Editorial: Walk the Walk


There’s a wonderful scene in Full Metal Jacket in which a verbal dispute between Private Joker and Animal Mother breaks out. Having exchanged insults and found each other on equal footing, Mother challenges Joker, saying he can talk the talk, “But do you walk the walk?

The EVE community is divided into doers, talkers, and those that straddle the in between. Due to the respectable age our hobby has reached, the “talkers” category has naturally grown over time. The out-of-client “game” has developed to such an extent that there are people who rarely interact with EVE itself, preferring instead the interaction of the community, which is fine. A lot of these voices add considerably to the health of the game and its community. But there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.

an ever-expanding orbit further and further away from what’s actually going on

Some of these voices have taken a soap box with them as they stepped away from the client. As they age in this state, they become more and more detached from the reality of EVE, and their debates and opinions exist in an ever-expanding orbit further and further away from what’s actually going on. As Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction puts it:

“You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t.”

This is exactly it. “Unrealistic motherfuckers.

Mind, this is not a blanket accusation leveled at anyone who doesn’t really log in or undock any more. Plenty of those people are very realistic about those topics on which can speak with authority, but also know when to keep quiet. Others can’t seem to find the brakes and indiscriminately run their mouths where they don’t belong.

On podcasts, reddit, Twitter, forums, and streams they appear. Their bread and butter is fame; their currency, visibility. They are the politicians and cheesy salesmen of EVE. Making noise and having an opinion is what matters, not the substance of what they’re saying, or actually having a perspective anchored in reality, or some kind of real need within the player community. Maybe they’ve made a career of having forceful opinions on reddit. Perhaps they appear on podcasts and loudly barge in on topics which they have no business even touching, or maybe they enjoy posting entitled tweets at people who are actually involved in EVE itself.

Some of them believe that their choice to continue paying a subscription entitles them to an opinion that matters more than that of the average Joe, simply because they have built a “reputation” upon which they can rely. Some feel that this, in turn, gives them license to smack others down with righteous indignation. Meanwhile, they haven’t undocked in six months and their killboard (or whatever other metric you prefer to evaluate how connected a person is to EVE) prior to that is a joke.


a whole sphere of debate that has virtually nothing to do with what actually goes on in EVE

Herein lies the wrinkle. As these faux populists preach from the pulpit, fools listen and are swayed. Based on what they hear, they form a second wave of opinion that is even more unanchored, in the end creating a whole sphere of debate that has virtually nothing to do with what actually goes on in EVE.

In the end, a sort of metagame of the metagame is conceived. This thing lives its own life, independent of the goings-on of Tranquility. It has its own “truths” – pillars on which the narrative rests, things that have been said so often that people take them as facts.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d say that the opinion of someone who’s not seen the outside of a dock for six months  has very little to do with what EVE is to me. It is the very definition of irrelevant in that setting. In my world, you gotta walk the walk before you can talk the talk.

I would say that it is our responsibility (to ourselves at the very least) to consider the voices we listen to and allow to influence the formation of our own opinions. Trust what you see out there with your own eyes and take in what you’re told with a healthy helping of skepticism. Find time to reconnect to EVE itself and keep it real and balanced. Perhaps you need a change of scenery or a new crew to fly with in order to motivate you. Find that thing that gets you excited about EVE and go do that.

The alternative is being stuck down the rabbit hole that is the metagame of the metagame, the proverbial pit of The Sarlacc of EVE.



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Tags: community, media, niden

About the author


12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.

  • Saint mick

    This is like the opposite of the Sion meltdown – rather than attack the existence of the eve community & ccp, an eve media kingpin says “just play the game you mugs”.

    • Niden

      Exactly 🙂

    • Kamar Raimo

      Niden is an EVE media kingpin now?! And there I thought I have seen it all after someone used TEST and “respectable” in the same sentence.

  • Vertigoe

    Spot on and I couldn’t agree more. Everytime I hear someone on some podcast say I am “winning at eve” meaning they are not logging in the first thing that goes through my head is what the hell are you doing here then and why should I care about any opinion you are about to express about the game. I have no interest really in the opinions of people who do not play the game on any level but seem hell bent on sharing their opinions of the game and how I or we should be playing it.

  • The Raggy

    “Perhaps they appear on podcasts and loudly barge in on topics which they have no business even touching, or maybe they enjoy posting entitled tweets at people who are actually involved in EVE itself.”

    A S H T E R O T H I – take a break bro, you’re hitting the circuit too hard.

