Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ramblings: Overlapping Rings

[TL;DR: Arguments based off of only personal taste are too shallow for the concepts the game holds.]
Blood is in the water. The scent of it is in the air. Around it sprawls a swath of destruction. The shattered remnants lay in a broken, mutilated salute to the enormity of power and the force of man. It is not a beautiful thing, this destruction, but it is amazing. Far as the eye can see, a sea of it spins around. Broken forms. Tattered hopes. Shredded dreams. In these moments there is no winner or loser only the echoing memories that brought this into existence. This being the sweep of destruction that glitters under the searing burn of the sullen yellow sun as it slowly swirls in a thick, uncoordinated cloud in space...
It was the responses to the 6VDT fight during the Fountain War that caught my attention. At first, I was caught up in frustration. For something that I was not personally vested in or interested in participating, I found the massive fight fascinating. Very fascinating. I watched a cloud of orange boxes with interest. Slowly moving orange boxes. Even with the server lag and the snarled complaints when the computers finally reached their maximum processing ability, I found it fascinating.

And I also found myself irritated. Irritated with the negativity that the event also caused. People did not have to be fascinated as I was. Individual interests are what they are. However, disregarding the entire event made little to no sense to me. Amazing things happened not in so much the syrup slow moments of battle but in the build up, commitment, and ripple effect of the entire fights birth, life, and death.

People actively participate in these battles, time and time again. They know the TiDi will be there. They know the disconnects, problems, issues, and assorted mess will be there. It is not their first time at it. Yet they go back, time and time again. There has to be a reason for that. A reason that stretches further than the moment of participation and motivates them to continue. A slow burn perhaps but a burn none the less.

To compare a massive sovereign battle to a more volatile, organic fight or to the stylized, rule lined micro-planned events of a tournament the argument becomes a scalene triangle. It is all different pm the inside and it is all connected to each part. And as I read opinions finding myself at times in agreement, at times in contrast, and at times shrugging due to different tastes I pondered why I, someone who focused on small gang play would find the sovereign war fascinating without wanting to participate in it compared to others who focused on global aspects of Eve yet spat scornful words towards the size of the sovereign battle.

It is easy for me to say that there is never a reason not to destroy spaceships in Eve online. I have been told that spaceship destruction is the reason that I am here. Yet, other people engage in spaceship destruction only when they have are a reason. In an attempt to break down the arguments into finer points I broke out my MS Paint skills and broke the subject into its two main pieces that overlap.

We fight in Eve online. We play in a game where Player vs Player is the defining feature of the game. A game where conflict is the greatest motivator. We work for minutes/hours/days/weeks/months for a few moments of action that reward the work. People may curse and bitch and complain about the work but they will sit back when it is done and soak in the high of the pay off. That work may be scanning down a target, sitting on a station, or engaging in massive thousand man battles at 10% of real time.

But as someone who cannot wrap their personality around solo PvP and finds the thought of drowning in the midsts of thousands unpleasant where did I stand? The obvious thought was in the middle. Many of us stand in the land of orange. Yet, there are some who will scream from on high that the only game play worth staying in Eve is the 'end game' of null and other's that will focus on the intense, adrenaline rushed thrill of solo and small gang combat. What I had was people participating in the same basic mechanic of aggression but out on different branches.

Fighting is combat. Per Wikipedia, Combat is:
"Combat or fighting is a purposeful violent conflict meant to weaken, or establish dominance over the opposition, or to kill the opposition, or drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed."
And combat makes sense. Combat covers almost all of the reasons for fighting. It is a basic, generic term. But what I originally searched for was, Warfare:
"There is no scholarly agreement on which are the most common motivations for war. Motivations may be different for those ordering the war than for those undertaking the war. For example, in the Third Punic War, Rome's leaders may have wished to make war with Carthage for the purpose of eliminating a resurgent rival, while the individual soldiers may have been motivated by a wish to make money. Since many people are involved, a war may acquire a life of its own from the confluence of many different motivations."
And so I made a graphic.

Most of the fighting in Eve lays between the two points. Enough is on the edges that they are bright and defined. In Low Sec many of the people are in the yellow shading into orange. At some point some groups do well enough to step fully into the orange and they head to the red. From fighting to warfare their interest is pulled by tactics and the larger, more complex game that lays beyond it. The push of individual ability is still there but the integration of a group into an entity with greater abilities than the individual happens.

I may have needed to make the edges slimmer. But, I am not brilliant with my theories and MS Paint abilities.

Upon first thought I'd throw almost all of Sov space into the orange but I found I needed to pause. Motivation for a goal more so than a fight moved thousands of people into an action that many enjoyed and many did not. They may not have enjoyed the fight but they enjoyed the goal and eventual pay off of the fight. They had fun not because of the moment of battle but because of its derivative.

Yet, is not one of the loudest complaints about Sov space its safety? Its lack of fights? Or to put it into true context its lack of good fights? Defense fleets that chase people out of space are not formed up to go even numbers where each side has a good, healthy brawl with back slaps afterward. It is formed to remove a threat from the system. While the members of the reaction force may enjoy themselves it is not because 100 Nagas destroying a 5 man cruiser fleet flutters their heart and pumps their adrenaline (although it may). It is the goal orientation. The machine of war that Sov space is inside of Eve. A place where the goal of the group is the motivation vs the individual instant moment of 'fun'.

While I consider myself a highly independent person I do not find that my defined sense of self is destroyed within a co-operative group in Eve. Eve is to much about goals and many of my goals are intertwined with my interactions and activities to and with other people. Some of my most inspirational solo pilots are the most competent and best fleet commanders. They have ideas and concepts, views and strategies that cannot be accomplished alone.

There is a conceptual framework involved in fighting in Eve. Everything does not have to be small. Everything does not have to be large. To say that everything is fine may sound cliche but it is also true. One cannot convince another if the other cannot even hear what they say. To tell someone who is caught up in the concept of Sov Warfare that their battle was a terrible experience that speaks poorly of the game will fall on ears as deaf as the ones in high sec when told to go to low sec and lose frigates until they start to have fun and therefore 'get' Eve.

It is hard to appreciate what you do not or cannot like. Such as mayonnaise. I, in truth, cannot understand how people enjoy it. Yet, I know that they do. I see that they do. But, I do not. Feeding me mayonnaise will not result in enjoyment of mayonnaise. I cannot appreciate it. I have had to settle for a clenched teeth intellectual acceptance of the differences in people.

Goals and motivation fuel fighting in Eve. But fighting starts upon a foundation based upon the individual. It can be pushed and pulled and tried but the why and want is personal. Sometimes, we find ourselves in the wrong situation. One finds themselves with pirates when they desire high sec. One is in Sov space when they long for the freedom of low sec. Others are in low sec and wish for wormholes.  It goes back and forth and then over laps with each person. It will change and flex and adjust as a person figures out what they want ad works off of that.
"What is the purpose of fighting in low sec, it gets you nothing."
"Why do you attack ships without weapons?"
"You spend your time shooting structures so other people can own space."
The whys of things are in the orange. It makes up the most of everything. It is all muddy there as everyone is mired in their opinion of why. It is the place where the Warlords of high sec PvP lives side by side with wormhole evictions. It is where almost everything exists in various degrees. I do know that there are hundreds of thousands of motivators outside of my lovely MS Paint construct. The earth is also a simple blue sphere streaked with white from orbit.

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