news entity. Figuratively, not literally. Is The Mittani dead?
The Mittani never spoke all that often, but when he did, people listened. Once per month there was his Ten Ton Hammer blog. Every six to eight weeks, a State of the Goonion. and in between all that, the occasional major operation announced, to pick Goons up off their asses, rally them to change the face of the New Eden landscape. It might seem like he was always speaking, but that's only because everyone else was always speaking of him.
Didn't matter what side of the fence you came down on. Love him. Hate him. We paid attention. And then we all talked about him. Some with angry bitter rants. Some with mindless cheerleading. Others with long articles picking apart semantics, CSIing through every word and phrase. Some took the words at face value, some twisted them to suit their agendas. Laud the words or defraud the words, attention was given and words were written.
The Mittani began the same as any of us. A newbie capsuleer. Working for his ISK. Discovering and learning the game. He eventually found his niche, like any of us. For some of us, that's faction warfare. For other's that is mining. Some focus on industry and hauling. Others lean towards PvP. The Mittani found his love in subterfuge and espionage. He entered and rose the ranks of Goonswarm Intelligence.
In 2009, The Mittani was responsible for breaking one of the largest power blocs in New Eden, the dominance of Band of Brothers came to an abrupt end. He continued on in director positions until the dark days of Goonswarm.
In early 2010, Goon CEO Karttoon disbanded GoonSwarm in a manner reminiscent to the Band of Brothers break-up. Whereas the Band of Brothers dissolution was due to subterfuge, the GoonSwarm dissolution was due to personal rage. For the next half year, Goonswarm wallowed in a lethargic state and people wondered if Goonswarm would ever recover. Then in mid-2010, The Mittani became the executor for the new Goonswarm Federation. It is from this period of time to the present that The Mittani came into his own, as a leader and public figure within EVE Online. He began moving from mere player to serious EVE celebrity.
In 2011, The Mittani ran for and won the chairman's seat on the sixth CSM. He was relatively quiet as chairman until the Summer of Rage, where he very much helped to stir the pot, so to speak. He used his position to successfully raise awareness of the errors in CCP's current direction with EVE Online. The Mittani ultimately claimed success in changing CCP's development direction, the final result being the much lauded Crucible expansion. Whether The Mittani warrants that accolade is for others to debate, but his role as a figurehead for the protests is undeniable. It was around this time period that many in the community began referring to him as the King of Space. The celebrity of The Mittani was at its greatest extent.
One of The Mittani's great strengths was keeping his membership engaged with the game. Nullsec was beginning to stagnate, and Goonswarm logins were in slow decline. In late 2011, The Mittani initiated the Delve Thunderdome operation, a bold plan to introduce a constant area of warfare for nullsec players. This proved to be more effort than it was worth.
In early 2012 The Mittani deserted the Thunderdome operation and refocused Goonswarm's attention on Branch. In short order they pushed White Noise out of their long-held territory. The operation was so quick, so decisive, that The Mittani, eager to keep his troops active, decided that Tenal should be next. Another swift victory and Raiden was forced to vacate their territory.
Then came Hulkageddon. With insurance for ganking gone, Hulkageddon 2012 was looking to be more muted and sedate. The Mittani implemented a 3rd-party payout system, coming straight out of the Goonswarm coffers, guaranteeing all mining gankers an income. Hulkageddon V become the bloodiest miner gankfest in EVE history. Nearly 4T ISK in damages were recorded.
Then came the seventh CSM. The Mittani was looking for another strong mandate and a second chairman position. He got both in spades, garnering the largest number of votes for any candidate for any CSM. Over ten thousand votes. Then Fanfest happened. An error in judgement by The Mittani, an error few people batted an eye over when it happened, was latched onto by his enemies. The gaming press caught wind. The Mittani was forced to resign his CSM position and was given a 30 day ban from EVE Online.
On the day that The Mittani's ban was lifted, the Burn Jita weekend event began. Thousands of Goonswarm and other like-minded players bore down on Jita for the biggest weekend gankfest in EVE Online history. Thousands of ships and hundreds of billions of ISK were destroyed. The forums overflowed with rage and tears.
Since then, he's kept the community angered and bemused with the OTEC monopoly of technetium. Goonswarm assisted Test with their taking of Delve, Querious and Period Basis. Into late 2012 Goonswarm continues to be occupied with The Mittani's busy bees are happy bees projects.
The Mittani has gone from player to major mover and shaker to celebrity to icon. He's definitely EVE Online's most famous player. Larger than life is inadequate at expressing the level of recognition he has. No one has ever possessed his level of fame, he's a unique persona in the history of EVE Online. It is hard to believe than anyone will ever achieve a similar level of notoriety.
It's been several months since The Mittani has made a serious public presence. The last State of the Goonion was at the end of June 2012. His last blog post was a dull wrap up of Delve War V. Currently Goonswarm is engaged in war in Tribute, but no State of the Goonion preceded that action (which is unusual, because The Mittani has prefaced every major Goon action with a semi-public announcement to the membership.)
The Mittani has gone silent. Is The Mittani as an individual, is he no more?
Today The Mittani is a news site. He's a dot-com. He is a brain-trust. A faceless entity. His Twitter is no more than advertising for new articles and book reviews, co-opted by the website editors. The Mittani has moved from mythic individual to all-purpose brand. In some ways, this has diluted The Mittani as a presence in EVE Online. His site welcomes all sides of a debate, which is a departure from the polarizing viewpoints of the individual. When people talk of The Mittani today, do they refer to the dot-com or the man? And as time moves foward, does the brand become the de facto representation for The Mittani name?
As long as The Mittani website thrives, continues to exist, The Mittani's legacy will live on in EVE Online, he will continue to remain mythic. That, in and of itself, is a fascinating and awesome achievement, to have actually transformed into something that could very well be everlasting (with respect to however long the game itself lasts.)
Can The Mittani, as an individual, continue to exist now that he's become something other, something intangible, a corporate entity in a sense? I don't believe he can. The individual is retired. He's gone. Kaput. He's kicked the can. The legacy continues. The Mittani lives on as legend and myth now. His legacy may be assured, but does that legacy accurately reflect the legend?
I think we may hear from The Mittani one last time, but it will be a farewell. An adios. A thanks for all the tears.
(NOTE: I was halfway through this article when Mord Fiddle released his article Fly in Amber, which also examines The Mittani brand. I've yet to read the entire article, as I pondered whether to give up the ghost on this or not. I didn't want my reading of Mord's article to colour my own thoughts. Obviously I decided to finish my own writing and post. Mord's thoughts and my own may differ in some ways that may make both interesting bookends to The Mittani's legacy. At any rate, I am finished compiling my own thoughts. I have only to click publish. And now I am off to read Mord's article in its entirety. If you haven't read Mord's thoughts, please do so. Feel free to comment by way of comparison.)