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Today’s Blog Banter 45 from illustrious Freebooted

In a socially-driven game environment such as EVE Online’s, everyone has an agenda. CCP promotes its products and has an army of volunteers to do the same; corporations and alliances deliver entertaining recruitment drives, CSM election candidates solicit for voter favour, bloggers and podcasters opine to their audiences.

In this intricate web of communication, influence and control, what part does propaganda play in your game?

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Ah, wonderful puppets in a row.

Ah, wonderful puppets in a row.

Ah, so where does one begin.. well, I suppose it starts in the beginning.  Propaganda plays an intricate part in my game, it does for all of us whether they choose to believe it or not.  You play this game, therefore the Propaganda of CCP caused you to be part of our community.  The propaganda of various people you meet, both good and bad (yes, good people use propaganda too.. it is okay), fill your minds.. and more importantly, your hearts with visions of the future where we are a part.  Even possibly a small part.

For me, I am surrounded by propaganda, the meta-game, the intricate spy versus spy versus politician world of null-sec.  It is an hourly thing, and I eat up every moment of it.  From battle commentary on Eve News 24, to soundbites on The Mittani, to local broadcasts, to podcasts that desperately try not to come off as biased.  Yes, it is my feast and all these leaders of propaganda dance merrily around like puppets in a giant puppet show.

And I, I get to be one of the puppets too.  And I get to be one with you.

See, the silly thing is that people try to convince themselves they aren’t part of this puppetshow.  Yet, for a PVP pilot like myself, even I feel the effect if Goons decide to do a Burn Jita, or if a certain type of ice is targeted.  As a mission runner in high-sec, I felt the pangs of expense as ships got more expensive, as a capital ship I wished to purchased doubled in price from when I last looked.  As a low-sec system inhabitant, I listened to CAOD as we watched various pirate groups move in and out of our space based on who was residing in the nearby null-sec systems, to determine how to go about protecting ourselves.

You’re not affected?  Haha, you’re so cute.

That’s pretty much like a puppet saying he’s not a puppet… not matter how many times the strings knot him up.  The problem with the disbelieving puppet is he fails to account for the strings in the first place.  Oh, I may be a puppet, but as I discern where the strings are coming from and how many, I can pull on them myself.. ever so slightly.  Enough that I still enjoy the game without getting gamed.

However, that isn’t to say that the information provided (false or otherwise) has no benefit.  The propaganda I hear as a null-sec player at least gives me an idea about their state of mind.  Suppose I review the battles of a particular major coalition and I notice that they are winning rather often and slowly taking sov, but I hear nothing about any speeches or any dropped hints of diplomacy, then I can gleen somewhat accurately that they are probably feeling rather confident in both their strategy, tactics, and personnel.  Suppose however, that I see they are having a rough go of it, trading blow for blow with little headway, yet I hear a rousing speech from a coalition leader letting everyone know they are doing well.. that would indicate a considerable amount of morale loss, no matter what is said by leader.  Following the resulting battles afterward would let me know how well it took.

Suppose that coalition was aiding an enemy of mine.  Then that information might be useful in redirecting forces to hit targets which could further demoralize my enemy’s ally.. even if it cost a system or two.  Such things are possible to discern through propaganda.  In fact, it is stuff like this that makes Eve Online a singular beacon of gaming.. because such meta-gaming, such strategy really isn’t possible in any other game.. only in real life.

And we.. as puppets.. know that.

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