Most players (most PEOPLE) have a low tolerance for failure. Add in the shame of a killboard and comments, as well as smacktalk in local, or taunting by alliance members, and you'll have people backing off from PVP entirely. You raise that threshhold and not give a crap what people think (including yourself!) then and ONLY then will you see results. Oh, yeah, expect to lose a billion or more before your first solo kill, most likely. Mainly because you wont find a solo player, just gank groups...and THEN you find that single pilot, he has to fight back and not run. THEN you have to WIN. Losing gains you experience but not knowledge; losing ships doesnt teach you what to do. It teaches you other people can beat you a lot.I hear this argument a lot, and I wanted to decompress it a bit. I provided a quick response, but quickly realized I could put together a whole post in and of itself. There are a few things going on here:
- Players have a low tolerance for failure.
- Players don't want to be publicly shamed.
- Getting meaningful fights is difficult.
- Losing doesn't gain you knowledge, only that it's easy for you to lose.
At its heart, these four points speak to a very specific mentality that fulfills itself, one that is quite common these days. At its heart, it speaks to the fact that our society doesn't teach us how to either overcome adversity or how to learn.
Oh, sure, we're taught that you need to overcome adversity, and that it's important to learn, but does anyone ever sit down and explain to you how to do that? Very rarely. In part, that's because the people admonishing us to learn don't know how to do it themselves. They're caught in a mentality of the "finished novel". Allow me to explain.
As readers, we consume published novels, where all the plot points are settled, all the themes are fully fleshed out, and the characterization moves us to pathos. What we don't realize - and you can't realize unless you go through the effort of writing a novel - is that the published novel is probably the 10th draft of the thing. No one sits down and esoterically writes a novel from beginning to end, then publishes it as-is.
When I write a novel, I start by doing character sheets - quick descriptions of the personalities, appearances, and behavior of the key characters. They might each be 8-10 pages long, and very little of it ends up in the final version of the book I'm writing. At this point, there is no book, just some interesting characters. Then, I write out a quick outline of the major plot points, the key events I need to get my characters to and the major character development that accompanies them. Then I go back and fill in all the point sin between, getting them physically and emotionally from point A to point Z. That's my first "draft", if you will.
After that, I have to spec out additional support characters and take a hard look at my plot. Do I need to do any major adjustments to pieces that just aren't working? Each of these cuts is a little failure of a sort and they hurt, but you need to push through it because the changes are typically needed. You need to be able to be absolutely brutal to your own writing.
After several iterations, you finally have a draft to submit to a publisher, who is going to shit all over it. And generally, that publisher is pointing out legitimate flaws in your story. So you revise again. Then the publisher actually buys the book, and has more edits. Another draft. Sometimes, these edits at this point are for size, or other arbitrary reasons that you may disagree with, but you make them anyways. Then, and only then, it's published.
Suffice it to say, the first draft of a novel rarely looks anything like the "finished novel", which is a result of a lot of self-reflection, hard work, and painful lessons. And it's hardly the only circumstance; virtually everything in life is the result of hard work and improving on failed attempts.
Now, I don't doubt one bit that the vast majority of players - not just "a majority of players" - begin playing Eve with the low tolerance for failure and fear of being publicly shamed that this reader described.
Why? Because in modern society, we spend more time consuming finished products and stories of success than we do studying the way people got to that success. In nearly every movie, the process of acquiring expertise is either inborn or the result of a training montage that makes light of the difficulty and time needed to achieve true excellence in any task. Rocky is the equal of Apollo Creed (and thus far beneath the skill of Ivan Drago), so he trains for a couple weeks in Siberia and becomes strong enough to defeat him. Very little screen time is dedicated to that training. In Wanted, Jumper, or Star Wars, the characters very quickly acquire impressive skills because of inborn ability.
We are, quite simply, conditioned by an assault of media and cultural experience to expect expertise to come immediately, despite the reality being that no one has natural ability that would let them reach the top of their fields without practice. Why is Sidney Crosby the best player in the NHL? Because he's the first on the ice, the last off, and works hard at it every day.
