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Rambling: Stumbling Over Questions

[TL;DR: Starting at the bottom. Why is there so much negativity to losing spaceships that it drives our social behavior in the game?]

For the last week or so a few ideas have been rolling around. They've developed into incomplete thoughts and partially worded posts. I've been thinking a lot about winning and thinking more about losing. Not in the competitive way of wanting ether of these things but in the function of motivations for people.

I was pinged about AFK cloaking on twitter and my opinion of it. For uttering those words I expect the rest of what I say to be missed. I'll say it anyway because it is not about the discussion of AFK cloaking. In fact, I am a poor subject to have this discussion with because I live in hostile space that is always full of neutrals. What the topic made me think about was loss.

A bit ago, I commented how dying in Minecraft often makes me giggle. I get frustrated. I love my enchanted diamond gear. I get attached to things. But I do not face the dread of loss that I do in Eve even though I often lose my items and have to go craft and gather more. The dread that I feel in Eve is also not about the loss. It is about the repercussions that come with loss. This is often ridicule and anger from people that share the killboard.

In exploring the discussion about AFK cloaking I was asked, "And if a cyno opens?"

My response was, "I die?" I then continued, "Or I don't because I don't hug the beacon? Or maybe I kite them off and escape. Perhaps I kill them. Mabye I am in a mission site and they can't light a cyno." The answers were varied because I don't know but the first answer was that I die.

What does dying mean?

It means irritation. I have never been one to find amusement in loss for the sake of loss. I dislike losing things right now to my cyno rookie ships. I am irritated when someone kills them. It inconveniences me for a few minutes. It may disrupt my jumping plans. I move on.

What happens when I lose a ship?

It is irritating. I lose value and items I have put time and effort into collecting. On the flip side because I may lose them is why I put value and effort into them. I lose time. I may have to change my activities. I lose ISK and assets.

Some will say it is not bad. Some only redock to gain another ship. Others have used the same hull for years and would like to do so. I feel that we pick the area of Eve that we play in and the things that we do as part of a greater plan of goals. Part of having a goal is planning. Part of planning is dictating the possibilities. Mining in low sec is different from mining in high sec. Doing a data site in null sec is different from doing one in wormholes. The environments are different.

The ship may be lost. But there is a difference between going out and not coming back until you are dead or even taking a risky fight and just going and sitting somewhere inactive waiting for someone to harm you. To bear with me, I'd ask for some base assumption that we want to keep our hulls.

Why is ship loss bad?

If I am out in space, Sugar with my ISK and my assets, doing a plex, making my money, and I get tackled and local spikes.

Then I lose my ship.



  1. Replies
    1. And such it is called, but why. Why is dying bad. Why is there a reason to be averse to the risk. Why will people sacrifice their game play to avoid losing their ship.

      Risk aversion is a definition but it doesn't answer the question of why is loss so bad in this game that people will avoid playing to avoid loss.

    2. ah...well then it just boils down to personality type really when you're talking motives. You're getting into the grey areas of stuff people really don't know much about in real life either.
      Most people would probably look at your question as being truly philosophical.

      For the Killer type it's about reputation; for the Explorer type it's about learning new areas of the game (not people); for the Achiever type it's about getting that trinket in the game that's hard to acquire; for the Socializer type ...well, do those that are truly paragons of socializer virtue ever need to undock? lol

      Hell, you could go all Sun Tzu and still have no definitive answers as to why lose is "so bad" (aka significant/importance for risk avoidance)

      Personally, i believe it's all about laziness. Our natural tendency to avoid risk (pve or pvp) simply because we're complacent when our baser instincts are concerned. That's why i hate risk aversion - it's a sign of pure laziness and one should always try to avoid that even if one isn't ambitious by nature.

    3. Is it lazy to avoid loss because you will be scolded and socially shamed and perhaps lose your place or ve punished?

      You define loss being bad because a player is lazy?

    4. via risk aversion, correct. otherwise you're beating a strawman there, mate.

