Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Handful of Darkness to Burn the Universe

Eve is driven by death.

How dramatic that sounds! I was walking throuugh the grocery store and thought about that. Then I purchased some fruit rollups because I'm really five inside. So there I am, picking up my fruit rollups (I went with a mixed flavor pack) and debating Eve Online while buying groceries (there was also a sale on scalops, so wonderful).

Many will say that Eve is driven by conflict. The inferno trailer discusses how progress is defined. Yet, at the end of all of that progress is motivated by death. We are trying to avoid dying or we are trying to make someone else die. And when I say someone else, I am not talking about NPCs. We're attempting to affect other human players and transfer the death to them.

Death is a big word. Let me be clear that I'm talking about video game death here. I've been reading the MMO Melting Pot a little bit. I find the other games interesting and I am happy that others are as obsessed with writing about their game time as I am. However, the darkness that so defines Eve is in evidence in the different view points out there.

In Eve, we die. We struggle not to. Sometimes we give in to the ineveitable. At other times, we use it to forward a goal. But Eve swirls around death (in game that is). Small deaths, big deaths, war deaths, barge deaths they are all the same.

A favorite quote:

"EVE is not designed to look like a cold, dark, unforgiving world. It's designed to BE a cold, dark, unforgiving world". - CCP Wrangler"

In most video games you die (or fall endlessly and it turns black and you respawn) and its terrible for a few seconds then you get over it. In Eve, death takes all of our stuff. Because we are stuff motivated we are death averse but being death averse does not mean that you can avoid death and therefor death and the chances of death motivate everything.

It is how I "Get Eve". I accepted this before I started playing. In fact, that entire single shard everyone kills you thing was exciting. Last night I was discussing how utterly paralyzed in fear my first few trips to Didoxie were as I watched battles rage outside of the station and expected to be killed before I made it in or out of the station. I also had no understanding of game aggression mechanics, but the entire atmosphere of Eve had driven me into that mental state and it was fantastic. Accepting the loss took longer. It still hurts. I struggle against dying but I know it will happen.

This is how I project my understanding of Eve. I was called a CCP Fanboy the other day while arguing with someone. Of course I had a massive snickering fest over that. The argument burned down to:
"CCP should stop goonswarm becuase they are to powerful"
"Its not fair or right for this to happen"
"Its CCP's responsiibility to intervean and stop it"
"Its unfair for one group to be so powerful"
"It's not right for them to cause problems for other people" (I feel bad for Helicity. The poor things efforts in hulkageddo have been overshadowed by the collaboration with goonswarm this year.)

The best line was: "suggesting ccp fix all the problems caused by the goons is like saying the British should convert to the Euro. Probably a good idea, but never gonna happen."

My response was that CCP does not need to 'fix' any of these problems because they are not problems. Eve is not defined by a neat, predetermened path but by what the people do inside of it. Because another group of players has not risen up to destroy any of the current power blocks does not mean that it can not happen or anything stops it from happening. It means that Eve is working as intended.

I'm using quotes today so from an interview in PC Gamer:

Torfi Frans Olafsson, Creative Director: That’s why we have to show this stuff when it happens. Like when Burn Jita happened, when it was blockaded, people are asking if we’re rooting for the bad guy, the people blockading, and we are not. We are respecting the mechanics of the game, and our role as developers is to provide tools, toys, and mechanics, but it’s not our job to write the story. The story is written by the players.

Our story, as players, is written in the destruction that happens around us. As it is so popular to say on the forums, EVE = Everyone Vs Everyone. Even if one keeps their hands out of the actual intimate moment of spaceship destruction, death is still created to fuel Eve.
Ammo
Ships
Moduals
Drugs
Skills
ISK

Without our industrialists we could not make the universe burn. Without the burning of the universe there would be no need for their wares.

Only in Death does Eve Online have life. Only in Eve, what needs to be destroyed is the other players in the game.

No respawns. No retriever for your corpse. No do over. No fade to black. Just a raw, raw universe.

Glorious.

5 comments:

  1. +1. But apparently EVE needs to be "WoW in space" to be "fiscally viable" for CCP so... :-/

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  2. 1 - You don't die, you 'just' lose the stuff that is with you at the time, so you actually lose expended game time (which can mean almost nothing to someone who is on an alliance ship replacement program and a lot to a self employed carebear).
    2 - The game is big enough to accomodate a bit more 'WoW'
    3 - The playerbase has already spoken (80% live in HiSec) lots of people are insisting on not listening (presumably however we are all using the same pricing structure for our subscriptions)?

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    1. #2: According to #3, the game is already 80% WoW. Yet there's room for "moar WoW"?? How does this work...inquirind minds would LOVE to know.

      #3: Democracy is only as good as the populace practicing it. In the case of Modern Man, well, HL Mencken was right: "Democracy is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses," (see also: Gewns) and "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and need, and deserve to get it, good and hard." Or maybe it was "Democracy is the misguided belief in the collective wisdom of the individual ignorance." (those last 2, see also: Murrica, and EVE players)

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  3. CCP Fozie: "One does not simply wakka wakka into Mordor." (thanks for that Sugar)

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    1. You are welcome Anonymous. I have no idea why :D

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