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...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quote of the Week: Freedom

This week's Quote of the Week just made me laugh:
That's Nicholai Pestot on Failheap Challenge, bemoaning the fact that he resubscribed to EVE last week.  Guess I'm not the only person that likes to compare EVE to an ex-girlfriend.  ;-)  In terms of bitter-vets re-subbing, it's a good bet that last week was the week that turned the corner.  An absolute ton of people were on the fence, but it's hard to argue with several Mondays and Tuesdays in a row chock full of good news.  I do love the irony that it was the visual of weapons missing that seems to have been the straw that broke the backs of a lot of camels.

The weapons might be missing, but the winter expansion is hitting its target, no problem.  ;-)

It was funny as hell watching a few people in that thread try to be bitter about all this good news.  Slowly, though, they grumbled and shut up and let the thread turn entirely positive.  This caused Two step to joke...
This whole thread is very confusing to me, as well as to certain CCPers and CSMers. Where will we go for bitterness? There is far too much love in this thread. Come on, where are the complaints about how missing turrets will cause gfx cards to overheat?

CCP, you seem to be in danger of putting bitter-vets out of business.  ;-)


  1. The irony is that back in the day where the separation between devs and players was icily thin (which later resulted into its own range of issues due to cool kids syndrome) it was the devs who came up with and applied the stamp of "bitter".

    They coined the phrase, so to speak. Even though already at the time it was applied almost exclusively to player behaviour that was deviant from established and shared expectations.

    Over the years, it became a de factor excuse argument for anything undesired. When later the trend surfaced where CCP got confused on who's perspective was being designed for (and catered to) that got out of hand.

    Years later, only very few remember the origins of "bitter" being nothing more than not accepting or agreeing with individually and Dev originating convictions of awesome.

    Years later, the stamp has become paramount to nothing more than a popular expression typically unmet by analysis by either players or devs. Thing is, in the aftermath of the Years Of Awesome it may very well be an idea to really engage in introspection and self reflection.

    The "terrorists" stamp that surfaced on the CCP side during CSM5, has the exact same sociodynamical origins as the "bitter" stamp that surfaced around 2003/4.

    Something to think about.

  2. But I just started EVE in the summer (Gallente pilot), will I ever have a chance to become bittervet?

  3. @ taterade - sure you will! just start now by complaining that your playstyle is the only one that's valid, that everyone else is somehow cheating, that eve is a horrible place to be and your'e going to ragequit a half dozen times a week, but no nobody else can have your stuff, because deep down, you know, like a crack addict.. you'll be back. Practice acting like you're offended by every choice CCP makes, good, bad or otherwise, don't vote for the next CSM, so you can grumble about how they don't represent your intrests, despite the fact you couldn't take 5 minutes to actually vote for the goofy guy wandering around your chosen area in a shuttle yelling 'I'll change it all!'

    Let eve get under your skin and you'll be bitter in no time.

    It might take a year or two, but pretty soon, you'll tire of the missions, and tire of mining, and get tired of market pvp, and tire of being called carebear constantly, and one day, you'll wake up mad, and every time someone throws out 'u mad bro?' in local, directed at you or not... you'll want to set their pod on fire, loot their corpse, take it back to your hangar and find some bbq sauce.

    Bittervet isn't a condition....it's a state of mind. Think of those old men that constantly yell about loud music, kids on the lawn, how everybody's disrespectful and nobody does what they want like they should. Develop that sense of entitlement and spite, and you'll be well on your way.

    Who knows...you might even make CSM one day.

    And remember this creedo

    Dear CCP -
    Paper's fine
    Nerf Rock
    Disgruntled Scissors.

  4. I must be getting crasy or something: the gates on sisi, they ... they are no longer all horizontal! they seem to be pointing to the system they lead to.

  5. LOL, paging Virt and Bartho to comment...oh, wait. ;) EVE itself is not so compelling but the community is endlessly fascinating. That's why even those of us who have quit can't really leave altogether.

  6. It's funny, in some ways. And sad, since yeah Oveur invented and named it before it became a de factor consequential standard (through neglect).

    But there is also another side of "bitter", and that is the part which people who grow with EVE face over time.

