Editorial: Winning EVE?

One of the first things you learn about writing is to never do it while angry. At best it comes out as passive aggressive, at worst you attract the trolls on /r/eve. But here I am, angry and writing. We, the EVE community, pride ourselves in being the co-creators of what EVE actually is. But as soon as the shit hits the fan there is a significant portion of the very same player base who will happily renounce any responsibility and point the finger of blame squarely at CCP. How do you do that in a sandbox game? Certainly, the interactions between players are governed by the rules set out by CCP, but it remains the main component of the game, rather than game-generated content. I would even argue that the rules players place on each other have much more impact on the life of an EVE player. Is the game stopping you from attacking your neighbour? Nope. You are. Amongst the generations of nullsec sov players whose way of life and understanding of how EVE “works” was moulded under Dominion sov, there seems to be quite a few that saw fit to clamour for change, but once it finally came, can do nothing but complain because they themselves have to change. The complaint about not being able to hold territory AND attack somewhere else at the same time (at the recent Phoebe roundtable) really drove that point home. What that person in fact said was “I want to have my cake and eat it”. Maybe I’m just a lowsec meathead and don’t know what I’m talking about, but I can’t help but get the distinct feeling that parts of nullsec are having a hard time adapting to change. They prefer instead to lay the blame at CCPs feet entirely, something I don’t believe you can do in a sandbox game. So instead of constructive feedback and a willingness to learn a new way of life, they lash out in the most toxic way. Some even refer to Dominion sov in a positive light, which is utterly hysterical to me. I think what actually angers me in this scenario is that the tone of the negativity coming out of some (not all, and this is important) nullsec players. In their hubris they have equated their own qualms about the game to that of all of EVE. However, their background is often old and archaic empires with stale bureaucracies that suffocate gameplay on the individual level. What they fail to realise is that their need to hide behind the biggest skirt (- Dirk McGirk, 2015) is what has led to the stagnation of nullsec, or at least that’s what it looks like from where I sit. No system can change the mentality of the people, that has to come from the people themselves. The real crux of the matter, and my source of not perhaps anger, but frustration, is that these loudmouths are often the first thing a potential or returning player runs into. Don’t confuse this with the intelligent feedback coming out of people like MukkBarovian, but rather a wall of unconstructive, finger pointing and apathetic noise which spreads like cancer. Meanwhile, I’m having the time of my life in lowsec. My EVE is amazing. I am not starved for content. My killboard is humming along nicely and I’m making new friends (and enemies) all the time. I don’t know if it’s a mentality thing, but people in lowsec just want to fight, simply for the love of fighting itself, for the love for EVE Online. But who’s going to read a post called “Everything is peachy”? We’re all too busy enjoying ourselves and killing each other to tell you about it anyway. I’ve seen players quit EVE after having their enthusiasm slowly strangled to death in nullsec bloc warfare and politics, without ever sharing in the fun I experience in the game. That’s not to say that these things are bad for everyone, some people enjoyed these aspects of the game greatly. But that doesn’t negate the fact that it happens, and often. What’s worse is that I’ve seen people interested in trying EVE turn at the door when they see the negativity spewing out of elements of nullsec, predominantly. That’s a sad thing to me. By my book, they never got to see the fun side of EVE. Like I said, I may be a narrow-minded lowsec caveman, but the apathy I’m hearing from parts of nullsec cannot be denied. That leads me to believe that people sometimes come to this game, look to join the winning team, and become a statistic that must be viewed as irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. They become a tool basically, just so they can say “we did this”, “we did that”, when in fact they didn’t do shit. They were just a brick in an uncaring wall. Essentially these people have sacrificed fun at the altar of “winning”, or even worse, in order to avoid risk. Perhaps that’s what floats your boat, not only do I not intend to shit on that, but I also have no right to. However, it also often ends in a loss of passion for the game, not seldom leading to a cesspool of pessimism that puts everyone down. “Winning EVE” is always bad, no matter if you mean living with ratting blues in every direction, or because you quit the game. In my world, both of these things mean you’ve actually lost EVE. </rant> You can send hatemail to niden@crossingzebras.com, call me an idiot at @Niden_GMVA or in the comments section below. Meanwhile, allow me to spread some EVE cheer with this excellent video of quality autism elite PvP from one of our fleets (created by BFish).

Tags: editorial, 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.

  • LexxieJ

    Well said sir, well said.

