Culture of Apologists

This is just a mini-post, one family funeral today and one tomorrow. But something has been rattling around in my head and I thought this might be the place to mention it out loud.

Open recruitment, few rules, relaxed atmosphere, undock and fight mentality, certainly Stay Frosty isn't like many other corporations. And during the last month or so I've talked to well over 100 players interested in joining and trying this new thing out for themselves. Most don't believe it at first, or have their doubts. Which is natural and understandable. That isn't the surprising part, this is after all Eve.

The other common thread, which I have found rather surprising, has been the apologies. This isn't a criticism of any one player, but rather the odd position that Eve has put so many people into that they feel it incumbent upon themselves to apologize for things beyond their control.

"Sorry, but I don't play as much as I should."  "I'm sorry, but I'm changing jobs and won't be on much in the next month."  "My apologies, I can't be on comms right now, the baby needs feeding."  "Apologies, I'm attending E3 and won't be very helpful this week." ( I'm making these up btw, they don't relate to anyone specifically.) This list could be very long, but I think you get the idea.

What is it about our beloved game that instills such need? The players are not wrong, so what are they actually sorry about? That they have real lives?

Is this a result of the culture that Eve has established over the last decade? A culture of responsibility, of CTAs and alarm-clock ops, of organized roams and established roles? If so, I sincerely worry about the long-term viability of such a culture. The need to apologize for something beyond your control, while on an individual basis is certainly understandable, on a wide-spread basis it is rather troublesome.

Many people say RL > Eve, but do they really mean it? Obviously not based on the feedback I've been getting. And this isn't just an observation based on the last month, but rather one based on the last five years. It is a powerful and often overwhelming problem. I've experienced it myself. I've left corporations, brought down entire Alliances, based simply on changes to my personal circumstances. I know where this feeling stems from.

It is one of the primary reasons I built a "no-apology" corporation. A place where no one ever needs to feel bad that they can't play today, or this week. Or that they have to drop fleet because the baby is awake.

You should want to play Eve because it is fun. Not because you feel you have to.



14 comments:

  1. I think a lot of it is just that EvE really is a 24-hour world. There's always something that could be done and always something that would change if your corp had just one more person logged on.

    In regards to whether this is a good or bad thing it's as Lance Henrikson's character on the old show Millennium oft said "It's my gift, it's my curse."

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  2. Playing EvE does engender a certain feeling of responsibility to friends, corpmates and allies... but I don't think it is something CCP planned or something people in EvE are consciously creating... it comes from inside, from the pure and simple fact of the bonds created between the very real people who play, and in the doing, live out their virtual lives, in EvE. And, to me, RL>EVE is very real but EVE=REAL is also true.

    Hence the conflict that causes a 52 yo father and professional IT tech to apologize for not logging onto a computer game at a certain point stems from his
    (1) desire to simply fly spaceships in the AMAZING 'verse CCP has created and
    (B) knowledge that one more DPS/Tackle/Logi ship on fleet and on grid could possibly make the difference between logging on to heavy losses and weeks, if not months of hard work ahead to rebuild or logging on to the sound of his friends (on Mumble or TS) raised in the victorious LOLing and virtual back slapping that follows a successful defense or successful Op against those gods forsaken and terribad "_________" (insert Enemy of your choice).

    EVE may not be real, but as Corelin pointed out quite well in his most recent post("What Makes EVE Matter")... 'Loss' in EvE IS very real. we all have a stake on the table in this MMO... a very real stake in time and trust and in virtual blood, sweat and tears... and we don't like it when our two realities (EvE and the one with kids and bills etc.) conflict. And so we apologize for not living up to our self imposed responsibilities, which is completely normal and is a mark of how very good a virtuality CCP has created.

    Stay Frosty sounds more like the ideal of a Pirate society... an attempt at a stable anarchy. A group, working together with an absolute minimum of rules or structure. In order for this to work, as I am sure you know, the goals of the members must be very closely aligned and where goals diverge the individuals must be able to manage those goals separately without conflict. But, Stay Frosty still has to have controls, rules, oversight and leadership for the group to maintain that stability.

