Sunday, June 14, 2015

Labor and Cost

Picking things up and putting them down is a common day to day in game. With the changes to fleet warp I've read a lot of discussion about the increase in workload that it will bring. And, as I spend my evening pushing myself through a series of tasks I ponder it.

Oddly enough, the work aspect of Eve is often a draw. One puts time, effort, and energy into a project and it develops. Yet, that work can also exhaust you. Keeping a project maintained is a regular effort. If something is not done by someone it is not going to be done. We can band together to help each other out and share the load but that work still has to be done.

But Eve is work and work is work and sometimes work stops being fun. I've often wondered if Eve is more of an adults game because there is so much work involved in it. It is easier to transition our understanding and interactions in the world over to more familiar  grounds. I know that when someone throws their hands up and runs off to pursue a passion or adventure I cannot help but think "Who is paying the mortgage or rent while they have this adventure?" or "How are they missing so many days at school/work?"

But, Eve is an escape. An escape for some is something totally different then what they do in real life. For others, it is just doing what they want at the rate and pace that they want to do it. I may say that I don't want work but I've decided that I must need it in some way because I sure as hell give it to myself.

None of that means that work, needed or enjoyed, cannot become a burden. But the line of that burden is an interesting one. There is a point where a content creator or enabler goes from creating content and enabling to drowning in their work. There is a line when the content consumer must work to consume. And in that flexing, murky area players start to decide what they do and do not want out of the game.

I find myself wondering these last few days as I read the discussions about fleet warp, when does Eve become to much work? Where does that work shift from play to an exhaustive drain. It is not just about the status que. That will adjust in some ways. People wise rise and others will fall. That is always the price of change. We just hope more rise then fall during it.

10 comments:

  1. I can’t wax intelligently about fleet warp nor can I wax intelligently about CCP’s specific motivations leading to the proposed changes but based on what I’ve read it seems to me that a possible result of the changes will be a shift in enabler practice from the current “I do it for you” towards “I teach you how to do it”. In as much as that’s the case, I suspect CCP prefers the latter option. Not because it’s more or less enjoyable for all involved but rather because it’s much less fragile. “I do it for you” enablers are one personal burn out from disaster since, when that enabler goes silent, everybody dependent on that enabler goes silent as well. The work of “I teach you how to do it” enablers, on the other hand, lingers on long after the enabler has faded away. Knowledge, once acquired, doesn’t disappear with the teacher’s departure. While’s there’s no shortage of difficulties to iron out (especially in wormhole space it appears), I can’t fault CCP for preferring teaching to control handover. I would also add that teaching, in the long run, is less burdensome for the enabler. Delegation ain’t all that bad. I suppose we’re about to discover who the able teach and delegate folk are.

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    1. Teaching can become equally tiresome though. There's only so many times I can explain the something to yet another person before I go slightly bonkers.

      There was a period of about a year and half in my EVE career that I decided helping newbies was cool, but eventually my EVE experience became logging in trying to roam and then getting pop-up convo's 'Kaeda is this fit ok?' 'Kaeda do you think...' 'Hey Kaeda can I ask you...'

      So one day I logged in dumped the corp ceo role on someone else and walked away. I was done teaching for good. I still try and help occasionally now when people ask me stuff but I'd never go back to actively trying to teach people stuff I'm afraid.

      Bottom line is, that it isn't my 'job' to teach people how to EVE, I actually think that's CCP's job. And until the day they actually get their official wiki resembling something close to accurate and up-to-date and start doing a channel of step by step videos on youtube or something or make the NPE tutorials into actual tutorials they're doing a poor job at it imho. It's a bit silly that all of EVE's actual good teaching content is community driven, it really shouldn't be.

      Anyway, I neither like nor dislike the fleet warp changes I have issues with it in some places and none in others.

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    2. Kaeda,

      Your example brings up a wrinkle that came to mind as I read Sugar's post . . . being self-aware enough to recognize when something's getting too onerous *and* having the fortitude to disentangle from that onerous before it drives one to batty burnout is more than just an exceptional MMO gaming skill, such self-aware approach is an exceptional life skill.

      As to CCP’s teaching prowess, I’m profoundly uncertain how much superlative instruction we can expect out of them, not because CCP is deeply inept, but rather because Eve is not a game that’s amenable to easy 1, 2, 3 step lesson plans. Even straightforward questions such as ‘what’s a good X fit’ often begin with a batch of follow up questions from the instructor . . . what are you planning to do with X? Where do you plan to do it? Alone or as part of a group? How skilled is your character? Etc . . . Unless CCP starts winnowing close to genuine artificial intelligence, no automated tutorial is gonna do a stellar job in light of such bewildering variety. Decent ship fitting is as much about thorough research and long practice as it is a straightforward 1, 2, 3 step skill. Along this line, I’m pleased to see CCP switch their initial Opportunities ‘tutorial’ away from a ‘here’s how to do X’ to a ‘figure out how to do X’. For a huge game like Eve, training players from the get go to be inquisitive is much better approach than training players to follow instruction. There are few shortcuts to wisdom.