    • Niden


  • Dirk MacGirk

    You’re an “idot”. Which I’m surprised is not an alliance ticker by now

    • Niden

      I guess I’d rather be called an idiot than keep my trap shut 😉

      • Dirk MacGirk

        Idot just left it open as a good lead in.

        • Niden

          Hear hear.

          • Dirk MacGirk

            It should go without saying (who wants to do that when one can just say it?), but as bad as some of the people are who lash out at CCP, fail to be constructive, or just sperge, we should also recognize that it’s a two-way street in public discussion. Just about anyone who crafts even a thoughtful commentary or argument is more often than not met with HTFU, adapt or die, adapt or play another game, or something similar. Sadly, it creates an atmosphere that is toxic right from the start. The level of tolerance for other opinions is virtually non-existent and quite often flows from commenters who may or may not have a stake in the subject matter, let alone even the game. And its not just the Eve-O forums or other public areas. I hear it all the time from randoms who literally have no comeback to anything other than to shit on and belittle any differing opinion to anything. It’s the state of public discussion. I can’t even blame it on the anonymity of the interwebs anymore. So it’s almost not surprising that any of this devolves into becoming unconstructive, when anyone willing to voice an opinion will undoubtedly be met with dumbasses expressing their right to freedom of dumbassery.

        • Niden

          Hear hear.

    • Niden

      Nice response, you should write for CZ. I’m not trying to compare nullsec to lowsec in this piece actually. What I’m saying is that people are showing up to play EVE, see the negativity from _some_ nullsec people, and leave at the door, thinking all of EVE is in dire straits. A major factor in that is that plenty of nullsec folk talk about their issues as if nullsec is all there is to EVE. Meanwhile, I never get to show them _my_ EVE because some shitlord decided they want CCP to fix everything while refusing to change and sperging all over reddit about it. And no, like I pointed out, I certainly don’t want to throw people with constructive feedback and a genunie passion for EVE under the same bus.

      You can’t just call it a product if the essential component of said product is freedom. With that freedom comes taking responsibility for your actions and lying in the bed you’ve made for yourself.

      • Dirk MacGirk

        I agree with all of that, generally. We do have to take responsibility for our actions. That responsibility may be that everyone adapts, accepts what is given to them and gets on with it, or they choose to not adapt and we lose players. I’m trying hard to look at this from a business perspective, CCP’s business, the business of creating a product that more people want to play, not less. It would be great if everyone’s individual game wasn’t somehow so intertwined with other areas, but that’s not EVE. Null is vocal because it has always been vocal and at the forefront of EVE. Perhaps that was a mistake, but its part of the legacy of EVE in terms of it being so heavily player driven. Or even now, player depressed or whatever. Null isn’t right, nobody is right. But from a purely business perspective, the customer is eventually right one way or the other.

    • Niden

      Nice response, you should write for CZ. I’m not trying to compare nullsec to lowsec in this piece actually. What I’m saying is that people are showing up to play EVE, see the negativity from _some_ nullsec people, and leave at the door, thinking all of EVE is in dire straits. A major factor in that is that plenty of nullsec folk talk about their issues as if nullsec is all there is to EVE. Meanwhile, I never get to show them _my_ EVE because some shitlord decided they want CCP to fix everything while refusing to change and sperging all over reddit about it. And no, like I pointed out, I certainly don’t want to throw people with constructive feedback and a genunie passion for EVE under the same bus.

      You can’t just call it a product if the essential component of said product is freedom. With that freedom comes taking responsibility for your actions and lying in the bed you’ve made for yourself.

    • Kamar Raimo

      “because the skirts are big and armored”

      That made me think of Scarlet Overkill in the movie Minions 😀

      Anyway, the way I see it both CCP and the players themselves have overemphasized the “nullsec is the endgame” narrative and the result is an overgrown sense of entitlement among a very loud minority group.

  • Tao BeiFun

    Awesome Niden…. o7
    This is totally what happens right now.
    I am with an alt in 00 and in low.
    At the moment there is fights and fun in low, but 00 only sad eyes and tears.
    I get the feeling its more like:
    “I want my cake!”
    “I want to eat it and show others!”
    “But i also want to shit on others cake, with my cake untouchable!”

    So sad, when you see that people get what they want but still complain.
    nuff said.

  • Kurbanis Araeleus

    Great piece! I think you highlighted some real issues that are starting to wear everyone down at the minute. These are not that specific mechanics or gameplay aspects are dragging on us, but rather the air time given to negativity. That’s not to say that null is in a perfect state and we should all just shut up about it. Rather, as Dirk added, constructive, well thought and calm discussion is needed on the matter.

