The Meta, the Narrative, and the Metanarrative

I don’t normally write too much, but since Brave is in a period of transition, and we are at a point where what beats in the hearts of our Braves will be more important than the regular day to day stuff, I am moved to write a followup to my Tales of Bravery post. There I talked about the importance of the narrative against what a lot of our more cynical and veteran players tend to believe. In that post, however, the backdrop was the name change of the Goonperium and their embrace of a lore-based platform: the ascendancy of the Max VI guy or whatever. Because of that, I am concerned that the point I was trying to make was not entirely clear. Narrative is more than just roleplay, and in my position I was not intending to advocate that because we are Braves we swear allegiance to some Navajo chief in order to make our culture more immersive or whatever. The narrative applies to how we actually interact as players as well, and so here I want to take a different approach in order to make the same point and develop some solidarity and perspective among our members.

So we’ll begin with what Grath Telkin wrote on Twitter today: “Man after the way BNI has been acting this last week, I cant WAIT for them 2 go back to 0.0. We’ll be waiting for you ladies, with a hammer” (He forgot the period, not me.) Now my first reaction was, ‘can these guys comprehend that Brave is not the only source of content in the game?’ However, on a long drive today I got to thinking that there is actually something behind these nerds following us to yet another corner of the galaxy. It’s pretty clear that numbers will be the new meta in fairly short order. Following the sov changes, PL’s I-win-buttons will be “repurposed.” The way of life of the 2,500-man alliance with 100 players and 2,000 Titan alts will be going the way of the dodo. In response, PL has formed their meat shield group, Pandemic Horde, which grew rapidly with Brave’s travails recently. However, with announcements of a return to nullsec, Brave’s hemorrhaging has turned around and excitement has crept back into the alliance in a way that Defsunun did not accomplish. Now the Eve player base grows slowly, but Fozziesov is coming quickly, so those that need numbers now have no other choice but to poach them. The best source to poach from is a single group with large numbers, particularly one with senior members who have ambitions to grow more senior and quickly run off to some dying alliance like PL because they haven’t figured out that PL’s days are numbered, and junior members who only know they want to be friends with the big boys more than they want to carry the torch of the idea that a new group can become great if they pay for it with blood and commitment. The logical conclusion for PL, before CCP nerfs I-win-buttons, is to use them to make it as painful to be Brave as they can. Therefore, no matter where we go, if we stay in Defsunun, or we go to Fountain, or we decide to turn into a mining alliance in the Forge, Pandemic Legion will be there harassing us, trying to make our guys hate to be Brave and long to join them.

I’m mentioning this plan because I want it to be clear that Pandemic Legion is playing the meta in order to win Eve. This needs to be said because I have heard the talk from Pandemic Legion: ‘we’re just having good fights; trying to make you into a better force; don’t sweat that we kicked your asses, it’s a game, and we’re all friends in the end.’ A lot of people think we shouldn’t worry about PL. We should be friends with PL. This is just Eve, and we shouldn’t hold a grudge. They are saying this because they are believing what PL is telling them. Have no illusions, however, PL is playing to win. They are about to become irrelevant. To win they need our numbers. They are doing what they have to do to get them, which is follow us to Fountain, war dec us in Jita, or basically harass us no matter where we are or what we’re doing. It isn’t an idiotic refusal to comprehend that there is content in Eve besides Brave. It isn’t a delusion that the only war left to fight is a Phony War. It’s an actual strategy to survive in the post alts-online-I-win-button Eve that is on the horizon.

That being said, just know that Fountain will not be a bong party. Our leaders were smart in committing to NPC space and nothing more. Don’t get too wrapped around the axle concerning plans to divide up the R64s. We may get some of them some of the time. Come June, sov will be easier to challenge. Most of the older parties are toting the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ line. The only one that isn’t is the Goonperium, although they are pulling back to what they can reasonably defend with their insane numbers. The Goonperium isn’t exactly threat number one, as their program is to prevent the birth of a second numerically superior power. They will always third party against us to prevent us from being a legitimate threat, but they don’t need to siphon us in order to keep going like PL does. The point, however, is that after Fozziesov, we’ll take sov over and over only to have it taken away in a massive back and forth. I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if Fountain became a bunch of entities living in NPC space with nobody really owning anything with any stability. None of this should dishearten us. That’s just going to be the way it’s going to be until PL is nerfed into irrelevance. The future is still ours. We still have the idea, and we still have the players. So the plan should essentially be at this point to undock and die and have fun. Fountain is a definite step up for Brave because we can see the future and the goal. But don’t get your hearts set on swarming into Fountain and claiming the region right here right now. The battles are not being won in the fleets. They are being won by the recruiters. We will ultimately get to where we are going, but the move to Fountain is step one in a metagame that will be played over the course of the remainder of the year. We should not see ourselves as trying to accomplish a goal that is constantly being thwarted with the result being our broken hearts. We are climbing the Everest of our place in Eve. Let’s not shit the bed. We do not lose when we get blown up. We lose when we give up and join the alliance that dumped all over us.

Sov is the goal. Even the ‘I didn’t want that sov anyway’ crowd understands that their dominance and relevance depends on their ability to take sov from those who do want it. You don’t see Mittens giving up sov because it’s just so damned worthless. However, while we will eventually rule, the battles are going to be many, because the narrative is not, ‘don’t worry about Catch, PL are our friends looking for gudfights.’ If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eve, despite being a sandbox where everyone can set their own goals, is a game people play to win. PL is playing to win, and their victory is our loss. That’s the narrative.

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