Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A good project is creative, not destructive

Two years ago I had a plan: in EVE Online, Goonswarm was the undisputed king of the hill. They were hated by most but couldn't be defeated. "Goons won EVE" was a common statement. So I aimed for what most considered not simply impossible but pants on head retarded: defeat them with only money and stat analysis. I believed that if I succeed in that monumental task, not only I prove the power of money and objective decision making but also make myself the most influential person in EVE, allowing to spread my ideas easily.

Of course I could fail and I had doubts. But I trusted in my numbers and the meritocratic idea and jumped in head first. Now everything I planned and predicted came true:
  • Goons are defeated and those who did the shootings were motivated by money and not social nonsense.
  • Those who did the shooting were high-stat NPC dwellers and not powergroups. Goons even called it "war of sovless aggression" to make my point (high stat over fame) perfect.
  • Goons couldn't even put up a fight, just as I was telling for years: they ratted instead of fleeting up.
So I worked two years while nobody else believed, not even those who did shootings for me (Tora of Marmite flat out told me that I'm wasting money, but hey it's my money and they gladly shoot for money). It's time to reap the fruits of this incredible adventure, right? No. If you read the current EVE media, I never even existed. Sure, Google can prove that I did, but most people don't Google old posts. Everything was done by Lenny Kravitz2 who wasn't even known by anyone before Goons were defeated. He popped out of nowhere and all the opinion leaders - obviously well paid - started to sing his praise. Actually I can consider it lucky that it's his interest to create a "mercenary narrative". If he'd claim that he spent no ISK just became "good bro" of the "right people", the opinion leaders would make the crowd believe that. He is already enlarging the power of Goons to make "his" efforts more heroic and destroying the value of stat analysis.

I clearly didn't see it coming and it's my fault. After all the definition of the social person is "cares for the opinions of other people instead of trying to observe facts himself". The World is full of similar stories where obvious truth is debated by opinion leaders paid by malicious actors and social people believe them that there was no evolution, there is no global warming, vaccination kills, aircraft trails will mind control you and the Jews are conspiring for world domination.

There is no point crying over the broken teapot, there is nothing I can do to salvage the GRR project. The "truth" in EVE will forever be that Lenny did everything and I never even existed. The question is what did I do wrong? Because if you lose, you did it wrong, I don't believe in "there was nothing I could do, they were too strong". I have a bunch of defeated Goons who "already won EVE" to prove it ... oh wait, I don't, Lenny has.

What I did wrong is that my project was destructive instead of creative. These words aren't moral, just descriptive. Creation merely means that something wasn't and now it is. It doesn't mean "good", Hitler created the Nazi idea and party and no one considers him good for it. Destroying the Goons who used to spread the lies of sociality was a good thing to do. It was also destructive.

To see why creative projects are better, let's compare GRR with the alternative: I create the largest and most powerful alliance instead, the imaginary Goblinswarm.
  1. The ending credits: if I made Goblinswarm instead of defeating Goonswarm, I would clearly had the credits. Not because "Goblinswarm is obviously the project of the Goblin". The current situation was obvious enough (I mean no one even heard of Lenny before Goons were defeated, he didn't even had token proofs). I'm absolutely sure that if he'd claim that "Goblinswarm was made by Lenny and the Goblin is just a clown placed there for hilarity", socials would believe him if enough opinion leaders parrot it. No, the difference comes from the fact that creating gives you power (Goblinswarm is under my command), while destruction does not (the ruins of Goonswarm have no utility to anyone). I could use that power to enforce my narrative. I mean if a bunch of PL podcasters claim that Lenny made and controls Goblinswarm, I could just take PL moons until they back off or lose their ability to influence people.
  2. In progress credits and visibility: every project starts from zero and progresses towards completion. In case of creating something, this progression is visible: no one can deny that Goblinswarm is growing in member count and kill numbers. This progress serves as proof that the project is on track. On the other hand destructive projects are invisible until completion. Goons could, and indeed do claim that the kills against them do absolutely nothing and since enough Goons claimed that, socials believed them. They kept claiming that small gang PvP does nothing even when SMA lost half of their members due to TISHU ganks.
  3. Third party interference: if something stands long enough, it integrates into its surroundings and dependencies are formed, even if the third parties dislike them. Goons became major content creators of EVE and CCP had to work with them, like it or not. When they were threatened, CCP Falcon moved in to protect them. I'm talking about covering up that Goons vandalized the monument, saving them from the justice system, lying into everyone's face and letting the vandals back to the game just so they could brag about it. Falcon could keep his job because he could convince higher ups that that was the interest of CCP as Goons were valuable content creators. Compared to this, his unprovoked bully campaign to destroy my project and blog was a tiny issue. By retaliating to him by calling him corrupted supporter of criminals and contacting media, I probably caused him some trouble, but at the end I only made my position impossible in EVE. While his bully campaign was just a favor to his partners and he probably didn't give a damn about me, now he surely hates me personally and would sabotage whatever I'd do, so I had to leave EVE. If I was working on Goblinswarm, I would also create content valuable to CCP, so I had much better chances to get him fired after he shown his favoritism by threatening CCP that I quit and tell all the Goblinswarm members to do the same.
  4. Selfish joining: you could only participate in GRR if you believed in the idea of "making a better World free of Goons". You could join Goblinswarm for the ratting space and kills gained by Goblinswarm members.
Summary: I wasted most of my blogging/playing time for two years to pull a George W. Bush: I bombed out the big bad Goons expecting a free and meritocratic EVE in their place. Then I blinked dumbly when I saw the flag of abu Lenny al-RMTi flying over Deklein instead. However this very real result was found and I hope you learn from my mistake instead of repeating it: whatever project you get into, make sure it's a creative one and not a destructive. Volunteer to plant trees in a new park instead of chaining yourself to existing ones to stop real estate developers from cutting them down. Help people plant solar cells on their homes instead of protesting front of a coal power plant. Use and support open software instead of suing Facebook for stealing and monetizing your personal data.

