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Rambling: Elitism - Opinions and Thoughts

[TL;DR: I responded about elitism  turned it into a ramble, babbled for a bit, think it's a lot of the way people view it for more bad then good, and made a salad.]

Yesterday, I wrote a post that was supposed to be a tongue in cheek review of Crimewatch and the way it has reshaped a lot of PvP in low sec.  It was also a follow up in a way of the day before when I commented on my decision to spend time and focus on frigates now that I was able to be a valuable member of a small gang low sec PvP fleet in a frigate.

My ideas and opinions on this blog are very much geared around the part of the game I play in.  I know that I am not well informed about other areas and play styles outside of low sec piracy and the aspects of gameplay that spawn from it.  I'm not overly informed about low sec piracy as well.  I don't ransom. I don't solo. I don't actually pirate.

What I do is play a video game where I am part of a small group of players with a majority focus on PvP.  However, I am not restricted to this role and that is why I have gotten into other things such as capital ship production  marketing, exploration and I occasionally write about how much I enjoy mining.

I went back and forth in some comments and the topics of elitism cropped up.
"Your PvP opnions don't irritate me, really, as much as they serve as yet another example of pvp elitism (especially the tech 2 elitism) that has taken a sadly firm grip on the mind of pvpers. I saw this out in null, and I see it amongst the non-null pvp crowd, too. I fell into the trap myself, refusing to pvp until my skills were perfect (which never happened) until one day I realized I was paying a subscription to just sit in station and ship spin because I let others' opinions of when a person 'should' pvp dictate my fun."
My first thoughts were I'm note elite and I'm cerainly not tech 2 elite.  What the hell?  I stepped back, looked around, thought about things, made a salad, and came to the realization that it certinly can seem that way from the things I say.  Jaguar. Cynabal. Sleipnir. Scimitar. Interceptors. I won't fly ships without T2 guns.

Ahh, yes. This could be seen as elitism   I don't discuss Rifters and Slashers and I abandoned the Hurricane. I even mine in a Mackinaw and my scout runs around in a Legion and before that an Anathema.  T2 ships are a very large part of my blog and I had not noticed.

I didn't notice because the decisions I have made are made because I have to be my own solution to a situation. I spend my time 95% alone and 5% in fleet. I fly T2 things because they are niche spaceships and a jack of all trades will not do it when I am the only one there doing things.  To me, this makes perfect sense.  I fly assault frigates and interceptors for fleet because I am normally the only tackle ship.  I need the tank of an assault frigate.  I need the speed and options of the interceptor.  Their T1 equivalents are not good enough for me to carry the burden on my own so i have to make a decision.

I do not consider this elitism but I can see how someone, not in my shoes, can see it as that as they flip through the words I splash across the internet. I can only hope that they also temper it with my acceptance of new players and my refusal to judge people by their skill point values.

But that still leave the heavy, lurking word of elite on the field.  I wrote a long ramble about it.

The word that has a lot of power is Elite.  Or Elitisms   Or leet or 1337 or whatever else it is called. I have never considered myself to be an elite player.  For me, when someone declares themselves elite they are entering a competitive zone.  This is a zone that may be completely and fully defined by them as a person. However, you can compete with other people without them knowing you are competing with them. You can win, in your own mind, based off of your own values and thoughts and declare yourself better then they.

The concept of being elite, to me, is simply a way for someone to define their accomplished or how much better they are then others. In a game like Eve, with so many intangibles defining better is slippery and complex.

e·lite or é·lite  (-lt, -lt)
n. pl. elite or e·lites
a. A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status: "In addition to notions of social equality there was much emphasis on the role of elites and of heroes within them" (Times Literary Supplement).
b. The best or most skilled members of a group: the football team's elite.
2. A size of type on a typewriter, equal to 12 characters per linear inch.
I have to admit, I think qualifying as an elite typewriter would be very nice.  I type a lot.