    • Ashterothi

      I write one critical piece and everyone loses their mind…

      My goal has been to put things into perspective, and to constantly seek a way forward with an optimistic view, and a pragmatic temper.

      However, I have been doing a lot of introspection, and this article is very correct in a lot of ways. Much to ponder.

      Edit: I would like to add that I am not “winning EVE” I log in nearly daily on one of my alt, or several. My corp is growing in active members, and continues to do more aggressive operations. I also have “run the circuit” of game styles in the last year, to ensure I am not totally talking out my ass. So, while the accusation of loosing sight of the bigger picture may be levied, the idea of “walking the walk” is something I have been focusing on quite a bit recently.

      • callduron

        If it helps I assumed this article was aimed at Sion 🙂

  • Asher

    Protecting the brand, Niden? I play all the time, I create content and lead fleets and I can see that Eve is in very bad shape right now, especially in regards to CCP developing their flagship product. If someone else hasn’t played much lately they can still read the same signs as us, see the lack of development. This article is like when athletes say “you can’t comment on this sport unless you play it”, even though some of the best commentators aren’t pro athletes.

    • Niden

      Consider the difference of commentary between Joe Rogan and Goldie in the UFC. Joe practices BJJ and has a long history in martial arts, Goldie knows when it’s time to shut the hell up and let him do the talking.

      • Provi Miner

        Bob costa’s comes to mind, he whole life is baseball though he never was much of a player. He is better commentary then any of the players they put in the box with him. Because he knows the sport from the dark ages to now, he just doesn’t commentary he studies, watch’s games he doesn’t broadcast, Baseball is his life but he has never played at a high level. just saying


    u mad?!

    • Niden

      I was, a little, but I got it out of my system now, thanks.

      • Rob Kaichin

        You do seem a little mad.

  • Free Can

    Climate change deniers are certain it’s a hoax because it snowed in their town last winter. Scientists are scamming for grant money. Politicians all have an agenda. “Experts” are hungry for publicity. They personally saw the snow, they know the truth, everything is fine.

  • Kamar Raimo

    Is that an advertisement spot for CZ that says “we are cooler than you because we actually log in”?

    Just asking so I can get with the program. 😉

  • Marsha Mallow

    With all due respect, I took a deliberate break from ingame play to study the meta and see if any of the wider problems reported by ingame friends could be addressed. The results have been a bit odd. But that deliberate act of distancing is useful in some ways to try get a handle on certain issues. This game can be played as a text based game if that’s the style you enjoy. After a number of years playing your kb stats are not that relevant provided you pay attention to complaints that can be resolved, or support the arguments made by those who are knowledgeable in that field. There are specialists whose arguments are worth endorsing.

    This ‘you don’t play so STFU’ argument is leveled at CCP, alliance leaders, newbros, bittervets and some of the commentators – and to be fair, it has some legitimacy sometimes. Damn right, don’t dictate to the playerbase from a ‘skymarshall’ skype chatroom that eve players only want 4k fleet battles whilst you are semi afking dozens of haulers about in empire, because you’re actually an industrialist who doesn’t give a toss about fleet battles. Or only have 700 kills, after a decade (Hi Thoric! ~). Vets don’t need to stomp on newbros whose latest ‘bright idea’ has been regurgitated thousands of times – they could just watch the conversation with amusement, or provide that newbro with links to older topics so they are aware of the broader discussion. That newbro might grow up into someone with something worth paying attention to, if encouraged. Or they might just open their mouth, get screeched at, then unsub in disgust (which is not an unhealthy attitude for anyone with a degree of self respect btw).

    Taken to an extreme, how much should we be logging in to the client to comment? And how qualified are any of us over someone else? Do we need to put in 12 hours a day in all regions of space, read everything, know everybody worth knowing, travel to very eve meet, smear ourselves over eve social media, be on first name terms with devs, avidly seek out positions of seniority ingame to justify our condescension, hide behind our alliance logo so we can claim to speak for the biggest-and-bestest player group, memorise all mechanics, own every ship, be squillionaires with 40 level 90 alts, 70k kills with 100% efficiency, and then prostitute ourselves on twitch for a $5 donation before our opinion is ‘notable’? Perhaps the arguments we make should be strong enough, and persuasive enough to be judged on merit. Our background is important, and it’s sometimes worth mentioning to establish where your experience is in relation to someone else, but so is the ability to spot and pay attention to those with deeper knowledge and understanding of their niche.

