Top Ten Things for the Imperium to Consider


Header art by Elthar Nox

The Top Ten list here begins a new series. From time to time, on an irregular basis, we’ll publish a Top Ten list. This is open to other writers as well. Feel free to create your own Top Ten on some aspect of EVE and submit it for possible publication.

Here, then, is my Top Ten list regarding what the Imperium must learn from Beeitnam (so far).

10. You learn more from failure than from success

I’m putting this in 10th only because it sets up all the other things Imperium should learn. Really, this should be number 1. When I look back on my own intense learning and growing experiences, they have always come after some personal failure, as I was forced to reflect on what I had done poorly.  Conversely, when things are going well, I rarely ponder how it could have been improved and I sit back sometimes in a posture of self-congratulation. That latter attitude can lead to a future debacle. The Imperium is coming off a fantastic and well-earned victory.  But will leadership and line members alike fail to learn any lessons from what they could have done differently or better? 

I’ve been gratified to read several comments on INN stories, suggesting that the Imperium should not repeat the “extermination” rhetoric as it pushes the “TEST is next” narrative. That’s the kind of self-analysis in which we should engage. If the Imperium actually plans to “exterminate” TEST, we have become what we have hated for 13 months. Also a good sign was the Meta Show from August 14, in which Brisc and The Mittani talked about lessons learned. While most of the lessons had to do with what PAPI should learn, they did discuss the importance of a shared culture (56.00). Clearly, that aspect of the Imperium was vital during the war and should continue to be strengthened and fostered.

9. Another cultural revolution

Speaking of culture, the Imperium has done work to change their culture from the early days of Goons to something that resembles a Fortune 500 company in organization and planning. But I think the Imperium should set more goals that focus on some areas of EVE that traditionally are problematic.

First, I’d like to see the Imperium be the place that women EVE gamers see as the best spot to let their talents shine. I wish we had more women FCs in EVE in general and the Imperium should work to make it so. But that means continuing to establish a culture that affirms women gamers while giving the boot to misogynistic comments in forums, fleets, etc. Second, the Imperium should be even more conducive to new players. I know that Karmafleet is establishing a reputation for this, but it’s less universally known than Brave’s reputation as being newbie-friendly. Third, the Imperium should make sure it doesn’t foster stereotypes about ethnicity and gaming. In their past, Goons fought with Russian alliances, whereas most of EVE’s alliances shunned them and made derogatory comments. The Chinese now should look to the Imperium as a place where Asian stereotypes have no place.

8. Stop ad hominem attacks and name-calling

Imperium people need to take a look at themselves. From top leadership to commenters on INN, we see a lot of name-calling, “funny” nick-names, etc. that are, at root, ad hominem attacks.  Now, I know some of you might be tempted to jump in the comments section with “These people don’t deserve respect” or “You should have heard what they said to us in local.” Setting Imperium culture by what others have done to you is just a mindless form of tribalism. You can blow up someone’s spaceship without dissing them as people. In print and other media, Imperium members should argue with people’s ideas rather than resorting to name-calling and ad hominem attacks. Use people’s chosen avatar name, not some derogatory nick-name that derides and belittles.

7. Vengeance must have limitations

I worried about this one months ago when I wrote my article entitled “The Point of No Return.” I thought the rhetoric in this war had grown so toxic that no matter which side won, the game we love would be damaged, perhaps beyond repair. Now Imperium has won and will enact retribution, and I support those moves – up to a point.

We have already seen the concurrent player number drop in half since last January and certainly many former PAPI players will now be discouraged and might be inclined to quit. On the Meta Show of August 14, Brisc put up a graph showing the dropping numbers in former PAPI alliances. That should give us some pause. These players face some humiliation due to their failed dreams, but they also have to face a future with angry bees a-buzzing.  Don’t get me wrong. They deserve it and I hope to be in some of those retribution fleets, but we must set certain limitations on our quest for vengeance. Imperium must do what PAPI did NOT do and actually care about the game as a whole.

6. M2 (the aftermath)

After M2-XFE, during the hellcamp, Imperium morale was soaring to the heavens, because we had dozens of PAPI supers and titans trapped. But we also sold that move as something we could sustain almost indefinitely. I was shocked, then, when the Imperium just abandoned the hellcamp after 62 days and PAPI uncorked all their materiel. I felt I had been deceived. The Imperium rhetoric had been that we could sustain the hellcamp virtually forever, as long as Imperium will lasted, but that wasn’t the case.

