After what has happened to Goons in WWB, I’m really worked up. I want vengeance. It is amazing how much emotion can get stirred up when, after all, this is only a game. However, we invest so much of our time and effort into the game that it becomes much more than just a game. It becomes a part of our lives and therefore, we don’t want our time to have been wasted. We want things to matter. Only in EVE have people made memorials for players that have passed away and for epic battles that have transpired. People who have never played EVE may not understand it, but those who play it get it.
The Certainty of Retribution
So, I want vengeance. PAPI created the big blue donut, with Vily and PGL talking extermination with heightened rhetoric about sitting on our collective Goon faces, but someday this war as we know it will be over, one way or another. I have 100% confidence that, even if Goons are crushed and defeated and homeless (as they were in the Casino War), they will be back after a time, a powerful group to be reckoned with. The outcome of the war has no bearing on whether Goons will once again be a powerful group. The outcome only affects the timeline, not the certainty, of retribution.
And so, I want vengeance. I think back on 2018, when Goons were riding a wave of success. We glassed areas in the north. We killed three Keepstars in one night (I was in one of those fleets), and when GOTG sued for peace, I was really upset. I railed. I thought it was a huge mistake to stop the war and go back to Delve and let our enemies alone, just when we had them on the ropes. Yes, Goons got 40 fortizars, but a negotiated peace wasn’t what I wanted at the time. I complained to a lot of people about why we were accepting peace at such a price.
After my conversations with fellow Goons, I realized I was being quite shortsighted, in part because I hadn’t played EVE for very long – and understanding EVE culture takes a very long time indeed. These fellow Goons explained to me that it was important, for the good of the game as a whole, to call a halt to the war. To completely wipe out a large opposing group would threaten the viability of the game itself. We wanted to win, sure, but we didn’t want the opposition to rage quit, either. We had to win without crushing groups so badly that people just threw up their hands, threw down their keyboards, and decided to do something else instead.
Digging Two Graves
I pondered that for a long time. Complete vengeance, in the sense of wiping out enemies, causing humiliation and despair, was not a reasonable goal for this game, since the game’s viability is dependent on player participation. I had to rethink my desire for vengeance in 2018 and accept that in backing away from the war with a negotiated peace, cooler heads had prevailed. “If you seek revenge, you should dig two graves.”
Now, I look at what’s happening to Goons and I see our past adversaries (including those we were fighting in 2018) pounding our space and bragging on reddit (at least until M2) and I know that these are groups we could have wiped out a couple of years ago. I want to holler at them: “You are only here at all because we let you guys off the hook! Why are you thinking you’re hot stuff now? Do you have any collective memories at all?” I read Gobbins utterances about win conditions and that PH wants to make sure Goons pay a blood price for the 40 fortizars we settled for in 2018 and I just cringe. We could have wiped out far more than the value of 40 fortizars. The 40 forts were a cheap settlement, and for that act of diplomacy, PH is taking this so-called revenge, wiping Fountain, Querious, Period Basis, and parts of Delve itself? And you think that now makes us equal again, that the teeter-totter of vengeance has once again been leveled? Think again.
No Negotiated Settlement
I am so pleased to see The Mittani say that in this war, there will be no negotiated settlement. Good. We made a mistake in 2018 in negotiating when we were ahead. We would be making a mistake in negotiating now when we’re behind, but rapidly gaining. And if this worm completely turns, if PAPI breaks into PH, NC, FRT, TEST, AoM, Brave, etc., and if Goons still have the ability to wage war, I look forward to a visitation upon TEST’s home space and subjecting them to war unrestrained by diplomacy or gaming etiquette. If 5,000 Goons could do a simultaneous tea-bag, I’d want to see it in TEST’s home system as their home KS lights up the dark of space like Katie Perry’s “Firework” at the American inauguration.
So, it’s really a good thing I’m an editor and writer, not a diplomat or in a position of power. Because what I want would be bad for EVE as a whole, but right now I don’t care. I want vengeance.
Looking Good, Furiosa
The danger in any war like WWB is that you can push people beyond the point where cooler heads will prevail. Sometimes, people can get so emotionally invested, they will take vengeance that is against their own best interests. Sometimes, people will be tempted to push the nuke button, even though they know retaliation means the end of the entire world as we know it. Welcome, Mad Max. Looking good, Furiosa.
That point of no return may actually now be in the rear view mirror and perhaps we are beyond the point where cooler heads can prevail. We may have reached a tipping point where, in two years, people will have quit the game en masse, because some of the players didn’t have any sense of self-restraint when it came to war and its aftermath. Imagine in 2023: You have killed all your EVE enemies and mining and ratting are too boring for words. Gonna enjoy reading INN when the only stories are about the MER?
Again, it may be too late. This war has gone on a really long time and has been marked by a lot of incredibly irritating hurfing. Further, there is no end in sight. The Imperium have limited offensive capabilities, so I certainly don’t see some Goon breakout moment turning the tide and overwhelming all PAPI. Similarly, Goons’ defensive position is so entrenched, and the lesson of early-packing the M2 grid is so clearly in Goon memory, that I don’t see PAPI over-running Goons any time soon. The hellcamp isn’t going away and Goons will be content to sit there almost forever. And the longer the war continues, the more likely it is that Goons will become angry beyond reason and beyond the counsel of cooler heads (if there are any left), seeking vengeance, sooner or later, at any cost, even at the cost of destroying the game itself.