I was driving back to Vegas from the Grand Canyon last night and I had a little moment where I wondered, "Where are my battleships?" I felt as if I was driving home, as I sped through that inky darkness. I had somehow not packed my stuff from Eve Vegas. I got over it and was laughed at but my little moment of panic was amusing. After all, my battleships are my stuff and I will soon be returning back to the game and my stuff there.
I have a list of topics to (maybe) write about now that things are back to normal. As I skimmed the edges of crowds and talked to people or just ease dropped on conversations I saw a lot of fascinating interaction. I met a lot of different in game cultures. Some that I cannot understand. I was also presented with the complex and unanswered question of "What is a pirate?" and "What is low sec."
It is easy for me, and I often do, fall into the comfortable mold that Eve is what you make on it. Each person will play the same game and receive a different experience based upon their choices and actions. In that, Eve succeeds where every RPG single person game fails because other humans are endless in their decision making. If one were to step back and look at the crowd that attends the convention as a whole the rich, thick layers of vicious interaction that actually tie us together are invisible. Invisible to the eye only.
"Who are you?" If you are a member of one of the larger groups this answer is easy. On its back it carries a heavy history that fills in the blanks. But if you are like me, a member of a small group in a system one step off the path, there is a lot of, "Who?" going on. I can say that I am a member of Calamitous-Intent and that I was formally of The humbleless Crew. None of these things mean much to people but if I said, "I am a low sec pirate," the lights go on. I gain a history and a depth and texture by defining myself by how I am understood in the game.
But that understanding is incomplete. What is a pirate? For some I learned it is those who hunt in Faction Warfare. "Oh, but I am not that," I explained. "I live in non faction warfare low sec." There is such a thing as non-faction warfare low sec? Their responses say to me. And for those that know of non faction warfare low sec their was another opinion expressed as to 'true' piracy.
Of course none of that fits. The topic is not answered in a yes or no true or false. Are we individuals? Are we our corporation? Alliance? Coalition? Or our tasks that we do? While the answer is some mixture of all of these things the definition goes beyond that.
I am not a true pirate to some. I make ISK. I live comfortably. I have billions in hull in my hangars and billions of ISK in my wallet. I suffer loss but I don't suffer a removal of my game play ability when I suffer loss because I have built up my resources. Some feel that pirates are poor and only fly cheap ships with no income and struggle to make it out into space for the next fight. Others would say that my logistics chains and lowering myself to fly a freighter would disqualify me.
I am a true pirate to others. I live in low sec. I have a negative security status. I shoot things with out a care as to my security loss. I do not have a high maintenance social setup full of politics. In fact, I free wheels through the game, doing as I want when I want making my every action pointless to others. But I live in low sec. I kill in low sec. I pod in low sec. They would call me a pirate.
Of course, DP would say that we are small gang PvP and not pirates. That causes the question, "What does small gang PvP mean?" Is it the high sec warlords who work with duels and war declarations? Is it 3 ships? 7? 20? I often have talks with Vov who I would easily say is a peer, yet we often define the same thing differently due to our different habits in the game. None of the defines are wrong they are after all formed from personal experience. This happened to me. I did this. They are valid ways to define something to the self.
It was an interesting reminder to me that my view is not everyone's. My lifestyle does not seem to be as common as I so casually assume that it is.