The Rise of GoonfeetHVAC Repairman
The problems with Immobile Infantry began to pile up. Samahiel’s resignation created a vacuum of responsibility within the directorate. The game itself was troubled, and the upcoming Planetary Conquest feature that excited many Dust players for months in advance turned out to be a poorly designed dud. The road to my eventual ascension to CEO would be a rocky one; my predecessor Cerebral Wolf’s actions and behavior became increasingly difficult to deal with. Unknown to me at the time, the same actions that made it difficult to deal with him would also pave the way for his very public downfall.
Building a Coalition
Cerebral Wolf’s relationships with people outside of the corporation were a constant point of contention with myself and the other directors. Before the release of Planetary Conquest, the only way for Dust corporations to make ISK would be through donations by corporation members. Conquering districts would allow corporations to passively generate ISK, bypassing the previous methods of living off donations. Various corporations and alliances in the DUST universe contacted each other with the intention of creating monopolies on the districts, agreeing to not attack each other while promising to assist anyone who would be attacked by an outsider. With the goal to take as many districts as possible and make a name for Immobile Infantry, Cerebral attempted to form a mini-coalition with several other Dust groups. I would often make my opinion on the matter known; I felt it was a tremendous waste of time focusing our time and resources on a lackluster feature with other groups. Despite my concerns, plans to partake in Planetary Conquest moved forward.
One of the corporations Cerebral Wolf invited to his coalition went by the name of BetaMax. BetaMax’s CEO, Jenza Aranda, previously had a falling out with a handful of BetaMax members; these members subsequently left to form another group called the Imperfects. Cerebral decided to also invite The Imperfects to his budding coalition, which made discussions contentious on even the best of days. Before he had resigned, Samahiel spent entire days trying to calm everyone down and keep everyone in the coalition on speaking terms. Cerebral Wolf himself would often cause friction; both he and Jenza were prone to mood swings which would often upset the other. Eventually the coalition dissolved due to these differences, proving to be the colossal waste of time I predicted it would be.
Word leaked that both Jenza and Cerebral Wolf were on a shortlist for the upcoming Council of Planetary Management. When Jenza and a few others got their confirmations from CCP, Cerebral Wolf freaked out. Cerebral Wolf contacted Jenza and tried to get her to step down, hoping her resignation would get him a spot on the CPM. When Jenza said no, he told her that he was going to do things the hard way. Communication between the two ceased, and what happened next was the dumbest online drama I have ever witnessed.
The Fall of Cerebral Wolf
A few days prior to the Jenza episode, a Dust 514 fansite called Dust Mercs had interviewed Cerebral Wolf about his role as CEO of Immobile Infantry and his involvement in the community. The day after he tried to get her to resign, Dust Mercs received an email about Jenza that was filled with real life information and derogatory comments. Cerebral Wolf hoped that Dust Mercs would print the letter, thereby driving her away from the community. Instead, Dust Mercs privately contacted the parties involved. I logged into skype to find several messages from various people, all freaking out. The Immobile Infantry directors couldn’t get a hold of Cerebral Wolf to find out what happened. We learned bits and pieces of what happened, but weren’t given a full picture as some believed that this might have been a stunt pulled by the entire corporation.
Cerebral Wolf eventually logged in a few hours later and denied everything. He claimed he was set up, though not many of us believed him. He claimed his e-mail was hacked by ZionShad, and though there was circumstantial evidence at the time to support his hacked email claim, it would be proven several weeks later to be a lie. In retrospect, I probably should have quit on the spot, but I still had the delusional idea that Cerebral might be willing to step down, saving us the effort of having to form a new corporation and deal with the headache of moving hundreds of people over.
A week or two after the email, I wrote a bullshit corp update telling people about the e-mail to Dust Mercs under the hacking narrative. I knew it was a lie at the time; looking back, that is the biggest regret in my Dust career. I figured if the directors gave him a little dignity he’d be willing to resign and let someone replace him. I didn’t care who the replacement would be, just as long as he’d step down. When I approached him in director skype, though, he refused. I quit a day or two later.
Afterwards, Samahiel and I resumed talking again about our desire to form a new corporation. We put it off; I needed a break from the game because I was sick of Dust and needed to recharge my batteries before starting a new project. I stayed in contact with a couple II directors to stay apprised of events, and patiently waited for the right time to get back into the thick of things. A few weeks went by and not much happened. Fanfest 2013 kicked off and the Dust keynote energized me enough to login and start putting plans in motion to start an alternative goon corp (with the goal of eventually absorbing II). A day or two after Fanfest ended, the tweet I had waited months for finally went out.
