Goons != BoB

2021-04-01

Header art by Cryo Huren

I want to start by making a few disclaimers. This entire piece is a response to the article produced by Seir Luciel regarding Goons and BoB. I should stress that I am a “new-goon” and the views expressed here are very much my own. I am a proud member of the :+10bux: club and I started out in a feeder corporation for Test Alliance Please Ignore (TAPI). So, I’ve seen EVE from “both sides now,” as the song goes.

Second, as Seir notes in his piece, when drawing comparisons or contrasts between these two groups, we quickly run into difficulties. These organizations have been around a long time and have morphed many times. Goons now bear only partial resemblance to the Goons of a decade ago.  BoB, as an alliance, no longer exists, but morphed into NC., which in turn became part of PanFam and influenced other PanFam members, PL and PH. But even these groups have morphed and have idiosyncrasies.  For example, the PH of today is not the same PH of five years ago, for instance.

In Seir’s piece, he draws comparisons between Band Of Brothers (BoB) and the Imperium (AKA Goons). In Seir’s conclusion, he makes the claim that there is not really a lot of difference between the Imperium and BoB, but I think this bold claim misses some important parts of the story. We also must remember that the BoB of old never went away; it just re-branded.

First, let’s look at the meat of the claim from Seir’s piece. This seems to be very dependent on attributes such as supercapitals, member count, power projection and other such things. These characteristics make for easy comparisons and are perfectly valid. But there are others that are more salient. So let me first present an idea of the fundamental components required for a successful alliance.

Philosophy, Identity, Origins, and Organization

Philosophy, identity,  origins, and organization would seem to be key characteristics of those alliances that are at the top of the heap when it comes to being the biggest, strongest, most influential or any other metric that takes your fancy. Now please indulge me a little while I try to explain myself a little better.

Philosophy

The Imperium believe “our people deserve the best” and it is up to members of the Imperium to define what that is. BoB/Panfam have a different model at their core – a top down approach, more of a traditional business model where the bosses control the workers and make sure they are productive.

These differences become more apparent when you look at things such as recruitment. You want to join GoonSwarm Federation, the lead alliance of the Imperium, then you can just join KarmaFleet or Ascendance. While individual people may have trouble being accepted, especially during this time of war and threats from spycrafting, most applicants have little trouble becoming new bees.

The myth that the Imperium was ever an elite group should be dispelled the moment you learn you could have just spent 10 dollars to be a member of a non-EVE, non-Imperium website. No elite requirements. Simply be a person who wants to play spaceship games. That is it. While PH may have few requirements, can the same be said for NC or Pandemic Legion (PL)? The BoB/NC model sets a very high bar based on skill points and even asset ownership.

Additionally, BoB was PvP-centric with other forms of gameplay being derided. So, Seir may have been able to get into Horde easily, but try getting into PL or NC (the most BoB-like groups in PanFam), Seir, and see how that works for you.

Identity

Identity is linked closely to philosophy. BoB/NC members drop corporation in order to save the greenness of their killboard. This is the bane of all video gaming: playing with someone who wants to protect their KDR. The idea of such an action, to a Goon, is simply laughable. BoB/NC wanted to develop an identity of elite PvP. They want(ed) the name BoB/NC. to be linked with death, destruction, and control of nullsec. Goons would be mentioned as being a bunch of morons who would talk a lot of shit and only be able to blob. Both BoB/Panfam and the Imperium have embraced these crude characterizations over the years.

I should note that the “goon vs pubbie” rhetoric is used in the same way as “skins vs shirts” in a game of football in the park. If you analyse this form of “tribalism” any more than that, then you miss the point. Players from other factions join the Imperium all the time and once they are in, they are a Goon from that point on until they choose not to be. When Red Alliance changed from PAPI to Goons, they moved from “pubbie” to Goon as well. The term harbors no sense of either permanence or any more derision than competitors trash-talking on the basketball court.

