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Seraph IX Basarab: The Goblin and the Wizard

May 22, 2016

By Seraph IX Basarab

Hello, my name is Seraph IX Basarab and I’m a diplomat for Psychotic Tendencies (TISHU). I’ve been a contributor here at EN24 for about five years and I usually write opinion pieces analyzing and critiquing politics within Eve. The opinions written here are mine alone and do not reflect those of anyone else.

Gevlon Goblin and The Mittani have been on opposing sides for years. However, if you note some key similarities, you’ll see they’re two sides of the same coin. In this article I’m going to detail some of those similarities and argue that Gevlon has helped Mittens and GSF more than he has harmed it.

I’m not going to attempt to document every single reason Gevlon hated the Goons, but the gist is that he thinks Goons are literally evil. Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some cringy fucked up individuals within GSF, but I would venture to say the majority of Goons, just like any other alliance, is made up of random Joe Everybodies that simply want to play internet spaceships with their friends. Gevlon on the other hand would argue that being in Goons is supporting “The Evil” even as a low ranked member. So what did Gevlon do? He started the GRR project, essentially using his market trading capabilities to fund groups willing to fight Goons and their CFC allies.

The Marmite Collective, a large highsec mercenary alliance, took a large role in combating the Goons and their coalition. Generally dismissed as “lol highsec mercs” they nonetheless inflicted billions in losses on their target. This relationship continued until Tora Bushido, leader of Marmite, felt that Gevlon micro-managed too much. Gevlon had also hired Noir. which at the time was led by Alekseyev Karrde. The contract was for the 2014 Burn Jita 3 event where the CFC suicide ganked en mass in Jita. Their job was to jam these ganker ships and stop the Goons from having a successful run at their event. The problem was that Alekseyev also took a contract from the Goons to protect them. The obvious conflict of interest was ignored in favor of the money made by Noir, but this is just one example of a relationship Gevlon lost out on in Eve.

Perhaps the most successful entity in Gevlon’s service has been Mordus Angels, an alliance living in NPC Pure Blind that has led attacks on the established power in the North for almost half a decade. MoA, more than any other entity, has been Gevlon’s proxy in challenging the dominance of the CFC. However it was quite interesting to note that when TISHU was hired by IWI to attack SMA’s Fade holdings at the start of 2016, Gevlon’s tone was dismissive, “TISHU made more reddit posts than damage.” However, the effects were plain to everyone. TISHU not only destroyed SMA’s ships, but also attacked their sense of security, trust and confidence in their alliance and its leadership. The key in EVE is to attack the other player’s will to play. Ships can be replaced, but once you destroy the human bonds between players, it’s much harder to put humpty dumpty back together. You can kill twenty SMA ratting Isthars in a week and few people will make much of an issue of it. However, infiltrate their alliance, get inside their poses, awox their capital industrial ships, rob their corporations and generally embarrass them publicly  and you see a whole other game. SMA went from the 2nd largest alliance with 5k members, to at this point having lost some 80% of their members, now having just over a thousand characters left in the alliance.

In any case, I’m not writing this to pat my alliance on the back. But rather to note that Gevlon’s reaction to TISHU was to bad mouth and dismiss the efforts of another group even if their goal to harm the CFC was the same as his own. This shows narcissism and jealousy more than anything else. It’s not enough that the CFC was getting hurt, but it had to be done by him. Essentially someone did what Gevlon’s wanted to do for years now and they did it much more effectively than he ever did. This holy war against ‘The Evil Goons’ had nothing to do with any sort of ideology actually looking out for the best interests of the general population. It was just a childish tantrum of ‘me me me!’.

Mittens is hardly different from Gevlon in that regard. When his kickstarter failed spectacularly toward the end of 2015, Mittens claimed that it was due to some conspiracy by a nefarious shadowy cabal looking to destroy the game. How did he reason this? Well since the CFC is the largest coalition clearly anyone working against them is also working against EVE. Mittens used the same sort of ‘the other side is actually evil’ reasoning that Gevlon used. Ironically, it was Mitten’s push on Pandemic Horde held Cloud Ring, and Gobbin’s ruse leading to the attacking of an abandoned region that actually inspired Lenny of IWI to begin funding elements that would later evolve into the Money Badger Coalition. Further details on the conflict have been better explained elsewhere. The question remains how exactly did the “Goblin and the Wizard” together actually protect the CFC for so long?

I never had any sort of personal grudge with the CFC like Gevlon did. I did, however, have an interest in seeing a major conflict at their expense. The same way a hunter will try to find and kill the biggest ratting target they can, I wanted to attack the largest coalition. In my early time in TISHU I was one of the voices that was pushing our alliance to get involved. But, I had to fight a very interesting phenomenon which was common within many other alliances: embarrassment. This gets exactly to the point I am trying to make. Gevlon’s zealous ramblings about how evil the Goons were made it embarrassing for other entities to take a serious fight against them. Nobody wanted to be seen as unhinged and obsessive as Gevlon. Nobody really wanted to seem to be associated with him. In a sense, Gevlon acted as a propaganda tool for the Goons because any time someone wanted to go to war with them or challenge their position in Eve, Mittens could always point, laugh, and suggest that the only reason someone would ever want to go against them is because they were as much of an obsessive zealot as Gevlon seemed to be. Gevlon was Mitten’s walking talking (read as ranting) strawman and if you went against the CFC well it meant you were with Gevlon.

