The Zebro Awards

 

It’s been a wee while since I have dipped into the Blog Banter series and as I travel south to meet Jeg and record another episode of the podcast in Aberdeen, I feel it’s time to partake once again. For the 43rd Blog Banter and the first of 2013, Stan set up the following topic for discussion:

…Applaud Your Peers, Embarrass Your Enemies…

At the turn of the year in meatspace, award season starts to spin up. Across the general media, folk are encouraged to look to their peers and recognise excellence and inspiration from the previous year.

For the past two years I have attempted to do the same for EVE by distributing imaginary Free Boot Awards to an eclectic assortment of community luminaries. This year I thought it might be nice to expand the concept.

For Blog Banter 43 I would like to invite every participant to nominate their peers for whatever awards you think they deserve. Let’s start the year with some EVE-flavoured altruism and celebrate the best and the worst of us, the funniest or the most bizarre, the most heroic of the most tragic of the past year. They could be corpmates, adversaries, bloggers, podcasters, developers, journalists or inanimate objects. Go nuts.

There’s only one rule: no narcissism allowed (so step away from that mirror and resist the urge to nominate yourself).

Other than that, if it’s great, let’s celebrate.

Banter On.

So without further ado, it is time to award the Zebros for 2013!

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The ‘No Matter What You Think Of These Dudes, You Really Should Be Reading Their Stuff’ Award

There are many types of bloggers. There are some who make good points, have excellent command of the English language but are just so fucking boring to read. There are some who look like they have been taught English by a mentally-deficient goat but still maintain the ability to make you excited. There are others who make you furiously angry with every word they commit to pixels and yet you still check that site every. single. day.

This year, the NMWYTOFDYRSBRTS award is split between who I think are the two most interesting bloggers in Eve Online. They can be deliciously aggressive, selective with the facts to make a point, on occasion they clearly have an agenda, dazzlingly intelligent and razor-sharp concise when the mood takes them but they are both always an essential read.

The first is the prolific Ripard Teg who seems to possess the cunning capability to talk his way both in and out of any given topic of discussion. But Ripard doesn’t only talk about the politics or the meta-game; his breakdown of statistics and markets and the explanatory Fit of the Week both contribute to a blog which has a little something for anyone. His level of output – regularly two or three posts a day – is frankly, a little terrifying.

Ripard Teg

The second recipient is Poetic Stanziel. Poetic sometimes says very silly things. He cares not for making allies or friends, simply stating what he thinks about what is happening in the meta-game at that moment. And yet, I’ll read a Poetic piece, knowing full well it’s nonsense, and there will be something kind of ‘Voice of Saruman’ about it, like he speaks with fork’ed tongue or something. In my head I can see through the nonsense but there’s something so damned persuasive there… On the other hand, because he does not care about who he offends, he often says the things the community needs to hear even when they don’t want to hear it and no-one else has the balls to say. He’s the kind of blogger you must pay the closest attention to because if you don’t, he’ll bite.

The ‘CCP Dev of the Year’ Award

There are a few devs who have done outstanding work in 2012 and in any other year would have taken this award hands down. CCP Punkturis and Team Super Friends in general have done multitudes of good work. The UI still needs a lot of work but Eve Online is a far more aesthetically pleasing game than it was 12 months ago and we have Punkturis and her team to than for that. She is also a complete sweetheart on twitter 🙂

CCP Diagoras started 2012 strongly, constantly tweeting cool little statistics about the game. I lost track of the number of times someone on #tweetfleet asked him a for a wee, niche statistic and he came up with the answer promptly. Unfortunately, there’s been some radio silence from him in the second half of 2012 which drops him off the list.

(EDIT: Been informed by CCP Fozzie that Diagoras left the company midway through 2012. This was somehow missed by me and makes me look a complete idiot. No change there then!)

So instead my award goes to the poacher-turned-gamekeeper. The guy who intrinsically knew how best to exploit a hull in-game is now working for CCP trying to balance those which don’t see a lot of love. That Retribution virtually saw the introduction of tens of new ships due to making absolutely redundant hulls viable again is the responsibility of this man and his team. Take a bow CCP Fozzie. You may not have started 2013 strongly but you sure as hell made sure 2012 went out with a bang.

The ‘Media Site of the Year’ Award

Clunky title I know but one obviously this has to go to Crossing Zebras right?

