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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Being Proven Right

Yes, this is going to be a smug post.  I tend to use a lot of words to try to make myself clear.  I I’ve been pretty harsh on players who engage in aspects of the game in ways that actively, passionately, and exclusively eliminate the possibilities of interacting with other players in non-consensual ways.  The whole warp core stabilizer thing is just one example.

In other words, all the people who want to play the game without interacting with other players.

I’ve said before that Eve is an MMO and solo play is contrary to the purpose of an MMO.  Now, not every element of gameplay MUST be multiplayer, and players aren’t wrong for engaging in solo activities.  Rather, I’m referring to an error of intention, not action.  You’re playing Eve wrong if you log in with the explicit, overt desire to not interact with anyone and you view other players as ruining your game.

Folks have complained that this attitude is exclusionary.  Not at all.  My goal is to condition players towards enjoying emergent, sandbox activity.  To view player interactions as challenges, not ruinations.  To accept player-induced losses as the cost of doing business, not as a reason to rage.  To view interactions with other players as challenges that serve to help you grow, improve, and become educated, not as interruptions or distractions.

This approach to the game makes players less inclined to rage-quit when they suffer a setback and more inclined to become more passionately engaged with the game.  CCP’s data on player retention confirms this.  My goal, then, is player engagement, retention, and interaction by setting expectations correctly and modifying player attitudes to accept and adapt to what Eve offers, not resist and condemn it.  And this is good for everyone.

And today I won.  I quote from CCP Fozzie’s summer null-sec sov announcement:
“Playing with and outplaying other human beings is the core of Eve, and putting players in contact with each other is a big part of that. If people can fight over an asset without ever coming into contact with each other, we’ve lost something very valuable.” -CCP Fozzie
Smug looks good when you're right.

*drops the mic*

23 comments:

  1. Was this ever in doubt? If you're fighting a strawman, expect very few punches in return....

    Rob K.

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    1. In light of the extent of protest to this position throughout the gameworld, yes, yes it was in doubt. Not by me, but by some.

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  2. My 0.2 ISK...

    MMOG = Massively Multiplayer Online Game = Lots of people playing an internet game at the same time.

    This is not the same as MIRMOG = Massively Interaction Required Multiplayer Online Game... = Lots of people 'having no choice but to interact together while' playing an internet game at the same time.

    EVE is an MMO, but it first and foremost a Sandbox MMO (notice which word defines which?) So let's look at "Sandbox MMO/Game", just 2 definitions...

    (1) Sandbox:

    "Definition - What does Sandbox mean?

    A sandbox is a style of game in which
    minimal character limitations are placed on the gamer, allowing the gamer to roam and change a virtual world at will. In contrast to a progression-style game, a sandbox game emphasizes roaming and allows a gamer to select tasks. Instead of featuring segmented areas or numbered levels, a sandbox game usually occurs in a “world” to which the gamer has full access from start to finish.

    A sandbox game is also known as an
    open-world or free-roaming game."

    (2) What Is a Sandbox MMO?:

    "Sandbox Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are typically developed to give as much freedom and creative control to players as possible. Much like other MMOs, these are persistent environments and usually have a digital world in which characters can be made. The major element that sets a sandbox MMO apart from other types, however, is the level of freedom and control that players are given; they are allowed to make the game into what they want it to be. In these types of MMOs, characters often have a great deal of freedom to advance in various ways and players are left to find their own way in the world.

    There are
    varying degrees of freedom that can be allowed in a sandbox MMO, and some proponents of this sub-genre prefer it to be absolute. This would require that players are able to make characters and interact with the world in any way they see fit. The creation of new content and environments within the game and character advancement along undefined routes would all be welcome aspects for any sandbox MMO. Many of them, however, do not have quite this level of freedom, though they can come close to it."

    These are just two results of a google on Sandbox games/MMOs... but both of these and ALL the others I read agreed on one main principle... the player have as much FREEDOM as possible within the game... and freedom to interact means freedom to form corps and alliances and Coalitions... and it means the same level of freedom fill their lows with WCS and to say 'piss off' as they warp away.

    EVE is a "Sandbox MMO" by any reasonable definition you care to make... and Sanbox MMOs do NOT restrict players gameplay options any more than absolutely necessary... and they most especially do not give the players restrictions as defined by other players gameplay preferences. Most especially not for any one Mrs. Grundy enough to use that smug epitome of holier than thou...

