Thursday, November 5, 2015

The High Cost of Brand Loyalty...

~or “Pick a New Topic... Please”

Before I go there, I need to preface this by saying I LOVE the idea of books, graphic novels, art, clothing, and swag of all types and I believe in ALL of the potential inherent in all of that for EVE, OK? I have ALL the EVE novels, The Burning Life, The Empyrean Age, and Templar One. I also own EVE Source and EVE: True Stories and hope one day to order EVE Universe: The Art of New Eden and Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online.

I think that goes a ways to show that I am sincere when I say that I really really really want more Art, and Books and Lore and “stuff” and everything for our game… ok? I really do. Seriously, I do.


The new “The Fountain War” Kickstarter campaign by author Jeff Edwards in cahoots with… er… um… Partnering with TMM and CCP to write and publish a book about The Fountain War. The Kickstarter campaign has a goal of $150,000 dollars. I have some concerns, enumerated below, about this project 'cause...

According to some comments and blog posts I have read there is this idea that "Jeff is willing to take on a huge risk, professionally and personally..." because he is going to take time off from his work-a-day job and focus on getting the first serial of the Fountain War released as soon as February 2016 - and then try and make the completion date of December 2016.


In EVE Online, Kickstarter, and The Fountain War, Wilhelm Arcturus, The Ancient Gaming Noob comments;

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

$90,000 dollars for… approximately 1 year of research and writing. As I understand it Jeff is keeping his dayjob but taking time off (part time? on sabbatical leave?) to write the book. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely sure Jeff will write himself to the bone on this project… I’m just sayin’, can I has that gig?

$150,000 dollars, okay okay, $60,000 after Jeff’s living expenses, is still a lot of money for a book about “this-really-cool-thing-that-happened” (no matter how major or amazing it was) in a very niche game in the MMO gaming world. Especially when compared to the little fact that theHistory of the Great Empires of EVEwas Kickstarted for originally just $12,500 (topping out at $95,729 in the end) and that book covers a far greater scope of Nullsec history with pitchurs and evreethang…

So why would a book covering just one War that spanned but a few months need more than 10 times the funding of a book covering literally YEARS of EVE history?
Answer... it doesn't.
Then why ask for $150K?
Answer… Mittens.
Why do I say Mittens?
Answer… Have you seen some of the goal prizes?

$25 gets you a digital Holiday card from Mittens and Jeff. <blink> <blink>
$100 to get 'followed' by Mittens (and Jeff) on Twitter, for a year... really? There are people I LIKE I dunt want following me on Twitter FFS… how could that be worth even like $10? or…
$100 you can has ‘Live on Twitch’, Mittens and Jeff will drink a toast to YOU, you special little snowflake you… =\
$250 T-shirt, shot glass and a Hardcover copy of the book, signed by Jeff (cool) and Mittens (really??)…
$500 invite to: private party w. Jeff & Mittens at ComiCon ’16, or…
$500 invite to: private party w. Jeff & Mittens at EVE Vegas ’16, or…
$500 invite to: private party w. Jeff & Mittens at FanFest ‘16
$1000 Vegas style Dining Experience and private party after with Mittens and Jeff at next year’s EVE Vegas. Why would I want to do that? I mean seriously?
$10,000 you get a supplemental chapter all ‘bout little ol’ YOU. Really? I mean… seriously a whole chapter on one or more (IRL rich) players? I have NEVER heard of a ‘history’ book ‘selling’ chapters and I would have preferred to not have heard of it this time. This also has the potential to gets totally in the way of accurately reporting history.

And I can guarantee you a large number if not ALL of the key players probably aren’t able to afford $10,000 per to tell their tale in a whole chapter… so we will likely end up with variations on some rich kid who spent the whole battle either cloaked up, spamming memes in local while pounding back beers and Cheetos and Armchair Generaling the whole fight…

Or just as bad some rich player who spent the whole battle actually playing League only having to grumpily go AFK from League to check his EVE clients every 10 or 20 minutes to see if he needed to actually ‘do’ something… You know, turn on an Invuln, cycle a booster, go back into Triage, try and lock a few targets, cycle the doomsday or some such on one of his 5 Titan alts… yuch.

All the Mittens stuff is only going to appeal to what is in truth a minority set of the playerbase. Jeff does not seem to realize he is limiting his potential market. Hell I know Goons who don’t like Mittens… Look Jeff, you wanna get EVE players lined up around the Internet just begging to click “Support”? Simple… try giving them ALL something they’ll want, like this:

$25 get EVE poster of your choice
$50 get EVE poster of your choice signed by CCP Dev of your choice
       +$25 for each additional Dev signature
$50 get T-shirt of your choice
$75 get T-shirt of your choice signed by CCP Dev of your choice
       +$25 for each additional Dev signature
$100 Rixx Javix's EVE Online Battlecruisers Art Print Set
$200 Rixx Javix's EVE Online Battlecruisers Art Print Set signed by Rixx Javix of your choice
$250 Rixx Javix's EVE Online Battlecruisers Art Print Set signed by CCP Dev of your choice
       +$25 for each additional Dev signature
$150 get Rifter model kit
$250 get completed Rifter model
$1500 and you get a Floating Nyx Model when they come out
There… hit goal in like 3 days.

I'm not hatin’ on the overall ‘concept’... I really am not, I own damn near every book so far written on EVE. I am however very concerned with the gross overreach in asking for $150k and some of the marketing ideas are, IMHO, just plain wrong.

(4) and this is, for me, the BIG ONE…
When is some writer, any writer gonna get head outta ass and write about someone other than Mittens? and while you’re at it, how about the rest of New Eden too? What, Hisec, Lowsec and especially my beloved Negsec (Wormhole Space, Anoikis where there be Sleepers…), do these spaces where the majority of the players live and die, do they have NOTHING worth writing about? I know, from personal experience and for a fact, that they do.

And I am not sorry at all but Nullsec is not the End Game of EVE and Goons and Mittens have not won it... There are thousands and thousands of stories across the width and breadth of the New Eden cluster just waiting to be told. Will somebody please step up and tell them?

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


  1. Replies
    1. What? Goons won EVE? Mittens is a Great Guy?? Come on Tal...

  2. "When is some writer, any writer gonna get head outta ass and write about someone other than Mittens?"

    When those non-Goon groups do something which makes newspaper headlines, or actively go out and contact writers, telling them "Hey, wouldn't this make a good plot for a military space fiction book?" .

    Squeaky wheel, and all that.

    1. When we, HBHI, was in SYJ (Surely You're Joking a Wormhole Merc Alliance) we took TLC (The Last Chancers Alliance) for over 517,000,000 ISK. We had a traitor who led us into a wormhole they called, The Office where they had a Capitol Fleet stored in POSes... With the traitors help we took down all the POSes and stole a HUGE number of Carriers and ships and mods... eventually selling the stripped Carrier hulls back to TLC.

      There have been multiple really epic battles fought in Anoikis... many which have made the news. And the mechanics of wormhole travel give these fights a twist and drama Null can never have because, 'no cynos'.

      I do agree on the 'squeaky wheel' and all that... but damn there is so much to EVE, and a lot of people know that... or, at least... do they? I may be blinded by being an EVE player to the reality that we are more 'niche' than I realize. Hrm...


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