Monday, April 16, 2012

What is Fun in Eve Online?

Mama told me not to come...... 
Mama told me not to come..... 
She said, that ain't the way have fun, son. 
That ain't the way have fun!
Tom Jones - Mama Told Me not to Come.

I'm having fun in Eve. Are you?

Of course you are, otherwise you'd not play it. But what are you doing to have that fun? And does everyone think that what you are doing is fun too? Probably not. Eve Online is not a single game. I've referred back to Call of Duty in the past, a nice simple game I can jump on the XBox and have a quick blast. Whilst you can be close quarters with a shotgun, somewhere in the middle with an assault rifle, out further away with a light machine gun or sniper rifle, the choices in the game are the same. See someone, shoot them them in the face with something (steady!) and that's pretty much it. In the sandbox of Eve Online, you have countless choices.

We entered an Alliance with Wolfsbridgade last year as we thought they were just like us. A PvP corp with some great, like-minded people who enjoyed the same things as we did. Which they are, no doubt about that. Unfortunately, like many things in life, it's only when you take the relationship to the "next level" do the slight, previously unseen, differences and cracks appear. It's like moving in with the love of your life. You've been with each other for a year, you're very much in love, and never had an argument and had a great relationship thus far. You are at it like rabbits daily and you make all your friends sick with your lovey-dovey public displays of affection all the time. Then you move in together.... and after a month you are ready to kill each other and you split up!

And the same can happen in Eve, although we weren't "at it like rabbits" with WBR before we moved in together. Well.... then again I'm not sure about the two CEO's who seemed to me working a bit too closely together ;)

How people define fun is a major issue in corporations and alliances and varies massively between Eve players.

How do I have fun in Eve Online? I like PvP. However when I started I was into hi-sec level 4 combat missioning. In the past, I've even been known to (/bows head in shame) mine! However I will say in my defense I don't class mining as "fun". I did it for semi-afk cash with 1 Orca with cargo expander's and cargo rigs plus two hulks, again with cargo expander mods and rigs. Get the Hulks jetcan mining, use Orca to scoop up ore and read a good book (ideally with naughty bits in it to make up for the fact that I'm mining. A good Richard Laymon or Vince Flynn always does the trick) as it takes a fair time to fill a Hulk fitted like that and even longer to fill the Orca.

Ask 1,000 Eve players on the above, some will agree with me on the PvP, some will see the hi-sec missioning and would rather skip through a field of waist-tall stinging nettles in the nude. Others will see the PvP and run off screaming and hide behind a tatty red sofa. Right now, 5 serious-serious PvP'rs have committed ritual seboku after finding out they've been killed by someone who has been known to go mining!

So, with PvP it's a case of it's either fun for you or it is not fun for you? Marmite style? Nope, not that simple I'm afraid. There are different styles of PvP and some are not always compatible with each other. Lets take the two extremes.

Fun-Fun PvP
The Fun-Fun PvP'r is out for kills and a laugh. He'll take the fight even if it looks unlikely he'll win, because if he does win, well that's the best feeling in the world. Overcoming the odds to come out on top. He's not really bothered if his ship goes pop. After all, it's only pixels in the end, and so what if it pulls the killboard efficiency down a bit. It's still a good fight, win or lose. Of course he prefers to win, but not at the expense of not fighting often. When you kill a Fun-Fun PvP'r you'll get a "gf" in local or a bit of fun banter. To be honest, he's probably drunk.

Serious-Serious PvP
The Serious-serious PvP'r wants to win EVERY time. In fact he'll dock up or run unless he is sure that he'll win. Killboard efficiency is king and he'll only risk a ship and fit if he knows he'll win 100%. Any fleet he is in must be the perfect composition with logistics, E-War, DPS and other ship types set up exactly right. Woe betide anyone who is not in a correctly fitted ship or makes a mistake in fleet. There will be yelling, there will be raging! The enemy will be analysed and tactics discussed and thought through. Numbers will be crunched and if it is a certain win, he'll engage. If not, he won't fight. If you do manage to kill him, you may be raged at in local, there may be tears. Your "gf" in local may go unanswered as he turns a bright shade of red. Oh and he'll be sober as a judge. "Drinking reduces reaction time and in Eve it's all about reaction time and..... blah blah blah"

