The Sad Clown of EvE
Posted by Corelin
A few weeks ago I traded Tweets with The Mittani. He was making Foundation references and I called him as being The Mule. He accepted it as a compliment, which in a way it was, and in a way it wasn’t. I admire a lot about The Mittani and I don’t just say that because I have a couple billion isk sitting in a space station he can have me locked out of in a heartbeat. He has taken one of the most chaotic and traditionally unpredictable groups of players and formed them into the leadership backbone of the most powerful coalition of EvE. He’s had a lot of help, and while he’s certainly powerful, he doesn’t seem to be his own man anymore.
When The Mule first shows up he’s a sad clown. Literally. He’s an escaped court jester who happens to secretly be the single most powerful being of the universe. He’s a pathetic dreg of a refugee, seemingly at the mercy of every player in the galactic game. He infiltrates his enemy, comes to understand them, undermines their ability to resist and destroys then. He doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus, but still he reflects on the futility of it all as he is sterile.
The Mittani built his original name as the spymaster of EvE. His ability to find the weakest link of any alliance and hammer it is still without peer. He ascended the ranks of Goonswarm to emerge as its face and its brand. He has wrangled control of the alliance and has likely paid a price for it. The Mittani is a toon I don’t think anyone would want to log in on legitimately. Sure it’d be fun to log in and send nasty evemails to all his mailing lists, but to actually try to fill his shoes? That sounds like work. The Mittani doubtless spends much time playing on alts, much as The Mule spent time hiding out as a sad clown on a beach. Escaping his mountainous responsibility, spending time out of the palaces, the command centers, and still not escaping completely. He has his mission and his responsibility, and he cannot escape the final accounting.
At the end of his conquest the Mule reflects on how short-lived his empire will be. Knowing his own power has come at the cost of an ability to produce a true heir to the throne. The Mittani has a similar problem; Mitten’s position depends too much on being in the spotlight, his brand has to be the biggest in EvE. Of course to bring a successor into power HE has to have that same credit. He has to have his own voice, his own power, his own time in the light. Hard to do when The Mittani is already there and in no position to grant time to another. When The Mittani steps back from the limelight he will of necessity leave a hole in the landscape. Goonswarm will still have leadership due to their heavy investment in “leadership capital” building the kind of dynamic structure that it takes to manage the premier empire of EvE, but more than that, what makes Goonswarm “The Swarm” is the irreverent ,vital (in every sense of the word) intense leadership of one man, who has become a living banner, and a lightning rod for what it means to be a Goon. The man behind the curtain is easy to replace, it’s the man in front of it, the Great and Powerful Mittens!™©® fnord etc who might be more of a challenge.
The Mittani has more power than any individual in EvE. He is also more constrained by that power, and by the demands of the brand than any player in EvE. It makes me wonder how much he means what he says. It makes me wonder if we should trust anything he says anywhere.