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In real life I do an excellent impersonation of a responsible adult.

While I don’t hide the fact that I play EVE Online, it’s not something I wear on my sleeve.  As a (ahem) mature player I am of the ‘analog’ generations. This is to say, I am old enough recall when vacuum tubes were the primary technology underpinning consumer electronics. 

‘Analogs’ tend to find MMPORGs (and social media in general) somewhat suspect and off-putting; life sinks that gobble up time and money that could be better spent on worthwhile real-life pursuits and persons.  Real adults, in the minds of many Analogs, don’t play in online worlds, particularity adults who wish to be trusted with responsibility. Online amusements involving spaceships, vampires or wizards are ‘kid-stuff’ and, even in that context, are suspect.

Mrs. Mord takes a fiendish delight in ‘outing’ me as an online gamer.

This usually occurs at social events during which some combination of economists,
lawyers, corporate execs or academics are chatting over drinks, and discussion
turns to the role of online worlds in the dissolution of our youth and the
overall decline of civilization.  Now, Mrs. Mord’s intent in such cases is not to embarrass me, but to challenge the established Analog orthodoxy regarding adults who play MMPORGs.  She, in effect, is presenting me as the exemplar of the responsible grown-up; as mature, accomplished and charming as anyone else in the room.  It’s really quite a lavish complement.

That, and she enjoys seeing me squirm.

However, it’s usually done in a good cause.  Most recently she outed me in order to engage the two youngest people at a New Year lunch; the sixteen and twenty one year-old son and daughter of a multinational VP.   The mother of these youngsters was lamenting the fact that her children were wasting so much of their lives online when they could be developing ‘real’ friendships, meeting the right kind of people, planning their futures, and in general shaking the dust of their digital childhoods from their shoes.

There may have been something said about the importance of fresh air and exercise too. I’m not sure. She went on for a bit and I sort of checked out.

The sixteen year-old had drifted into the thousand yard stare as well.  He managed to look attentive and well behaved while he did, which speaks to the rigor of his upbringing.  However he was present in the room only to degree minimally required by the parental rule of law.  His elder sister, being the principle target of her mother’s fears, was executing an impressive slow smoulder during the conversation.  Seems being disapproved of in the third person to a room full of boring old people was not a winning argument in favor of the ‘real’ world.

Suddenly Mrs. Mord found an opening.  “He plays EVE Online,” she said, nodding toward me.

The room went suddenly quiet.  Everyone looked a bit confused – most because they had no idea what EVE Online was.  But suddenly the conversation had moved onto to familiar terrain for the kids and they engaged with a will, explaining to the room what EVE Online was, what the ‘sandbox’ was, and doing a rather good executive summary of how EVE compared and contrasted with other MMPORG offerings.  The sister sat down next to her mother and launched into a fairly sophisticated and well informed explanation of EVE’s in game economy.

It lasted thirty minutes. Her mother looked daggers at me the whole time. 

In my responsible adult disguise I’m usually safely invisible to anyone under thirty. However, before they left, the sibs pulled me aside to talk a bit of MMPORGs in general and EVE Online in particular. They had both played it, the sister apparently on and off for a while. So I asked them why they didn’t keep with it.

“Spreadsheets in space,” said the sister.

“Those guys are assholes,” said the brother.

Which brings me to my point. 

The sister is graduating with a natural science degree. Math and stats is in her wheelhouse. The brother is a JV lineman on his high school football team. I’d call him six foot six and two hundred twenty plus pounds of solid muscle, and he faces off against equally big guys for fun.  She’s not afraid of running numbers and he’s not afraid of conflict. Neither are put off by the game’s complexity.

Yet, despite their obvious fascination with EVE Online, despite their being in the sweet spot of the gaming industry’s target demographic, they don’t want to play CCP’s game.

It’s nice that EVE Online is seeing a spike in player interest after all the publicity over recent
events in nullsec.  However, if past precedent holds, not many will be
engaged by the game and most will depart before too long.  CCP knows this occurs, but doesn’t seem to know why it occurs. 

CCP knows a lot about the people who self select into the EVE Online community.  However the answer to why players leave will not be found among the the players who stay. CCP needs to go outside the EVE bubble if they’re to find out why, beyond a relatively small and self-reinforcing subset of the gaming community, EVE is more interesting to read about than it is to play. 