Origin Stories

Then of course there is the “origin story” of the groups. It is generally agreed that BoB/NC dominated early nullsec in New Eden. Like early colonialists, they managed to secure vast swathes of wealth and power using their organizational and technological advantages. It was the plucky upstart Goons that stood up to the self-proclaimed lords of nullsec. Back then, as now, Goons fought for their very survival against those who wanted to rent out nullsec.

Doing Stuff: Organization Goals and Organization

“Doing stuff” is something that both sides excel at. Being able to exist at the highest levels of EVE requires an infrastructure that would put most businesses to shame. This all comes from people “doing stuff.” In this regard, both BoB/NC and the Imperium are very similar. Both have a pool of talented people that are able to solve problems and scale organizational requirements.

When looking at a closed system like EVE, with a certain number of players, then the players are going to distribute themselves in some way. Some will congregate in highsec mission corps or decide to live in wormholes. People tend to gather in groups; weird, right? How this is done is going to be based on their perception of the “product” being offered by each entity and the wants and needs of the prospective member.

In this instance, both BoB/NC and Imperium have a well-developed alliance offering. The Imperium sees itself as offering the best nullsec product in the game. The Imperium has as a focus that “our people deserve the best.” Therefore, they set themselves the task of trying to provide the “best” of all that EVE has to offer within nullsec New Eden. SIGs, the entertainment groups, the DJ, the dozens – maybe hundreds – of chat options, offer the Imperium member, hands down, the best “social” opportunities in the game. 

Yes, we can shoot spaceships with the best of them, but since the gameplay is spreadsheets in space, belonging to a group with a high level of social structure can attract, and entertain, players for a very long time. Aside from those social elements, any outward bravado, real or imagined, is closely coupled with the lines of “goons are shit, only krab, never undock, only blob.” Goons have heard these lines so many times over their history that they now take great pride in holding off the self-declared elite PvP forces of nullsec for almost an entire year. By almost any measure, this war should have been over about six months ago, but PAPI seems to “only blob” and are risk-averse. Want proof?  Nine months, and counting, of war is all the proof we need.

Actions Speak Louder Than Shitposts

Take a look at some infamous moments from EVE, incidents that bring shame upon the perpetrators. In 2007, CCP held a lottery to give away BPOs. A CCP member, who also belonged to BoB, rigged the lottery to make sure BoB members got those coveted blueprints. Another scandal, out of many I could name, is the “Pie of Shame,” a graphic posted by CCP to show which alliances have engaged in the most botting over a 16 year period. The “usual suspects” appear:  NC., Fraternity, etc.  NC comes in with 16% of banned botters and RMTers. Seir, there is a reason Goons hate renters and renting.  Historically, renting space is used for botting and botting for RMT.

Perhaps the greatest difference is seen in the actions of the respective parties. When BoB/NC grouped up with all of nullsec to extinguish the Goon menace, what did they do once they had secured victory? They went on to kick TAPI and Co2 out of the north and then rent it out. Show me anything the Imperium has done that parallels that move. 

The Imperium had to leave their home during the Casino War due to the massive advantages PAPI – sorry I mean BoB, no I mean N3, nope not that one either, Honey Badger Coalition – had in illicit ISK and manpower. The Imperium uses the wealth it has gained through hard work to fight wars, not wealth generated from subsequently banned activities.

Then there is of course the end game. PAPI/BoB/NC really want to kill Goons. And they want to kill goons without risking their assets, either. They want goons to just quit and run. The whole of World War Bee has been PAPI creating a false narrative of “evil” Goons. Here is the kicker: we watch PAPI create this fiction of how bad Goons are, and yet they are in no hurry to rid the “menace” from the game. This will reach a crescendo when PAPI tries to take 1DQ, assuming they ever do.

Summing Up

Therefore, the Imperium and Panfam are very different in many ways. The Imperium are clear in their actions and presence. There is no need for deceit regarding how the Imperium live and make their income. You won’t find phony holding companies renting out space. The Imperium, love them or hate them, are a target in plain sight. Some PanFam members are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Who owns what and just where does the money go?

