Friday, October 10, 2014

Barely Casual

Eve is my second most serious game ever. My first was a MUD that I started when I was sixteen. I can still log into it and chat with people who still log in and play. On that MUD I made my way up the ranks and became an Immortal and when I left I had built about 30% of the game world. We had a yearly gathering and many of us are still in contact with each other. The founder was eventually went onto working in the gaming industry and although we have filtered off into adulthood, we still keep in contact with each other.

It is not that I did not game. I did game a lot. My best friend and I played co-op games. I was a big fan of Diablo and she and I played Diablo II for hours. We played Hellgate:London and moved into City of Heroes with a group of guys who had also played our MUD. We'd chat on voice coms and play video games in the evenings with each other.

Eve is the first game that I played without her. She decided not to try it because she has the type of personality that addicts her to MMOs. That was fair enough and I kept my Eve play time separate. It was hard when I first started because I was utterly obsessed with Eve. However, it became easier later.

When Diablo III came out we attacked it with the same joy that many Diablo fans did. We played, and played, and I started to develop sore hands from all of the clicking. We played, loosely, with some Eve people. We really do like co-op games after all. One of those people from Eve got upset with me when he learned that I was playing Diablo for fun. I was very critical of the story line for instance. That was when he told me that you played Diablo to get the best gear sets.

Now, I had been playing Diablo for two things. Fun with my friend and the story line. I had a mismatched set of gear that I absolutely loved. It looked great and I wasn't really dying so I was doing fine. We would do every inch of every board, read every book, and obsess over the story.

We were doing it wrong. That was when I was told that I was barely a casual gamer and not the hardcore gamer that I had tried to sell myself to be.

It was an odd insult. But, I carried that feedback forward. Once I got over the insult of it, I could agree with him. I played as I wanted. I cared not for the best gear. I put together skills and equipment that did what I liked. I'd never checked with an external site that told me how to best build my character. In fact, I was often doing everything absolutely wrong.

I play Eve the same way. At the same time, I take Eve very seriously. But serious and casual are not the same things.

I've tried out a lot of things in Eve for no reason but my own curiosity. Some I have been successful at and some have been failures. I have chased after goals for other people and it is often those goals that have left me the most unhappy and struggling to find reason and meaning to what I do.

At some point I decided to just accept my barely casualness. I was never going to awe people as a pilot. I would never be the best. I'm not a savant. And as I stopped trying to be what I was not, I got a bit happier.  Even now, I don't use Evemon to manage a future skill queue. I think I remapped sometime back in January for something or another. I still enjoy flying Jaguars.

I'm okay that way. I much to much enjoy diving into things that may be fun with little consideration for their correctness. I know that for others, optimization is where they receive their pleasure and my haphazard whirlwind approach to playing would not appeal to them.

There is a big future for me in Eve. I have my industry alt learning T2 manufacturing skills finally. Sugar is kind of learning missiles. There are so many things to do. They may not be big as in shiny and news worthy. That is okay. I don't do them for that, anyway. One day I may understand the love of the Tengu. That alone, will be an amazing thing.

20 comments:

  1. You can always flip that right around if you're so inclined: if you're following someone else's recipe to blow through a small part of the game in pursuit of the goals that someone else considers important, how hardcore are you really?

    When I try a game I don't look at any of the guides. Part of the fun is figuring out what I want out of it, and since I'm paying for the game, what I want out of it is all that matters to me.

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    1. nor do I. Eve was the first game I spent some time learning how to play from the outside and that was only after I had plunged in head first. Minecraft was the second and that was only to learn how crafting works.

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  2. Let’s see if I understand this correctly. You and a best friend get together for some enjoyable gaming time. An Eve acquaintance is invited to join in. Eve acquaintance then criticizes your game playing approach. This reminds of a story . . .

    Years ago I played face to face D & D with a regular group. We’d meet at the dungeon master’s house about once a week. His wife played a Ranger. She was a good player, her Ranger a central member of the party. At one point the in game characters seriously considered kicking her out of the party for role playing reasons. I was opposed to this and found a way to role play a smooth resolution. Later, once the other players had left and the DM and I were cleaning up, the DM looked at me, baffled, and asked, “Do you think they really believed they could kick my wife out of the group and still expect me to not only continue DMing for them but also continue hosting them in my house?” I could only reply, “I honestly don’t know. Perhaps they’re a little too hardcore and see not what they do.”

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  3. In games like Diablo, you can play for the storyline once, but many more times over for the fun of different classes, builds and ultimately loot (for the builds, and for the joy of looting itself). For most players that get into the game, since the story part (1) comes first and (2) is relatively short, it can naturally get overlooked in terms of the overall gameplay experience. Diablo is about the thrill of a good drop -- hence why the D3 Auction House was so terribad, to the point the devs made a complete reversal on it.
    KN

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    1. And such is my point.

      "Diablo is about the thrill of a good drop."

      No. It never was for me.

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    2. The auction house simply made it a different game (the thrill of the bargain rather than the thrill of the drop.

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    3. Except I never used the auction house and found the entire thing to be silly.

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  4. Casual and Hardcore can mean different things to different people. To some it's all about how much time you put into it, for others it's about how skilled you are at playing and for yet others it's about both.

    When I played WoW I saw a lot of players and guilds who called themselves hardcore that made me laugh. From my point of view they were either terrible players who put in a awful lot of hours or decent players who didn't put in very many hours.

