The Mittani, leader of The Imperium, addressed his coalition today on the Goonfleet.com forums, amidst the recent departures of Bat Country Corp and former Skymarshall, Blawrf McTaggart. The address by Mittani is a forceful reminder of what the Imperium is, and why it exists.
The Mittani starts by reaching back to 2006, the early days before security, riches, and the Imperium’s current situation. By the end of the address, he has covered historical events, old strategies, and comparisons with other organizations and alliances. The address also highlights some of the current work being done inside of the Imperium.
Here is The Mittani’s address as given in the Goonswarm Forums (used by The Imperium):
Some of us have been here for more than a decade now, and it’s easy from a veteran perspective to forget that reality of who we are, where we came from, and why we fight isn’t something that every newbie instinctively knows. Remdick.jpg, the Titan Fund, Cefte getting there first, Sesfan’s Phone, ‘I Robbed A Goon’, these stories are shit that happened to guys like Xttz, Aryth or myself, but are whispered dramas for our newbies. The fact that there are generations of our people who have only known the long summer of the CFC and now the Imperium, who did not claw tooth and nail through the Great War, evac in shame after the Great Welp, or even recall the Defense of VFK. They do not know the Redswarm Federation, our diplomatic history (why do we never go to war with the Russians?), the horrors of selling Caracals on the open market, alt-detectors, Blankets of Fear, or why FNLN always gets his.
By fighting for each other in our internet spaceship society, we have created something unique: the scale of our organization as both an alliance and coalition is staggering, and there is nothing even remotely close to the Imperium anywhere in the world of online gaming. More flock to our ranks every day. Why? Why do we fight, and why did we end up where we are, striding the galaxy with ever-growing power?
Early on we knew something was different about Goonswarm. Even before the Great War, we met in the real world far more often than other Eve players. The amount of partying and real-world bonding only increased after the rest of the “Eve Community” vilified and ostracized us; we were broke and had nothing but Rifters, hate, and each other. Where other communities would break and experience a failure cascade, we plowed through failure after failure towards ultimate victory, a story of unparalleled resilience. When the shit hit the fan and the Horn of Goondor sounded, work was skipped, stimulants were abused, and sleep was forgotten until our people – our friends – were safe.
At every opportunity and under every administration, we have constantly worked to improve the effectiveness of GSF and our allies. Did our hated foes have a best practice? Who cares who came up with it, we used it. When our people began informally networking to help get one another jobs in the real world – a natural outgrowth of partying and socializing multiple times a year with one another – we created the socialswarms. When we could afford it, we pioneered not just strategic reimbursement, but peacetime reimbursement. When we suffer a death in the family, we pull together for charity. When someone is sick, we find them help. There is a lot of discussion about community amongst our enemies, but we are the largest and most tight-knit one in this game, hands down.
It is hard to explain why we do what we do, because there are so many disparate organizations and programs we have created for us over the years. What does Miniluv, Hole Squad, social swarms, and removing inactive directors have in common?
It is simple: We do this because our people deserve the best. We have a people, this is not in doubt. We want the best for them, because otherwise why fight the Great War when everyone else broke? Why keep going after welps which would annihilate other alliances? Why do we spend so much time helping allies? Why bother with socialswarms? Why bother playing World of Tanks or Warships or LoL or Ark together?
We do it because our people deserve the best. The best ships. The best content. The best entertainment. The best opportunity for real-world advancement. The best social safety net. The best directorate. The best allies, the best coalition, the best diplomats, the best doctrines, the best propaganda, the best mentoring program, the best parties, the best events, the best victories.
That requires conviction and relentless effort. It is never over and we frequently fail, but it is the guiding principle behind everything we do both in Goonswarm and in the Imperium.