Game mechanics and PAPI moves made the camp a finite joy which came crashing down for those, like me, who didn’t understand the mechanics well enough to know that the camp’s days were always numbered. So, I don’t blame the mechanics for the morale loss I suffered. I blame my own people for not making it clear that the trapped titans would eventually get freed. Leadership should remember that not all line members know the game as well as veterans do.

5. Prepare for the next invasion

Goons, and by extension the entire Imperium, have been the focus of ire in EVE for a very long time. This latest attempt to wipe out Goons is at least the third such attempt. For reasons that tend to baffle Imperium line members, most other nullsec players see the Imperium as a toxic bunch deserving of extinction. I don’t see that changing after this most recent war – quite the opposite. We not only need to rebuild our space more intelligently, and perhaps less ostentatiously, but we also need to position ourselves for the “hearts and minds” war that will also eventually arrive yet again. 

4. Plan for the next attackers to be less terrible

One of the common elements of Imperium-related media has been how terrible PAPI leadership was during this war. Hey, I’m not countering that; indeed, I piled on my own share of stories with that theme. But what happens next time if Imperium faces another existential crisis and the opponents have good and united leadership? What if M2- had not happened? What if the former PAPI alliances find leaders willing and able to pay the iron price? What if they learn the lessons from this war? What if they stop paying attention to the killboard and pay attention to succeeding in objectives? 

3. Kool-aid anyone?

Imperium media tends to be a bit of an echo-chamber. That’s true for virtually every organization and isn’t, therefore, a straight-up condemnation. But we should try listening more critically and apply the same critical skills to articles that support our point of view as those that support other views. INN has some great writers and really good commenters. The quality of thought, and writing, has made me proud, at times, to be a Goon. 

But Goons can pile on anything that runs counter to the mainline “truth” of our opinion. I’ve been on two juries, so have observed several prosecutors and defense attorneys at work.  They were nothing compared to the quibblers that regularly write here. If someone submits something that runs counter to “our” narrative, we look for the smallest mistake, the slightest error, and magnify it, claiming the writer is a lying shyster. On the other hand, when a writer who supports our narrative fails to backup claims, uses shoddy logic, even writes somewhat incoherently, we bring out the “truthiness” comments.

I’ll use myself as an example, because I don’t want to embarrass anyone but myself. I wrote a story recently in which I suggested both Vily and Gobbins had made terrible rhetorical mistakes. I linked to the Polygon article to support my point about Vily. But try as I might (and I tried for a long time), I could not find the link to support my point about Gobbins getting fixated on the 40 faction fortizars. Did I dare run the story without having my “evidence” in place? Sure did. And not one of the commenters cried foul and that I didn’t back up that claim with any evidence whatsoever. Why?  Because my main point fit in with our preconception.  

2. We are more exclusive than we think we are

I really enjoy reading the affirming stories of line members who have had excellent experiences in the Imperium. They are very uplifting and at times very moving. To hear how people have found comradeship here online, that helps to mitigate some of the stuff they have been going through, always lifts my spirits and makes me proud. I want us to generate a lot more such stories, by treating people well. But we should also recognize that not everyone’s story has gone along that affirming flight path. Some have tried to join our ranks, only to be rebuffed. We have tended to make it sound like we take all applicants and that people can easily sign up and they will soon be a part of our organization. That’s not the full story.

Here’s my story, which I tell because I don’t want to reveal details about other people’s stories. I had played EVE back in 2018 and faded out.  I had been in Karmafleet and had really enjoyed it. I also had written and edited for INN back in the heady days of 2018.  So, when I read on gaming sites that a massive war had started, I wanted to rejoin Imperium, because they seemed in need of help. I contacted INN and was immediately welcomed back as a writer and editor. I was touched by that. Kudos to our editor-in-chief, who didn’t hold it against me that I had quit back in 2018. I began writing and editing stories right away.

I also applied to get back into KarmaFleet. This was before the Horn of Goondor. I expected to have some trouble: I was joining during time of war, after all. But week after week passed and I got no word whatsoever. I began to feel weird about it. I was writing stories from an Imperium perspective, while not actually being in the Imperium. I expected to be “outed” at any time. After five or six weeks, I went through some back channels, had people vouch for me, tried to see what the holdup was. Eventually, after a couple weeks of this back-channeling, I was reinstated back into Karma.  So, I got back in, but the road was neither smooth nor quick. Had I not been writing and editing for INN, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten back in at all.

For every story like mine, there could be dozens of people who wanted to fight PAPI and couldn’t. If they wanted to play EVE in null, they may have ended up joining PAPI, some because that was one of the only options left. So, let’s not pretend that everyone had a choice regarding which side they were on in this war. Imperium doesn’t accept all applicants. People go where they are accepted and made to feel wanted.

