Players as Content and the Victim Mindset

I posted this elsewhere on the forum some time ago, but it seems relevant here so I’ll go ahead and repost it.

In many ways, Eve is far safer than real life. You can not get sick. You can not lose your job. You can not lose your life. You can lose your stuff, but only down to a certain point. Everyone automatically gets the bare minimum ship they need to claw their way back up as many times as they need it. You can’t lose everything and be left with nothing.

Eve is the best game I know of to experiment with taking risks. Losing still hurts, but the safety net keeps you in the game until you get a good grasp of what level of risk is appropriate. A player can then take what they learn in Eve about risk, its rewards, and it’s perils, and apply those to their real life to live a better one.

Fairness is not an exact science. What is ‘fair’ lies somewhere in a very grey area and no matter where you think it is there will be those who think it’s elsewhere. Some degree of unfairness is inevitable, not least of all because we are all born different. Some people are good cooks, some are good with computers. Some are amazing with numbers, and others create fantastic works of art.

If perfect fairness is an unachievable ideal, then it stands to reason that a person has to be prepared to deal with that. There are two ways I see that people can go about it. One is to appeal to someone else to do something, and the other is to do something about it yourself. The former does have its place. Raising awareness of a thing is frequently a part of the solution, but it’s only a small part. Eventually some person or people are going to have to actually deal with it in some way before things get any better. Even if you can’t make all the difference, or much of a difference, chances are still pretty good you can make a difference if you don’t consign yourself to the idea that you’re just a victim who can’t do anything about it. That’s a lie people tell themselves so that they can be comfortable in their idleness.

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Just for background because people do insist on getting my viewpoint wrong:

  • I’m fine with ‘PvP everywhere’, you won’t see me complaining about ganks or unfairness happening to me.
  • I’m fine with ganking personally, although I have some reservations that the implementation of it in-game is bad for the long-term viability of EVE.
  • Players being ‘content’ is fine. Again, any reservations I have are because CCP is simply doing it wrong.
  • Yes, there are whiners and perma-greens and Karens and ‘victims’. No, they aren’t a major source of EVE’s current problems, or somehow “driving the design at CCP”. They’re a small portion of the playerbase with almost no feedback mechanism to CCP.

A note on ‘content’: People are starting to use ‘content’ as a stand-in for “target of PvP and destruction”. This is not how “player content” actually works in a sandbox. The players are the content because they’re the market, they’re the supply line, they’re the people you recruit for workers in your corp and and ally with in other corps. They’re the people talking in local and Help and buzzing through gates. They’re the ones paying taxes to your POCO and renting space from/to you.

The majority of “players as content” has very little to do with PvP/destruction, but a lot to do with simply being around, visible and active in game.

That said, on to the points.

You repeat phrases as if doing so shapes reality, but the truth is that EVE near-completely lacks any balancing mechanisms between new and old players. New players are competing directly against multi-year, multi-account vets from day 1, right in the starter systems. EVE is harsh yes, but it isn’t fair and was never intended to be. The playing field is not level, there’s no way a new player can truly compete and saying “flat power curve” five thousand times won’t change that.

Yes, players can start EVE and survive through the stupid gauntlets and challenges and obscurities. They can learn how things work from 3rd party websites (rarely from the game itself). They can join corps and ask people for help and get a leg up. They can eventually find their niche and support their playstyle if they’re very persistent. It’s certainly possible - but the numbers show that fewer and fewer new players are bothering to do so.

Hello, Forsaken Fortress update, anyone? Citadel cores? Blackout? ECM and WCS nerfs? Resistance nerfs?

Actually it takes repetitive and boring content, and uses that to trigger even more repetitive and boring content with very brief flashes of interest before you have one still-bored but victorious player group, and one pissed off target. Having to hit Dscan and check local every 30 seconds for hours isn’t “introducing excitement”, nor is having to scout all the local systems before setting up, or creating 4 safe spots around the system, or needing to park a second account nearby with some method to help you escape.

