Point on Target!
This week I've spent some time examining the issue of supposed safety within the confines of the Eve sandbox. My intention was to build up over several posts to some conclusions regarding issues that I believe are important for the long-term success of this game we all love.
I am pro-Eve. Always have been. Which means I am pro all play styles. I strongly believe in the power of the sandbox, the right of all players to choose whatever style of play they want to pursue. From elite solo fighter to perma-docked market trader, we all have a part to play in the grand scheme. I do also happen to be an advocate for a much more aggressive style of play called Piracy. I believe it is the most fun that Eve has to offer, the most challenging and rewarding existence in all of New Eden. Those two things can and do exist at the same time.
I haven't always been a Pirate. And this week I also spent some time promoting my own bonafides in that regard. There isn't much in this game I haven't tried. And I pursued them all with the same vigor and enthusiasm that I now do Piracy. And some day, I may move on into yet another play style.
The safest you can be within Eve is never undocking. The most dangerous you can be is flying solo thru enemy territory. In-between exists an entire spectrum of play and engagement. That is, after all, the heart of the sandbox. The "choose your own adventure" style of story.
The truth is, there is no "right" answer. One choice is not inherently better or worse than another. What they are, in the final analysis, are choices. And choice brings with it elements of the unknown. The unknown, as in real life, lurks around every corner. It might be a black cat, or it could be three hoodlums with a baseball bat.
In the end we are all afforded the opportunity to exist together, to struggle, to find our own path, together in this playground that CCP has kindly built for us. What we choose to do within the confines of that playground is our choice. There will be bullies in our playground, those that run and skip, those that organize into teams, those that spin in circles on the merry-go-round, and those that lurk on the edges. That is the nature of human nature. And Eve is no different.
That doesn't mean that those of us who have seen the playground at work can't offer advice and guidance to those that are new, the vistors, or the kid that just moved here from Jersey. We know how the playground works, who the bullies are, how the system works, and how "we think" you'd be best served to function. That is the nature of advice. But we also know, because we've been there ourselves, that the best lessons are the ones you learn yourself.
I also believe that CCP could be doing much more to empower the new player experience and expose the young to the perils and rewards of the playground. I've spent a lot of time over the last four years on this blog promoting that ideal, from proposing solutions to discussing it over and over again. I think it is the singular issue to launch the next decade from. CCP has done a tremendous job since Incarna in building a universe that makes more sense to us existing players than it ever has before. Much remains to be done certainly, this is a journey and not a destination. But I believe the focus should be on getting more of our new players to stay the course.
Especially in light of DUST, we may be experiencing a boom in those willing to give Eve a try.
Next I will spend some time - once again - on how we can improve the new player experience without hiding the realities of Eve.