Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Logs Show Nothing

You've probably noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here. Admittedly, not because I haven't started about a half dozen blog posts each week, only to throw them out in frustration. I definitely have things to say, but have been having a terrible time putting those things into words.

Over the last few months I've been wrestling with the decision of whether or not to quit EVE permanently. I'm not telling you this because I'm about to declare some sort of ultimatum to CCP. I'm not going rage quit, or stand on some sort of soap box and declare that some game mechanic is broken and this is why I'm wanting to leave and that CCP better 'fix it or else.'

I'm telling you so that you can better understand my current state of mind. Bitter Vet lvl V has been officially attained, so to speak.

Lately, a lot of EVE feels like discussion about game mechanics. I have a hard time finding the stories that used to make me love the game. Not role playing stories, mind you, but the stories of things happening in-game --grand corp thefts, massive wars with differing sides chucking propaganda at each other --politics, and etc. Instead, everywhere I turn there is analysis about 'the mechanics' and rage over mechanics or the lack of mechanics and etc. And, I have found that this has often crept into my own writing.

When was the last time I told you a story about an awesome fight or campaign or interesting thing that happened in militia? It has been a while.

This is problematic for me, mostly because of 'real life.' In the real world, I am a software engineer/analyst. In particular, I fix issues and develop what could be called our version of 'little things.' My day job comprises of analyzing the code and design of various things and making our customers' lives a whole lot better.

Some of the blog posts I've started over the last few months (and promptly ditched when I realized what I was doing) had titles like EVE's Top Five Worst GUI's that CCP needs to Fix, 30 Little Things I Wish CCP would Improve, and 15 Ways they Could make the Contract System Better,  along with an analysis or two of the pros and cons of CCP's release cycle/agile development being used in a game development context among other things. Truth be told, I've occasionally caught myself logging in for the express purpose of analyzing a game mechanic and how it could be made better.

For me, EVE has started to feel almost like the extension of my day job. I spend all day trying to improve business software, then come home to 'play a game' wherein I spend time trying to helpfully come up with constructive analysis on how to fix that too. Mainly, because I have nothing else to write about it seems.

So, I'm not entirely sure what to do with this revelation at this point in time. Quitting EVE is on the table, as is completely shutting down this blog entirely.

I've already explained that not a lot is going on in EVE. I've considered 'doing something else,' finding a new corporation, or etc. And, this might happen eventually. However, looking at recruitment posts, and forum posts, and killboards, I get this sneaking suspicion that this apathetic feeling I get from militia and my alliance is actually much more widespread. I get the feeling that 'going somewhere else' would just be trading one semi-AFK group for another.

And then the little 'sandbox voice' pipes up. This is a sandbox. We're meant to create our own content. CCP should not be responsible for giving you content that you're just going to get bored with again as time goes on.

I'm beginning to really hate that little voice.

So, I think "I should not just be the whiny moany person that constantly complains that there is nothing to do. Waaa, I'm bored." So I roll up my sleeves, ready to do...something. Perhaps help wake up my alliance, get some fleets going, and be a good EVE citizen.

And then I draw a blank. Campaign...for what? Fleet....for what?

Maybe we could kill someone's POS. But why? Let's shoot this random structure for no reason or benefit...

Maybe we could take the entire warzone!...for...the....112th....time....

Maybe we could all go to nullsec going to happen.

The reality is that this is a game and I expect it to be entertaining. I know what the 'sandbox voice' says. I know that this might go against what people think about tools and yadda yadda yadda. But I seriously believe that CCP has a responsibility to some extent of providing entertainment. Making EVE fun NEEDS to enter into their equation somewhere along the line, doesn't it? It's not just about providing tools. They have a product, that they sell for money. It seems naive of them to think that their customers are going to be the only factor that makes their product 'work.'

And the fact that people are having a hard time finding things to fight over in a primarily pvp game seems problematic to me.

Now is when the 'EVE is dead' police should start to chime in about how people always complain about this 'I am bored' stuff and that "the statistics prove me wrong about everything I'm saying" and etc.

Honestly, some of what I need to say is not easy to say. I like being 'positive.' As a developer in a close-knit, agile development environment, I have a certain respect for EVE's developers. I like some of the things that I see coming from them as an organization, and etc.

But then, I want to ask questions like "is a new cloaking graphic really one of the main selling points and features for the upcoming release?" Seriously? Are you kidding me?

