Friday, September 13, 2013

Aspects of Conformity

I scribbled a few words about individuality of groups. How corporations like THC2 and 7-2 who appear to be similar are healthier for their individual corporations due to their core differences. And I may speak of individuality but that does not mean inflexibility. Two similar but different corporations can form an Alliance. In this alliance they gain a new level of closeness related by sharing the same banner. However, they keep their own walls and inside of those walls maintain their own culture but to the outside world they become a single creature supported by their similarities and general ability to get along. On the inside they work well together because they have established comfortable relationships.

Playing Eve Online is about doing whatever you want to do. It is also about doing what other people want you to do so that you can do whatever you want to do. I consider myself to be an independent, self motivated person who has their own ideas and goals. Yet, I could not do many of the things that I want to do without other people. For me to be selfish I must also be selfless. I cannot exist alone if I wish to exist as what I want to be. Instead of a comfortable relationship I may have to enter into an uncomfortable one for the greater good.

The question, "What can a corporation offer me?" is offset by the question, "What can you offer a corporation?"

There are different types of corporations in Eve. They range from casual to serious from experienced to brand new. Many a player starts their own with grand ideas and plans only to find out that fulfilling those ideas and plans may not be as easy as hoped for. While the corporation may be theirs they still have to gain and then retain membership. They can set hard limits and hard rules but in a game full of choices why should someone stay in that situation?

The corporation gives them reason to stay. The player gives the corporation reasons to keep them. That may be knowledge, skill, personality, or simply showing up for operations. While some corporations may function well on a lean diet of individualists others need the brawn of numbers to accomplish objectives. The goal is for the objectives of the various individuals to mesh well enough and have a strong enough draw to overcome the other aspects of individuality.

Sometimes we play with people we do not like because it is more advantageous for us to do this than not to. Sometimes we do things that we do not like to do because doing it is an important aspect of reaching a greater goal. Such as CTAs (call to arms). Few people enjoy them. Many people complain about them. They are the subject of many a debates for negatives of a corporation or alliance. The mandatory 'all must attend' is enforced by kicking of members or corporations that do not fall in line. It is a powerful pull.

I found myself asking someone why did they stay? They hated nullsec. Thy were unhappy with their corporation. They wanted a complete and different situation. Yet, they complained about the CTA that they had to attend. To that individual I asked, "Why are you going when you do not want that life?" If that person were to gush about their love of Sov but complain about CTAs I might say instead, "You cannot take only the pieces that you enjoy."

It is a balancing act, this game and our participation in it. I doubt many who long for the role of CEO or Alliance Leader understands that with it comes responsibility and work. It is not just a trip to the top where commands and demands are made. The leader must give back as well and often must give chunks of themselves. Whether that be time, privacy, personal interests, or personification they must become a piece of their own creation.

People are people. That makes them at times exhausting. Yet, we need them to achieve things and we must embrace exhausting. It is no different than flying doctrine ships. It seems like such a small thing. Is not participation more valuable than doctrine? When there is a goal and a plan that is being executed by a dozen, two dozen, dozens of people who are moving in a complex dance for a task, yes, it matters. It matters because it is not about the individual but about the goal. Sometimes we must fly what we do not like because we are trying to achieve something beyond our personal and immediate wants and desires.

It does not have to be that way. Many will function and thrive in Eve without it. But at some point, most of us will have to give in somewhere. Perhaps a little. Perhaps a lot. The reasons for selflessness may be selfish in its origin. Or it may not be. After all some thrive off of that group goal and teamwork aspect just as other's find the most contentment in their individual prowess.

When I came to 7-2 I gave up several things. I gave up THC2. I did not give them up fully and walk away. I have no desire that would be strong enough for a true severance from them. But there is a difference from being in corp to no longer being in corp. I miss it. It is a true loss. I gave up some of my individuality. I accepted that I would fly doctrines that I did not want to fly on a personal for pleasure I love this ship way. I would fly them and I would fly them well because I wanted the objectives that flying those doctrines met. I would accept my loss of THC2 because I wanted the differences that 7-2 brought. I would accept situations I might not exactly or explicitly want because I had other goals and needs that had to be met.

It sounds so serious. In the world of Eve, it is. It is why vast alliances will land on field together and stare with hostile eyes because they have a NAP (non aggression pact) or are even set Blue to people that they hate. It is the greater goals that drive us through the game. It is the substance that we spin endless stories about that catch the eyes of the watchers yet cannot explain how they are reached at times to the newest players. There is as much we, us, and our as there is me, I and mine.

Who am I? It is a command that I could type in the MUD that I used to play. It is a common command to receive a user name back. But in Eve, who am I? I am Sugar Kyle. Pirate Queen. Member of 7-2. Pirate. Marketeer. Jaguar. I am the sum of all of my parts and part of other peoples sums.

It is part of what makes Eve so fascination. You have to give to receive. In this video game. Loss matters. Loyalty matters. Bridges can be burned and when yous it in the ashes of it everything will come crashing down around in a cascade of awe inspiring force. Eve doesn't promise you anything but tools laying there for you to figure out how to pick them up and who to hit with them.

3 comments:

  1. Little nitpick, but... did you mean "conformity" instead of "conformaty"? :)

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  2. No more spell checking before bed on the phone!

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  3. Great article. loyalties, friendships and the role of an individual within his chosen society are the elements of EVE that are closest to "real" life. Fertile ground for experimentation, analysis and extrapolation.

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