    There's three significant general groups there. The group (more or less) who started with EVE, who grew up (through college and uni and first jobs and girlfriends) with it.
    And the group (or arrivals is maybe a better word) which flocked to it in later years over the years. Who thanks to it being pretty much a substantial amount of years also face similar issues of balancing the Quest to fit EVE in with life.
    Across these two but also seperate (you'll find these btw in both pvp and pve / combined focus players) you'll find a population which (related to fitting EVE in with life but also through progression in the EVE life itself) ran out of things to do feasibly (note the careful addition of that last word there).

    This is what either Bartho or Bato, not sure which (but from Failheap) once called CCP's game design challenge. It was one of the devs lurking in eve-chaos who once said that EVE as one of the few games out there had the potential to be a generational / life cycle game.

    I think that really fits well. Think about it, CCP didn't make just a game. They created a playground for virtual life / lives.

    And then they turned their backs on it. Even now, going by conversations on IRC they still don't get the biggest challenge in all of it. Sure, understandable considering the pressure after the -20% thing and the pressure of winter and then a summer revival.

    But still. For EVE to grow really (and properly) CCP cannot just bank on growing through sales, or acquisition as it is called. It is an important part, but only one part. No matter how well CCP refocus on FiS and the core strengths of the game in their current (limited, due to lolresourcesallocation) efforts, they stand to still neglect and loose the structural battle for retention.

    People who love to live a life in EVE, unfortunately cannot ignore the life that enables EVE and in which EVE must find its own niche. That goes for PVE, for PVP, for everything you can possibly do in and with EVE, even the meta fun.

    It is a given that players who go deep with the game take everything CCP throws out there (and everything CCP never thought of but which they find to be possible) into measures of excess. But in doing so there is an unfortunate and unavoidable wall we run into. There comes a point where going deep (and remember how EVE's growth depends on people who do that) simply becomes too time and energy consuming in relation to well, real life.

  7. For CCP there is one big important lesson in there, one which the now fired CCP Fallout once commented on. New players must be given something between guidance, enabling and incentives to go as deep as those who went before them - but not with always the same things (how many times will a virtual heist generate secondary or even primary sales really, so to say. How many times will a 12 hour battle generate positive exposure to folks who can afford to go deep these days but only thanks to a busy real life. And so forth).

    There is an even bigger lesson though, which is also an opportunity. But which presents CCP with a huge problem, the game design challenge that is and remains required because no matter whether you get the first lesson as Fallout once pointed it out, there remains the very same and even more structurally unrecognised lesson that for existing subscribers this problem is even worse.

    Shiny, is something CCP does well. As The Enslaver once put it "style over substance man, style man". Even now we are seeing pretty much again that focus, with any possible refocus on the game design challenges being left up to the summer (banking on CCP having a smooth running with Dust 514 AND on their historical capacity for iteration).

    Let's face it. CCP has a direct and structural dependancy on people going deep, and room for people creating innovative patterns of behaviour (and .. excess in such). For that to continue, they must face the necessity to adapt to changing (and long changed) lives of new and old.

    The demographics of the people behind the pixels in EVE are quite intruiging in that respect. As ironic as it may sound, the majority of EVE players are mature. But that has consequences for business and product development which a focus on shiny cannot structurally face nor embrace (and thus make money of).


    Mynxee is right btw. EVE is not compelling. It is our lives in EVE which are. It is our lives that enable our lives in EVE.

    And *that* is exactly where CCP went wrong roughly 5 years ago, resulting ultimately in the abyssmal shame of a Chief Technology Officer flaundering and spreading and rubbing in the concept of "for X to be compelling it has to be enforced". With CCP's own top down monoculture of awesome and stone tablets combined, the results speak for themselves.

    And that is where we are now. CCP facing the required challenge of shiny, which makes us fall in love and want to live that life. But CCP not facing any structural challenges that make us go deep, and long, and hard. Which basically, sells more easily and cheaper and better (demonstrably in EVE's case) than any singular focus on what essentially comes down to cycles of recycling subscriber influx first and consequential retention second.

    Good luck CCP. This winter will infatuate many of us once again. But the summer will show whether it was a holiday affair, or a reaffirmation of wedding vows.


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