Thursday, March 29, 2012

SuicideGate

The Mittani is the master of the Eve metagame, riding that skill to internet gaming celebrity and the chairmanship of Eve Online’s 6th Council of Stellar Management. On the eve of assuming the chairmanship of the 7th CSM after his crushing victory in the March elections he made a fatal mistake that his enemies seized upon, leaving CCP no choice but to strip The Mittani of his title and place on New Eden’s player council.

Despite attending the 2012 Fanfest I missed witnessing the event by not attending the Alliance Panel. At the panel were several alliance CEO’s, including Dirt Nap Squad’s DNS Black and The Mittani, head of Goonswarm Federation. Both had appeared on the previous year’s panel and mixed up their presentations to be less than serious in an effort to entertain the crowd. In fact, The Mittani’s presentation the year before was not very good and he was visibly trying to impress the crowd.

The reason I mention DNS Black is that the hard drinking ex-Marine is always willing to share his beloved Jagermeister with others. He is also a happy drunk as I found out on the Golden Circle tour the day before the convention began. In other words, he is the type of person you want to hang around because sober or drunk he is very likable. And with DNS Black and The Mittani sitting together the alcohol began to flow.

After watching DNS Black’s presentation on how Dirt Nap Squad penetrated Jovian space then shooting The Mittani with magic missiles before presenting The Mittani with a genuine Jovian wizard’s hat, my interpretation of the video indicates that The Mittani thought he would be funnier if drunk. So in addition to what he had already drank he downed a couple more shots. A big mistake in judgment.  Unlike DNS Black, The Mittani is a sloppy drunk and it really showed.

Also unlike DNS Black, whose presentation poked good-natured fun at CCP’s closure of Jovian space, The Mittani’s presentation poked fun at other players. Actually an appropriate choice for the head Goon as it demonstrated the GSF attitudes toward the game, but a presentation that I believe really required The Mittani to not get more that slightly buzzed in order to pull of properly. That didn’t happen.

After Fanfest ended The Mittani’s enemies seized upon a slide of a miner’s letter implying that he was suicidal after undergoing a bad divorce. Given that this is Eve I think everyone in the audience believed the letter was an effort to get someone to feel bad and compensate him for the 22 Hulks he lost in a smartbombing attack. I know I did as I watched the presentation. But in fairness to The Mittani, his PowerPoint presentation did undergo CCP review and they allowed it because the The Mittani made no mention of any player names. But in my opinion The Mittani was really feeling the alcohol and that part of the presentation was rated NC. No class.

With one half of the panel drunk CCP Xhagen attempted to close down the panel as it ran long but the audience wanted to ask questions. The panel still almost managed to close down without incident until a player indicated that the miner The Mittani poked fun at had also been driven out of the Drone Regions also.  After the player told The Mittani that a second time The Mittani decided to shout out the miner's name and encouraged everyone to track him down to try to get him to kill himself.

Being at Fanfest staying in a hotel with flaky internet service I didn't catch the early rumblings about the call to gank the miner.  From the little I read and heard in the Harpa center the controversy was that members of the panel, especially The Mittani, were a disgrace because they drank and used bad language.  I didn't hear about the suicide controversy until I got back home on Tuesday.  Not only did I find a threadnaught calling for The Mittani's ouster, but a player had contacted Eurogamer to get the media ball rolling.

The Mittani first issued an apology for his statement on the forums.  But the apology was too late as CCP had already begun an investigation.  As pressure grew from both the player base and the media, The Mittani carried through with his pledge to resign as chairman of the CSM on Wednesday.  But two hours later CCP issued their own ruling, totally removing The Mittani from CSM7 and banning him from Eve for 30 days for violating the EULA/TOS.

The Mittani's reaction in the 29 March State of the Goonion is similar to that following the Incarna debacle last summer.  Then, he called for calm toward the devs like CCP Soundwave who were taking a lot of heat and wanted to direct any rage against the top leadership of CCP.  Now, he is pointing to the large press contingent that was flown in to cover DUST 514 at Fanfest and suggesting that CCP may be succumbing to pressure by Sony to make Eve Online less controversial.  As a test Goonswarm will hold a Free Mittani event in which they take 1800 Tornadoes and burn Jita to the ground on 28 April, The Mittani's first day back.  Depending on CCP's reaction The Mittani will decide what steps to take next.  Given new CCP Marketing Director David Reid's statement in his speech at the CCP Presents event at Fanfest, this Free Mittani event should be something that CCP should trumpet.  If a crackdown occurs instead, the game might have changed.

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