The Mittani, Goonswarm leader, has a very interesting post up about events that are very close to home for me. His thesis is that Eve offers a paralyzing amount of choices to the veteran player, and that one of the things that successful alliances and corps provide is structure and direction.
Interesting stuff it is.
One of them most interesting quotes was at the end:
In EVE, as in modern society as a whole, what we think we want is often not what we actually desire. We think we want choice and freedom and the ability to do anything at any time, yet in practice people want to be given some kind of purpose and a direction. That doesn’t mean that people want to sign on to an authoritarian organization which micromanages and abuses them (see OWN Alliance) but that we should be mindful of the anxiety and effort pointless decision making causes – and the strategic risk which stems from this, with members quitting or not logging in because of it.
OWN Alliance used to be our neighbors. They left. As I have heard it, they stopped paying rent to the Goons, though I have not heard the source of their unhappiness. I’ve also heard that Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST), another resident of Deklein, trolled them mercilessly, and that this contributed to their departure. As it turns out, TEST has now been disinvited to continue living in Deklein, and has been trolling my alliance that “we will be next”. I don’t see it, but what do I know?
Anyway, thinking about choices and structure:
One of the approaches I take to any new game is, “How can I recreate Toldain in this new game?” This gives me some additional structure, a way to sort through the material of the game. That structure was really valuable in EVE, though my efforts to recreate Toldain have only been partially successful. I have fabulous red hair, it’s true, and the upcoming new character generator may even improve on it. But the part where I’m a charismatic fellow who can turn an enemy into an admirer, not so much. There is no such thing as “charm person” in Eve. I can’t make rat ships fight for me instead of against me. And I certainly can’t do that with the human opponents. At least, not with any game mechanic.
Mezzing is there, sort of. One can jam an enemy with Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) or use other electronic warfare to make it hard for them to attack you. These measures don’t seem all that effective or useful in pve combat though, so I’ve mostly ignored them.
One of the decisions I made early on was to boost my Charisma score and train my Social skill. It was my first skill trained to 5. I only barely understood what that did for me, though now it’s clear that its mostly (exclusively?) useful for missioning to gain faction. Well, I hardly ever do that at the moment, since I live in 0.0. I clone jump to Empire every so often, and go harvest datacores from the research agents I’m running. Then I run a few missions to boost faction with corps, so I can hire even better research agents. So it isn’t completely wasted.
I’ve long since respecced though, and shifted my respec points into Intelligence (another enduring Toldainish quality) and Perception (kind of new territory). I’ve been training a lot of R&D skills. Toldain is also a crafter, and I always pick jewelry if I can in other MMOs. Fine work, high beauty, no heavy lifting – it’s perfect for a pansy elf such as myself.
If only players could make implants, I’d try to make those. As it is, I chose to make drones (after the obligatory apprenticeship period making ammunition at close to zero profit margin.) Because you see, they seem to me like a pretty necklace decorating a beautiful ship.
Hey, that’s the best I can do.
When I started playing Eve I first heard about Goonswarm as the bad boys of Eve, and I still think that reputation is deserved. But the more I look, the smarter they seem. They are more organized and thoughtful than most everyone else, and they are very good at motivating their troops. While they don’t seem to be the least bit afraid to wear the black hat, they have remained friends with certain other alliances in the game for a long time. Mitten’s latest article doesn’t do anything to damage the impressions I’ve had.