    Trying to change the mind of someone ingame who is angry, brainwashed and slightly delusional is a flawed exercise. Watching your friends ragequit over what amounts to twaddle because you can’t personally unlock them from the mindset is outright maddening. Better to go find out who the people are with some sway, listen to what they have to say, then see how they react to a different perspective. Sometimes just planting the seed of a subversive idea and letting them run with it is enough. Saves having to write loads and draw attention to yourself, but yes it generates complaints of being manipulative and attempting to use people. Which is probably fair, but if the intention is not malicious and you are honest about it, I can think of worse tactics to utilise.

    It’s true, we don’t all want to be Eve celebrities, loudly thumping our point of view from some blog pulpit for the dubious glory of an upvote and some efame (also the nest person who tries to sniff my crotch will get backhanded into the next century, fair warning forevervirgins). We don’t need to pretend to be internet rockstars with a personal cult of slobbering fanbois. But we can and should engage in discussions of note and push them as far as possible. The meta commentators are some of the smartest and most thoughtful people not just ingame, but on the internet. They can spot obvious internet peacocks and ignore them if need be, or shred their arguments. But they need the topic hooks to engage in certain discussions in the first place, so I wouldn’t worry too much about these venomous campaigns, provided they get nipped at the point they turn ugly. Sometimes useful stuff does pop out, even from obvious bait.

    The vast majority of players don’t engage in the meta because they can’t cope with the hostility they encounter when they say what they think in a tough online environment. But some of the smartest people I’ve encountered remark ingame, in comms, on private forums, or via 3rd party apps on a range of topics – and they do have solutions to problems, and don’t generally take issue with being paraphrased. They just don’t want to self immolate online trying to get their point across, which is fine cos I can do that for them – and I’ve made the point many times that a lot of my better ideas and arguments come from other people (I just don’t cite them personally to maintain their privacy, but they can see me doing it). Again, in some ways that’s a mature stance for them to take. But they wouldn’t make the argument if they didn’t want it to be heard, so hopefully having someone repost it on their behalf at the right time, to the right person is taking their frustration and converting it into something viable that makes a difference in the spirit they intended it.

    But the answer might not be to flop about squawking over self aggrandising idiots attempting to derail discussions out of spite, then spiral into a period of negativity. Arm and equip those who have something worth saying. Look for solutions rather than getting caught up analysing problems. The worst that can happen is that you support or promote something that is flawed. Better to try it anyway and see what happens.

    Btw, if anyone has a problem with stuck down the rabbit hole, don’t get stuck there. Learn when to walk away.

    • Niden

      What an outstanding response. I don’t have the time right this minute to respond, but I wanted to let you know that I think we all appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness you put into it. I’ll be sure to respond properly when I find some free time!

    • Wow. You should have tuned that up and submitted it to Niden as a follow-up article, man.

      • Dirk MacGirk

        Wo man

      • Marsha Mallow

        Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback. Tbh it is tempting to go out and write a bajillion words on every topic. But I don’t want to ram my opinion down everyones neck, because eventually they will start eyerolling and skipping, and it is a fine line to judge making arguments and being a condescending git. Learning when to STFU and listen is another one I try stick to, altho gleeful ranting is fun, especially when you can lash people over snide digs and really get into smack/polemics. Hopefully the people poked take it in fun. Not calling streamers cam whores btw – I do respect them for taking a hobby and making it into a viable career. I’d just be tempted to make a sarcy remark at a streamer who offered $5 along the lines of ‘thanks tightwad’.

        It’s not like I have all the answers, and my opinion shifts about depending on what I read and take on board. Engaging like this (ground up rather than top down) is more fun in some ways because it’s a longer dialogue between lots of people who all have something worthwhile to say. I like that they can change my mind. Fair enough there is an element of bait in the topics, but that’s only the same as asking a rhetorical question to see who bites (and framing it to get certain people to do so) then dealing with what might be an unexpected response. Watching this one with interest to see what pops out and who speaks – it’s always nice to see new faces give it a whirl (even if they might be alt posters).

        • Niden

          Well, if you ever consider writing, drop us a line.

          • Marsha Mallow

            Thanks Niden, I’ve got some big theme topics mentally drafted and would like to submit some – ideally one to each core sight so not to get bogged down in being branded as a shill for any particular viewpoint. Atm just prodding a few other commentators and seeding the ideas to see what they do with them. Also practicing writing a bit in comments and forum posts before doing any articles. I was thinking about having a chat with some of the writers/editors about best practices for putting really solid articles together, so might poke you at some point for a chat. Thanks very much for the replies btw.

    • Kael Decadence

      Yeah you need to do a serious rebuttal on this.

