Is EVE too complex for one person to know everything? Is it, in fact, too complex for one person to know everything about one topic? How do you maintain any knowledge or skills related to EVE over time with breaks and expansions? Does CCP do a sufficient job documenting the features of the game, and if not, what could they do better? How does one determine where the gaps in their knowledge even are?
First of all, congrats to Kirith Kodachi, who is the new custodian of this venerable event. I’ve entered in blog banters before although i can’t post it (Alas, poor podlogs), but this is the first one i’ve entered in a while.
EVE is easily the most complex games i’ve ever played. That’s no small achievement. I’ve been playing games for most of my life. I’ve played MMOs, RTSs, Shooters, Turn based, RPGs.Civilisation, WOW, Alpha Centauri, Supreme Commander, LOL, DOTA.
For sheer complexity and depth EVE trumps them all. And there are many things i don’t like about this game. The combat is counterintuitive, the UI is terrible, the movement mechanics are confusing (for anyone who has studied physics the “Underwater Spaceships” model irritates heavily). However, you can’t beat EVE for depth.
Let’s think of Games as Swimming Pools of varying depths. Let’s say that something like Angry Birds is the baby Pool, that goes up to your knees as a maximum. Let’s Say that COD goes to your waste and maybe up to your neck in competitive play, Battlefield being a bit deeper, and then games like DOTA and LOL being an olympic swimming pool that goes from safe and shallow to a deep end at the other end. WOT is of a set depth just above your head. WOW ranges from your waste to about your shoulders. Games like Tribe Ascend force you to swim, but not particularly hard.
And then there’s EVE. EVE is the NASA diving chamber where you can’t even see the bottom. It also has a wave machine, a lightning generator, flashing lights and the organ from the Flying Dutchmen playing in the background. EVE is complex. EVE is deep.
EVE, as CCP constantly reminds us, is real.
EVE’s complexity is a double edged sword. On one hand it’s the game’s main attraction- if we’re being perfectly honest here, its only real attraction. As i’ve said, most of the other things about EVE are at best on par with other offerings, and at worst, literally decades behind. And this Complexity means that EVE is hard.
EVE is so hard that even in order to do the easiest of content- let’s say Mining, you need to spend hours studying the appropriate ways build your ship, finding the right system to mine and the right market to sell, the right way to build the ship, and the potential pit falls associated with the trade, suicide ganks, can flipping (although with the new retriever that’s not as big a problem as it used to be) getting your ship blown up by rats, ect. Miners get a bad rap, but the simple fact is that most Miners are better at PvP and risk more than most game’s players ever do in any occupation.
And that’s MINING. Bring it up to Incursions, or nullsec pvp, and the problems escalate massively. It’s this complexity that precipitated the massive meta community of resources and blogs that we all know and love about EVE. This complexity is the reason why Battleclinic, TMC, EN24, EVEkill, Tweeterfleet, and the still massive (in comparison with every other game) blogging and podcasting community exists.
There must be hundreds of millions of words written on this game in blogs and forums, and tens of thousands of audio and visual content on youtube.
And i won’t even begin to talk about the massive meta-game of sov nullsec pvp.
EVE is far too complex for one person to be a master of everything. And i think that’s one of the best parts of the game. Everyone can be competent in every field, but few rarely are. How many people can honestly claim that over the course of their EVE careers?
How many people have been a Miner, an Industrial, a missioner, an incursion runner, a solo pvper, a group pvper, a nullsec fleet commander, a Wormholer, and a Market mongel over their career? Even if they had, the twice a yearly updates render whatever knowledge they had obsolete in a matter of months.
But Kirith’s point was not even about mutiple fields- it was about one field. Well, i suppose it depends what you define as “a topic”. Let’s take missioning for example. Do you include all lvs of missioning in that, or just level 4s. Are level Fives in that category?
Let’s say for example, it’s just level fours. Even in this very narrow area of missioning, very few people could claim to be the be all and end all authority on Level four missions. Let’s just take a rather limited list of the most popular ships ever to run lv 4s.
- CN Raven
This is by no means a comprehensive list. These are simply the ships which are the most common/effective in the role. Few people can claim to have used everyone of these ships, let alone every possible way of fitting that ship. And that’s not even including “unconventional” ships and fits like the lv 4 wolf.
This is really a small section of one of the less complex sections of the game. And it’s already too large for one person to truly master. As for serious pvp or the like… well you can imagine.
I’ve already said something about the large external information and knowledge community that surrounds EVE. I always keep slight tabs on what’s happening, and my resubbing process usually goes through weeks or even months on catching up on blogging material before i even log into the game. Then again, I still feel like I’m going back to square one when I come out of hiatus.
For example, even though i had studied the new cruisers a fair bit, that didn’t stop me from getting noobed by a new Tristan in a duel in my trusty rifter (well not so trusty. the fit i was running on it appears to be about 3 years out of date).
Experience, pain and researhc, that’s how i keep up. Or lack thereof if it’s insufficient.
This is an interesting question, but one I think that is ultimately moot point.
The question isn’t what CCP does. Its what the players do. CCP doesn’t need to do the heavy lifting, it can rely on thousands of players to do the heavy listing for them. that’s why the EVE Blog pack features in the EVE launcher. Because CCP relies on the community to provide the massive quantity of information required to even tell up from down in this game.
My sole reservation is that CCP doesn’t support this community. That’s partially a wise choice- we bloggers are an independent lot not even looking at the other sources, and if you’ve been following the recent drama surrounding Evebloggers and the alternatives which are coming around.
But i think CCP should take a more prominent role in this time of uncertainty. By abdicating the knowledge game to the players themselves, CCP leaves themselves vulnerable to misinformation and propaganda by certain entities (TMC and EN24). At the end of the day, CCP needs to ask if they want The Mittani to be the sole northern star for the community and by extension director of CCP marketing.
I’m not opposed to shared sites. I started out as a Blogger on Podlogs, and i loved the community feel of that site. The easiest way CPP would be able to facilitate the knowledge community is to establish their own network, where all information can be accessed rather than just the centralised communes like TMC.
All of EVE- the bloggers, the podcasts, the Tweets, through one, hopefully objective portal. There would even be an unprecedented opportunity for Immersion. Imagine if the headlines for the lastest Blogs scrolled across Captain’s quarter’s screens alongside Incursion Warnings and bounty notices. Imagine if you could get in game mail alerting you of new content. Imagine if the game invited players to join in open vocal discussions.
EVE is a social game. Far too often that socialness is exclusive. External communities like Reddit and Goonswarm dominate. CCP needs to expand on their frankly outdated in client communications avenues and integrate it more closely with the out of client information sphere.
Wouldn’t it be great that rather than having “Redditors playing EVE.” you could have “EVE players trying out LOL?” EVE can and should be a net community exporter rather than importer.
“The only thing i know is that i know nothing.” Socrates (Paraphrased)
This much for me has always been easy. I always assume that i have gaps in my knowledge everywhere. This kind of humility i think is essential in EVE in order to survive. Hate Goons all you want, but Mitten’s oft repeated statement that they are “bad at this game” is an important factor in the goon’s survival. Assuming that you are undeniably the best at anything in this game will get your ass handed to you for your hubris.
I’m not like most EVE bloggers. Unlike most of my peers, i have more gaps than i have filled spaces. I have not done most that this game has to offer, and i have not flown all the races. So for me, im surprised to find places that i’ve filled rather than places where i haven’t.
And that’s all from me.
See you guys in game.