It’s turning leisure time game play into an unpaid job with a long checklist, which CCP knows players will stop doing because it’s time-consuming busywork. So they know many players will get bored, stop paying attention, and then become prey. The victim process is built in. Because CCP can’t imagine how to make actually engaging PvP between combat parties more viable… so from day one, “eating the sleepy sheep” has been a big part of EVE design.

The danger, competitiveness and comparative freedom from rules is one of the few things EVE has as an attraction. Because let’s face it: PvE, PvP, the interface and game design are all pretty meh compared to better developed games. So EVE/CCP needs to keep this danger, but improve on it and make it better, more accessible, more rewarding for more players to participate in. Finding ever new ways to justify blowing up weak/bored/inattentive players and calling it ‘content’ is part of the problem - not the solution.

EVE is literally 65% boring drudgery with about 20% interesting activity and 15% danger/excitement. And that’s why the PCU is dropping. Not because “space victims” are forcing CCP to bow to their will.

The PvP community has always complained and demanded just as much from CCP as any other group of whiners. Complaints from various small portions of the player base aren’t the issue. Bad game design is.

If you want some useful viewpoints on how EVE’s game design is destroying the game, go check @Dunk_Dinkle 's blog link:

(Of course, since it levels valid criticisms rather than blaming “bad player attitudes”, some Karens complained and got it moved into the dead zone. Can’t be having actual discussion of real flaws in General!)

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Not that good to make Player “content”. It degrades the person behind the screen to a thing. Its in itself inhuman. Eve online is an extremely capitalistic game without any rules or regulations. The game actually focuses on the deepest human abysses. With this attitude, I am not surprised that the global economic crisis started in Iceland.

I think your brain just melted in the heat, friend

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So much this.

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I would love to see honest EVE advertising! Not the completely false “Star Wars battles in real time” videos they keep showing, nor the slow-paced, majestic sound-tracked ones: “EVE… it’s a vast universe… filled with danger… and excitement… and many factions… all doing things… are you still awake? How odd.”

Instead just man up and say “EVE. It’s a harsh and unfair world. Everyone is against you. Everyone wants to take what’s yours. Only the clever, strong and persistent survive. Can you rise to success in an unforgiving galaxy? Or will you be one of the frozen corpses drifting forever in space?”

Some changes were good, some very bad. However for a game primarily based on the player economy, making industry harder, slower and more complicated was a really dumb move. Classic CCP - “We want people to play more, so we’ll just introduce more complexity, confusion and grind to a primary aspect of the game.”

Cheap and accessible ships and fittings make for more gameplay and more PvP. (See my thread Ganking and PVP: Numbers in perspective)

Complicated manufacturing and expensive ships only slows everything down.

Yes, CCP created a problem with excessive resource mining and cap production. However that problem was actually an opportunity. The proper solution would have been:

  • Adjust supercap/cap/subcap balance so each has a separate role.
  • Create content for each of those roles, eg. Resource Wars, Triglavian Conduit type spawns, “dynamic bounty” system balancing.
  • Encourage the use, conflict and destruction of those assets.

Instead, what was CCP’s solution? “Let’s crush the economy, stifle manufacturing, and make things too expensive to risk losing. Because that will stimulate more gameplay!” It’s hard to imagine how CCP can so consistently be so stupid about their own game, but then, the same people have been making the same bad decisions for years.

This is a big one. From what I can tell with the vets I’ve talked with, the primary reason for leaving isn’t because of nerfs, or monetization, or ganking. It’s simply because they’ve given up believing that CCP is committed to making EVE better and adding more to it. CCP has clearly indicated that except for tweaking and the occasional event, EVE is finished. And they’re using EVE money to try to build “the next big thing”.

There are many other issues of course but if CCP could just focus on 1 or 2 main points like Wadiest’s or Dunk Dinkle’s, and honestly fix those issues, they’d restore a lot of interest in the game. And then they could focus on the next big point.

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This right here!

:heart:

And that is what makes EvE so glorious. It’s what sets it apart from all the other mmorpgs.

