Friday, 7 March 2014

Eve, Winning, and Tears

It seems that a lot of EVE players enjoy tears to an obsessive degree.  This has given rise to the notion that "EVE players are mean".  Is this true?  And *why*?  I think it's because of the way EVE works. 

EVE is complicated, and one of the complexities is "who won?"

I think we can all agree that many EVE players are intensely competitive.  This is great, except it's not always obvious who "won".  Say Bob is flying around in a vexor, and Joe (in a retribution) and Mike (in a hurricane) hate his guts.  Joe finds Bobs, points his vexor, and Mike warps in and blows up Bob... but not before Bob blows up Joe's retribution.   Who won here?

Well obviously Mike and Joe accomplished their goal of ganking Bob.  However, depending on the fit, it's very possible that Bob won the Isk war.  Trading a t1 cruiser with a cheap fit for a faction-fit assault frigate is a good trade.   But even that's not clear.  Maybe Joe is super space rich and doesn't care about losing dozens of AFs, while Bob is dirt poor.  

Or maybe Bob knew damned well that Mike and Joe were going to gank him, and was distracting them so that Jane's Iteron V, filled with loot, could go by unmolested!  So, who won here, how can you tell? 

In a way, the flexibility of "what is winning" is good.  It leads to very varied and creative gameplay.  In RvB for example, "winning" is defining by having a good fight.  One of my best fight ever is one of those where no one could figure out who was the winner - except all of us (a fight dubbed "the lion vs wolves", I will definitely post it later).

But it can also lead to less positive aspects.  Because in such ambiguous cases, often who "won" is decided by who's upset and who's not - ie tears.

And this is why many EVE players are so obsessed with tears.  Tears are proof of winning.  Tears mean victory!  And EVE players are always ready to "game the system", so whatever is needed to create tears is the path to victory.  This leads to griefing and aggressive forum posting - the easiest, best way to get tears often doesn't even involve logging in!   If the other person is upset, you know you won... doesn't really matter how you made them upset.

Can we change this?  I'm not sure how.  But I don't think it's a great thing.  Yes, it's just a game.  But you can never, ever get tears from a hurricane, or a hulk or a billion isks...

Only players shed tears.

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