Every blog post, every comment, and every hour spent reading and writing about Eve is dedicated to the pursuit of an idea, of a single moment when all that fodder caramelizes into a breathtaking insight. It’s a slow process, but when it finally appears, the absolute satisfaction and delight of a true paradigm shift strikes you like a thunderbolt of awareness. At no point do you feel more aware that all is perception and representation as you do in that moment.
For several weeks, I’ve posted about “what Eve is”. I argued that CCP wants – and the gameworld needs – players who are highly engaged and passionate about what happens in-game, that we needed people who argue. I’ve argued that players who do solo PvE aren’t as desirable to the game as players who interact with lots of people. I’ve argued that direct player interactions are preferable to indirect or non-interactive actions. I’ve posited the belief that while all activities are intensely satisfying to someone, we need to keep a hierarchy of value in our minds based on whether those activities create content for others, improve the vibrancy of the gameworld, and retain players long-term. I’ve still said that Eve is a complex game and should use every tool at its disposal to gain that initial player interest, then quickly draw them into other areas to guard against boredom. I’ve argued that the passionate player-created content is Eve’s major competitive advantage, and that CCP should not try to complete based on its poor PvE offerings (which is a losing long-term prospect in even the best cases; look at WoW’s subscription yo-yo).
Through it all, I’ve been sniffing around a larger point I couldn’t quite articulate. I’ve been intentionally provocative with the deliberate goal of triggering discussion that could lead to that thunderbolt. Other bloggers have chimed in, both in favor of and against things I’ve written. Other commenters have argued with me. Some made good points, and some expressed their own biases and the flaws in their thinking. And all of it paid off.
A paradigm shift is a radical, yet sometimes subtle, change in the way one views the world that has massive ramifications. I’ve said before that we create our own perceptions of the world. This can lead to a lot of doubt and confusion when we reject an idea of absolute truth, but it can also lead to delight and awe when we replace an old world-view with a new, better one. For me, that happened last night at about 11:45 pm.
You see, Eve certainly isn’t a PvE game, but nor is it a PvP game. It’s a PeP game: Players Engaging Players.