Monday, July 25, 2016

A Lack of Imagination…

~or “It’s a Sandbox, Not a Theme Park…”

There has been a lot of talk-talk over my years in EVE about “Malaise”, that sense of boredom with and in the game brought on by the lack of Things To Do in EVE Online. It’s even the topic of the recent Blog Banter, BB:77. “Malaise”  And a helluvalot of the ‘why’ and ‘who’s-to-blame’ and especially the ‘how-to-fix-this-sorry-state-of-affairs’ is almost universally centered around (1) CCP’s massive failure as a game company and (B) how EVE needs New, Improved and Amazing ™ PVE.

To all of this I say Bullshit.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I have recently discovered that I am… but I’m a new kind of Bittervet… I am not bitter over any perceived or actual issues with CCP, or any perceived or actual issues with the game…  I am not bitter that when I log on there is nothing all setup and laid out an all hand-holdy waiting for me to do… No, I’m getting daily more and more pissed off at the players who whine that they step into a sandbox and there’s nothing all laid out for them to do… it’s a godsdamned SANDBOX rich and FULL of toys and buckets and sand and shit... As Harrison Ford’s character Quinn in “Six Days Seven Nights” put it so oh well, “It's an island, babe. If you didn't bring it here, you won't find it here.

That resort island btw, like all resort islands, was FULL of things to do. Bikes and bars and scooters and boats and sailboats and surfboards etc., etc., etc. But, if you don’t make the decision to do something, if you don’t make the effort to go ride a bike, sail a boat, surf a wave, find friends, make some enemies… then yeah, you’ll probably get pretty bored too.

Do I mean EVE does not need any PVE? of course not. PVE is in EVE a way to make ISK. Itsa grind, itsa job and it aint the point of the game… And as I have pointed out before and as is extremely well known in the gaming community, no game company can create, code, test and deploy Content at anything approaching the rate at which players can burn though it… nowhere near. Hundreds, even thousands of Devs cannot begin to match the abilities of the hundreds of thousands, even millions of gamers working singly or in small to huge groups to figure out the puzzles crafted for them by those, in comparison, few Devs.

Created PVE is and always will be nothing more than a snack for really good gamers. CCP wanted to avoid that trap. They felt that content created by the players, the endless interaction and reaction between solo players and groups of players in a virtual environment where there was stuff worth fighting over was the way to go. And I for one believe there were spot on then and they are still spot on now.

So where is all this whinging and gnashing of teeth and these juvenile tantrums at and against CCP and their “shitty unfun lackluster boring game” coming from? From players who want to login and have all kinds of fun things all setup and ready for them to do… and I don’t get it. Some of the people involved in all this whining are older players who used to know better… and as a playerbase, we didn’t use to be that way. We used to have imagination… we use to understand that EVE was a bag full of toys… not a board game… EVE is a trampoline, not a chess game, EVE is a swingset, not a Poker match. EVE is a sandbox… full of things to play with. But YOU have to use your imagination, YOU, the player, has to make up the story.

When I was a child, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… I used to love the Ben Franklin Five and Dime store in my hometown of Kilmarnock VA. Every summer when we got the farm house all spring cleaned and mom and us kids would be out there every weekend, some summers for months on end… my Dad would take us all into town and give us each $5… and we’d go to the Ben Franklin 5&Dime… There was one aisle, the toys aisle… oh Wonder of Wonders!! Oh Frabjous Day!!!  The toy aisle at the 5&Dime was sheer magic to a kid with a King’s Ransom of 5 WHOLE REAL DOLLARS burning in his pocket!!!

You would be amazed in 1968 how far $5 would go in a 5&Dime… And the one thing I always got, every year, was the Big Damn Bag of green plastic toy soldiers! I am not sure how many there were in actuality... I was a kid and it was a ’lot’ to me. But here’s the thing, years later my mother would tell of how I would go out in the morning, 9 or 10ish, and start playing with those toy soldiers around the big old complex root system of the old walnut tree out in front of the house, the one right outside the kitchen window. She would watch me play with them for hours and hours. I would run in for a PB&J and Quik and run back out sammich in and chocolate milk hand… and she had to call me in for dinner… from that tree and those soldiers.

The roots and sand and dirt around that tree and that slowly depleting magic bag of green plastic toy soldiers… and my imagination. I played out sweeping tales in my mind of evil empires and those who pitted themselves against them to fight for what’s right and good in this life with those soldiers. That was all it took back then.

