Monday, December 3, 2012

Love Hate Relationships

[Where Sugar has an early morning discussion with herself]

This is about Love and Hate and Activism.

On most gaming forums you will see people raging against the developers for various reasons.  Sometimes the reasons are good and sometimes they are not.  Sometimes they are personal and sometimes they are world affected.  As a fan of Bethesda Games I've forgiven them for the quirks in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas because the game gives enough back to me.

But, Eve.

Tomorrow, Retribution hits the server. Our game is going to be grabbed and twisted.  I won't say turned upside down.  There is a lot of change.  There is a lot of opinion about the change.  Many people have said many things much better then I have or do about those chances.  I'm not overly technical in my game play.  I am prone to accepting things and moving on.  My creativity does not form in ways that would cause me to find out ways to do interesting, unexpected things unless I fell across them accidentally.

But this Love-Hate relationship that the players of Eve have is powerful.  Not all of the players.  Its well known that the vocal community is very small when spread across the entire player base.  But those loud voices cover a spectrum from Pointy Sticks constant, bitter commentary on his blog to Eve News 24 and the Mittiani.Com as official places for game news.

And who we love and hate is CCP and Eve Online.

Right now, as many people will be, I shall be affected by Retribution.  I've had months to swallow some of the things that I dislike happening.  I've had days to process others that appeared and blind sided me.  I try to keep up with the changes in the game.  I love the game.  I'm obsessed with the game.  I don't yet hate the game.  Eventually my emotions may twist. Or they may not.  Its not in my nature to reach the hate aspect of the spectrum without someone purposeful attempting to harm my emotional state.

And that purposeful effort is what has driven me to write a block of text when I am only just awakened and to soon trotting off to plunge myself into the cold and bleak depths of life for the day.

There is a lot of speculation about why CCP does what they do.  They give us a lot of feed back.  A lot of feed back.  A lot of honest enough feed back that we tackle and pry apart their words and find the meanings inside like pearls.  We then wear those pearls on proud display as we deal with CCP.  We all know that they do not have to talk to us.  They do and we've become used to it.

Its easy to forget that they make chances based off of a game vision that we can not see.  We can stand there and go "What are they thinking?" in puzzlement but it has to be remembered that the developers are not the players.  Even if they still play the game they have an innate understanding of the interior structure of the game.  Because of this, they know why things should work as they are supposed to work.  This affects their vision of the game.  In my opinion.

Just as I don't look for ways to twist the system, the developers knowledge of what they want the game to do and what they want something to accomplish causes them to miss what people may do or may accomplish with what they are given.  Such is the side effect of broken features.

So, enter activism.

One of the things that  communication with the developers has given the players is the ability to be activists.  We have the CSM, but I do not speak just about the CSM.  The CSM are people.  People are limited by the fact that they are human.  Each human has a habit of being an individual with their own views and their own approach to things.  Things can not be filtered through just one person.  Sometimes we may be placed into a position where it is but at the same time that extensive funneling should be avoiding to all extents and purposes.

Enter activism.  I hate being an activist. Its not the type of person that I am.  Yet, because of the fact that CCP has allowed themselves to be reached by the player base I sometimes have to do it.  The case of the 1/10 and 2/10 DED complexes is one.  The proposed gategun chances earlier this year were another.  What these changes are and were as seen by CCP are different then what is seen by the player base   The only way that they know is by the players telling them.  The only reason they know that it is not more then an individual situation is by many players telling them.

The hardest part is that communication.  That's the Love-Hate relationship.  If someone ever reads a review on Eve they will see a lot of positive things said. There is a lot of passion about the game.  Players will pop out of the wood works at the most obscure places and defend the game.  Look at the Cracked.Com articles I have linked to the side.

When dealing with CCP the hate tends to wash up on the beach and rot like dead fish.  CCP after all holds in their hands these changes.  We have to talk to them but we have to talk to them in such a way that they will listen to our communication and not brush us off as obsessed, bitter fans.  It can be hard.  Very hard.  There is so much passion wrapped up around our game play.

Its hard to remember that Eve is ten years old and the current developers are not the past developers.  We as players have only CCP to focus on.  CCP has the fact that it is not the same CCP that it was. All of this drives a lot of conflict and creates problems when the changes come up.  Nasty problems.  Bitter problems.

They will only continue.

I can only hope that CCP will continue to hear the players.  They have given us platforms such as twitter and the forums.  I hope that people will continue to use those platforms and attempt to reach CCP.  I also hope that the twisted bitter love will not affect the responses to such a way that they shut down communication.  Because, that to does happen.  How things are said matter.  They matter a lot.  On both sides.

Today, I'll fight my new cause over the plexes.  I'll urge others to speak up as well.  I'm holding in my thoughts that the changes are unintentional.  This will be a common theme for the near future.  The intentional reasons are announced.  The problem is side effects.

CCP understands the Butterfly Effect enough to write a trailer about it.

I hope that they also understand its existence inside the implementation of the players interactive game play and the unintentional side effects of allowing us to play in this open spread of sand that stretches off into the distance.

So, today I am going to be hopeful.  The weekend is over, the patch is tomorrow, the tournament no longer absorbs every aspect of the news and now, perhaps, with effort voices can be heard.  I hope. I'll cling to my hope even as I understand that it may lead me down the path of bitterness.  Passion is a harsh friend and a worse enemy.

(This post brought to you by to many thoughts, written when I should have eaten breakfast, and scribbled in thirty minutes before work.  I feel better for writing it.)

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