Many in the Imperium regret not having the chance to fight that was denied to us during The Casino War. When the Imperium glassed Tribute, Goons hoped that a lot of capitals would be lost, but again this did not happen. Panfam did not stay to fight. They ran. TAPI and Co2 ran also. This time the Imperium has a chance to fight for it all! The Imperium is more than happy to host another world record event or two and more see more monuments built to hail their achievements. Yet PAPI/BoB/NC do not want this, despite having every possible advantage.

I leave you with a final thought. The Imperium stands and fights while PAPI hopes that the goons just stop logging in. The goal of the respective parties? Well, for The Imperium it is to resist being exterminated. As for PAPI, that is more complicated it seems. But renting is most definitely a feature PAPI has in mind for nullsec.

I hope I have been able to show you some of the chasms in ideology and action that exist between BoB/NC and The Imperium. If you do have any questions then please feel free to ask them. Corrections are also welcome.

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Comments

  • Rammel Kas

    I wonder how much toxic irrational hatred your truthyness will uncover this time. Let’s see.

    April 1, 2021 at 9:01 AM
  • Havish Montak

    I hear to read the truth and bring it to Reddit.

    April 1, 2021 at 12:04 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Havish Montak

      “RedditSwarm Assemble”? 😉

      April 1, 2021 at 1:08 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    I’m a fairly young Goon as well (three years). I think most veterans would consider anyone who joined after the Casino War to be “new.”

    And that is significant, because the alliance had its “cultural revolution” during the time after the Casino War. Many members of the alliance have no concept of the old Darius Johnson “ruin your game” mentality. He’s been gone from the game for five years and at last check said he no longer recognized Goonswarm culture. (Not that any of that stops PAPI from flogging the “ruin your game” canard relentlessly as evidence that Goons are bad for EVE).

    Seir’s article, in my opinion, focused on superficial similarities such as claims of being the best organization in the game and holding out-of-game social events. But the in-game differences completely eclipse those things. BoB, like Pandemic Legion, established a reputation for crapping on puny enemies just for laughs. As I pointed out in an article last week, the two major wars Goons initiated after the Casino War (Co2/GOTG in 2018 and Tribute in 2019) featured about three months of fighting followed by withdrawal so that enemies could rebuild to fight again in the future. It is, in fact, PAPI rather than Goonswarm that is now following the BoB model of completely overwhelming and obliterating a much smaller adversary.

    April 1, 2021 at 1:52 PM
    • Goons have gone through 2- arguably 3 cultural revolutions now.

      And compared to how different we are now from our former “little brothers” in Test, thank fucking God.

      April 1, 2021 at 7:35 PM
      • Alaric Faelen Zaand

        Cultural Revolution is an excellent point. I’ve been in GSF since the Fountain War and it’s really evolved as a social construct.
        We shifted from Goons being an extension of SA, to Goons being it’s own strongly cohesive stand alone peer group. It’s much less ‘edgy teenager’ these days in GSF. Far less toxic in the forums, much less drama between members. We long ago banned fleet porn. Being creepy or abusive is just as quick way to being booted out as anything you can do in game. We are damn near ‘woke’ at this point because we try to make GSF as inclusive as possible. We have a leader that makes himself available to the entire alliance weekly.

        But there is also a shift in the gaming culture as well.
        We abandoned the rental empire because it sucks for the game and for players. GSF itself was accused during the Fountain War of setting up sov with renters and meat shield alliances to protect themselves. That voice was heard and GSF now operates as one big tribe of people that can’t tackle. The rental empire system is great for lifting up a couple of the biggest nerds to near god status in a game, but it does so on the backs of everyone else. It’s wonderful for milking the guy that just wants to progress his mining career out of high sec and into null so that the few at the top can buy another AT ship or faction titan.

        This war is really just the old way of ‘ruling’ a game vs the new way. The culture of early 2000’s MMO ‘end game’ versus today.
        While our enemies want to think it was Delve that magically gifted GSF with economic dominance, it was that space communism worked better than their rental paradigm. Rather than adopt that system and empower their people, they double down on rental empires and simply try to remove any competition from the game.

