A Bad Villain


Yesterday I asked a simple hypothetical "thought-experiment" on Tweetfleet that went exactly like this, "One has to wonder where Eve would be today without the negative, egotistical power grubbing 'game ruining' presence of Mittens."  As intended the question received some widely varying replies and responses. The intention, as this post will go one to explain in some detail, was to get people thinking. There is no answer to that question, we will never know what the Eve universe would be like without Mittens in it. The point is to think about what it would be like without him in it, to accept the reality of negativity, and its larger impact on subscription numbers, perception, and attitudes that have been accepted as "normal" for well over a decade.

The Pro side argues that Eve needs villains and that the Mittani serves as the perfect bad guy for that role. Granted, this is partially true. Eve does need bad guys, villains, content providers and figures that serve as a rallying point for aggression. This is a role that I myself serve in New Eden when in-game. As a scum-sucking Pirate I am a villain to those that are outside of my own Alliance. I've blown up a lot of things and I've received plenty of tears, anger, threats and harassment for that. It comes with the territory. There are literally thousands of players filling this kind of role in every corner of New Eden. We have a lot of villains.

But we only have one Mittani. A person who, by his own admission, rarely even plays the game. A person who, by his own admission, makes a full-time salary off the backs of his followers. A person who, at Fanfest while a CSM member, encouraged someone to commit suicide. This list could go on and on. If you've played Eve for any length of time you already know the litany. And the details vary depending on which side of several dozen coins you happen to land on. Viceroy programs. Websites. Reddit. Comic books. Failed Kickstarters. Ego-driven rewards. Yachts?  I could go on and on.

Yes we need villains in Eve. But do we need this guy? Is the need for a focal point enough to justify the cost the game has paid over the past decade? Has the impact of such negativity been helpful or harmful to the success of Eve? Like I said before, the answers to these questions are un-knowable, we can't know the truth. Eve has been shackled in the shadow of a megalomaniacal, lucky to be in the right place at the right time, ass-wipe for a very long time. So it is difficult for anyone to imagine an Eve without him in it. Or outside of it, since he doesn't actually play the game.

Negativity breeds negativity. It seeps into the larger discussion, it permeates the media coverage, it dominates the narrative, it builds a dark, foreboding, and negative brand around Eve. This is not a thought-experiment, this is the truth. This is something that Eve has had to live with for a very long time. And yes, this conflict has given rise to many memorable events. Events that have been exploited in multiple forms for a very long time, the Eve narrative has been dominated by one person for over a decade. This is true. And we can't know what would have happened had that moment in time not given him the chance to make history. But we do know what he has done with it since.

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" - Some religious wisdom

You can't get good fruit from a bad tree. If you want to know the true nature of someone, watch the effects they have on their surroundings. To the people around them. What kind of works do they get involved with, who do they keep close, what impact do they have on the greater world? 

Take a moment and imagine an Eve without Mittens. An Eve filled with villains, heroes, and players able to make their own mark on the greater narrative. An Eve with hundreds of villains, thousands maybe. Instead of one. To come down on the pro side you have to be willing to accept the consequences of your support, the entire litany of negative actions that come along with it. You have to carry all the baggage.

It is a weight that I don't think you should have to carry. 

So don't.



24 comments:

  1. "A person who, by his own admission, makes a full-time salary off the backs of his followers."
    Could you link to a source on this one? I've been looking around to get an idea of how much he actually makes and was under the impression it was "essentially nothing".

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    1. I'd have to go digging around to find any written sources. He admits that he lives on Eve/TMC full-time, this is well known. I've personally heard from various sources the income stream from TMC varies by year, but the 45k amount has been bandied about by people I trust. Its also known that TMC, as recently as last year, secured additional investors - which is not something you do for "nothing". Certainly the expansion of that effort into other gaming communities and media, such as the KS, is a well-known goal.

