Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nuances of Self

When not arguing with Tal, I'm reading his blog. During the Fanfest week he wrote a post titled, "Who is your main?" I raised my hand and said, "Oh me me! Sugar is but there is so much more just like you wrote!" Only I was in Iceland and no one heard me and I didn't really have the time to respond to it. Tal did dive deeper into the subject of who and what a main is and he used himself for a test case. I decided to dot he same because I like breaking things down into their parts.

I've mentioned the blogs name before. Low Sec Lifestyle. I picked it because I was living in low sec and I really, really liked just living in low sec. This was before I could hunt or kill anything. I was a pest buzzing along behind experienced players like an excited puppy. I knew nothing but fear and awe for the most part. I picked the blog name to reflect what I was doing. Living in low sec.

I've said before that I didn't come to Eve to be a PvPer. I came to be an industrialist. I just came to be one in an environment that was hostile and dangerous. I wanted an environment where I was at risk. I wanted to be chased by pirates and gun them down and sometimes win and sometimes lost. That was interesting to me. It still is. It also makes my evolution from Chella Ranier the industrialist to Sugar Kyle the pirate and into Sugar Kyle the member of the CSM all the more strange.

Sugar is my main because Sugar kills people and killing people is one of the few measurable things one can do in Eve. When Sugar started to kill people she started to leave her name behind her on public killboards.  It is a trackable metric and one that I have watched over the course of my game play not to personally measure but to see how people react to it.

In Eve Uni chat, new players will see my sec status (-6.0 atm). The ones that understand killboards will see my activity. In fact, when you look into someone in Eve running their name through one of hte major killboards is a very basic step. Who is this person? What is this person? Do they kill or are they killed? What decisions do they make that you can see in this killboard. The fits. The fights. The fleets. They all tell a story about a person that you can read and gather some solid and true knowledge of them.

Inactivity brings its own responses. For every inactive period on my killboard I have a reason. You can see slumps for each Pod and Planet fiction writing contest I have entered. You can see vacations and these days, you can see the increased energy I have put into the CSM and the decreased activity of the killboard. That has led to people asking why I should continue on the CSM if I am inactive in the game.

In some ways activity can define a main. I am Sugar Kyle. But I am also a handful of other players. I am The Cougar Store and TCS is composed of four characters. They are not individuals. Their skills are pretty much mirrored on each other and their existence is to create and maintain a concept. That concept is a low sec market. In that, I am defined as a marketeer of some sort and type as a player. Sugar gains that title but Sugar cannot market. She has no skills for it.

Sugar is an almost seventy million skill point combat pilot. If I were to pick what ship I fly most it is probably one of my freighters. My freighter pilot has more in space time on her than almost anyone else. Yet, she is not my main. I'd never even consider her such. She is another aspect of Sugar. She moves items, she handles logistics, she builds things, and she markets my non TCS items. She is one of my most important and valuable characters when it comes to skills and moving forward my personal game of Eve but I'd never think of her as my main.

I do write about her adventures. I've learned a paranoid fear of red thrashers on gates and neutral Machariel's when I am in a freighter or Orca. I write about my market and industrial activities but they do not quantify the same way that PvP does. I have spun up billion ISK projects and learned the true pain of being a small scale manufacturer. I have struggled with spreadsheets and build freighters in low sec to handle the demands of my projects. I do these things in, for, and about low sec because that is the space that I love. It is my low sec lifestyle but it is not quantifiable. And thus, with a quiet kill-board I am inactive. For how can they prove what I do?

I think what makes a main is more than our personal view of it. It is the external view as well. I do not know Eve Hermit's main but I know his Eve Hermit character is not it. Yet I know Croda trades across multiple accounts and I'd call Croda his main because his tangible connection to me is through his blog where he recounts what he does for we have no other way of sharing it.

The complexity of a main comes into clear view when people start discussing the CSM in a breakdown of region. You buy the player when you select a candidate. I am a pirate, marketeer, industrialist, explorer. I am all of these things across many areas of space. But low ssec is what I put first yet it is not all that I am.

Am I the player or the character?

Like the rest of Eve there are layers within layers. We are the player, the character, and often the alts. It's one, textured expierence. But to put a name to it, that'd be Sugar Kyle, low sec resident.

5 comments:

  1. Identity is such richly complicated stuff. Being a lazy butt, I'll cut and paste my comment from his post:

    DireNecessityMarch 20, 2015 at 9:27 AM
    What’s the difference between Love and Infatuation? If it lasts.

    Much the same can be said of the contrast between ‘dabble’ and ‘top playstyle’. Accordingly . . . a little history.

    My first character spawned in May 2009: Similar to so many others, a Hi-Sec mission runner.

    My second character spawned in September of that same year: Faction warfare PvP.

    My third character spawned in January 2010: Value added manufacturing.

    One could say these are my three mains. I’d be hard pressed to assert one is more central than the other as one of the great joys I find in Eve is [getting] each of them contributing their part to the overall endeavor. I don’t have a main, I have a family.

    Character two dabbles: touch of faction warfare, stint as Mission Bear murdering ninja looter, spell as a suicide ganker, mercenary stretch. She’s currently unemployed but the ship on ship PvP itch returns – something’s about to change.

    Character three began and remains an industrialist: By my count her industrial business has undergone four top to bottom reorganizations since early 2010 (Crius alone generated two of them). History would say this is my primary playstyle. Over five years of unrelenting, no pause production.

    Character one, the oldest of the set with by far the most skill points, appears to fade into the background but don’t you believe it. He supports both character two (scouting, spinning command link) and character three (freighter transportation, optimal npc standing reprocessing). If a character is me, he’s the one; the central hub the other characters circle around.

    Family Spokesperson,
    DireNecessity

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  2. Lets say my "main" is my demeanor, my projection of who I want to be, an adventurer, a nosy anthropologist.

    My alts? My nature. Geeky, multitasking introverts dedicated to the next project, production or generation of resources towards that goal, forever sidetracked by the next investigation.

    I think my alts are "me", my RL me. Supporting my main, my non-RL me.

    Who's more me? The me? Or the me that follows him?

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  3. I totally have to credit Dire with that question. It was a very good one; dare I say a blog banter? Great response, Sugar!

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    Replies
    1. As the preamble of your post points out, it's not only a puzzling individual identity question, it's a question whose answers can have consequences on CCP's development priorities (presuming we prefer CCP spiff up our 'primary play' first). Sugar's inclusion of external aspects of the question (who do others - including CCP - see as your main) muddies these difficult waters even further.

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  4. My main is probably closest to myself: A space archaelogist travelling around like a nomad. Three things I can't do in real life, regardless of how hard I wish myself into a spaceship.

    My alts are on a sliding scale of important to unimportant: Starting with interesting concepts with actual bios and then sliding down to private in-jokes.

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