A long time ago in Eve Online, the drums of war beat incessantly. Alliances went at each other’s throats for what seemed like years in blood feuds. The savage nature of the conflicts both inspired a player base driven by propaganda and made an epic story arc that we loved to tell others about, regardless of what side we were on. Songs were written – literally – about the duty and responsibility of line members to “X up for POS destruction”. Voracious appetites for conquest weren’t simply satisfied through agreements and nonaggression pacts. No. The complete and utter destruction of the enemy was paramount. Not because there was legitimate ill will in real life, but because that was the nature and goal of the game.
Spoiler alert: That hasn’t changed.
I don’t mean to romanticize this period, but quite a few of us long for its return because of its chaotic nature. Somewhere between the great wars and now, the old guard are content enjoying the spoils of their hard work and dedication – and who can blame them? After such a tumultuous time of waging wars and building empires, why put all that in jeopardy? This has now become a time of the after-party. The great wars are done and people in nullsec are starving for content, right? The problem is that the idea of another great war is simply too overwhelming. Since the time of Goons v BoB, the very notion of acceptable losses has decreased dramatically. Because of this, it’s been argued that risk aversion has now infiltrated the minds of the current empires.
I don’t think that this premise is totally inaccurate, but let’s face it – the chaotic nature of the Eve universe was still in its infancy. New Eden was put through the crucible, forged with fire, until it took shape into the state that we see it today. It’s a natural progression of things, to start out chaotic, then eventually subside into stability. Much like cannonballing into a swimming pool. The entry is violent with spectators getting wet until finally, the waves subside and calmness returns to the water.
It’s time for someone with the tools at his or her disposal to yell “Cannonball!” again.
B-R was a fluke. Although it showed us some of that same tenacity of years past, let us not forget that if not for a simple unpaid sovereignty bill, that fight would never have taken place. It was a capital fight on a level seldom seen before, but let’s take a step back for a minute. It wasn’t just the CFC and Pandemic Legion taking part in this fight. In some ways, all of us were there. If we couldn’t make it into system, we were watching it on stream, struck with awe at the sight. Our momentary jaw dropping was tempered nicely with dancing skeletons and airhorns. We were cheering again! That wonderful feeling of knowing we were witnessing history.
Now the reality check.
Because of TiDi, this left the participants exhausted when it was over. Nearly a full day had passed and many had gone without sleep. Although the post-game interviews and commentary were glorious, this battle took it toll on a real life level. For those of us who were around in the early years, we remembered. At the same time, battles such as B-R and Asakai were revitalizing the old desires for war for war’s sake. The rumblings haven’t subsided and are still with us today.
So many real life friendships have grown out of mutual admiration and respect since the days where wars were easy to declare. It’s only natural. Fanfests, meetups, and the exchanges of diplomacy that have taken place over the years have cemented a community. That’s supposed to be a good thing, right? There’s not a lot of genuine hate for your enemies anymore because hey, you just had a beer with that dude. You know them on a personal level now. Failing that, you’ve been in diplomatic chats so often with this person that you know what buttons you can and cannot push.
So when a game turns stale because the grandiose has now become stagnant, the players of the line turn to the only people they think can remotivate the populace and grease the gears of war – the developers. “Change sovereignty! Shake things up! Nerf all the things!” It’s not going to make one bit of difference. In war you need to instill two key things into your soldiers: a sense of duty and hate for your enemy.
CCP can change all the mechanics and rules in existence and it won’t do one bit of good, because ultimately, the reasons we fight in Eve are completely different now. We used to fight at a higher level because we wanted the other person’s stuff. To do that, leaders inspired a player base with a sense of duty and hate for the enemy which doesn’t exist anymore. We want the “fun” and “gudfights”. It used to be fun to hate your enemies. What’s more fun than winning or going up against an impossible foe?
It used to be. If we want nullsec to be a place of content and enjoyable chaos again, we have to be able to hate again. This is terrible to say, I know. But if we are truly an evolved community that can break bread with our foes in real life, we have to remember that it’s okay to hate from a metagame standpoint.
The denizens of nullsec cry out for content that simply doesn’t exist anymore. To get it back and get over the comfort zones of where things stand now, don’t turn to CCP. Beat the drums of war again. Hate the enemy with enough vitriol to make it worth losing everything. That’s how to get out of your comfort zone. That’s a mechanic that CCP can never give you. If you truly want a new beginning in nullsec, be willing to have an uncertain ending. Eve Online is war. War is hate. Hate is motivating.