What is your Paradigm?



Right off the top, this commercial which Coca-Cola ran during Sunday's Super Bowl is ludicrous. I spilled Coke on a keyboard once and it freaking ruined it! Nothing magical happened, other than everything becoming extremely sticky and useless.

On the other hand, despite the lame commercialization aspect, this commercial is brilliant. It perfectly nails the two paradigms of polar opposite brain-thinks that exist within Eve Online. And I'd like to have a moment to explain what I mean by this. Because I believe it is rather illuminating.

No matter where you look within the Eve Community you will trip, fall, bump into or otherwise be smacked hard about the face and neck with a culture of anger, hatred, negativity and nastiness. It's there in-game, on forums, and in lots of other places. Every week someone else announces somewhere that they've had enough of it. Last week on Twitter, this weekend on Funky Bacon's blog, tomorrow somewhere else and almost every day on Reddit. Fed up. Can't take it no more. Had enough.

I've never lived on that side of the tracks. My Eve is not like that at all. Yesterday in Eve I had someone tell me in local that they went an extra five jumps just to find me and tell me how much they love this blog. Another person saw a tweet of mine and sent me a Golden Pod of my own, just because I've never had one. I've talked about this before, but I find Eve to be chock full of truly great, awesome, and inspiring people. The case studies for this go way beyond my own personal experience - to the crowd sourced fundraisers in the Goons, or on GoFundMe, or hundreds of other examples.

So what is your chosen Eve Paradigm?

Personally I am in the midst of a significant personal reformation when it comes to this issue. I am increasingly of the opinion that it is time to stand up and change the underlying culture that exists within Eve. That it is us - the players themselves - that are to blame for the failure of Eve to "catch on" in a larger context. That we are, in the larger sense, solely responsible for choosing poorly when it comes to managing our sandbox.

When I think back over my years in Eve and ponder the moments when I considered quitting (and I've had more than a few) they all share one common aspect - those moments are when the negative overwhelmed and pushed me down. When someone or something within Eve, or the community, exerted such negative force that it sucked the life out of the experience.

Those are hard moments to overcome. And while I am incredibly powerful and awesome, I worry that so many other players are not like me. That they simply walk away when this happens. Walk away to another experience that is far more positive. Far more empowering. Far more enjoyable. And there are thousands and thousands of options that don't involve Eve.

So yeah, that Coke commercial is stupid. We all know that. But, on the other hand, it does make a good point.

And look, I'm no Saint. I play a Pirate. I ruin a lot of people's day sometimes. But I try, even within that context, to extend a helping hand. To offer advice. To even pay for losses sometimes. And to create an environment, within Stay Frosty and ABA, that is empowering and positive.

Sometimes I wonder if we aren't seeing a paradigm shift within Eve already. One has to consider the efforts of people like myself, Brave, and others that have reached out to new players in the last year. A whole new crop of players have entered our game that seem much more open and positive, and less beholden to past aggressions, than the older veterans. Maybe, just maybe, that shift in thinking can take root and expand, grow, and change Eve from the inside out.

And maybe someday soon, despite its dark complexity, despite the various play-styles, PvP, Piracy, ganks, and whatnots - despite it all - Eve will be a vastly more positive place. Both inside and outside the virtual universe in which we all live and play.

What is your paradigm? What do you bring to the table?




20 comments:

  1. Wow, a fantastic post! I saw the commercial as well, but was only half paying attention to it when it aired during the game.

    ReplyDelete
  2. While I like the post ad agree with most of it there is a second piece to the puzzle. The expectation! What I mean by that is many play the game based on what they believe is the expectation from others, sometimes rl friends, on what to do and how to behave generating the negative feel you described. And in some cases when a hame turns into a job taking the fun out of it. I created my little side carebear corp to try changing this aspect. All the guys that joined, (noobs to bitter vet alts) are there with a single goal for all: have fun! They do what they please, with corp only directing a few things when our sov is under attack, aside from that do what you want, when you want. Overall the "feel good" and "having fun" feeling is working well with many saying they didn't unsubed becaused of this free of pressure environment.

    Side note: tell Prda Prda my guys love when he shows up. They miss him. :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a sort of peer pressure, getting caught up in the moment, the anonymity of the internet provides a comfortable shield behind which some people can hide. There are many contributing factors, there is no doubt about that.