    "...this is good for everyone."...


    And no, all of this really isn't 'for the good of the game'... It's just simply what YOU want... it has nothing to do with anyone else's desires or the enjoyment they get from playing the game... nothing whatsoever.

    Oh and smug? It far far more often looks like this than anything else... (or this...) =P

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    1. If I'm in the company of Rixx, I'm in good company.

      To clarify, "this is good for everyone" referred to the positive cascade loop that would result from players embracing player interaction. The game world is enriched when players view all interactions as positive, and adapt so they react in personally accretive ways (as opposed to shutting down or logging off). Its scope was limited.

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    2. I play a Sand Box MMO, not the game you want me to play. Oh, and the quote you are pulling from Fozzie has nothing to do with the premise of your posting; cherry pick much? You were doing better than most which is why I stayed as long as I have, but as of now, thanks for removing another blog off my list. Oh yeah, and Rixx is an assclown, so I guess if that's the circle you want to be in, be all you can be.

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    3. Anon... lighten up bro. Its a GAME. Rixx n Tal N you n me all get to play our own pay and that we disagree is all to the good... it gives us all something to talk about!! Crap man, if everyone agreed on everything... how damn boring would THAT be huh? But don't walk away... take part! Say your piece and listen to the other guy! Walking away wins no one anything...

      LTFU!! Lighten The Fuck Up! =]

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    4. I'm sorry to hear you say that, Anon... I tend to seek out the comments of those who disagree vehemently with me (that's why I love Dire and Turamarth so much... they're both articulate and have a different perspective). And I'll miss you if you don't keep reading and commenting.

      But, that said, I have to be true to myself. In so doing, I've learned a lot about where I stand on things. I've become aware of the times I'm right and, critically, of the times I'm either being vague or are completely wrong. That's the point of reading a variety of views.

      So, I hope you keep reading with that mindset. If I'm wrong, point it out. If I'm right, let me know why you agree. Otherwise, you're giving in. Don't do that. Rage against the dying of the light!

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  3. Ahhh... here we go again.

    "...positive cascade loop..." 'subjectively' positive for you and you alone. For those who's 'positive cascade loop' does not include making you happy... no, it would not be 'positive', at all.

    And you assume a lot when you say "...as opposed to shutting down or logging off..." Maybe they are shutting down or logging off BECAUSE of your attempts to force them to play in a way YOU Mrs. Grundy believe is best...

    Very few of the players I have had non-consensual PvP with, the one's where I or my group started it... very few have ever shut down or logging off... most reship and carry one. It's EVE.

    Please understand, I am simply standing against the baseless 'idea' that YOUR gameplay (which strongly resembles mine BTW) is the ONLY GOOD gameplay. It isn't and I strongly dislike that stand... that YOU, HE, or HIM, or SHE or them or that damn fool over there know what's BEST for ME.

    You don't and you never will... And you would NEVER listen to ME tell YOU how to play the game and change how you play just because of it... now would you? Nope. Not for a second you wouldn't... so why do you think anyone else will?? What... cause you are right and all who disagree with you are wrong? Really?

    But.... what if... what if you actually are wrong? Chew on that for a bit... =]

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    1. Yeah, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

      I look at it this way. We talk about force multipliers in Eve, right? Curses, Falcons, Boosts, Omega and Snake sets, logi... things that have a multiplicative influence on the effectiveness of your fleet. Sure, every Algos helps with the DPS race, but if your goal is to win a fight, wouldn't you rather have a force multiplier that you can drop at a critical point in a fight instead?

      Let me propose "engagement multipliers". An FC is more valuable than an F1 pusher. A leader (those who can organize and motivate other players) is more valuable than a single miner. They have a multiplicative or even exponential effect on others... they enable the gameplay of other in significant ways, not just by being another body logged in.

      In that sense, you could even consider this argument one... whether you agree with me or disagree with me, it enflames the passions. It makes you think about WHY you feel as you do. It spurs discussion. (And you totally gave me an idea for an article!)

      On the other hand, a solo player, one who just missions, one who just runs FW sites for LP while fully stabbed... these players have a linear effect on the gameworld. Sure, they might get caught from time to time (becoming a target), and the effect of their PvE influences the gameworld (resource procurement), but this effect is incredibly low... (n+1) effect, if you will.