I discovered something else about me… that’s all still takes now, almost. My old plastic toy soldiers have been traded in for shiney pixel spaceships, the old roots and sand and dirt around that tree, now replaced by our POS and the planets, moons, stations and the infinite black reaches of space... the evil empires and the good, replaced by all the players who share this virtual ‘verse with me. But now… now I find I don’t want to play alone anymore… I prefer to have a few friends with me who are willing to play along.

It’s not PVE you are missing… it’s the point of the game that you’re missing. It’s a sandbox. CCP has bags and bags of toys soldiers and cargo containers chock full of matchbox cars and STUFF… it’s not up to them to give you something to DO with all of that…

No, that part is up to you.

Fly reckless and see you in the Sky =/|)=

Friday, July 22, 2016

BB77: Climate Change…

~or “Change is the Only Constant.”

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 77th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banters Page.

Is there a malaise affecting Eve currently? Blogs and podcasts are going dark and space just feels that little bit emptier. One suggestion is that there may be a general problem with the vets, especially those pre-Incarna and older, leaving and being replaced by newer players who are not as invested in the game.

The colonists versus immigrants? Is this a problem? Are there others? Or is everything just fine and it's just another bout of summer "ZOMG EVE IZ DYING!"

Banter on...


OK. Here’s the thing. Global Warming and EVE have a whole lot in common... except of course, for all the differences. What do they have in common you ask? Glad you asked says I.

Global Warming is to reality like EVE IS DYING is to EVE… IE not. You see Global Warming is bullshit… it’s actually just one more statistical point on a long long graph called Climate Change and that has been a “thing” since the earth first accreted out of the primordial cloud left over from Sol’s little bang.

So, Gobal Warming is the idea that our world’s climate is a stable thing and changes are usual. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The earth’s climate is and has been in a constant state of change and flux for as long as the earth has existed and it will only become “stable” if or when the earth loses all atmosphere and hence all liquid surface water and all life etc., etc. … IE when the earth is as dead as the moon THEN and only then will it have a "stable" climate… just like the moon. But as long as there is air and water heated by the sun above and a hot core and flowing magma below… the earth itself and it’s climate WILL be in a state of constant change. Whether it changes slow or fast is up to the observer… IE time scales are (1) important and (B) subjective.

Do you think an ant or a Mayfly experiences time the same way you do? Do you think a Blue Whale or the Pando (Quaking Aspen) experiences time the same way we humans do? I don’t. Imagine if you will that to a Mayfly there is no ‘climate’ there is only now and to the Pando, estimated to be 80,000 years old, this current warm period is just a decently leangth summer… You see the Pando was alive during the last actual Ice Age.

The Earth is currently in what is called an interglacial period of the Quaternary Ice Age, the last true glacial period of the Quaternary ended approximately 11,700 years ago with the start of the Holocene epoch, which from the Pando’s point of view probably seems like just a few years ago.

Global Warming is a null phrase, it is meaningless. The earth's climate will warm up and it will cool down but it will never be stable. Climate Change = Weather on a geologic time scale, this is the norm people, it changes, get over it.

What has this to do with EVE? Guess what… EVE has and is and will continue to change over time too. EVE unlike the Earth is an artificial system, but while the game is a series of intermeshed man made programs and complex computer code it still does evolve in its own way. As the players change, as the devs change, as the technology that it is based on changes so too does EVE change.

That EVE is changing is abundantly clear to anyone familiar with the game. But do these changes mean the death of the game anymore than global temperature changes equal global disaster? Simple answer, of course not. But haters will hate because hate and anger are easy… it is so easy to go straight to the negative. Yes, the PCU is down and yes, some older established blogs have gone dark. My last post was on that very topic. But... new players are trialing the game, and as always some do stay and there are new blogs and some of the older ones, Hermit's, Nevillie’s, Kirith’s, Drakarns’s and even mine for instance, are still here, still playing, still posting.

In the short view, let’s call it the short sighted view, these changes can be easily charged with emotion and cries of "ZOMG EVE IZ DYING!" are sooo easy and, they do get attention too don’t they?… as compared to cries of “EVE is ok.”… not nearly as much fun to run around shouting “EVE is fine, we’re all good here.” now is it?

EVE is going on 14 years old and no one yet knows how long shared persistent virtual realities can last, what their expected life spans are, they are too new a thing in the world. Yes things are changing in EVE but like so many things that live longer lives change is not necessarily fatal, it is however absolutely unavoidable… just like the weather.

Fly reckless but carry an umbrella and I’ll see you in the Sky  =/|)=


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