    5. Interesting that you think that. Thank you.

    6. long as you're focusing on the risk/reward calculation, and someone is avoiding a reward in their chosen playstyle simply because of imagined risk, then yes, that would be laziness to avoid loss because you IMAGINE you will be scolded and socially shammed, blah blah blah.

  2. Loss is only bad because we, as a community, tend to ruthlessly troll those who lose ships. People are kicked out of corps because of a bad loss, etc.

    1. Yup. Without that sort of actions people would get faster over the losses. I'm in small corp with friend of mine and neither of us care about losses or killboards (or listen to other players comments about losses) so neither of us has community baggage.

    2. Why do we care so badly as a community?

    3. As far as I can tell, it's the 12-yr-old schoolboy playground mentality of needing to win and grab bragging rights.

  3. It's not about losing a ship. It's about losing a battle against another human. This makes social people feel inferior. Especially if trash-talking is involved (always does).

    For us, a loss is a loss. Losing 1B in ships to rats = losing 1B in ships to players = losing 1B on the market to a bad investment.

    For them, the rat and investment loss is "I grind it back", the PvP loss is "I didn't want it anyway and it wasn't a fair fight and I had lag and you are low for bringing friends/logi/ECM"

    1. I regularly play chess against my two best friends in the world. I also lose a lot because they're both stronger chess players then me. So here I am losing a battle of wits vs. other humans yet I entered into this contest motivated by a desire to socialize with my friends. Doesn't make me feel inferior at all though, I find it bot engaging and relaxing.

      Humans are social creatures, humans enter into competitive endeavors like sports all the time in order to socialize and losing doesn't generally make them feel inferior.

  4. For me, ship loss is bad because I have to get and put together a ship again. My girlfriend won't even touch Eve unless I fit ships for her. When I explained how to play to her I tried to relate it to world of watercraft: these are spells, this is armor, these are your stats. Then she learned what Eve's version of the corpse run is and I can confidently say she will never actually play Eve.

    1. I that's avoiding something inconvenient. I do understand that. Its why I have several identical ships.

      My husband does not like permanent loss in his games. He does not find that to be fun so I understand how things are with your girlfriends lack of interest.

    2. I that's avoiding something inconvenient. I do understand that. Its why I have several identical ships.

      My husband does not like permanent loss in his games. He does not find that to be fun so I understand how things are with your girlfriends lack of interest.

  5. I'll tell you why I'm risk averse....Losing a ship means grinding for a few hours to replace it. Losing a ship means that I have to stop doing what I'm doing to replace it. Losing a ship means that I have to go back to Jita and comb through the market to find the items I lost. Losing a ship means that I have to re-fit, monkey around with EFT, and figure out the stats on all of the modules that seem to be changing weekly.

    Losing a pod means I have to replace implants. It may also mean a loss of skills and an adjustment to my skill queue. I'm glad I don't have to update my clone anymore - that's always been a silly exercise with not so silly consequences if I forgot.

    And, yes, losing a ship means ridicule on the boards. Not that it means anything to me since my CEO (me) isn't too harsh about those stats.

    1. Does it get better? Do you think if you had more ISK and a stable of ships it would change?

      Example: I have ten billion in hulls hanging around for Sugar to fight in. Ships that I have identical replacement for sitting in my hangar.

      Thank you for answering.

    2. But what do you do with the ISK otherwise? Sure if a ship dies you need to buy another one. But is that a real barrier?

      Also why would you be in a area where AFK cloaking is perceived as a problem (by some people) like 0.0 if you are that put off by having to replace a ship? There's environments in EVE that have much reduced risk of losing you r ship by comparison why aren't you in those places?
      Surely you're aware that 0.0 is supposed to be dangerous and thus carries increased risk of losing your assets (it's certainly designed to be)?

