Monday, November 14, 2011

A Matter of Perspective

Last week Mord Fiddle wrote an interesting post about the narrative gap between null-sec and low-sec, claiming that small-gang pvp “lacks a larger narrative.” While I agree that low-sec has less game-mechanics that allows for longer-term goal making and etc, I do not think that this equates to less of a ‘narrative.’

Having been involved in both major null-sec politics and low-sec pvp, I can see how someone from a primarily null-sec perspective can look at low-secers(I don’t just say pirates as faction war is also low-sec pvp) as people without an overarching story. To them, we are like the two armies in Fiddle’s post—except we are duking it out in a field somewhere and there is no king or country—no Viking ships to be cut off from—no “narrow spit of sand” to fight over for any long-term purpose. Tomorrow, we will wipe the blood off our armor, resharpen our axes, and start all over—perhaps even in the exact same place.

What lies beneath this barbarianism, is much more than just brute force, thoughtless, goalless pvp. In faction war, you have corporations and pilots who have fought against each other and with each other for long periods of time. Years in some cases. You have all the betrayals, alliances, friendships, spies, journeys, and battles worthy of any epic tale.

What about low-sec piracy? Here you have a ‘race’ of pvpers who defy the odds, defy the rules, and spit in the face of blobbified warfare. Here are a group of pvpers where game mechanics are against them and every day is a struggle to burn through the stereotypes and snobbery inflicted upon them from null-sec pilots. The stories of their very existence makes for intriguing story telling.(and reading)

Mord says about low-sec blogs: “the fight recaps were interesting for, oh, about the first hundred. After that is all became a bit repetitious.” As I read through the null-sec reports, I feel like I could just as easily replace the word “fight recaps” in that sentence for “system take overs, alliance resets, or null-sec cap fights.” The pendulum swing of standings resets, alliances formed and felled, systems taken and gained, and general null-sec politics could be said to be equally, if not more, repetitious and predictable.

While I appreciate, as a writer, the general call to storytelling, I would also have to agree with Rixx who claims that a good amount of quality, low-sec storytelling is already out there.

And I would also have to counter challenge null-sec writers to go beyond who currently owns what space and who killed what supercapital and big blob battle reports. I want to know about the small empire corporation’s journey to playing a major part in a big null-sec alliance. I want to know about the small band of interdictor pilots that suicided for a half hour to hold down caps while help arrived. I want to know about how a corporation banded together and survived a huge alliance break-up, or the challenges a big null-sec alliance went through when faced with a leadership change. I want to know inside stories about what it’s really like sitting for hours shooting a structure—the hilarity on coms, or the really bad jokes your FC tells.

Truth be told, there are untold stories on every front.


  1. You want drama?

    You want rivalries?

    For more Predator Elite trolling, see

    You want story telling? Well, fake RP story telling...

  2. @GC42 -

    There are many good stories to be found among the rogues and rascals of lowsec. I truly wish lowsec authors would write the stories you describe. But they don't.

    As Rixx Javix has pointed out, good nullsec stories are harder to write because they don't have the whole "epic sweep" thing going for them. It's easy for Achilles, whose story is born of a great war close to the center of the human population of the time, to get press. Fame comes harder for Beowulf, whose story emerges from the remote North and describes a small but visceral struggle between a band of men and a creature out of nightmare.

    I'm searching for lowsec's Beowulf.

    I disagree with you and with Rixx profoundly with regard to the quality of stories emerging from lowesec. While you and Rixx are quick to defend the quality of low-sec storytelling, neither of you takes the logical step of pointing me to even a single post that support your arguments. That isn't an argument. That's denial.

    The same is true of finger pointing at nullsec story-telling. That is deflection, seeking to absolve one's own shortcomings by pointing out the shortcomings of another. Like denial, deflecting doesn't make the stories coming out of lowsec one iota more interesting.

    I am in the cheering section for lowsec. I am interested in nothing more than raising the profile of that that part of New Eden. To that end I've called on the chroniclers of lowsec to take their game to the next level.

    Given that, you're left with a choice: You can sit in a stew of denial an umbrage and be content with the status quo.

    Or you can tell me a story.