Greedy Goblin

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Bastion conspiracy

You probably heard of the creation of the new CFC alliance "The Bastion". You probably couldn't care less, considering it yet another corp/alliance merge. I believe it is the first step in a conspiracy plan that ends with a huge shift in the politics, matching the BoB collapse.

Corp/alliance merges in nullsec are dime a dozen. Since the political and strategic decision making is on coalition level, the corp and even alliance leaders aren't leading anything. They are managers, making sure that the line members aren't awoxers, show up in fleets and also that the towers are fueled. While their position looks space-important, it's not. Sooner or later they burn out and step down. Since they just leave their job and not the organization, there is no drama. If no replacement shows up, the group below them is moved to another group in an organized way. The end of Insidious Empire, Nexus Fleet or Walltrepiers are typical examples.

The closing of Gents and Li3 isn't different from them. The place they go on the other hand is very-very different. You see, there is no logical reason of forming a new alliance to handle such situation. Gents and Li3 could be moved to an existing CFC alliance. What if there is no CFC alliance management with capacity to herd extra cats? Then you must see that it's not tickers but people herd cats. There is a group of people who will manage The Bastion. Why can't the same managers manage the same line members under the Gents or Li3 ticker? If they keep the Gents ticker, they save half of the member and Sov movements with their necessary mistakes and shooting of blues who are not blues because someone forgot to set a flag. Again: there is no drama, no one ninjaed either tickers, neither system is non-functional, why not just move Li3 corps into Gents and fill up the leadership positions with the same people?

The answer is written on the Bastion page: "Inspiration and Suzerain: The Mittani". Now why would anyone do that? Why does The Mittani suddenly want to lead (even just figuratively) Gents and Li3. And if he does, why don't he just move the corps into Goonswarm Federation?

I believe that Gents and Li3 won't be the last to be merged to The Bastion. Soon more will follow. However it's not conspiracy, just common sense. Due to the high level of integration of CFC, the different alliances are redundant, their merges are only matter of time. If every CFC corps would be moved into GSF, no one would notice any difference. Again: the question isn't "why merge", it's "why merge into a new entity, lead by The Mittani, instead of into each other or GSF?"

I think the answer is that The Mittani and the CFC cupola wants to ditch the "Goon" image, along with the Goonwaffe Goons. I believe that after The Bastion is big enough, GSF corps will be moved into The Bastion, GSF itself will be disbanded, a few useful Goonwaffe members will be recruited and the rest just removed from CFC. Probably the CFC ticker will be abandoned too and there will be nothing but The Bastion, led by The Mittani and the cupola.

Why? Because from founding members, the Goonwaffe Goons became a fifth weel. There are about 40K pilots in the CFC, only 2900 (7%) are "true Goons". Their fleet participation is abysmal, so the force contribution of the true Goons is around 2-3%. For that minimal contribution, they bring unanimous hate from everyone else to CFC. There is no "grr TNT" or "grr RAZOR", but there is definitely "grr Goons". EVE players curse Goons for everything bad, even for stuff they weren't involved in. The term "Goon" is the new "BoB", a scapegoat for everything bad.

The Mittani and the rest of the cupola openly want to make their real life income from playing EVE. They have that site, they have time code sell commissions, they have T-shirts and teacups and various other methods I can't even think about. However for that to work, they need a sellable brand. And "Goon" isn't such. You can only sell Goon-related stuff to the 2900 true Goons. For the rest of EVE, the bee icon is the scarlet mark of the plague. Their precious site is widely called "Goon Fox News" despite their best effort to make it unbiased.