    3. Since you brought it up, Anon, here's why AFK cloaking in null is bad: there's no counter.

      It's not about the potential loss of ships - though that still is an issue, primarily because of the difficulty of replacing ships out on the fringes - but the absolute inability to counter the threat. If cyno jammers blocked ALL cynos, including covert cynos, I think you'd see the hubub surrounding AFK cloaking die.

      I live in w-space, and the general assumption there is that you are always being watched, that there's always an unseen enemy in system. The difference between null and w-space is that, unlike null, a single AFK cloaky in a wormhole can't instantly summon 250 of his closest friends. Also unlike null, in w-space, there is a counter to the AFK cloaky; either close your hole or monitor the entrances so you can see the 250 friends coming.

    4. I hear you.

      The thing is, permanent loss is part of what makes EvE what it is.

      I worry about too much isk in the game, because I worry that it could move the game more towards games like LOTRO or SWTOR. At the same time, the lack of isk, and the difficulty of earning enough isk in such a fashion that it's less of a grind is also EvE's biggest hurdle to keep players in the game.

      Overall, I think CCP has the balance just about right; they may need to tweak certain areas, but for most players, the available income streams are working reasonably well. The trick is finding an income stream that a player wants to take advantage of, and I'm not certain there's a whole lot CCP can do there.

      One of the problems may by that of player attitude born out of a broader community imperative to always go for the 'best' and 'most efficient' activity. I think we take on board what others say we should be doing and then we start doing it, finding ourselves engaged in activities that we don't really want to do primarily because we're doing what we've been told we 'should' do.

    5. (Origingal Author)

      I've tried fitting 100 tristans for RVB. Its kind of a pain. Its also kind of expensive. Local markets kind of suck (RVB was near Jita at the time, so it wasn't so bad.) But I can't imagine trying to fit more than three of four ships at a time...and that's just one weekends supply of ships before I have to do it over again.

  6. Dying is bad because you have to spend time and ISK replacing your ship.

    Dying is especially bad in PVE because it is detrimental to the objective of the exercise, which is to make ISK. This is often done as a necessity in order to fund other activities in the game and is not considered particularly enjoyable itself. Having to do PVE to replace your ship is EVE's death penalty.

    PVE-oriented groups will probably hate you for losing ships because you have rewarded a player for hunting you down. They are more likely to come back to your corner of space and other sharks might smell your blood in the water. By dying, you have encouraged more roaming gangs or increased the likelihood of a wardec.

    In PVP, dying is defeat. If you couldn't have played better (in the fight, setting up the fight or in the fitting screen) then your mistake was to take the fight at all. The aim of the game is to win and you lost.

    Some PVPers seem to take winning to an extreme where no amount of overkill detracts from the value of a kill whilst no loss is acceptable. For them, the mitigation of risk before taking the fight is the ultimate demonstration of their skill at EVE. My philosophy is to take as many fights in as short a time-frame as possible so long as I feel that I 'can' win them. Attrition is inevitable as I try to have fun and demonstrate my skill by killing superior hulls and larger gangs.

    "Is it lazy to avoid loss because you will be scolded and socially shamed and perhaps lose your place or be punished?"

    This sounds like peer pressure. It is sad that anyone would change their playstyle to avoid ostracision by a group of people that clearly aren't their friends, rather than look for a more suitable group.

    A PVE corporation might have that culture for the practical reasons listed above. I can only guess that such a PVP corp cares an awful lot about how others perceive them; by dying and reducing their killboard stats they think you are making them look 'bad'. Your enjoyment is less important than their 'reputation' (which unbeknownst to them is probably dogshit).

    Rather than being put off by the cost of replacing a ship, some EVE players seem to be paralysed into inaction by the thought of having their mistakes and failures indelibly catalogued as lossmails on their killboard. Like a lot of people in all aspects of life, they care far too much what strangers think of them.

