Something struck me the other night whilst sitting in bed doing my nightly perusal of Eve news sites and blogs.
It was actually in the comments, not the articles themselves. You see, Eve has this longevity and appeal that has to be down to its connectivity with certain individuals.
What pulled me up the other night was that those individuals are drawn into the Eve universe for such a wide variety of different reasons.
Think about it, for whatever reason you as an individual have for loving internet spaceships, there are twenty other people out there who love Eve for twenty completely different reasons.
Traders, who never un-dock. Miners who never leave high-sec. Miners who never leave null-sec. Mission runners, war deccers, explorers, haulers and builders who all hug high-sec. Faction warfare, wormholers and low-sec builders. Low-sec PVP’ers who eschew anything but solo and small gang PVP and decry ECM and WCS’s. Null-sec large fleet PVP’ers, who consider that to be real PVP. Null-bears, renters, Coalition leaders and management, alliance leadership, NPC null-sec residents, cloaky campers and I bet I’ve still missed several other groups out.
Such an amazing variety of game-play, such a plethora of ways to enjoy this incredible game. Yet, so many commenters and blog authors spend an inordinate amount of time railing against what they perceive to be individuals who don’t play Eve ‘correctly’. A quick flick through my own work from times past will bring up plenty of instances of the same thing.
All too often, though, these bits of venom filled ranting will be accompanied by accusations of another play style actually ruining the game.
Is this fair?
I’m not so sure it is. Let’s take just one example, I’m using this one because I am in this situation and am familiar enough with it to have some confidence that I’m not talking complete twaddle.
Let’s look at renting and the “Big Blue Doughnut”.
REMEMBER! This is an example, just one example, of the many types of argument that are put forward as to why Eve is dying soon (TM).
I am a member of a renter corp, a pretty big one. Thus I can talk about this subject in some degree of comfort. It’s the only reason I chose this particular one.
Now, let’s examine the argument, shall we?
The naysayers (of which I used to be one, have a look back, if you don’t believe me) argue that the rise of coalitions controlling huge swathes of null-sec is killing the game. It’s denying small alliances any hope of getting a toe-hold in sovereignty null-sec or being able to do any sort of damage to the big boys.
Due to the nerfing of moon goo, even the former renter hating Goonswarm have had to jump on the landlord train for good income and good times. Thus, a large component of sovereignty null-sec is rented out.
This, apparently, is terrible. It is terrible because renters are terrible. Why are renters terrible? Let’s leave that one alone for now, or we’ll end up with ten thousand words of digression and I don’t get paid for this particular part of my writing.
So, large amounts of space are occupied by these terrible renter people. What has resulted? Let’s see.
First up, let’s look at the income thing. CFC, amongst others, used to be funded, in large part, by moon goo. Attacking this income, any kind of disruption at all, involved shooting at things which sat obligingly still while you shot at them.
These things did not give any satisfactory explosion, oh no. They would then take your name and details and contact the owner to arrange a suitable time for you to pop back and shoot them again. Then, if the owner didn’t mind too much, when you shot at them again they would die, thus interrupting one POS worth of income until such time as the owner popped up a replacement.
To successfully interrupt this income, one had to overcome the fact that the owner tended to, indeed, mind you shooting his POS; he usually minded quite a bit, actually. When I was in a PVP corp in null-sec, attendance at an R64/32 tower defense was so mandatory that you generally had to provide a note if your dog couldn’t attend, let alone you.
Thus, only people with impressive big spaceship type things could ever hope to interrupt moon goo income. They would generally need a lot of the aforementioned impressive big spaceship type things, because the aggrieved owner of the POS generally had plenty of impressive big spaceship type things as well.
Small corps or gangs had absolutely no hope of making the slightest difference to a coalitions income, none at all.
Not so with renter income, though, is it? Interrupting renter income is open to anyone. Cloaky campers can make the other sides rental program look more appealing. Hot droppers (see, I told you I’d leave someone out from the list above) can severely limit the viability of entire regions by ensuring that only the most remote systems will attract good tenants. Corp infiltrators can give the coalition a severe headache by infiltrating and destroying a good tenant corp from the inside.
Income interruption aside, roaming gangs have more areas open to blast around in, with a target rich environment pretty much guaranteed. We get regular visitors up our way and they don’t usually leave empty-handed, unless they leave via pod express, which happens sometimes, too.
It’s not all one-sided though. Speaking as a renter myself, the game is the most fun it has ever been for me. Our corp can only exist with it’s no rules, no obligation mentality because it can rent. The idea of our loony lot being in a sovereignty holding alliance is hilarious, if not downright ludicrous.
The rental option in null-sec only exists because the large alliances and coalitions can hold the space to make it work.
Is it a good thing? That depends entirely on your point of view, really, doesn’t it?
However, arguing that this particular facet of Eve shouldn’t be there and is ruining the game could well be construed as quite narrow-minded, really.
Our corporation is growing at an alarming rate, it really is. Thus more people are playing Eve because it can exist as it does. I’m a recruiter and I can honestly tell you that at least a small proportion of our members have come back to the game because our corp is the way it is.
I have personally brought two people back to Eve with the appeal of our corp and its philosophy. Those people would never have come back otherwise.
In all honesty, I myself joined this corp as a last-ditch attempt to find somewhere in this game that made me want to log on. I deliberately searched for a renter corp when I decided to give the game one last try.
Here I am, not only logging in every day, but writing about it again too.
As I said at the beginning, this is just one example of a play style that is decried by some as the doom of the game and loved by others as its best feature. It is one of so many varied play styles that seduce people into playing.
I wish that sovereignty mechanics didn’t give more and more power to the big boys whilst denying small alliances any hope of a foothold. It irks me somewhat that CCP have made the game this way in this area.
However, the players have made a way around it to the best of their abilities. Just like they have in so many other areas. In so doing, they have inadvertently created an environment in which others can not only survive, but prosper.
I guess what I’m getting at here, is that rather than protesting at what the game is not and gnashing ones teeth at the ‘Bads’ who are ‘ruining’ it, why not celebrate what it is, instead?
Here’s a quick mental exercise. Close your eyes (you’ll need to wait until you finish reading this to do that, of course) and imagine Eve Online with an environment that met your every expectation and desire. The game was free of all those people who don’t play the game as you would like. There is nobody online but people who play the game as you do.
You can open your eyes now… (I don’t think I thought this bit through very well, did I?). Did you see a game that no longer existed?
You should have, because without the environment for all those other players to play as they wish, CCP went broke yesterday and had to shut the game down.
It’s all in the mind, you know.