The year is 2009.
Permaband, the CCP house musical group, creates a music video entitled ‘HTFU’. The song, sung mostly by CCP Guard, is unique among gaming development communities. This was a crew of actual game designers using a player-coined slang term (in what some would call a crude way) – possibly even offensive to some members of their own clientele.
That, however, was the point. This game wasn’t for pansies. EVE Online players shouldn’t whine and complain when they lost a ship, or they were otherwise outplayed/scammed/taken advantage of. EVE is HARD. Residents of New Eden needed to ‘Harden the F**K up’.
First off – let me make a short introduction
I watched this video the other day, and a question popped into my head; What ever happened to HTFU? Is it still a part of EVE culture, or has it changed over the years? I took to Twitter, and asked TweetFleet what they thought about the current state of HTFU. But, before we get into that, I think some context is important. We need to talk about what HTFU means, or meant, back when Permaband decided to write that song about a saying so prevalent in the community’s early days.
EVE Online has always had a reputation among the video game industry/community as being ‘hardcore’. As a ‘true sandbox’, anything goes (well, almost, but you get my meaning). CCP created a universe, set some boundaries, and then said, ‘Have at it. Do your worst.’ And, do our worst we sure did. Lying, scamming, stealing, spying, smack talk, undermining, any nefarious deed is not only allowed in New Eden, but also encouraged by the game’s developer. When The Mittani’s spy network took down Band of Brothers, they weren’t banned for breaking the Terms of Service; the community was astounded by the act, and respect (whether genuine or grudging) was given by many. While it ‘ruined’ the ‘fun’ of hundreds (if not thousands) of players, it was a part of the game, and perfectly legal within the bounds of the world set up by the developers.
The members of Band of Brothers (and others throughout the long history of this game) didn’t walk away and quit the game; they fell back, regrouped, and (for the most part) kept going, albeit in different directions. That is the way of EVE. If you were ganked while out mining in high sec by CODE., and you whined about it in local, someone would tell you to HTFU. Weren’t paying attention and paid 100 million isk for a 1 million isk-value item? Don’t bitch about it. Just HTFU. Not happy with the current changes to the game? HTF—well, you get the point.
We roll with the punches, move in for the kill
So, back to that Twitter question. Does the community think that HTFU is still here, gone, or changed? What did/does HTFU mean to them?
Fade Attradies said: “For me it was about taking the knock! Standing back up, brushing yourself down & getting back in there because your buds needed you. I was a solo player for so long. I started back in 09 and loved this game. Took some hits. Logged off.. came back. Because “That’s EVE Dude!”
Arsia Elkin said: “I think ‘HTFU’ basically means you shouldn’t get angry/smacktalky because people use the mechanics of the game to shoot/kill/steal from you. It’s easy to explode “unfairly,” but that’s the game! Can still criticize things you don’t like about it. People are allowed opinions.”
Reload was a bit more nostalgic: “I rather miss those days. I think the sentiment is still applicable to accepting your ship loss, framing lost ISK as a down payment on a pretty explosion. But the game overall is moving away from its “harsh dark universe” image. Recent whining needs some good HTFU imo.”
Manic Velocity, who I had the pleasure of meeting at EVE Vegas this year, thinks the EVE community has evolved past HTFU: “I feel “HTFU” comes from an era when EVE was unlike other MMOs by design. And if you didn’t like it, then you needed to HTFU or go back to WoW. EVE is in a different place now, and the community has matured. I don’t think “HTFU” applies anymore. The song still rocks, though.”
Rixx Javix, Pirate Lord of Low Sec, said that nothing has changed for him.
Sunset Legacy felt that the message then versus today conveys an attitude of smugness from a company whose clients are leaving ‘in droves.’
We just had another Jita riot to protest the ‘end of scarcity’, which the developers have been promising us for a while now, only to find out that this really isn’t really an era of prosperity, but just… different nerfs in a pretty package. The trust, partnership, and community communication that CCP used to brag about is a shadow of its former self. Why is that?
If you’re going to follow us to the top…
Back in ’09, when we were still looking towards the future of EVE Online, despite the challenges we faced then, there was still a generally-positive attitude within the game. Watching CCP Guard, dressed as a pimp and acting like an Icelandic gangster rapper (what???), while his crew walk around like a bunch of hard thugs and telling isk spammers and exploiters to watch their collective backs was a sight to see. They took a term used by their clients/community and turned it into a song that pertained to their work; busting those who violated the Terms of Service. They used HTFU to bridge a gap between the players and the developers, showing that we were all on the ‘same side’ and had the same goals; to make (and keep) New Eden a fun place to conduct our shady business.
Therefore, the message of Permaband’s song was, to me, quite simple; If you mess with our world or its players, we’ll be there to smack you down.
Every day is a fight, there’s no room for bloopers
Bugs coming at us like in Starship troopers
We help when we can, every child, every man
Treat the boogie man to a permanent ban
Fast forward to 2021. CCP Guard is gone, and sorely missed by many within the community (including myself). The meaning of the lyrics written by him in this song are lost on the current crew in Reykjavik. There is a general disconnect from the greater community of EVE Online.
Ever flowing – never standing still
New Eden isn’t the same as it was back then. Hell, its not the same that it was in 2019. There have been record-breaking conflicts, empires have risen and fallen, and an entire generation of EVE players are teaching their teenage children to play a game that has outlived most of its peers. We watched as CCP enshrined our names in a time capsule shot into outer space. We’ve attended FanFest, partied in Vegas and other gatherings with fellow players and CCP employees alike, and watched thousands of hours of talk show livestreams hosted by some of the most (in)famous members of the community. More importantly, we have made some new friends among the ever-shrinking stream of new players coming to New Eden and have held cyno vigils for more friends than I care to count.
United we stand never ever growing weary…
In conclusion, even with all the heartaches and headaches, I wouldn’t trade this community for the world. New Eden is where many of my friends live. Some of those friends are current employees of CCP, and I know that their hearts are in the right place, and they want what is best for the game and the players. I think that CCP as an organization needs to go back and read the refrain from their song, and put forth some extra effort to rebuild the relationship with the community that they had back when Permaband laid this track down:
We’re CCP! We march on fearlessly!
Excellent is what we strive to be!
If you’re going to follow us to the top