Our people deserve the best, which means we should be the strongest and most unassailable entity in the game. That power allows us to get isk and impunity. Having experienced the Great Welp, we know that our people do not enjoy evaccing and losing, even if they might say as much (trust me, it’s shit). Our people deserve to enjoy the best content of any kind, beyond sovwar – thus they deserve the best hisec ganking organization, the best wormhole group, the best small-gang squads, the best elite pvp squads, the best spy agency, etc. They deserve to be enriched and supported outside the game, because it’s about our /people/ and not about their single-game personas – parties, networking, career advice, mentoring, you name it. This is also why when we fuck up, which we often do as we relentlessly strive to improve things for our line, we apologize and own it – not because of sword-falling e-honor, but because our guys deserve to know we failed, know that we know we failed, and know that we are going to fix it.
This extends to our allies as well. We learned in the hard days of the Great War that Goonswarm cannot go it alone, and that our enemies faltered and failed by treating their space-bros poorly. We have always understood this and worked with allies and become friends with the best of them, integrating into our community and our people. Our allies who become part of our community deserve the best as well, which is why we help with best practices, mutual defense, and whatever they need. Why? Because when the chips are down and you have nothing – no space, no isk, suffering another Great Welp, it is your friends and drinking buddies who will stick with you, long after the killboard-polishing elite pvpers who disdained socializing with us have deserted. A perfect example of this is in our history is our relationship with TCF. We were there for Tau Ceti Federation when they needed us, and when we were penniless, spaceless and alone they opened their arms to us and welcomed us to the fantastically valuable home we enjoy today: Deklein.
This is why our ranks swell and our people are so loyal; it is also why outsiders see us as something incomprehensible and despise us for what we have in each other and what we have built. The analogy of Space Rome and Imperium is frightfully accurate given the civilization, community and empire we have built, complete with unwashed barbarians howling uncomprehendingly for our blood.
Those of you who have met me (and had the misfortune to suffer direct eye contact/sociopathy as a result) know that I take this quite seriously. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, and when the Great War broke out and our enemies tried to not just take our shit but drive us out of the game – to separate us from one another – it filled me with a cold rage which lasted years. Then and now, we have done so much for one another and I’m both incredibly proud to have been a part of that, and also absolutely committed to the defense and betterment of our people. In the eyes of our enemies, this makes me unhinged, and perhaps they’re right – but I don’t give a fuck about the opinions of anyone besides our own, because our experience has proven that given an opportunity, our enemies will cross the galaxy in a heartbeat if they thought for a second they could end us – the Great War, VFK Invasion and Fountain dogpile proved that.
One of the reason our enemies fail so often is that they fundamentally lack this purpose. They are playing a spaceship game mostly as individuals with a loose affiliation, and when the going gets tough they peace out. Constant improvement in squads, reimbursement, finance, directorate etc is not a virtue in 98% of the rest of this game, because ‘good enough’ for an individual is all that matters.
In GSF we relentlessly work to improve life for the whole. The recent dramas about Kickstarters (our people deserve their exploits written up by the best, and deserve to be in films, too) and ‘Secret Shareholder’ pseudo-revelations (our people deserve a better news source than EN24 and r/eve) were horseshit, yet amidst the many outright lies there were a number of legitimate pain points revealed from our people – and we could have ignored those pain points and moved onward, NCdot-style.
Instead, just within this last month, we have reformed our FC program, altered our doctrines entirely, created an Elysium channel which is white-hot so the line can interact casually with the directorate, implemented a new conquest system in Minifo, gone to war in lowsec and firebombed Cloud Ring simultaneously, made Hole Squad official with that real shit, and there is more on the way – improvements to squads (budgets, director liaison), a revamp/reveal on the inner workings of TMC (not just secret shareholders and horny white boys), mentor programs (Cap-style Ministry of Education), restoring the fabled Op Ticker (thanks, Kilgarth!), and more.
Why? Because our people deserve the best. That is why we fight, why we conquer, why we strive, and why we have the Imperium, and why we succeed – for one another.
The Mittani has been leader for many years now, bringing Goonswarm back from the brink of extinction, after it unceremoniously pulled its own plug. He has proven that he can keep the wheels on, recalling the failures and setbacks were rough but did not overtake “his people.” By comparison, few alliances take better care of their own, according to him, but the game has changed: In the past, a leader needed to rally the troops to win wars, now they need to provide entertainment enough to survive the peace. This is a challenge for all EVE leaders.
