Mabrick is a carebear. That’s the life he chooses. It isn’t a life forced upon him or one he wishes he could change. It’s what he wants to be. That said, don’t take him for noob. He’s been around the block a time or five. With over 15 years of MMO playing under his belt and a memory that reaches back to pencils and dice, he offers his insights into the not so virtual reality we call Eve Online.

Mabrick’s Mumblings: What would Eve be without Goonswarm?

Is Eve a great novel? Is it a book you just can’t put down? All of you are reading this because, to one degree or another, you feel that Eve is a great story you can’t put down. So what makes that happen? Why are we sucked into this game to the extent we are willing to spend much of our free time not only playing it, but reading about what else is going on in New Eden? To answer that question we need to understand what makes a great story. Then we need to apply that understanding to Eve.

Though there is some debate about this, and the specifics can be hotly contested, there are four basic elements that make a great story. They are plot, characters, setting, and theme. These four elements are the threads from which all great novels are woven.

As an example, let’s analyze how these threads intertwine in the Science Fiction classic Dune, by Frank Herbert.

The plot of Dune goes something like this. The duplicitous Emperor Shaddam IV plots with the evil House Harkonnen to wipe out the noble House Atriedes and seize the planet Arrakis, called Dune, with all its Spice wealth for themselves. They lure House Atriedes to Dune where, with the help of a traitor, they defeat it through villainous treachery. Fortunately, the Duke’s son and his mother escape, find hundreds of thousands of other repressed citizens (most of whom are trained warriors) and eventually retake Arrakis, kill the Harkonnens and reveal the Emperor’s illegal role in the war forcing him to abdicate. This is a very rough plot outline but it is accurate.

To make this plot work, Dune has many memorable characters. There is the noble Duke Leto Atriedes and his devoted concubine Lady Jessica. There is his intelligent and gifted son Paul, known as Maud Dib. There is also the nasty Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his equally horrid nephews Glossu “Beast” Rabban and Feyd-Rautha Rabban. There is the go-lucky troubadour Gurney Halleck, the serious spy-master Duncan Idaho and the traitorous Doctor Yueh. These are just a few of the memorable characters in Dune, all of them necessary actors to move the plot forward.

Then there is the setting: Arrakis, desert planet, Dune. It is a vast and pitiless desert inhabited by God’s Faithful and protected by the giant sandworms. No rain has ever fallen on Dune. That alone makes it stand out as a setting. Then there are the vast seas of sand and the fortress like rocky places. The entire planet reinforces the dire nature of Paul’s and Jessica’s struggle to reclaim what is rightfully theirs and exact revenge on those who took it from them. As the Fremen say, “God created Arrakis to train the faithful.” Frank Herbert uses Arrakis to highlight the righteousness of his protagonist’s struggle.

Then there is the theme. Without a theme all other elements are meaningless. There must be a point to the struggle. The theme can be as simple as good versus evil though both those concepts are relative. In Dune, one could say that is the theme. It is perhaps more accurate to state the theme as righteousness overcoming injustice. There are also many sub-themes in Dune. Great stories are chock full of various themes; each explored to one extent or another.

When it comes to Eve Online, we make the plot up as we go. CCP does not do this for us. We are also the characters, though there are a few notable exceptions like Sansha Kuvakei. The only aspect of this story that doesn’t directly involve capsuleers is the setting. CCP provides the 5431 known star systems and 2498 wormhole systems as our setting. Lastly, there are themes. CCP provides the kernel, the start, of some themes. I believe the most notable would be Faction Warfare. Beyond this though, it is completely up to us, the players, to set the themes. That is perhaps the truest measure of a sandbox environment.

And when you grok all this, you have to realize the question really isn’t whether Eve is a great story or not. The question really is what have we done to make Eve a great story? We are the characters of the book. We drive the plots. We determine the themes. If we do nothing, Eve is nothing. Like all other MMOs, it will eventually grow repetitive and we’ll all walk away from it as some of us have done dozens of times before.

So like a great novel, like Dune, there must be struggle. There must be an antagonist and a protagonist. All plots, all scenes, all themes derive from that confrontation. The confrontation must have ramifications that extend beyond the primary characters. There must be something huge at stake. Failure must have dire consequences. If Paul “Maud Dib” Atriedes had died when he drank worm bile, all space travel would have been subject to the diseased and disgusting Harkonnen’s merciless administration. No one really wanted that, not even the Emperor. He went along with it because he could control Vladimir Harkonnen where he could not control Duke Leto.