This low tolerance for failure is a failing in ourselves, one we need to overcome if we want to improve ourselves and become better. Society puts on us a false expectation that we're all special snowflakes, can be anything we want, and have nothing but green fields ahead of us. It neglects to remind us that all accomplishment requires hard work, sacrifice, and strife. Changing that base belief requires conscious choice.
Consider: if you succeed at something, you learn nothing new, nothing you didn't previously know. So, what then becomes the point in victory, success, or achievement? It's the payoff, pure and simple, the dopamine rush that makes us feel good about all our efforts. But, when you fail, analyzing your failure can point out ways for you to improve, so you perform better the next time. Sometimes, you make a mistake, change the wrong thing, and diminish your performance the second time. But this really just a chance to learn yet another new thing. Until we learn why something works, we really haven't mastered it.
All of the other points my reader raised diminish in importance once you pivot your perspective to view failure as a gift, not a sign of deficiency. Public shame suddenly stops being something that makes you feel less capable or diminishes your eagerness to improve. Rather, it serves as a goad to reinforce the mistakes we made in our memory so we remember not to do them again; a beacon about knowledge gained, an indelible mark on your memory.
Plus, if you truly adopt a critical attitude towards learning from everything, you may find that the types of people who try to shame you and the ways they shame you actually reveal insights about their mentalities, which can take even more of the emotional sting out of it. When you know that the person mocking your PvP loss is doing it because he has his own feelings of inferiority, it's much easier to consider the advice within the mocking while discarding the ridicule.
Within Eve, when you pivot your perspective on failure, you'll notice that each loss really does have a lesson for you. You fell for a blob? Check local more carefully (if it's full) or conclude that need to think more about your engagement strategy (either adding an exit plan or plan to gank very quickly). You die to gatecamps? Learn the mwd-cloak trick for travel. You failed to kill an Algos with your Incursus? Refine your fight selection until you improve your skills more. Every loss has a lesson, if you can see past the fact of your loss to understand the facts of the engagement.
And when you start to look beyond the loss itself, you'll find that you start applying the lessons you learn, which helps you avoid more situations that would have previously gotten you killed. I've escaped from fights with the slingshot maneuver to escape point range. I've escaped gatecamps by burning back through the gate and splitting the enemy force on either side. I've evaded whalers by staying aligned when people enter local. All of them have come as a result of practical experience dying and assessing what I could have done.
There is no situation in Eve that cannot be improved with knowledge. Even hotdrops can be avoided by recognizing the home region of your target and the typical kinds of ships that serve as hotdrop bait (tip: don't engage seemingly foolish Brutix Navy Issues, Dominixes, or Proteuses). Experience teaches you the subtle indications of what's about to happen. Enough experience allows you to "feel" the flow of a fight as it unfolds and predict what the other person is going to do.
If you feel some fights have no lessons, you're not looking at them deeply enough. If you feel you're being dropped by blobs all the time, in most cases you're not watching your environment or flying the wrong kind of ship (I mean, taking a cruiser solo through the Nourvu-Tamo gate... come on...). Check zkill and learn about the groups in your area. You can avoid most problems with a little research.
And if you fear public shame because of something foolish you did, stop caring so much about you. No one really cares what you do in space. Even the people who comment don't really care. What they do care about is if you make the same colossal mistake repeatedly (ex: mission runners who get ganked in a deadspace-fit, then go back through the same system again in another deadspace fit ship, repeat offenders of the plex shuttle mistake). No corporation worth its salt will criticize players for losing a single ship in nearly any circumstance.
The failure to learn from your mistakes, however, will and should make you feel bad. It represents a flaw in your perspective and mentality to learn from your mistakes. It means you couldn't see past the disappointment, anger, or embarrassment of a mistake to learn how to prevent that mistake. It represents a failure to use a critical thought process to improve yourself.
And that's far worse, and not just as it relates to Eve. It represents a problem you'll face in the real world as well. It's a tragedy in the classical sense, for it's something you've done to yourself.