This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

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15 Jul 2013

OOC Entry 91 - Cultural Stumbling Blocks

As the Fountain War draws on, it reveals more and more about the culture of the opponents, and that cultural difference does not favour TEST at all as far as the conflict is concerned.

If there ever was a time when running a Sov-holding nullsec alliance was not really serious business, then it is long gone. Just being in it "for the lolz" is not going to work anymore when facing a determined and powerful opponent, and this war is evidence of that.

I am not going to speculate here about who is winning and why that might be the case, but it is evident that TEST are struggling with a few internal issues that the CFC are not suffering from, and it hinders their efforts.


I am not talking about the level of personal maturity of the players here, but about the alliances involved as in-game entities.

On the CFC side there are several entities who have grown and matured over a much longer period than TEST have. Most of the CFC are much older and more well established than TEST. Goonswarm - for example - have been through several major wars, Gentlemen's Agreement have a tradition of well organized PVP and Razor have been part of larger organisations for a long part of their history and know how to fit in and cooperate.

When it comes to the in-game age of the players, the CFC are also at an advantage. Goonswarm might be accepting completely new players just like TEST does, but the other alliances of the CFC have a much higher bar for entry. The percentage of really inexperienced players in the CFC as a whole is much lower than within TEST. What that means is, that the CFC has a broader range of doctrines they can field, because their pilots can fly more different ships. The players will have more disposable ISK which they have acquired over time which takes more of the financial burden away from the alliance. Of course the CFC will also be able to field more experienced FCs than the opposition.

TEST - on the other hand - have been very aggressive in their recruiting of new players. While it is nice of them to offer the opportunity for so many newbies to get to nullsec, it resulted in a situation where too few experienced players will have to take care of too many inexperienced ones. That occupies time which those experienced players would otherwise be able to devote to organisation and implementation of strategic operations.

That crowding-out is proving to be problematic and it would make sense for TEST to try and attract more experienced players who can take over leadership positions or at least help the newbies and thereby make room for the alliance leadership to take care of strategic planning.


This point ties in directly with the above and mainly concerns TEST and Goonswarm because they are the groups with the largest number of new players.

Goonswarm has been very good at this traditionally. They have always provided a lot of information for their new players which they can refer to and learn what they need to know easily without even having to log in to the game. Even more so, the educational principles of Goonswarm have every aspect of indoctrination as one would see in a totalitarian regime or a religious sect. Everything the new Goons get taught is preparing them for fitting in to the larger structure. Undesired skills are actively discouraged while desired ones are reinforced at every turn.

TEST has nothing comparable in place. Of course there is knowledge transfer, but not on the scale and streamlined efficiency that their opponents can offer new players. That aggravates the problem of the many new players TEST need to get into meaningful roles for their campaign.

Leadership and Organisation

That is most probably the most glaring and problematic difference. The CFC have an experienced leader, and this leader has a very experienced and competent cadre of helpers who are fulfilling specialized roles very well. TEST leadership has recently fallen into new hands and for the most part the core group of TEST is neither large nor experienced enough to manage a single alliance of the size they are dealing with.

The CFC is also comprised of more than one alliance of course. Those alliances have their own leadership and organisational structure in place. That frees up a lot of capacity for the coalition leaders for to think and plan on a more strategic level rather than needing to micromanage.

As far as the culture of Goonswarm is concerned, they are coming from a communal background and are very much used to groupthink. The dedication of the average Goon to the alliance is very similar to a member of an idiological or religious affinity group. Not only does that serve very well to motivate themselves, but it also inspires their coalition allies.

TEST are by nature more anarchic and chaotic. Sure, they also come from an out-of-game community, but by no means one that is as hierarchical and organised as the Goonswarm culture. The comparison that comes to my mind is a popular movement or a guerilla when compared to a military organisation with it's own bureaucracy and logistics in place.

The amount of metagame infrastructure that the CFC have available is pretty staggering. Be it communications, organisational hierarchy, playing the in-game markets, espionage or propaganda. The CFC are superior to their opponents in every one of those aspects.

In Conclusion

This war is showing the merits of the current Goonswarm leadership model in EVE like none has done before. In previous confrontations, The CFC could not shine like they do now because most of their achievements were written off as just winning by numbers. In this war, the potential military strength on both sides is comparable - at least for as long as N3, NC. and PL stay fighting on the side of TEST. In this case, the decisive factor will not be sheer numbers. Despite the rumours of TEST being on the verge of bankruptcy, I would argue that not even finances will be as decisive as the organisational culture and structure of the opposing sides.

If TEST do not manage to overcome their cultural hurdles, deciding this conflict in their favour will be very difficult.

So far TEST alliance has not really managed to forge the anti-CFC sentiment which brought allies to their side into a single purpose that can carry an organisational structure which rivals that of the CFC. 

The question is: Will they manage to do that before it is too late? "Grrr Goons" will not suffice in the long run.

Then again, maybe TEST do not want to change, maybe they actually shouldn't change. It may be argued, that there are already enough "serious business" alliances and coalitions in EVE, and that a group which takes things more lightly is a good thing.

Whether such a group can actually win a war against the CFC remains to be seen. 


  1. A good read. Thanks for linking it to me.

    1. Thanks. It actually means quite a bit to me. I always liked your controversial style despite that weird thing you seem to have for anorexic girls :D

  2. Ditto (as I found this site through Stanziel's comments section).

    As on outsider I wonder what would happen to the CFC if The Mittani ever decided to leave EVE. The Mittani is a powerful figure in the general EVE culture and narrative and it seems like his departure would be a sea change for Goonswarm, the CFC, and a large proportion of the general EVE audience (incl. myself ;-) ). While the Goonswarm would no doubt survive, I wonder if it would remain at the current level of activity or decline somewhat, and I wonder if the alliances in the rest of the CFC would remain as cohesive or not. That may be a totally baseless question; in times when The Mittani seems to have been relatively inactive in EVE (based on reading various blogs), Goon activity doesn't seem to wane that much, but (again, as an outsider) it seems like there *should* be a strong cult of personality around him and I wonder if the rest of the more area-focused leaders in Goonswarm have the inclination and talents to gather quite as much momentum as he has.
    (Written while smashed, so please excuse any grammatical horrors.)

    1. The way how that works is actually very much how Something Awful itself works. The founder of SA also was just the forum administrator and main authority, but a lot in that forum community was developed by others under his supervision.

      If The Mittani would stop engaging with EVE (he really doesn't play that much), the Goons would certainly not vanish, they will retain certain character traits, but they also would change.

      The time of Mittani's rulership has brought a level of control and structure to Goonswarm that it hasn't had before. A new leader might be unable or unwilling to keep things running like that.