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[Jester's Trek] A challenger appears

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 06:29 AM

It hasn't been the best year ever for EVE news websites.

EVE Report?  Gone.  White Rose?  Gone.  EVE Swarm?  Hasn't been updated in months.  EVE Tribune recently shambled out of its grave for the fourth or fifth time since I started following it.  But the content and presentation is still charmingly bad most of the time, so it's safely ignored except for the occasional well-done guest piece or interesting interview.

This leaves EVE News 24 as the undisputed and reigning champion of EVE news websites.  Like Jimmy Wah's in Good Morning, Vietnam, riverini and Baghei have been serving the best beer in Vietnam for years... because it's the only beer in Vietnam.

Posted ImageYou like my EVE news website, yes?
I kid, I kid.  ;-)  Overall, EN24 is a good source of information, covers the major news of New Eden adequately or better, and occasionally produces some really insightful or interesting stuff.  It's not for nothing that even people who despise riverini still visit the site faithfully.  It's probably the single most-read fan website in the EVE pantheon.  That's not to say that there aren't flaws.  There are: lots of them.  There are only two staff writers for EN24, so if one or both of them get busy, days can go by without new content.  Sometimes, the content that is there is rather hysterically wrong, and other times the content is fine but it's the presentation that's not quite ready for prime time.  Spelling errors, grammatical errors, or just plain bad English run rampant across EN24's articles sometimes.

And you know, sometimes that's part of the charm.  New Eden isn't perfect or pretty, and EN24 isn't either.  riverini says he's working on a new design for it and maybe someday soon that design will see the light of day.  Proof-reading is sometimes done, but often with EVE players it's good enough just to be timely.  In the meantime, EN24's been out there for years plugging along doing what it's supposed to be doing.  It's also reasonably free of bias most days; since riverini will syndicate articles from all comers (including your humble narrator, of course), all points of view are generally respected.

The one potential exception is the CFC in general and The Mittani in particular.  There's definitely no love lost between the CFC and EN24, nor between riverini and Mittens, in either direction.  EN24 tries to cover what's going on with them in an unbiased way, but sometimes... yeah.  You get the idea.

So it's with a great deal of interest that I note that there's a new EVE news site this week.  And it goes by a name I'd call deliberately provocative: themittani.com .  As the site itself puts it in their intro speech:
"The Mittani" has become a brand: one of the most recognisable and googled phrases or labels in Eve, it simply has recognition value that we would have struggled to create with anything else.  I wanted us to profit from the better part of a decade of work and history that many new websites would give their right arm to possess.Oh brother.  The ego being displayed here could provide sufficient power to propel a second Curiosity rover into orbit and on its way to Mars.  ;-)  Again, I kid.  At the end of the day, a website name is a website name and this one is certainly easy to remember.

Is this an EVE news website run by the CFC?  Oh yeah, you betcha.  Fully 20 of them.  That's right: they're claiming 20 staff writers.  As a result, the site is currently generating two to three news pieces and one to two feature pieces per day.  The Columns section also has Mittens's Ten Ton Hammer pieces going all the way back to the beginning of them, which is handy.  All of this certainly augurs well for the amount of content the site can generate.

The quality is quite high, too.  In my communications training, we sometimes talked a little disparagingly about "slicks" or "glossies", which is a magazine format that promotes style over substance.  Those old undergrad debates snapped right into my head when I looked at the site for the first time.  It didn't help that off to the right side of the site that first visit was a giant picture of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, which I suspect that perhaps one EVE player in 250 could identify by sight.(1)  The piece related the book and that particular figure from the French Revolution and how we could apply principles he developed to EVE.

And people tell me I write obscure historical pieces sometimes.

That said, the glossy format really kind of works.  EVE is a beautiful game and the highlight graphics being chosen so far for the articles really work it.  There's a fair bit of coverage of other MMOs too, such as the obsession that EVE players have with World of Tanks.  There's some well-written pieces here, done by people that -- Goons or not -- I respect.(2)

So... yeah.  This is officially a recommendation!  Add the site to your daily reading list (I've already added it to Must Read Websites off to the right) and let's see how they do.

There's two interesting consequences of this new website.  First, will this site be here for the long haul?  Historically, it's arguable that the CFC could be characterized collectively as a great starter but a poor finisher.  They sometimes lack staying power.  Boredom, ennui, and the lack of a defining goal take hold, and a major CFC goal can grind to a halt.  What's the goal with this site?  To be better than EN24?  If so, the strength of EN24 is in its staying power, longevity, and stick-to-it-iveness.  Only time will tell if themittani.com can match that.

Second, how will EN24 respond?  I've already teased riverini that he's gonna have to take his game up a notch.  You all know my mantra for this: you compete by being better.  Will EN24 step up to this new challenger?  That also remains to be seen.  Heaven knows they're going to have to get a lot more serious about recruiting additional writers.

The good news here though is that no matter how this little competition goes, EVE players win.  I'm obviously all for that.  ;-)  Let's see how this goes!

(1) I'm not one of them.  And the picture was advertising an article in the site's book review section.  I swear to God.
(2) I still say I'm one of the few people in New Eden that respects the work of riverini, The Mittani, and Trebor Daehdoow.  Not that Trebor's a Goon, of course, but you get what I mean.


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