I think there were three things that sealed the fate of true Goons besides their mentioned 2-3% minority status:
  • The fate of Erotica 1. It clearly - and shockingly - shown that the EVE community rejects griefing which is the defining criteria of true Goons.
  • The unlikely success of my GRR project. This month we'll be over 1T CFC destroyed. Do you think I could create a "GRR Nulli" project? If I could, would I? Many people donate ISK and time to the project for one reason: to see the evil Goons suffer. The problem for the cupola is that most of the suffering go to other CFC members (like The Bastion itself).
  • The complete rejection of Mynnna by non-CFC voters. No matter how many other ex-CSMs vouched for him, he got in only by CFC votes.
I think the true inspiration of The Bastion isn't The Mittani, but Marine Le Pen. The French right-wing extremist party Front National had declining support in the 2000s under the lead of its founder Jean-Marie Le Pen. When he got into the second round of the presidential election, everyone else united against him and the other candidate won with unmatched 84% majority. The party was hated, marginalized, boycotted by the media. Then the leader resigned, giving the wheel to his daughter Marine. She stopped openly racist statements from the party, kicked out obvious fasists, skinheads and such, turning the party into a right-wing populist party. This broke the boycotts, stopped them being outcasts of the political scene, resulting their highest-ever presidential election score in 2012.

The Bastion is the new Front National. The Mittani is Marine. And the Goonwaffe Goons are the skinheads shouting "kill all the carebear pubbies".


Anonymous said...

Gents and Li3 could be moved to an existing CFC alliance.

They could, and that would make sense, IF you bought into your premise that corporations and alliances don't matter.

In the CFC, they in fact do matter. At a corporation (or at least alliance level) decisions about people under the alliance fall entirely to the alliance leadership. Mittens can't go and tell a CEO to do X to a player. He'll get told to fuck off.

The CFC only exists as a political and military bloc. That's its purpose. When part of the collective is threatened, the collective moves to defend it. At war, the CFC is a single meaningful entity... during down time it is a collection of corporations and alliances.

Therefore, it is important to recognize that you can't just move a bunch of people with one culture into a pre-existing culture without expecting some kind of cultural friction. I'd suggest this is why The Bastion was formed - to keep the collective together without hurting any other member of that collective

Provi Miner said...

Well, won't say tinfoil, won't say you are wrong. However there are some hoops that need to be addressed.

First lest take a look of two things together BoB and the French right wing:

A: BoB, what is the one common theme of every goon war? At some point Mittens points out how so and so is really just Bob incarnate. Same here they can change names but people will always say "so and so is just goon incarnate.

B: the french right wing: How did they change image? They changed leader. Is that happening here? no mittens is still atop the ticket.

Next lets deal with your "why not roll into gents" For a couple of good reasons:

A: gents are considered decent however their "leadership" is what failed so you can not add Li3 to gents and keep the same people

B: Li3 isn't considered decent only be slighty higher rated than SMA. So gent member would not serve under them.

Over all you could be right in that mitten is looking to burn the 2700 SA Goons but I doubt it.

Behnid Arcani said...

It also promotes inclusivity, since there won't be the necessary sign-up to the Something Awful forums to be part of the 'inner-circle'. A move towards meritocracy over birth-right.

Actually I kind of hope what you suggest is true, and that it is a re-branding effort. I'd love to be able to discuss Nullsec politics without having to swear whenever I bring up the CFC.

That said, the title 'suzerain' is an interesting choice of words, and its origins do suggest this idea comes from Mittani.

Anonymous said...

Mittens needs drama for business. A CFC civil would provide some.

Anonymous said...

But I believe that many non-SA cfc members that love griefing and everything goon stands for will side with the true goons.

Anonymous said...

The BOB thing is kept alive only by the old leadership, I would bet that half or more of CFC pilots have literally never heard the word BOB, let alone know anything about them, and this increases with every passing year.

Anonymous said...

Because corp identity matters. The Alliance executors don't have authority over my corporation members. No one can come tell me "kick Eva" or "make Saj a director." No one. Period. Smart alliance leadership doesn't try to do that, because it fucks with corporate chemistry. My corporation was built on the foundation of competence, so it's my job, not the alliance's, to maintain that identity.

It's the same reason you don't necessarily hire the best person for the job if they'll disrupt office chemistry. I'll take someone slightly less talented if they're not going to be causing drama.

The alliance can say "you're getting kicked," but that's perfectly legal. But because I've maintained a good, solid corp with a history of competent members, that's a mistake. Every week I get requests to join my corp into other alliances, to bolster their ranks. If the corp got booted, I'd be the belle of the ball, with my pick of destination.

Anonymous said...