Then I'm abashed and think that maybe asking such a question would insult CCP's art team. Sometimes, I'm scared of criticizing EVE, or CCP. Mainly because I don't want to come across as one of those people who makes these wild and shocking criticisms for the sole purpose of getting
attention. I despise other EVE bloggers who are like that --those who seem to base their opinions on how many page views they'll get from expressing said opinions.

But I can't shake the bad taste that EVE has been leaving in my mouth lately.

Tonight, I read this article on TM, all about the recent bannings and etc. I rarely read such things, but this time I read the entire 14 page post from start to finish.

I'm not an idiot. I know not to believe everything I read, and especially not to 'take in' the tone of everything I read--especially coming from an EVE player. And I'm not sure I really have an opinion about the bannings, or could really tell you the author's main premise regarding them for that matter.

What stood out was the historical summary of a lot of things that have 'happened' in EVE over the last year or two. And honestly, especially in the last year, it has felt like one drama bomb after another. SOMER Blink. Erotica1. People are getting tarred and feathered, the wormhole community is raging, people getting accused of harassment, or RMT. And then there's some sort of wave of bannings, and etc.

And you know what? I'm sick of it. I'm sick. to. death. of. it. I want to hear about wars and players fighting each other. I want to know about new campaigns and in-game backstabbing and thievery. I don't want to hear anymore about this crap.

I don't want to be wondering about whether I should be 'trusting' CCP or not, questioning my own safety, or pondering whether it's really good for me to even be associated with this game or not. It seems like overkill, for a game.

I don't know about harassment or in-game vs out of game harassment or the fact of some precedent that CCP may or may not be setting by 'governing' Teamspeak. What bothers me is this seems to have become the norm as far as 'main EVE topics' go. This is 'what's going on.'

This evening I logged on to Twitter to see The Mittani posting about some sort of null-sec 'Deal.' I had the passing thought that the game has reached some sort of strange, bleak crescendo of boredom --a place where the only interesting or 'shocking' thing left for some people to do is to band together against CCP. The ultimate meta game. The politics, not of space--but of the game's design itself.

And yes, I fully realize that at this point I'm helplessly rambling. And it's probably time for me to stop. Hopefully, you have a least a little understanding of what's been going through the mind of 'Susan Black' lately. I know I haven't been particularly forthcoming the last few months.

I guess the question, after all of the above, is what's stopping me? After all, it IS just a game. If it's as frustrating as it sounds, why is whether or not to quit playing even a decision worth pondering over?

And when I know the answer to that, I suppose the debate will be over.


  1. Wow. I think you wrote what I feel and have felt for a long time. Only I haven't put it into words anywhere. I guess mostly because I'm wrapped up in the "talking about" Eve more than I am playing Eve.

    You are 100% correct though. Eve used to be about the battles, and the heists, and the shenanigans, etc... Now it's about nothing other than stupid content drama, or a lack-there-of.

    Damn it Susan you blew my mind.

  2. Can I have your stuff?

  3. A lot has been made of "eve is dying." Mostly that conversation is overbroad crap. But you're hitting the core of the real issue. Fatigue.

    Whats often missed in the big discussion is that a sandbox is only a sandbox as long as its plastic and mutable. Once things become concrete and immutable, there IS no sandbox. The game is won. There's no room for anything or anyone else. The game is over.

  4. This comment isn't meant to be insulting, but it is real talk. You have played EVE for an awfully long time. You have done the things; the things, they are now old hat. You, being bored with the things, wonder why CCP doesn't provide content. The implication there (which perhaps you didn't mean, but it's clearly implied) is that maybe if CCP made more content, you would be less bored right now with EVE. The answer to that implication is that if EVE were that kind of game, you would have gotten bored and quit sooner; years ago. Your implication is therefore false. The rest of what you say is all true, for you only. Anyone who goes into an MMO expecting to never get bored is only setting themselves up for disappointment. I don't know if you had/have that expectation or not, but your article here is pretty clear. You're done with EVE; the only question is whether it's temporary or permanent. And that's ok. EVE hasn't changed--you have. Those around you, who've been playing for a while too, have changed in a similar fashion. So it's pretty easy to talk to them and decide that no, it's EVE that has changed. This is a group delusion, and confirmation bias. When you've been gone for long enough to realize that fact, you might be ready to come back and rediscover the joy.

  5. Susan's right. The whole tone of the game has changed. There's always been a waxing and waning of action in EVE. But the discontent and discussion now is entirely about CCP. I think people are afraid to build new things because they don't know what CCP is gonna do. And without that drive to build there's no driver for conflict. And without the conflict the game stagnates.

