Recently EN24 wrote a few articles about Brave that I am finally getting to writing about. I resisted many urges to write knee-jerk reactions over the last several days, but am now writing because I just don’t want to let these articles slide into Eve’s collective memory without some sort of comment. I’ve done some asking around and fact-checking, and as a line member in the Bearded BattleBears I do have some knowledge to contribute. The articles to be discussed are parts 1 and 2 of “A Brave Story” By Matterall and “Pandemic Horde’s 2 Weeks in Space” by Hona Chaginai. In my view these articles aren’t real journalism. I wouldn’t even assess their reliability to be on par with a horoscope. After reading them, I experienced many emotions, but at this time, after a week or so, my general reaction is one of dismay and pity. It’s generally been thought that while TMC is obviously a Goon propaganda outfit, EN24, if harboring a generally anti-Goon sentiment, is the closest thing Eve has to a neutral news source, even if only from the diversity of its opinions. In taking a look at these articles, I am alarmed at the lack of quality in EN24’s journalism. In order to display some of this lack of quality, I am going to offer a critique of these articles beginning with the Brave Story pieces and moving on to the Pandemic Horde article. This blog post will be a long one, as there are a number of issues to cover.
So beginning with the Brave Story articles, and before getting into details, it’s important to explain an issue of general principle that will reveal these articles as basically entertainment pieces of pure fiction rather than actual journalism. At the outset I would like to state that there is no Broker. I actually have some experience with “Broker” stuff due to some TDY assignments I took for INSCOM before my second Iraq deployment. Let me explain. The Broker is virtually always a method of turning damage control into an advantageous position in clandestine relations in which the Broker universally doesn’t exist. For example, say you have infiltrated an organization with a half dozen agents who are going about their business of collecting information properly, meaning that the organization doesn’t even know that they are there. During the course of events, and fairly closely in proximity in time, a couple of the agents make mistakes and now the organization knows it’s being targeted for collection. At this point you have three options. You can just soldier on making minimal adjustments. This is often a very dangerous option because the organization’s counterintelligence will likely step up efforts to find your agents, and they are in an increased state of danger. Your second option is to go to ground and cease collecting or minimize it greatly, changing and extracting compromised assets. This is a safe course and leaves the opportunity that the organization will return to complacency in short order, but results in greatly diminished collection, often for a very long time. However, if you have the assets and technology to keep collecting on your enemy even if he goes to ground, then a third option presents itself: “the Broker.” What you do with this option is leak to the organization that you do indeed have agents in their organization. In fact, you have thousands (although you really don’t). All these agents are being handled by some kind of Broker super spy type. Let them know that everyone in the organization could be the Broker. They need to be paranoid. They need to ramp up operational security so much that employees have to go to work naked and putting a thumb drive into a computer is a violation of national security. If you’re spying on the Soviets or Saddam’s Iraq, you’ll find important people being sent to the gulag or turning up dead in ditches in Kurdistan. Expert leaders will be excluded from decision-making. No one is looking for your agents anymore, because they think everyone is an agent. What I am trying to get at with this is that the Broker isn’t really a person, but rather a disinformation tactic. These articles are playing pure Hollywood by intimating otherwise.
With that said, let’s take a look at a real Broker that we all know and some people even love. Sion Kumitomo is the chief of staff for the Goonperium and a successful diplomat. He represents an organization with great resources. People care about what he has going on. He has a strong reputation. He most likely has a three-digit IQ and isn’t known to be stupid. And most importantly, people know who he is. Now Sion doesn’t get up at Fanfest and give talks about all the mistakes he has made, but he does make them. He gets his way a lot, but not all the time. He does in fact take a poop daily just like the rest of us. Anyone wishing to thwart him will have quite a task on their plate, but he can in fact be bested by individuals and organizations with less talent and resources than he has. In fact, he is most likely to be thwarted by parties who are too screwed up to play ball properly. This is an example of a Broker. Potentially formidable, but unequivocally mortal – most certainly identifiable. Trying to portray the various schemers in Eve as some kind of force for a supernatural Illuminati will at first glance reveal these articles as mere bits of fiction fit only for entertainment. Finally, it is also of note that the articles went so far as to insinuate that Mittens is a mere puppet that works for Sion. I bet those two had a chuckle about that.