    1. That's incredibly subjective. I often don't experience ship loss in PvP as a defeat. My aim going in is to have an interesting fight, winning or losing doesn't really matter to me if I got that. It's a bit like martial arts in that regard, it's not about winning it's about reading your opponent, predicting moves, being 'in the moment' to me.
      I agree that if you die, you obviously made an error, you misread something and figuring out what it is, is key to improving and getting better.
      But I'll take a seemingly losing fight every time single time if I think it's going to be an interesting one, ships can be replaced, experiences can not, or not as easily anyway.

      But defeat in a game or a sport (to me) is an emotion not an outcome. I can lose a fight and not feel defeated at all.

  7. In my humble experiences, the amount of risk aversion seems tied to how much work goes into actually building something. Doesn't matter if it's a ship, a corporation, or even bigger things.

    Take SRP for instance: The idea is that you pay for the first one (sometimes it's free) and your corp/alliance pays for all future ones as long as you 'fly it properly under a SRP-able FC' or whatever rule they have. All you have to do is spend your time skilling up for it. Would we have 200+ man fleets if there wasn't programs like that?

    For industrialists who get to see how long it takes to actually manufacture a hull, losses aren't really measured in isk, but in hours or days of time. Missioners/Ratters/Incursion runners who just buy the hull and stuff also rate things in time to replace.

    For an alliance who spent months or years working on capturing their sov space, the toll of continuous losses means eventually having to defend all that work, so they tell people to just not undock, let the neuts fly by if they are not going to touch infrastructure. Extreme losses are generally punished by throwing the people out or severe reprimands. (I remember one time where they simply said 'All ratting carriers will be shot on sight while we are deployed')

    Different people react differently to these pressures. Some just shrug and keep flying. Others stay docked or even quit the game because they don't feel they can undock. Others take up market trading where such losses are only visible to someone with API access. Some buy plex to keep their hangar full of ships, counting it as a cost of their hobby (and to keep their sanity because they don't want to rat/mine/trade to earn it back).

    Long and short of it? That we all need to find a place where we are comfortable with the potential for losing. (And willing to learn from every lesson)

    1. and then there's experience. If you've never actually done something enough to get practiced at it, your risk/reward calculations can be highly biased AGAINST engaging in this sort of n00b activity.

      That's why i enjoy get to place yourself in the shoes of someone who really has nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying new stuff (assuming they're completely n00b) since they can replace their losses very quickly.

  8. Death provides incentive. It prevents stagnation. It gives me another challenge to overcome. It provides me with renewal; what went wrong and how I can improve.

    "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."

    Dying still bothers me of course.

  9. On my first foray into sov-null, the first time I took out a ratting battleship, I got ganked. My initial reaction was essentially:

    "Crap. Well, those are the risks. Guess I've got to be more careful and observant and quick to react in the future. And I have to put together a new ratter. It'll be a pain in the butt to get it shipped out here, but that's the price to pay."

    The reaction in alliance chat? I got reamed, steamed, and dry-cleaned. I had imprecations thrown at me that made me ready to vomit just from the mental imagery. I was an embarrassment and a disgrace to the alliance, and they let me know in no uncertain terms.

    Taking a ship out is like gambling, you know? You take the risk. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes you bust out.

    It's not the ships. It's not the ISK loss. The problem, when there is one, is the motherfbeeping people.

  10. Dying when you were not ready or prepared for it is bad because it interrupts your 'fun' gameplay and forces you to play a different game, one wher the terms of the game are dictated not by you but by the person hunting you.

    When I want to go out explore, mission, rat or mine and get killed I lose a lot of time. A cloaky potential killer out there might result in my death and just the possibility will thus impact my decisions and gameplay.

    example: I log in a ratting ship because I want to shoot some crosses and earn some isk. Cloaky neut in system.
    1. log out and don't play eve. consquence is no isk earned and no 'fun' playing eve.
    2. just go and rat. consequence might be dying and losing even more isk as with option 1. less 'fun' playing because you have to watch dscan/local/intel more actively.
    3. do something else. consequence, you are prevented from doing what you wanted and have to settle for a less fun choice.


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