Not long ago I wrote a post entitled “Meaningful Content for a Casual Player.” I had just returned from a couple year hiatus from Eve, as happens so often for so many people, and I was looking for something that would bring the spark back. Eve is such an awesome game. Honestly, my group of friends (in real life) have been looking for an MMO to all get involved in, and while I sadly haven’t been able to convince them to try Eve, I have seen through searching all the other options that there simply isn’t anything else out there like Eve. So this is where I want to be MMO-wise.
But in my previous “meaningful content” thread, I concluded that I wanted to go to PVP because that is where the “meaningful” stuff is. I was gung-ho about it and I really meant what I said. And I still VERY MUCH appreciate the help that so many people gave me, even some going so far as sending me in-game invites to various activities.
But then I tried to do it. As I mentioned in that original post, my personal timetable kept me from joining any organized affairs, but I got fitted up in an incursus of doom (ha) and went looking to flip some missions. And I honestly didn’t care if I got blown out of the sky or not. I just wanted a fight! I wanted some excitement! What I got was . . . so much more boredom than I ever anticipated . . . The first guy I approached fled immediately, leaving behind his MTU. I actually got a thrill out of the fact I scared someone away in my mighty incursus (putting out a whopping 97dps!!!) and it only took me roughly 8 hours blasting away at the MTU to harvest the piddly loot stored within. What excitement this caused faded quickly as most people just picked up their MTU and continued with the mission, ignoring me. I was also actually very surprised to see many mission runners pairing up in the missions and that obviously meant they weren’t viable targets in any case. Others simply convo’d me and essentially asked me if I was lost, offering to hold my hand and tousle my hair a bit while they explained that space was dangerous, you shouldn’t go into mission pockets while flashing suspect because there are mean people out there and if you’re not careful, they’ll blow you up. The ironic thing was that these people were being so nice to me, trying to teach this newb how to not get killed, while I was the one that was just trying to get them to bite a little bit so I could try to kill THEM!! But here’s the thing, and I’m not trying to make a value judgment on regular mission flippers, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be a jerk to them and taunt them and lie to them and all those things to get them to open fire. I just couldn’t do it, it wasn’t in me. So I realized that as exciting as it seemed, mission flipping wasn’t for me. It was time consuming finding targets and switching ships and most people appear to have caught on to the gimmick in any case and won’t just start shooting at you as soon as you loot one of their wrecks, etc.
Then I tried both stealth bombers and pvp astero shenanigans in WH space and its just so boring! Scan, scan, scan . . . find a relic site that hasn’t been run. Make a perch so you can see them come on grid and immediately warp to them. Awesome. Good tactics, but then you wait. and wait. and wait. And they say running missions is boring?? Keep in mind I started all this in the hopes of doing something “meaningful” within an hour or so of play time. And honestly, being as hyped as I was, I generally gave it at least two hours a night, sacrificing sleep that I shouldn’t have sacrificed, in an effort to make something awesome happen. It didn’t.
So then I figured I’d split the difference. If I went out into nullsec to do some exploring myself, I could actually DO SOMETHING and yet be “interacting meaningfully” with the people who would like to kill me. Over the course of 3 days and probably 6-7 hours of total play time, I managed to scan my way through a chain of wormholes and plop myself into gurista pirate nullsec and navigate through two different constellations . . . I evaded a few bubble camps by using the age-old cloak/MWD trick and felt minor satisfaction as I saw a bunch of frigates zooming around trying to decloak me . . . but then I went along my way. And it wasn’t a merry way, it was a tedious, boring, frustrating way. Systems filled with navy vexors ratting so I don’t dare stop long enough to scan anything or system after system that was empty of both players and cosmic signatures. nothing. nothing. nothing. Over that 6-7 hour total play time, what with finding my way to nullsec in the first place, dodging nullbears, etc, I finally found another hole that would take me home with a whopping 140 million isk in my hold. Well, at least its something. And then I find this WH system that looks like its been untouched for days. I do my scans, nothing happening. Theres only a few citadels that show no activity. Nothing on dscan, no probes, the system is full of signatures. I find a relic site. I do the relic site. A proteus uncloaks in the relic site. I blow up in the relic site. Sigh. I was spamming dscan, doing everything I should have as best I could. I missed him. I died. And honestly I didn’t give two hoots about the lossmail. I didn’t care at all about losing the ship. I didn’t even care about losing 140 million isk. What I cared about was the fact that even GETTING the 140 million isk was such an experience of frustration and tedium and now, I didn’t even have the isk to show for it. Yes, you can say, “Should have been more vigilant as you did that relic site, you should have been able to get away.” Ok, sure. But how can you stay at 110% vigilance when everything until that point has just been tedium and boredom? And in any case, if it had been fun GETTING the 140 million isk, it wouldn’t have been that much of a bummer to LOSE it, because at least I had the FUN experience of GAINING it. But as it was, I had nothing. No isk. No fun experience. Nothing. Just a weekend of wasted time being subjected to, I’ll say it once again, tedium, frustration and boredom.
And that’s why I think I’ll be embracing the carebear lifestyle as my “meaningful” content. Because I can actually make progress in something. I can have a much more stable expectation of being ahead of the game today as compared to yesterday. I think it has to do with an element of control. And I don’t mean controlling “threats,” but rather controlling the experience itself. After all, this is a game and when I sit down to play a game its because I’m looking for a particular experience.
Again, please don’t say I’m simply mad because I lost a ship. Look at my killboard, I’ve lost a TON of a ships. What makes me frustrated is that there was no fun at any point of that experience at all, not in gaining the isk, not in losing the isk, etc, which made losing the ship “meh.” I didn’t even try to run with my capsule because I was just going to self-destruct to get home anyway, might as well let the other guy feel an actual moment of happiness when he blows me up.
I think that many carebear activites are beneficial for a player like me not because it keeps us “safe,” (after all, I was honestly out there looking for fights) but because it limits the dependence on random chance. “Just keep at it, eventually you’ll find that big score” is just not that alluring to me. Depending on the RNG gods to drop something in your lap is not compelling to me.
Anyway, this post is way too long as it is and it’s purpose is just as much to help me sort out my own thoughts as anything else, anyway.
Conclusion: Sometimes carebears are carebears because they don’t want to fight. Space is scary. BUT SOMETIMES people are carebears because they don’t want to be at the mercy of the RNG gods (you know what i mean, basic randomness, chance, waiting around forever for something to happen and you have no control over whether it does or not, etc). I want to ACCOMPLISH something in my limited time in game. And I think the carebear life is probably the best mode in which to actually do that.
If I have missed something, then by all means, enlighten me. I want to learn.