      So, two questions:

      1) Would I rather that players log in and have a linear effect instead of logging off or playing another game? You betcha.
      2) Would I rather that players have a mindset that seeks out multiplicative or exponential effects on the gameworld, instead of linear ones? You betcha.

      One last note, a clarification... by "positive cascade loop", I'm not using the word in terms of "favorable" or "unfavorable". I'm referring to creating interaction opportunities with others in ways that expand the influence of those actions and create opportunities for others to influence even more people. Interaction (adding a ripple into the gameworld, which spreads and cascades second- and third-order effects) as opposed to the reduction of interaction (which puts a stop to that chain of causality).

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    2. This is why I love/hate your blog... great post and comments! But DAMN hard to answer properly!! Intelligence has it's drawbacks... =\

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  4. “You’re playing Eve wrong if you log in with the explicit, overt desire to not interact with anyone and you view other players as ruining your game.”

    Tal,

    I suspect you believe the quoted sentence is doing good work but in all honesty I find it maddeningly vague. Perhaps I’m baffled because your language presumes we all already share the same clear notion of what counts as genuine ‘interaction’. Could you expand a little on this crucial point? I ask this because I really don’t know how expansive a definition you hold.

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    1. Sounds like a perfect topic for a blog post. Your question made me realize a point that might clear things up a bit!

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  5. OK... Two Answers…

    1) Would I rather that players log in and have a linear effect instead of logging off or playing another game?

    No.

    2) Would I rather that players have a mindset that seeks out multiplicative or exponential effects on the gameworld, instead of linear ones?

    No.

    This is not about multipliers... force or otherwise… and, LOL… ”An FC is more valuable than an F1 pusher. ” Uh no… cause the verse’s greatest FC alone inna Titan is nothing without a fleet of F1 buhtan pushers… as they are lost w/o a good FC. Yin and yang my friend…

    As for "engagement multipliers" and ’effect of their PvE influences” being incredibly low… Not according to CCP Quant’s presentation at the Fanfest Keynote, here. PvE is an activity most pursued by ‘Entrepreneurs’… and they are only third in rank of those who PvP… second in PvE are the ‘Traditionals’, who are ranked LAST of players who PvP…so the ”… effect of their PvE influences” being incredibly low… is dis-proven by the facts. Sorry man… PvE centric players actually are important in EVE Online.

    And the game I want to play is EVE Online… a Sandbox MMO(RP)G where EVERYONE has the FREEDOM to choose their own race, tribe, family, features, scars, tattoos, clothing, skills, ships, roles, friends, corps, alliances, space, gameplay and level of consensual interaction with others as they please…

    And freedom to choose means freedom to interact, or not to interact. Period.

    You are, once again, taking the Mrs. Grundy stance that you know better. That YOUR vision of/belief about/desired form of/ gameplay is THE ONE TRUE BESTEST form of game play for ALL players. I say Bullshit. I say YOUR vision of/belief about/desired form of/ gameplay is THE ONE TRUE BESTEST form of game play for YOU and you alone… and that my vision of/belief about/desired form of/ gameplay is THE ONE TRUE BESTEST form of game play for me and me alone… and that THAT is the one immutable truth of EVE.

    In truth, I just like you want what is best for the game… for the game as a whole… and I will go so far as to give you my personal Mrs. Grundy…

    “What is best for EVE Online as a whole is true freedom of choice for every player.”

    with this caveat… “This is true within the current sandbox, open-world, open-PvP gameplay mechanics of EVE online.”

    Argue THAT if you can. But remember… restrictions on other’s freedom to choose, include restrictions on YOUR freedom to choose too. =]

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    1. "This is not about multipliers... force or otherwise… and, LOL… ”An FC is more valuable than an F1 pusher. ” Uh no… cause the verse’s greatest FC alone inna Titan is nothing without a fleet of F1 buhtan pushers… as they are lost w/o a good FC. Yin and yang my friend…"

      Would you rather have 10 noob pilots who don't know how to lead, or 9 noob pilots and 1 experienced FC? One individual FC is more valuable than one individual DPS pilot.

      Likewise, I disagree with your axiom: "What is best for EVE Online as a whole is true freedom of choice for every player." In every society throughout history, we've seen that true freedom without constraint of influence is a terrible, terrible thing. It tends towards entropy.

