I speak only for myself. The Spies at large may not necessarily endorse this.
The first time I saw the Plunder will, I thought it was a mistake. Surely the developers wouldn’t pit us against each other like that? Surely, after so many ingame years, we’d at least get a season or two to settle back in?
Then Wyatt Quitter shelled Denzel Scott.
And I realized that this wasn’t a mistake.
The fundamental horror of Blaseball is in our lack of control. We’re given some options, but never quite enough. So when we are given another lever with which to try and improve things, we’d take it. Of course, what this lever does is hurt other people. But we have to use it if we want to win the game, right? And yeah. Maybe we do. But we were given these specific choices, and then told that we would have no ability to control whether other people used them on us. Why?
At first, I thought this was a poorly-thought-out mechanic. I figured that maybe it would be worth getting the higher-ups to explain that yes, they saw the implications of what they were doing. I wanted a clear answer as to whether this was or wasn’t what they intended. But when I asked, I was met with a stone wall.
May as well provide a bit of context as to why. I have experience with many other fandoms, and I have seen too many of them explode due to arguments like this. I’ve been traumatized by experience after experience of drifting helpless in a maelstrom of discourse too big for me to be able to stop, discourse that nobody else seemed interested in even trying to stop.
So if this had been any other fandom, and I saw this come up, I would have immediately turned tail and fled back to my various tiny group chats. But I’d been told that Blaseball was a beautiful fandom that had been shaped by the developers of the game into a league united in solidarity against greater forces. So I told myself that I would try to stay, despite all this discourse. Just one more time. One more time, and if it went badly, then I could go back to my metaphorical six closest friends and say “I told you so”.
I did not sleep well that night.
The next morning I watched the earlsiesta ballpark chaos (see my post on that for more info), and went on my merry (?) way, going back to thinking up ideas for fanfiction and letting Blaseball drift in and out of my focus.
Then that evening, I saw something peculiar. Facing down the absolute humiliation of having the Spies score an unanswered twelve runs at their team, Wyatt Quitter tasted the infinite, and Denzel Scott was Shelled.
And it was the fact that this was Wyatt Quitter that made this thought crystallize. If it had been Peanut Bong first, I might well have dismissed it as the Peanut’s revenge from beyond the grave. But Quitter? Quitter had been present for the Grand Unslam, but hadn’t been one of the headliners. Quitter was not offered as a sacrifice, and was never on the idol board for being good, either: Quitter had been randomly taken by a giant peanut crashing onto the field. Their time on the Pods might have been the first time they had ever experienced being good at the game. And then Quitter was thrown onto a different continent, away from anyone and everyone they had ever known, for having the gall to survive the experience.
Wyatt Quitter was not someone I could blame. So I couldn’t be angry at anyone involved. I could only watch as Quitter lashed out, re-enacting their own trauma.
No gods. Just one player on one team, sick of being beaten into the ground, hitting one player on another team.
…one team, hitting another team.
That was the exact shape of the discourse I’d already seen. The mechanics of the game were setting us at each others’ throats. It wasn’t just an out-of-universe thing. It was an intentional design decision.
TGB makes games that “reflect the world we live in”. We live in a world filled with perverse incentive structures.
TGB has described this game as a sort of power fantasy of the collective, rather than of the individual. The people who run the Spies union training have described Blaseball as being almost like a teaching game, as if it was designed to let us experience the grandness and growing pains of creating a movement in miniature.
TGB previously apologized in advance about how mean they were going to be to us in Era 2.
If we tear each other apart, the Coin can stay out of it, hands clean, saying syrupy sweet things about being a fan just like us, and never receive a speck of the blame.
Remember who the real enemy is.
Do not let this succeed.