Mittani’s first order of business was to connect to hardships and victories of the past. After Goonswarm’s enemy Band of Brothers (BOB) imploded, Goonswarm turned to Red Alliance (RA) and said, “watch this, hold my beer” as they handed RA all their sov and dove headfirst into Delve and Querious. It was a massive risk, but it paid off: They defeated their long time foe and took possession of their lands. Exactly one year later, while under seige from avanging BOB agents (as IT Alliance), their own leadership forgot to pay the sov holding bills and Goonswarm was dislodged and banished shortly after. It’s all here in the Verite video, starting at 3:30 minutes:
After all of Goonswarm’s early struggles they finally built an empire of their own, and in a second it vanished. The remnants of the alliance, though few in number, reformed and re-emerged in the form of an angry teenager with a purple mohawk, calling themselves the “SOLODRAKBANSOLODRAKBANSO” Alliance. They were weak, very weak. At that same time I was patrolling Syndicate in a small pvp alliance called Dead Terrorists. We regularly kicked the crap out of the disillusioned Goons. While my fleetmates laughed in local, I just felt sorry for them. They were the underdogs that defeated Goliath and became kings themselves, but now they looked like a starving pack of street dogs searching for some safety in their ancestral home. They were as good as dead. Remarkably, Tau Ceti Federation reached out, sheltered them, and nourished them back from the edge. If no one had intervened the name Goonswarm would have ended there.
Cultural death is a reality in EVE. That is why so many alliances resurrect their old name by adding a “dot” at the end or the word “reloaded.” There is no coming back as the same alliance. Atlas alliance came back as Atlas. but closed again, soon after. Even if an alliance springs up from their ashes, the culture is never the same. Some people leave to try something new, while other just grow up and act different. Cultural death is what keeps EVE leaders up at night (along with alarm clocks and stimulants), yet culture is often sacrificed for the safety net provided by having a coalition banner overhead. Not everyone in the Imperium is in total agreement with Goonswarm or with any other member of the Imperium.
Mittani has his hands full trying to message unity for a coalition of alliances that each want their individual history and culture. The natural pressure to break away and self-govern is trumped by safety in numbers. All coalitions, alliances and even corporations deal with both of these pressures: Safety in numbers versus people you don’t want to associate with.
The history Mittani refers to is Goonswarm history, not Circle-of-Two, or Fidelas Constans, but that struggle of being pushed around resonates with the alliances that would be be vulnerable if they were not unified under Goonswarm. So this begs the question: Who are Mittani’s people, the ones that deserve the best?
Something Awful members? No, they have long since outgrown that site. The test of what it means to be “goon” enough is gone, as are a lot of the toxic antics that made them unpopular. The bulletin board sites that were so effective at holding a community of people in the past have given way to better versions, like Reddit. Recruiting from Something Awful is down, and that is why Kharma Fleet was invented, to capture new players from other sources.
Is it Goonswarm Federation? No, Goons were the original irreverent noobs that unrepentantly claimed the status of underdogs while ganking Ice mining pacifists: One minute emo, next minute standing over your wreckage. If Mittani was only leading Goonswarm pilots they might already be dead, falling victim to any two of their enemies combined. Many alliances want to take them down. Goonswarm are the organizational framework of the Imperium, but not the net membership.
Is it the Imperium? It is more than an EVE coalition huddled together for safety. Mittani’s team will take over your leadership if you are not up to standards, as they did with Fatal Ascension and others. CEOs that move away find that their members stay with the Imperium. Bat Country, the latest corporation to leave, does so severely diminished.
The Mittani is leading all three. Using the memories and loyalty of Something Awful members, the organizational superstructure built by Goonswarm, and the bodies of the coalition. He lays out what they are now, and all the programs they have made for their benefit.
Not only is the Imperium big, it is complicated.