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Not at all, people choose to play that way. Almost every time I interact with people in a corp that has (much) older players in it, because I help out a lot of different folks in various ways, they’re almost always entangled in all kinds of interconnected forms of industry, using quite a few accounts, trying to do everything themselves. The whole chain from PI to gas mining, (moon) mining, invention and all the other stuff, by doing so they create their own second jobs. They never really actually do something like joining pvp fleets tho or do something that’s “fun”, instead they chose their own hell and then complain about said hell. Not all industrialists are like that, some do it in a smarter manner resulting in working less hard and more smart. Most… never get to that level and just slave away not realising they are their own slave master.

Actual newbies have a much higher percentage of “lets do fun stuff” people but the second they join such a corp full of miserable “numbers go up” vets those vets then effectively tell those newbies to do the same thing pulling them into their personal hellscape and effectively sucking the life and enjoyment not only out of the game but also out of those newbies who had the misfortune to join them.

Every ■■■■■■■ time.

Atm I’m helping a group of 4 new players who came from other games so they always play together. I’m trying to figure out what each player likes and dislikes, based on that I show and showcase them different play styles (trying my very best to keep my personal prefences out of it) which they then try for themselves with the guides and info I gave them. We talk about all kinds of different play style options, ship options, medium term goals and how they can choose playstyles and training goals that not only work for themselves but also will work for the group and fleets. I’m trying to have them end up with several playstyles in their arsenal so they can switch out from time to time so they don’t end up doing one thing only, hating their life.

Two of them are doing abyssals atm, just t0, trying out different ships to see if they like it and what kind of ships and weapons they prefer. One of them is aiming for exploration and will probably end up doing lots of wh stuff. The last one is aiming for production related stuff and we’re trying to find what specialisation works best for him, while explaining the “work smart, not hard”.

So of this very small sample group 1 in 4 is an industrialist, now compare that to any random eve group or corp where it’s practically 4 in 4 and they all whine about being bored and cry about how it’s difficult to make profits (it’s because there’s so many of them, duh).

Carebears, and I use this term in the loosest way possible, create their own hell.

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This is all what we ever wanted, nothing more, nothing less, just pain for our mistakes and tears for our rewards. No one ever cared about the game itself because it’s effing boring, the only source of fun, the real and unlimited one is all the possible ways we can inflict pain onto others and thrive in a universe where others try to inflict pain on you. For the rest i have Mario Kart and Tetris which are way more fun and challenging than all the stupid Eve game mechanics combined.

This is what makes the game fun for me too, well not inflicting pain, rather the adrenaline I get from putting myself against another real person.

That being said I know people that genuinely enjoy shooting rocks and making their industry spreadsheets. It’s not like they are playing the game wrong, they pay their fee and get what they want out of it.

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Everyone has the right to play however they want but the essence of this game IS the dog eat dog environment. One of my favorite period was when i tried to get good business deals in Curse years ago, finding good stuff to sell for a markup in Rens and trying to avoid all the gate camps in a Prowler filled with riches… oh boy, the Eve shakes when you jumped in Doril and a couple of Vagabonds were waiting for some meat to chew.

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That is the essence of the game for you and the majority. However saying you know what the meaning of a sandbox game is a little like declaring you’ve discovered the meaning of life. :slight_smile:

When I first started I was asked to play the game and I didn’t know anything about the pvp side I genuinely enjoyed the ships, the interface, the lore and was really happy flying about shooting rocks etc.

In fact my friend insisting on getting me into pvp before my time because he had an idea of what the game should be and how I was supposed to enjoying it burned me out the first time because he dragged me to nul sec before I had the skills to live there, real or in game.

The environment is dog eat dog but there are quiet parts of the universe where people can do their thing most of the time uninterrupted. When people complain about getting pvp inflicted upon them they are quite often setting up shop next to a trade hub or in a lvl 4 mission hub and wondering why they got ganked. This isn’t Cheers, if you go where people go then your not going to get to hang out with friendly faces, your going to be putting yourself in a very competitive environment.