1. Winning has not sat well with the past winners

When you read Groen, you discover that one of the worst things that can happen to an organization is to win an extended and costly battle. It is sometimes followed with in-fighting, jockeying for position, internecine battles, and even betrayals. Let’s not forget that after the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, the winners then turned on each other and started a slaughter-fest. 

I don’t think that will happen now post-WWB, but Imperium has a lot of things to work out. How do some of the newly-added alliances fit in? How much territory do we reclaim and who gets it? Who decides who gets what? Will alliances on the edges feel they are being used as meat-shields? Imperium cannot afford to relax. In some ways, the hardest work is just beginning.

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  • Rammel Kas
    Your final par.

    August 22, 2021 at 7:10 AM
    • Gray Doc Rammel Kas

      Acknowledge and changed.

      August 22, 2021 at 4:50 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    I’m going to make a classic “if by whiskey” argument (Google that if you want the back-story) about that “TEST is next” narrative.

    If by “TEST is next” we mean that we will murder them until they are very dead when the time is right, then I am all in favor. They’ve betrayed us twice and there won’t be a third time.

    But if by “TEST is next” we mean that we intend to Leeroy Jenkins into Dronelands where TEST is surrounded by former PAPI allies who have made clear that they will reform at a moment’s notice to oppose the Imperium, I think that course would be foolish.

    Hubris is what killed PAPI. We shouldn’t make the same mistake.

    August 22, 2021 at 11:26 AM
    • I think the “TEST is next” narrative might have originally been said in the context of wiping them out, period. As in, “We’ve wiped Co2; We’ve wiped GOTG; and now TEST is next.” Now, no need to quibble here about whether or not Imperium actually wiped those groups, because it’s more complicated than that. But the “murder then until they are very dead” bit is not where I personally want to go with the retribution. The Mittani said on Trash Talk Tuesday, a few weeks ago, that he didn’t want to destroy TEST; he wanted to hunt them until the end of the server.” He made a decision NOT to step in the same cowpile that Vily and Gobbins have previously stepped in. The “extermination” stuff came back to haunt Vily. We don’t need to repeat that mistake.

      August 22, 2021 at 2:10 PM
      • Guilford Australis Gray Doc

        We can stand on semantics all day, but I think I made a larger point in this comment that you ignored.

        I specifically stated that there is an approach to giving TEST the retribution they deserve that would be prudent and an approach that I believe would be foolish. By “murder them until they are very dead” I meant destroy them repeatedly and humialitingly in fleet ops exactly as they intended to do to us in their failed war.

        TEST currently has no space and no infrastructure. Legacy has collapsed. So what retribution do you imagine would be feasible without killing the alliance? Kill some of their beloved Raitarus in Outer Passage and call it op success?

        August 22, 2021 at 2:33 PM
        • Your definition above “destroy them repeatedly . . . in fleet ops” works fine for me.

          August 22, 2021 at 2:42 PM
      • Arrendis Gray Doc

        ‘TEST is Next’ was never about wiping them out, it was about having our revenge.

        We got revenge on CO2 in a way that didn’t wipe them out. They collapsed because they were fundamentally a cult of personality, and GigX took himself off the board by getting banned. From there, even as he went trying to evade the ban, it was a long slow decline until they WIdotted into Horde. We didn’t wipe them out, they did that to themselves.

        We got revenge on GotG when we came north and facerolled on them, but when a deal was struck, we honored it. We didn’t wipe them out, that was Legacy + PanFam 18 months later… and a lot of GotG corps ended up in places like Init.

        ‘TEST is Next’ didn’t mean we’re gonna go charging into the drones like mindless idiots the way they seem to think it does. It didn’t mean we’re swearing to exterminate them. Most of the 6T in lost infrastructure has been TEST’s. They didn’t get their keeps unanchored, they didn’t get their orderly retreat. Instead, they took another financial hit on the order of M2. Is that enough revenge? I highly doubt it. But it’s a start, and even if we also pursue revenge against other groups, one eye will always be on TEST.

        August 23, 2021 at 1:33 PM
        • Gray Doc Arrendis

          Yes, I hear you, which is why I qualified my statement above about Co2 and GOTG. Imperium didn’t wipe them out; circumstances did. And if TEST goes that same way, I won’t mourn for them. We, as an organization (including line members) have to remember what we mean when we say, “TEST is next.” As Guilford said above, it doesn’t mean going Leroy Jenkins. The smart move, when a group is self-destructing, is give them the room to do just that.

