Monday, February 11, 2013
Some Weekend Reflections
[Where Sugar touches on several loosely connected thoughts and opinions based off of working with new players over the last few weeks.]
The fun part about new players is their perspective in the game. It reminds you of how far you have come an how much you have absorbed. The other night, before I logged off to crawl into the bed early once again, was “How much are you all making from that?”
“That” was killing people . I answered honestly, “I don’t know. I don’t think anyone really thinks about it unless the drop is particularly shiny.”
I dislike the term fight club for some reason. Maybe it is just because it is attached to a movie and because of that attachment I feel it has too restrictive of a definition. Yet, in a way, I must admit as hard as it is for me to do, that it may not be a terrible way to describe a lot of the PvP that happens with unaffiliated low sec groups.
It isn't for the ISK. It might be but I think few low sec residents go out with the express purpose of making their money off of the people they hope to kill today. Some do manage to support their ship types and tastes. I remember one post from one of the gate camping groups that spoke of how much they made due to popping people trying to get their shinies in and out.
But that isn't everyone.
I guess the image of a Pirate, his drake draped across the gate, its inverted waffle iron shape a symptom of starvation as he frantically paws at whatever passes is a true enough one for some. I've seen some people revel in their lack of income and others look down their noses at the poor. Then I started hanging around with traders and my understanding of rich and poor changed. While still finically comfortable I was far from rich and it did not look as if I would reach that point anytime soon. Most of the people I saw as rich were just well off if you do comparisons.
PLEX is a way that people supplement their income. For some the supplement in in game. They use PLEX to acquire ISK to fund their game activities since many of Eve's activities do not directly produce ISK. The other way is that they save on money in real life by buying PLEX for ISK and using that to fund their game subscription. CCP wins because a single PLEX costs more than a one month subscription and every PLEX in the game was paid for with real money.
What I do not like is when new players buy PLEX and fund themselves. I won't say it is bad but depending on the person and the position a major piece of learning Eve may skipped over. That part is learning to make ISK. I know that the PLEX replaces the ISK but learning to make ISK often teaches the player game mechanics, piloting skills, patience and it gives them an objective. By skipping that part and starting in with ISK I see many people grow bored when they cannot push button and receive action. It shows how ingrained ISK making is in the structure of the game itself.
It isn't always like that. For some the income is going to be freeing for them. They are going to not worry about losing because they can replace it. At the same time each person and beyond each person each group will define wastefulness or poor use differently. A new player can inadvertently stick themselves with a kill board that will make some corporations pass them up. Of course, it is easy to snap out, "Then find a better corp" but that is already a hard task. Everything done in Eve can compound upon itself for a player.
History follows behind and not everyone is going to look past it or even think to look past it. It is a natural enough tendency to think that people will have similar experiences across the game. It's unrealistic because they will not but it is natural enough. For players that do not start out with the ISK power of a plex they may find the path a newer player may take strange. ISK efficiency is a measure in the game. Like it or hate it, believe in killboards or wish them banished, how ISK is used matters to many groups. What ships are used to achieve results are looked at. It simply has to be acknowledged and a compatible group found or compatible habits created.
And then there is compensation.
We killed this. This particular player had been plaguing one of my boys for a while. He would jump him and tackle him but he was never able to kill him. The reason is that this particular member of my corp rarely flies anything larger then a Thrasher. He had multiple times gotten Hurricanes into low armor before he had to leave due to drone damage. Then the Hurricane pilot would taunt him and say he sucked. This time, he jumped a rattlesnake in and started to rat at a belt. 3D tackled him and called for backup. Unfortunately for the rattlesnake pilot, backup was active, most of us just having woken up and logged in.
But how one chooses to spend their money is a choice. Shiny (expensive) kills are often posted. Some people like to call the person who flies them an idiot. However, everyone perceives value differently. That perception of value is personal. In the above kill 3D plays the poor pirate and makes most of his ISK off of looting people and he avoids PvE. The Rattlesnake pilot I suspect has plenty of ISK to burn. Is 3D stupid for not buying a Plex and blinging out his ships?
3D got all of the loot in this situation. We often divide shiny loot drops but this time he earned all of it as far as the rest of the fleet was concerned.
It's all value and everyone will come with a different answer to who should have done what and how the money should have been spent. In a trade discussion there was serious talk over the values of ISK vs PLEX and subscribing accounts vs PLEXing the account. Someone felt bad for people and said that everyone must be from third world countries where buying PLEX is a month's pay. No. Not really. The finical decisions an Eve player makes, for many, will often be done with the same seriousness for internet space pixel money as it is for internet pixel spaceships.
For the player that lives in an area that can easily grant more in loss then in gains these decisions are taken seriously. For a new player who may absorb a large amount of loss it seems sensible to minimize the finical impact of those loses. I want to help them enjoy Eve and not feeling as if their money is being wasted in part of the.
Even then, the group will matter. I've been working with new players of late and I've asked the ones who have used PLEX to fill their wallets to resist the urge to fly the cute, fancy faction ships. The compensation is unnecessary. I ask them instead to focus on their skills and learning to fly. The help the expensive, cute little faction ships will give them is minuscule. We know that they are not going to be a major player in the fleet. That does not mean that they cannot have a valuable and useful position while they learn the game and become an even more valuable and useful person.
I had to pleasure of seeing that proven when I had to leave a gate due to gateguns and our newest that we are letting come along and try out tackled someone the boys very much wanted to kill. He died, but not before the boys were able to pick up the point. His loss was less than a million ISK in a fit frigate. His kill was many times that and personally relevant to the fleet.