I’m not sure of the exact story, but I heard one of the CPM members approached Mittens and told him what happened with Jenza at Fanfest. Cerebral was already very unpopular with the important people in GSF, and was finally banned for his actions. I was contacted by one of Goonswarm’s diplomats and told to liaise with Mittens. With the exception of a recruitment thread on the goonfleet.com forums and our own jabber channel, we really didn’t have a lot do with GSF. About half of our players came from goonfleet.com and the other half from somethingawful. Some of our directors had EVE experience while others strictly played DUST. At that point I had six years in GSF and didn’t care if they supported a DUST program, but a bunch of the guys who were in the corp who didn’t play EVE were very excited about the possibility of integration. Or at the very least, legitimization.
When I finally got into contact with Mittens, we began discussing the failures of Immobile Infantry and Cerebral Wolf. I had the former II directors forward a series of embarrassing skype logs. I also passed along Jenza’s skype information. At the end of the conversation, I was named the CEO of Goonfeet, the successor to Immobile Infantry. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I was named CEO. I’m guessing it had something to do with my lengthy corp history and the fact that I’ve hung out with a number of directors (including Mittens) a number of times at the midwestern Goon meets. I guess personal connections have value in EVE, just as in real life.
Goonfeet on the ground
I woke up at the start of the day doing my own thing and ended the day in charge of a couple hundred nerds in the new corp. I was free to run it as I pleased; there were no strings attached. As the headshot was commencing, I pulled the remaining Immobile Infantry directors into a new skype chat. I expected most would be willing to leave Immobile Infantry; every single one of them agreed to leave without hesitation. Within ten minutes of everyone agreeing to leave, Sammus420 seized the corp wallet and transferred the funds to Goonfeet later that day.
The first two weeks were hectic trying to get everyone into the new corp. Cerebral Wolf would not go away; he would constantly try to interfere with the moving process by sending out corp mails instructing people to stay. Control of the SomethingAwful recruitment thread remained in his hands. With a limit of one recruitment thread per game, the only way to gain control would be for a moderator to close his and let us open our own. As luck would have it, Cerebral Wolf caught a ban on SA for a short time later for an unrelated reason. During Cerebral’s SA ban, we convinced a moderator to close his thread and let us open our own. My second-in-command Samahiel and another director, Paradoxical Nature, spent a few days constructing a new thread that went up as soon as the old one closed.
After things began to settle down I wrote my first corp update, which explained what happened and my future vision for Goonfeet. One of my pet peeves when dealing with Cerebral Wolf was constantly having to tell him there was little point in setting up a coalition. Samahiel agreed with my assessment; the game was barely developed and the mechanics for Planetary Conquest were underwhelming. Cerebral Wolf wanted the corp to be a serious organization hellbent on conquering every single planet in Molden Heath. I was the opposite; I wanted nothing to do with the groups he had tried building these alliances with. I told the corp we might dabble in PC, but we weren’t going to be serious about it.
Eventually we struck a deal with the Imperfects and took a few districts in Molden Heath. If Dust had any elite groups, it was them. They won several in-game tournaments and their CEO, Kane Spero, was the easiest Dust personality I got to work with. His general understanding of EVE and the placement of Dust in the EVE universe was a nice change of pace from the usual cast of characters I dealt with previously. I’ve always been considered a pretty chill person, but there was something about the other Dust CEOs that caused me to foam at the mouth in anger. My inability to deal with most outside groups required that virtually all diplomatic work be assigned to various people to maintain my sanity.
Overall, we did fairly well in our Planetary Conquest excursion. There were some learning pains initially, but I thought we did pretty well. After we secured the target system of Hrober, we assisted the Imperfects with their assaults on several other nearby planets. Despite success, I began to grow tired of constant timer battles. It was essentially the same structure bashing that was causing everyone to become bored in nullsec. My interests would briefly pickup when Subdreddit, the Test Dust corp, had rather loudly declared their intention to take our districts. Two hilariously lopsided fights later, Subdreddit limped away into the sunset. Those same districts would eventually be lost when I loudly declared to the corp, “Fuck that shit.”
Life After Planets
After we withdrew from PC, we began looking at ways to start griefing the Dust community again. Infinite orbitals had been patched out fairly quickly, and needle fucking was becoming increasingly more difficult to do. Sammus420 and Breakin Stuff had a goal: to figure out a way to maximize their teamkilling effort in as little time as possible. The result was something that would take the Dust community by storm: it raised more hell than anything else before; would make every organization in the game rethink their recruitment policies; cost corps several districts; got entire corporations to dissolve in an effort to weed out spies; and turned the entire Dust community against a single CPM member.
