In August of 2012, a new Eve Online news site launched with the goal of providing content that adhered to a higher standard. Now, a little over four years later, TheMittani.com domain will be but a memory in the annals of the internet.
This isn’t the end to the writers, the content, or the organization as a whole. Far from it. You may have noticed the long transition from posting articles to multiple sites, renaming the Facebook page, or waited all the way to the time that the old page automatically transitions you to the new site.
On a more selfish note, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic for the end of an era that I was involved in for so long. I joined in the middle of 2013, nigh a year after the website was founded. It was a period of high turnover, with many of the staff burning out with dozens more shown the door. While a few writers have returned, only a few editors and The Mittani himself stuck around since I started. As such, I want to take a trip down memory lane.
THE BIRTH OF THEMITTANI.COM
At the suggestion of Endie, it was named TheMittani.Com after its founder Alex “The Mittani” Gianturco. After all, a fresh Eve news site would benefit from the name recognition its most (in)famous players could provide. Despite setting out to provide views from all over the Eve universe, the majority of the writers and viewership came from Goonswarm run by The Mittani. These two factors would combine to drive its initial and sustained success. Over the years, the writers and viewership changed significantly, but the name stuck around.
You will know most of this if you read Alex’s announcement earlier this week.
The website cropped up all across the globe, with mentions in publications like the BBC, WSJ, and even an article in Playboy. We covered the Battle of Asakai, 6VDT-H, and BR5-RB in Eve Online. TMC coverage expanded to dozens of other games like Kerbal Space Program, Star Citizen, and H1Z1, as well as real world news about space and technology.
THE WAY BACK MACHINE
Back in 2013, we were covering games like DOTA2, World of Tanks, and Mechwarrior Online. We had regular articles on Eve Online like Awful Loss of the Day, Battle Reports, and Nullsec Recaps. Book reviews happened on a regular basis with a strong viewership. Epic tomes penned by the likes of James315 spawned compelling point/counterpoint articles. Mitten’s Mailbox was a weekly-ish feature. We started then stopped a constant Jita fish tank camera. Oh, and CCP held a couple of cash prize tournaments that we covered. They didn’t last long, just like the sponsor of the first tourney 0wn3d.tv.
From a writer’s perspective, there are many things that have stayed the same throughout my tenure. The pervasive collaborative attitude, desire to push what the startup website can do, and rewards in ISK. The desire for more writers has been constant as well, though the monthly updates that asking for them have subsided. The most persistent feature of the site was change. The website saw more than a couple changes to layout, no small feat for Drupalest. I worked with about as many editors as TMC had chat programs to facilitate communication. Curiously, I think the number corresponds to the number of style guides we have used as well.
I cannot think of a writer that will miss the Battle Report Template, but that came a while later.
THE PASSIONATE CORE
TheMittani.com had a set idea of what it was and wanted to be when I joined. There wasn’t much deviation from Eve Online and games very close to it like Dust514. There were some regular features on games that many Eve players found themselves playing like MOBAs, Planteside 2, and Mechwarrior 2. But we never delved into the full array of games that other websites, like Kotaku or Rock, Paper, Shotgun, might. Likewise, aside from an odd article here or there, we did not touch much on hardware. Writers were playing a wider variety of games than we covered at the time. A coverage problem that should now lesson under the new banner.
When you bring people on that love what they’re writing about, there are unintended consequences and benefits. Take conventions: though it may not have started as in an official capacity, TMC always made an appearance to the major shows. Even back in 2013, we had boots on the ground at E3, Fanfest, CES, and Eve Vegas. The flipside of this would be the coverage by the individuals present was never quite as thorough as the coverage by the entities that had press passes to the events. This has changed slowly as the name TMC grew, but will be an area I hope expands even more as the Imperium News Network.
In the course of writing from TMC, there have been a few articles that stand out among the rest for me. These were articles that I got to write, not had to write. While I’ve written some pieces that were simple news hits, these are my purple dragon to chase.
My favorite article of all time was interviewing CCP Veritas about the fight for 6VDT. It is not my strongest article, nor is it my longest or most read. It is a blip on the radar of articles on the subject that doesn’t bring much new to the table. Only a little over 500 people listened to the recording in the three years since I recorded it. Still I am very proud of the piece. I think perhaps it is the hours I spent transcribing the short Skype call I had with CCP Veritas that endears it to me.
I had never done an interview with a Dev before, and I think it shows. Still, I feel strongly about the article and the questions I put together for him to answer. CCP Veritas was nothing but helpful and polite. After the interview, I spent hours with the MP3 up next to a word document as I meticulously writing down what was said. Then listening again to verify it was accurate. Some transcription software would have made it much easier.
Not quite to the same level of excitement as the Veritas interview, I also love to reflect back on my attempt at opining on game balance. James315 wrote a large piece on how he believed supercapitals in Eve Online should be balanced. After reading the six pages that his article consisted of, I came to the conclusion he couldn’t be more wrong. And when you’re a writer for a website that published the original piece, there’s no recourse but to provide a counterpoint article. I love that people came out in droves to comment on the piece. Everyone had a different opinion on how CCP should go about fixing a problem that most agreed existed. While CCP did end up going the direction that was much more like James’ solution, I stand resolute that my idea would have made for a more interesting game.
REMEMBERED, NOT MISSED
As fondly as I remember TheMittani.com, it will not be remembered by most for its ALODs or book reviews. TMC will not be missed for its struggles getting established, however endearing they are. It is remembered for soldiering forth despite our many missteps, of which I contributed more than my fair share. Remembered for the people that came and went, creating a unique perspective in the gaming industry. The passion of a few spaceship nerds wanting to make something new.
For me, I will always remember it for being my entry into journalism. The place where I left a mark on some games and met so many amazing people. To those who have left to chase other dreams, thank you for bringing us this far. To those that have followed over to Imperium News Network, I look forward to continuing on this journey with you.