And that’s were Goonswarm comes in. They are the current Harkonnen threat in our great novel. Once you have the arch villain, the hero matters. Without an arch villain, the hero is just another guy trying to make a buck. There is no story worth telling. This struggle against Goonswarm has spawned dozens of sub-plots. You read about one of them here.

Before Goonswarm set their sights on my livelihood by forming the Technitium Cartel, I was just another carebear laboring in obscurity somewhere in Empire space. I eked out an existence that few cared to know about. Then an antagonist confronted me. They made it impossible for me to turn a profit by their market PVP that they themselves characterize as griefing. (See my last post. Does that answer your question Gevlar?) I decided to resist. The Goons lowered the proverbial boom on me. Suddenly I’m in a David versus Goliath themed sub-plot. Soon other capsuleers start to notice my plight – not because I was any different from before but because there was now a plot, some “interesting” characters, a setting and a theme worth reading about.

This happened again in the Delve war. The plot thickened as they say in the industry. More characters became involved. The setting changed, it became larger. The theme was still David versus Goliath but it was also more. How many of you desperately wanted to see Goonswarm and TEST fail? Now it appears they are moving on Catch and possibly Providence. How many of you are now even more determined to stop them? We are driving our own story to greatness because of Goonswarm’s depredations.

That’s how it works. I stand against Goonswarm. I do so because great stories need protagonists to cross foils with the antagonists. If we all became Goons, Eve would be just another ho-hum MMO from which everyone would eventually walk away. But Eve lives and we are immersed in fascinating times. No one yet knows how this will end. Will capsuleers unite to counter Pax Goon or will the known universe fall? Must we bow down to The Mittani? We don’t know yet but I for one am eager to forge ahead and find out. That is what makes Eve real and Goonswarm, as the antagonist, is integral to the greatness we’ve created.

- Mabrick

Send us Intel/Corrections

68 Comments

  1. Goon

    In books, good people win in the end. Luckily, Eve is a video game.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm Reply
  2. A goonless eve? new eden's high sec would be a bot filled russian whore house with the occasional non russian mining veldspar manually in high sec

    July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm Reply
    1. goons in fairness do help keep the high sec bot numbers under control

      July 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm Reply
      1. Shogun

        Is this the plase where we just make shit up?

        July 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm Reply
      2. 0.o Grunt

        Not every mining barge (or even group of barges) are bots. I have a 8 man crew and I do it all manual

        July 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm Reply
      3. Random Miner

        no they don't, not at all. they prefer attacking real people, because they wanna hear the bitching

        July 20, 2012 at 2:39 am Reply
    2. BobFaggot

      WTF? How? GTFO.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm Reply
    3. Standinginspace

      Do you think before you post?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm Reply
    4. Deklein would sure have a lot less bots though. No wait, let's be fair, only slightly less.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm Reply
      1. Truthseeker

        No wait, let's be fair, only a lot more.

        July 20, 2012 at 8:31 am Reply
    5. Jakes

      CCP has made it public that there is more bots in Deklein then in any other region in null, so it's somewhat funny you would imply other groups bot more.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm Reply
      1. Nemesis

        He does not imply that High Sec has more then Deklein. He simply says that High Sec would be filled with them. Which is true.

        July 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm Reply
        1. Shogun

          He said one group in particular.

          July 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm Reply
        2. Simon

          He implyed that all the botters in highsec are russians, which is not true actually. Although I suppose if goons lost there space they would likly move to highsec to bot. So he was right kinda sorta.

          July 20, 2012 at 3:08 am Reply
      2. Curious

        Can you please link that info? Itll be helpful for everyone to see the evidence itself, give you a better argument, and make your statement more credible. Thanks

        July 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm Reply
        1. CCP's 2012 security keynote at fanfest.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG13u9KKtzE

          July 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm Reply
          1. yeah

            Yeah it's @15:08 where they talk about the highest botted region, and as far as nullsec deklein is the highest, but everyone that isn't a window licker already knows that the whole russians are botters shit is nothing but propaganda, some people don't even know they are drinking kool-aid.

