WHAT IS THE 'BLUE DOUGHNUT'?
If you regularly read about EVE, you've probably come across the expression "blue doughnut" more than once. In the big picture of EVE history, it's a relatively new term. Over the last year or so, it has become increasingly common for EVE players to refer, always disparagingly, to this phrase.
The concept is simple. The map of the EVE galaxy is a vaguely round shape, with player-owned space (non-NPC nullsec) forming a wide ring around the "doughnut hole" of empire space (highsec/lowsec). If all of the entities who own nullsec space were to join together into one giant coalition, with every member set blue to all the others, then the sovereignty map might look something like a big, misshapen "blue doughnut".
Considering how often EVE players refer to the blue doughnut, you might suppose it actually exists, or has come close to existing. You would be wrong. At no point in EVE's history has nullsec been conquered by a single coalition. Nullsec players often complain (and always have) of "NAPfests," or of having too many blues. This isn't the result of a blue doughnut. The territory of a nullsec alliance might be nestled between two friendly neighbors, but that's a far cry from achieving total galactic dominion. While one group of players is sitting bored with their fellow blues in one region, another group is surrounded by reds and being plowed under. Nullsec as a whole has never had a moment's peace.
The blue doughnut meme, along with the idea of a peaceful nullsec, has proven surprisingly resistant to events. Many EVE players bitterly complained about the stability of nullsec even during the fall of the Southern Coalition (SoCo) and the subsequent demise of Against All Authorities (-A-), which resulted in one of the most significant transfers of nullsec ownership in recent years. When the CFC and HBC drifted apart and began to openly antagonize each other, the blue doughnutters continued to view them as a single entity.
Later, when war erupted in the east, the shifting friendships and rivalries among HBC, PL, N3, and various Russian groups should have been brought into sharper relief. No such luck; the image of the blue doughnut remains fixed in the popular imagination. Now that the HBC has unraveled, members of the EVE community are once again presented with the opportunity to abandon the blue doughnut myth. Will they?
WHO BELIEVES IN THE BLUE DOUGHNUT?
For those who live and fight in nullsec, the blue doughnut theory may sound like a preposterous idea; one that only a small fringe group would accept. Not so. Those who have never set foot in nullsec are often shockingly ignorant about what goes on there, and will readily accept any negative characterization of it. I would estimate that between a third to fully half of EVE players believe in some form of the blue doughnut theory. Let's take a closer look at who these people are, shall we?
There are basically three groups of EVE players who have bought into the blue doughnut. The first group consists of former nullsec residents who are deeply, passionately, irretrievably bitter about being kicked out of their homes. Most of these players saw defeat at the hands of Goons, TEST, and/or PL, who once comprised the CFC/HBC. Losers include former members of SoCo (especially -A-) and the Goons' forgettable northern enemies. Going back a bit further, we may also include bittervets from the fallen Band of Brothers alliance.
This group is afflicted by a combination of maladies: Sour grapes, fear that their eviction from nullsec will be permanent, and a hope that complaining about the blue doughnut will encourage division among their enemies. The lattermost factor was most prominently seen in the wake of the fizzled CFC/HBC conflict. The blue doughnutters weren't merely upset that they wouldn't witness another Great War; they wanted to watch their enemies destroy each other. These factors, while perfectly understandable, don't excuse the doughnutters' disconnect with reality. As former nullsec residents, they should know better.
The second group of believers in the blue doughnut theory belong to what I affectionately call "the uneducated classes". They mostly live in highsec. Like the classic description of the serial killer next door, they're quiet and keep to themselves. They have little interest in the game outside of the rock they're mining or the NPC they're shooting. Their feeling of disinterest toward the rest of the EVE community is reciprocated; few people engage with them or know what they're like. Yet these people, known to most as "carebears", comprise the majority of EVE players. And they believe in the blue doughnut in a big way.