Thursday, September 19, 2013

Growth and Stagnation

For any who stare at the title of this post with greedy eyes and fingers already flexing to produce the responses that drip from the tip of excited tongues; let it be known that I speak of people in the game and not the game itself in the words beyond this sentence

I am a people watcher. I watch them in game and out. It makes it very hard for me to block people because I enjoy watching them. I like to listen to what people say and then watch what people do. The two often diverge in amazing ways. I puzzle over the reasons and wants of my fellow players. After all, they are all members of my world and the interconnectivity of Eve causes their push and pull to affect mine. It may be casually through a shared chat or globally through threadnoughts and systematic player lobbying to CCP.

There is a growth curve in any game when and where you learn the game. It may be fast or it may be slow. How you approach the game the first time you log it up and how you approach a game that you have put time and energy into changes. The understanding of the game matures. The experiences from the game changes the reactions to the game. The player grows and eventually goes to move towards completion of the game. It may be through completing the games path or by no longer playing due to loss of interest or time or whichever reason fits.

Eve lacks completion. That is a positive of its nature. It also leaves many people abandoned and adrift because they have no goal. Making your own goal is a very appealing add but not everyone that reaches out to enter into that aspect of the game finds themselves capable of it. One of the positives of corporations is that they help unfocused people focus. It may be frustrating to the content creators of a corporation but not everyone produces and people who consume are often needed. Many people, once a structure is created, thrive.

Some players, however, never settle. They reach a point where they plateau and never expand from there. It is a common point where social groups start to fragment. Friends made as new players start to grow distance from each other. Also, external culture clashes start to happen. Players who once would fly together have absorbed enough of their inner culture that it tints their exterior.

I am in no way exempt from my own words. I still spend some social time with players who have never left high security space except fort he occasional frantic dash into low sec or a sprint through a wormhole. The divergence of their play in Eve and my own is sometimes shocking. We play the same game but speak different game languages due to the cultures that we matured in.

All of that is expected. Eve is a big game with a lot of options. I would not label stagnation the act of staying in high security space. Many people will stay in high security space and become productive players with complex, interesting existences. While many will say that PvP is the reason to play Eve, I'd point out that I dislike people placing assumptions as to my enjoyment of activities.

There are many ways to stagnate in Eve. One can tire of missions, tire of inclusions, burn out on production lines, tire of Sov, tire of PvP, and in general any activity listed. One of the ways that most fascinates me is PvP pilots that have stagnated in their PvP. As I said, I watch people. One person in particular can never find a place to settle but refuses to leave high security space for PvP while craving the content that exists outside of high security space.

If I want to build super capitals spaceships I have to go build them in Sov Null. Part of creating content for myself or my group is creating the path to the goal. To follow that same train of thought, if I want complex PvP I have to go seek complex PvP and not complain that PvP is not what I want it to be at any given moment. There is the fact that people are people and PvP content comes from other people. They have a terrible habit of not doing what we want when we want it.

But, I am always drawn to complaints about low sec. I may be wrong in my confusion but I find it odd that someone who would bait new players, participate in high sec wardecs, and in general make sure that their PvP is in a control environment would complain that there is nothing in low sec when they have gone to low sec and time and time slammed head first into the content they claim to want. But that content comes with a price and being unwilling to pay that price causes another price to pay. That price is stagnation.

Sometimes you have to do something you dislike to do something that you like. It does not seem to make sense in the context of a recreational video game. But not everything we do for recreation is always fun. Sometimes, they are important building blocks where the appeal sits in the piece that they add to the goal then the actual piece itself. I cannot help you if you are not willing to help yourself. That mantra applies in this case and I find myself watching this person flutter against the bars of a cage of his own making as he ignores the key sitting on the floor in front of him.

I don't consider stagnation and taking a break the same thing. One can tire of any activity. Eve has an interesting habit of exhausting people as well. Sometimes a vacation is needed from the hobby due to its consumptive nature. The person taking a break is doing something about their situation. As much as I'd like to say that one cannot grow tired of Eve, some do and some will. That is the nature of the beast and the demon that CCP must fight. But, Stagnation? That is a person's personal choice not to change.

1 comment:

  1. Great article and well said. I recently received some bad news regarding my wife's health which made me reflect on how much time I was spending in Eve. I now needed to spend more time with her and less time in Eve. I decided to quiet Eve. She, however, didn't want me to stop doing something that I really enjoyed. So I did the next best thing: I gave all 5 of my primary characters away (each had over 50m skill points) and started new characters. Gone is the feeling that I must participate and socialize with others pilots. I can log on and log off when I want. I now have total anonymity in Eve. It's evening kind of fun to have old shipmates call me a noob:-) Thanks again for the post.