  • AFK

    Roll it all back, full Incarna style 180. If they want to sit in two massive blocs staring at each other in a ~cold war~ then let them. Let them get on with it. No more dev time wasted on this bunch of shrill entitled players that put the most risk averse of highsec bears to shame.

  • Kinis Deren

    I completely agree with you Niden, well said sir!

    Null sec has collectively forgotten how to play the game for fun, conflict is managed so that income stream assets are not threatened. With conflict EVE thrives, but risk averse Jabberlon 5 deals has only produced EVE stagnation.

    I would encourage anyone thinking of going to null sec to really examine what they want from their EVE gaming experience. Aim to avoid the tired old path of the 40k+ blobs & sea of blue NIP/NAP boredom – join a small group that is trying to make a difference, carve out their own niche, playing the game for fun and you won’t go far wrong or be short of content. Yes, it will be hard and challenging, there will be set backs along the way but this will make your victories & achievements all the sweeter for it.

    Let loose the dogs of war and fly dangerous!

    • MrFoundryguy .

      Well said sir. Low and WH space are two amazing regions to do small group stuff. Even though there are larger powers that be, small groups can be multiple times effective, simply due to how much fun they have.

  • Your an “idiot” but i will buy you a beer at Eve_Nt <3

    • Niden

      Cheers 🙂

    • Dirk MacGirk

      its not idiot, it’s idot

  • I stopped being a null sec empire cog when the B0TLRD accords were signed. I quit CFC and decided to walk my own path, however difficult, rather than be told who to not shoot.

    It was not the best economical decision I made at first, but it led to a flurry of fun and varied experiences, and I do not regret it as the game and its natural evolution continue to throw interesting challenges.

  • Talvorian Dex

    I admit, all of my fun recently has come in low-sec, both with my main and (primarily) through my FW alt, who has been having a great time killing and being killed.

    That unquestionably says something… that i can choose between null and low and I’m choosing low. But I think what we’re seeing here, on a larger level, is a redefinition of what null-sec experiences and low-sec experiences are. If babysitting your sov is the new null-sec experience, as it seems to be, I question why any hardcore PvPer would ever want to do it. It really does appear as if CCP wants to separate the PvP casuals who want to earn isk into the sov owners, and the bloodthirsty vikings who just want to burn everything down into the low-sec and NPC null players. Look at how much more fun being the attacker is than the defender in FozzieSov.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But with all this anger, we need to keep in mind that while the system changed, that anger may be more about a dissonance between each player’s desires and the new paradigm. Just as some new people are coming into null, a lot of null players are finding themselves unsatisfied with the experience of babysitting sov. But before they’ll make that corp/alliance change, there’s a lot of tension, discomfort, and pain leading up to that decision. A lot of folks don’t want to leave their friends in their current corp, after all.

    So, you’re seeing a few causes of agitation: the changes and nul alliances coping with it, null players realizing they aren’t suited to the activities needed to babysit sov, and a fundamental shift in the relative strength between attackers and defenders.

    If it wasn’t for my friends in corp, I’d be out of null. But because I want to stay around them, I’m still there, and low-secing it with an alt.

    But I’m not leaving the game or anything. Just adapting to the relative content in each area of space and what I want to do with my time.

    • Kamar Raimo

      I think nobody has a problem with “dissonance between each player’s desires and the new paradigm.” Having difficulties with a newly implemented system is normal, especially when it is still flawed and/or not fully developed to its maximum potential (some of the components are still to come, like the Citadels and the capship rebalance).

      What triggers pissed-off rants like this is the utterly toxic climate of personally attacking developers and running around screaming that EVE is dying because a specific style of gameplay has been wrenched around.

      Let’s be honest, years of successful nullsec life haven’t left people any worse off. Even alliances that are now leaving sov or disband are comprised of individual with comfortably filled wallets. Many people made enough money over the years that they could PLEX the accounts for AFK miningfleets, ratting carriers that can be replaced at the drop of a hat and supercap accounts they might log in once every few months, and still end up with enough ISK to cover everything they need for gameplay several times over.

      When you say people don’t want to leave their corp and friends behind just because they now dislike how things have turned out, well maybe some of those friends feel the same. Nobody is good friends with all the hundreds of players in a major alliance. Usually you have a circle of a few people you like to do things with, and if you all agree that sov is not for you, then maybe it’s a good thing once in a while to go and try something new.