    I also knew some pretty casual players who were top notch players. They could have gotten into some very highly ranked guilds but were either unable/unwilling to give the level of commitment required or didn't like the drama and obnoxious behavior that comes with most such guilds.

    The ones I liked best were the ones straddling the line between true hardcore and casual. High ranked for the amount of time they play with skilled players, reasonable commitment expectations and less drama than most.

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  5. I have mixed feelings about elitism, I'm a min/maxer and also what they call a 'power-player' in D&D.

    But I'm often appalled by the culture that regularly exists in groups of people who have a play-style/mindset similar to my own. So in many games I end up playing with people who just like 'fun' while quietly frustrated by their horrible inefficiency but that still wins out big over toxicity and general nastiness.

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  6. I play eve simply to see what can be done, see if I like any of it and collect ships while I ask myself "What if?".

    I've never been a hardcore player but I have associated with several in the past and their attitude disgusts me.

    They have this unshakable belief that they are the only 'proper players' and everyone else is a scrub/pubbie/etc who needs to be kicked out unless they 'see the light' and start playing properly.

    Eve is just as prone to this as other MMOs. Indeed, it put a hard ceiling on EVEs growth by seriously limiting it's client base due to it's increasingly abrasive community and playing style.

    The trouble seems to be that in any MMO the devs listen to the voices that scream loudest, and that'll be the hardcore players. casuals are more "If in doubt, pull out", more likely to head for the exit with a new game in their sights.

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    1. Don't paint with such broad strokes :)

      While I don't want to dispute your experience, there are nice 'hardcore' players.

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    2. I'm sure there are nice 'hardcore' players, but they are not the dominant force in driving the community atm.

      The forums, for example, seem to be a race to see who can scrape the bottom of the barrel first in their quest for snotty nosed basement filth to hurl around.

      I find I get more sense and more genuine information from blogs such as this one as well as a more balanced perspective on the game and its real potential.

      I have no patience at all for elitism and generally regard those who embrace it with contempt.

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    3. @Anonymous 5:58

      Don’t squirrel around for rare exceptions :)

      Elitism is snobbish, judgmental, intolerant behavior. While one can be a polite elitist, that only makes it deceptively smooth not nice.

      Defend elitism if you want. Don’t pretend it’s something it’s not.

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  7. I am worse than you Sugar, my son and CEO once said, "Tur wants to always be a noob." and after a bit of reflection, I realized he was dead right. And (and this may be due to my advanced years, turned 54 last week) I have not, nor will I ever, give a damn about anyone's opinion of how I play a GAME for my subjective personal enjoyment.

    RL jobs, RL parenting, yea, ok, I may take others critique and/or suggestions to mind... I mean that's all stuff that really 'counts' ya know... but a game? Pshaw say I on your min/maxing, your hardcoreism, your elitism and your trolling... As far as I am concerned, anyone not playing the game the way "I" do sucks and I will bet you a trillion ISK they care not one little shit for my opinion either... (1) I have found, overall, if you ignore them, eventually they go bother someone who cares about their opinion and (2) IMHO, for the majority who play EVE, I'm old enough to be their father. Have some respect for yer elders... LOL.

    You (not you Sugar, them...) you wanna talk hardcore... you wanna talk Elite... you wanna talk who's really Better Than Who? Meet me on the range, we'll shoot 1 cold bore shot then 3 rounds only at 600 yards... military open sight, each with choice of personal weapon and caliber. No excuses for the weather or equipment or the 'sun was in my eyes' for the outcome. Then we'll talk.

    EVE is a game. A really great game, a fantastically fascinating game but just a game.

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    1. Guns? You barbarian. Foil or Épée? Guns. Pah. You could teach an ape to shoot a gun.

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    2. While I have no chivalrous disagreement with your sentiment, I myself own a collection of blades, among them a handmade katana... made for me, by my best friend. But, in all practical applications, blade fighting has 2 very strong downsides...

      (1) is is exceedingly rare for the 'winner' of a blade fight to come out unscathed, if not seriously wounded.. and

      (2) a blade extends your reach by about 3 feet...
      a M1A1 in .308 extends your reach by about... 1000 yards.

      And lastly at any range well exceeding the given blade... if the ape had a gun, and you (a highly advanced and evolved 'ape') had a Foil, Épée, Saber or even a Katana... the ape would win.

      Never bring a knife to a gunfight... 'nuff said.

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    3. You made my point for me though! There's nothing elite or hardcore about pulling a trigger. You implied there was, that somehow being a good marksman was a real measure and EVE was not. Nukes aren't a weapon of skill either, they just kill/destroy everything in a large area how destructive/effective the weapon is has nothing to do with how hard mastering its use is. I'd say even being a great archer is probably more impressive then being a great gunman, because it has more human and less machine involved.

      Fencing takes years of training to master and requires a decent level control over the entire body, not just eye hand co-ordination. A fatty can be an excellent marksman he/she won't ever fence well though (unless ofc they put in the training and lose the fat ;-) ).

      I wasn't arguing against the effectiveness of guns but against them being a measure of RL harcore or eliteness like you implied.
      Red herring kind sir :P I argue that blades take more skill to master against which you argued "but guns are more effective!" that may be but it was not my argument :P

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    4. Well, yes, shooting someone before a blade reaches you isn't much skill. He talked about hitting a target at several hundred yeards, which isn't a no-brainer.

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    5. Tur amirite you don't login these days too?

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  8. mwah Sugar - this is a beautiful post

    you aren't going to give up eve for a goodly while - get your friend to come and join in. There's no-one I'd rather have as a mentor than you.

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