- Mord Fiddle

About the Author: Mord Fiddle’s writings are an invitation to high tea in a world of rave parties. His readers gather at fiddlersedge.blogspot.com for thoughtful analysis, daring prose, deep insights, and Mord’s tendency to use words not writ nor spoken conversationally since Middle English went out of fashion.

  • amazing really

    er…assuming this is true…goes to show how out of date adults are with current day “social” life.

    • Mord Fiddle

      True enough. Don’t worry, all us analog dullards will die off soon enough. Of course by then technology will have leapfrogged what we have now and new generations will wonder at how out of touch your generation is. ;) It’s one of those eternal stories – sort of a ‘circle of life’ thing.

      • Tcar

        Says you. I’m going to get cryonically frozen and leave instructions not to defrost me until someone invents a Rifter.

        • Mord Fiddle

          :D

        • Mord Fiddle

          :D

  • dongslaughter

    I too can make up absurdly convenient nonsense.

    • Mord Fiddle

      Oh, please do. There’s too much absurd nonsense that is inconvenient. And the amount of inconvenient nonsense out there that wants for absurdity is just a scandal.

  • Chris

    Which is why eve is not for everyone. It has taken a special brand of insanity to play eve in the past, and will continue to be that way.

    To change that is to begin to remove the eve, from eve. It would begin to make the game into “just another mmo”

    • Mord Fiddle

      As I’ve commented elsewhere, the either/or proposition is a false argument. The EVE player-base can be grown without turning EVE into WOW. But it’s going to take a clear and careful thought, analysis and planning.

      • Chris

        Which CCP is very hit or miss on.

        I’d rather not take that risk tbh.

        • Mord Fiddle

          Alas, in the world of business, running in place is not an option.

        • Mord Fiddle

          Alas, in the world of business, running in place is not an option.

  • Black n Blue

    “he faces off against equally big guys for fun”

    I found his problem, he has balls. I still don’t know why the girl doesn’t like the game though.

    • Kraiklyn Asatru

      Horny nerds?

  • iskbot#1337

    no fun … is the real reason … it´s as simple as that

    for me small gang pvp is the last option of fun in the game.
    but after years even that became boring.

    • Tiago D’Agostini

      Stop a secodn to think.. annalyse really well and NO MMO is fun and very few computer games are fun. THey usually get peopel because they are fascinating, not fun, because they addict you.

      Simple example is WoT. Who here never stiopped after beign blown up by a random arti shot..” damm I hate this game!! ” ?

      Games do not need to be fun… they must be appealing. For some its the fun, for others the challenge… several different things can make something appealing.

      Same way when you look for a partner in real life, you might look for appearace, for athetics, for intelligence, for money, for power, for a good conversation, for a friend, or pure sex drive. Each person is appealing to their partners by a different way…

      games are like that.

      • Warl0ck

        That wasn’t a random shot. I spotted you with my Chaffee and an arty popped you. No random. Lucky maybe but..

  • Tcar

    Mord, you touched on something in this that DNSBlack recalled and maundered on for a bit on coms a while back. . .about a conversation he had with Hilmar at last Fanfest:

    A prospective EVE customer is a very select and special commodity. To be one, even initially, there are several hurdles that have to be crossed. First, they have to be open to MMOs. Second, they have to be open to SF themed MMOs. Third, they have to be open to a SF themed MMO that is PVP-centric. Fourth, they have to be open to the fact that in the SF themed MMO it is entirely possible to loose the virtual swag you have earned forever. Fifth. . . readers I am sure get the picture.

    • Tcar

      Dang, hit the wrong button. . .

      In any case, every lost customer that CCP has. . every one who quits for good or turns away is that much more of a loss in terms of value, compared to other vanilla themed and designed MMOs. There are a great many games out there that have lower barriers to entry vs EVE’s relatively high barriers. Every customer that CCP looses is worth many multiples, in terms of rarity and the size of the pool of potential customer base, vs “WoWKiller3000_FantasyMMO_now_with_even_more_Panda_monks.”

      • Mord Fiddle

        It isn’t an either/or proposition. It’s not a choice between miniscule player base or WOW in space. CCP
        must proceed thoughtfully, but they can increase the player base without
        undermining the foundation of the game.

        In business, growth is the measure of
        success, running in place is not. Banks, investors and potential business partners are unlikely to be impressed by the argument that losing customer enhances CCP’s value. EVE will not survive if it continues
        on with a stagnant player base.