      Delete
  3. Just yesterday, some hero decided to completely scam a 40 day old character and they positively delighted in describing in local chat, how the scam went down, how CCP encourages players to scam, and that there was no use complaining or filing a petition.

    Several folks, including me, called out to this guy to give his head a shake and worry about scamming bitter vets and leave the newbies alone.

    However, the local numbers were against us, as the vicious underbelly that delight in petty acts like this reveled in the afterglow and proceeded to celebrate, mock, and taunt.

    Not all folks attracted to EvE have a wonderful community experience, and some new folks turn to the darkest side, as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, I've seen this happen myself many times. Often from very young players who seem to have a built-in expectation of how they should behave.

      Delete
  4. I've been playing MMO's since the 90s. It started with WWII flight sims. You can find some of the most hard-core political players there. I know because I almost always flew Soviet aircraft and formed Soviet-themed squadrons. It got pretty hot and heavy sometimes in the forums and eventually got exhausting to play that meta-game.

    Comparatively, EVE isn't nearly as harsh. Sure, there's a lot of hate and cynicism but it's almost of the 'teenager' variety. I get the impression of people who are just learning to flex their minds and practicing at expressing opinions. A lot of the time these type of people get a reaction that seems to reinforce their behavior. I mean, getting a rise out of someone can be empowering. Eventually, though, they realize it's a pretty barren plateau to inhabit after a long enough spell. Far better to get real and act more like your day-to-day self rather than role-playing rage/hate online all the time. In any case, it doesn't really affect me, aside from the annoyance. I mean, I have a teenage son(a wonderful teenage son, but yeah, teenager) so I don't need to read it on local or the forums as well.

    All that aside, EVE is a visually beautiful game. How can players not step back every once in a while and just admire the virtual environment they have? On top of that, there are some amazingly nice people here. I've made many friends on EVE and feel this game has more 'soul' than quite a few other less 'harsh' MMOs.

    So, I choose to enjoy, smile and laugh my way through the EVE experience. It's not that hard to either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it isn't hard. Whenever someone asks me for advice my first thing is always the same, remove yourself from the negative. Give yourself some room to breath. This is great advice both in Eve and in life.

      Delete
  5. EVE is a sandbox... and as such we have a huge degree of freedom of action within the game... and with freedom we get, well that. We, IE CCP, either restricts gameplay so we all 'play nice' IE WoW... or we accept that the price for the freedom to do as we please, is dealing with those who just want to watch the world burn...

    What I wish, and what will never happen, is for those of us who believe in decent gameplay to respond as vociferously and as loudly as the assholes... Cause I can assure you the numbers were not against you, just the numbers of those who actually spoke up were. So many of us turn our backs on the assholes because we know we are not going to change them or stop them... and because we are not assholes we don't yell and mock and taunt...

    It's the price we pay... I so so wish CCP could some up with a mechanic that would allow players to effectively fight back but I'll be damned if I can think of how.

    As for us... our little Anoikis corp has grown quite significantly in he last few months... we have taken on a bunch of newbies and are bringing them up to see the game is a positive light, to offer ransoms for pods when worth doing and then to always honor those ransoms. To take a hard look at what we do and if it impacts a real newbro (not some '03 players newly minted alt) to lend a hand up and pay it forward...

    Plus, and this is just a sweetner for the new guys... the potential ISK in Anoikis, sites, gas and PI, is such that even our newest new bros all have at least 1 bil ISK each in their walleta... this mitigates rather significantly the old standard, 'don't fly what you can't afford to lose' thing... now doesn't it? =]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear things are going well for you and the Corp. Keep it going.

      Delete
  6. I’m still a green player, but when I was very young, I would visit the forums looking for advice. People were so nasty there, that I never dreamed of asking a question and I quit reading them.

    Knowing that CCP embraced this "darkness" made me think that most Eve players were like that. I therefore opted to play alone and not join a corp. It wasn't until I read the ABA core principles that I realized that there were actually good people to fly with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rarely go on the forums. I had some bad experiences in my early years as well, and have pretty much stayed away from them until recently. I'm so glad you found us however.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I refuse to visit the forums, even knowing it means I miss out on a lot of new feature details. It's just too toxic.

