Rixx Javix has a series of posts up concerning failure, all written to the high standard that typifies his work, and with the same exhortation. Sugar Kyle has more introspective posts about her decision to abandon her long-running low sec trade hub, The Cougar Store, for the simple reason that the effort involved in moving it overwhelmed her available time. As she is “The Hardest Working CSM in Space Business,” I can see clearly how that would happen.
My failures have been smaller and quieter. I should disclose my mission before I continue: I wish to truly understand and experience EVE industry. I know that the smart thing to do is to buy most of what you use, but then I only know the last part of the process. I am building standings to get data cores. I am mining to build a supply of ore. I have a stable of researched and to-be-researched blueprints. Once I am satisfied that I know the game from the strike of the first mining laser to the successful production of the largest tech 3 ship, I will adjust for efficiency. I am playing for understanding now.
That brings me right to my title, for there is no understanding without failure. None. Someone who merely does the successful thing, as told to them by veterans, is indeed likely to succeed as long as they stay with what they’re told. The moment they try to step outside their received orthodoxy is the moment they first confront their lack of understanding head on. My way will be agonizingly slow. It will be desperately unprofitable. I have needed to pause in order to make ISK so that I could continue, and I surely will do so again. I may very well be overzealous in my desire to examine every cranny, but that is the task that I have set myself. The unexplored paths and the dark corners encourage me to log in. The long goal keeps my attention and my focus beyond any near-term tedium. There is always near-term tedium involved in any endeavor of any significance. There is also failure.
I am currently focused on building standings, because mine are askew. Somehow I have higher than 8.0 standing with several Minmatar corporation, while the faction has never been more than chilly. The Gallente also hold me at arm’s length. Mordu’s Legion has always welcomed me warmly for no reason that I could discern– that is, until it occurred to me to try turning in tags to data center agents to boost my dismal Gallente standings. It was successful, insofar as I am now able to run level 3 missions with any Gallente agent. But at that very instant my standings with the Caldari, Amarr and Mordu’s Legion all plunged from over 5 to low 4s. I must assume that this is a consequence of the penalty to my base standings being magnified by the multiplier that is Connections V, but it was still painful. I had spent time and trouble working those standings to 5, and in that instant much of my work was undone. It was dispiriting, but I learned.
There is a more fundamental lesson here: how many newcomers to EVE are never given the chance? There is concern all over the official forums about the plague of terrible corporations run by new players who do not understand the game, and the urgency with which they must be ripped apart and anyone who complains driven back to World of Warcraft, whose PVP culture is far more toxic than EVE’s, but no matter.
What is this? New players not immediately sounding the depths of the most unusual MMO in existence? Perish the thought! Yes, they will fail. Many of them will fail badly. There will be spies and thefts and drama and people failing to rise to leadership roles. How else are they to learn? Not everyone has the mind to research for months before even logging in, and there is no good reason to restrict the player base to the stark minority who do. Why not tolerate failure? Why not even celebrate failure, as it proves a willingness to try? Where is the rush to determine, on the basis of little to nothing, that a player “doesn’t belong here” because they are operating under common misconceptions, or bad advice, or just bad guesses?
We should embrace failure. Not only our own, but especially others’, and especially the failures of the newly subscribed.