Monday, January 18, 2016

Creating Culture

When I started playing Minecraft I started to ask myself why things in Eve were bad. Why was it bad to lose a ship? Why was it bad to not be the winner at PvP? Why were so many game behaviors bad? Why did I cringe at things in Eve that I snickered in or sighed in frustration about in Minecraft? I played both games in a similar fashion. I even played the games with the same people. But one often left me feeling not so good about myself while the other made me willing to share the utterly stupid things I did now and then.

Eve has cultures. It has more cultures today then it did two years ago. It has many more then it did four years ago when I started to play. However, those cultures can easily define a person. Social pressure can be shrugged off and you can be told to ignore it but that does not negate its existence or its power.

How does one create a supportive environment? It was an interesting question that I was asked yesterday. The environment in question is one that would assist other players in dipping their feet into areas of Eve that they have considered to much of a challenge. It is a question I have asked myself many times over the last year and one that I do not have an answer for as of yet.

I did point out that one of the largest and more invisable of hurdles would be the fact that people are taught that losing things in Eve is bad. Even though several learning methods promote loss, dying is bad. In our game world with its killboards that track everything people use information as a weapon. They may not have the facts. That slows few down. Making up pieces that reasonably fit into the scenerio is acceptable.

A group can form its own culture and reject others. That is commonly done. However, it takes strong leadership and commitment by its members to do so. Rejecting societal norms is hard. It becomes harder in a game where there are already assumptions as to why we play.

One of Eve's greatest fascinations for me has always been its lack of normal paths. Sucess is defined by the individual. That sounds simple enough but it is more complex then that. Sucess is not just win or lose. It is not only defined in dominating another. It is often the simple task of finding ones own game.

Making a culture is a long term commitment that requires fierce, inner support. It also requires self confidence. It requires group confidence. It is a small word for a large goal.

There are plenty of groups in Eve who have done this. Some are big. Some are small. Some are well known. Others are quiet.

What does it take for these groups to find sucess in bringing others into their definition of Eve?

5 comments:

  1. A really good read. I have to agree that over the years there has been many more cultures and sub cultures of players spawn with-in the game environment. This enrichment has kept me involved in the game as I know I can always turn somewhere to get involved where I want to try next.

    My own goals are easy to achieve, I am realistic with my time now as to what I can do as a player, but I am comfortable with that right now.

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  2. Speaking for myself only, Eve grew deeply satisfying only when I began seriously pursuing my genuine interests. Over the years I’ve dabbled in many enjoyable things. I’ve also found that enduring interest is best generated when I don’t let the dabbles obstruct the core. Some people set goals or keep score. I, it appears, enjoy setting up a machine and then, over the months, returning to that same machine again and again tweaking, improving, streamlining, expanding. Sometimes it’s meant waving goodbye to space friends who’s primary interests were really only my dabbles. Sometimes it’s meant long curious dances with space friends whom I probably share more interests with than might be apparent. By stubbornly sticking to my core of genuine interests, navigating through these relationships has grown breezy and pleasant. I’m confident I’ll be here a year from now and equally sure of the year after that. Some of the plans I’ve made will take that long to unfold. Some of the agreements I’ve made can’t complete before that time. Eve can be a wonderfully solid place.

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  3. Actually, I'd challenge you not to define and seek success, bit rather to seek satisfaction. Success has subtext of some sort of gain, or the opposite of loss. This is a very binary, black and white way to look at the game, even if you start putting qualifiers aroind what "success" means. EVE is a very gray universe, so I use a more gray term to define my progress.

    I can achieve very little, perhaps backstep, but still be satisfied.

    Success and satisfaction do operate together often, but not necessarily so.

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  4. The fiercely competitive aspect of EVE conflicts with a desire to be supportive to other players, and bring in new folks.

    Game communities that lack a competitive multiplayer component, such as Kerbal Space Program, are incredibly supportive.


    As to Sugar's question about specific sub-groups, I think it's self-answered ;)

    "What does it take for these groups to find sucess in bringing others into their definition of Eve? "

    A: "a long term commitment that requires fierce, inner support. It also requires self confidence. ...strong leadership [,communication] and commitment by its members to do so. "

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  5. www.youtube.com/watch?v=kED11aGobUk

    That Eve trailer is where it comes from. Not that trailer exactly, but the underlying idea. Numbers, metrics, and the like. Anything that can be measured is, taken to extremes, bad for the culture.

    Minecraft is different, the casual and abundant nature of Minecraft means numbers are ultimately meaningless. There are a few rare resources, but for the most part you can have anything you want within a couple hours of starting, and once you've got minimal infrastructure setup, a few minutes. At that point Minecraft stops being measurable in any real sense. It becomes about scope and merit of the finished product, how you got there simply doesn't matter.

    Eve though, Eve lives off numbers. Most of those numbers are completely 100% BS without any real meaning. They're the game world equivalent of GDP. GDP is a synthetic number and doesn't mean anything on it's own, you need a lot of other numbers for it to come into focus. You couldn't tell that by reading a financial page, GDP gets splashed all over articles about countries. So too with Eve. Killboards kill me, pet peeve of mine, but people compete over the things even though the numbers are synthetic and useless. But it's not just that, the complex nature of high end manufacturing means spreadsheets are a must unless you want to spend hours doing math. But a step past spreadsheets and people start thinking at the margins, that's good in real world economics, bad in actually having fun in a game. Being willing to constantly think at the margins is why rank and file stock brokers have a job, it's tedious, boring, and no one wants to do it. But in Eve will argue to the death about them like it's vitally important.

    Eve just has too many measurable numbers. And those numbers automatically make us compete and split off in factions over them.

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