The Rivals
Duncan Ringill

LOLCaps057

EVE=PvP is a charmingly limited view, and “villain” is as adorable a handle for a pretend destroyer of pretend spaceships as “teacher” is pretentious. (But go learn how to fly a Cynabal–good stuff there.)

PvP is a small subset of war, but I’ll happily grant Dex the pride of the infantry grunt invoking the favor of the Queen of Battle.  The officer corps has its own swagger, to be sure, and rightly so.  Nothing, however, matches the arrogance of the war profiteer who moves the chess pieces.  The masters making trillions off the efforts of PvPers like Dex do not spare a thought for his chimpanzee fun, as he in turn may care little for the grand games they play.

Standing to the side are the markets, whose warriors enjoy quieter conflict.  I can imagine racing hearts even there, though, as the combatants sift buy and sell orders to try to divine the hearts of their enemies.  The struggle for resources that is EVE is nowhere so exemplified as in the marketeers, for whom everything has a price.  The masters of war bow to the need for fun, but the economy rules all.

EVE is therefore more a trading game than it is a war game, and far more than it is a PvP game.  Spaceship combat is simply what gets Dex’ juices flowing these days, but rather than argue with his passion I’ll encourage him to wallow in it–because when we break it all down, there’s a secret depth that no one talks much about: we are the nascent gods of New Eden, indulging every whim to live larger than do the NPC inhabitants of this little universe.  To do, in a word, anything.

What EVE is really, really about is being awesome in any of a ton of possible careers.

Or Help to Half-a-Crown
Duncan Ringill

I could wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either.    –Jane Austen

 

drama1Summerstock theater takes its name from the season in which it runs.  Why is it not acted during the school year?  Too much else going on, of course.  Summer theater has a reputation for being uncool and inept.

Does that describe (the Northern Hemisphere’s) EVE summers?  Not much going on where you are in the game?  Peace declarations getting you down?

No worries.  Ours is a game of Internet spaceships, and Internet means drama.  Where there is none, we will create it.  Where there is any extant, we will nurture it into full flower, whence cometh the turgid little morality play known as Gamergate.

Mabrick takes NoizyGamer to task elegantly, not for bringing it up, but for caring about the Wrong Thing.  Me?  I’d only heard bits and pieces, and had already written the matter off, as Nosy does, as a teapot-encased Tempest Fleet Issue.  My own prejudices were confirmed as I stepped out into that particular cesspool for the first time today.  The plaintiff begins his case with a great show of concern for trust in the community rather than as a rant against a jilting ex-lover, then goes on to offer little more than the aforementioned rant and a lot of privileged conversations.  Neither party comes off well.

Whatever the Internet makes of this is not going to be pretty.  No doubt I’m more than fashionably late to this party, and the stank is already into the Web’s air conditioning.  It’ll be there for them as wants it.

silos1Mabrick is hunting other prey today, however.  A nice man-he-killed detour through Remarque reminds us to poke our heads up, prairie-doglike, from our respective silos, and see things from multiple viewpoints.  ‘Kay.  Sure you want to do that?  The blogosphere is a bunch of people, real though they be, blindly feeling their way toward a description of the elephant in the living room.  Tweet!  Illegal mixing of metaphors–fifteen yards!

Listen to them all, suggests Mabrick, if you would approach the truth.  I won’t doubt him; I would only question the wisdom of diving deeply into every online melodrama.  Sometimes–most times–the rot is external to you, and not worth a figurative missile launch, much less a thoroughly researched one.

The stink gets on you and into you.  Sometimes one helps one’s fellow man best by utterly ignoring his follies.

Spoiled Rich Kids
Duncan Ringill

Ask your parents.

Ask your parents.

Art reminds us once again that one of EVE’s greatest potential strengths–its lore–lies rusting at the bottom of a corroded dev bucket.  It’s a vast yet unfinished science fiction universe underpinning the game we know and love, and yes, it’s also a source of frustration.  Why didn’t CCP get around to finishing it…or if they did, why didn’t they bother to set it in motion?