Both the above players are having their own fun in PvP, however the play-styles are vastly different and the one play-style is not seen as fun to the other. In between those two extremes there are many, many levels as you become more fun or more serious (to be honest I've not yet met the later category but I'm sure he exists as I've known a few edging that way). But whatever the "level" of your seriousness, you're having fun, or at least I hope you are. I have nothing against the serious-serious PvP'r. If that's how you want to play that's up to you. However I'm only a few grades up the scale from the Fun-Fun PvP I'm afraid so my play-style is likely to repulse you like a garlic-scented-crucifix-washed-in-holy-water to a vampire (a proper vampire, not a gay sparkly one).

"But surely your having fun when you are winning?" This being the argument used by the ones at the more "serious" end of the spectrum. Yes and no. Of course I want to win, losing is not fun. But at what price.....? I don't want to spend my game time training, EFT warrioring, planning and discussing tactics, not undocking unless I've got the exact right fit and 110% I don't want to spend it sober!!!!!

"You must do that, you mustn't do that, this is the fit you WILL use, right Director X you need to bollock corp member Y for that fit/lemmingism/fail-jump etc. Right everyone onto SiSi now for mandatory training!". Defo not for me!

Now there are clearly some people in-game who would find this fun. I don't. So if it means not winning as regular but not having to do the above, that's fine by me. Problem is that the more serious PvP player has great difficulty relating to that. It's like Captain Jack Sparrow and his rum. "I cannot be arse with all that, I just want to log in, undock and have fun", "But... the WIN?", "Yeah but to be at that level you need to do all that extra crap I don't want to do.", "But, but why's the win gone?"


I'm still not sure I'm making myself completely clear here. Take the analogy of a pub football team (soccer team for our American friends). Do they train five nights a week? Do they rest the night before a Sunday match meaning they are in bed early on the Saturday night? Do they spend all Sunday morning working out tactics? If they lose do they spend all Sunday afternoon dissecting their performance. Do individuals get a lecture/bollocking if they did something wrong? Are players picked for their footballing ability and not their personality? Are top-of-the-range football boots and shin pads stipulated as mandatory kit?


They'd win a lot more if they did, but they don't. They train once a week max and really that's just an excuse to get out away from the wife for a few hours and go down the pub for a couple of pints and a laugh after training. They go out on the town and have a good time on the Saturday night. They turn up for the game with a hangover, have a good game win or lose and then go for a couple of pints and a laugh after with the team. The players are a group of friends, yes there are probably better players out there but it's a group of mates. Even if Mike "The Flying Potato" Smith is not the greatest goalie, he's a right laugh to have around. If they lose are they depressed and sulky? Is their football life unfulfilled? Do they quit the team in a spectacular emo-rage? Of course not, they are having a good time. It's not always about the win!


Now some reading the above will be screaming "YOU CANNOT COMPARE EVE ONLINE TO SUNDAY FOOTBALL!!!!" others, and I know this for a fact as I've used the above recently, will agree with it and say that's how they like their Eve.

A roam we had last year was a good example (See "Teks Shiny Birthday Fleet" here). The majority of the fleet was hammered and flying 1bn ISK ships. If we'd run into an organised fleet we'd have been in serious problems. But that was the best roam we've had in ages. Laughing so hard you nearly cry, plenty of T&A in chat, a few kills but most importantly a very good time. It was a social fleet. Battle comms it was not :) I think the best way to put it is our fleet was the Howard Stern radio show of Eve that night. Could it have been better? Of course it could. We needed to run into an incompetent fleet with a few caps and wtfpwn them and we needed Eelis back on comms and shooting gate guns by accident!. However it can work, I've seen SoTF do this before. A drunken roam, run into a fleet and suddenly everyone sobers up, we move to battle comms, wipe out the other fleet, loot the field and jump out and instantly return to drunken lolz.

