Eve Online has become a compendium of human cultures as it has grown over the years. Dictatorships, Ruling Councils, Democracies and an elected Republic with the CSM cover a wide spectrum of governance types. Within the different player groups there also appears a dynamic social structure that fuels the community and binds the players together, or doesn’t. A most stark example comparing different communities came to my attention at this year’s Summerswarm event in Madison, Wis.
As a group of Goonswarm members gathered at a long table in the hotel bar/restaurant playing Cards Against Humanity, much to the amusement of the wait staff, a pair of guys walked in giving us a cursory glance only to turn and head to the bar. The searching look told me they were likely looking for us, but as I didn’t recognize them I assumed it was their first time to one of our meets and were unsure of how to approach. As they came back around the bar, again looking at us, I raised my hand and said one simple word, “Goons.” They instantly smiled and came over to the table and introduced themselves.
…he had assumed we were indeed the Goons he was looking for, but was unsure of what kind of welcome they would receive.
Neolithicaus and I began a conversation when I pointed out his reluctance to head over initially when they entered the room. He replied that he had assumed we were indeed the Goons he was looking for, but was unsure of what kind of welcome they would receive. This was one of the more interesting responses I have ever received at one of these meets and so I asked him to explain. Neolith said he was a more recent recruit to Karmafleet and had come over from the PanFam coalition. He had most recently played with Pandemic Horde in previous months, but found the alliance to be largely a collection of individuals with little social organization. Prior to that, and the reason for his response, he had flown with SniggWaffe.
He stressed that he did not have anything bad to say about Waffles in the context of playing Eve. Neolith explained how he enjoyed their fleets and much of the camaraderie he found within their group. The turning point came during Eve Vegas 2017.
“I thought these were supposed to be your friends…”
He described how he initially found an open forum discussion for Eve Vegas activities with Pandemic Legion and decided it sounded like a good time. So, he and his wife made the trip out to Vegas. However, the fun he thought he was going to have did not materialize as he ended up being rebuffed by Pandemic Legion members at several gatherings, being told only PL members specifically were invited. He said what made it even more embarrassing was that his wife was asking why they were being turned away rudely, saying, “I thought these were supposed to be your friends and allies or something?”
Fast forward some nine months later and Neolith was now in Goonswarm. He had seen several publicly broadcast announcements regarding meets for Goons. Deciding to take a chance on his new Eve family he made the trip with a friend up to Madison, WI for Summerswarm 2018. The nervous glances upon seeing us now became clear. Fearing another embarrassing encounter, he didn’t want to go home disappointed again. This time ended differently as he described that me calling out “Goons” was the watershed moment when his anxiety washed away and he found his Eve Online family.
A recent defector from Northern Coalition, Shelby Watkins PowerRanger, explained the differences they noticed between the two organizations when it came to culture. The in-game cultural differences seemed to divide along the lines of corporations versus style of play. Shelby told how in NC., the players primarily associate with members within their own corporation and your corp ticker largely determined who you played the game with. Upon joining Goonswarm, the first difference they noticed was that culture revolved around Special Interest Groups more than individual corporation. These groups are largely driven by play style, and mostly around different PvP goals.
Different Alliances, Different Cultures
The other in-game standout between the two is said to be the difference of approach to the game. The NC. focus tends to be logging in for PvP events, approaching it in a serious manner, and then going your own way. I’m told most people who do PvE activities tend to use alts outside of their NC. corporation. In Goonswarm, the difference is clear that playing the game comes from a much more relaxed and joking point of view.
In terms of real life meetups, NC. does have a solid turnout to official CCP events. However, Shelby says there is not any sort of coordinated effort for real-life meetups within the alliance. There are some smaller groups of people that get together, but not in any public fashion for the alliance. Contrast that to Goonswarm, which also shows up in great numbers to CCP events, but also has a dedicated forum section for real life meets. There are also several regularly scheduled meets throughout the year for Goons to attend and more recently, monthly meets around the United States that also get posted on Reddit for the general Eve Community to participate.
In the end, we’re all here to enjoy the same game we love and hate.