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Closing Time…?

A few months back I noticed a thread over on Reddit simply asking “Has Crossing Zebras Died?” It’s a question that, when you’ve been passionate about something for this long, really hits home. I was personally looking to try rebuilding CZ for some time, to bring us back to the “old days”. Saying that, though, some of you might be wondering who I am and why I’m even bothered about this. In short, I’m Ashy, I’ve been the only active editor for a long time while activity has slowed down. I also represented us over at Fanfest last year if you met me there!

Back to the real question at hand anyway. I feel that Cosmo from here at CZ answered it best with a bit of recent history and a whole lot of catharsis:

As time went on, CZ suffered a large drain of people dropping off. Be it because they went on to other things or lost the interest to write, or just getting out of EVE for a while, the circles started to shrink. We’ve put a lot of effort in trying to attract new writers but we just weren’t as successful. Random submissions and some pieces coming in from people that were using us as their mouthpiece did us well for a while, but you just needed active writers to maintain a baseline (akin to Sal, bless his heart, though I see he’s been back on newedenreport). The old players that would want to write for us already have and said their parts and the new players barely know CZ exist. And this wasn’t a problem just relating to writers.

the old players that would want to write for us already have and said their parts

Back when I used to run things in Niden’s absence back when he was even around (which I don’t fault him for, RL is RL), for long stretches of time I was ‘the guy’ that handled most of everything. As Ashy would know, which has been running the show for the last year or so, nothing really happens at CZ unless you push it to happen, badgering people and stirring up conversation.So a lack of these kinds of top-heavy people also played a part. I also won’t deny that losing that ‘star power’ that bigger, more well-known players had, also had its share of blame as well.

In the end, we have to admit CZ is one of the old dinosaurs of the EVE online media-sphere. Eve-News has been having the same sort of issues, I’m sure, and the only site keeping the standard is INN, if only because they have a reliable funding scheme, great access to a fresh pool of people they can pull into writing and generally the ‘heavier’ brand-name and recognition. But I’m sure there’s a lot of work going into everything over there as well.

So where are we know? I don’t know. I haven’t been actively engaged with CZ in roughly eight months or so, but judging by the flood of Mindclash/DeclarationOfWar and the stale Discord, I can guess. It’s sad, but that’s where it is right now. I won’t mind if CZ dies out, but I really hope a similar home for long-form quality essays can be found for everyone that wishes to write in that way. There’s only so far that you can reach on your own with throwing ideas on a random blogspot/wordpress… I think that’s what CZ did best, allowed everyone to try their hand at getting ‘highlighted’ on what was known as *the* place to go to read really cool and insightful chunky articles. – Cosmo, Crossing Zebras

Now I have a lot of respect for Cosmo. He wasn’t lying when he said that, for long stretches of time, he was “the guy” for CZ stuff. He certainly does know what he’s talking about. To give a tl;dr of his post above (although I sincerely urge you to read it), staff dropped off over time as people left to do other things and people lost the urge to put pen to paper and write. If you ask me then I’d say Cosmo hit the nail on the head here. It’s been quiet here for some time, real quiet.

whatever happens needs fresh faces and that joint passion that keeps the blood flowing

Some of the more astute of you may have noticed the question mark in the title of this piece. That’s because this isn’t really a proper goodbye, it’s more like a stasis period until some spark ignites once again. I’d really not like to see this wonderful website just slide off into obscurity without so much as a whimper. Besides that, here’s another quote from Cosmo: From my point of view, you are CZ now, minus whether Niden or Taka jumps out from the shadows and go like ‘DON’T DO THAT’, you are free to take charge as you know best for CZ. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty afraid of Niden jumping from the shadows at me, just look at him here! (He’s lovely though, really!)

So, perhaps this isn’t the end. Maybe there’s still a bright future for this gem of a site, or at the very least a home for the curiosities of journalism that we’ve produced. Whatever happens needs fresh faces and that joint passion that keeps the blood flowing. With that said, let’s go over just a few of my personal highlights from the past few years and some retrospectives from the community.

Apothne and Mr Hyde’s “The State of Navy Battleships” series

There are four of these and they really show off the thought processes behind the theorycrafting process. Being almost three years old does put them a bit out of date, but even I love giving them a reread.

Gorski’s “Medium Missiles and You!”

Have you ever wanted to know exactly how missiles work and to have it explained by one of the best teachers you could ask for? Gorski does exactly that right here and there’s plenty more to find amongst his articles.

Cosmo’s “What You Missed This Week” series

As one reader described, these “Colbert’s Report” style articles were a fantastic rundown of events each week. They even featured a lovely little artwork section!

Apothne’s “F*ck Ishtars” Volumes I – X”

Another entry from Apothne (seriously he’s written a lot), we have here a fantastic look into making the “interesting choice” in doctrine rather than the obvious meta. This is the kind of thinking which really pushes meta into new and interesting places, love it!

