Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ministry of Love affair

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.


  1. Do you think there is going to be a point where CCP is going to have to take more stark action ?

    Goon's are, by their admission, about ruining the fun that other people have in this game. Do you think that, at some point, Goonfleet's influence in EVE will become so toxic that CCP must take a stand from a business perspective ?

    1. No, CCP won't take direct action against the Goons unless they directly start harassing players or overtly violating the TOS.

      CCP makes just as money money from a Goon player as from a Goon victim, so I can't see this hurting their business THAT much. Goons do have one major disadvantage and that's that they get bored pretty easily.

    2. Your math is faulty, there.

      If it comes to a choice of goon money vs carebear. Let Goon victimize, you lose a bear (maybe) but then the Goon moves on to next bear. One toxic players money is NOT worth the number of people they could potentially drive from a game.

      Lose the Goon and maybe all the bears stay.

      CCP reacted to the summer of rage once the numbers pushed them that way. If no numbers support that people are being driven from the game then 'no harm, no foul'.


    3. "CCP won't take direct action against the Goons unless they directly start harassing players"

      What you described on voice chat sounds like directly harassing players to me.

    4. There seems to be this fallacious logic that Goons being goons is bad for the game and will make people not want to play.

      In EVE Goons aim to be the villains (in some respects at least), conflict drives EVE, the more conflict the better. Although EVE has more shades of grey because who is a villain and who is not is a matter of perspective (I am talking from the perspective of HS dwellers).

      Regardless, there seems to be this unsubstantiated idea that people who are griefed will stop playing EVE. On the most part the people who DO leave would have left anyways, and the long term prospects mostly persevere.

  2. Is GSF turning into new BoB? News at 1100!!

    1. ..slowly, but surely.

      We may see big wars in a not-so-distant future.

  3. It took countless atrocities and the holocaust for the world to finally band together to stop the Nazis, I guess Goons are trying to achieve a similar end, too bad everybody is cheering for the Nazis this time.

    1. Only 4 posts till Godwin's Law satisfied.

      Unless you were kidding, you need to take a step back. It's a game.

    2. Yes, I am kidding as much as Mittens was kidding during his apology before being kicked out of CSM.
      Death squads, high sec purges, I guess the "bear" concentration camps are next. You just keep cheering for them, while they ruin your game for you.

    3. Godwin's Law is overpowered by Jackson's Law:

      Even if someone has posters of Hitler in their room, learned German to read Mein Kampf in the original and openly and publicly states that they want to establish the fourth Reich, someone who even jokingly compares them to the Nazis will instantly be met with "omg godwin's law u noob"

    4. Oo
      Lets stick to your inappropriate comparison and keep in mind we are playing a game.

      Nazis make great content. Nazis would be a reason to united against their evil oppression, Nazis make create villains and are overall good stuff to make stories off.

      Only Ninjas and Pirates would give better mortal enemys than nazis. Well, maybe aliens would be cool too, but for this game element we could already Polaris fleets and Sansha Kuvakei ;-)
      So even if you are right, you would be wrong.

      And btw, the simple fact that most players do not care much about the goons is a sign that hi-sec is overpopulated. We are playing immortals, and still most are to either to scared, or worse see not benefit to fly into outer space.

  4. This was the plan all along. We just had more shit to do after Branch. Go back and listen to that SOTG. All Mittens-gate did was piss everyone off just that much more. Hell I probably wouldn't even take part in the hijinks, but now I'm all in. Time to feel some wrath hisec

  5. So null-sec, despite all the special pleading and CSM stacking, has become so pointless that the only way to be "relevant" to the vast majority of players is through high-sec griefing. Lol.

    Nobody much cares if you take a region in a week because high sec griefing is the new Eve end game.

    1. Goons are about having fun and making ISK. They care as much about highsec as you do about them. The only relevance they care about is how much ISK it makes them. As they become better known, it makes their manipulations of high-sec markets easier and makes them more ISK. Mittens was thoroughly pleased that just mentioning a Tech cartel shot prices up. Goons can make over 100m ISK per hulk sold by anyone via Tech components (according to some blog I can no longer find). Paying 10m per each hulk killed is a worthy investment. The griefing part is just for fun. ISK and fun...not relevance.

    2. There's that reference: The Ancient Gaming Noob http://tagn.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/hulkageddon-technetium-and-the-circle-of-life/

    3. Wow that is brilliant and insightful. I means this with all seriousness. I never saw it that way until you mentioned it. The null sec players talk about how great null sec is and how lame all of us High sec carebears are but their play style is so lame that they have to come to high sec to have fun.

      I guess I should have known null sec sucked just by the fact that a small percentage of players live out there. Then I tried it out for myself and realized it sucked and thought it was just me. Now I realize that even the people that profess to love null and hate high sec actually like high sec better. LOL sometimes a perspective changing piece of information can be funny.

  6. Welcome to the sandbox and player created content.

  7. "an actual human female had the temerity to say something to the FC on the Goon comms we were on."
    Thank you. now i have an idea what to suggest the next player to utter gratuitous rudeness when one of the females in my alliance speaks: "go join the goons, mate"
    I've noticed the majority of females in our alliance that i've heard in the last few months have disappeared.

