They Came Here to be Podkilled, too

Most of the players that stick with EVE are attracted by one aspect of it that’s quite unusual in the MMO world – it’s possible to lose something into which you have invested a substantial amount of effort.

Usually, after the loss you realize that you were being kind of reckless. Sometimes, like Kidabeybe Ahmed in his vid series about his first 30 days in EVE Online, you have the excuse that you are just a noob. CCP’s Community Spotlight post about him and his series says this:

Though he describes that as a “somewhat upsetting experience” and a “blunder”, it made him realize one of the great things EVE offers; the constant fear of loss. Other games don’t really penalize you for deaths or failures, at least not to the extent EVE does. It is a game where you can really lose a lot of your hard earned money, assets, time, and pride simply because you chose a bad strategy, made a mistake, were incompetent, or (like Kudabeybe) became complacent.
But it is also one of the biggest draws EVE has, and Kudabeybe finds it no different. There are so many little adventures, lessons, and headaches that he’s gone through that he cannot just summarize it simply.

Ayup. (I’m from the down-east region of Norrath, did you know that? They are known for their fabulous crimson locks there. Really.)

Here’s the video of the loss.

If you’ve played EVE at all, you’re going to start cringing at some point while watching that. You know, the “You’re doing WHAT?” reaction.

My noob loss of this nature came about 2-3 weeks in, when I did a haul through lowsec in an Iteron 2, I think. I put it on AP. It was late at night, I was half-asleep at the keyboard. I’d done similar hauls before and had seen no pirates. I told my corpmates that EVE just didn’t seem dangerous enough. I didn’t really need to be taught that lesson twice.

For the longest time, I had some anger toward the guy that ganked me. I didn’t understand why anyone would do that. At this point I realize that it’s for the loot. And the killmail. EVE is about asymmetric combat. You can be a herbivore, and work on ways to not be lunch. Or you can be a carnivore, and try to figure out more ways to have lunch. You can even be a sort of omnivore, spicing up your stable diet of industrialism with bits of tasty pvp now and again. Highsec industrial players are often called carebears, but that’s ignoring the fact that bears are actually kind of scary.

But it isn’t just noobs that do dumb things and lose stuff they didn’t want to lose. This morning The Mittani announced that the Goons had lost a jump freighter with a station egg inside. They lit a cyno with a neut in system. Back when I was a rookie cyno lighter, my elders (well, in EVE experience, anyway) told me never, never, NEVER do this.

Things are different if you own half of Nullsec, I guess. To his credit, Mittens (The Mittani) said no. They did it anyway. The mind boggles.

A station egg is a thingy that you can haul around which eventually assembles itself into a new station. I can’t give you a solid valuation for one, but my wild-assed guess is that it runs about 10 billion ISK. The JF was 4 billion. Maybe it was 20 billion ISK. But the ISK isn’t the only problem, it’s also the opportunity cost. There isn’t exactly a large, accessible market in station eggs. This could set back strategic plans by several weeks, opportunities may be lost entirely because, well, let’s just say that operational security is dead.

Early MMOs had a fairly serious death penalty. I can remember epic corpse runs in Everquest. I remember losing a couple more trying to get the first one back. All that stuff made it that much sweeter when I managed to sneak into the deepest parts of Neriak on some quest. But MMOs have been trending away from this, with death penalties getting smaller and smaller. Anyone wishing to appeal to the mass market probably has to do that, because who volunteers, no, strike that, who pays money to feel like an idiot some of the time. Somehow, though it’s different when it’s other players doing it.