My name in EVE is Erick Asmock. I have been playing EVE since 2006. Through the years I have played EVE many ways and viewed it from different perspectives each time. Today I stand inside an organization many in the game think are either Satan worshipers, or such terrible people in real life that they couldn’t belong to any other organization in EVE. In EVE we all think our group is better than the others for one reason or another. I have always found it amusing how high school politics seems to find it’s way into video games and EVE is no different. I am here to share my experience going from Goon-hater to a Goon. Like any organization of any size, we have our cast of characters. We have big personalities, people who think they are special and above the common player and every other type of personality you can think of. More often I have found members are just a bunch of friends working together to have a good time and forget about real life for a while.
The End of Days and Rebirth
I had been with the same corp (less any time off) since January of 2006. Like many EVE players, I began playing EVE because a good friend played. Likewise, I joined the corporation I did because a friend was a member. Not only was this the first EVE corporation I was in, but it was my first real experience being in an organized group of players in any game. We had a High Sec presence but we spent most of our time farming a C5 wormhole getting rich with very little risk. Years later when it was time to move on I followed D’morg to Dark-Rising in EXE Alliance. At that time EXE controlled Cloud Ring and were allied with the CFC. The first question D’morg asked me was, “Well, we are allied with Goons. Some people can’t handle that. Are you OK with it?”
I had heard all the horror stories about how Goons were terrible and bad for EVE. Our previous Corporation had no love for Goons. Anytime I had heard the CFC or Goonswarm discussed it was with disgust and derision. So why even think of joining the most vile organization in the game? Trust. Trust is the most important element in EVE. I trusted my friend’s judgment. I was still just putting my foot in the water. I was joining a member alliance of the CFC not Goonswarm directly so even if they were terrible people I had some measure of insulation. Based on that trust and longing for something new I threw caution to the wind and jumped in. I will never forget my first travels through SOV space as a blue. I recall D’morg pointing out a huge blue fleet crossing through a system as we headed to the jump bridge (pre-jump fatigue…those were the days). “Wave o/”, he said. We did and a hundred o/’s and a few o7’s came back. We had been small gang PVPers in our previous life. I had never seen a fleet that big. It was amazing to see. I felt at home immediately.
The First Days
Getting settled in was no trivial matter, but alliance mates made it as easy as was possible. Setting up forums, centralized authorization, Jabber and so on. There is a lot of tools. For a player who had lived in a small gang minimalist universe this was a big change. I got the feeling of a clear communications and command structure immediately. I had played many games with friends over the years. Even designed and built some interesting MUSH environments. Nothing was on this scale. Amazing.
I got settled in and had my doctrine Mega set up in our staging system when a fleet was pinged. Off I went having never been in a large fleet. 250 of us headed out to the bridging titan. Let me set the scenario here. One, I had never been in a fleet of more than 10. Two, I had never been in comms with 250 yapping Goons. Three, I had never even seen a titan in space before. I, had NO IDEA they could bridge or how to use one as a bridge. I consider myself to be at least somewhat intelligent but for the life of me I could not figure out how to use the titan to bridge. Too scared to ask in fleet I tried everything. I forgot the golden rule. Be within 2500. I’ll admit to being a little hyped up and stressed for my first fleet. I was alone without my Alliance mates compounding the issue for me. I felt a little dumb as I was the only mega left on the titan and I warped back to the station.
I was bummed but soon the next fleet was pinged and I was off with them to glorious victory having figured out the error of my ways.
This was all new. Parts of the game I had never experienced in seven years of playing EVE. This was the world of EVE portrayed in so many amazing videos. This was the EVE I had never been able to find. It was glorious and beautiful.
Fleet Up! (Ha ha ha ha haaa)
Once you are in the flow of a big operation you realize there is nothing like it in gaming today. Huge battles and large fleets moving across the grid is what makes EVE exceptional and sets it apart from the rest of the field. You can have small gang warfare in any game. Only EVE brings the true scope of war into play. There has been nothing like it ever before and nothing in the future is set to be on this scale. The magnitude of thousands of players moving across the universe in coordinated groups lead by an FC and Sky Marshals was intoxicating to me. Just being an F1 line member is amazing when you think of what goes into the game behind the scenes to coordinate fleets. As the collective sigh from the small gang and solo PVPer’s goes up I chuckle.
The inherent magic of EVE isn’t that it is a single shard, open world or even Internet Spaceships. The magic of EVE is that it is many things and those things are very different. The game can entice players of near infinite playstyles. This is perhaps the biggest failing of Fozziesov. CCP’s direction to make all play options available to everyone and thus degrading the diversity of playstyles is not a good thing for the game overall. It is neither intuitive nor interesting. Perhaps I will dig into that more in another article.
The bottom line being a part of something greater than the individual is something many players enjoy. While some may enjoy individual and small gang achievements and play styles some enjoy the mass effort of being a part of a large group working for a single cause. I find it amazing you can coordinate hundreds of people across the world in a single fleet to achieve an objective. All while coordinating with other fleets culminating in thousands working toward the same goal. Sometines this happens over weeks or even months. How amazing is it we can hold the interest of that many people for that long working toward a goal.