        • Kama Kairade

          I’m pretty sure that CCP will bork every opportunity that they have to grow. A good example is what they did with Dust. Dust should have been the “walking in stations” that we were offered. Instead, they chose to give it away for free and deploy it on a platform that completely alienated and pissed off their existing player base. Looks like they’re going to make the same mistake with Valk. They’re just really bad at making business decisions.

          If Dust were part of eve, I’d be playing it.

          • DaReaper

            Not sure how you can say they are making the mistake with Valk, its going to be on the pc, and might not even need a Rift to play… so… yea i don’t get it.

          • Tcar

            Kama Kairade, what perhaps would you recommend we be
            doing whilst walking in a station? I too would like to see WiS
            but first, before that can even be thought of being implemented, we the player base and CCP the developers would need to figure
            out just what the heck avatar based gameplay will entail.
            Walking around in a station and “drinking” Quafe whilst staring longingly into your, Mord’s, or BLACK’s avatar’s eyes in unrequited virtual homoerotic lust is not my idea of game play. What activity can be accomplished with an avatar that is EVE-like in nature?

            I have effed around with DUST off and on since closed beta, if only to use my PS3 for something more than a media streaming device and blueray player. DUST is not MUCH of a part of EVE right now and quite purposefully so, but it definitely is part of EVE. Ask the FW guys. DUST FW has and does affect EVE FW. DUST could be a part of a revamp of SOV with a little imagination. It definitely should IMHO be a part of PI & POCOs.

            Also, in small words and crayon for the window-licker crew: CCP did not give two squirts of piss if EVE players or even PC gamers played DUST. They wanted a new customer demographic and a new market due to the select and self selecting nature of EVE customers. There are many more console shooter players willing to give DUST a crack, even now after the various missteps and fuck-ups, then there ever will be EVE players. Every single PS3 did not evaporate on the release of the PS4. If memory serves me correct, the just quit selling the godforsaken PS2 last year in the US market, and it was released when Bill effing Clinton was still the President. If I had an online game I could play on my PS2 (which still soldiers on in my master bedroom as a DVD player and sees occasional use on my old PS2 titles) I’d be on it like white on rice, especially if it was a decent F2P that required minimal cash investment to be competitive. I still have a Sega Dreamcast I like to play a few titles on. I finally ditched the NES when I got Super Mario Bros 2 & Zelda on my wife’s Wii (that she just had to fucking have but that is another story).

            Kudos to CCP for playing the long game in this because it points to a very long term strategy.

            Valk is nowhere even near what you are fatuously blathering about as it’s likely to be a PC and maybe PS4 (which for all intents and purposes may as well be a PC) based dogfighting game. It’s a fucking brilliant idea, as every guy that ever built a flight sim or flight game cockpit in his garage and had the least bit of interest in anything remotely SF like say SW or BSG will be instantly roped by the idea of VR dogfighting. Dear God man, go read William GIbson’s short story “Dogfight.”

          • Tcar

            Ok, I admit it. I play Skyrim on the PS3 as well. . Ok?

        • Billbo

          You want EVE to grow, It sure as hell isn’t going to if CCP keeps wasting resources (i.e. money) on failed products such as “Bust 911″ WoD, Valkyrie, and hiring community Reps who once prostituted themselves for isk.

        • Tcar

          Oh 100% agreed Mord. The irony is that the EVE community itself, or at least a certain portion of it, may be EVE’s greatest threat. CCP and thus EVE is not a non profit. They have to diversify both EVE itself and their other offerings. The fact that they are only into the initial development of their third video game ever after well over a decade is somewhat astounding.

    • Mord Fiddle

      DNSBlack never maunders. DNSBlack is a visionary.

      • Kama Kairade

        DNSBlack ‘was’ a visionary several years ago. Now he’s a crotchety old fart, just like the rest of us old timers.

    • Kah’Roor

      DNSBlack is a meat popsicle and I luv me some meat popsicle. P.S. What does maundered mean?

    • Chris

      If maundered is a real word, I’m stealing it.

      • Tcar

        maun·der
        ˈmôndər/
        verb
        past tense: maundered; past participle: maundered
        1.
        talk in a rambling manner.

