Saturday 14 November 2015

Day 1247 : The Price of Knowledge and How To Be Back

I'm back spending some time in New Eden. Lured back by news of upcoming changes. The greatest of these being the announcement of the plans for the sale of skill points. I don't really need to use it but I love the idea of it. I've read so many wary acceptance statements, and quite a lot more fearful declarations but I can't help feeling it's good for the game. Part of me suspects that it's another step on the road to free-to-play (even before I read this excellent tinfoil hat version) . I'm still thinking about the impacts of F2P but since EVE will always be "hard" no matter your skills, or even your wallet, how bad could it be? Good job they're updating EVE with Brain In A Box then they can handle the influx. Presumably the increase in the number of explosions on grid will be as exponential as the dreaded learning curve.

Back to the skills. Why do I love the idea of the ability to buy knowledge (thought not the ability to apply that knowledge)? I guess it's because I'm a fan of plans. Having a plan, finding out how to enact a plan and then bending your effort towards completing that plan. There is fun. EVE is great for plans, there is always something else to try and do. The method of obtaining the ability to do something is much more important than actually doing it once you can. It's a journey thing. But. The amount of times in EVE I've had a plan and then it's turned into "made the skill plan, now sit back and wait". See, I have a problem. I can't just go off half cocked. I'm a coward. Fools rush in and have all the fun. I sit back and glory in the safety of my cloud based harp performance. Essentially I'm bored because of fear. In a game where fear is the underlying element of attraction. The shakes this game can cause, the visceral dread, the adrenaline spikes. No gaming experience I've ever had matches it. Enough of fear, that's a story for another day. And yes, I have a plan to get over that too.

Within a day of returning I had a plan for an alt. I grabbed an old PLEX, I activated the characters training with the month worth of skills it would take me to get there. Then I sat back. I did nothing. I thought to myself "I'll be able to explore that part of the game in a month or so". I was about to crash back out of EVE, just like the last couple of times I'd restarted. I couldn't help but think of when I'd felt the same in my early EVE career. What had kept me going back then? I had plenty to distract me. I had aims that could only be completed by engaging with the game. Despite this there were always those moment where I thought "So, next week" or "In a month or two". Thankfully I was off exploring and experimenting back then. Hell, sometimes I was even mining.

Fortunately I'd started reading round the blogosphere again. I can't recall what particular post caused it but it was Neville Smit writing somewhere. Talking about plans and returning to EVE. So I looked up my old plans notes. There was a wealth of minor achievements there that I'd never got around to. Tiny things, lots of pointless things mainly but lots to do. I put one foot on the road and a week later I was shouting as I warped a Stratios home from an ill thought out attempt at a Ghost Site. For the record, the cruisers appeared after a minute and also, they hit very, very, hard. Thankfully they get distracted when an alt Caracal warps in and side swipes them with a rash of rapid lights before warping out. Either that, or they are unforgivably slow. Warp disruption icons are the scariest thing I have ever seen.

Maybe I played too many theme park games where you actively play/work towards a goal. Maybe, if new players, inevitably mainly from theme park world, could work towards their goals they could play the game as a mean to an ends in the game. Maybe then they could feel the possibilities we all have and they'd be in game while they realised them. Then they'd have the experiences which are more important than what they were actually working towards. Difficulty and loss would be part of the game and not a threat.

Maybe "theme park" has become a swear word and we're scared of it when it comes to our sandbox. I'm probably just dancing around the topic of "player engagement".

Maybe I confused "plan" with "skill plan".

Maybe I'm just a boring old coward. That has to end. I have a plan. This one can only be actioned by playing the game. What's the worst that could happen? The plan I have doesn't have any skill points attached to it, otherwise I'd wait another month or two before engaging.

EVE Track of the Day

I Need Never Get Old - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

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