      I don't think it's unfair or inaccurate to say CCP wants people to blog about Eve (that's why they have the fansite program). They want people to develop 3rd party tools (why they have CREST API). They want people to theorycraft. They want people to write guides. They want people to discuss Eve on Reddit. These are all examples of high-engagement activity.

      I'm not talking about FORCING people to do certain activities. It's much deeper than that. Perception creates reality; I'm talking about subtly influencing people's perceptions so they no longer view the loss of a 5B-isk mining ship as a reason to leave the game. That they don't unsub when they're the victim of a gank. That they instead learn how to be smarter about how they play so they can continue to do as they will.

      Freedom that equally values decisions which lead to dead ends isn't valuable to the game. I'm not saying people shouldn't engage in any activity they can do in the game. I'm saying that they should do it in a way that promotes long-term engagement with the game. Otherwise,we're all missing an opportunity to create an engaged player, instead of an ephemeral one who will move on to another game.

      This isn't about doing the right things; it's about thinking in the right ways... ways that benefit both the individual player and the gameworld as a whole.

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    2. Come on, Tal. "One individual FC is more valuable than one individual DPS pilot." Noooooo....

      One FC and a fleet is more valuable than no FCs and a fleet. One individual FC is no more valuable than one individual pilot, because they're the same thing. You can only be an FC, if there's a fleet. The FC is a force multiplier, you said it yourself.

      As for numbers, you've confused your targets. Every player action has a long trail of effects, even mining and missioning. They may have very limited interactions with other players, but the interactions they have in the game world shape it as an experience for all players.

      One miner may not have a massive visible effect, but the minerals they mine affect all of us, even you. No action in EVE is committed in a vacuum.

      Let's pick a profession which tries to minimise player interaction: Industrialist. They have very little interaction with other players: Isk out and materials in, Isk in and ships out. They don't shoot you, they will try not to talk to you, they will try to avoid being shot by you.

      Yet they have a massive impact on the sandbox. All the ships they build are flown by hundreds of different people. They've created supplies that will change the shape of the market for thousands of people. And all with as little interaction as possible.

      They're an 'engagement modifier' that remains un-engaged with other players.

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    3. I utterly disagree with your point about FCs. An FC thinks differently than a regular player. He focuses on the minutiae and can derive conclusions about the "feel" of an engagement that a regular player cannot. Even when solo, an FC - or a player with that kind of thinking - will outperform someone who thinks "see target, shoot target".

      Yes, the people you describe do have an effect. No man is an island, and everyone has an impact. But not all impacts are equal. And not all players have an equal importance to the gameworld (importance as defined by their impact).

      Elo Knight, The Mittani, Kynric, Chessur, and Chirbba had a higher-than-normal impact because of how they play the game. To the extent that we can create more like them, the better Eve will be.

      The common complaint in null-sec is, "Don't complain about a lack of content; create it," which is just another way of acknowledging the discrepancy between a content consumer and a content generator.

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    4. and the truth is, Tal, that the environment that best promotes power players is Freedom. The freedom to play badly, the freedom to choose the wrong thing, the freedom to farm.

      To pick the most recent example to develop, (in my opinon) Wingspan TT (Chance Ravine). Chance didn't develop fully formed as a sneaky torpedo delivering bastard, he began as a noob in a expensive ship with no idea what he was doing . Instead of being penalised when he lost a ship he really didn't know how to fly, he came back, he recovered, he re-organised.

      The final, and thus least recent, page of his killboard has 6 kills (mostly structures) and more than double that in losses. No-one told him that the way he was playing was bad, sub-optimal, boring. (or if they did, he didn't take it to heart).

      He's now on the CSM, affecting the whole game. If you want to talk about impact, there it is.

      Rob K.

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    5. I agree that our mistakes and failures are what serves as the impetus to help us rise up and improve. But the very nature of that improvement means that there are better and worse "states" for our minds and attitudes.

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  6. Comparing a multidimensional being to a uni-dimensional machine will always end one way. I would suggest that you compare like with like… Am I meant to argue that no player out-plays another?

    I do think that you ascribe to FCs somewhat divine power. They can 'think differently', they can 'feel' an engagement. These are things no ‘regular’ player can do. Except, non-FCs can do it too, as you say. Perhaps the truth is that they can do these things because they are an experienced player, not because they are an FC. Pit the best FC in the game vs the best solo PVPer, and I think that the Solo-er would come out on top.