Seemingly we aren’t allowed to be narcissistic during this process so we need to look elsewhere for this one. Eve News 24 was in the five or so years I’ve played Eve, the first news site to go ‘big’. In 2011 and early 2012, it became the one-stop-shop for news, battlereports and cherry-picked articles from some of the best bloggers in Eve. Early in 2012, the quality took a nose-dive. There were rumours that Riverini wasn’t paying his writers and content appeared to be limited to syndicating some of the aforementioned bloggers. Original content was few and far between and when it did appear, was often poorly written and edited.

The problem was, EN24 by this point had achieved such ubiquity that all other Eve news sites had been killed off. There was nothing left to slay the beast. Cue: TheMittani.com. With a pool of Goonswarm IT operatives and an all-but-unlimited pile of ISK to throw around, it was a safe assumption that whatever Mittens came up with, it would be special. Terrible name aside (we’re not going over that again), what we have is a smartly designed site with a range of daily, original content covering not just Eve but other games and even book reviews. Writers appear to be paid and purged frequently as appropriate. Because of the terrible name, in-game coverage tends to be one-sided (of course, that’s less relevant now the Wicked Witch of the South is dead) and I’d argue that the ‘Eve : other shit’ ratio has been slipping a little recently, but TMdc (this is what the cool kids call it) is deservedly the go-to place for Eve coverage now and the deserved recipient of this year’s Zebro.

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The ‘Get Him Tae Fuck’ Award

CCP Greyscale. Enough said.

The ‘Disappointment of the Year’ Award

It would be remiss of me not to bring up that entire fucking Mittani / Fanfest / CSM fiasco. Everyone who stuck their nose into this mess came out badly. The CSM, CCP, Eve bloggers and podcasters (most of them at least), the gaming media at large (fucking Kotaku) and not least Mittens himself. It’s to his credit that he took his month-long ban on the chin, fucked up Jita for a few days then let it settle. I sincerely hope that the new CSM White Paper is watertight when it comes to a similar situation reoccurring and I also hope that CCP don’t dance around the problem for days and weeks if there is a next time.

The ‘You Better Get This Right Or It Will Sink Without Trace’ Award

…goes to Dust 514. The USP for Dust 514 is that the link with Eve Online. To further clarify, the gameplay link with Eve Online. No-one really gives two fucks that you have Dusties in your corp channel – if you are even a borderline-serious outfit, you’ll be sharing a Mumble or TS server. The one thing that differentiates Dust from other console FPS titles is this link to the bigger universe of an MMO which has been around for ten years. So you would think that they would have every aspect of that link hammered out first and foremost and would be using those facts as key marketing tools for the console title, right? Right?!

At the moment, we are starting to get a vague, NDAed idea of how Dust will link to planets in FWed systems. How the link will work in the most populous area of New Eden (that’s nullsec for those of you keeping count), we have no idea. Vague hints, clues, rumours perhaps, but nothing definitive. To clarify, we have not been told exactly how the unique selling point of Dust514 will work in the most populous area of Eve Online.

And don’t even start me on the economics of orbital bombardments…

The ‘Community Contributor of the Year’ Award

Time for the last award and this one is also being split this year. The first winner is from Arydanika from the Voices from the Void podcast. While 2012 may not have had the most auspicious finish for Dani, this shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow the huge contribution she makes to the community at large. Her podcast is one of the most entertaining around, she is a superb Eve Radio host and if she can lend you a hand with anything, she always will. If everyone in the community were like her, Eve Online would be a much better place to reside in.

And man, that silky smooth voice…

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Second winner is Seismic Stan. The sheer amount of work he puts in to herding the blogging community into a general direction every month is entirely laudable. His Blog Banter round-ups are a superb snapshot of what the blogging community feels on a subject at any one time. He is also one of the very best out and out writers in the Eve community. From his own blog to GameSkinny to EON Magazine, his output is consistently some of the very best Eve has to offer. No matter what has happened to him in his personal life, Stan remains the one reliable constant in an ever-changing community. He’s English, but we’ll forgive him that 😉

Congrats to all this year’s Zebros Award winners and we’ll catch you all again in 12 months!

Tags: arydanika, dust514, fozzie, freebooted, poetic stanziel, ripard teg, themittani, zebro

About the author

Jeg Elsker

Jeg Elsker is the brains behind the Crossing Zebras team. While Xander may come up with all the fanciful ideas, Jeg was the dude with the technical ability to create the Crossing Zebras site and all the technical infrastructure required to go with it. On top of this, he somehow manages to temper Xander’s enthusiasm on the podcast with some tempered reason and sense