  6. "Maybe we could kill someone's POS. But why? Let's shoot this random structure for no reason or benefit...
    Maybe we could take the entire warzone!...for...the....112th....time...."

    Good post. Again. That's why I follow you.

    I've made a 100'ish similar posts. Someone, somewhere in CCP must be listening.
    I'm waiting for a sign.

  7. Things are proceeding apace, in accordance with Gianturco's plan.

    All one has to do is look back at history.

    The goal is in sight.

    All that remains to wonder is what game will be next on the Something Awful destruction list..............

  8. Same thoughts I have been having... with a slight difference... You see I have actually been away, for a bit more than 6 months now. A combo of RL>EVE/summertime/financial/employment/life crap getting in the way. But I have keep up with my fav blogs, commenting when worthwhile... my own posts have been slow, but like you I prefer to write about what I DO more than the meta.

    So on Thursday I wrote a post you might find interesting. Too Much Talk Talk, Not Enough OMFG…

    And tonight, for the sheer helluvit I started a 14 day trial just so I could fly a bit... and I am really enjoying it.
    Yes, I believe CCP needs to work more FOR us and less WITH us... but EVE IS a sandpit... and fun is where you make it.

  9. Instead of joining this chorus of "not going to happen", I started a project against the greatest EVE coalition in January. Their losses are over 2x Asakai. That's what one player can achieve.

    So how about stopping waiting for a "story about an awesome fight or campaign" and start making it. Yes, you can make the next awesome fight. No, not against that random POS, but against a group of players you don't like. Infiltrate them and make the next great spy story happen! Or destroy their POS-es until they don't put up any new and don't undock or log in anymore!

    1. You haven't made even a tiny dent in their organization. If you enjoy banging your head against the wall, by all means, continue. Most of us are not interested in putting together a 2 year, all day, every day plan to break the power blocs. In fact, neither are you or you'd be doing it instead of jacking around with hisec pocos and suicide ganks. Until then, keep your "advice," because it's not very good.

    2. Wow, way to ignore the message because you hate the messenger. Goblin's self-congratulating aside, he has a valid point: just set yourself a goal, and/or make the story happen yourself.

  10. So what has happened to Eve in the last couple years that has altered the paradigm of this "sandbox" concept that people keep flinging about?

    That event was the metastasis of the null sec cartels, which now control Eve in-game and out of game, where they exert their political power every day (example that latest bullshit from the failed lawyer's website).

    I started playing in 2008. I remember back then the big old bad BoB. Yet the control that group exerted on the game overall was a fraction of the co-ordinated movements by the cartels today.

    The best thing CCP can do t free the game, and save their financial situation, is to completely ignore the vested interests of the cartels, and totally blow up the game mechanics that support the cartels. Sure, these cartels will still be dominant because of their out of game logistics and organizations. But there ARE ways in-game to vastly reduce their influence in-game, making the chaos that existed years ago possible again, which provides opportunities for everyone.

    If CCP listens to the cartels, and changes to null sec don't break the cartels' collective back, Eve and CCP is doomed to be a slowly shrinking game, with less and less actual players and more and more alt's.

    Dinsdale Pirannha

  11. I'm a new(er) player, and my corp doesn't do a lot of metagaming. Sure, sometime people will look up some of the dev blogs to see what's coming, but for the most part they don't participate in out-of-game strategy. This really makes a difference for me, because I do read a lot of the metagame and keep up with it. However, when I log into game, it likes a different world then portrayed in the Eve media, because my corp isn't concerned with rental empires and stagnation, all they care about is carving out a section of space to have fun in and eek out a living. It's like a breath of fresh air, because THAT is the game for me when I play. It's about what I experience every day and aspire to do for the one session, it's not about what I can't do or what I wish I could.

  12. I think what we need in EVE is:

  13. Good post. Puts things in perspective.

  14. "I get the feeling that 'going somewhere else' would just be trading one semi-AFK group for another."

    ^ so much this. Especially in FW, where you have both mains and alts, who have been doing this for 4+ years now. Alot of the awesome things that there was to FW have been taken away from us or done so many times that it doesn't make us feel anything anymore. The result is the 20 people you might have logged on in your alliance don't do anything for any number of reasons. Sometimes it is a legitimate struggle to get people to undock and do something, because there's no will to do so.

