Friday, April 17, 2015

Musings: Wandering Absolutes

What value is there in a kill?

The value of PvP is a strange thing to me. Value in itself is a complex word. To look at Merriam-Webster's first three definitions of value (after that technical use starts creeping in):
  1. a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged
  2. the monetary worth of something :  market price
  3. relative worth, utility, or importance 
While broad in scope it is conceptually easy to grasp. It is highly personal but also easy to relate to. I may not find what you hold of value to have value but I can understand what having something valuable means to me. 

What I find fascinating is that value starts to break down quickly when it comes to PvP. Yesterday, I commented on the value of character's I will not use. Today, I debated one of the terms that I truly loathe in Eve. That is the one where people complain that what is available for them to kill does not have and value to it.  I hate hearing that. One man's useless kill may be another's first and most exciting PvP experience ever. What is valuable to you does not have to be valuable to me for it to have worth.

I think concepts like challenge get caught up in value. It is not challenging for a well equipped fleet with skills, skill points, links, and logistics to kill a lesser equipped fleet. I will hear it said that those ships are not worth killing. They are not valuable enough. And I find that we've caught up a bunch of issues into a single sentence.
  • Those ships did not harm the other person in their loss.
  • Those ships did not challenge me as a player.
  • That ship did not entertain me as an individual.
  • That ship did not entertain my fleet as a group.
  • That ship did not forward my conscious goals.
  • That ship did not forward my unconscious goals.
  • That ship did not create a new experience for me to enjoy.
All of those things make the thing not valuable. Yet, those are personal and subjective. Some people will experience it. Other's will not. Killing a frigate will be a joy to some people every time and killing a Titan will become regular to others. And as I was trying to run around proving that things are valuable to someone even if they are not to someone else I realized that the opposite was also true.

Having worked myself into a logic circle I decided to figure out what my problem was with the statement and I discovered my old enemy the absolute statement. "No one wants to kill cheap <insert ship here>." I'm reminded of the irritating thing that some teachers or parents will do. "Who is no one?" Or, to expand it and make it more personal, "Why doesn't my enjoyment count?"

Well, it does to me just not to others. I get my thrills out of team work and enjoying the company of my corp mates. If I am unhappy in my personal relationships my enjoyment of fleets immediately plummets. Other's have no interest in fleets or others and it is their own interests that motivate them. Then there is just the levels of competitive nature, those who seek to win over anything else, and everything in between, before an after, and off to the side.

There just isn't a neat package. That's my absolute statement. It is something I need to remember.

3 comments:

  1. I sometimes feel there's a case for a word filter that replaces 'No one' with 'I'. t gives us an explanation for so many player actions: "I don't want to grind those plexes", "I don't want to do that scanning" etc...etc...

    Some of my best fights, where I've been shaking and shivering, are where I've put myself in a bad position, or done something foolish or 'brave'. I think, (based on unfounded assertions), that anyone who feels a ship isn't worth killing, is trying too hard to kill it.

    It defends against the mental challenge of "Maybe I am the blobber/ganker..."

    Rob K.

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  2. Yeah, shifting responsibility to the target for exploding too easily is definitely a kind of transference, especially in a game like EVE where it's relatively easy to pick your targets. The only time I can see it is when you take on something that can be terrifying, like a Bhaalgorn, only to be disappointed when it's terribly fit and/or badly piloted. Otherwise, if your fleet picked a target it could obviously faceroll, well, your fleet picked it anyway, right?

    I think some of the eyerolling over cheap and small ships is because they don't award much in terms of the twin killboard-generated scores of ISK efficiency and "points," but after tiericide they can make you work uncomfortably hard for even that grudging reward, or even turn the tables and increase their scores at your expense.

    Also, while I like the construction that "No one" can be replaced with "I," that's not enough. The person who says "No one does X" is basically saying that "anyone who does X is crazy/worthless/bad/not worth acknowledging." And then you're back to pondering value.

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  3. Sugar,

    I fear you are being much too kind as you wind your way through your exploration of ‘value.’ When Eve players “complain that what is available for them to kill does not have any value to it” I don’t read it as an expression of boredom of malaise, I read it as an expression of disdain. As if to say, “Not only do you lack the wealth, skill and organization to defeat me, you’re so inept an opponent you can’t possibly amuse me in the first place.” To illuminate with a real life example . . .

    Years back in my college days I was an active member of our university chess club. To rook up interest we’d occasionally set up several boards outside the student union building and play all challengers. One day a fellow philosophy student happened by and commented that he, unlike others, didn’t play chess to win. No, he played it for ‘the art.’ “Anybody,” he explained, “could line up their pieces and bulldoze over their opponent but where’s the art in that?” Having belittled us all, he then proceeded on his merry way. T’was a shame actually as I had a few classes with the fellow over the years and he really was quite clever (and very probably a decent chess player) though I think, in the long run, he remained a little lonely.

    If you ask me, it’s not all that bad to muck about with common folk finding shared delight in bulldozing through your opponents. It’s certainly a lot more socially satisfying than the alternative.

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