Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pidgonholed

Today, Snuff took out a shield fleet which, from comments and reactions it appears that it is an event close to the coming of the four horsemen for such a situation to happen. While everyone else was puzzled, or buzzing off into space at full speed in random directions enjoying the sweet taste of speed and agility, I felt at home. I know what to do in a shield ship. Or, for the most part. This wasn't a five man fleet situation. But, it felt good. It felt familiar.

And maybe that is bad.

I was reading a conversation the other day. Or, I was skimming a rant to be truthful. It was a familiar rant. Said person likes to get onto this particular soapbox and beat it like a dead horse. Anyway, it was a familiar rant about the place of certain types of ships, namely supers in low sec. It was one full of frustration and irritation. And "They don't belong here," was said about a particular group and their habits not meshing with the what they defined as 'low sec' combat.

Back to that shield fleet I was in. There I was, stretched out and feeling good about myself. Life has been different the last twoish weeks. New people. New Places. New things. New new. And, I've been flying a lot of armor stuff. Armor has never been popular with me and some may wonder why I'd even wander somewhere that I'd be flying armor and my beloved shield fleet would sit in my hangar, dusty.

It would be very easy for me to stay a shield focused frigate pilot. The thing is, I didn't start as a frigate pilot. I started as a random newbie who came to low sec and got trained into a Hurricane because it was battlecurisers online. I didn't switch to frigates until Retribution and the battlecruiser nerf forced me out of battlecruisers. I moved to frigates because we needed tackle and everyone wanted to fly DPS ships. I've never, ever cared what my damage percentage was on a kill and as the tackle pilot and also the support pilot I understood my place in the fleet and I understood my importance to the kills and fights.

And from there, I became a good fleet frigate pilot. I'm not excellent. I've never been a soloer. I'm not that kind of pilot and I don't have any desire to bet hat type of pilot. I became an interceptor pilot to expand upon my goals. I stuck with Jaguar's because they did what I wanted them to do and how I wanted them to do it. I enjoyed having a place where I felt that I mattered and my skill points did not. I filled a niche role in my social group, because that, it seems, is what I do in Eve.

But, I'm not only a frigate pilot. I don't want to be only a frigate pilot. I want to do more in Eve than one thing. I want to fly different ships and play with tactics. I want to rampage with new players that get their first kill and ride the wave of nervous excitement when a cyno goes up and fifty ships jump in. In a way, I want everything and I want to have the chance to experience everything.

I'm a generalist, not a specialist.

And that is the problem with pigeonholing.

  • Pigeonholing is any process that attempts to classify disparate entities into a small number of categories (usually, mutually exclusive ones).
  • The term usually carries connotations of criticism, implying that the classification scheme referred to inadequately reflects the entities being sorted, or that it is based on stereotypes.

If we 'solve' the problem by kicking groups or things out of low sec... if we say, 'they don't belong here' and we then push for mechanics to force a particular type of engagement, we've pigeonholed low sec. It isn't about unique features. The question is, "How restricted do we want things?" I've always loved the potential to do things in Eve. But the moment we have hard limits on things... the moment we say that things don't belong here out of frustration, we open ourselves to crawling into a box we may never get out of.

Maybe I just dislike rules.

I want to fly more than frigates. I may want to go back to only flying frigates. But, there is a lot of Eve out there. I don't want to be told that I don't belong in an armor fleet flying a DPS ship because I am a frigate pilot. I'd like to discover if I belong there on my own. I personally want to avoid shoving, we the players, into boxes. If people make them, I'd like them to make said box themselves so that they have the key to escaping it if they so choose. Otherwise, we will create walls and even the shortest wall is still a barrier that many will never think of climbing.

We need to make sure that we know if we are pigeonholed. Otherwise our ideas and solutions will reflect back on us and we will hear our own echo and think it is other voices. At the same time, I want people who have found their niche to be able stay there and be comfortable. Maybe, I want to much. I want options and choices and chances. I want people to be able to make things happen. I want restrictions to be creative things that we use as features and terrain.

After all, I'm a frigate pilot.

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