Now how about running a corp? Are the guys doing that having fun? Of course they are. No matter how much we Directors and CEO's bitch and moan, it's fun and a sense of achievement. If it wasn't, then why on earth, or in space, would you do it?

But again, how you have that fun will vary. To be honest, SoTF don't make lots of long-term plans. We make it possible for our corp members to log on when they want, fight, drink, chat and socialise with a great bunch of people, get some kills and log off. Basically to have that sort of fun playing Eve. We've been doing that for years now and so far it's worked well. Our time in R.A.G.E. deviated from that and it caused us problems. So we stopped it and went back to our roots!

But that style of management isn't for everyone. Some people want business plans, short, medium and long term strategic goals, meetings with minutes taken. Now I have to assume that is fun for them. It's what they enjoy doing. I do not see that as fun in the same way a low-sec PvP pilot cannot see the "fun" in hi-sec mining. We even have people in Corp who would probably like us more serious and focused. Aiming to be like Pandemic Legion, Rooks and Kings, Snuffbox and the other well known good PvP corps/alliances.

However, we know we'll never get there with our current philosophy. For me, I accepted that whole heatedly, others may not.

For a fact, I know my attitude drives certain people in the game mad. They just cannot get it. Why don't I want to be number 1, the best, the top of the top, etc. I don't even try explaining anymore. If you are one of those who want to be best of the best, good luck to you. I wish you every success. Nice to have ambition. However, in game I'm happy with "fun-fun-serious internet spaceships" and not "serious-serious-serious internet spaceships".

We all define fun as something different, and lets be grateful for that. We all have different goals in life and Eve, different definitions of fun and enjoyment, we all like something slightly different. I try to do the "best of the best" in my career. I do business plans and spreadsheets, in fact my work life is full of bloody spreadsheets. May be that is the real reason for how I am in game. We've all heard of the people in positions of great power getting caught with Ms Whiplash walking over their back in thigh-high, high-heeled leather boots dominating and degrading them whilst spanking them with wet celery which gets their rocks off. Their release is to have the opposite of their working life in their (very) private life. May be I'm the same! Oi!!! I meant as in my Eve life is the opposite of my working life, I have no wish for the other thing, thank you very much! Well..... if it was Catherine Zeta Jones, Angelina Jolie or Megan Fox then may be I could put up with it for 5 minutes or so as long as we switched "sides" after the 5 minutes....

If we all liked the same thing would Eve work? No it wouldn't. Have a look at the list below I've done off the top of my head of what "career" you can do in Eve.

Industrialist building spaceships, equipment, drones and ammo
Asteroid Mining - Hi-sec, lo-sec, null-sec or even WH
Ice harvesting
Gas harvesting
Hi-Sec Missioning
Lo-Sec Missioning
FW Missioning
Pirate Missioning
Epic arcs
Belt Ratting
Speculating on the markets
Logistics (as in moving goods around)
Militia warfare (pure PvP)
Militia warfare (plexing and capturing systems)
Hi-sec wars
Hi-sec griefing
Alliance management
Corp management
Coalition management
PoS management
Moon harvesting
Planetary Interaction
Spying/espionage (infiltrating an enemy corp/alliance)
Fraud (Titans4u style)
Con Artist (scamming)
Corp thief
Combat booster production (join in-game channel "Upchat" to meet some shady
people who will "sort you out")
Suicide ganker
etc, etc, etc

Now how many of those do you find fun? How many of those would you rather be skipping naked though that field of nettles I mentioned earlier. However we need all those "jobs" above to create the things we need in game, to keep Eve an interesting universe and to attract new blood and keep the game going. We need all of these things doing by someone.

Now aren't you thankfully that we all have different definitions of fun!



  2. I'm definitely one of those that PVPs for Fun and the Rush of Insane victories.

    (and you're right, I don't care how much I die, but my kill/death ratio is still decent because I hate flying back to Jita to refit)

    Drinking certainly makes it more fun, but I enjoy "Balls to the Wall" PVP in any condition.

    I play EVE because I enjoy the challenge and the thrill. Big fleets just don't offer that, which is why I teach people to solo and small gang to get the most out of EVE.