Friday, April 18, 2014

If I Pay Thee Not in...

Blog Banter #55

Last Blog Banter we talked about heroes in EVE Online. The followup to that topic has been provided by Wilhelm aka The Ancient Gaming Noob:

Write about somebody who is "space famous" and why you hate/admire them, somebody who isn't space famous but you think should be or will be, or discuss space fame in general, what it means, and how people end up so famous.
I'd like to add another take on the subject, is there a cost of being famous in EVE and if so, is it worth the price? - Kirith Kodachi Some people make interesting conversation pieces. I didn't think overly much about it until I put myself into a position to become the conversation piece of others. Seeing their opinions, thoughts, and reactions was strange. In a way, the way others react to you is a window into how you are seen. How one may present themselves and how that presentation is taken in can have startling differences.

In Eve there are people who become space famous and there are people who seek to become space famous. The two, while they may have similar results, are not the same. Some people shine. It may be their personalities, abilities, or the simple unexplained physics of chance. That shine may stay with little to no effort or they may grab it in both hands and spend each day polishing it. Space fame comes and goes, but for some it stays.

Hate and admiration are powerful words. I do not hate anyone in this game. Hatred is personal for me. It is reserved for those who seek to harm me or mine with malicious intent. Disgust, despise, distaste are emotions that I might claim. And even then, so much of it is a matter of opinion. Like with the prior topics of heroes, what I dislike another may love and what I may love another may sneer at. Inside of this game we are wrapped into layers of sub-societies. These societies affect our perception and reasons for the things that we do, want, and need.

Fame comes not to individuals but also to groups. Corporations and alliances hold reputations. Eve is a game where a corporation ticker is often more commonly known than a corporation name or where a coalitions title, something not placed into the game itself, is a definitive characteristic. And at times, that is used as a catapult for the personal goal to acquire a personal degree of space fame or space relevance.

Many others fall into their renown. Through the natural course of their talents or actions they find themselves in the spot light. For some it is comfortable and for others, not so much. The spectrum of famous in Eve covers those that thrive in the eye of their peers to those whom are known but never seen who do what they do because they will always do it. Fame drives some and comes to others. It is a tool and a fuel with intended and unintended side effects.

There are positives to Eve fame. People pay attention to thoughts and ideas tasks and events. Projects carry more weight and the power of reputation can be an amazing thing. But fame also has negative side effects. From scorn to attacks the more visible someone is the more opinions people will have about them. The fame itself can over shadow the person inside of it until they are but a caricature to their own publicly perceived self.

Then there is admiration. The people that I admire the most and whom I spend my days attempting to make proud of me are not people who are space famous. When I originally wrote this line I said, "I tend not to admire the famous. I do respect their considerable achievements."  I then took a moment to look up the exact use of admire. It turns out that my thought path was derailed. I do admire those that I respect the most. Admire, to me, is a more passionate word than respect and because of that, I avoid it.

The thing that makes me me unhappiest with the concept of space fame in Eve is how people with incredible things to contribute are overlooked for not being famous. A conversation from twitter surfaces into my thoughts where someone was looking for someone to interview and a person who was well educated and versed in that subject was suggested. That person was turned down for not being famous enough. That particular incident is burned into my mind and embodies everything I dislike about the casual concepts of fame in Eve. But then, I would select people for a task from their abilities and knowledge, not how many people have heard of their name.

At the end of the question that spurred this twisted response, Kirth asks about the worth and the cost. I think that question can only be answered by each individual. I do not think that they will always know that answer until it happens and that the answer will also be heavily weighted by the why of what they did. Can you compare those who seek and desire it to those who pick it up with the reluctance of responsibility?

Space fame will invigorate some and transcend them to a new game play. It will destroy others. But that there is fame should not be surprising. Not in a game where we all exist in the same place. Where we build worlds from nothing but our innate desires. Where you cannot run from who you are. Where your own actions in both knowledge and ignorance define your future. Space fame, if anything else, shows what a virtual world Eve is.

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