    The worst part is this trickles up rather than down. That lost will spreads to your FC's, your directors, your ceo, the people most responsible imo for providing that ever precious content. In FW, this is why we have these sleeping giants of alliances, keeping themselves logging in by huddling around the fire of memories long gone.

  15. I suspect the main reason we spend so much time these days ranting and raving about Game Mechanics is simply because there is so much less of the traditional Infighting, backstabbing, Takeovers and Take downs happening. We need to get New Eden out of this cold war and back to the feudal middle ages.

    Having said that, the list of things you can do in game is limited only by your imagination... of course that's an easy platitude to spout, but that doesn't make it any less true.

  16. Let's face it - there isn't anything more you can do, or write about, with regards to FW. You've been there, done that. How many years have you now been doing this one thing in EVE, anyways? No wonder you are burned out, bored, and discontent. Most old COBOL programmers feel the same way... lol.

    However, I don't think you really need to quit EVE; I think you just need to change what you are doing in the game, and go try something radically different.

    I'm not going to be silly enough to recommend null sec, but you could go give WH space a try - the dynamics of holding WH space are somewhat different than null or FW.

    Or go try your hand at tournament style play, and put together a team for the next AT or NEO.

    Going out on your own solo roams in weird ship fits is fun, too - esp. when you don't care about the odds against you, nor whether you live or die. Have you fit and flown a combat hauler yet? You can record your encounters and put them up on YouTube, with (in)appropriate commentary.

    Go out and shoot up the Goons, or the CODE. Wardec an alliance. Pretend you are a digital homocidal maniac in local. Practice an insane laugh for use on TS.

    In any or either case, you should ignore the meta-game and drama as much as possible and always remember that EVE is a game - and games are supposed to be fun. Don't put that much thought into it - just jump into a ship and go look for something to happen.

    As for me, I've been playing since 2008. When I get bored of one thing in the game, I just go do something else in the game. I also stay away from the out-of-game drama completely - that stuff is for people who don't have a RL.

  17. I think you're at the point that everyone who plays an MMO gets to sooner or later. EvE also has this particularly insidious hook whereby the longer you develop a character, the longer you feel compelled to keep logging in "because I've had this character for X years".

    The real question you need to be asking yourself, Susan, you've already asked and laid out some pretty good arguments for and against: Is EvE still fun for you?

    If EvE isn't fun any longer, then why keep forcing yourself to play? If the reason the game is no longer fun is just a case of needing to try new things, then consider trying something new. But if you've tried all the things (or at least all the things that interested you at some point) and you're still not having fun, then why stay?

    It sounds like EvE is becoming more like a job for you than a pleasant activity you use to lessen the stresses of RL. Get out. Now. While you still can :)

    As long as you don't biomass anything, and all your stuff is in a station, who's to say you won't come back in a few months or years? But as for now, I'd say close up your EvE shop and take a long break. The simple fact that you seem to be stressing over the decision is proof it's time to go.

    I left the game over the summer. I feel better now that I've left the game and no longer have to worry about PLEXing or making sure the POS is fuelled in the wormhole or the corp drama, etc.

    Will I ever come back? Maybe. Will I come back and do the same things I was doing before. Maybe, maybe not. I'm pretty certain that the world will keep turning if I never play the game again :)

  18. Maybe… harassment and meta-game and politics have become so dominant over the last months/years because there is not much else left to do for the veteran players. Even the largest sandbox game has limits in what you can do; and after having spent years on a game people are loath to just walk away from their time investment.

    What keeps me in the game is the interaction with other people. In particular with nublets, who are all starry eyed and 'whoa!' about everything.

    But all is hinged on the central question: 'Do I enjoy playing EVE?' The day the answer is a definite 'No' (and not just a mere "not right now"), I'll walk away. And nobody is going to have my stuff.

  19. Well put, Susan. I've been feeling something similar lately. I love my buddies in OE, and still my old Late Night friends, but I feel like I've done lowsec to death. I look at the blue donut of nullsec and get discouraged at the thought. I feel like if I ever try wormholes I'll probably be out of things to keep me interested, aside from maybe full scale infiltration and maybe hisec wardeccing.

    Even then, I cringe at the thought of another full-scale move, of liquidating assets I've spent time building and fitting, and the time it would take to get established somewhere else.

    Maybe I just need a break, and its kind of what I'm doing now. Time will tell, I suppose. If you do quit, I wish you the best of luck in life. If between now and then I never get to tell you, it was a blast. o7


  20. Newbie here... So four good years and I should expect to lose my mind from boredom eh? :)