    • sadleric

      Yeah, but steps three and onward are the things that *attract* EvE players. Folks I’ve brought in ask me about EvE and talk about how they heard its what businessmen and thieves play. Exaggerations — but the magic and realism was there as an initial hook.

      Edit: Thinking about this more, almost every person I’ve brought into EvE came from the same ultra-hardcore-style Minecraft server.

  • Warl0ck

    I think CCP is between a rock and a hard place. Eve doesn’t grow because of a lot of reasons but primarily it is, IMO, just such a ANTI Politically Correct game. A game where there are so few social rules is not a place most can play. Eve encourages distrust. Scamming and awoxing type play actually have guides….If the new player is lucky enough to get real support from existing players I think they stay. The ones that either get ganked, ripped off, harrassed or even just lose it all after the sturggle to get it, as they begin probably don’t. Eve is hard. Reminds me of all the criers in WoW about such and such boss being “Too Easy” after every expansion. Those type players wanted an elite game…NOT FOR THE MASSES. I think that is what EVE is.
    I agree about the part where it is more iteresting to read about than play.If CCP hires someone to do a profile on the eve population it could be the subject of a doctorate I bet. Probably has been. Off to the GooGle. The GooGle know all.

    • Mord Fiddle

      It’s not a choice between miniscule player base or WOW in space. That’s a false argument. CCP must proceed thoughtfully, but they can increase the player base without
      undermining the foundation of the game.

      In business, growth is the measure of success. CCP is a business that is having difficulty growing.

      • Warl0ck

        I used the WoW reference not for population levels but to illustrate that EVE is not home to the average mmo player. It makes it very hard to grow when your game isn’t warm and fuzzy to most people. WoW is warm and fuzzy. That’s one of the reasons it’s so big. People trial sub or resub after a big event. Discover things aren’t like the news and take their play time else where. CCP does need to proceed carefully. Which way they go is the question.

      • swamp donkey

        I wonder how many newbies quit when when the see some of the stuff that gets spammed in local chat.

    • Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

      I’m not a spelling nazi but, that typo “stuRggle” had me rolling. Maybe I just have a strange sense of humor….

  • Commentor

    I’m supportive of my kids gaming but I simply cannot get them to play EVE although they match the demographic, StarMade is where they are right now.

    EVE also gets me strange comments at work in given the particular brand of architecture and my seniority.

    You could almost say the younger (e.g. my kids) comment that “only older geeks play EVE” where the older (e.g. my peers) comment “only kids play that game” so the diminishing middle ground simply doesn’t speak well to the market of future players…

  • hmm

    well too bad a large group of players interested in sov warfare, taking space etc is basically alienated from the game by such entities as CFC

    • the Bigger Picture

      being aware of a community as to what it really is, the facts are being in the know of who will allow a new entity into Null Sec. I would not know who these exact people are, but I am in the know from the recieving end of trying to start something and not being allowed to. There is a lot more at work than just the “CFC”

      • really

        not really, big power blocks run the majority of 0.0. if you want to enter 0.0 (sov) with any success you need support of a power block.

  • Habib
  • LOL.

    how about… we keep the game interesting for people like us who play the game, instead of attracking those people who enjoy other games that we don’t enjoy?

  • sadleric

    EvE is not for everyone; consult a physician before use. Do not use if you have been pregnant, are pregnant, or may become pregnant.

    Dosage:
    EvE is not suitable for children below the age of six. For ages six to seventeen, remain involved only in non-social high-security gameplay and watch for signs of tearing or crying as these may be symptoms of ‘being hazed.’

    Adults and manchildren ages 18 and up: take up to forty hours of EvE mixed with periods of spreadsheet-starting per week. Should EvE start to taste bitter, curtail your dose with periods of ship-spinning or silent vigils in empty Teamspeak channels, or quit (“Win”) the game entirely and read about it on EN24/TMC/Kugu.

    • dichzor

      if EVE ever comes out in pill form, that would describe it perfectly. laughing my ass off. =)

  • Provi Miner

    The reason is the blank spots, in other games you always can find exactly what you expect to find. EVE erm not so much. Think about how often have you logged in only to find your space bro’s and Sistas have just killed something juicy?? (where were you?) so sit in station wondering if/when the next even happens. you leave for jita run you can be sure two jumps out something cool will happen back where you were. and so on, eve is a patience game the long con smash and grab is the exception not the rule. In a world of instant gratification senses you become quickly put off by 40 different laser types who only difference is the power grid use or the cpu use. Eve could use a streamline inventory at the t1 non faction non dead space level.