Create something good, instead of trying to break down something bad because you can be quite disappointed when you succeed! This is completely anti-intuitive, as all the movie heroes are destructive: they bring down the establishment of the evil and then ride into the sunset. In reality, you can control what you built so you can ensure that it'll remain "good", but you can't control what grows on the ruins of what you destroyed. I will try that in Black Desert Online. Wish me luck that I can plan it and then join! I don't know yet what it will be, but it'll surely be on EU-Jordine!


Alessandro said...

Great post!

There's something poetic to say that creative wins destructive...

Anonymous said...

I think your mistake was more fundamental than that. The underlying assumption seems to be that if Goons are destroyed, people will act in your way by themselves. You should have kept attacking every group in New Eden until they were forced to use your own methods against you. Lenny stealing credit isn't as bad as the fact that they'll all go back to playing the way they used to. Socials won't change until they see other socials doing it themselves.

Shandren said...

I wish you good luck in BDO!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post.

I have been reading your blog since 2013, and this is so far your masterpiece. Very good statement of what happened, straightforward analysis of the outcome, easily understandable real-life example, and stringent application to - well, to the world at large.

You have actually articulated wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Even though I stopped playing Eve for 2 years I always followed your blog. It was amazing to see the GRR project evolve, all the data analysis etc ... for me you are and will always be the one who made the little snowball and kicked it down the hill.

Eve is losing an important content creator and as Ano mentioned it above, the game will be played the same way it used to be. Nothing will change.

Thx for all the great reads, ohh and fuck Lenny!

All the best in BDO.

Unknown said...

Frankly, I do not believe you did anything wrong given the context of the game.

Even if you had taken a more creative approach, the system would have ruined it from the inside, assuming your social skills would have attracted enough players around a project in the first place.

Eve "Game of alts" discourages loyalties, as there are no ways to link all the alts of the same player together, and thus no risk to create disruptive alts with plexed accounts. New large scale creative projects can't be successful, short of not recruiting, or playing only with RL friends, which limits what can be achieved.

Tithian said...

"but you can't control what grows on the ruins of what you destroyed"

This right there describes the recent (30ish years) history of the Middle East pretty accurately.

Looking forward to seeing your next steps.

Gevlon said...

@Borat: alts can't do more damage than any random M&S. If you don't give them roles, all they can do is shooting blues and report trivial info.

Anonymous said...

I always liked ur Posts on the EveEconomy and Community.

Even or especially if they differed from my own point of view, because they first
triggered me to think about what u thought and than to draw my own conclusions based on ur ideas and premisses.

the king is dead, long live the king! Sad to hear that we will miss u in eve in the future, but i never heard of BDO and will certainly also give it a try.

All the best!

Hanura H'arasch said...

For what it's worth, I did believe in you. Not at first mind you, but your determination eventually convinced me.

I hope there will be a BDO project at some point, and that I can join you once again. You sure as hell make things interesting.

Anonymous said...

Great post. And yes rather fix/build instead of destroy.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

The Wulf said...

Well, you've made at least one thing thus far in BDO: you made me buy the game, and I've only been playing for a few days and already I am immensely enjoying it. Thanks, Gevlon!

Eaten by a Grue said...

Gevlon, you may enjoy and learn something useful from the following podcast (transcript included). It is about Rick Barry and his underhanded free throw. Rick Barry was much disliked in the NBA, and he would certainly be an "asocial" in your terms. He did not care what people thought about him, but instead he wanted to be the best basketball player he could be. He urged others to adopt his underhanded free throw, but no one else would do it, even when their results improved. An example of this was Wilt Chamberlain, who reverted back to the overhand free throw despite seeing better performance, all because he did not want others to consider him a sissy.

Anonymous said...

I wish you the best of luck in whatever game you turn to next. You may feel that you failed in the GRR project, but I don't feel that you have wasted your time over the last few years. While the GRR project was destructive, your other projects have been very constructive. I've learned a lot from many of your other posts and I still come to your blog regularly to read the older guides.

When I look back at the games I've played over the years, the people I always remember and admire are those who gathered information and presented it for the good of the community, and you did that. I'm sure you will bring that spirit to your next endeavour.

Dornier Pfeil said...

I heard that same radio program but waited till the original was released so I could listen to the whole thing. It's longer but no less listenable for it. episode 3

The benefit of the original is that there are a few other videos discussing the same thing.

I imagine you and Malcom Gladwell could have a very interesting conversation.

Macb said...

"I have been reading your blog since 2013, and this is so far your masterpiece. Very good statement of what happened, straightforward analysis of the outcome, easily understandable real-life example, and stringent application to - well, to the world at large."

I fully support that. Very interesting analysis and though provoking.
I started playing BDO after reading your post about it :) and to be honest I love it. Through that it misses the free market aspect but overall great game.