      I understand where all of this is coming from. I also once believed that “my” way of playing EVE has died and wont come back. I liquidated all I had and unsubbed. I was frustrated and even a bit angry. After calming down I did come back though and made a fresh start with a clean slate and that worked out really well. It’s just better to take a step back and let things blow over instead of raging obsessively. Unfortunately that is what many people do, and that’s the ones this rant is directed at.

      • Talvorian Dex

        Yeah; I think that’s what we’re seeing. The long period of tension follows the rubber band snapping. I see a lot of discontent among null-sec that can easily turn into people dropping out of those alliances in ones and twos. Eventually, you don’t need isk so badly anymore (which is the great advantage of the Imperium).

        We just have to give it more time, and we’ll see things change even more.

  • Viince_Snetterton

    goon leadership won Eve years ago.

    The moment goons initiated diplomacy among the null sec powers to reinforce their RMT streams, and CCP decided to look the other way, that is when mittens and his crew won Eve.

    And behold the whirlwind they have reaped. Will Eve die? Unlikely. There will always be new blood, and the cartel leaders are not about to give up that cash flow. But Eve’s salad days are behind it.

    That is, of course, unless CCP has a total management change. It is clear the only way Eve can return to some kind of glory is if they are prepared to suffer through a massive drop in subs, likely for 6-8 months, as they do the only reasonable thing possible: acknowledge the control of Eve by a select few, then introduce new mechanics that totally obliterate any possibility of those few groups (or people) continuing that control.

    Drive the mittens et al from the game, by making massive ISK streams impossible to control by a small group.

    Will that happen? Of course not. Too many of the cartels’ people are embedded in decision-making positions within CCP. I once hoped that the investors would rise up and decapitate CCP management, but I don’t think those investors fully understand what has happened in the past few years, and hence won’t make the necessary moves.

    So we will continue with the slow bleed of subs to some lower equilibrium, where the cartels still run null sec, and CCP kowtows to their every desire.

    • Bernard Marchand

      Wow. Exactly how I feel. Joined a null sec group for the first time only to discover that all the fun had been sucked out by bi-partisan politics

      • lalo23

        problem is that ccp managed with fozziesov to end the two party system. n3 is no more so now goons reign supreme. in past n3 nc pl allied and went to battle cfc, after fozziesov n3 broke apart and now there is noone to take on cfc. mission accomplished ccp. you didnt wanted superblocks great, now there is only one superblock that noone will ever tear down. job well done, then again majority of csm now belongs to goons after some neutral guys joined cfc after election. so whoever thinks this is ok, is just plain naive

        • bob@wormholes.com

          What don’t you realise that there is now room for more then 2 empires?

          Even you can now build your own empire!
          And if any smart it guy would be around he would already be renting out it infrastructure…. .

    • MrFoundryguy .

      I am not knowledgable enough about null or CCPs internal politics to know if any of these allegations are true, but I fully agree that goons have won eve, simply due to their ability to turn the game into a job.

  • Bernard Marchand

    In my experience their is far more satisfaction in low sec. Null is good for exploration. I found joining a null alliance pretty well locks youndown in null cause of war decs. lack of wanting to destroy the fools who dare declair war, The rest of the games content is almost un available. Basically now know that null doesn’t match the hype. Maybe if people care more about competing like sovereign entities and stoped the syndication of null it would be fun.

    • MrFoundryguy .

      Null is a job. Other space is not. I blame the culture of null alliances for that, through no major fault of their own, just trying to keep power and adapt.

  • JZ909

    I would read an “Everything is peachy” article. You could talk about the latest meta, FCing small gangs, how to get good fights etc. In fact, I would consider it a refreshing change from the tears about nullsec.

  • Ashur Penken

    We all know you haven’t “won” EVE unless you have Anchoring V and Jurry Rigging V trained.

  • LOL…I was all set to make a super serious in-agreement comment but then I watched that video and am now laughing too much. Shades of Signal Cartel comms, which during fleets are even more fun than the usual banter.

    I read about all these rules and doctrines and constraints that some null alliances impose on their players and I just say WTF?!!!!! Can’t quite understand the appeal for line members. Meanwhile, thinking outside the box with a decidedly counter-EVE-culture corp is giving me the best times I’ve ever had in the game.

    Great post, Niden (but take my never-been-a-null-player uninformed opinion with a grain of salt).