Please Pass the Popcorn

One of my all-time favorite things to do is sit in a nice movie theater, watch a fun flick, and munch popcorn. I don't know how they make popcorn in movie theaters, but it's always the best, most delicious and satisfying popcorn, by far. That stuff is like the crack cocaine of snack foods.

I have no doubt that it is horrible for my health, and is probably shaving a few days off my expected life span every time I eat it, but I still love it. I can't help it.

The last few days in EVE Online have felt like an amazing popcorn movie is just beginning, with the opening scenes jumping straight into the action. The momentum of the plot is building, and it promises to be an exciting story to watch.

What is this epic drama I speak of? It is the potential systematic dismantling of the most enduring and successful null-sec coalition in the game, the Imperium, formerly known as the CFC, led by the infamous space king, The Mittani of the Goons.

If you are new to EVE Online, and you have no idea what that means, imagine something akin to the Berlin Wall about to come down and the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union, but in New Eden. For most of the combatants, this war is widespread revenge against the evil empire, writ large. A broad collection of independent forces - which some call the Money Badger Coalition (MBC), and others call The Allies - have organized together to fight a common enemy. And while it is still early in this potential Great War, the allied forces are clearly winning the first battles.

To get an idea of the broad scope of the conflict, this map (with thanks to Tiberius StarGazer) shows the wide diversity of alliances that have come together to attack Imperium-held space:

I will not recap all of the many player entities involved in this conflict here. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of people smelling blood in Imperium waters, and they are all massing to feast on the pods of their enemies. The motivations of the aggressors have been very well summarized in this post on Talvorian Dex's blog - I highly recommend reading it.

I want to be clear about my position on these events. If I appear to be somewhat giddy about these dramatic turns in sov-holding space, I admit that I am. There hasn't been a really good war - one that brings truly meaningful changes to the power blocs of null-sec - in a long time. And suddenly - BANG! - here is is, a full-blown, popcorn-munching war, like an epic new film debut in full technicolor, IMAX, 3-D and Dolby THX surround-sound glory. Is there anything more entertaining? I think not.

I'm also not a big fan of the Goons. I don't despise them, as many others do, but I don't care for their deliberately thuggish culture. They certainly can play EVE Online that way, and I'll defend to the death their right to so so, but I don't have to approve of it.

I've always said that every good movie needs a strong villain, and the Goons have certainly played that role well for many years. In that regard, they've given EVE Online something that is necessary - somebody has to play the big Bad Guys, or else the story just gets boring.

But is there anything more entertaining than watching the Bad Guys get their comeuppance? It appears that the stage is now set for that scene to play out in the northern regions of New Eden.

First, the Imperium abandoned the Vale of the Silent region because they could not defend against massive allied attacks. Soon after, a couple Imperium groups dropped from the coalition. Now, allied forces have begun to press further into Imperium space.

The war is really just beginning, and is at a tenuous point. Can the very diverse (and far from fully unified) group of allied forces remain resolute in ongoing attacks against the Imperium, or will this temporary coalition of mutual convenience fragment and shatter, and cause the war to fizzle out? Will more Imperium alliances and corporations leave the coalition? Can the Imperium make a stand in their home regions, or will they lose everything? And what will the Goons do if they are denied any sovereignty in null-sec? Would they dissolve their once grand coalition and migrate to low-sec, or simply fade away?

I have no personal stake in this war. I am just a simple explorer and harmless carebear - a recently converted space-hippie in the carefree and non-aggressive Signal Cartel - observing with interest from afar.

But I do love watching a great drama unfold. This war promises to be a blockbuster. I hope it delivers on all the initial buzz. Please pass the popcorn!

Fly safe! o7