Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rambling: Saving, Spending, and Indulgence

[TL;DR: Sugar dislikes the insinuation that having ISK or an ISK focus is not having fun and is venting so that she can move along.]

I love putting puzzles together. I find them relaxing. I also find them hard, stressful, frustrating, and exhausting. I prefer large puzzles and consider a thousand pieces small. But, I enjoy the puzzles. I enjoy them a lot and I find them relaxing. I also understand that not everyone enjoys puzzles. I don't expect them to. They are a personal enjoyment, one I know that I share with other people simply by how easy it is to find and buy puzzles. 

For a video game, Eve is a collection of hobbies. The concept of career paths and creation causes the game to lose its definitions. The toted sandbox that is so oft screamed about. It means that each person will enter into the game in a different way. With no completion points and not even a basic direction everything is defined by the user from the career paths to recreational activities inside of a recreational game.

The other night I had a conversation with Naughty about what is fun. I was not attempting to define fun. I was attempting to define that fun is not defined as itself. We were discussing Eve and the work that goes into the game. The work of playing the game. The work of learning the game. The work of understanding the game. There is frustration. Irritation. Ups and downs. If any were broken down into their states they'd not receive a label as fun. Often they'd sound rather terrible. But, the culmination of them is fun but to create that fun all the pieces are needed. My example was the above thoughts about puzzles.

If one expands the concept of puzzles further they can be three dimensional. Legos are puzzles. Mazes are puzzles. Mazes can be a three dimensional physical activity. Cyphers are puzzles and people are employed to solve them. Puzzles are games but puzzles are also things that people can do as a job. They are not defined only as games even if the first image that comes to mind is:

Both serious business and a game.

Often I hear people say they don't play Eve to have a job. They play Eve to play a game. This covers any activity. It may be voiced in frustration over PvP not being available when and where they want it or it may be the response to filling a stocked hangar. I have heard it in regards to reading forums or keeping up with patch notes and even reading corporation level mails.

"I'm here to play a game and have fun, not work."

I'd say, "Of course. Everyone is," but that is too flippant. What is fun for one is not fun for another. And the true core of my thought process is one of the most volatile subjects (after mining) for what is fun in Eve.

ISK. It is its own topic and subject. It is the center of cults of thought. It is a catalyst, a pivot point, an endless cycle of thoughts, needs, and desires. Hate it for needing it. Love it for wanting it. It is part of the game. One interacts with it as one does with anything else in the game. Its meaning varies from person to person but it is a substance that cannot be avoided. 
In the meaning of ISK is also the purpose of a video game. Eve is a recreational activity for someone to relax and enjoy themselves in. Relaxation means different things for various people. For some, it is a nap and for others it is engaging in their hobbies. If Eve is played for enjoyment and relaxation then ISK in Eve is but a motivator for enjoyment and relaxation.

Therefore the acqusition is a basic action and need. Acquiering ISK on Eve can be varied. It also has to be learend. As much as I try, spinning my ship does not indeed increase the size of my wallet. The most basic way to gather ISK is to wander out into space and shoot at terrible NPCs until the game rewards you with internet spaceship money. As this is repeted over and over again it becomes what is known as a grind. A grind that quickly becomes boring even with the bacon (ISK) that is being handed over.


Bacon Font from Henry Hargreaves

But what are we seeking when we play games. Often it is escapism. I've often said that I play games because I have enough reality every day. I don't believe that my games are my daily life but they are a diversion. And, inside of that diversion I can and do shed many of the things I have to do every day in life. Those things include saving money, planning for the future, and being financially responsible.

Why would it bring that into the game? A game that has a concept of value to its assets. Why hoard, scrimp, and save for a future? Is not that the every day. The realities of life. In a diversionary world where the rule set has changed, why not do what one would love to do if one could.
When I crafted the name of the post, which was the concept idea behind my thoughts, I debated using 'splurge' to keep with the S theme. But, splurge was not the right word. Splurging is what people do in game. It is a reward, a release, and something that we only get to do on special occasions (most of us at least) in real life. Splurging is fun, it is satisfying, and it is what many people do when they buy their spaceships. It is that moment of, "fuck it" for a faction module or that ship they've been wanting and lusting after.

Splurge
  •  to indulge oneself extravagantly 
  • to spend extravagantly or ostentatiously
But splurging was a thing done and not the actual act craved. It was that people indulge in spending.

Indulge
  • to allow (yourself) to have or do something as a special pleasure
  • to allow (someone) to have or do something even though it may not be proper, healthy, appropriate
  • to patiently allow (someone) to do or say something
  • to give free rein to
  • to take unrestrained pleasure in :  gratify
  • to yield to the desire of :  humor 
  • to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration
Spending instead of saving is indulgence. Indulgence is deeply, richly satisfying even inside of a virtual world. Indulgence without true consequence is utterly pleasurable. As satisfying as accomplishments are in Eve the abandonment of concern can be as luxurious. And, as with many discoveries, people are prone to spread the word and share the concept. To free people from their societal fetters. After all, if not in a game then where else would one indulge in what they want to do for the simple reason of wanting it.

Except that everyone is not wired in the same way. As one of the people who enjoys watching imagine internet spaceship money accumulate, I become frustrated when someone comes to me and attempts to separate me from my ISK for my own good. They don't want it. They just want to free me to have a better time. I'd hate to classify ISK under the holy trinity of ship fits, solo PvP, and link alts (ie: things that shall not be discusses like politics and religion). I also find it funny that I feel the need to justify myself (yet here I am) or apologize as if I am doing something wrong. "Oh, I'm fine with this ISK, thank you. It isn't a burden for me not to have an empty wallet. I'll manage."

"What point is there to just have it?" The same point that there is to spend it. It feels good. It makes someone happy. And what is fun to a person varies. I'm a planner at my little, funless core. Some aspects of personality carry over in everything we do. For me, its my little planning heart. It is why I enjoy logistics as much as I do and fret when my fleets are not organized.

Is some of it just a case of reverse snobbery? What a harsh word to use. If the rich look down upon the poor in this case the poor can look down upon the rich (or those comfortable well off). "Isn't it sad how some people don't understand the enjoyment of not caring about their wallet? Poor things. They don't know the freedom." Reverse snobbery is also rather indulgent.

It comes back to the concept of what fun is. Or, to be more correct, "what fun is for each person." I don't want to focus on justifications. Those are easy but they don't address any depth. Sometimes we have to learn what may be fun. Sometimes we know what we will or will not find fun. Although, when one thoroughly enjoys something it can be hard to accept that activity may not be enjoyable for others. That's why we try to share but...

1 comment:

  1. There are two kinds of EVE players: the ones who enjoy crafting, and the ones who don't. (The latter typically enjoy only PVP, although there are other possibilities.)

    Crafters enjoy a fat wallet because it is a sign that they are succeeding in their craft. ISK is also instrumentally useful, or at least it has been in the past, and it is hard to draw a line at any ISK level and say: I will never ever possibly need this much money for a new project. For example, a couple months back I decided I wanted to do some reactions. It turned out that a month's worth of C320 was 4 billion ISK. I just went ahead and bought it. No problem. I keep the cash reserve I do for situations like that.

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