    I've seen the same ignorant attitude expressed towards younger members of our male population. usually spewing forth something involving "who let him speak?"...intriguingly enough noone tends to gratuitously disrespect anyone of rank who's female or adolescent.

    *-By gratuitous rudeness i mean not responding to what the minor or female is saying but responding to the person saying it in order to shut them up.

    Makes me wonder if the person is a wife-beating shirt wearing loud mouth bigot in real life who bullies children out of their lunch money...or i could quote something i heard a decade ago playing another sci-fi mmog:

    "then there's the people who get to play the assholes they can't in real life"

    1. Seem relevant http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/harassment

  8. GSF comms have basically been cleared of unironic misogyny and racism - that was part of what the whole 'Cultural Revolution' was about. Long before your time, though.

    If people want Goons to stay in null, then make an alliance that doesn't fall over when they poke it.

    1. http://andknowing.blogspot.ca/2012/04/in-eve-out-of-game.html?zx=db0fce8dec87c78c

      says "recently announced"...blog dated spring 2012. am i missing something here? i doubt it. have a nice day, goon.

  9. Its called punchback. Someone hits you, you hit them back twice as hard. There are a whole lot of people who joined in the lynch-mob a while back, not because they had been directly effected nor even cared, they did it because they felt they could get away with going after a "big shot". You see it all the time when someone is famous, and screws up, people who did not give a damn suddenly get their knives out. Its pack mentality at its most primitive. So, now that all those people have puffed themselves up, feeling a little bit more important now that they took someone down a peg, are going to have a demonstration of retaliation.
    The people getting killed may be innocent bystanders who never did anything more than happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they just happen to be at a place/time where an example is going to be made. Really just comes down to "your gang messed with our gang now its payback", and in this case hi-sec is being lumped into one gang.

  10. Attention-seekers will seek attention :)

  11. New Eden would be a much more boring place without the Goons. So I say bring on the chaos and mayhem!

  12. "This too, (like a kidney stone) shall pass..."

  13. As Jester himself said a while ago (can't find the link at the moment): CCP is in the business of selling 'fun'. Goons' mission is directly counter to that: 'destroy your game', ie prevent you from having fun.

    The two have been in some sort of balance for a long time. I hope Goons don't push too hard, or they risk disturbing that balance. What happens then, is anyone's guess.

  14. I happen to be one of those rare creatures-A living breathing female Eve player-and over several years & mulitiple accounts-I've heard the lot! I'm used to male dominated environments in RL, so I can give as good as it gets. However I will admit to having left a corps I'd joined with one of my young recruits from a previous corps-for the above mentioned reasons-lines can be crossed!It gets tiring & boring-I'd prefer to go kill someone than constantly being told by my CEO how big his cock is etc. etc. you get the picture. Now as to the Goons-love em or hate em-I've flown with them quite a bit recently-& haven't had a problem-sure I got the usual momentary astonished silence if I said something-but fleet chatter was blessedly free of comments about mine or anyone else's personal attributes. Sure-when you're sitting on a titan waiting for a bridge it gets to be more 4chan online-but I don't have to click on links if I don't want to. But banter was for the most part kept to acceptable levels of profanity. As for burning Jita-I intend to watch with amusement, but not take part-I haven't got enough sec status to burn lol. People have been warned after all!

  15. If you feel the need to hurt Goons ignore them like any other griefer they seeks attention and power over you, just getting on with your life without showing any reaction to their sad little power games frustrates them beyond measure and is a far more satisfying revenge than giving them the gratification of seeing you respond.

    Remember like a plant without sunlight a Goon soon wilts without the fear and attention of non-Goons.

  16. Thanks Jester and Congrats on ur 1,000,000th comment. As with this story I like the fact that most of your posts are well thought out, to the point and interesting to read. Keep up the posting and I will keep checking your blog for the 1000th post.

  17. I hope that CCP doesn't do anything to, or against, the Goons. I don't like them, or their actions, but they do generate interest from people outside the game. No press is bad press, it all gets someone to take an interest.

    And, if you want them to stop ruining "your" game, start harrasing them, guerilla warfare style.

    1. Yes, all the noobs in their Velators fitted with civie modules are a great threat.

  18. My first reaction to Goons is that Goons should be ousted from the game...
    Then again they are always on the lookout for potential loopholes in the system and for that I try to keep my mouth shut.

    The only thing that I fear the most is that sooner or later - maybe sooner - someone will probably get hurt RL for all this.

    I am like 3000 miles away from Mittani, but oh boy! He is sure building up karma at an accelerated rate right now with all this grief going on... :-(

  19. Keep preaching!!

    I love it, you realize BoB alliance made itself the target of the entirety of Eve a few years ago, regardless of the cause of such thing (which is well documented btw), Goons are aiming to accomplish exactly the same thing. Be the enemies of EvE, the bas guys that need to be expelled.

    It's the PvPer dream come true, targets at your doorstep everyday everytime...you think they will drive people out of the game? hell no, they will alienate them to the point were they take up forks and torchs and burn the path back to goonland "attempting" some payback but ultimately meeting a gruesome death.

