Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Me or We?

[00:15:08] Montgarion > Sugar Kyle> have you already done a blog entry on the pros and cons of multiboxing for low sec pvp and logistics?
I get excited when I'm asked a direct question like this. When Montgarion asked me this I was like, "No?"

I dual box. I have dual boxed since the end of my first month when I created Sugar. Sugar was created to become a PvP character while Chella was going to stay in high sec and become my industrial queen. In many ways Sugar was created to give to THC2 as my burnt offerings. I didn't enter eve expecting to have two characters. I also did not enter Eve expecting to have one character. I also made Kyle as a surname and didn't expect people to use it as my call name instead of Sugar. Life is weird that way.

Dual boxing is a lifestyle for much of Eve's population. Having more than one character is also a matter of fact for most. I will not say all. There are plenty of people who have one account and one character. It works for them. It also is a very good way to stop oneself from sinking deep into the immersive textures of time sucking activities that Eve also answers. I am deeply mired in those activities and fine with it but at the end of the day my two character's that matter most to me are Sugar and Chella.

Living in low sec is a pain in the butt. The residents tend to try to kill each other. There is not much in the way of focused player production publicly available. The people try to kill each other some more. And, it has the odd habit of not being in the center of the bulk of the games activities. Really though, it is the fact that death lurks past every gate and in every system where the residents are not blue, green, or purple that makes dual boxing in low sec almost a mandatory habit that people pick up.

One of my arguments with people who complain about needing friends in Eve is that Eve is a game about doing things with multiple characters. Solo play is hard. When I say solo I define it as one spaceship run by one character. Solitary play is a much more common action. Solitary play is me, my alt, and I. Solitary play is much more common and often called solo because there is only one human player behind the actions.

But solitary play is not solo play. Solo means I cannot more a capital ship or a jump freighter. For that I need a fleet. A fleet by its very definition is:
 1. A number of warships operating together under one command.
2. A group of vessels or vehicles, such as taxicabs or fishing boats, owned or operated as a unit.
Eve is structured to have multiple characters interaction with each other to produce effects. The Sister's of Eve epic arc is made for brand new players. It also has some NPC battles that are beyond the average new players skill. The goal is to get people to work together to achieve the goal of accomplishing the mission. In practicality, it doesn't work that well because people are not used to working in a group to achieve basic goals that early in the game.

In low sec it is everything from someone scouting your gates to having logistics and capital ships moved. If you do not have your own people you need other people after a certain point. The lovely thing is that public corporations like Black Frog remove the need to force players into having multiple accounts. Often CCP is accused of forcing people into multiple accounts. I disagree. It is greed and impatience. It is easier for me to do what I want to do exactly as I want to do it when and where I want to do it with only me in the driver's seat for all of the pieces.

And that is the biggest benefit to multiboxing. It is all you and you know what everyone is doing. The first time you try to coordinate something and watch the complete and total derpfest that simple tasks like moving a fleet can become, the comfort level of being concerned only for yourself happens. The moment someone welps a fleet because they suck at their assigned tasks and won't admit it, or someone goes AFK on a gate, or someone just won't do what they offered to do that you need done because they don't want to right now dual boxing gains a luxurious draw to it similar to leather and polished wood inside of expensive vehicles.

Really, dual boxing appears to solve every problem, need, and want you can ever have.

It is also hard. Divided attention is terrible when attention lapses mean the ship explodes. People wind up investing in things like extra monitors just to keep track of everything they are doing.

The first time I tried to dual box in PvP I did terribly. I had poor communication with the other person. No one died but it was a mess, I was confused, and I wrote a rant that I never published to vent my frustration. I also swore never again. I've wound up in that position a few other times but I find that my concentration shatters as my focus divides and I find the entire experience to be very stressful and miserable.

And moving capital ships. Oh my. Carriers. Jump Freighters. Super Carriers. Titans. Every one of those ships needs two people to move it from one system to another. There is a tremendous amount of trust involved in just reaching point B from point A. It does not even have to be a malicious action for a expensive killmail to be generated when it comes to using jump drives and placing cynos. Trust is a con because Eve is Eve and loss is real. When the jump happens and everything goes dark there is a hiccup of a moment when one wonders...

There are the technical negatives such as more accounts to pay for and more things to manage. One starts to rely on the programs made by the community to manage all of their little people. The management itself can become exhausting. I was building a few accounts for sale at one point and quit on two of them because it was to much work managing all of the skill queues and I wasn't finding it pleasurable enough to continue.

Some people become resentful and others become dependent of and on their alternate characters. And really, it breaks immersion in the video game of Eve online. It creates more of a real time strategy game as one bounces between accounts and relays various bits of information or logistics. Both are very good games but they are very different games even when played at the same time.

Eve does not have to be dual boxed. But the person who decides not to has to accept that they will be subject to the whims of others for their tasks. That alone is a very interesting gameplay. A team of me will never give me the same sense of accomplishment that teamwork with my boys will.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Nice article and very interesting for me, because I am right in that phase when I explore all those sandbox-options and come to realize that they seem to be very limited, if not dual-boxing.

    I get kind of scared when some blogs so "casually" write about their multi-multi-account ventures which seemingly make your wallet explode with ISK. For me it always comes down to the question: what options are available if you can only play 1-2 hours a day and want to make the most ISK-to-fun ratio out of it? Updating buy/sell orders? That bounty-rich L4 mission? Solo-Mining? Is that all? They are a means to achieve "higher" game goals and therefore I try to limit them to a tolerable amount, to be replaced my more interesting ventures when possible.

    But, right now, solo options seem to be so limited, and as you mentioned, group content seems to require sooo much overhead (where the hell is a group finder when you need it!?).

    Why am I still playing? It seems to be the challenge of how much I can achieve within my limited game time. A lot of planning can be done offline, I seem to like that, too. My own little fleet, my own little planetary enterprise. What could be next?