            July 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm
      3. derrrp

        high sec had more bots than all of null

        July 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm Reply
    6. ???

      Um, the latest CCP report on this says DEKLEIN is the biggest bot user in a single region in nullsec in the entire game. Only thing that is higher is hi sec.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm Reply
      1. Kratisto

        Well its also a lot more populated; VFK often rivals Rens for population. Goons are as likely to bot as anyone else in eve, not more or less.

        July 20, 2012 at 2:06 am Reply
      2. Wowness

        Where is that report, link it please!!!

        July 20, 2012 at 2:26 am Reply
        1. Simon

          It's been linked already, just take a moment to look.

          July 20, 2012 at 2:54 am Reply
          1. Any Guy

            Not good enough! Link your source! We're lazier than you!

            July 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm
    7. Random Miner

      you're…… dumb. goons are the biggest botters out there

      July 20, 2012 at 2:38 am Reply
  3. Same as it would be without BoB.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm Reply
    1. guest

      Couple years ago Mittani released that video saying that eventually everything comes full circle. They too were heroes once (although never truly good-natured towards the Eve population at large) when they were the underdog flying cheap ships that beated the 'elite PvP' of their time after a long struggle.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm Reply
  4. DIe goons/test

    Seems to me the only one with balls to remove the goons is AAA.
    Forget test there goons that suck and was kicked out.We call them the bench warmers.

    Join AAA and remove the goons.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm Reply
    1. 0.0

      I think -a- is dealing with goons because they don't have a choice… cuz goons chose to deal with -a- and not the other way around.

      Good read!!! Keep it up.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm Reply
      1. Urziel99

        -A- decided to interfere in a regional conflict between Nulli/RA and TEST/PL. It just turns out that TEST had a better batphone than S2N.

        July 21, 2012 at 7:52 am Reply
    2. Space Jam

      Join AAA remove the goons buy cowering in LGK for 4 months and declare victory once the CFC/HB's leave by virtue of no one wanting your terrible space anyway.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm Reply
    3. TestGruntBestGrunt

      …Or at least you will run around Stain for months on end, waiting for the barbarians to get bored and leave.

      July 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm Reply
    4. Nemesis

      You have the balls to remove Goons? What!? You don't undock when ANY CFC are in system. And TEST. LMAO! Seeing as TEST was killing you before Goons got here. But yes, your right, your winning the war. Lets not forget how grand your Loki fleet is. Oh wai… too soon?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm Reply
    5. No one important

      Join AAA and defeat Goons in Stain. Better to fight on one's own doorstep, yes?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm Reply
  5. JJFats

    When Goons die, there will be a new thing. EVE is not Goons. Goons is EVE.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm Reply
  6. A Grunt

    It doesnt matter who wins or losses, his point is that at the end of the day goons help create content

    July 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm Reply
    1. M1k3y

      True, but eventually Goons will be repressing content by owning all of 0.0.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm Reply
      1. Imigo

        Isn't a galaxy spanning empire content in itself?

        July 20, 2012 at 11:38 am Reply
        1. Just a Decoy

          Not automatically. Imagine Star Wars if the Death Star didn't have a weak point, wasn't blown up by Luke's torpedoes and went on to wipe out the Rebels completely and terrorise the rest of the galaxy into submission. "Imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever."

          July 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm Reply
          1. Imigo

            Fortunately the farmboy saving the galaxy in his rifter fantasy doesn't apply in EVE. EVE has much more depth and engagement than that.

            July 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm
          2. Summah Time

            sw was a bad movie, only thing good about it was da princess.

            July 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm
  7. CaptainSwing

    EVE is not dune nerd!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm Reply
  8. jackass

    I think we are missing the Hero character in this case, actually we are missing any real positive untainted hero character. Life in Eve is a bit more like Conan than Dune, no nice guys here: "To crush your enemies See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!" Now that's what we want !!

    July 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm Reply
    1. guest

      "Life in Eve is a bit more like Conan than Dune" and that's exactly why I think we don't really need an untainted "hero".