        April 1, 2021 at 8:34 PM
  • Seir Luciel

    I knew it was coming. I didn’t know who it would be, but I knew it would be someone.

    April 1, 2021 at 2:51 PM
    • Romulus Loches Seir Luciel

      Then do some more research and defend your position. You came up with points to support your theory and wrote an article, someone else addressed those points and countered them. The next step is for you to either bring up new points, explain how the counterpoints don’t apply, or concede your position. That’s how debates work, that’s what makes an interesting dialogue that people will read and follow.

      April 2, 2021 at 3:42 PM
      • Seir Luciel Romulus Loches

        I said what I needed to say in my own article and I stand by it. I’m not convinced by Moomin’s counter-arguments but I don’t need to spray my name all over his comments. I had my time with my article; it’s right he has his own time.

        April 7, 2021 at 5:19 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Seir Luciel

          A shame as I was hoping to see how your position progressed. Unless you intended to stand by your position that is. You could even just tell me that I am wrong. This is not about anything other than looking at the map and seeing the blue donut that PAPI leaders are telling us is here for another year. On talk shows they dreaming of “Wardens” to prevent the goon menace from ever rising again.

          April 7, 2021 at 6:38 PM
  • Romulus Loches

    “We also must remember that the BoB of old never went away; it just re-branded.”
    I think this line is under-emphasized and doomed to be overlooked, but is really the heart of the matter. The people who made up BoB aren’t gone so to call anyone the new BoB is just foolish name calling from people who don’t understand history.

    April 1, 2021 at 2:54 PM
  • Alaric Faelen

    It’s also notable that for all the fear we strike into the pubbie heart, GSF has not been on the offensive in quite some time. Since moving to Delve the only aggression we’ve created was against alliances that specifically backstabbed us like Co2 (and indeed even now the mantra is Test is Next) and the curtailed invasion of the north which ended with the Drifter invasion and blackout a couple years ago. After all, we only ended up in Delve after losing another totally defensive war. Goons dominated the economy, and that is a matter of having better talent than the other guys. We never dominated space. We never had any illusion about owning all of sov. We totally abandoned the rental empire system as soon as the game mechanics allowed for it. It’s PAPI that are fighting to protect an outdated way of life because it benefits those few nerds at the top, and all the scheming to make this war happen, happens between people with trillions of isk, T2 BPOs and AT ships.

    April 1, 2021 at 8:08 PM
  • Nice writeup but basically everything you need to know about Goons vs BoBdottefam can be gleaned from Seir’s own characterization of the two faction’s player meetups:

    Goons: show up at a house party, get wasted, hit the gay bar for karaoke, return to houseparty, black out, probably go out for breakfast burritos the next day to nurse that hangover. Everyone goes home and posts about how fun it was– we think, based on the photos since we can’t remember much.

    BoB: show up at campground, BBQ meats, go into strategic planning classroom to discuss plans for galactic domination of EVE Online: a fucking spaceship game.

    The same holds true in the context of how EVE is played. Goonswarm is a group of people who play EVE together because it’s fun and we enjoy hanging out. The objective has always been, “Let’s figure out what we feel like doing and then go do it,” and the whole alliance is structured to support that kind of endeavor. Case in point: Delta Sqad. A bunch of clueless retvets get together to play EVE online, wander around trying stuff, find some stuff that is funny and fun. Once alliance leadership see what’s going on, alliance steps in and says, “What can we do to help you guys keep having fun or enable you to have more fun?” Then, fitted Tornadoes fall from the sky– the fruits of our collective labor being returned to us in the form of 360-noscoping of hostile alliance leaders.

    Goonswarm exists as a big fucking organism to enable our people to have fun in a spaceship game. That’s it! Compare this to a group like BoB– a group established by some fucking tryhard narcissistic megalomaniac to recruit only the most elite (read: richest, most spergy) EVE players in order to dunk on everyone around them to inflate their egos and steal/horde the material wealth of the game.

