I've been accused in my last few posts about Goons of having an overly friendly view of them, or even accused of spending time pointlessly talking about them. "Why do we talk about these losers? Your love affair with them is revolting," I was accused in my most recent post the other day. I think my response to that comment deserves its own post.
I'm talking about the Goons more lately because I think we're going to be feeling their impact on the game more.
My first exposure to Goons and the first place I learned about them was in a group that despised them. And out in null-sec, that's a common reaction. With the exception of the DRF bloc, Goons have done more to cause null residents to hate them than any other group. When I later joined Get Off My Lawn and found myself in the Goon sphere of influence, I got to experience the reason some players hate them first-hand. One of my last memories in LAWN was sitting in my alpha Maelstrom waiting for a fleet to begin when an actual human female had the temerity to say something to the FC on the Goon comms we were on. There was a three or four second delay, and then the comms from at least 60 or 70 Goon pilots opened and what poured fourth was a chorus of monkey-like howling, grunting, and moaning that went on for at least 20 seconds. I don't care if it was meant in jest or not, it was surreal... animalistic.
This was by no means an isolated occurrence, and in time spent chatting with Goons in fleets with them, I discovered that their reputation is very much deserved. Mittens might have been banned from EVE for 30 days for public EULA violations, but many Goons violate the EULA on a daily basis just by being Goons. Lots of them glory in a misogynist, racist, or ugly in-game persona. I'm sure they're lovely people outside of the game, but in game, any Goon story that you've heard is most likely true.
And yet, aside from the occasional Jita-based recruiting scam, or a high-sec industrial corp successfully scammed into jumping a large freighter wing into EC-P8R, the influence of Goons is for the most part limited to null-sec. Which means that a solid majority of EVE players don't interact with Goons and don't have any experience with them. The reason that the Goons don't get booed at the Fanfest Alliance Panel is because a lot of Fanfest attendees have absolutely no reason to boo them. They show up to enjoy the stories that take place in that far-away land called null-sec that they'll never visit and which doesn't affect them.
The Blue Ice interdiction changed that.
And no, not because Oxygen Isotopes suddenly got a lot more expensive. Most high-sec dwellers have little interest in isotopes and only a vague idea of what they're for. But high-sec dwellers mine Blue Ice because those isotopes are worth ISK in Jita. That, they care about. That, they care about a great deal. And so the Blue Ice interdiction impacted high-sec because it rendered about a fifth of high-sec space effectively closed to ice mining for a number of weeks.
Remember, Goonswarm's stated mission is to destroy your game. And while I'm sure they'd say they intend to destroy your game for all values of "you", their impact on high-sec players overall has actually been rather negligible. Moar Tears, with one one-hundredth the number of members of GSF, has a bigger griefing impact on high-sec than Goons have historically had.
That's why I'm talking about Goons more lately: virtually all of their recent announcements have focused on high-sec, with their null-sec activities either getting muted press or no press at all. They are conquering entire regions of null-sec in only days right now. And nobody much cares. So I feel like someone -- maybe The Mittani himself -- made a conscious decision to be more involved in making more of EVE not like Goons so much. ;-) More players are therefore going to be impacted.
Tomorrow, we'll have Burn Jita, followed by Hulkageddon. Hulkageddon has always been a pretty big activity in the EVE news, but it looks to be an order of magnitude bigger this time. The so-called Goon "Ministry of Love", whose stated mission is to grief high-sec players that say mean things about Goons or their leadership, is designed solely about reaching into high-sec and inflicting pain. Just today, Mittens said that group was working on their first victim. The Technetium cartel they're apparently forming -- more about this tomorrow -- has the potential to directly inflict pain on the wallets of every player in EVE by making every T2 module and ship more expensive.
Short version: up to this point, we've been getting a kinder, gentler Goon. The number of EVE players that can claim to have been victimized by a Goon is actually fairly negligible, all things considered.
They're obviously looking to change all that.
In this context, my personal feelings about Goons are irrelevant.
But that's why I've been writing about them.