Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Community

Just a quickie.

"Look for what is missing" is #4 in Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management, which I've referenced here before.

The Mittani wrote an interesting piece Monday at Ten Ton Hammer that talks about what he calls "EVE born" players versus "community born" players.  Go give it a read.  It's quite short.  As you read it, though... look for what is missing.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

The piece is kind of a love letter to the external communities that play EVE, but set up corps within EVE and within those corps retain their external identities.  It then goes on to describe all of the benefits of playing the game in this way while subtly denigrating those that do not.

But did you find what was missing?  It's kind of subtle, and tied into the language and phrases used.  In the first paragraph, Mittens talks about the "EVE community", then immediately flips the word on its head and after that, almost every time he uses the word "community", he says or means "external community."  External, in this case meaning "situated or being outside something, or acting or coming from outside".  What are these communities outside of?  EVE itself, of course.  It's a subtle irony: what's missing is the connection of these communities to EVE itself.

When Mord Fiddle was blogging about EVE, one of the best posts he ever wrote -- maybe the best -- was a brilliant piece he called Fever Dream.  It describes a hypothetical conversation between Mittens and Hilmar P├ętursson.  At the end of the hypothetical conversation, Hilmar asks Mittens what the Goons would do without EVE Online.  The hypothetical Mittens replies "There are other worlds than thine.  If New Eden falls, I will lead my minions forth and play at World of Tanks."

It was intended to be humorous, but there's a grain of truth to it, too.

Viewed from this perspective, Goons don't have to care of EVE Online succeeds or fails, and Mittens's post in praise of the virtues of the "community born" kind of dances around this without touching it.  Don't get me wrong: I'm sure most of them do care if EVE Online succeeds or fails, but by describing them as "community born", this caring is greatly deemphasized.  On the other hand, the subtly denigrated "EVE born" -- who, remember, outnumber the "community born" by ten-fold or more! -- are just as subtly accused of not being part of the "community" when they in fact are the ones that make it up!  Cute, right?  It's a kind of verbal judo.

As I said it's a very subtle distinction, but an interesting one.

12 comments:

  1. cannot agree more and keep meaning to post about this on the eve thread regarding the new player experience. Having an external community playing eve is all well and good, but CCP should realize that they should not cater specifcially to that playstyle... it just makes CCP beholden to external communities which makes for an unstable subscriber base (e.g. "group" subscribes/unsubscribes based on external factors). the other detrimental effect from a CCP standpoint is that they become blind to tailoring the game to attract and retain newbies vs trying to keep large blocks of external communities happy (this sentence based on the "theory" that newbie ganking is more prevalent and accepted in the external commmuity culture which is implied in Mitten's post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You mean the goons have done more to harm EvE than help it? You don't say!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Goons (eg. the SA community) could care less about EVE, in-fact, you probably shouldn't post about EVE on SA outside the dedicated forum for it. Goonswarm (eg. EVE branch of the SA community) on the other hand probably care a whole lot more about the state of EVE - afterall, they call it home. I think it's important to keep that distinction in mind.

    The point Mittens was driving home was likely along the lines of external communities not being dependant on EVE's success to thrive. In the event of EVE's demise, Goonswarm would just cease to exist and its members would be none the less goons for it - but I don't think that's what Goonswarm would wish for; not when they're having so much fun harvesting tears.

    There are few other MMOs quite as suited to the goon way of life than EVE Online...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great observations, Jester. Even in the very first paragraph, the use of “so-called” puts forth the insulting notion that EvE's internal communities are of questionable substance. It sets the tone for the rest of the article, which extols the advantages of being externally “community-born” and laments the tragic condition facing the average player trying the game off the shelf.

    Despite Mitten’s attempt to categorize players into only two groups, the fact remains there are vibrant and healthy communities that are entirely EvE-born themselves. Faction Warfare is one example of this, I have been writing for over a year now that ultimately what makes fighting in the militias great is the people, not the game mechanics. We have our own values, style of fighting, we teach new players how to PvP, and we share stories. The militias took me in, raised me, have sustained me, and hopefully I’ll have a chance to finally give them something back this coming year.

    I also recently wrote about how PvP is and should be more accessible to the new player, especially after being sold on a “warfare” expansion. While The Mittani boldly declares that “those primordial days where every EVE player had a roughly similar upbringing are gone forever” thanks to the saving grace of Goonwaffe, I believe that we can provide that same level of service to new players by improving the game itself as supposed using external communities.

    Many of you might of notice the almost complete absence of my campaign on external forums – FHC, Kugu, Reddit, SA, etc. My reason for this is simple. A single-server game is served best by a single-shard community, using a single communications platform. Other than alliance-specific intel or non-eve related banter, there just isn’t a major benefit to discussing game improvements, new features, balancing, or any other important issue across 5 forums instead of one. All players deserve to access this information and use their voice in a single location where they are respected, valued, and encouraged to contribute.

    I found this one statement particularly fascinating: “there is no need for a Goonswarm pilot to generate or maintain an ‘EVE resume’.”

