Monday, December 14, 2015

Tipping Point

The act of moving is a surprisingly complicated one.  Not only do you need pack up your stuff and unpack it at the other place – which takes at least twelve or fifteen hours in and of itself, for a small move – but you also need to go through a number of simultaneous processes at the same time.

First, you have the “keep or toss” debate about every object in your house.  As you spend time in a location, you accrue.  Some of the things you gather is “stuff” that is useful.  Some is “shit” that was formerly useful or the result of a temporary lapse in judgment. But each item has to go through that analysis.  I spent the last five days doing exactly that, and carted off two cars’ worth of “shit” for the dumpster.

At the same time, you also have the chance to “re-roll” the layout and positioning of everything. Always felt your dishes were inconveniently located? You get another chance to lay it out more efficiently. For me, I was never happy with the layout of my living room furniture, and now I’m able to redesign it a lot better, without spending a dime.

But, all of that is incredibly taxing, and this move – even though it’s a mere ten minutes away – has sapped me of any energy I might have. All of that is, of course, a roundabout way of saying, “Sorry for the drought” for the past few days as I moved.

Apparently, I'm not the only one moving; Bat Country and Blawrf McTaggart are too.

Earlier this month, I shared some opinions about my experience in the CFC over the past few months, which culminated with my decision to leave. In my opinion, the CFC existed to counter the PL/NC. alliance, and with that gone, it’s an antiquated entity that provides nothing of value any more to the PvP-minded players who made it what it was.  Those players are not satisfied with the no-risk “holding pattern” PvP and are leaving, while being replaced with straight-up carebears.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; null PvPers begin as carebears who move out to null and find that the income stream makes them more inclined to fight other players. We’re seeing the seeding of null-sec with risk-averse ratters who are future PvPers. Plus, it’s pulling people into null that otherwise wouldn’t go there. All good things. But the CFC has defeated its Carthage and is now progressing towards the empire of Romulus Augustus.

Bat Country, Endie, and Blawrf leaving are bellwether indicators that my experience isn’t isolated. Many of the reasons they cited for frustration reflect the lack of content that is making the decision to leave or log off easier day-by-day (incidentally, I suspect those who log off are more likely to be the goon loyalists, and those who leave more likely to be the Eve loyalists, but that’s a topic for another post…).

What makes this development even more surprising is that these defections are happening from within Goonswarm – and by leadership and key corporations at that. This isn’t some supporting CFC alliance deciding they don’t want to play by CFC rules anymore. This is defection at the very highest levels of those who helped make Goonswarm as powerful as it is. They’re bleeding talent.

On one hand, I’m not surprised to see this happening; strength always bleeds complacency, and being the final survivor isn’t very much fun. Eve is a game, after all, and we need uncertainty and gridlocked “trench warfare” to provide the constant feed of content we all want. In our hearts, we don’t want to “win Eve”; we want to experience enough victories that we feel we’re making progress, but enough setbacks to prevent a final victory leading to peace.  We live for the tug-of-war.

On the other hand, though, I’m always sad to see something truly great decay. The fall of Rome upsets me. I’m incredibly troubled by the lack of focus and signs of decay in America today. And Goonswarm was truly great in its ability to marshal the will to achieve victory time and again.

In business, the “tipping point” is the moment at which all of the effort dedicated to an objective begins bearing fruit and inertia begins to work in your favor. When you’re building mind-share for a product or solution, you have to put in disproportionate work at the beginning to drive trial and adoption. You may have the best widget in the world, but you have to put forth tremendous effort to get people to buy into it.

When you do, though, at some point you find that your product speaks for itself; word-of-mouth and positive press take over and your promotion takes on a life of its own. It’s as if you’ve succeeded at pushing the boulder up the hill, have crested it, and it has started rolling down the other side. Now, your objectives are to slow it to a manageable speed and guide it so it doesn’t hit any houses on the way down.

For the past year and a half, we’ve seen the CFC moving towards a tipping point; Eve has been boring for them; they’ve had everything they needed, they’ve defeated all their major enemies, and they can’t generate enough content near enough to their space to satisfy their members. Deployments, which kept them going for so long, are a thing of the past with jump fatigue and FozzieSov, and even if they could deploy, who would they fight?

But all of the pressures have built up over the months, and prominent members have finally had enough. There seem to be two factions in GSF – the Endie/Blawrf/Suas faction on the one hand, and the Sion/Mirana faction on the other.  It sounds like the former fought for the kind of content that helped GSF get to where it is today; the latter appears to want to maintain the status quo they find themselves in now.  Becoming vs. being, as it were. And Blawrf’s group seems to have had enough.

I think we may be seeing the tipping point in the life of the CFC now. Without an enemy to threaten their existence, I don’t see a course that improves their chances of survival.

And, in a way, that’s sad. GSF as it exists now is not positive for the game, but a GSF from 2010?  That would be a powerful force to knock around some billiard balls on the table. We need to stop thinking of them as the same entity, though.  They’re no more similar than the Rome of Cincinnatus and the Rome of Diocletian.

But in another way, it’s vindication that Eve players, while bound by friendship, ultimately play for content; that, above all, is the function corporations, alliances, and coalitions need to provide. That stability is comforting, and gives me faith in the future of the game.


  1. What I found most scintillating was the flat-footed response of the usual cadre of Goon Reddit posters.

    When you left, there was a dominating line of thought: "Talvorian never understood Goonswarm. He was never really a Goon". It was a good argument to make, since you were willing to lay your thoughts out.

    Here, they're baffled: Endie and Blawrf are Goon , in the deepest sense of the word. They're the founding fathers of a glorious republic.

    What do you do when Romulus has returned to Rome? What do you do when Washington has come home? How do you other Blawrf, Endie or SUAS?

    The answer is: you can't.

    1. That's what's so interesting, as well. Of course, this whole thing could be a giant, multi-headed troll. Don't worry though, if it is, and (god forbid...) Gevlon is right, I have a response to that, too!

  2. "the Sion/Mirana faction"

    Aided by His Imperial Highness, The Mittani? It isn't possible to stay neutral in any organisational debate, unless you're so unimportant as to be irrelevant. Mittens isn't that, nor would he let himself be.

    The thing I find strangest about this whole cavalcade is Mirana.

    Who is Mirana? How has He/She remained so quiet whilst obtain such reach? Organisations like GSF aren't quiet. Leaders in EVE are noisy, forceful individuals. How do you climb that high, whilst remaining invisible?

    I wonder, what analogy fits this situation: is Endie's group the Old Bolsheviks, caught out by the march of modernisation? Is it the Senate, exiled and destroyed by Caesar?

    1. Mirana was a nice woman I had a lot of conversations with back in Razor, before her corp joined GSF. I didn't interact with her decision-making, though, so I can't say anything about her "style". I remember her being a riot on comms when she was drunk, though.

  3. Don't forget this pôsitive point:
    They are not leave eve, they want to play it again!