EVE Online, Kickstarter, and The Fountain War

One of the things talked about at EVE Vegas was the Fountain War book.

Author Jeff Edwards, in cooperation with The Mittani Media, and fully endorsed and licensed by CCP, is set to write the story of the Fountain War of 2013, the conflict between the then CFC and TEST and its allies as the CFC attempted to wrest the moon-rich region away from its owner.  The war ran from June 6, 2013 through to early August of that year… longer if you want to include the cleansing of Delve.

The war saw regular large and often bloody battles including The Lazamo, the node reset fail at Z9PP-H, and the final epic confrontation at 6VDT-H, the latter which remains the largest battle in EVE Online history, with more participants than the supercapital slaughter at B-R5RB a few months later.

Reinforcements bridge in

6VDT-H station during the battle

I addition to the battles, there was a simmering build up, where war seemed likely at several points, the painful need for the CFC to change up doctrines after the war started, along with spies, politics, personalities, alliances of convenience, betrayal, and propaganda, all things that make for a spectacle in New Eden.

The Fountain War is also somewhat recent in the History of New Eden, at least compared to the Great War and the destruction of Band of Brothers, which culminated back in 2009.  Plenty of articles about it remain on new sites… except EN24, which at some point purged its posts from that era.

For me the book sounds great.  I was there and very active throughout the Fountain War.  I wrote a whole series of posts about the war, which I summed up in a list here.  I would very much like to see a military sci-fi novel telling the tale of the war.

Yesterday, the Kickstarter to fund the project went live.  The goal is to raise $150,000.

As is usual for Kickstarter campaigns, there are a wide variety of support options.

For a mere $10 you can get an ebook version of the whole thing once it is done.

Ten Bucks...

Ten Bucks…

And if you have $10,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can have a whole chapter in the book about you and your character and what you did during the war.  I would love somebody who just scammed people out of ISK in Jita during the whole thing to sign up for that.

To be a start you must spend like a star...

To be a start you must spend like a star…

There are some rewards that seem more than a bit dubious. One got declared RMT.  You cannot give away The Mittani’s in-game corpse for real world money. (Waiting for the Gevlon post on that.)  And I am not sure who would be motivated to lay down $500 for a virtual pizza party with Jeff Edwards and The Mittani.  But I thought I saw that John Smedley was in for $1,000 for the dinner and private party at next year’s EVE Vegas.  Can’t find where I saw that through, so maybe I just dreamt it.  Wait, no… there it is.

And Smed brings up another aspect of the Kickstarter, the support from both within the video game industry and without.

Supporters graphic from the Kickstarter

Supporters graphic from the Kickstarter

In addition I have seen people like Lord British, Gordon Walton tweeting their support for the project.

So we have a well supported Kickstarter campaign on a subject about which I am both familiar and enthusiastic; I’m in.  I pledged last night, though my donation to the cause is far closer to the “Digital Copy” end of the spectrum than the “Your Own Chapter,” or even the “Virtual Pizza Party” end of the spectrum.

However, even after my own enthusiasm, all the external support, and all the effort that has gone into setting up this campaign, it does not look like it will be a slam dunk success.  Jeff Edwards and The Mittani Media are going to have to work to make their goal.  Here are some of the hurdles I see facing the campaign.

Not Winning Fast Enough

While that didn’t apply to Dominion Sovereignty campaigns, Kickstarter campaigns are a different thing altogether.  Support for Kickstarter projects tend to look like an inverted bell curve, with a large spike in the first and last 48 hours of the campaign.  My own, admittedly limited, observation of Kickstarter indicates that campaigns are won or lost during those time frames.  Rare is the Kickstarter campaign with a strong mid-game.

In the first 48 hours your true believers pile in and give their support.  This is the measure of the core fan base, the people you can depend on.  The Fountain War campaign managed about 10% of its goal in the first 24 hours.  That isn’t bad.  Nobody should be folding up the tents and heading home yet.  But that wasn’t a really strong outing either.  20-25% in the first 48 hours would make me more certain.

Follow The Money

For his Kickstarter campaign, Andrew Groen, a professional journalist attempting to tackle the history of null sec in his Empires of EVE book, asked for the modest sum of $12,500.  He exceeded his goal almost immediately and finished his campaign with $95,729.  That allowed him to expand the scope of his project and produce a better end product.

Jeff Edwards and The Mittani Media are asking for $150,000 to write what I will unfairly call “some fan fiction” about one war in null sec.  So tell me why they are asking for 50% more money than Andrew Groen got and twelve times as much as he initially asked for?

On that Kickstarter page there are all sorts of wonderful endorsements and rewards and blue sky forward looking statements, but there isn’t a word about why they need that specific amount or what it might be earmarked for.

And when I see somebody associated with the project responding to questions about the money with retorts about not knowing how the publishing business works, my gut response is, “You’re right! I don’t know about the publishing business, and your response didn’t increase my knowledge one iota!”

I think there has to be some statement about where the money will go.  And if it is because Jeff Edwards will be devoting his life for the next six months to this project so we have to pay his mortgage and utilities or because publishers require a big deposit to setup printing of a third party project or that the team had to provide coke and whores for the head of Random House in order to get the project going, that is still better than telling me I’m not in the business so I wouldn’t understand.

The Mittani Himself

Has there ever been a more divisive person in a multiplayer video game?

I think you literally have to go to Derek Smart to find somebody who can command more knee-jerk rage than The Mittani.  I don’t think Smed could match him, even in front of an audience of SWG fans.

