didn’t involve generating interesting content, exploring the facets of FozzieSov, or becoming familiar with the new system. It involved shitting all over someone because the Imperium can.
And for what purpose? Under FozzieSov, no Imperium alliance has any interest in retaining a single piece of Provi territory. No moons, no systems, no stations… Provi will take everything back and rebuild, albeit from scratch. Without testing how a motivated group like ProviBloc defends in various situations – and testing those scenarios again and again over time as each side learns – there really is no point to this other than, “Let’s learn how to dumpster an entrenched group as quickly as possible!”
And the kicker is that lesson isn’t even particularly relevant. Because the mechanics of FozzieSov suggest that the Imperium already owns as much space as it would wish to manage, they’ll have little reason to ever invade and conquer someone’s space again. Unless resource distribution across the galaxy shifts, the Imperium will likely never need or choose to move to another area of space (conquer and live there).
So, the lessons aren’t going to be valuable or relevant. It’s looking more and more like this is meant to ruin someone's day. Is this what passes for content in modern null-sec? A war with no prospect for gain and limited content value?
Now, I know a lot of you will say, “You’ve just been naïve… Goons always say ‘We don’t want to ruin the game, we want to ruin YOUR game.’”. But every decision the CFC made since I’ve been a part of it had a clear tactical or strategic purpose. The conquest of the north was to shore up revenue and complete the control of a region with natural borders it could easily defend. The war against Test was an attempt to deal with a threat that appeared capable of creating a destabilizing force on the CFC’s border and unifying all of its enemies. Burn Jita is an economic interdiction with market manipulation at its heart, as well as a net positive revenue stream from loot. Even the Fountain war and the burning of NC. in the past year had strategic purposes.
But this Scouring of
I don’t see any tactical or strategic reason.
I’ve never believed any of the jealous complaints about the Imperium
before. Always before, while the CFC’s
plans have burned whole regions to the ground, they were burned for
purpose. And I’m totally on board with
that. I'll happily raid the nearby village to steal their cattle, gold, and
farmlands, but I'm not keen on burning all the good stuff just to burn it.
I’m very unsettled by this Provi war. The conqueror in me is unfulfilled, because the Imperium will abandon the space when it’s finished. The Viking in me doesn’t see any profit in it. The Diogenes in me doesn’t see the pride or satisfaction of executing a bound prisoner. It's like the Red Wings considering themselves champions for obliterating a pee-wee team. (A bit strained, since Provibloc is a capable force, but I had to reference South Park sometime...)
So I’m sitting this one out. I’m sure there will be a lot of great fights that Imperium and Provi members will enjoy, and I don’t begrudge anyone for enjoying themselves. But for me, I see only a net loss for the gameworld from such a brutal attack whose intention is to find the best way to strip fun out of the new system.
This is a game, after all, and I try to remember that on the other side are players deserving of respect. Crush them, certainly. But do it with respect.