Not what you’re thinking, I reckon. Not the skills we train. Not the skills we have as players behind a keyboard, either.

PEOPLE skills.

Eve Online is a social game. Regardless of your play-style, your location or whether you’re in a player or an NPC corp; your game enjoyment is influenced by your skill in dealing with people.

Market traders never un-dock, need never talk to another player, but they are trading against and with other players and their ability to deal with others will directly influence their decision-making processes. They literally HAVE to keep up with the news, watching so as to predict favorable conditions for a particular trade.

People doing invention and manufacture have to move stuff around, have POS’es and be exposed to other players in at least some way.

Let’s take an extreme, let’s say you are a determinedly solo player. You are in an NPC corp (or perhaps you have your own) and you keep local closed, corp chat closed and you have convo’s set to auto-reject. Naturally you are in high security space, for obvious reasons.

You log on and do your thing taking not a blind bit of notice of anyone around you. This is as single player mode as you can possibly get and yet, you will STILL have to occasionally deal with other people.

If you run missions, sooner or later you’re going to get a visit from the local neighborhood ninja, Eve’s equivalent of a teenage delinquent. This person will want to ruin your day and how he fares at this depends on … your people skills.

Unfortunately, for those without people skills, this is going to end badly. The miserable results of so many ninja ganks are strewn across the blogosphere and the forums are filled with the tears of such wretches; much to the delight of the ninja population, whose game style is aimed squarely at reaping a harvest of such tears.

Let’s just imagine for a minute, though, that our solo mission runner lives in some isolated backwater. After all, the nerf to agent sec status means all agents everywhere are happy to use you equally.

So our hermit MR can happily rat away without having to ever use his skills at dealing with others. Or will he?

At some point, one of a few things will happen. He may eventually get bored, find another game and quit, it happens.

Or, he will start salvaging and moving towards manufacturing. Any other option he takes will lead straight to social interaction, including mining – for obvious reasons (and a big hello to can flippers and Hulk gankers everywhere). This involves moving stuff from his little isolated paradise of red cross warfare to a trade hub. Where he will have to run the gate ganker gauntlet.

Now, the interesting thing is, because he never deals with other players, by extension it should be safe to assume he never reads blogs, never reads the forums and is totally unaware of the danger that a lone Tornado sitting at a gate represents.

This is where the people I alluded to yesterday; the PVP’ers who, as Mme. Thalys commented on, think victims should be served up to them on a silver platter – get their supply of such individuals.

And we laugh at these victims, wondering how anyone could be so stupid, etc, etc.

Sadly, that is often where Eve ends for these people.

Anyone who thinks, “good riddance, they shouldn’t be playing this game, they should go back to WoW and DIAF …” should remember that if all such people left the game they themselves would leave too – because they’d have no-one to PVP; remembering such folks aren’t too keen on shooting people who might do something dangerous like shoot back.

So, people with good social skills will generally do far better in Eve than those without. Pretty much every corp I have had the privilege of being a member of has such people in abundance.

They keep corp chat rolling, engaging in banter, sharing experiences and trying to wind each other up, cracking bad jokes (and occasionally good ones), helping newer ones out and generally just mucking in with the gang.

They’re also constantly running organised events, corp ops, fun PVP fleets, races and meets. They’re posting funny pics in corp chat and exchanging greetings as some come and go.

They are the main reason I play Eve.

However, there’s always the exceptions. There’s always the one or two who have the social ability of a dog turd. Abrasive, snide, smugly superior or just downright annoying, these individuals somehow get a lodging in a corp and are always there to occasionally make you squirm.

Generally, they will have a skill set which makes them an asset to the corp. Either that or they fly a supercap.

Supercap pilots who are a pain in the arse are not a huge irritation, though. Most have all but left the game and are rarely on comms, logging on only to move op somewhere, shoot structures or supply a bridge. They’re like a plumber, I guess, you put up with the two digit IQ and the bum crack because they do something no-one else can do.

The others are the ones who rub, though.

They’re there because they supply a corps needs and are a protected species. Often made a director to stop other corp members from actively ganking or trolling them repeatedly, they sit in comms never speaking unless spoken to (and sometimes not even then) or pouncing when they think they have an opportunity to stroke their ego or smash down someone else’s.

In a previous corp, one of these creatures took over the reigns of CEO (after I left, thankfully) and killed off the membership in less than three months; from over one hundred to one in three months, quite a feat.

They are usually skilled in IT, I’ve seen this in numerous corps; they are needed to keep the back line systems of a corp running and spend copious amounts of time doing so.

Don’t get me wrong, a corp would not function without such people; their sacrifices of time are not insignificant and should not go unappreciated.

It’s just a pity that such people are so socially handicapped, I pity them deeply.

Every rude comment, put down or jibe makes my skin crawl, but the obvious emptiness of their lives grates even harder. I cannot prevent the mental picture of a weedy, skinny bespectacled kid sticking pins in a frog and leering at its obvious pain from entering my mind every time I hear them talk.

I guess the important thing for us to remember is that it’s not worth trying to educate them as to their ineptitude; the arrogance that is replete in such individuals will never allow good counsel to penetrate.

The best we can do is remind ourselves that the corp needs these people, so we need to keep our mouths shut and ignore them to the best of our abilities.

Some days are harder than others.

It’s all in the mind, you know.


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