Season 16 looks to be the rise of the expansion teams. After solid seasons of Partying and Wills paired with the vicious Consumer Attacks targeting the top teams, the work of the expansion teams’ fans finally seems to be paying off.
However, for three of the expansion teams who descended back in Season 12, they fell into a competitive league with no fans or funds that had radically changed since they last competed here. This was a unique moment for a league that has largely remained unchanged since its inception, with the exception of the Tokyo Lift joining in Season 11 after the Baltimore Crabs’ Ascension.
Now, with the benefit of a few seasons of hindsight and the memories still fresh, I asked fans of my team, the Core Mechanics, what drove that original choice to back the team and, more importantly, why they made the Core their home.
The first question I asked was this: “If you were previously a fan of an existing team before transferring over to the Core Mechanics, what was the driving force behind that decision or supporting two teams?”
The first theme that emerged in the responses was the opportunity to create something new and different at the Mechanics without the limitations of existing culture, and I’ve quoted some of these responses below, with permission:
“I loved the opportunity to find community and try my hand at being a part of creating a new subculture in Blaseball… I wanted to see what else was possible.” -Azure (Azurite Coast)
“There was a new team with a cool punny name that appealed to me… I had an opportunity to get on the ground floor of helping shape the team’s aesthetic… and I wanted to take advantage of that and contribute.” -CosmicDuctTape
The second theme that emerged was a personal connection with the theme of the Core Mechanics, with lots of people resonating through personal experience with the mechanical aspect as seen below:
“I am a massive fan of mechanical stuffs, especially Battlebots and transport infrastructure. I basically didn’t have a choice but to jump over.” -Shorkball
“I felt that theCore was much more alike my interests… joining a team as it was being founded sounded fun.” -Slapi
“I was starting to get tired of the [former team’s] aesthetic. I’m a forever tinker renaissance man type of person, so the whole Mechanic Thing immediately called to me, so the swap made sense and had good timing.” -Esoteric Triangle
This second theme has seemingly become the dominant reason to join the Core as responses from new fans who picked the Core as their first team quickly showed:
“I picked the Core Mechanics because I personally am really interested in Engineering.” -Hal 2000
“Out of all the teams, that was the one that stood out immediately to me since I do like the mechanical theming.” -Wires in a Box
These quotes are just a snapshot of the responses I received but show the personal connection and ability to create drove many Mechanics fans to the team.
But now, after multiple seasons, what is it about Mechanics that has encouraged them to stay and what do they love the most about the Mechanics? If you had asked me this question, I would have given you a rambling, long-winded response that one Mechanics fan summed up in a single sentence:
“The Mech community has an endless hunger to create and improve.” -LexaByteNV
This unequivocally strikes at the heart of not only the Mechanics but Blaseball as a whole.
I read response after response about how the community’s positive and creative environment motivated them to work on projects from team lore, abandoned personal projects, and Election planning and number-crunching and to attack these projects head on.
“The way we communally encourage creativity and each other’s creative projects, including (and maybe especially) people who are nervous to try something new or insecure in their skills.” -sleepykai
“Our tendency to passionately dive into projects and jump at ideas that benefit the team… we are ‘Brr’ incarnate and can direct that when the times calls for it.”-ShadowStranger
People not only felt energised by the environment but also to be themselves. The Mechanics made accessibility a key theme of the team early on, leading to the pioneering of the photo ID system that quickly spread to the rest of the Discord server.
“Accessibility! Especially in the ‘live your best dream life however you want’ sense, in the way we have discussed life in the Core? That’s been the best.”-Anonymous
As mentioned above, the theme dripped into the Core itself, which allowed them to envision a place much like the community as a whole. Welcoming to all, regardless of your circumstances, a place in which ideas are celebrated and incorporated into something bigger than ourselves where everyone is heard.
“Sure, the Core is a world that is technically completely non-canon, but the worldbuilding of the Core and the attitudes of the people who live there is absolutely amazing.” -Audmirable
“The huge breadth of expertise within the Core. It’s everything I love about Blaseball’s fanbase in general turned up to 11. We’ve got artists, musicians, game designers, architects, robot builders, mathematicians, and materials scientists!”-NF211
When I asked the fans what they wanted other teams to know about the culture of the Core Mechanics, there were main types of responses:
“Core is Down.” -Lots of Mechs Fans.
“The Core isn’t just steampunk robots. That’s so limiting! The Core is steampunk and biopunk and neonpunk and solarpunk and every single -punk at the same time.” -hillexed
“We’re a friendly bunch, and we’d love to have you visit!” -Darth Paradox
The Core Mechanics are ultimately doing what we expect of mechanics. They are imagining and designing a world for all of us within their culture. Working together as a community despite coming from so many different backgrounds to make creative things happen and ultimately creating something that we can all be proud of— regardless of what the Blaseball Gods throw at us. After all, we banned them from the Core.