    Yes, some players can do these things. Yes, some players are exceptional at them. I cannot kill Sard Caid 1 on 1, I cannot outfly Chessur or Rixx (though I would like to try). I don’t have the experience or the skill. Will I outfly a ‘regular’ player? Yes. Will I outfly every player? No.

    My point is this. You cannot create another Elo, another Chessur. They aren’t machines to be copied, improved, economised. Each player you mentioned is the sum of their experiences. There cannot be a Mittani 2.0. He is, in and of himself, unique. He is a gestalt entity, composed of reputation, experience, memory and knowledge. Likewise, Chribba is irreplaceable. There is no-one who could match his huge reputation, built over long, publicised years of work.

    You cannot create more like them. What you can do, is create an environment where they are more likely to arise. The next Chessur won’t spring fully formed from the primordial muck of Jita 4 – 4. Maybe they’ll join Stay Frosty, grasping the PVP ropes ever more firmly, learning every ship, every weapon, every pilot. Or maybe he’ll come from Brave Newbies, a vessel of hundreds of player-years of PVP experience, distilled into one mind. The next ‘power player’ who has an impact far beyond their ability will need nurture, support and allies. Are you in support or opposition?

    Rob K.

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    1. I disagree with that fundamental approach. I believe people have natural skills and abilities, which makes it easier for them to excel in different areas. But I also believe that hard work and practice can help anyone reach the heights of achievement in any area.

      Julius Caesar was far more gifted than Octavius, but the later eclipsed him in nearly every way, through hard work and diligence.

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  7. Wow... just wow. OK, Tal I respect the hellouttaya man... I do, but you are trapped (as I see it, personal opinion here OK?) in the Nullsec Group/Fleet Meta... I know you are also a small gang guy but your arguments are ALL based on Elite players and how we can somehow nurture Elite players by heavily promoting Consensual Player Interaction...

    "Would you rather have 10 noob pilots who don't know how to lead, or 9 noob pilots and 1 experienced FC?"

    TBH, I want both in my virtuality.

    "One individual FC is more valuable than one individual DPS pilot."

    I strongly disagree... every FC is just a guy who used to be 'just a DPS pilot'.

    "...true freedom without constraint of influence..."

    Not asked but answered anyway... to quote me:
    "with this caveat… “This is true within the current sandbox, open-world, open-PvP gameplay mechanics of EVE online.” IE 'constraint of influence'...

    "Freedom that equally values decisions which lead to dead ends isn't valuable to the game." the operative quote here is, "Decisions that lead to dead ends aren’t valuable..."

    So who defines Dead Ends? Who defines Value?’
    You?
    Me?
    Rob?
    Chribba?
    Mittens? (really?? Mittens???)
    That weird guy in the corner?

    The answer is, "Yes, to all the above." We EACH get to decide what a Dead End is and what the converse is... (a Live End?) because one man's Dead End is another man's Home Address... and YOU (nor Rob or Mittens or Chribba et al) don't get to tell me or anyone else where/how/why/ we can live our virtual lives.

    This last one is the crux for all of this to me... (I shall not "tort and retort" again...)

    Your personal definition of what is Good and Bad in the game, what is valuable gameplay and what isn't, what is worthwhile and what is wasted effort... what is a Dead End and what is a Successful Beginning... these personal definitions are (IMHO) in your opinion THE Best possible definitions of valuable & worthless, worthwhile & wasted, good and bad gameplay.

    And you are wrong. Your personal definitions are what is best for you, what you enjoy most, what YOU feel is right... but I steadfastly retain my right to do as I damn well please in EVE... the difference between us is I don't care how YOU or anyone else plays the game... jump my hole, I'll try to kill you if I think I can... run a site in my stat lowsec and I'll do the same... try and catch me while I'm running a site, mining , roaming, whatever... and I'll try to either GTFO or kill you right back.

    But NO ONE is ever gonna define my game... other than me... I've said my piece.

    Now I'm gonna go get a second plate full of the amazing pulled pork BBQ my wife smoked up this afternoon (from a pig we were feeding just this past Friday...)

    Tal... thanx BTW... really enjoy the badinage... =]

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    1. And I as well! Only note I'll add... "used to be..." Used to be, indeed. Until they rose up into something more!

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