Two or three days ago I logged off Eve pretty sad and down.  The reason is because I had a long talk with someone.  I enjoy this person and their corporation a lot but from the outside looking in, they are a corporation that I could never hope to join. Now, that is not to be confused with wanting to join.  There are times that you look at something and judge yourself against it. You may not actually want to use that thing but because of respect, belief, opinion, or whatever internal forces influence you, you look at them as a measure bar.

I looked and found myself falling very, very short. Even after all my efforts and attempts to reach a level where I felt I could roll on an equal level I still found myself, in my opinion, far below their measure  It made me sad. I also just felt like trash.  No one made me feel this way. In fact, this group is very inclusive of me and enjoys my company, gives me complex assignments and tasks, and gives me plenty of support.

The feeling of inadequacy is completely my own based off of observations and interactions with others.

In a way, I made my own shell and sat inside of it in isolation.

Eve is a competitive game. Yet it is also not a competitive game. The competition comes from people attempting to create hard defines for goals and success points.  What may be an accomplishment for one person is not an accomplishment for another. What may be an absolute minimum or necessary for someone may not be for someone else.

And you may not be invited to play reindeer games.

Because groups have their own defined goal points they create standards.  My first view of this standard was the can that announced a minimum of 5 million skill points to apply for a corporation. My mind was blown because I had around 300k skill points at that time. Five million? Without five million skill points I didn't have value.  That stuck with me for months.  Just because I read a passing bit of information.

Fleet doctrines are another example of this.  "You must be able to fly X, Y and Z."  I personally fall prey to this because I often refuse to fly Z (battleships).  Instead of saying, "Hey can I still come alone?" or "Hey I have Command Ships V and can do all these other things" I look at my lack of Z as a barrier and one I cannot reach.  My head often drops, my shoulders slump and I slink away, hoping that no one saw me looking and the hope fizzle from my eyes.

The thing is, that groups that create these things are doing them because they have a goal point to be achieved   As nice and great as you are they have a vision and they want to execute that vision. The people who will be in the fleet and thus the parts of the actual mechanics that is doing the execution of the original vision must fit into a game plan.

Anyway, it all creates exclusions and exclusions suck.  Even when they are valid and make sense they suck.  Even when they are self imposed they still suck.  I'm kind of wandering so I will try to pull it in.

The last and greatest form of elitism in Eve is ships.  I separate ships from fleet doctrine because people get obsessed about ships.  About flying a certain ship and defining those ships for reasons.  Reasons that often have to do with ISK and predefined values off of it.  And because Eve is an economic game at its heart some people flaunt expensive things and others look down on those that do not fly expensive things.

If you do not fly expensive things you are, "poor" and that is said as an insult. The actual reason for not flying the expensive thing does not matter because like any insult, it is stupid, short sighted and meant to destroy the other persons ego.  You also might be poor. For whatever reason some people are going to have a harder time affording ships.  This creates a more bang for your buck commentary mixed in with people who are so rich that they don't care if they lose X amount of ISK.

The problem is, the elitism of poor and not poor and being better for flying more expensive or complex things over shadows the simple fact that sometimes, for some situations, expensive things are better.  Sometimes, for some situations, expensive things are stupid because something else works in that situation just as well. Sometimes, making the finical decision to spend a particular amount, be it great or small, to enter a situation has nothing to do with the finical resources.

I often think that the use aspect of some ships gets swallowed in the ISK aspect of those same ships.  And they are muddied. ISK is such a constant, low level pressure in the back of the game.  To make more ISK. To lose more ISK. To kill more ISK. To field more ISK.  ISK values themselves can create such a form of elitism that after a certain bit it can become hard to see past the ISK values to what is actually going on.

There is a power to the word.  It is as strong as the word War is.  It grabs people and it affects their view of things.  It is, perhaps  one of my most despised words in this game.  When I see a corporation description that defines itself as an elite X I dismiss them because it is not something I want to be caught up in.  Thus my shock to realize that I, might have been trapped into it by other people, without realizing it.