Now having set the tone with the above explanations of diplomatic reality and principle, let’s take a look at statements made in the articles that show them to be pieces of pure spin having no regard for honesty. I do believe that everyone reading noticed right off that the articles tried to pin the destruction of N3 on the fact that Brave was in Aridia. While everyone could see that this was nonsense, let me offer some perspective to bolster the opinion:
- Brave took Catch by agreement with and the support of NC. and N3.
- Brave and N3 fought regularly for many months of gudfights without a single supercap escalation.
- There was only one incident of difficulty where some rogue pilots in Brave shot an NC. station. Brave dealt with this to NC.’s satisfaction, and no negative consequences resulted.
- During the defense of Delve, when Brave was on its face and all of New Eden was crying ‘collapse!’, NC. hired Brave to assist in the defense.
- During the break up of N3, not a single N3 alliance said, ‘hey, we are having problems, let’s keep ourselves in the game at Brave’s expense by poaching members.’
- Recently, in an address to his alliance where he unveiled a unique program for success unrelated to other N3 members and unrelated to Brave, Sslink told his pilots in GCLUB to “stay classy” and “look out for the new bros.” He also said that his alliance would not earn greatness by kicking babies in the teeth. Obviously Brave is highly regarded for its cultural ethic by one N3 alliance whose leader has sympathized with Brave’s plight.
What this tells me is that if NC. or any N3 party needed assistance from Brave in order to keep the coalition together, they would have gotten what they needed from Brave. Merely existing in Aridia was in no way responsible for the breakup of N3. All public indications say that N3 was ready to break up, and the N3 alliances are forging their futures by adapting to the new meta in individual ways, absolutely none of them to Brave’s detriment. Why then would these articles make the absolutely ludicrous assertion that Brave ruined N3? Well, it’s either a part of a program in opposition to Brave, or it’s a lame attempt to entertain readers with lies.
So on to the next issue. I am a line member in Bearded BattleBears (J3B), a corporation discussed in the second article. The article gives contradictory presentations of J3B as some ultra-rich and powerful corporation exploiting Brave for its own benefit on the one hand while at the same time pinning J3B’s successes on the industrial expertise of a member who is no longer present. So which is it? Are we a big, rich corporation in Brave that is a threat to the alliance, or are we a bunch of impotent yahoos who can’t accomplish anything without Impala59? Not only are these assertions contradictory but they are false. Yes, J3B is a wealthy and capable corporation that has made ISK off of selling capitals to Brave. The article does not mention that J3B has its own SRP program within Brave and offers this program to Brave FCs, and that J3B has spent billions upon billions keeping that SRP going and those gudfights happening. What J3B took from Brave by its industrial expertise it has given back to Brave via FC support. As to Impala59, I’ve never met the guy. As an industrialist myself, I can affirm that J3B has no shortage of industrial expertise. J3B is a pillar of Brave, not a threat to it. When Brave gets hit, J3B gets hit. Obvious to me is that these rumblings about conflict of interest were reported to Matterall by parties disgruntled themselves in past dealings with J3B. I won’t name any names, but if you dig around reddit, I am sure you’ll be able to draw some conclusions.