The answer, of course, is that that’s supposed to be our job.  We are the ones who invest hearts and minds into making all the space politics go.  NPCs, their corps and even their alliances are supposed to dance with us, fight us, and perhaps be bent to our will.

It’s been a colossal failure, hasn’t it?  Perhaps you’re having too much fun to have noticed.

The one thing NPCs have in common with each other is that they all have jobs.  Their behavior is oriented around activities that would further the economic or political interests of their bosses.  This is convenient for our player characters, because the NPCs can be counted on to be in certain places, doing certain things.

Time was, there would be news posted.  A bit of power would change hands here or there.  Sometimes it would be written around faction warfare or live events.  I never paid it much attention, because it didn’t seem to intersect with my game-play.  You see, I didn’t notice the gaping hole where lore should be, either, being too busy flying pretty spaceships with my friends.  Art seems to think this disconnect is potentially fatal.  Surely not.  Surely?  A decade ago, it was a marketing slogan; in what may be EVE’s twilight years I think it is a lost opportunity.

I didn’t need EVE to be any more than it was, and perhaps I still don’t.  I didn’t have a job, either, beyond the occasional mining ops with my crew.  In that respect, I am a little like the HTFUest pilots out there.  What fun there was to be had, I helped make, and I made it on my own terms, because I didn’t have a job.

While considering how my and Art’s points of view could be so similar and yet so different, I think I came up with a theory: capsuleers are not part of New Eden.  While some of us have jobs (shout-out to miners, faction warriors, DUSTies and industrialists everywhere), the socioeconomic background of the game doesn’t really touch most of us.  At all.  NPCs are busy working for a living 24/7.  Guess who that makes us?  That’s right; we are the spoiled rich kids driving the Rolls into the swimming pool.  We are the interchangeable Britneys and Shias, grabbing headlines for what amounts to less than nothing, unless a lot of ISK being destroyed or stolen counts.

Art’s already made the connection before, but the one thing that might cause us to reconsider the pool as parking is standings.  Without some responsibility to NPCs (beyond a few crabby agents), we are rootless inhabitants of the playground the working folks have to live in.  Standings are what could force us to engage with the opinions of non-capsuleers and thereby become citizens of New Eden rather than its vacationing assholes.

Give us standings, CCP!  Give our standings hits and buffs when we interact with your myriad NPCs.  Make those standings matter.  Make it expensive to live beyond the law; make it less remunerative to operate within empires, and make the back-and-forth between these spaces be difficult to cross at a whim.  Make the CFC (along with perhaps all PC and NPC sovereignty) a de facto empire; they’ve long since earned that status, and while you’re at it sov that can shelter carebears in relative safety need not give up as much loot as the wilder spaces.

That crew I just lost came aboard my battlecruiser in a station, where people still remember them and who may resent my stewardship.  I might be able to buy a replacement ship in that station, but it will come at a cost, and my next crew’s loyalty will also be expensive.  Where are the colonies and outposts who could use a helping hand from a capsuleer, and who will remember his or her name after a service done them?  Should I be able to run for political office on Luminaire, leveraging my standings from the war into a lucrative income or a place at a strategy table?

Come on, CCP!  Reward daring and ingenious players by working them into the lore.  They belong on the screen in my CQ, not just on a statue in the parking lot.  Let them drag NPC corps into their schemes.  Make governments take notice or take flight.

That’s how to make your lore live, breathe, shout, fight, shit and fuck.  Maybe it will even feature in a real-world news story someday.

Happy Anniversary!
Duncan Ringill

flatline01

Heh.  Noizy offers condolences for the events of eleven years ago today!

Chribba did a search of the forums and discovered the first mention of “EVE is dying” was posted by Madox on 30 July 2003…

Drackarn must not have known what he was getting into, back when EVE had been dying for five years.

So Drackarn just turned six years old. Oh, they grow up so fast these days!

I started with Eve Online in July 2008. Thats the year Sins of a Solar Empire was released. You may have been playing Army of Two on your 360. Grand Theft Auto 4 was released as was Mass Effect and Spore.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never played any game as long as six years. Why is Eve different?

Bring out your dead!