Sometimes people need change for one reason or another. That was the case with Dark-Rising. They needed to go their own way. By this time I was a Director. Like many corporations not everyone agreed and myself and a few directors formed Patriotic Tendencies [PEND.] and remained with EXE in the newly minted Imperium. I hated Branch but we adapt. As much as I hated evacuating in the Casino War I am glad to be rid of that place.
I saw the absolute wisdom of the effort to leave Imperium space and spend time in Sarranen. It was masterful. It had it’s expected consequences with some boredom setting in and the loss of some gameplay aspects.
Soon EXE wanted to strike out on their own. Not being able to get a clear direction from EXE on what was next PEND leadership began to discuss our options. In the end, there was one goal. We wanted to provide opportunities for all the play styles of our members and have activities everyone could enjoy. We are not a large corporation and EXE alone was not likely to provide a wide variety of options unless they grew or could hold SOV. Neither was likely in our eyes. EXE were a great group of guys but our future was not with them. I reached out to Mittens and he welcomed us with open arms.
Power to the People and Opportunity Knocks
I have heard Sion say more than once that EVE is about relationships. I’ll take that one step further. It’s also about opportunities. We left EXE not because of typical space drama but because we wanted the best for our members. We wanted to grow. While I extolled the virtue of the proverbial blob fleet above sometimes you need a gate camp, small gang roam or dare I say ratting or carebearing! EVE is a many splendored thing. Sure it needs tweaking to be less complicated in some ways and FozzieSOV needs to be nuked from orbit because it is the only way to be sure. But one of the fantastic aspects of EVE is that on Monday you can gate camp and on Tuesday you can be in a huge fleet…provided you are in a large coalition. You see large organizations in EVE are not the death nail. They are part of the landscape providing opportunities and gameplay that cannot be found in combination anywhere else in EVE. The object should not be to make every play aspect available to groups of every size. It should be to enhance the naturally occurring playstyles that emerge within the game. CCP cannot fundamentally direct playstyles and should refrain from doing so. I often say EVE is successful in spite of CCP’s massive missteps over the years.
I am torn on adding this part. One day there was a ping from Mittani requesting donations for an old Goon if we had the means. The person had not played EVE in years but that did not matter. He was getting treated for cancer and he was asking for a small sum of money for his family. I remember reading the updates his wife posted about how his spirits were lifted as his old Goon friends called him to relive the old days. How he shared with his family things from the game and he was happier than he had been in a long time. While it was never said I remember the overbearing feeling each time I went to read an update that this man was going to die soon. Soon the fund exceeded the ask by 10’s of thousands. I don’t write this to say Goons are somehow better than the rest of EVE in giving to good causes. They are part of EVE who gives to those in need. This was the first time I had seen that inside Goonswarm. It was by no means the only one or the last.
How and Why?
Another aspect which few see and fewer will believe. I stream for TMC, Imperium News Network or whatever name you know our stream channel by. I do other things for H1Z1 in the background. Immediately many will rush to say I only have the positions above and made the choices I did to maintain that position or that it influenced me. To that, I would counter that my position had no bearing in staying with the Imperium but it did influence me. The influence was not what many might think. If there was a phrase I had heard most from Sion and others early on in my streaming career it was that membership in the Imperium had nothing to do with what we did for TMC. We also have no restrictions on countering or disagreeing openly on stream with Imperium views or tactics. Not what you expected to read was it? That position and the freedom it provided was a key influence. I was told by many in fairly lofty positions not to have my corporation join Goonswarm based on trying to keep favor within TMC. In other words, do not force the corporation to do something that will negatively impact it thinking it mattered personally for myself.. Goons are just out for Goons right? Apparently not. I found far more concern that the right decision was being made for my corporation than anything else.
Our leadership was always basing our decision on one thing. It had always been about opportunities for our members. The people I talked to both inside our corporation and in Goonswarm consistently reiterated that point. When ideologies align it is a sign of the times.
The Next Chapter
I didn’t choose “In Conclusion” because in EVE you never know where you will go in the future. I never foresaw being a part of SOV in EVE and certainly never thought I would be in Goonswarm. It was a part of gameplay that never appealed to me until I tried it. Goons were the bane of EVE and how could I be associated with that? I knew what I didn’t like. Having tried the other play styles and grown weary of them, SOV warfare was the next step if I was to continue playing EVE. Either I found something I liked or I quit and won EVE.
We are growing as a corporation and much of the old USTZ EXE has followed us back to the Imperium. To us, it is a validation of our decision. I think we would have slowly died as a corporation had we not gone the direction we did.
There were simply too many reasons and interesting aspects of the Imperium to put in this article but I touched the major themes. I know many will see this as pure propaganda or even an effort to get more people to join Patriotic Tendencies (We are recruiting!). I can’t help that. But I am easily accessible in Imperium Discord and I host several shows weekly on TMC Twitch. If you are capable of rational conversation there are opportunities to find out if I am a propagandist or just a real person playing the game. My home is where it is in EVE because of the people and the relationships they have shared. From that comes opportunity and friendship. Isn’t that what EVE is really about?