Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oral Lore. Oral History.

Oral Lore:
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and tradition transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants. In this way, it is possible for a society to transmit oral history, oral literature, oral law and other knowledges across generations without a writing system.
Eve Online is rich in oral lore. Many players learn at the knee of a veteran. As they stand, guarding their lawn from hyperactive rookies flitting by in poorly fit battleships, they will tell about the ancient days between the blasts of their shotguns. And during this time we learn both game mechanics and game history. We learn about the once great superhighways and we learn why paper DPS for missiles is misleading.

Eve Online is also rich in Oral History:
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews. These interviews are conducted with people who participated in or observed past events and whose memories and perceptions of these are to be preserved as an aural record for future generations. Oral history strives to obtain information from different perspectives, and most of these cannot be found in written sources. Oral history also refers to information gathered in this manner and to a written work (published or unpublished) based on such data, often preserved in archives and large libraries.
For those without their trusty veterans to bring them into Eve there is a vast, Eve Oral History documented on the internet. In blogs, and forums, and you tube we have gathered together the history and knowledge of Eve online.

And that's a little bit of a problem.

Working through Eve's past through Dev Blogs and Patch Notes has allowed me to experience a lot of changes in culture. I stumbled upon a confession with escalation and expedition. When I was reading patch notes from 2006, they were called expeditions. However, the Evewiki article calls them escalations. We say that sites 'escalation' but they go into the expedition section of the journal. When did that happen? When did it change?

Why are so many basics about the game not found as accessible knowledge inside of the game? It is one of the things I love/hate most about Eve. On one side, there are many, many amazing stories about the efforts and resources players have gone through to gather and present this information. On the other, there are the many, many amazing stories about the efforts and resources players have gone through to gather and present this information.

There is also a speed bump along the way. In the past CCP has said that they do not want to waste time reinventing the wheel. That has been a common response to an official CCP killboard. It is a flattering nod to the player base and the tools that it has created. However, it has always been unofficial outside of potential fansite status. To ask CCP to incorporate information created by the player base means that CCP has to write it from scratch or they have to vet player created content. They have shown already that they are willing to extend an official hand to player content but so far. And I understand that. Vetting content to be used in any official way is incredibly, incredibly hard and it opens up a nightmarish door of potential abuse.

But somehow, we have to teach people that tabbing out to their game window (the in game browser is growing more out of date by the day) and opening a web browser is not bad. I know that I am the type to dive face first into a game and figure it out as I go along. This normally works out pretty well. However, in Eve it is a terrible path. I was one of the newbies that spent a lot of time researching very, very basic questions over my first few days. I think that CCP needs to own the metagame when it comes to education. But, I think it will be a somewhat complex process.

We have the video game of Eve online and we have the player game. The video game part of amazing. There is a lot of depth, story, and content to work with and follow. However, the player game wildly diverges from it and we don't need to know much about the video game part to do the player part. It is both good and bad because there is a depth to Eve that many walk by and I feel we miss out for that.

I desperately want the Evelopedia to be the Wiki of my dreams. I want there to be in game help files that are more than show info. Or, I want there to be links to external sources. I want the scanning tutorial to not just hint but flat out suggest that it go to scanning YouTube videos to help newbies understand scanning. I go on about educating people a lot but there is so much educational material that we are not getting into the hands of those that want it.

Wanting is easy. It may also be my own selfish desire to access information in a way that I enjoy. But, I think when it comes to the war against needless complexity it is something to look at.

6 comments:

  1. I don't often agree with Gevlon, but when he mentioned sometime back that it would be a good idea for CCP to put a paid staff member on just getting the EVE wiki current and up-to-date AND complete, I did indeed find myself agreeing with him.

    EVE has quite a nerdy audience and my natural instinct (like that of many nerds I suspect) in most games when I need info I can't find is to go look at the wiki. With EVE I gave up long ago, since most info simply isn't there.

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  2. I've given up on Evelopedia - I go straight to the Eve Uni wiki instead.
    If it weren't for the taboo about CCP being involved with player groups, i'd say turn the Evelopedia over to EveUni

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  3. I agree, The Eve Uni wiki is wayyyyyy better than the Evelopedia. There's really no comparison.

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  4. This is such a sticky difficulty. The game is evolving so quickly, keeping the Evelopedia current becomes a resource intensive task. At the same time, devoting recourses to that worthy task detracts them from the crucial iteration work/rework underway (and there’s still soooo much to do). It’s a struggle between healthy game mechanics and decent education about those mechanics.

    I too often find myself on the Eve Uni wiki. With Eve Uni being a crowdsourcing triumph, CCP ends up lacking the resources to compete. At the same time, Eve Uni is a volunteer player organization meaning granting some sort of “official” status to the Uni wiki is not only fraught with favoritism, but troublingly unstable - volunteer player organizations occasionally collapse and what would CCP do then?

    Eve players have a long history of utilizing game mechanics in unanticipated ways. Accordingly, it’s well nigh impossible for CCP to keep up. When an unanticipated use is revealed, CCP has to decide if it’s an exploit or not, if it needs tweaking or not, etc . . . As these aren’t simple questions, such decisions can take a long time meaning the Evelopedia must lag the current meta since they can’t really update it accurately until they know what accurate actually is.

    On a more conceptual level, it’s worth asking if the producer of a sandbox should be instructing players about how to play in the sandbox at all. It’s just not very sandboxy for CCP to be telling their players how to play the game. Oh my! I seem to have written myself into a “CCP should do as little player education as possible” stance. Appears I’ve Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

    Sugar Kyle, your approach to Eve is continually provocative.

    DireNecessity

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  5. CCP does have a volunteer team for maintaining the wiki, but I've heard response times on volunteer apps are absolutely glacial, if you hear back at all.

    I guess it's possible that the people who'd be vetting volunteer apps were among those laid off, or if not, are swamped with other tasks due to the decrease in workforce.

    It's a shame, really. I love the Uni's wiki -- it's an absolute goldmine -- but I wish CCP would dedicate more volunteer and employee hours to keeping the official wiki updated.

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  6. "I stumbled upon a confession with escalation and expedition. When I was reading patch notes from 2006, they were called expeditions. However, the Evewiki article calls them escalations."

    And have you run into parts of the EVE Wiki where they refer to various different missions or FW sites as "dungeons?" I am almost in favor of not updating those pages just to prove that was what CCP was okay with calling them at one point. Dungeons. In space.

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