          August 23, 2021 at 2:57 PM
      • Romulus Loches Gray Doc

        Goons have had vendettas against certain organizations in the past. It doesn’t mean that why are on a crusade to wipe them out, it means that when we are fighting, we shoot them first. “Test is next” in part means that when there is a fight happening, FCs will prioritize Test. There are ways to get revenge without trying to get people to stop playing the game.

        August 23, 2021 at 4:41 PM
  • Nicz Shadowstar

    Rabble Rabble useless sentences

    August 22, 2021 at 3:08 PM
  • Aaron Kitchell

    Hard pass on cultural revolution crap.

    August 22, 2021 at 8:08 PM
    • Arrendis Aaron Kitchell

      Funnily enough, the cultural revolution Gray’s calling for there was Cultural Revolution 2.0 and Cultural Revolution 1.0.

      If someone wants a safe space for racist, misogynistic crap, they won’t find it with us. I agree that I’d like to see more female FCs. A bunch of my best Logi Anchors are women. I can’t tell you the exact percentages, though, because like everywhere else in our command structure, all that matters is ‘can you do the job, and do it well?’

      If women want to FC, they should apply to the Skirmish Commander group.

      August 23, 2021 at 1:38 PM
      • Guilford Australis Arrendis

        I’ve flown with Goonswarm FCs who kicked a fleet member for racist, misogynistic, or otherwise insensitive comments, after which we killed them and they were blacklisted from the alliance before we even had time to kill their pod.

        August 23, 2021 at 2:32 PM
        • I mean, going that far generally requires some consistent patterns of behavior. Normally, it’s just ‘we don’t tolerate that here, you can shut the hell up now’. But if it persists? Definitely.

          August 23, 2021 at 4:29 PM
      • Aaron Kitchell Arrendis

        I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware there was a barrier that prevented anyone from being anything they wanted to be in the Imperium. I always thought GSF did a good job of remaining neutral and devoid of crass IRL politics. Is that not the case?

        August 24, 2021 at 3:00 AM
        • Where there’s people, and social structures, there’s crass IRL politics. The ones that remain ‘neutral,’ as you call it, are in fact highly politicized.

          August 24, 2021 at 11:45 AM
          • Aaron Kitchell Solai

            Ok, that’s not what the word “neutral” means. From Webster:
            neutral adjective
            Definition of neutral
            1: not engaged on either side
            specifically : not aligned with a political or ideological grouping
            Hope this helps.

            August 27, 2021 at 4:34 AM
        • Arrendis Aaron Kitchell

          If you want to be a racist or a misogynist in the Imperium, you absolutely can be. If you want to express those views where other people can hear them, expect to be told to shut the hell up.

          Just like if someone wants to go and be a vocal advocate for any left-wing agenda, they can expect to get told to shut the hell up, too, unless they’re Mittens. Remaining neutral of IRL politics doesn’t mean allowing some people to belittle others.

          August 28, 2021 at 1:00 AM
    • The cultural revolution was what kept me in the Imperium when some bad actors were being awful. It’s the reason I’ll side with the imperium even when I want to do things with a small independent group off in Pochven. The cultural revolution is the single most significant thing the coalition can hold up as having accomplished not with words, but with actions, to ensure they can reach a bare minimum of decency to fellow human beings. If anything, its something imperium members should be most proud of.

      August 24, 2021 at 11:38 AM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    Karmafleet changed the type of entity it was, just before the war truth be told. We were getting so many applications from people who just wanted to Krab and we switched to wanting to get the balance right to pvp’ers. So that change coupled with the overwhelming numbers applying the minute the war started, overwhelmed the recruitment team and it took ages to get more staff trained up. That’s what I heard on the grapevine anyhow. I’m no longer in recruitment section and was only for a short time, but I know just how hard that job is and my heartfelt hats go off to our recruitment team for doing a job, I couldn’t stomach doing for very long.

    On the issue of not wanting the blue donut, I don’t think we’ve done enough to show the rest of Eve, that we deliberately kept our space at four regions on purpose. Yes, this was a thing, I remember the discussion very clearly in command channels and the idea was to NOT create a blue donut after the Tribute glassing. As far as I know, leaders haven’t changed their view on this position. We want the rest of nullsec to be a buffer of small to medium sized alliances with the two big blocks on each side of the map. We’ve never wanted a blue donut. The NIP with Legacy, I voiced my misgivings at the end of the Stainwagon war but it was done for practical reasons by the diplomats and if I were them, I’d probably have done that too. In hindsight, it was a mistake to let them settle in the region to start with. But the buffer concept, only happened in cloud ring and pure blind, long after the NIP was signed with Legacy and we were stuck with it.

