This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

12 Jun 2012

OOC Entry 28 - Not the destination but the journey is what matters.

I spent some time dozing in bed and listening to the Podside #4 conversation. Somewhere halfway they start talking about new player experience and why there are not more people coming to nullsec.

While I really appreciate that large nullsec alliances take in new players from their various out-of-game communities, that is of little value to someone who is not, or does not want to be, a member of said community. What if you heard of EVE and join the game and then you hear about the great campaigns of Goonswarm and you want to join. Well, either you find out that you first have to get a paid for forum account, or you will be scammed and podded.

Or if you do get into another famous alliance. You will probably be subjected to all kinds of adolescent hazing rituals usually involving disgusting visual material of the gory or pornographic kind (or both at the same time) and then deal with a bunch of immature borderline sociopaths who can actually still laugh about jokes involving farts and penises.

Or let's say you end up with none of the above, but with some outfit that treats playing the game like a military operation or at least the proverbial "serious business". People who kick you from their corp if you don't risk your job, your social life or your relationship by setting your alarm at insane times, to make it to enough CTAs so you are allowed the privilege to stay with them.

If it's not that, then it's probably a language community (Germans, Russians, Polish etc.) So what if you are not one of those either?

Most of the time, if neither of the previously mentioned things apply, then it's often an unorganized group which gets completely devastated or dominated and exploited by any of the other powerful groups. Like Jade has said in his own comments about his way to nullsec in Lost in Eve Episode 75, it is nigh impossible to move to nullsec and establish something there if you don't play the game of the existing powerblocks in one way or the other.

There is one place in EVE where you can do that, and that is wormhole space. However, that is probably one of the most elitist communities in the whole game. Not because they are all self righteous bastards, but because wormholes don't allow you the mass movement approach of nullsec, neither do they offer you any security at all like highsec or lowsec. That means, if you don't have enough skills and the right skills you simply wont be able to survive in wormhole space.

However, at least wormhole corporations are usually very honest about that, while all those nullsec people on Podside do not admit one crucial thing: The very existence of their oppressively large powerstructures and the necessity to become part of them is what keeps people out of nullsec. At least for me that is the case.

Incursions have the same problem actually. In the beginning that was great fun. It was pretty dangerous for PVE content, and people tried their best to come up with meaningful fleet compositions. If you could fly a halfway decent ship fulfilling a meaningful fleet rule, you could join. Nothing for the very new players, but well I flew Incursions when I was in game for less than a year. These days, if you can't bring a faction fit Machariel you are excluded from all but the most amateurish fleets, and those with their super shiny ships will farm the whole Incursion system, or else wardec you because you interfered with their established systems of farming them.

My personal sense of achievement is not triggered by getting on a titan killmail with 250 other people, or killing the Tengu of Rundle Allnigther together with 130 of my alliance mates. Neither do I want to be given ISK and ships because I am a cute mascot from a youtube 'news' video or because I am a newbie, Not to mention that such 'gifts' - if they are not given out of real friendship or love - usually contain the hidden implication that you are supposed to give something in return eventually, and I don't like the idea of being in debt in ways that exist only in someone else's head.

No, what I like is the feeling that I contributed or achieved something meaningful. Not alone (it's a communal game after all) but also not as part of some massive anthill. What I also like is the idea of fighting - and winning - against the odds like Kil2 and Covorix do or groups like Noir Mercenaries and Rooks&Kings on a larger scale: By superiour strategy, tactics, creativity and skill.

What one needs to understand about this is, that such levels are not reached without a long path of learning. Not only because you need to wait for your skillqueue to finish, but also because you need to learn how your ships work, how they behave in different scenarioes, how you can fit them and how you shouldn't. That is not something which you get by being swallowed up by your Somethingawful/Reddit/4chan friends and having a load of ships and skillbooks dropped on you and told by an FC to work your way through a list of primaries that never had a chance against the alpha strike of your 300 ship fleet.

What one needs to understand to play EVE is, that the learning is part of the game. I myself was never really bored when playing EVE (ok admittedly I got bored a bit by solo mining, but then I just do some fitness training while keeping an eye on things, or listen to the news or a podcast).

The thing I find most interesting about the seeming lack of new players who want to understand this, is the fact that this model actually lies at the basis of some of the most successful solo games available these days. Games like Skyrim or Fallout (Mass Effect to a lesser degree) are a lot about exploring and finding every little thing there is to find out about a somewhat open-ended world. Sure, there is a storyline and at the end you get to have the big fateful battle that wraps it all up, but that is often the most disappointing part of the game.

I myself have actually become part of that small minority of wormhole dwellers with their crazy skill requirements. The reason I could was, that I spent my time in-game learning about things while I was still at the point where I needed to run level 3 missions so I could get the ISK to buy a ship which would allow me to do more, or afford a handful of frigates I could fly to lowsec and lose in unequal engagements. I did that despite the fact that I had an extremely risk-averse CEO in the beginning who told us to never go into wormholes or nullsec and avoid lowsec if at all possible.

For me that game is not about getting somewhere, it is about undertaking the journey and experiencing ever new things, whether that is a mission you never ran, a system you have never been to, a story you never heard or a ship you never flew or a battle you never won before.

People who can not or will not see it this way, will probably eventually realize that EVE is simply not a game they like, or otherwise be kept going by their alliance masters until they burn out.

That is where I have found - and still find - a feeling of achievement. So I will close this loooong piece with a shoutout to the people who have accepted me into their corp, and to the ones who have made it, and still make it, the great place it is for me and all of us ... and yes, we are now helping new players to get a lower threshold entrance into wormhole life as well.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a great post, it captured my sentiment about nullsec and the associated metagame exactly but I must admit that I stopped reading EVE forums and listening to podcasts entirely. Both media are nothing but vile and irrelevant chatter about a game I don't care about.

    I wished it was different, I wished nullsec would be a place I would long to go to with a team of smart, independent and hard-hitting friends but this is not so. You are correct, Wormholes are the last place in EVE that is both challenging _and_ fun.