@Sugar_Kyle If you have some time, could you please read this? http://t.co/EHWOmqWkGW Interested in your thoughts. :) Thanks!
— Sakaane Eionell (@Sakaane) August 17, 2014
Of course. Here you go.
Sakaane's article is very dense so I sat down and read it a few times and let my mind stir. It goes back to the topic that has been floating about some about people who do not want to be the villain. People who want to be a hero in a game that does not have heroes.
I've written my opinion on heroes in Eve before. Eve does not have the classic structure where the player comes in and has a story line to progress where they save the world. The player is, instead, thrown into a game that is unformed by hard rules of coded and instead created through the softer, ever shifting structure of human social behaviors.
But none of that is new. The topic is raised that the Sandbox nature of Eve is a lie because people cannot be heroes and that the game pushes people, even in the basic hard coded structures, towards a more negative path.
I wrote a post for Blog Banter 54 called 'There are Only People Here'. The topic was about heroes in Eve. People define heroes in different ways. I, consider myself, to be a classic villain in Eve. I maintain a negative security status (normally). I PvP at will and without any other reason than the pilot crossing my fleet in low sec. For many, that makes me a villain and I'm okay with that. But, many don't see me as a villain because outside of those particular game activities I spend my time community building and helping other people.
One of the simplest differences between villianness and herodom (for I shall not use good and evil in this argument) is reward in Eve. To do negative things tends to grant reward and to do positive things tends not to. And frankly, this is reflected much deeper than the game and out onto human nature. When I help someone, when I do something for someone I am often the one giving and not receiving. My reward is whatever reason I have given myself for what I do. Is a hero a hero is he does a job for money or is he a professional for hire?
I can wander down that path but its not productive. The concept of hero is, honestly, somewhat broken and it is hard to apply it to the game because in the game we can be heroes quite easily. We just harm ourselves doing so. We restrict ourselves. We tend to place ourselves in a bad position because of it and I don't think that can every be fully 'fixed' because of the nature of giving and selflessness.
However, Eve does cause us to harm ourselves and place us in a 'bad' potion through game mechanics. I actually agree with that one. I'll point at Faction Warfare because it is, perhaps, one of the most clear examples where game mechanics clash with player options and force people into positions they should not be in. And, what makes it worse is that new players, gleefully running into an aspect of the game with a very defined system of sides and reasons for what it is doing can have devastating consequences to their faction standings that they will struggle, painfully to overcome.
I've said it about missions and it extends to many parts of Eve, currently, that cause co-op gameplay to be a negative. Don't join corporations because your corpmates will kill you. Don't share missions because you get less. Don't, don't, don't don't, don't. We need a bit more do. And currently that do sits upon the backs of to few people to support the entire community.
Let me roll back to one of my own recent ventures. When I decided to help Rykki I had several hurdles to climb. I had to ask my corporation to join her war as an alley so that I could help. The other option was resign for a week and I found that unpalatable. Because of Tags4Sec I was able to clear my sec for ISK and go to high sec to help. I donated money to her corporation that I earned so that they could be in a better place when it came to supplies.
Three things happened. One would have been a very hard decision carrying a weight of losing access to my corporation just to help someone defend themselves. One was recently solved by game changes made in the last year, otherwise it would have taken me a focused number of days if not a week to change. The third was a complete and total choice that I made that I do not believe I should be compensated by game mechanics.
Speaking of game mechanics, let's move to some of the game mechanic aspects.
There is a complaint about CCP calling everything a pirate faction instead of an independent faction. Yeah, they do. And that's marketing. It is one area where what CCP does to sell their game is going to make a decision. A more complex system of NPCs may be interesting where people were actually aligned with the NPCs and not just the players. What future that holds, I don't know.
I don't think that a more complex system where players can align with NPCs would be bad. I don't think that it would take away from players. We already do this to some extent. It would be more interesting to have NPCs become neutral to players. It would deepen game play for people who cared about that type of thing and that is the kind of future concept that as a member of the CSM I can discuss with CCP.
My hope, and it is one I'm sitting on, is that when the new mission tools are done, when we've worked on corporations and sov and POS that we can get some time to look at the structure of players and NPC interaction and give it some true depth and gameplayability. At the same time, I'd like us not to lose our ability to opt out or be neutral. In fact, neutrality is a very important thing to me. I do think that lost players would anchor into the game better if they had someplace to go and some way to help them define themselves. Self definition is great but it often takes a bit for it to happen. Saying that you want to do something and learning how to make that thing happen are different things.
I don't want to be a hero. I don't want to be a knight in shinning armor. I just want to be who and what I am and that thing will wander across both sides of the line from day to day. The pursuit of herodom should have some clarity but villianhood will always be easier and to many, more appealing. But, both should carry their own set of prices. Those prices will not have direct comparisons. For a hero and a villian are two very different people. The reasons and goals cannot be compared to each other but both should be able to exist and with the energies of the player, thrive.
Sakaane is a role-player and there is often a clash between role-players and non-role-players as to the players place in the game. I am not a role-player and I do not pretend to see the game as they do. I also think that is okay. Eve is an enormous game with plenty of room for vastly, different styles of gameplay.