    We are seen by the rest of Eve as space outlaws and we’ve grown accustomed to being just that. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. We were formed for being trolls to the rest of Eve. That’s kind of core Goonswarm. However, I think there needs to be a fine balance struck. Between ganking freighters in highsec and offering a service to pubbies so that they also see us as not all that bad all the time. Setting up resource contracts with highsec groups may be the way to go there, whilst ganking those who refuse to sign up to our ice fuel contracts or something like that. Being kind to some and mean to others, will send a more mixed message to pubbies. I want them to think of us as dangerous, but fair businessmen and women. Like dealing with the Russian mafia. All will be well unless you double cross us. Some will grow to love us, others hate us but this mixed opinion of us, will be better than just outright hating us all the time.

    August 23, 2021 at 5:29 AM
  • Sirhan Blixt

    By the numbers:

    10. Goonswarm has endured defeats. We did as well in this conflict due to lessons learned from them. We don’t need anyone else’s advice on how to survive.
    9. We’ve had quite a few already, thank you. We’re the ones who coined the term in the Eve Online context. It’s a continuous process, for there’s always room to improve, but we appear to already be aware of this and have a handle on it, thank you.
    8. Civility is the last resort of the scoundrel.
    7. This is an especially egregious bit of concern-trolling. Give our leadership some credit for understanding limitations and setting achievable objectives. So far, so good.
    6. Sorry about your hurt feelings mate, but there’s no need to project your reaction and motivations onto other people.
    5. Already happening.
    4. That’s what we’ve done before, but thanks! PAPI was a bit of a shock to us in this regard.
    3. Once again, sorry for your loss, but there’s no need to project your mistake onto other people.
    2. So? Open recruitment is a very recent thing in our history. Maybe picking and choosing who to recruit is a prerogative that member alliances should keep? If all of those poor band-wagoners who missed out so terribly had been with us before the start of hostilities, they would not have missed out. It’s not our job to provide a home for band-wagoners.
    1. Substitute “Peace” for “Winning” and you almost have a point.

    In summary, this was a crap idea for a “Top 10” list. You might have had one. Trying for ten was several bridges too far. Also, try to be less ahistorical in your concern-trolling.

    August 23, 2021 at 6:42 AM
    • Vertigoe Sirhan Blixt

      This guy is in Imperium. Based on your response here I don’t even think you read the article.

      August 23, 2021 at 1:41 PM
      • Guilford Australis Vertigoe

        I won’t presume to speak for Sirhan, but I do know that he’s very familiar with Gray’s positions, having commented on many of his articles.

        The detail and specific responses included in his reply suggest to me that he read the article closely and spent a considerable amount of time and effort detailing his disagreements.

        August 23, 2021 at 2:40 PM
      • BriscRubal Vertigoe

        Honestly, this reads more like a Seir post than a Gray Doc post, so I can understand his confusion.

        August 23, 2021 at 2:45 PM
      • Sirhan Blixt Vertigoe

        Based on your response here I don’t even think you read the article.

        Then how did I match up my replies with his numbered points? Probably by reading the article.

        One can be in the Imperium and still be wrong. One can be in the Imperium and be wrong and project that wrongness on all other Imperium members, as I called the author out for doing at least twice. How could I do that without reading the article?

        August 24, 2021 at 7:25 PM
  • BriscRubal

    You couldn’t find the 40 faction fortizars thing because it was Gobbins talking in their town halls, not in written comments, and trying to search through hours of audio isn’t fun. We played that clip on the Meta Show at some point, but even I can’t remember exactly when. Nobody called you out on it because it actually happened, and we know it happened.

    The name-calling happened because the bad guys telegraphed that they didn’t like it. Basic schoolyard tactics – find something the other guys don’t like and use it against them. That was a useful tactic and it worked. Kept our morale high and it demoralized them.

    As for the rest, I think the war has demonstrated that our culture and our internal mechanisms are working and I don’t see a need to change much, if anything. What we need to do is keep doing what we’ve been doing – making the game fun for people and keeping them logging in. The rest will come naturally.

    August 23, 2021 at 2:39 PM
  • Democritus

    Half the reasons for this war were people trying to dictate to the Imperium of how they should play the game. I see far less toxicity in the Imperium than in the Papi block, so if that’s the standard we are judging by (Papi being a large chunk of 0.0 alliances and thus a good representation of what is out there), its my opinions that the Imperium is in very good shape.

    August 26, 2021 at 4:10 AM