I was in a a corp in a mid-size alliance some years ago before Goons became an overwhelming presence. The alliance had pretty good identity and esprit de corps and so on. The alliance leader decided it would be a good idea to take the best players from each corp and merge them into one super-corp, leaving out the slackers. A year later, the alliance was dead, the corps that went along with his idea were dead, and all the other corps were still doing their thing having scattered to various other corners of Eve.

It may be that Eve dynamics have changed enough since I was playing the game that corp identity and team feeling just doesn't matter any more, but that's not how I'd bet. If they are trying what you describe, I expect it will end badly.

Anonymous said...

The executor corp of The Bastion is "The Ancient Hittite Corporation"

The Mittani were an ancient bunch of Hittites.

I think your thinking is spot on, but he's got a really tough re-branding problem.

It's like Hooters trying to rebrand themselves as a chain of antiquarian book dealers.

Anonymous said...

The involvement of real money, whether through legitimate or illegitimate means, in what is supposed to be a game is a huge turnoff.

Grr Goons, sure -- may the wars against them never expire until the whole colony has collapsed. But grr, too, to the evil empire of real money whose withdrawals are being made against the fun of tens of thousands of players.

Eyes are being opened.

JohnC said...

An interesting theory, but I'm not sure if destroying Goonwaffe is a possibility at anytime. Mittani is a smooth, real-politik operator and he has a lot of smooth, real-politik operators under him. It would be very real-politik to do a public relations switch by destroying the goon identity (Bismarck did it multiple times). If Goonwaffe was systematically torn down by the leadership for whatever purpose the goons would probably catch on at some point. And history shows that when you fear for your livelihood, even in a game, you do rash things (please see post-Odyssey drama).
The question is then if this is true then what is the motivation, and the desired result? You see it as a PR move to try to fix this sentiment of "grr goons."
Mittani knows as well as anyone that while people may hate the goons the majority aren't going to start preparing an invasion of Deklein. The rest are going to be like the Fountain Core or other smaller mercenary corps. James 315's article on the blue doughnut, (although I know you thought it was trash) and other articles and talking heads do predict that a CFC civil war is more possible now than ever.
A move to consolidate the CFC would be dangerous and gutsy. Not even Bismarck would attempt it in such a way.
That being said, if this is true, I'm much more concerned about the territorial balance of power breaker that would be than it being a repackaging of an "evil" social ideal.
Highly doubt that big a conspiracy is afoot, but watching how The Bastion grows will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

I thought the shift to the Bastion was for two main reasons; Firstly, Li3 wasn't able to properly manage their pilot's morale (aka keep their egos padded) to keep them logging in. Secondly, Mittani couldn't take actions to strengthen these alliances individually without strengthening possible competitors (because anybody not under the direct control of the mittani is tomorrow's potential enemy of the mittani.) Clearly, Gents was in need of strengthening in the leadership department and Li3 was in need of strengthening in both the leadership and morale departments, but mittani couldn't invest in them unless he had a guarantee that they would be completely subservient to him and the CFC. Forming the bastion accomplishes both these goals; he can replace the ineffective (or in gent's case, retired) leadership with his own guys, and simultaneously install himself as the figurehead. As the figurehead of that group, he can ensure his control over the group, and use his skills to pad the egos of all the pilots in those groups to keep them logging in.

The re-branding idea wasn't one I thought of, but it is an interesting extra bonus the mittani could get from this move. Still, I think there would be disadvantages to separating the CFC from its goonish identity.

Anonymous said...

The grand conspiricy isn't really about Grr goons, it's about resources.

Why not merge them into GSF? To use their own analogy, GSF is Rome. The Roman citizens lived in luxury, collecting tribute and tax from it's vast empire. Just as Rome controlled it's provinces and divided their resources GSF determines the share given to each Alliance.

Merging LI3 and Gents into GSF would mean spreading that luxury between more people, which by default means less generous subsidies and benifits for GSF members.

By moving them to Bastion GSF consolidates their resources (moons, ratting space, ect) for itself, while keeping them as soldiers for the next bloc war. Obviously they'll be given some stipend, but the cost to maintain them will be much lower.