    To fulfill this you have to intentionally plan against the need for CTA's, large group Ops and ensure your members assets are secure. In EVE this means in an NPC station that CANNOT be attacked and ensuring access (Directorship) is as minimal as possible. In HBHI we have only three Directors and we are me, my son and my son-by-another-father. Our members 'stuff' is safe from corp theft because of this. But, we accept and want the risks inherent in life in Anoikis, so ALL our our stuff (in the hole) is at risk from outside forces... Hence we may get a txt msg that our C6 has been invaded or that our POSes are under attack, "Logon if you can!"... but that's the game we want to play. =]

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    1. Like you I am well aware of the condition and its reasons for existing. Goodness knows I am just as guilty as anyone. Perhaps it is that simple, and a testament to how good Eve really is. We all feel a tinge of separation anxiety when apart from our virtual world and those that we've come to know within that world.

      Nothing inherently wrong with that.

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    2. As you say, perhaps it is that simple... it is for me.

      I get to hang out and do fascinating shit with my sons, both are men I not only love as/like a father, but respect as men and Marines and that I really like as a chill bros.

      Our corpmates, few though they be (and mebbe because they are few) are important to me/us because it is just we few against 'them'...

      And our Allies... well, seriously, you'd have to be on Mumble sometime to understand why we love flying with em... I sure as hell can't put it into words other than, "We few, the really weird few, this band of Jokers"... =]

      And that, is just that. =]

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    3. I think TurAmarth put it perfectly in the previous post. EVE is very real in many ways and you see it manifest itself when people resign as CEO's of EVE corporations, apologize for things as you said in this post and many other ways. We are compelled to login when we have 'spare time' in the RL due to the 'need' to make isk, blow things up, build things. deliver things to market, etc. I think this is surely part of why we all play this wonderful game but also why we all quit this wonderful game for periods of time.

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  3. I don't think this is confined to Eve, I just think it's the nature of group content in general. You might see it more in Eve since more things are group based, but it happens to raiding guilds in WoW and to pickup basketball teams in the real world.

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  4. It's the way we humans are wired: as soon as we act as part of a larger group, we feel responsible for upholding the expectations put implicitly or explicitly on us. It doesn't matter in that case if it's a planned CTA, or an impromptu collaboration to hunt an elusive target: we use apologetic terms because we don't want to appear as unreliable snowflake.

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    1. As you both note, this is indeed part and parcel of what makes us human. Our desire to form tribes and congregate into groups of like minds and interests. As I said above, nothing inherently wrong with that. It is, of course, subject to extremes and can often be subject to abuse, or "beyond normal" applications, and that is when it does become a problem. Or could become one.

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  5. Maybe all your members are Canadian... :-)

    And yes, I do live north of the 49th...

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  6. They are apologizing because, in Eve, people depend on each other. They are apologizing because they have a real life and that real life is greater than Eve. They are apologizing because the social connections that they create are real and it is never fun to let someone down, even in a video game. They are not apologizing because of some dark evil brooding culture that is swamping corporations and making Eve not a fun game to play. They are apologizing because that is what people do when they cannot be there for their friends because real life is more important.

    Not everyone finds enjoyment in the culture you are creating. There are other corporations for them to go to just as you have created a corporation for people to go to who have a particular play style that may thrive there.

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    1. Oh sure, I wasn't in any way suggesting that my culture is better than anyone else's culture, believe me. I created Stay Frosty for one person, me, and the fact that other people like it and are enjoying it is just icing on the cake. I honestly believe that is why it is doing so well, because for once I created something for myself instead of what I thought other people wanted. I've been in other great corporations and I am also aware of many more, each with its own personality and culture. To each his own.

      I sent an email the other day apologizing to my corp mates because I would be out of game for four days to attend several family funerals, so I know exactly why this happens.

      This was an open ponder. A reflection on Eve, not an opinion or editorial really. Just something that struck me and I thought worth sharing.

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    2. And THAT is what blogging is all about. It's an open diary, a public journal. Never before in the history of the world have people had the ability to "publish" without limit to a WORLD WIDE audience, their experiences & thoughts on topics public, private, real and virtual...

      This is the first worlds living room, where we all hang out together and chat about whatever comes up... no matter where we are, who we are or what we do... a universal 24/7/365 coffee klatsch... and I am pleased as hell I lived to see, and share in, these days. =]

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    3. Well said m8, that is how I've always felt about it.

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  7. I was taught that a civilized man should apologize if he can't comply with a sincere request. Requests like "please join TS", "help with this/that", etc. So it's not an EvE related thing, but present everywhere where coopoeration is either a must or an advantage.

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