Moving on, I’ll say that I won’t talk specifically about the DRF Rus Coalition and the beginning of Toasty’s involvement in things. I wasn’t there, and I am just a line member not in all the channels. What I can say is that I did a lot of talking to various people and that there are innumerable perspectives on exactly what happened and who made various things happen with that whole event. The details of this event are portrayed in the article with far too simple and unilateral understandings of causality. Again, I won’t speak definitively as to who Matterall was talking to in order to get this perspective, but I might deign to speculate. He seemed to offer a lot of details about the dealings of Lament Icarus, an individual who accused a J3B director of being a PL spy in order to form his own corp within Brave, was later censured for shooting an NC. station, and was finally purged from the alliance for some highly questionable chat logs that called his loyalty and agenda into doubt. Lament is now in PL, a group that has set its sights on perpetuating its locker room culture by poaching Brave’s members through attacking the quality of Brave’s leadership. Again, I have no definitive information as to Matterall’s sources, but this description of Lament serves as an example of one of many individuals with complex relationships with Brave and myriad agendas of their own who would have been glad to spin Matterall like a top. Matterall has not responded to me with the names of his sources, nor has he given indication of interviewing individuals currently in and supportive of Brave’s present government.
Having said all of the above, and really only being able to speak with first hand experience about certain details of J3B, I won’t make any long commentary about Toasty, the coup, or the issues that lead up to them. Suffice it to say that the things I have said here – that there is no such thing as a superhuman Broker, that any idiot could see that an assertion of Brave’s destruction of N3 is ludicrous, and that the characterization of J3B was hostile, inaccurate, and irrelevant – should be enough to convince anyone that these articles are nothing more than flippant reddit posts made to look official by being put on EN24. Now while it would be one thing to call these articles sensationalist and sloppy journalism, one has to wonder if people at EN24 have some sort of agenda to push.
After all, these two articles came on the heels of “Pandemic Horde’s 2 Weeks in Space.” This article offers slanted statistics, not speaking directly about Pandemic Horde’s current combat statistics other than to compare them with Brave’s statistics of years ago. That can’t be anything other than highly tendentious salesmanship of Pandemic Horde. “Our shitty killboard looks better than back when someone else’s killbord was shitty.” Really? First, this tells you more about Pandemic Horde than you’d think. Brave has never cared about killboards. Frankly most rational players only care about killboards for their intelligence value. Pandemic Legion, however, has for years insisted upon fantastic killboard statistics, refusing to take on players with bad killboard statistics regardless of the circumstances that created the killboards. Apparently Pandemic Horde is catering to the killboard nutty types. This will pose a problem for them in the long run because their alleged target audience, new players, aren’t going to reap awesome killboard stats. They aren’t going to want to be pressured into providing awesome killboard stats either. The advertising slogan of, ‘come to PH rather than Brave because our killboard is better than theirs….was….years ago….’ is not going to forge any positive identity for their group. Nonetheless, it is an advertising slogan. The second slogan mentioned in the article is ‘We are just like Brave, only without the mediocre leadership.’ This ‘mediocre leadership’ thing has me rolling my eyes. We have the only Alliance Executor in Eve’s history who defeated a coup by pure class. We have my CEO Kelnon, Patriot, Nancy, Blue Ice, Cagali, and many other fine Eve players and leaders who do a stellar job. No leader is immune to mistakes. All have made them. What gets me is that this mediocre leadership thing seems dreamed up in order to take down Brave. I mean the Goonperium with PL support slammed into N3 and caused the entire coalition to collapse in days. Where are all the articles talking about how Vince and Progodlegend are crappy leaders and N3 fell because of ‘mediocre leadership?’ There aren’t any, because we know Vince and Progodlegend aren’t crappy leaders. Really, there aren’t any because PL already poached all the NC. members they wanted a long time ago and has no need to break them down anymore (Van Diemens Demise?). We know that no leader is perfect, and that alliances and coalitions rise and fall, change direction, etc. But with Brave, for some reason, everything is the responsibility of some phantasmal ubiquitous failure of leadership. Really it’s time to call that bullshit what it is. Brave’s ‘mediocre leadership’ is just an anti-Brave propaganda campaign.
So now with everything stated, I’d like to know if EN24 has just lost touch with its journalistic responsibility and taken to publishing any and all sensationalist crap submitted to it, or if there is actually some sort of anti-Brave sentiment in that organization. Are we going to be getting more of this junk?