      Delete
  7. Great post, Rixx. Seriously. Nothing I have done in EVE has made me feel as good about playing as starting Signal Cartel with our very different corp credo and our open arms mentoring acceptance of rookies. The reception has been fantastic. The energy and delightful, intelligent, helpful, just plain nice (and often hilarious) conversation in our Alliance channel has been so wonderful to see. It all gets back to the old idea that EVE is what you make it. And that it is very possible to create and maintain a positive environment where new players can learn in a stress-free, nurturing way without hateful, negative, nasty dialog--regardless of play-style. And I firmly believe that it is players who need to take the lead on that; CCP could not possibly be expected to police such things beyond what they already do.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Mynxee CCP could at least take care of a healthy athmosphere in the official (!) forums.

    BTT:
    I agree in most parts, but I don't think there is a paradigm change happening. The bitters are still there, and (imho) the helpers have always been. I just think the visibility of the latter ones is increasing.

    Helpers normally weren't the ones beating their chests, doing their things in their local ecosystem in a corp or alliance. The haters instead celebrate every single bash loudly, I think it's part of their personality. But with the years passing by, with (among others) growing success of HERO, angel project and EUNI, many of the good guys feel motivated to stand up and talk about their own efforts for a better Eve. Especially since last autumn I see a radical change in perception of EVE players, starting with the 'This is Eve' newbro wave. And I like it. ;)

    And I can just emphasize your 'pirate' chapter - often try to move the discussion about their bitterness into a discussion about mechanics and playstyle, pushing helpers into a carebear-position they don't belong to. Instead pirating, scams, ganks can be done without being rude to other capsuleers and force them out of the game. Some just don't see the bigger picture: every newbro who leaves the game due to haters, is one less to shoot / scam / gank (and vice versa).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we have to consider the effect Eve's sheer age is having, so many Veterans getting older and leaving the game to be replaced by more and more new players - eventually that dynamic has to result in some shifting paradigms. I feel it. Both in-game and out. A new energy perhaps. But something is happening.

      Delete
    2. That's really an interesting thought. Accessible EVE attracts casual gamers. That means new influx and shifting the average to 'less bitter', as well as more open minded personalities than our day-one-bittervets (these who are bitter, I've got to add ;).

      Delete
  9. I have been struggling with EVE lately. The whole bittervet/apathy thing.
    Evoganda is one of the positives that has so far kept me from pulling the plug, especially this post and eve-rule-42.
    I realise that half of the problem is attitude and the other half is making the effort.

    <3 Evoganda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. As long as my efforts can help someone I'll keep plugging along and beating the drums.

      Delete
  10. Imagine being dropped off in the middle of any mid-sized city in the world. You don't know anyone, so you start walking down the street looking for help. You've heard that this is a "tough town" so you're keeping your eye out for undesirables. It's highly likely that you will encounter thieves, scam artists and various characters of ill-repute. Keep walking and you'll probably run into a few "regular" folks, helpful and friendly, but your first impression will be of what you encounter first.

    As you walk, step into the bakery that you're passing by. Inside, you'll find very nice, helpful people. Now try the hardware store, then the cafe. You'll find the most amazing people, willing to go well out of their way to help a stranger. Is this a different city? No it's the same city, just a different set of citizens.
    Eve is no different. Just like any metropolitan area, it's mainly comprised of wonderful human beings that will offer the shirt off their backs to help. There are however, the dark humans as well and these are the ones that make the evening news.

    You will find what you seek. Be sure to know what you're looking for. EVE is real.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Imagine being dropped off in the middle of any mid-sized city in the world. You don't know anyone, so you start walking down the street looking for help. You've heard that this is a "tough town" so you're keeping your eye out for undesirables. It's highly likely that you will encounter thieves, scam artists and various characters of ill-repute. Keep walking and you'll probably run into a few "regular" folks, helpful and friendly, but your first impression will be of what you encounter first.

    As you walk, step into the bakery that you're passing by. Inside, you'll find very nice, helpful people. Now try the hardware store, then the cafe. You'll find the most amazing people, willing to go well out of their way to help a stranger. Is this a different city? No it's the same city, just a different set of citizens.
    Eve is no different. Just like any metropolitan area, it's mainly comprised of wonderful human beings that will offer the shirt off their backs to help. There are however, the dark humans as well and these are the ones that make the evening news.

    You will find what you seek. Be sure to know what you're looking for. EVE is real.

    ReplyDelete