Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Razor Leaves(ish) the Imperium

My in-game activity has been somewhat diminished over the past four weeks or so as the NHL playoffs came to an end. But now that they have ended - and successfully, with my Penguins winning the Cup! - I'm turning my attention back to Eve in a big way.

There are some groups in Eve I can't help but track based on fond memories. Alliances and corporations where I had a lot of great fun, but ultimately left for various reasons. Unlike when I was a member, I'm able to look at them a bit more honestly now and see them for their strengths and weaknesses... warts and all, as they say.

One of those groups is Razor Alliance, of whom I was a member for over two years. So, you can imagine that I was somewhat interested in the fact that they're leaving the Imperium. But thye are keeping blue status to "the Imperium" for the time being.

The first reddit posts announcing this departure didn't provide much more information than this, and my reaction was predictable. If you leave the Imperium but don't change your standings, you really haven't left. It's a cheap attempt to remove the target on your back without actually taking on any more risk. And the whole point of World War Bee was to smash a stable coalition to introduce more risk and more conflict into the game. Kill the "big blue doughnut" by smashing the entity most responsible for it.

Now, since then, more info came out in a soundcloud in which it became clear that the blue status would be short-term to help Razor extract its assets and ships from allied areas. And that's a very different animal than keeping permanent blue standing. This is a temporary status to help them disengage from coalition functions.

But, I had the inevitable person comment about unfair standards. And that just doesn't do to go unanswered.

Here was the comment as the reddit user made it:
"Or maybe you're friends with those people because you've spent a lot of time with them. Sorry, but double standards are bullshit. If PL and NC. aren't considered to be part of the same coalition because they're blue, then RAZ0R is no longer part of The Imperium."
The first thing that any alliance that's part of the Imperium needs to realize is that there is no coalition similar to the CFC/Imperium. No one is hated as much. Yes, "hated". In becoming the lead coalition in the game, the Imperium did an amazing thing. But, it also did it in a colossally stupid way by making tens of thousands of enemies. They treated just about everyone else like garbage, stomped on every sandcastle, and generally ruining everyone's day. B0TLRD, OTEC, Burn Jita, continued efforts of Miniluv, attacking low-sec alliances one-by-one because they were boring their members to death...

Yes, I mentioned B0TLRD, and I do put it on Goonswarm's plate, not PL's. Why? Because B0TLRD was an extension of CFC policy, not PL policy. Setting rules on engagements and creating treaties to assure safety? That's much more a CFC thing than PL.

Is NC/PL a coalition? So far, they have been. Whether they remain so with the Imperium smashed to pieces is anyone's guess. But even if they are, no one cares. Why? Because their purpose isn't to ruin everyone else's game. They don't attempt to be giant assholes. They don't attempt to smite people for no reason. Their most evil scheme seems to involve killing supers and titans. That's it. And, perhaps equally important, there are only about 3,000 of them in this "coalition". Not 30,000.

Provibloc is also a coalition, and no one really bothers about them, because they don't make it their habit to ruin everyone else's game. They don't stop by the house of everyone they pass and take a steaming dump on their front porch.

To argue that there is any entity that even approaches the old CFC in scale, reach, or capability is absurd. Indeed, PL and NC didn't defeat the CFC; they needed help from literally everyone else (except White Legion and the Russians) to accomplish it. That tells you something of the strength differential.

Moreover, the odium of being "a filthy bee pet", as one reader put it, is a consequence of each CFC alliance's willing and faithful support of CFC goals over the past four years. You don't get to shed that blame simply by leaving after the bad stuff happens. Not unless you actively start shooting the CFC, as CO2 did. You burn your bridges or you're still a member until the community decides you aren't a member anymore.

The argument that, "I have friends in those alliances; I'm not going to start shooting them" is a false one, for a couple reasons. First, I have lots of friends I shoot on a regular basis. It's fun, because we're both real PvPers. We know that the point of this game is to shoot each other and have fun, not huddle together and collect isk.

But, more importantly, the very fact that you're friends with all these people outside of your alliance represents a failure of your alliance to stand independently of that larger culture. It's a state of being that represents a sickness within your alliance, a need to look beyond itself for content generation and a narrative.

In short, it indicates that while the definition of your participation in the coalition is ending, the fact of your identity with that coalition hasn't changed. For too long, the CFC alliances have all operated as one. Sure, you made friends. But if that's the reason you don't want to shoot them, then you haven't cut the cord. "I don't want to date you, but I still want to live with you and sleep together and share all our stuff." You can't move on and find another S.O. in that situation.

And, honestly, that's all okay. Except for the fact that leaving the Imperium is intended to be a watershed moment with the goal if turning down the heat on your alliance. The CFC is a "seek and destroy" target anywhere they're found. By leaving it, particularly when it's been knocked down, you're tacitly trying to remove the bulls-eye from your back.

You'll forgive the rest of Eve for not buying that until you drop the blue standings and actively begin shooting your former allies.

Why is that so important, you may ask?  It goes back to the goal of splitting up the hegemonic, 30,000 man blob. The intent of this war was to destroy the idea of the CFC as a whole, and the need for coalitions in general. And the best way to prevent the CFC from reconstituting all of its members even if they reconquer their space is to get them to shoot each other.

Individuals can overlook being killed by their friends. Alliances, however, cannot. Alliances lose moons and battles, and in so doing their members lose faith in their FCs and leadership. Members may enjoy the fights, but alliances suffer the intangible losses that add up to long-term stability. They tend not to forget those kinds of things. And those memories form the kernels of distrust that make it almost impossible for long-term coalitions to emerge.

That'll be the true test of victory. Does the CFC recover their space and restore the big blue blob it had before? And that's what everyone arrayed against it hopes to prevent.

So, yes, it may be a double standard for the MBC to identify everyone who remains blue to GSF as a CFC still. No one really cares, though. World War bee wasn't about material conquest, but about catharsis. In this case, what your alliance claims is true isn't nearly as important as what your enemies believe is true.

Vae victis. Woe to the vanquished.


  1. I don't think the whole Burn Jita thing can really be lumped in the same catagory as the other mentioned activites. It felt more like an event like the drifters, though it was driven by players instead of NPCs. I say that having actively participated in countering it every time it has happenned since I first started playing. Secondly while goons are certainly guilty of curbstomping to the point of making the game "unfun", PL isn't exactly guilt free either. They are notorious for putting the boot down after they are done with cat and mouse games, usually with NC hanging on their coat tails. There was also the thing in drone lands that went on at the same time as botlord. The big difference as you mentioned is the numbers that each will use (or as seen in world War bee not use).

  2. Burn Jita feels a bit differrent then the other thing. It was more like an event, but using actual players instead of NPCs. While goons are certainly guilty of curbstomping and making fights "unfun", PL is far from guilt free. After playing with their food for a bit they they are far from above using the boot on less capable groups, usually with NC hanging on their coattails. The fundamental thing you mentioned is the numbers the use (or as seen in World War Bee not use).