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    2. I took a few seconds and found his LinkedIn profile which shows that he has been working on Eve/TMC since 2010.

      https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-gianturco-b0094261

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    3. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304887104579306663398628476
      "It is a comfortable income"

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    4. If he's getting investors and that's where his cash is coming from then I don't know how you can say he's making money off of his followers. The impression I got from your post was that somehow he was squeezing money out of goons, like through ad revenue or making them actually pay something. If he's managing to give EVE players content and at the same time have an external third party unrelated to EVE pay for it then that is great!

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    5. Well that is a rather simplistic viewpoint, but you are entitled to your opinion. On the other hand, take a moment and imagine I had 47,000 people I could get to visit this blog and click on ads for me... that would certainly make me some ching now wouldn't it?

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    6. Not once, ever, have I seen Mittani asking people to go and click ad links or even seen convincing evidence of him having done so.

      Why didn't you just post up a blogpost that says "Grr I hate Mittani", since that's all this is really saying. It you with your bias making wild claims and pushing attacks. It's pathetic and frankly is quite surprising coming from you. I'd expect this on Gevlon's blog, but not here.

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    7. That's rubbish. I've been consistently anti-mittani since the beginning of this blog and have written several posts about it over the years. Nothing new. And gosh, Anon hasn't seen him do it, so I guess that makes me wrong then. I should pack up.

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    8. If only you would, one less sponge makes the community all the better. Mittani can go too. As far as I'm concerned you are the same.

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    9. Except that we are clearly not. Other than that I suppose you are right, I mean clearly we are both human beings.

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  2. When you feel the need to cast the discussion with the terms that anybody who argues against is as bad as The Mittani, you clearly don't wish to have a discussion at all. Your next post will no doubt brand all Imperium pilots with the mark of Cain.

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    1. You know better than that. It's time to admit the Emperor has no clothes and move on. This has never been about the players that fly with or beside Goons now or in the past. Not once. And you can't just say it is and label me that way, because it simply isn't true.

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    2. Yeh it has mainly been about some big ego's flopping about.
      But the line members on both sides of those conflicts will have drawn some enjoyment or meaning out of the actions of the CFC as a whole, I assume loudly.
      I mean they can't be entirely stupid?

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    3. No of course they aren't stupid. Its all content when it comes down to it.

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  3. Who cares about minor villains? Mittens is/was the face of an era.
    He played his game and forced thousands to play his game as well. I have no idea if EVE would be better or worse without him, maybe we will find out eventually.

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    1. Whatever I may feel or think... I really don't think the end of The Mittani is going to come any time soon.

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    2. Probably not. Frankly it is difficult to advocate for "the end" as much as I personally despise his choices, Eve is big enough for everyone.

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  4. Honestly, it is impossible to imagine an Eve Online without Mittens at this point. Despite the baggage, he has made an impact on the game that I'm not sure any other player could have - or any number of players in aggregate, as you suggest here.

    Does Eve get as much coverage without the disbanding of BoB? Without Asakai or B-R? Or 6VDT? Does Eve trend on Reddit without the ex-spousal relationship between Goons and Test fueling tons of hateviews?

    Passion for the game and the expression of that passion keep Eve in the headlines over a decade after launch. He might be a total prick, but The Mittani stokes the passions of both those for and against him.

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    1. Well, like I said, we'll never know. Water under the bridge now.

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  5. Interesting question, I think the very nature of Eve means that we would always have had someone that represented the ‘lowest common denominator’ as one of the points of the sandbox is that it allows people to act out if that’s the personality they wish to project.

    Mittens has managed to invent and stick to a narrative and convince many others to do the same which means the impact of that negative behaviour is more widely felt but personally I think that is the ‘only’ impact he has had on the game.

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    1. Mittens has been in this 'role' as basically being a negative, manipulative and self-centred tool for quite some time.
      The Narrative he's constructed is that of him being a glorious leader and anyone who isn't one of his, is irrelevant.
      He seems to have made it a huge part of his life to play this role, so I'd say that, functionally, he IS a dick head.
      Batman would agree "it's not who I am underneath it's what I do that defines me"
      Personally if I had the choice, I wouldn't like to have a person like him to have any power over a thing I enjoy.

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    2. That was meant to be a general reply, not @Domenic

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