I was writing my 20th history post. I had hoped to finish it today but time has rushed by and other tasks consumed time. It has spawned a few questions that I may write about over the next few days.
I came across the change to missions that allowed players to grind their standings back up from negative. Before, a player could be completely locked out of a faction with no access to agents. This would be a consequence for their actions before. They fought the wrong faction. They killed the wrong ships. Their past has followed them into their future and now that faction will never forgive them.
Eve is a grim, dark world with real consequences. Your actions matter. Your decisions are taken into account. Harden the fuck up. Deal with it. That sounds so very familiar. Yet, every time I come into this I have two questions.
- But what of redemption?
- And where does the line between video game for pleasure during your free time and consequences meet?
Back when I was in collage and still playing MUDs, one of the guys developed his own MUD. He developed this intricate death system. It punished you when you died. You'd get locked out of things for longer and longer. Dying was not just a matter of hitting your script to run to the Resurrection chamber, get your stuff, loot it all, and head back out. Dying made you stop, pause, and suffer for your choice.
It made complete sense. It was also terrible to actually play. He often made systems like this. Elegant. Intricate. Real. And shit game play.
Any change proposed in Eve that will increase accessibility is often countered with things like consequences mattering. When Tags4Sec were introduced, people said that it meant people would not suffer for their immoral choices. They would just buy tags, laughing as they drank blood from their victims and swarm into high sec to reign destruction down.
Only, it didn't quite go that way. Now, we're looking at some improvement on standings gains. The immediate response is that people should pay for their actions. Shooting or engaging against another faction loses standings. Deal with it.
Is deal with it healthy for the game? Is it what we want for Eve? What is a choice that matters? Do we ever actually answer that? Is being able to improve your standings with ISK instead of a week long trip into null sec better game play because it sucks for the person to do? That would be punishment, not consequence.
- : something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions
- : importance or value
I think that we often speak about punishment vs consequence. We also speak about permanence. In a game played for pleasure and relaxation negative and permanent things reach out and affect the player. If you make this decision it will follow you forever and ever and ever. Choose wisely.
Only there is a problem. Eve often does not allow people to make educated decisions. I dislike the idea of permanence when people are ignorant to what they are doing. Standings, in their current incarnation often fall into this. Mix in Eve's weird culture of game play outside of the structured content provided by the game and people wind up in situations without knowing how they got there and finding that they are repairing the damage after the fact.
I often find myself asking people why someone would want to play the game they are discussion. Why someone would want to do the task they are creating. There are many, may amazing sounding things that would be great in books or a story but when brought into the free time and engagement of a player they, in my opinion, break down.
Fun is an elusive term. We can enjoy something without being fed endless cookies and bacon. I've been listening to my husband's frustration playing Banished today. He keeps building to fast. His people can't bring in the supplies they need and they starve to death a handful of years into his game. He restarts. He is learning. He will hopefully make it past year seven at some point. But, Banished hasn't told him that no one will come live in his settlement because he can't get himself together to let them live to old age and they don't want to starve to death.
The video game can't be forgotten for the beautiful concepts. The beautiful concepts are what make the video game.