    Griefing on a whole new scale....

    and best of all, they will manipulate the economy to the point such fisty attemps will have the worst equipment to use in battle....

    keep preaching!

  20. CCP will do nothing to get rid of goons.

    The passive income from moon mining has been declared by CCP to be a mistake a while ago and at this fan fest they announced that ring mining around planets for moon minerals would be released soon. So the tech moon thing will be short lived.

    I agree with what other posters here have said. If you fight the goons they are only more motivated to do what they do. Ignoring them is the only real way to make them go away.

    Attention whores have very fragile egos. That is precisely why they are attention whores. They feel weak and powerless in their real lives and so seek to have power over you in game to boost their own ego. Control over your emotional state is one of the few ways they can accomplish that or at least one of the few ways they can conceive from a limited perspective.

    Allowing them control or influence over your emotional state only reinforces their behavior. That means: anger, hatred, revenge, adoration any emotion which feeds their sense of control by feeding their neediness with your rage.

    Bottom line is if you are going to have fun going after the goons and trying to destroy them then do so. If you want to try to gather enough carebears to have 10,000 drakes swarm through null sec and lay waste to everything they come across like locusts then do so. But only do it if you are having fun. If you think you can get angry and get revenge on the goons then it will never work because you are only giving them what they want.

    I Also agree with what others have said here that the proof is in the pudding and that there is no evidence that goons acting like goons makes more people leave than it brings to the game. The simple fact that people whining about it and not just shutting up and rage quitting is proof that people don't leave but would rather stay and whine.

    I'm not a fan of the goons or how they behave. As of now they have yet to affect my game to the point that I can't tolerate it. If that point ever comes I will just cancel my subscription and find another way to spend my free time. I used to pay for Eve by the year and I no longer do that so that I can just walk away from the game at any time.

    If you don't like the goons then avoid them or have fun being the " good guy " and hunt them down or just play a different game. But blog tears only feed them. They are like sharks and your tears are like blood in the water. It only serves to work them up into a frenzy.

    TL;DR version is it's not what you do nor how you do it but why you do it that matters.

  21. Oh the power of Goon propaganda.

    Moar Tears killing freighters/mission runners and denying the use of highsec = Horrible griefers using a broken war dec system

    Goonswarm suiganking freighters/mission runners and denying Jita to highsec = Brilliant innovative and emergent gameplay

  22. Seems like the Goons are the Reavers of Eve.

    Well, they come across that way at times at least.


  23. 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,...

    I hear people say this a lot, and I always wonder about how uncritically it's repeated.

    Yes, I understand roleplaying. I am a roleplayer. I understand roleplaying a villain, or even a dick, and understand that one need not be a villain to roleplay a villain. Indeed, one need not be a dick to roleplay a dick. (I hope people understand the difference between villain and dick.)

    The thing is... I am not entirely sure you can enjoy roleplaying a dick, constantly and over a long period of time, without being a dick. Well, I suspect it's possible... but I suspect it's a lot easier to enjoy it if you are in fact a dick yourself.

    The probability is high that a substantial fraction of the Goons who enjoy being homophobic, misogynist, racist dicks, and who hide behind a combination of "it's just a game" and "HTFU, don't make EVE into Hello Kitty Online", are in fact in real life homophobic, misogynist, racist dicks, but perhaps with almost enough sense to realize that at least in most civilized socities today you have to hide at least the worst of your dickishness. So they let their ugly true natures show in EVE, and expect that they can't be called on it because first it's a game, and second it's a game where the other players are dangerous and a constant threat.

    No, I don't want to assume that somebody's in-game persona means that their real life personal is just as reprehensible. However, the fact that these people keep coming back to this environment to hang out and play, not just as a brief exploration of the dark side but as a place where they can hang out and be the way they wan to be, is pretty telling. Those of us who understand that keeping EVE a dark, uncaring, dangerous place that is not Hello Kitty Online does not mean everybody should be a childish bully and a dick have to stop giving the Goons a pass on this, and have to stand up and say that HTFU doesn't mean you have to be a dick.

    The burden of proof is on the Goons that they are the dark, ugly underbelly of a free socity in *real life*. All we know about them is that in-game they behave in racist, homophobic, misogynist, and dickish ways that have nothing to do with playing a game where capsuleers are selfish and uncaring, and that has everything to do with them making in-game and related-game (including FanFest!) communications into the worst parody of an immature group of high-school sociopathic bullies. Let's stop assuming that they're lovely in real life without good reason to assume that. And even if some are, the fact is that they've almost certainly created a space that allows the ugly nature of many others to fester and thrive.

    1. I assume that people don't play roles that they don't find attractive in some way. Like you said there is a difference between experimenting with the darkside to work through your shadow self and repeatedly "pretending" to be something that you would really like to be but are too afraid to actually do.

      To a certain level who you are is a result of what you think about yourself and aspire to be. I would assume that someone like Gandhi or Mother Teresa could not have played a goon in this game or at least if they had that they could not be Gandhi or Mother Teresa. I would think to be someone like that takes a very strong sense of self and that you would have to hold a very specific image of yourself and follow through on that with very little exception.


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