The original Planetary Conquest feature had some interesting rules. You could bring anyone in the game to your team as long as someone from the corp brought you in with their squad. We had the idea of using spies to bring in a squad of goon alts in an unaffiliated corp, named Grief University. Once the hostile squad was in, the character that brought them in would immediately logout. If you did this fast enough it was nearly impossible to figure out who brought them in, and as soon as the match started, you immediately started killing everyone on your side. If you killed them, they lost valuable clones. If they killed you, they still lose their own clones for that match. Originally we would attempt to get bribed to leave, but would later refine that method for maximum hilarity. Thanks to a large effort by our Intelligence director, we had many spies in different corps spread throughout the Dust community at our disposal.
Our first target was Dust University in a practice run. Our goal was to build up a sinister reputation for Grief U, one that would make the entire community angry. We had nothing against Dust University; we just thought hitting them first would make the best target for political fallout. We attempted to extort them, but they refused to pay so we commenced teamkilling and cost them the match. The Dust University leaders took it pretty well, though they wanted it declared an exploit and demanded changes to the PC lobby rules to prevent it from happening again. We did it again a few days later against some random corp I can’t remember the name of; that corp ended up kicking nearly everyone online to get rid of the spy.
A few days later, BetaMax adopted the same tactic against another corp. The Dust community began to connect the dots and blamed Jenza, their CEO and a member of the CPM. As Grief University continued to AWOX everything in sight, Jenza and BetaMax started getting harassed on the forums. Things really went bad for BetaMax when they tried it again against Hellstorm and failed. The forums erupted in laughter, while Goonfeet remained silent, content at keeping our secret safe.
As things went on we continued to refine our techniques. We got tired of burning spies so we just decided to pick a random AFK member of the victim corp who was online and instruct the victim corp to transfer the ISK to him. This would, in a worse case scenario, cause the poor kid to be kicked. We had entire corps end up kicking all recruits, create shell corporations for PC that only directors had characters in, or would simply disband entirely. When we AWOXed ZionShad, the patsy we picked ended up being a real life friend of one of Zion’s directors. The director then said over comms that he was going to drive over to his friend’s house and murder him. A patch CCP released eventually changed the lobby controls and corporate permissions, which made AWOXing much more difficult; Grief University effectively died with that update.
Heading Back To Space
Afterwards, the Fountain campaign kicked off in EVE. The time I spent in Dust and dealing with corp issues dramatically decreased as the war in space dragged on. Samahiel, my Chief of Staff, had stepped down earlier due to real life issues, so I promoted Paradoxical Nature to replace him. She began running day-to-day operations of the corp while EVE was keeping my attention. As the Fountain campaign continued, my interest in Dust decreased to point where I was no longer performing my duties. Para and the other directors picked up my slack, but having an absentee CEO was becoming a problem for everyone in the corp.
After the 1.7 release patch, I held a meeting with Para and a few of the directors about the future direction of the corp. Everyone agreed that 1.7 was a step in the right direction and that it was time to start taking the game a little more seriously. Realizing my heart just wasn’t in Dust anymore, I stepped down as CEO and named Para my successor. She had already been doing my job since the end of July anyways, and the pains from the transition were going to be minimal. I didn’t want to be the guy who stuck around too long, and I’m surprised I managed as long as I did. I had a fun time doing it and the people I worked with were excellent.
I’ve written some articles in the past about my frustrations with Dust. Most of those issues have been fixed, which is a credit to CCP Games. While I don’t think the game has a real chance of becoming commercially viable, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. The monthly patch releases have brought the game along; the difference between what is currently available and the beta is night and day. If I could change one thing about the game though, it would be to add some sort of API similar to what EVE uses. My biggest frustration as CEO revolved around the integration into GSF proper; Goonswarm’s services are almost entirely API dependent. A lack of a proper Dust API puts up needless barriers. If the goal was to merge the two games, my last piece of advice to CCP would be to make it easier for Dust and EVE groups to co-exist outside the clients.
The game is miles ahead of when I first played in the beta. Like EVE, the best parts of the game are the social interactions; anything that can be done to improve it would be a great change. The game will probably never be successful, and I doubt we’ll ever see any new meaningful links to the EVE universe. I don’t regret my time playing it and I eagerly await for the day Dust 514 is every bit the experience we were promised back in 2009.