Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Space Parables

"Don't fly what you can't afford to lose."
-said every Eve warning ever
Afford
  •  To be able to do, manage, or bear without serious consequence or adverse effect: The country can't afford another drought.
There is age old wisdom in Eve online. In the wide, arched hallways of the Rookie Academies grizzled veterans stand before classes of bright eyed pilots. The air crackles with excitement. Beyond the room is space. A vast stretch of distance filled with an improbable level of options. The future is there, spread away from the undock of the station. The moment to experience it is now.

Within each of those pilots is a series of plans. Some are nebulous things created of particles and energy with no true form other than the beauty of random existence. Many are formed even if that form is soft and unstructured. They know their goals, their wants, and their desires. All they wait for is experience and time...

I was chatting in OUCH's chatroom and the statement that "don't fly what you can't afford to lose" was pointed out to be rather vague. I was thrilled that the player had noticed that. He does not have a lot of ISK or a lot of experience but he saw that the concept is flexible over time. Many people take it for its face value and that is a very good thing for a player entering Eve and learning about the game.

Over extension is easy when one starts Eve. New players enter with dreams and preconceived ideas about what they can and will do. Ships become goal points. It makes sense to the new player to forge ahead for a battlecruiser or battleship. Games draw us in and dangle glory and power before our eyes of we achieve it. No one tells them that a well fit frigate will kill them one day due to the gulf of ignorance.

Not flying what one does not have the literal ISK to replace is one of the best safety blankets in the game. It eases the devastation of loss. There is frustration of course. Irritation is also natural. But to know that, "I can buy another one," with a sigh will stop the rage quitting.

Later, however, the concept loses its literal qualities. Assets are obtained. Methods of ISK earning are achieved. Some follow the path of ship to explosion while others spend times creating investments and future profits. Many live ship to ISK and follow a cycle of feast and famine of work and play to fund their game.

As time passes the concept becomes more elastic. What is affordable? Is it the direct correlation to the price of the hull and the ISK in the wallet? Is it the acceptance of loss or the ability to rebound and acquire more? Is it the twenty fit ships in the hangar? Is it the ability to seamlessly switch over activities?

I have always worked to have a reasonable amount of ISK. Yet, when I obtained my Jump Freighter I, for the first time, was in a position where I could not easily replace what I had from my liquid ISK. I don't count my assets as personal wealth for purchase power and I have always looked at my ship hull cost in comparison to what was in my wallet. Yet, my Jump Freighter I could not immediately replace when I undocked with it. Yet, I could afford to lose it.

I did not want to lose it. It would have sucked if I lost it. But I had backup plans. I knew how I would deal with the situation if it came. I had created options for myself. None of the options would have been what I wanted but they would have been doable and a way for me to recover, immediately, from my loss. And that meant that I could afford to lose my jump freighter.

Affordability will be different for each person. As one cringes from a blinged out assault frigate another will only fight in the most expensive of tech 3 ships to balance their odds. Each person has to decide what they can afford to lose at each level of their game. For a while, that may cover a frigate or a cruiser and later it may mean an entire alliance. But a static concept it is not.

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