What matters isn't that you seek a specific goal, of course, but rather that you regularly test yourself and throw yourself into the fire to be tempered by it. To me, everyone is born in a state of uselessness, and you harden and improve yourself through your experiences. It's not possible to "corrupt" or "ruin" yourself, and "purity" is synonymous with "untested" and "unimproved".
So, as one can imagine, in Eve, I genuinely look at losses and hardship as the very point of the game. Let the simple level-grinding, pushing buttons to earn candy, and going through a process to achieve a desired result rest with single-player games. Eve, at its core, to me is a live test environment, where the entire point is to implement your success strategies in an environment of friction, chaos, setbacks, and unpredictability. Eve is the chaos and the resistance pushing against your desires, and within that tension lies all of the satisfaction when you finally overcome and succeed despite all the forces arrayed against you.
I desperately value this element in Eve specifically because the rest of the world seems to be sliding more and more towards a sense of entitlement. Getting a college degree entitles you to a good job, or even A job, right? And if you don't earn six figures, why we better sue to have our money returned or our student loan debt forgiven. Never mind that your degree was in theoretical extraterrestrial sociology...
Or, when you forget to cancel your account by the start of the next billing cycle, you're entitled to have the charge pro-rated, right? Or you're entitled to not being offended... ever. Or you're entitled to play an online interactive game exactly the way you want without anyone interfering with your own ego-maniacal Vision playing out before you. These days, we deem ourselves as gods of our own lives.
I ran into one of these little Gods who decided to throw a tantrum last night, and he exemplified the quintessential bad habit of failed Eve players.
First, allow me to provide some context. I was flying through Aunsou in a Svipul, having traveled a short distance looking for targets. The probe launcher on T3Ds is a hell of a thing, and pretty much justifies the value of the class as a whole in my book. No longer do I need to make a distinction between applying damage and probing, and T3Ds make a nice addition as heavy tackle in a post-fleetwarp era. But, I digress.
I scanned down one target in a data site, but couldn't resolve a 100% lock on his ship, a Buzzard. Switching to view only cosmic signatures, I saw I had gotten a full lock on the site he was in and warped to it instead, but I landed 70 km away from him. As I saw the distance, I switched to propulsion mode, but still only reached around 50 km by the time he warped off to safety. He had been aligned and, once he saw I was coming towards him, he extracted himself. He didn't seem particularly surprised to see me, so he was obviously watching dscan and saw my probes.
Shrugging my shoulders and deciding I'd need to buy some scanning implants, I increased the range and did another scan. Another ship, at another deep safe. This time, though, he was in an Algos, and I could resolve a 100% scan, so I warped directly to him and switched to Sharpshooter mode to lock him quickly when I landed. I got both his ship and his pod. Note the limited extent of the loss.
Now, this wasn't an impressive kill... not really. I moved on my merry way, until I saw this pop up in my notifications.
Perhaps more than it should, the sense of entitlement conveyed in this notification filled me with a furious rage. He was going to quit the game as a de facto response, before he even spent a moment to consider if perhaps he could have done something to improve himself and fly better? And, how DARE I have the audacity to kill him. The game is terrible because he can die!
This is the real problem CCP faces in new player retention. They've created a game that is a Nietzschean's dream - throwing yourself into the fire to come out stronger on the other side - amid a modern society steeped in participation trophies, children's sports that don't keep score, and the delusion that everyone is a unique little snowflake that deserves to be given their heart's desire simply because their parents had a few spare moments to kill one evening.
Allow me to pause and recover myself while that challenge sinks in.
Clearly, this player did not sufficiently understand the value proposition of Eve and the environment he was entering. And that's a problem CCP needs to address better in its marketing and the information available to players within the game client itself (for instance, I don't know of an in-game resource to describe even something as critical as the way tracking speed and signature radius affects damage projection... a cornerstone of so much PvE and PvP activity). But CCP also needs to be able to rely on a certain minimum coating on the bottom of the barrel of its players.
Things like, "If I suffer some misfortune, as a human being I will understand why it happened." Or, "I want to improve at doing the things I spend my time doing." Basic stuff that separates humans from cattle, for instance.
But, contrary to my frustration, I did not unload both barrels at the pilot. Instead, I shared this response:
|Carrot and stick, combined.|
In the past, I've thrown a game down in disgust. I did it with Deus Ex: Human Revolution at the first boss battle, because I didn't realize that I could shoot the barrels to damage the enemy. My knowledge of the possibilities was limited, and I thought the game was broken/rigged. When I learned differently, I went back to it and tried again. It's now one of my favoriate games.
I don't believe in coddling people by sugarcoating the reality of a situation, but nor can I see a victim mentality and not offer some advice to help the sickness. Whether this pilot decides to leave the game or not is up to him, and will speak to his character. I've tried to address the knowledge barrier to show him how he can run data sites safely. The ironic part is that if he'd have reached out to me asking how I found him and what he could do differently, I'd have reimbursed his full loss and started a conversation with him.
But I refuse to condone or coddle to a tantrum. We have to control our urge to see loss as an immediate denial of gratification, but rather an opportunity to improve.
Eve is a lens into the hearts of players. How we react to the game shows our character and our nature. How we react reveals whether we have the skills to overcome challenges and stronger for them, or whether we're destined to forever be the victim complaining about how hard we've had it and how "the world" prevents us from achieving our goals.
Charles Swindoll was correct: "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes."