Thursday, January 31, 2013

Want vs Is

The trickledown effect of interest that the most recent capital battle has generated around the internet is that people are asking about Eve as a game to play.  Beyond the "How do I get into that fight" part of the desire is the basic, "What kind of game is it?"

I'm not one to go on about, "this terrible stupid game".  That mantra must be beyond my doe eyed adoration.  In my little, simple world, when something is terrible and stupid I avoid it.  If I continue to play it obsessively it is not terrible and stupid.  Thankfully, subtly of language is beyond me so I like to take statements like that as fact from the author and then feel bad for them.

One thing that has always frustrated me about any review is when someone gives something a negative review because they wanted it to be something else.  If I want an orange and go eat an apple, I then do not score the apple as a 1 out of 10 for not being an orange.  If the apple presented itself as an orange then the score of 1 out of 10 is understandable.  However, if the apple advertises itself as an apple and I went and penalized for not being an orange the critique is unreasonable.  "This apple, that says it is an apple, is not an orange. I'm disappointed.  It was a delicious apple but it was not an orange and I wanted an orange when I selected this apple instead of the orange that I wanted.  1 out of 10 stars for not being an orange."

This happens quite often in Eve.  People give it a poor review for not being things it never said that it was.  I can understand disliking the control mechanisms.  As a fan girl I am obligated to say, "Give it a try anyway you'll adjust!" but I can understand.  It is not for everyone but it has to be appreciated for what it is in the first place.  I to was lost with the WASD lack but once I figured out how to move my ship everything else became absorbing.

Eve is also billed as a boring game.  Boredom is to broad of a category   I have days when undocking is hard because I have so many other in game tasks to do that my spaceship is secondary. Is this boring?  Is it not?  I don't know but it is part of the game.  I find First Person Shooters to be boring and they are packed full of action from start to finish.  Boredom is often about engagement and what someone is looking for.  I've seen many complaints because Eve does not have push button receive PvP.  Those people are often directed to RvB where they can have exactly that because the players created it.

As an easy method of slipping away from a complex question I get to say that the "What" in Eve is different for every player.  Then we get to say, "It takes a special type of person to play Eve," but really it just takes a person who has those types of interests.  What types of interests draw people into Eve and stick them there?

Well...in one hand we bring diplomacy, connections, player driven content, strategy, teamwork, spreadsheets, calculators, tools, economists, industrialists, strategists, chat channels, com channels, forums and in the other deceit, destruction, viciousness, serious business, scamming, manipulation, and the ability to press everything to its edge to see if it falls over it while we run away giggling while we have a deep economic discussion about the future fluxuations of minerals on the market and what that means for our production lines.

What led me down this rambling road was a corp theft(?) on the Dust 514 forum .  The simple and reasonable reaction by someone was to put a money cap and it solved that problem.  The reactions of Eve players are priceless.  From “Why” to the random announcements of personal responsibility and trustworthiness, please can have roles?

I once started to write a response to Nosy Gamer where he asked if Eve has changed him.  My answer was and is yes.  Eve’s descendants on Planetside 2 is one of my examples.  One of my co-workers plays planetside.  He is a member of something awful in a casual way but with planetside became more active.  Now he says pubbie and speaks like an Eve goon without ever having played Eve.  He has the right mentality for Eve just not the time with his other game commitments.  Yet, as he has played planetside the conversion has been interesting.  He plays with Eve players quite often and he can see the fleet tactics mirrored sometimes.  We have interesting discussions when we go out for lunch on our days off.  We only have each other to babble about video games so we try to use that time wisely.  But it isn't just that one place.  Eve players often run off to other games and play in their same social groups.  

This is not about the soft, cozy blanket of elitism that Eve players are often accused of when they venture into other games and state how ‘hard’ Eve is.  This is the subtle adjustments and changes that come from playing Eve.  I find myself often frustrated in other games that I cannot just kill people that irritate me. I have to remember that dying does not mean something most of the time.  I can go idle. No one knows I have all my gold coins on me.  Even if they do they can't take it.  Once that was normal but suddenly it was no longer stimulating that people couldn't take my things.

And that mentality of ours is enthralling to people if not appealing to deal with.  The reactions to the most recent battle and the entire reason it happened has gripped people. One thing that amuses me is how many people find Eve to be very readable if not playable.  I can understand that.  It really is a ridiculous pool of complex drama sided by ridiculous battles, pretty explosions and fantastic leaps of dark, human imagination.

Eve is a vicious game run by vicious words.  Sure, there are plenty of warm snuggly things that happen every day.  Yet, when someone goes, “Where are you doing?” and you respond, “Killing people” and they go “Cool good luck” it's not a gentle game regardless of the attempts to diminish what is happening.  Because the game is about people in the end.  If I am PvEing I say, “Shooting red crosses.”  That in itself is an unconscious but factual distinction.  I don’t ‘kill’ NPCs.  I even define them by their visual icon. 

Who would have thought, "Do whatever you want?" could be so hard?  That freedom to run about and do your own thing would be so unappealing?  Its result is that each person will have a different experience inside of the game world even as they do the exact same thing.  Game world is used a lot as a polite way to define the game life.  Immersive is another way to say, "Holy shit I'm into this".  Yet, it was with Eve that any last traces of being embarrassed about being a gamer melted for me.  When my supervisor asked why I was going to Iceland I told him that I was attending a video game conference, like when I went to Vegas.  He looked at me.  I looked back at him.  He approved my leave.

1 comment:

  1. "When my supervisor asked why I was going to Iceland I told him that I was attending a video game conference, like when I went to Vegas. He looked at me. I looked back at him. He approved my leave."

    I literally lol'd. I got much the same reaction when I told my co-workers that yes, it was technically my b-day weekend, but I was _actually_ going to Vegas for a game conference, I got a LOT of blank stares. lol. Oh well, it was fun and I'm hoping to get to do it again this October! :-D

    Save me a seat in the back and we'll make fun of shit "death by powerpoint" presentations together again. ;-)

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