    • Till Riedell

      So, how’s life Marsha? We miss you <3. – Till.

      • Marsha Mallow

        Hey Till, good thanks, degree is all done. I’ll be in touch in a bit to catch up 🙂

    • Drahma Lhalma

      This game throws off enough subject matter to feed everyone connected with the game. Whether you are a player, a mover & shaker, a person who likes to be heard, a PvE guy, or an expert on Eve ships. We the audience get to tune in, or tune out. If I have a criticism of Eve media it’s that there are not enough people who actually play the game who are featured and the content is not flavored to be able to attract new players. There – I said it – does player Eve media have a responsibility to bring players to Eve Online, or to retain them? Probably not, Eve is a great backdrop for people who are motivated by attention, or fame and it makes great entertainment. When you are in a belt mining then this media is competing with other media like the news, or a movie etc etc I think it’s as simple as that, if it entertains you then listen/watch but if not then tune out.

  • Ashterothi

    No Niden, I will not join Snuff with you… Traitor

  • Provi Miner

    A new bro told me “I can’t make isk here” I was shocked and completely mystified. I have been making isk forever in provi. Then I realized something I had gotten to the point where I don’t do things in space for isk in provi. I found a niche that pays my monthly nut, puts a bit aside and lets me kick isk to the corp. I haven’t mined, ratted, or moon goo in over a year “maybe you can’t make isk as a new bro” I had to dust off the skiff and Ishtar and do some stuff to realize: “yep, he is wrong you can still make isk you just have to undock”. The point is he could have been right and I wouldn’t really know it its not how I play now. I do things to generate isk but they are not bro things (mining, ratting, industry, hacking). Nice article, it just doesn’t go far enough.

    • Marsha Mallow

      Can you elaborate on this a bit? If this branches into a topic of interest you think needs an article in it’s own right, it might get picked up if you flesh out the idea a bit.

      • Provi Miner

        thanks mayhap I will. if so I got the link.

  • Afkforum


  • GrouchyOldGamer

    I’m having good fun in the client at the moment, I’m ignoring the doom mongers.

  • Kael Decadence


  • Arnold Hita

    The only people I think that this article are unfair to are the market traders. Sure they rarely if ever undock but at the same time they are logging in and playing the game.

  • I wrote for Massively for a couple of years, during the end of my active duty tour in the Marines and after. However, at the time the military–specifically the Department of Defense–was trying to keep active duty and mobilized troops out of media, no matter the type. We’d had some significant issues in terms of PR, and of course you don’t want some 18-year-old private or seaman apprentice writing to the Boston Globe, bitching about how his command is terrible and the hazing he’s gone through. I mean let’s be honest, look at the current generation, the ‘me me me’ attitude and how they expect everything should be given to them without so much as a drop of sweat to work for it. I had to ask my CO at the time, and even he said, “Nah, you probably shouldn’t do that, lieutenant. Play it safe.” So a pen name it was. To this day, I’m still under an NDA negotiated between myself and the now-defunct Massively. I can’t reveal who I was when I wrote for them, and they can’t reveal my personal details for ten years after I stopped writing for them. That was in 2012. Who knows, maybe it’ll be renegotiated and we can do away with it. I don’t know.

    Anyways, I’m struggling. I’m trying to put together a gaming community, including streaming, YouTube, and maintaining a blog. Real life gets to me, but like when I wrote for Massively I’ve always tried to temper my opinions with facts. That’s why when I wrote the piece I did on Reddit, I tried to incorporate as much information as I could into it, including Mittani’s own words (it was a piece criticizing his ‘fighting’ of the war). It led to me being ostracized, and eventually being kicked out of TNT. I’d been removed from Goonswarm channels already, so it was only a matter of time before I was gone. But I try not to bloviate. When I say something in such a manner, I bring facts to support it. That’s what bothered the Goons so much, to the point they bashed me in the Reddit thread, and in private convos and mails (interestingly, I did get a lot of good responses from Goons as well).

    I think many times, people want to be heard more than anything, Getting your name out is a good way to be noticed, right or wrong. Obviously, being right is preferred, but some people follow the old adage, “Any publicity is good publicity”. Back to my original point, though: I don’t have the contacts that many others do. I don’t have the name recognition. Maybe that helps me, maybe it hurts me. Not being able to say who I was hurts, sure. But starting at the bottom? I’ve done it plenty.

    My point is, people need to sit back and watch. Myself included. It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your (proverbial, in this case) mouth and remove all doubt. That goes for everyone.