These numerous entities got over that embarrassment when IWI offered their support, ‘We’re not just doing this for money…we’re doing this for a shitload of money!’ ~ Spaceballs. But money may not have been enough by itself. As awful as being seen as ‘Grr Goon’ was due to Gevlon, Goon leadership handled their PR so spectacularly badly that it mattered less and less. As SMA continued to bleed it became more and more evident that the CFC could not protect itself and months after the Fade campaign started, larger alliances such as PL, NC. and TEST amassed on the CFC’s borders. However, this all could have been done sooner, were it not for Gevlon’s remarkable ability to alienate potential allies in a common cause. Since the Goons have essentially been removed as an effective sov holding entity (aside from low ADM systems they trade back and forth in space they can’t live in) Gevlon has opted to leave EVE Online. So concerned with the well being of other players and EVE (you know since he was fighting ‘The Evil’) that he opted to basically shit on the game and CCP on the way out by making a ‘don’t play Eve online’ page. Very classy. Full disclosure here, I had an exchange with Gevlon myself a few years ago. I did a brief stint in Forsaken Asylum, which at the time was a highsec merc group that in my mind struck the perfect balance between numbers and quality needed for their jobs. I wanted to make myself useful and offered to get us a contract with Gevlon. When I contacted him he told me that MoA was killing more than we ever did. Never mind that we operate in different areas of space affecting different aspects of our target. It essentially boiled down to me telling him we weren’t going to operate at a deficit, I didn’t share his ideological perspective and would rather just work for Goons than him if that was the case since we were an impartial entity. When he was right I backed him up, as when Alekseyev Karrde basically scammed him out of money. However, in this case Gevlon was wrong so that was that.

Perhaps the most entertaining of Gevlon’s blog posts are the long winded rants about how ‘Lenny came out of nowhere and took credit for something I started.’ He essentially feels that he got robbed for the credit of ‘testing and establishing the strategy that would defeat the Goons.’ He even claims that CCP Falcon was against him the whole time and quoted a Reddit post where Falcon said things like “I think Gevlon is nuts but I’d buy him a beer or two!” Yes this was the deep institutionalized bias and propaganda machine to discredit Gevlon. It wasn’t that he’s incapable of not talking down to anyone he interacts with, or that he’s a terrible diplomat, or that he’s obsessed with his own image so much. It’s that CCP and everyone in EVE was conspiring together to take his credit. Does that sound like someone else you may know? Mittens of course. The kickstarter failed because Reddit mods and everyone on Reddit was there to bring it down. CCP was against the Goons of course when they referred to the conflict as “World War Bee” and were evil enough to make an in game background with bees. It wasn’t that the money asked for was insane, nor the hubris and childish tantrums when he didn’t get his way over every petty miniscule thing. When met with failure both Gevlon and Mittens have the same go-to excuse: ‘It’s everyone else’s fault but my own!’

Based on my personal interaction, as well as how he views the role the MBC and IWI played in the fall of the CF,C it seems Gevlon is unable or unwilling to see things within their context. So because he had been hiring an ‘NPC group to attack the CFC’ and stats showed X, Y and Z, he assumes that TISHU’s impact, not bound by the limitations of quantification (in other words the impact of memes go beyond what numbers can show) is somehow his to take credit for in a way. Did that last sentence lose you too? Yeah I’m actually sitting here re-reading it and it doesn’t make much sense for me either and yet it perfectly exemplifies how Gevlon’s thought process works. I recently read an article about people with a condition in which they can’t actually visualize mentally. If someone told them to imagine a green square, nothing would pop up in their mind. In the same way it’s possible that Gevlon’s unable to actually pick up on context in the same way. Or maybe he just any and all charisma, who knows.

I was going to wrap this up by saying Gevlon was over all irrelevant but that’s not the case. He’s extremely relevant, just not in the way he had hoped. Gevlon had all the arguments and all the possibility to do what Eep, Lenny, and others managed to do. Yet he was so bad at it that he then became consumed with trying to claim credit for what others did do. I guess when you fail to claim credit for what others did you quit playing EVE. When you succeed, you lead the largest coalition…until people find out what a fraud you are. Then you get to sit in lowsec and stroke your chin about how ‘it’s all going according to plan.’ Mitten’s story seems to continue providing entertainment for EVE players. Gevlon on the other hand seems to have slammed the door shut on his way out before screaming “EVE is a bad game” and “I won I won! I beat the Goons! No one else but me me me!” It certainly has been fascinating watching both individuals descend into further levels of delusion and madness and how much the Goblin and the Wizard share the same fantasy setting.

~ Seraph IX Basarab