[TL;DR: Sugar is having a serious day.]
A week ago or so, I was reading an application for someone applying to get into a corporation. The application and the corporation were not mine. I did know the parties involved. It is fascinating how you can watch at the parties involved and wonder if they see what you see or react in similar manners. When I have spent my time speaking to people interested in THC2, I focus my process upon a basic principle. Will the person fit in. Does their personality seem to or appear to have the potential to suit the personalities of others.
No amount of game skill or assets will compensate for someone no one wishes to be around. While that may not scale as quickly or importantly, for a small group who live side by side and depend on each other for daily basics, it is important. Groups can shatter, their core rotted by only one individual. While we do not know who may be that negative aspect sometimes various aspects of screening can make it show up.
When I speak of negative aspects or personalities I do not only speak of those who are attempting to enter a group with the express purpose of negative social interaction. I speak of those who enter a group and cause negative social interaction due to conflicts of personality. Some of these are not easy to see from the start and others are almost frightfully obvious.
And so, I watched, concerned when asked to name a close in game friend the response was that they don't make close in game friends that they keep up with.
Friendship is a fluid state. It has to be fed for it to remain healthy and to grow. If neglected it withers. It can mutate and change. People grow closer or further apart. Friendship will never remain static but there was a casualness to his answer when referenced with internet spaceship friends. Or, what I think of as situational friends.
I do not mean that all friendship, in Eve or out, must be close, bosom buddies. I'm sure many people exist in a layer of casual social groups in game. I do not disparage those things. Instead, I point to social groups who's strength is in their social connection. Enjoying the people that you fly with in and out of game can only strengthen the game. It is one reason why corporations who have outside of Eve focuses are so strong. I know people who always say 'us/we' and never mean their current corp and always mean their exterior Eve group who plays Eve. It is not a position of divided loyalty as complex layers of interlaced relationships.
The situation may have struck a bit close for me. At the same time, one of my most important in game friends was starting a period of forced hiatus due to life. Normal, social connections were severed and someone I looked forward to seeing every day was gone. My own emotional state produced confusion over how someone could easily shrug off that situation. Yet, the rational side of my mind demands that I remember each person will take a different meaning and impact from what they do.
Eve is played on a number of different levels. For some, to log in and play and log out is all they look for in their day. Others, find their friendships moving outside of Eve into other games and recreational computer activity. Some even meet each other in the real world and spend some time hanging out with the person they have come to find as a friend.
For good or for bad, relationships are the games fuel. When CCP began to hand out tools instead of rules they set the scene of a complex, social interactions where content was created by the natural reaction of human interaction.
The link of internet spaceships is no greater or lesser than any other. Not everyone will become someone to move into your garage and set up camp. The little marking slogan, "Eve is real!" is one that makes the eyes roll. Eve isn't real. Eve is a game about internet spaceships. It is the people that are real. The ones behind the internet spaceships are what drives the machine.