Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rambling: Push and Pull


[TL;DR: Sugar muses random things about corps and people and the ebb and flow of the Eve social group]

Corporations are fragile. The membership is a fine balance. It seems to but take a simple event or two for the members to stop logging in and the corporation to start to die. Inactivity is always a possible bitter end and so we strive to avoid inactivity with activity.

But sometimes activity can be the cause of inactivity. It is almost an accidental side effect.
I was thinking on this after having a discussion where someone could not get a concept through to me. The concept was about moving to an area to engage in lots of PvP. The area would be hostile and undocking would almost assuredly mean fights. The numbers would be over whelming but when the group got together they should be able to rain down explosions from the holy fires of turrets and launchers.

It sounds exciting. It sounds like why so many of us start Eve. Nonstop battle. Nonstop war. It sounds delightful.

But is it? PvP in Eve is stressful for many reasons.  From managing the logistics of ship replacement to the exhausting, soul sucking task of herding cats (aka the fleet).  It wears people down.  I've watched the enablers log out of a solid week or more after a heavily planned campaign due to burnout.

I asked one question, “But what do they do when no one else is on?” What do people do with their time when they are not in these glorious battles? What do they do to relax. To hang out. To bond?

With that avenue closed they may choose to spend time on another alt or not play at all. Well, to keep the group together they play other games. This straightens the group. It often creates an external social environment that is incredibly strong. Friendships are forged. But the Eve corporation becomes a ghost of itself. Is a logged out corporation the same as a logged in one?

I also don't mean the eve corporation created from an outside source coming into Eve. That entity is different from the one created inside of the game.

The answer was nothing. That was what other characters were for. If they could not engage in their volatile PvP environment they would do something else on another character. That is what they signed up for. That is what they expected. I can see that.  But, having expectations and living those expectations are two very different things.

I am highly attached to Sugar. Sugar is a restricted character. To get around those restrictions I have a plethora of other alt characters. None of them are Sugar. None of them can do what she does. None of them feel the same way. Sugar is my favorite character to play and that is why she is often docked at a station chatting while I am busy doing other tasks.

However, she can always undock and go and do things. If Sugar was restricted heavily, I’d find myself dissatisfied. I do things with Sugar because I enjoy doing things with her. I enjoy playing Eve. While people want to go on about how ‘stupid’ the game is and how ‘terrible’ the game is something makes them log back in. I’ll dub it enjoyment of the game. As ignorant as my deduction may be, I am going to assume that they enjoy the game at some level.

The corporation may die or it may come back to life when factors cause an environmental change. With the environmental change the restrictions are lifted and people return to doing what they want to do. Doing only one thing, even if very interesting, becomes boring. Even if that is lots of meaningful PvP and PvP is what they love and the only thing they want to do. Not being able to do anything else can become too much of a favored thing. It has the feel of eating candy until one is sick.

How much are people inadvertently hurting themselves by trying to tightly lock into a focus? It is that bridge where the game goes from fun to work. Someone should not, in my opinion at least, embarrassingly admit that they enjoy exploration. They should not have to add that qualifier onto "I like doing X in Eve (I am embarrassed to say)". Or worry that the corporation will take issue with playing the game.

I don't know. I don't know how other groups function. I've, for the most part, only have had THC2. I do what I want. That includes doing what other people want because I agreed to that. On these things, I can watch and wonder from afar.

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