As I've mentioned a time or two, I have a major tent-pole post coming around one of the big reasons why I think EVE has struggled to find a mass audience over the last few years. I expect that post to spark a lot of conversations and arguments (and not a little bit of yelling at me, tbqh). But as I edit and tweak and refine that post, I keep seeing unnecessary tangents in it. These tangents make that post less focused and so I have to "murder my darlings" and cut them out.
For anyone thinking about your own blog or your own writing: writing is 50% writing. The rest is rewriting and editing, rewriting and editing, over and over again. Some of the posts you read here go through weeks of this.
Anyway, I decided one of the tangents I'm cutting is an interesting philosophical point of its own that deserves its own short post. Why is it that EVE Online promotes a culture of holding grudges?
You see this again and again in EVE Online culture and it's not something that I can recall seeing in the cultures of other video games. In particular, I've had my nose rubbed in it recently with Rote Kapelle's move to Providence. We have a couple of pilots with poor histories with Provibloc... and for one of those players, the history was almost a decade old. And yet, it was brought up as what was apparently intended to be a major, compelling reason why Rote Kapelle should not be allowed anywhere near Providence.
More or less: your dog crapped on my lawn ten years ago. Therefore, I'm going to despise you forever.
This sort of thing happens in EVE all the time: players and groups and corps and alliances and EVE websites and even EVE developers(!) nurturing and nursing and committing to memory years-old slights. They hold them and remember them and wait for years for an opportunity to drag them into the light again. And then when the opportunity comes, they are triumphantly spun out as moral victories to be cherished. It really is kind of amazing. Why do people associated with this game do this to themselves and each other?
Human history is filled with this sort of thing, of course. A funny obscure story about Neil Armstrong comes to mind. His biographer, James Hansen, recounts that when Armstrong visited Langholm, Scotland in 1972, the town's justice of the peace jokingly read from a 400-year-old law still on the books requiring him to hang any Armstrong found within the town limits! That's a funny example, but there are hundreds of examples less humorous. Nurturing ancient grudges is probably the saddest part of the human heritage. It extends from ancient times thousands of years old to the present day. One need only look to the middle east, or to China and Japan, to see it.
But EVE is supposed to be a video game... you know... recreation... fun.
Is holding a grudge against someone who stole a battleship from your corp in 2005 fun?
Now granted, EVE is a game where loss usually has a cost in money or time. And granted, many corps and groups in this game have shown the ability to get past old slights (my favorite example of this is Executive Outcomes; check out where they used to live, then check out where they live now). But nurturing old slights is the default state of anyone associated with this game. Even a mere minor loss of face -- with no in-game loss at all! -- can result in simmering grudges and hatreds which are remembered for years.
Why is that, do you think? Discuss.