    If our EvE resume consists of the sum total of our accomplishments and failures, our decisions and our trustworthiness, isn’t this a critical part of an EvE pilot’s development? There is a good reason we can’t change our character names, and that our corporate histories are public. To provide sufficient wealth, freedom, organization, instruction, and protection to a new player that they rise above the need for an “EvE resume” is to isolate them from the very consequences of their own actions.

    Whatever happened to the crusade to keep New Eden a “cold harsh world”?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another proof that Mittens is good at politics :P

    ReplyDelete
  6. Will there still be goons if EVE is defunct? Yes, of course. But the "community born" alliances have great longevity within EVE. That's the point Mittens is making, and it's true. Goonswarm has been around for a long time and is responsible for bringing in more new players than any other alliance, I'm sure. And those players keep subscribing; remember, many elder Goons move on to -eleet pvp- alliances. Goons drive gameplay, they drive conflict, and they create content for themselves and everyone around them. A goon noob is much more likely to last a year or more than a high sec noob facing the learning cliff alone.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If the game is populated by a game based community, there is going to be more of an interest in the game succeeding because the players are more likely to be there for the same reason. A group of players that are affiliated because of an external organization operate on a herd mentality and go from game to game as the most vocal or charismatic get bored and proclaim a newest cool game for the little psychophants herd. I've been playing MMOs since UO and have seen time and again where huge blocks of players go in and out of games like a swarm of locust. It's more important for the small minded throng to be part of the group of cool guys playing game "X" than investing in a game.

    In a more open architecture game like Eve, the main motivator of the wanna-be-cool mindset, being a shit disturber, is much easier to execute. The longevity of an externally based organization like the goons, is based on how much grief they can cause, and how long they can cause it. When they can't get enough of their jollies anymore, they'll leave, and they really don't give a shit about the game, the community, or what they've done to either. Mittens has proclaimed time and again that his interests are for himself and people who play like he does, including this election too. That means that if you aren't one of the mindless little "U mad, bro??" minority sheep, you are one of the unimportant Eve-centric majority. Time for Mittens to go. Not sure how CCP figures it's in any way smart to have a griefer supposedly representing all the Eve players when any player that isn't a mindless sheep in his little flock is viewed with disdain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are completely wrong. The Goons are fully invested in EVE and have been for longer than practically every other group. Mittani has always campaigned for a better EVE: better PVE, more and more interesting industry, a better NPE, more iteration, more ship balancing, better sov mechanics, better FW, etc. He has even requested things that would weaken the CFC, including a tech nerf, and TiDi, which makes lag and alpha tactics less viable. Go back and read what he says instead of foaming at the mouth about his grieferdom. Non-consentual pvp is what makes EVE special.

      Also, think about what Goons want. They want a populated, happy EVE. They want enemies. They want people to kill, in all sectors of space. They don't want people to unsub, that means fewer targets. They want what's in your best interest, because they want you to stay in EVE, and to keep on hating them.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, well, Mittens talks a good game and you've obviously drank the koolaid. For those gamers that prefer to think for themselves and aren't bitter and twisted about their real lives, it's quite easy to understand that non-consensual PVP ISN'T what gamers are looking for, and that is alwAys going to be the biggest thing that holds subscriptions back. Claiming that the chance to be ganked anywhere, any time, is a big draw to Eve, is laughable. Claiming that the goons, and any other little griefer herd of players, is promoting the best interests of Eve by supporting that, is equally laughable. When the lolz and tears dry up, the little herds will move on. They always do.

      Delete
    3. Non-consensual PVP is what drew me to EVE. I played another MMO for a while, and it was incredibly boring. EVE drew me in because it was dangerous, there were "bad guys" that were players, there was piracy, market pvp, and titanic clashes between nullsec alliances fueled by hate. Without danger, EVE is incredibly boring. I lived in a WH for a while, and it was probably the most fun PVE I've found in EVE, because it's dangerous. The fact that we could be dropped on at any time is exciting. That's good, because the PVE content itself is beyond boring. I did missioning in high sec when I first started, and I couldn't stand it, it burned me out. Without grief, EVE is nothing. High-sec can only support so many miners and missioners, and without people getting their ships blown up by griefers, the market doesn't work and your minerals and mission loot is worth nothing.

      Delete
  8. I think it's also funny that Mittens tries to make the Eve born communities seem inferior to the external born ones. I for one am proud NOT to be a Goon because deliberately irritating others just isn't my thing. Do I think it's funny when someone gets pissed off in Eve and completely looses their mind? Absolutely. Would I go out of my way to generate such tears? No. I just don't have any interest in beating up the crippled kid during recess...

    The problem with the Eve born communities is finding one that's doing something that you're really interested in. For me it took almost two years before I managed to get into a worm hole corp and realized that being in w space was what I wanted to do in Eve (exploration, small scale PVP -lots of shooting peeps in the face without the station games in high sec or the blobs in null).

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hmmm. Mittens suggesting eve is hard unless you do something like join the goons or similar. Why not subtly undermine everyone else while writing a glorified advertisement. Two birds, one submission.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.