It’s simple, what makes Eve famous? why some article were written ine the mainstream press? Because of mining? No, because of the abundant carnage, the backstabbing stories, the market and it’s influence, the tears and the amount of the losses of the great battles in dollars. Do you think the Wall Street Journal is going to write an article about PI or mining or abyssal space? We need blood, wars and tears, Eve is legendary for this, this is what Eve needs.
Any article in the mainstream press will bring a thousand time more people than a hundred articles in the specialized press. The aura of the game, the legend, this is why the game is still up and running while so many others are gone.
You know where the heart of the game lied? in all those articles in the press where people in the commentaries claimed Eve was the best game they’ll never play, thousands of them, and that they only read about because the stories the playerbase created, some were so good that movies could be made out of them. No one cared about he game, everyone cared about what people could create with it.

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I hear what your saying. Your preaching to the converted about what has made the game popular.

I’m just saying eve will always have its hermits who have a different idea about why the game is great and it’s not that they are playing wrong or have bad ideas.

I’ve never said they are playing wrong, in fact no one has ever played wrong because they all were part of the ecosystem. The solo dude, the F1 monkey, the competent solo warrior, the miner or the mogul, the dude that lasted 2 months because meh, they all were part of it. We need them, we need all of them, the griefers, the con artists, the victims, the mass murderes, the thieves, the carebears, the pirats, the good guys, the bad guys, all of them. There’s some place for everyone here and not only the people you like, those you despise must be here too. That’s inclusivity.

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Well I don’t think there is a space for the racists and other bigots. I genuinely believe the community is poorer for them and inclusivity doesn’t mean they get to say whatever they like too.

I think the most telling evidence which supports your statement is the current state of the other versions of EVE. The new Chinese server that’ll be opening is explicitly going to have an actually safe version of high sec. EVE Echoes already has a safe version of high sec as well. PvP has a place in the game, but I think it’s pretty clear to CCP that letting the PvP crowd cannibalize the entire game is not a good business practice.

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One of the quickest ways to make a grown carebear absolutely livid is to ask them to share. I’ve told stories about some of the interactions I’ve had with carebears while infiltrating their corporations for war target stuff, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before. If I wanted to really upset someone, one of the quickest ways to do it was to ask if I could join them in something they’re doing. Whether it’s mining (big organized mining ops aside), or doing some moon stuff (in the old system, at least), or even PI, they always got mad as hell at the prospects of sharing in their activity with someone else. Like I’d ask them where their PI planets are and if I could set up there too, and they’d start raging about how the increased interest would make the POCO owner notice and increase the tax. Then I’d say something like “oh, sorry, I’m new, I didn’t know,” but they’d be upset for like the rest of the evening. It was great.

Haha, yeah. I think I’ve mentioned this at least a dozen times by now. Whenever I dropped a war on a group like that, the new players were always excited (“let’s defend our home, I can bring a Corax!”), while the vets were bitching and moaning and telling everyone to log off for a week and play DotA “until the griefers go away.” And I would secretly pull away these new players into conversations and give them advice to leave their corporations, and join groups like BRAVE.

Genuine carebearism isn’t “just another legitimate way to play the game because EVE is a sandbox.” It’s quite literally mind poison and should be stamped out at every opportunity by force to the extent that these horrible players leave the game and never return. They are the ones keeping it from growing.

I think you might have some considerable misconceptions about how skills are formed.

Have you checked that game’s player count recently?

image

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I have not, but by virtue of being a mobile game, I would assume it makes CCP far more money than our version of the game regardless. Not that our version of the game has a particularly healthy player count anymore either.

And I would love to hear your proposal of how should it work for it to be better to both sides.

Unfortunately, so far all who said something along this line only came up with huge nerfs to the ganking. Which really isn’t “redesign” nor “rebalance”.

Anyway, I agree with most of what you wrote, but I don’t see how is @Shipwreck_Jones wrong in what he said though. I don’t think your points really apply to what he wrote in general.

No. What is built in is the unfairness which result of “no-rules” environment. Victim is a state of mind. I often gank these lowsec or nullsec PvPer, do they cry on forum how unfair it was? No, because they don’t consider themselves to be a victim. They treat them being ganked as screwing up and they will make sure it won’t happen again and will try to revenge up on you. This is the key difference here.

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