Tag Archives: PVP

Low Sec Update II

Inc

Please let me apologize in advance for not having much content to update with over the past couple days. For one thing, I don’t have any time to write on weekends, so there will never be Saturday or Sunday posts.

Regardless, lots of playing means less blogging naturally. On that front, I spent most of my weekend trying the PVP elements of the game. I did a pretty long roam on Saturday that ended up being incredibly instructive in terms of learning the fundamentals of traveling as a fleet, fleet combat, and intel.

Despite the fact that I enjoyed myself, keeping safe in low-sec as a fleet is serious business. I wish I could write more and be more specific, but frankly it is one of the first things in EVE that I have experienced where the only thing to really write is “you’ll just have to try it and see for yourself.” A big part of being successful in this game in recognizing that it is very much conflict driven, and the best way to tip conflicts in one’s favor is to travel in a flock.

Now all of that sounds nice, but it brings me to a point about why people who have genuinely bad gaming skills fail at EVE. Your average “casual social” gamer will parrot back to you cliche statements about how “community” is really the important part of MMORPGs. The statement itself may be true, to an extent. But I am convinced that the average person who says it is not right in saying it.

The truth is that I did well in my first low-sec roam. I did well enough that there will definitely be others. More importantly though, it gave me some exposure to fleets, which are really the backbone of that community I talked about. Most games with PVE eventually funnel players into the “community” content: the stuff you can only do in a coordinated team. In EVE, the game is designed so that every activity that occurs outside a spacestation can be improved upon in some way by joining up with others.

To that effect, every time you undock in EVE you are potentially participating in community content–which is kind of a scary thought for the player who is used to mostly soloing. The truth though is that even travelling from point A to point B can be pretty unsafe in hi-sec. Just being connected to other players through voice communication software is enough to drastically reduce those dangers.

The real point of this rather longwinded yarn was to bring up the subject of following directions. The truth about everything I said above is that it is the liberally sugar-coated version of what community participation really is, and why it really isn’t for everyone. The truth is that seasoned MMO players don’t want to play with players who don’t follow instructions well. Actually, the truth is not only that they don’t want to, but they’ll put up a stone wall to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Now there is this void between players who can take and give instructions, and then there is whatever is leftover after that. I am realizing for the first time that the people who are left over are these game companys’ literal wet dream. Ostracized for poor performance and listening skills, the latter really being the most basic skill required for success in anything, these players have little to know recourse within the gaming community itself.

I always thought that these “buy a gold key to unlock the chest of fortuity” games were marketed to people who wanted to save time or “skip to the end.” I’m afraid I can’t agree with that any longer. If anything, it really sounds like a little white lie these folks ginned up. You know why?

Because people who can follow directions, cooperate with others, and demonstrate skillful play are almost universally already in some niche that affords some level of satisfaction. Sure, the definition of that niche may morph from time to time as trends change, but for the most part, there is no need for them to buy something they have already earned. There is nothing in EVE you can buy that can’t somehow be earned. There are, however, many things you can earn that can never be bought.

So while it is tempting to think that all bad players are in a rush, the heart of the matter is really displacement. The bad player isn’t just bad at the game mechanically, he is in the bad niche. He has been castigated from fruitful play, and has available to him only the option to buy illusiory success. This “fake success” is the illusion that makes gold key games so profitable–the notion that currency can correct what is fundamentally a personality deficiency.

Having parsed this all out over the past few paragraphs, I suppose I would sum it all up by saying although nothing particularly exciting happened for me in EVE over the past few days, it was a nice feeling to participate in an activity where success could not be bought. Communication, mutual respect, patience for teaching the new, and a whole lot of careful listening were what won the day.

It’s no wonder so many of these gold key games are now defunct. Losers also lack tenacity.

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EVE Online: A Non-Consensual Full Loot PVP Universe

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EVE Online: A Non-Consensual Full Loot PVP Universe

The phrase above has been repeatedly bouncing about my cerebral cortex over the past few days. Mostly due to the realization of a simple fact about the universe of EVE Online: the phrase “Non-Consensual Full Loot PVP Universe” finds utility in explaining EVE to an outsider, but bears little semblance of meaning to the typical player who’s already in game.

The reason that meaning is so obscured is because it is so often and easily taken for granted. It is because this characterization of the world is so fundamental and intrinsic, that every activity you engage in within the confines of EVE the game is implicitly bounded by those aforementioned constraints.

In layman’s parlance, the number one rule of EVE is “never fly what you can’t afford to lose.” Again, several things are implied by that statement:

1) The player should assume at some point in the future they will aggress or be aggressed.
2) The player should assume that at some point the outcome of aggression will be a loss on their part.
3) The only factor that can considerably mitigate these circumstances is one’s accumulation of wealth to dampen the monetary consequences of such a loss.

It is the maxim of the masses, forgotten only to one’s detriment. In fact, I would go so far as to say most new player organizations in the game go to great lengths to impress this aphorism deeply into the hive-mind of their ranks before and above any other learning. And still of course, they fail in many cases.

I did not come to understand the meaning of the above phrase by reading it, nor by hearing it. Certainly there is no motto that could hope to emulate the weighty gravity of loss. The truth is that what I came to write about today is a sensibility one cannot gain vicariously. It is an instinctiveness forged deep within the crucible of our ancestry.

It is a state of being that our society punishes, that our social norms decry, and in modernity seems to only prevail within “fringe” political movements. It is embracing the ethos that in order to ensure our personal prosperity we must protect the few even to the detriment of the many.

It is to Kill or Be Killed.

It is EVE.

And it is a lesson with most impossible odds. For the EVE player it is either the first of many, or the last and only.
So what got me on this topic?

Well for starters I tried to explain the following news story and video to several people:

http://themittani.com/news/bloodiest-battle-wormhole-history

Not only did I really enjoy the video, but I thought it would be a simple and straightforward conversation about the depth of the EVE universe. At 120 billion in losses for the engagement, the battle cost roughly 200 PLEX. I try to then translate that into US Dollars, and I’m hoping one of these days someone will light up at the realization that $4,000 were destroyed. It never happens.

So back to the term “Non-Consensual Full Loot PVP Universe.” At first it sounds quite specific. But if anything I have come to find it is actually generic. EVE is not the first game, nor the only current game, nor probably the last game to embrace this mechanic; but it does still have one thing no other game on the market has. That gravity of loss I described before. The fact that people can and will blow up $4,000 to win a war, prove a point, or just otherwise do it.

The attachment we feel to this universe is the lifeblood that fuels conflict. I found the opposite reaction I was looking for when I described game events in real world dollars. Instead of people saying “wow, serious business!” more often I got a dull glazed over look and a “well that seems kind of stupid to throw 4 grand away in an internet spaceship fight.”

No one watches a fireworks show and counts up the dollars it cost the city with each consecutive mortar that explodes in a shimmer of light. Well maybe some accountant somewhere, so perhaps I should say no one ever enjoyed such a show under those pretenses. But this is entirely my point about EVE. It is a game for people who took their G.I. Joes out of the plastic wrap.

It turns out that 4 grand worth of internet spaceships aren’t much fun to look at.

But they are a hell of a lot of fun to blow up.

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