      That said, the wiki (last time I looked) is an annoyingly terrible mess. I, as often as not, find myself starting out by going to Eve University's wiki instead.

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    3. Yup E-UNI's wiki is great, so is E-UNI in many ways. They're a prime example of how the community can fill the teaching role.

      But it would be nice if maybe CCP could have a youtube channel (or host them on their wiki) with stuff like 'how to use the dscanner' 'how to probe' 'how to configure the overview' 'how bubbles work'.

      All of these video's exist somewhere and all of them do a better job then the NPE, but really CCP should be doing that sort of thing and have central place for them and present that to new players imho.

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    4. I grok what Kaeda's saying.

      Part of the problem is that to find out how to do many things in EvE, a lot of research is required. A lot of players don't want to do that research, but especially so when they have experienced people to ask. Unfortunately, I've found that when I tell them the answer, it doesn't stick, and I'm repeating myself over and over again. Or, after the umpteenth question from yet another newb, I lose it a little and fire back "look it up. like I did."

      OTOH, I have no problem at all when someone says "okay, I looked up how to do X and I'm still confused." To them, I pull out a chair by the fire, open up the good scotch, smile, pat them on the back and say "Welcome to the club. Here's what I think they meant/how I think it's supposed to work."

      There's just too much basic stuff either not available, available only through semi-determined research, inaccurate once it's found, or it has an incredible bias to it.

      I learned how to probe using the CCP youtube vids. Same with PI. Now, those didn't give me great strategies, but they did at least show me how to do the basics.

      But not just youtube, please? An article with illustrations can sometimes be as good or better than a vid or an audio file. Ideally, they'd have both.

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  2. "There is a point where a content creator or enabler goes from creating content and enabling to drowning in their work. There is a line when the content consumer must work to consume."
    These strings are pure gold. Assuming there are 9 consumers for 1 generator the verge of drowning is very thin.

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  3. This is exactly what has had me so on-edge. On the surface, a lot of these changes would bode very well for my preferred playstyle: small gang warfare. But in reality, just as a great many high-sec players will not be pushed into null-sec no matter the incentives, a great number of fleet PvP players will not "learn to do the work themselves" that small gang demands.

    For all the changes CCP is putting in place, I logged in yesterday during USTZ prime to see the concurrent user count at a little under 19,000. Let's let that sink in for a bit.

    Some players, it seems, are simply not going to become content enablers themselves. There's a reason why FCs, scouts, logistics managers, and POS fuelers are so highly prized... not everyone has the desire to dedicate the time to LEARN to do it.

    We have to keep in mind that Eve is a game. While some people do grind away at difficult or annoying tasks to achieve results, that's only a percentage of the total Eve player base. The rest are just looking for an endorphin drip.

    So, given that, do we really want to make life harder for content enablers (FCs, scouts, those who actually enable fights to happen) and make it easier for groups to avoid each other on the battlefield? No, we do not.

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  4. I'll take a shot at your final questions:

    "I find myself wondering these last few days as I read the discussions about fleet warp, when does Eve become to much work? Where does that work shift from play to an exhaustive drain."

    Eve becomes too much work when you suddenly realize that you don't have time to do the fun stuff any more. And the definition is allowed to change over time. You might have fun dedicating 25 hours a week to some new-to-you part of the game. And after six of those weeks it's no longer fun because it's all you ever have time to do. That's allowed.

    As far as the exhaustive drain goes, it may occur at the same moment that Eve starts being too much work.The exhaustive drain sets in much faster if you notice you're being taken for granted. Most of the soul-crushing jobs are done for "the group," and sometimes the group sucks all the energy out of you leaving none for yourself. Altruism will sustain one for a while, but at some point the wheels creak to a stop, and you either rid yourself of the drudgery or you blow away.

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  5. I can't speak for others, but can speak from my own experience and self examination: "Where does that work shift from play to an exhaustive drain?"

    I find that I'm very goal oriented, and the part of the game I enjoy most is figuring out the best path from A to Z to get what I want.

    If the end goal is cool enough, I'll grind through the most tedious content ad nauseum to get where I feel that I need to be. But the moment I have met my goal and gotten my reward, I kind of wake up and look around and realize "wow, this sucks" and that's when I'm at the most risk of feeling burnt out. This can manifest itself in really abrupt changes in my play style (or swapping game titles for something else). It doesn't matter that I've got my target goal, and should be enjoying the fruits of my labor - if I get to the end of the road and don't pick another goal fast enough, the tedium feels overwhelming.

    So I guess my point is that not only is the content/mechanics of the task(s) important, the overarching context also can be a big factor of motivation.

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  6. Everyone draws that line for himself/herself. When there is too much work and not much fun (or no fun at all) coming as a reward, and no other motivation making up for the lack of fun, it's time to stop. Well, for me, that is. In my country there was a famous teacher/mentor who once wrote "The best stimulus for a man is the promise of future happiness". When I feel there is no "future happiness" or it all of a sudden lose its appeal to me - I know that the time has come.

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