Ashterothi’s “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” and “The Lore Primer”

A two-for-one of great articles by Ashterothi here. The former is a delightful jaunt around ambulation and the old Captain’s Quarters. The latter is exactly what it says on the tin, a primer for the fantastic lore of New Eden.

Suitonia’s Pick-up Lines

Yep, this is definitely what he’s best known for.

Jezaja, Blogger at

Crossing Zebras was always my number one resource for special insights and opinions of all EVE Online things. I honour the ambition and intellect of all the CZ Writers, who contributed inspiring content to the community and made me think out of the box not only one time.

Alekseyev Karrde, Declarations of War Podcast

My fondest memories of CZ predate it as a news site to back when it was a podcast. Xander and Jeg really impressed with the quality of their content. There was a lot of buzz about their show and I wanted to collaborate with them. I can’t find the link to the CZ ep I appeared on but we went on each other’s shows and that was really fun. There was this great moment where I had Xander on and smug’d up some fanmail glorifying my show at this expense; it was hilarous. We also worked on some community events and CSM coverage together. All of that helped form a long friendship with Xander and Jeg that carried on for years even as they turned CZ from a podcast to a successful EVE newsmedia empire.

OpusMagnum, Eve Onion

Crossing Zebras was one of those sites you opened up daily. The long-form article journalism the site became known for made it stand out among the other news sites. At its height, they had assembled a team of writers and podcasters who consistently delivered quality news, commentary, and in-depth analysis to the EVE Online community.

Gin Wuncler, Crossing Zebras

I came to CZ by way of a happy accident during its heyday in 2015. The “accident” was getting recruited into the editor-in-chief’s corp as a newbie. High on the “This is Eve” video and impatient to get into PvP, I couldn’t wait the customary week or two to join E-Uni and instead jumped at the chance to join the first Faction Warfare corp that came calling, Moira. Eventually, I wrote an AAR to our alliance that caught Niden’s eye, and a week later I was helping edit my favorite Eve publication.

I’m sure people will talk about CZ’s long-form, in-depth articles, and the writers who covered just about every facet of Eve with unparalleled precision and expertise, and that was a major source of its appeal to me. My favorite aspect of the CZ experience, however, was the variety of characters working for the organization and the overall dedication to unbiased reporting that went into our pieces. Whereas INN and ENN clearly had an in-game agenda to promote, the main goal at CZ was promoting love of the game.

i hope that someday i can eat those words when something better comes along

And we did our job well. At its height, you could hop on the CZ website and read stories that covered the major wars in nullsec, the smaller-scale knife fights in low, game mechanics, lore, ship tiericide, industry and anything else our writers could imagine to put in a Google Doc. It wasn’t always easy editing down a thesis-length piece from Tarek Raimo or turning Gorski Car’s Swenglish into something legible, but you always knew the finished product would be something of value added to the Eve community, and that made it a pleasure to work on.

My favorite piece, and here I am definitely being biased, was an AAR on the Battle of Kehjari, a week-long FW meatgrinder of a fight that eventually came down to supply lines as both sides tried to bring freighters through a wormhole to resupply themselves in the middle of an incursion. In typical CZ fashion, FCs from both sides worked together to write an extremely detailed and exciting AAR that I still remember to this day. Unfortunately, the change in format rendered that page almost unreadable, but feel free to abuse your eyes trying to read it. (Editor’s note- Fixed it!) That said, the AAR captures everything I loved about FW at the time, from the animosity towards the guys who blink red or orange in local to the late nights we spent haranguing people to stay in fleet while we prepared for Calmil’s AUTZ onslaught. It also exemplifies what I loved about CZ, the only publication dedicated enough to capture that snapshot of Eve’s history perfectly and make it relatable, even to those who had no idea what FW was.

In the end, I didn’t have the time to work at CZ and play the actual game, so I left my post as an editor there; however, I still made time each day to skim the articles coming out. Even when I went on a hiatus from the game, CZ kept me connected to the community I’d grown to love over the years.  I’ll always look back fondly on what I still believe is the best Eve-related publication to spring out of New Eden, and I hope that someday I can eat those words when something better comes along.

So, where does this leave us? In essence, we’re a dead site for the time being and there is very little – bar divine intervention – that’ll change that in a hurry. The nostalgic emotions of the past have more recently turned towards apathy for the future. And when it comes to the state of the game, that worries me. This isn’t an “Eve is dead” post, but it feels so much harder to pull together something as fantastic now as Crossing Zebras was yesterday.

Our primary motivation is to provide content and commentary for and about the EVE community, not to maximize site hits or generate income. We don’t believe in hiding that content behind a paywall – CZ will always be free of charge.

Our only passion is the EVE universe and you, the people that populate it. CZ lives and dies with EVE and its community.

Published inCrossing ZebrasEVE Online

One Comment

  1. Skenos Skenos

    Regardless of what happens, CZ will always have a good-sized chunk of my fond EvE memories. Thank you all for contributing so much to enjoyment of the game! o7

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