Thursday, April 17, 2014

Balance and Motivation

There are some places I have never been.
"I think about unsubbing like once a week. Isn't that how most Eve players are?"
It was a joke with a serious edge in a conversation about losing motivation to play. I paid attention to it for a few reasons. For one, I never like when someone close to me starts running out of Eve fuel. For another, I've noticed it across a wide spectrum of players. It is a reverse spring fever and it happens every year.

Some of it I feel is Eve's reverse population habits. The adult population we enjoy commenting about has a side effect of being adults. My boys were commenting on how empty space has been the last two days. I pointed out that in my area it is spring break and all the parents are occupied with children off of school. It was not unreasonable to believe that spread further than my local area and was affection ships in space.

I do understand Eve burnout. I'm prone to withdrawing from my information consumption when the general metamood becomes too dark. I'm puzzled by those who spend their relaxation time wallowing in despair and darkness. Similarly, I am past my initial addiction. Yet, after two and a half years, I am more wrapped up in Eve than I have been before. The concept that I have been playing for a long time and shouldn't I do something else now doesn't come up for me.

A lot of that breaks down into personalities. I am logged into Eve almost all of the time that I am at home but I am not always actively playing Eve. I, for instance, cannot spend the entire day out PvPing. I have pets to feed, errands to run, floors to mop (this rain, those dogs), meals to cook, and the general trappings of daily life mean that I segment my game play into chunks. I often do meal prep in between systems as I move my freighter. Sometimes I do absolutely nothing but spin my ship and daydream.

Eve is time hungry. Just managing my market and logistics can consume an entire evening of moving stuff from one part of the game to another. I can understand how people feel that they have not accomplished something when something is a defined activity for the day. That is because Eve is work. There is no getting around it. I am not fond of the spreadsheet arguments. But then, I run most of my stuff off of memory. But, the game is work. Doing things is work. Moving things is work. Hunting things is work. It is one reason why accomplishment tastes so delicious. It is also another reason why people get burned out of playing a game.

I have many goals in the game. Sometimes my evening is just spent curled up on my chair reading and writing while chatting on coms and in game. I pull a lot of enjoyment from the social side of Eve. My game relationships matter to me. I have been to enough Eve events that the other players are people. Many are people I will have the pleasure to meet later. Other times I go and create my own sandcastles in space.

Do I think of ubsubbing? Nope. If anything, I'm more into and committed to my game play than ever. But, there is a healthy game and life balance that everyone has to reach. I think that because Eve is a game to many instead of the hobby that it actually is, the conscious decision to create that balance may not happen when it needs to. And thus, burnout, lack of motivation, or in general apathy.

Like being sleepy means you should maybe go to bed sometimes that blah feeling means a little Eve break is the best solution. Personally, I'd prefer people to take a step back than go into complete burnout and vanish from my life.

I'm selfish that way.

14 comments:

  1. I've been to the edge a couple of times and looked over. Each time it was because I felt I was doing something I ought to be doing. Going through the same motions or putting something off because I didn't really want to do that anymore. Each time the cure was to go and do something completely different that I'd wanted to do. There's always something and not everything is skill dependent. I think what I'm saying is that you can take a break from EVE without leaving EVE by doing things you don't normally do in EVE.

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    1. I very much agree with this. Many of my most unhappy moments have been doing something I really did not want to do but did because I felt I should.

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  2. I second Cheradenine's comment. While I don't have the thoughts of letting my subscription lapse or just stopping playing altogether, a break from the norm is healthy from time to time. I've mainly done this on my alts by trying margin trading, joining an FW corp, doing wormhole stuff, etc.

    Eve is a big game. It has a lot of different options and paths so when growing tired of one, why not dabble with another?

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  3. Nice post :)

    Aliak

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  4. I have had a history of starting up and then unsubbing from EVE for long periods of time. I still haven't been able to put a finger on the actual cause. Perhaps it is burnout. Having a newer addition to the family also kind of put things in perspective and put a pretty big dent in my playing time. In the end, I always wind up coming back.

    I think that the people that you play with can have a big part in the motivation to log in. I am enjoying the people in my corporation and although I don't get to play as much as I would like, I enjoy the time I get to spend with them.

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    1. Agreed. Someone else also brought up the opposite. That they can make you not want to play as well.

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  5. You guys should roam out to The Bleak Lands sometime. Always plenty of action in the Kamela/K our money area.

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    1. Kamela/Kourmonen area*
      Silly cellphone auto correct -_-

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  6. I've never unsubbed, but I definitely have dropped back to the Skill Queues Online game more than once. I agree having a strong social network is a big motivator for keeping people subscribed, even if they don't have many hours for actually *playing* the game.

    Some of the people I know spend more time on our forums than they do in the EVE client, but that's partly to do with the fact that they can use the board via smartphones and work PCs but can't log in to the game unless they're at their home PC.

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    1. I haven't hooked up Jabber on our phpBB forums, but I really *should*. I definitely should do that on the board that already has CometChat.

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  7. I feel you hit it on the head Sugar.... EVE is far more a hobby than just a game. Games have endings...games are either won or lost.... games are finite... EVE is not.

    And I believe for many there is an unnamed feeling of disconnect that turns to dissatisfaction... the undefined itch in the back or your mind..."If I am playing a 'game', why have I not won or lost yet?" IE "When does this end??" Games do not go on and on and on like EVE does...

    EVE is a virtuality, a true virtual life...and a life begins at birth and ends only at death... and in EVE there is no death... so, outside of RL issues that can 'force' one out of the game, health, money, etc., to stop playing EVE is always a "decision" as there is no logical 'end' or stopping point... yet we call it a game.

    If one views EVE as a lifelong hobby though, this changes. My hobbies are hunting, target shooting, gunsmithing. Also my 4wheeling in my Jeep... trail riding, mudding and rock crawling... I also love wrenching on my '99 TJ as part of that hobby... These are all 'hobbies' and as such I have no inner need or expectation to find an 'end' to them...I expect them to be things I will 'do' for as long as I can do them.

    In EVE I too have stood on the brink of ragequit... but I finally determined it was because I was BORED in the game. Yes, there are many many 'things to do' in EVE... but for each of us there will be a far shorter list of 'things I want to do' in EVE. Not everyone has the desire to be a carebear, a miner or a space trucker just as there are many who have no desire what-so-ever to be a pirate, ganker, scammer or a L33t PvPer... I myself found I cannot stand living in and doing anything in Empire space for long periods anymore.

    My happyplace is in Anoikis... in the day to day of life on the other side of the crazy marble... Scanning, scouting, exploring... killing Sleepers and making that good Sleeper ISK... flying in a place where 'sudden death' cannot be seen in local, only on Dscan and only if you're really spamming the scan buhtan... and in being 'sudden death' yourself... Living in a POS.. and yes, I'll take that, buggy interface and all, over livin inna station anyday... and 'traveling without moving'... the joy and excitement of scanning the static and K162s each day to see parts of New Eden I would never travel to on my own accord... so cool.

    So... my Balance & Motivation comes from the way I which involve myself in this great MMORPH... this Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Hobby... From accepting that it is not a ‘game’, but is in fact a time consuming, engrossing and fascinating hobby. Something that I will derive great pleasure from fiddling and messing with and learning about and writing about for years and years to come... and that I will never Win or Lose at EVE... cause hobbies dunt have an end game.

    I just can't ever really leave Anoikis is all... LOL!

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