For every dedicated follower I would be willing to bet there are two EVE Online players who hate him, even if they cannot figure out exactly why.  Let me help you.  He’s arrogant.  He’s smug.  He scams people, even using his position as chairman of the CSM to further his efforts.  His followers blow people up in high sec, scam, and bring war and destruction wherever they travel in New Eden.  And not only is he in the null sec club, a group that thinks they are THE game in the game, he also runs an elitist organization that you cannot join.  You can be an affiliate, a partner, an ally, but if you’re not one of Lowtax’s chosen, you can’t get into GoonWaffe.  And he barely even logs into the game.  He just likes to play the meta game.  Seeing Mittens in space is quite a thing.  And a couple of the rewards being offered reinforce some of these views, like:

How soon until he mutes you though?

How soon until he mutes you though?

Like I said, being in space with Mittens is special

Like I said, being in space with Mittens is special

Naming a media site after The Mittani certainly got it past the obscurity barrier, but it still faces the stigma associated with that name.  But at least it still gets people who go there just to be enraged.  But asking for $150,000… that just feeds the hate.

Well, we shall see.

I personally want this project to succeed if only because of my personal attachment to the events in question.  The campaign is into day 2 and has passed the $17,000 mark.  I will be watching it on Kicktraq to see how it is trending as time goes by.

If you missed any links above, you can find the Kickstarter page here.

 

12 thoughts on “EVE Online, Kickstarter, and The Fountain War

  1. streamweaver

    Ultimately I think these kinds of stories seem neat but don’t do Eve Online any favors. The game is already seen as having a toxic community of self obsessed griefers. This kind of thing doesn’t really feature the community, so much as it highlights the insular nature of the game community by focusing on the same few alliances rehashing the same old tired stories.

    Like

  2. Gripper

    This just doesnt seem interesting to me. I was in the middle of this war also, and logged in and towards the end stopped playing – was just to much like work and less fun. So not sure I would pay money to read about experiences that I am very much familiar with as a line grunt that got burnt out fighting in this one. I did the first Eve book but this one I just don’t see as a must have at all.

    I can read your blog and get enjoyment about enough of eve… :)

    Like

  3. bhagpuss

    As someone with a vague understanding of how publishing works I was already asking myself “What do they need $150k for?” well before I got to the part of the post where you ask the same question. Maybe Derek Smart will find the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I was close to the mark when I said something about paying his bills. The inside word is that Jeff Edwards will go part time on his regular job to work on this project full time. That is what the funds are for. Of course, that came to me via jabber, not from any public source.

    Also:

    Like

  5. Gevlon

    It costs so much money, because it’s not expected to sell.

    Printed books are purchased by offline, typically older people. I can’t remember when I purchased a book last time for any other purpose than gift for someone old. Must be before 2000. It’s not that I don’t read several hours a day, I just do it on a screen. Hell, they don’t even make an e-book version!

    The copies will be gifted away on comic con and other venues where non-gamer sci-fi fans can appear, literally being the most expensive recruitment flyers ever made.

    PS: one more reason why the campaign has hard time: someone really mean just made a campaign to revitalize interest in the worst moment of The Mittani.

    Like

  6. Anonymous

    I don’t think they’ll get it. 150k is insane. That’s well outside an average advance for a book unless you’re a superstar, and Jeff Edwards doesn’t qualify. He may be a perfectly good author, but I’ve read thousands of books and until this have never heard of him. The number of reviews for all of his books on Goodreads sits just a tad over 1000, for 5 novels. Best seller he ain’t, even if he pulls a higher than average review rating. He’d never pull a 150k advance. He’d never pull a 100k advance with 50k left over for publishing costs. It just doesn’t make sense unless the kickstart is also to pad the startup fund of The Mittani Media so it has play money to work on secondary projects.

    Like

  7. Dinsdale Pirannha

    The best part of this whole thing is it confirms, once and for all, how CCP looks the other way at goon’s RMT machine.

    First, we have the clearcut game item for cash. “Minor mistake” or not, someone like me would have been permabanned even before that link could be removed from Kickstarter, which also leads to the question of how it was since someone had actually pledged to that goal. Then, the replacement breaks the EULA hugely, so it had to be replaced.

    But of course, no comment from CCP on who gets banned, because no one was.

    It is also pretty slick with this incorporated media shit. Now goons can float all kinds of RMT ideas, and hide behind the fact that “someone within the corporation that is not an Eve player” thought up the next idea and implemented it without discussing with goon leadership, (assuming CCP gets enough negative pressure to do something.)

    Like

  8. SynCaine

    I just don’t see the need for this, especially considering the other EVE book is near completion, and covers more and bigger events. I’d say that if this Kickstarter was asking the same amount of money; at the amount they are asking for, no chance.

    And while I’m a big fan of Mittani overall and his impact to EVE, I think his association in this does more harm than good, unless the expectation here is that this is a book by Goons, for Goons, but its not looking like said Goons are $150k into reading about a war they were in.

    Like

  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    From today’s project update, where the funding will be spent.

    Here is where the money for the Fountain War book project goes:

    60% Author Expenses (normally covered by a publishing house)
    20% Publishing and Distribution
    10% KS and processing fees
    5% to Merchandise
    5% to Marketing

    If they got exactly $150K that would mean:

    $90K Author Expenses (normally covered by a publishing house)
    $30K Publishing and Distribution
    $15K KS and processing fees
    $7.5K to Merchandise
    $7.5K to Marketing

    Like

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