    The joke, of course, is that for all these claims to excellence, the average BoB / NCdot player doesn’t really know how to anything but outspend or out-blob their adversaries. In the first Great War, BoB had all the spacegold and were able to fly HACs and capitals while everyone else was scrounging around under their couch cushions to afford battlecruisers and battleships. I remember when Goonswarm first started rolling actual, T2-fit doctrine sniper BS and that was looked upon as a major accomplishment. So basically BoB got to clown on dudes flying T1 ships for months, still managed to lose anyway, and then blamed it all on “honoureless blobbing.”

    These days, every side has a lot of money and Goons can fly HACs now, so since they can’t out-spend us, the new iterations of BoB decided to simply bring 3x our numbers in order to put us in our place. And still, any time they fail to muster double our numbers or better, they fucking lose, because they’re not good players. They are, in fact, very average in their abilities. They’re just a bunch of dudes who like jerking each other off over their killboard stats and generally being mouthy, fun-policing dickheads.

    Goons are literally nothing like BoB or any of their dumb sequel alliances.

    April 1, 2021 at 11:30 PM
  • TheKman

    I read this in the voice of Moomin, and it was glorious NegRep Best Rep.

    April 2, 2021 at 1:58 AM
  • ShutUp ShutUp

    A fair and accurate rebuttal.

    April 2, 2021 at 6:01 AM
  • Worf 49

    “Seir, there is a reason Goons hate renters and renting.”

    Goons hated renting so much, they operated their own rental program. :p

    April 7, 2021 at 1:33 PM
    • Moomin Amatin Worf 49

      So you defend renting by “goons did it”?

      Renting is a pox on the game and I personally have never supported it and made my disdain on the practice quite clear. Renting does not put people in space it takes them out of it.

      April 7, 2021 at 6:40 PM
      • Worf 49 Moomin Amatin

        I’m not defending the practice of renting; renting has both its good and bad points.

        But Goons are in no position to say they hate renting when they chose to run and profit from an extensive renting program. The Goons weren’t forced or pressured to rent out their space. They chose to do rent willingly, without any duress being placed upon them. And…they did it with enthusiasm. They enjoyed renting and the ISK it would bring.

        The Imperium believe “our people deserve the best” and it is up to members of the Imperium to define what that is. BoB/Panfam have a different model at their core – a top down approach, more of a traditional business model where the bosses control the workers and make sure they are productive.

        Let’s be real. Goons implemented systems like PAP that was used to punish corporations/people that didn’t meet a certain quota, and used to hold their own members hostage in fleets. You can’t get much more “traditional business model” than that.

        This whole series (both parts) has been poorly written and conceptualized. I read them and think, “Neither of these people has a clue how these organizations actually operated”

        At the end of the day, Seir is right, though not necessarily for the reasons he posits. It doesn’t batter how you dress up a turd or whether you replace one turd with another turd, it’s still a piece of shit.

        April 7, 2021 at 10:01 PM
        • Moomin Amatin Worf 49

          Says they do not defend renting and then goes on to defend renting by saying “goons did it”.

          You may have missed the piece I wrote 4 years ago on INN about renting, you may want to check it out. You are also really very light on “facts” in your counter aside for what amounts to your opinion.

          April 8, 2021 at 1:24 AM
  • Deni'z von Meanace

    Good naming for article. Prior the Casino war, CFC announced themselves as new BoB, and biggest bluenut among many. To be fair, the reason for Casino war was rather pathetic than obvious. The mittens claimed that from now and so on all the nearby settlers of Goons have to pay them a ransom for not being attacked instead. So this happened due to missbelive of own power in space. Than SMA did a real dirty trick which led to further escalation of what was called WWB or how did Goons spin it in their favour a Casino war. So again, everything comes full circle. Now it’s another BoB was born in from of PAPI and goons have to deal with it somehow.

    April 17, 2021 at 5:04 AM