Basically, we are people and that is our problem. We will form social groups with values. We will enter and leave them. Our own values will affect how we handle things. Sometimes itw ill make glorious sense. Other times one can only wonder where a particular piece of insanity came from.


  1. Oh my, I went over the character limit, so this will have to be two posts. Yikes. And sorry for the wall of text.

    I think the elitism I was talking about was more the exclusionary kind, where groups will not even allow those who can't fly shiny ships/fits - and here, I mean anything other than tech 1 - a role. I do also realize the term shiny can be relative to ones' isk and skills, but I try to look at it from the standpoint of the average/new player, and in that context, anything not T1, or that requires T2 fittings, is shiny. Now this could be a player with millions of skill points who just doesn't have them in certain areas (i.e. skilled for Caldari and his corp/alliance wants amarr ships), or players moving from one area of EvE to another (i.e. indy to pvp). Maybe it's a player who is space poor and can't afford the more expensive T2 ships. You get the idea.

    I also understand the concept of fleet doctrine and fleet composition. I've been playing wargames for over 30 years on the table top, as well as 12 of those years carrying a rifle and playing wargames as one of the pieces. I know how hard it is to integrate dissimilar forces.

    I also get utilizing different ships for different roles - If I have my druthers, I'd much rather use a blockade runner to move high-value cargo over a t1 hauler, especially in low/null, or use a cov ops ship to scan for wormholes rather than a t1 ship. That's not elitism, or not really, unless it ends up preventing you from doing something because of an artificial barrier (more on that later).

    The real elitism I can't stand, as I've said before, is the kind that excludes someone just because they can't fly t2, or can't fly the preferred ship. I've experienced this type of thing in null, and I think it's shortsighted and bad for the game. Which would you prefer if you were an FC, 80 people in fleet where half were flying the desired ships/fits and the rest were in whatever they could bring because, for whatever reason, they couldn't get/use those ships, or a fleet of 40 people all flying the desired ship? I'd rather have the extra 40 guns, thank you very much. But what I see is the opposite.

    Oh yes, there will be those who say "you can always bring tackle", but in my experience that's almost always translated into "bring interceptors" and those that then say all they can fly is t1 tackle are told to not bother coming and dock up. Or just as bad, they're "allowed" to come along and then either not utilized or under-utilized. As an example, in may latest foray into null, we had a CTA where even the indy guys came out, along with a fair number of newer players. A good thing, I would say, but it turned out that most of those folks could not fly the fits the FC wanted, so they showed up in t1 frigs, 34 of them. How were they used? As warp ins. That's it. Now, to my mind, that was a hideous waste of resources. 34 frigs can do a lot of damage. So even though those players were allowed to come along, they were treated like trash. Guess how many showed up the next time? Yeah.

    It wasn't just the FC's fault, that was how the entire alliance/coalition leadership thought, too.

    Contrast that to the FW corp I now fly with. No doctrines, at least not the rigid null-sec style, no one turned away, even if all you can bring to an i-hub bash is a frigate. Everyone made to feel appreciated. Positive reinforcement. And these people I fly with are definitely not noobs.

    As much as I hate to say it, the Goons have it right in that regard, and I loathe the Goons.


  2. (cont)

    That leads to the second, more insidious for of elitism, the self-imposed kind which leads us to close off options for ourselves in terms of gameplay because we "don't have the right skills", where the "right skills" are often defined as level V. I've even encountered it among my friends in game, the way their voices ooze pity when I bring out a ship and they find that I "only" have the command skill trained to 4, with the clear implication being that the ship isn't worth flying unless I have perfect skills. As I stated in my comment on your other post, and which you've quoted above, I fell into the trap of closing off avenues for fun because I bought into the claptrap of not undocking unless my skills/fit were up to snuff.

    The perfect being the enemy of the good, and all that.


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