      July 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm Reply
    2. Anonymouse

      Nice guys finish last…

      July 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm Reply
  9. Bunkum

    A Hero has to do more than write a self-indulgent blog.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm Reply
  10. Random CFC grunt

    every good story, always need the bad guys. BOB was the first bad guy, then Northern Coalition, then Drone Russian Federation. This keeps the game alive. so I like your blog =-)

    July 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm Reply
  11. DarthNefarius

    Wow I don't think I've seen Dune's themes slaughtered so badly ( except possibly by Frank Herbert's son's simplistic & absolutely terrible rewritings of his fathers books ) Dune's main theme was about Messiahs with a secondardy Ecology theme.

    July 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm Reply
  12. O.o

    It's a shame there is no good vs. evil dichotomy in EVE. Anyone who has nearly enough power in EVE to contest the CFC hate each other more, and are just as big of douchebags.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm Reply
  13. OldxPlayer

    Don't confuse reading about Eve, as wanting to play Eve. There is too much apathy in the game to consider involvement, yet reading about it is still, for now, entertaining.

    July 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm Reply
  14. kraz

    lol it was NC omg big bad guys need to die now its goons then it will be someone else big deal fukin deal with it

    July 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm Reply
  15. droljica

    What would Eve be without Goonswarm?

    Nice game.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm Reply
  16. Mongo

    You had to explain Dune, but not "Grok"???

    July 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm Reply
  17. some goon

    Mabrick, the true hero of our age. :swoon:

    July 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm Reply
  18. Lube

    I'm a proud member of Goonswarm and before that I was a member of a few other nullsec alliances. Those alliances were the train wreck of unstoppable idiocy and I'm so happy to see them fail while being on other side of the barricade. Not only I'm happy to see them fail, I'm happy to bring them myself into the dust and wipe the floor with these l33t bitter vets. Mihi, Bricks, RA, Raiden … and now AAA… how sweet it is to see their buttmad tears.

    Where you see darkness I see the light. For me CFC is the order in the universe of goblin chaos.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:30 am Reply
    1. Anom

      So in essence your a traitor or a coward who jumped the on the Goon bandwagon.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:19 am Reply
    2. Lube

      Nah. I got kicked out of those failed alliances because they didnt wanna listen to me how to play this game properly:). I guess I have to teach them the hard way

      July 20, 2012 at 6:45 am Reply
  19. In your story you're the protagonist fighting against a large evil, rallying others to your valiant cause.

    In mine you're a butthurt carebear with a short sighted worldview and way to much time on their hands to whine on the internet.

    One of these is fiction. The other is about you being a butthurt carebear.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:09 am Reply
    1. Just a Decoy

      Butthurt over what, exactly? He got decced, saw a total of one attacker who didn't get to kill him, the dec was dropped. He kept on carebearing throughout the dec, just paid attention to his surroundings.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:02 pm Reply
  20. mf doom

    Null sec is the new goon empire.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm Reply
  21. House Mittani Guard

    Your analogy is bad and you should feel bad.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:14 am Reply
  22. Pirokobo

    Duncan Idaho was a Swordsmaster. Thufir Hawat was the spymaster.

    Fighting Styles of House Atredies Retainers
    —————————————————————
    Gurney: Knife in the back in a dark alley
    Idaho: Honorable goodfites
    Hawat: Poison

    July 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm Reply
  23. Max

    >What would Eve be without Goonswarm?

    More interesting.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm Reply
  24. perscorrabop

    good…. enough said.

    February 23, 2013 at 10:49 am Reply
  25. No one important

    The EVE story is more akin to GoT than to Dune. We keep wanting the elegant simplicity of a dichotomy, but the politics are simply to complex. Are Pandemic Legion the bad guys? I thought so two years ago. Now I'm in the same fleets. Next week? They'll probably be back to podding me and laughing at my terrible Drake fit.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm Reply
  26. Shattershark

    "These second class citizens, barely a step above slaves, spend hours grinding ISK so that their masters don't have to."
    And those unfortunate souls do this because… why exactly?

    "where all men (and women, those few who play EVE) are created equal"
    As long as they are goons or willing to protect goon assets.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm Reply
  27. Anonymouse

    I'll give you +1 just for showing it from their perspective :)

    July 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm Reply
  28. Crotchface

    In case you're not aware, renters willingly pay rent. They want a nullsec system.

    July 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm Reply
  29. Summah Time!

    Das jus mean

    July 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm Reply

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