    • Chris

      Don’t depend on others to make content.

      If its quiet, go take a roam out, go solo pvp. There is no excuse for not having anything to do.

      • Provi Miner

        I agree once you are in the flow of eve however for a new person not that easy.

        • Chris

          New people can go out and solo pvp too. So long as they learn from their mistakes when they die.

  • MaraRinn

    I disagree with the assertion that a natural science graduate who understands maths and statistics would necessarily enjoy a game about spreadsheets in space. In what sense did the younger woman intend “spreadsheets in space”? The complexity of the combat? The table-based UI? The necessity to build spreadsheets full of almost irrelevant facts in order to figure out how to make ISK?

    The footballer is obviously used to physical confrontation, and probably expects social interaction to be friendly. When faced with a world that is exactly the opposite (i.e.: EVE players will share drinks with each other but go out of their way to betray someone for profit or humour), how is he supposed to handle that situation? He might be physically strong but emotionally weak.

    • sigh

      Or you know, moral and stuff.

  • Johann

    “EVE is more interesting to read about than it is to play.” This is the gist of the article and it’s spot on.

  • phuhq2

    Well, I will tell you why I quit…
    It wasn’t the complexity of the game, the learning curve, the people I met, the game mechanics, the graphics or any other thing like that. The game iitself is just fine. The problem I had with it after playing for 7 years is I figured out, that it wasn’t a game any more… Allow me to explain.

    I wake up in the morning, and get the kids ready for school. I make sure everything is in order for them to do their best. I drive them to school, and I go home. I get home and I start to work (I work from home, or as some people call it “dealing drugs”… what ever) I make sure I have everything ready so I can be the best damn “drug dealer”. Then the kids are done with school, I go pick them up and bring them home, cook dinner, do homework, play time, face time, break up the fights, talk to them, listen to them, eat dinner, play some more, talk some more, listen some more, get them in the shower and then off to bed. Now it is MY time…

    I log into EVE. I log into coms, I check intel, my ship and fitting, and chat, pull up Dotlan, every OOG tool I have to make sure I have everything I need to be the best at what ever I am doing (ratting, mining, PVP) I do my activity for a while, and then dock, talk on coms listen on coms, break up dumb fights on coms, smoke break, rat some more, mine some more, go on a roam. Somebody askes me if they can have me JF something for them, fine, or light the cyno, fine, “You need me to FC? Thats cool, Let’s go!”

    So now all day at “work” I got people asking me to do things for them, not happy about the prices, then I have my kids asking for my attention all day after school, I got work to do, I have to make sure they are ok.

    It’s not a game, its real life IN a game. I want to play a game so I can ESCAPE from real life, not deal with the same shit I deal with in real life AGAIN. I’m not a CEO any more because I already have kids, I’m not a director anymore because I already have kids, I’m not a diplo anymore because I already have kids. I am not rich in real life, and I am not rich in EVE. I still have to deal with greedy assholes, I still have to “protect my kids”… and now, I have to Pay to do it? Nah, I’ll play Skyrim, and escape reality.

    • Cloora

      And that, good sir, is why for myself, I AM the child needing attention in EVE.

      I have four young children and a nagging wife. I have a 50 hour a week job. When i log into EVE, I let the people who enjoy being the CEO/Diplo/FC do their thing. I either F1 jockey or do my own small gang PvP (me and my 5 alts) or I make EVE ISK doing whatever I feel like at the time.

    • Kogh Ayon

      If you really need to check “ship and fitting, Dotlan, every OOG tool” on a daily basis, in order to rat or whatever, then I worry you should go doctor to see if you got memory problem.

      No of course you don’t have to, I know most of these points are brought up to “make it three”.

      It just you who’s super serious in protecting your “in-game baby”. But one thing I agree with you is that EVE is not a good game for people who need to escape reality.

    • S_MC

      This is so scarily true.
      I had left after what 3 years? I got pushed into nulsec, joined an alliance, got betrayed, joined a new aliance, built an degree of authority, ruined this alliance to create a better one, ruled it in a happy creative conglomerate for year and a half, mercenaried it out on the side, killed 7 something titans, lost as many inties and dictors as I liked and called targets from a hellishly expensive tengu for “mini-wrecking ball” that wasn’t even formed by ppl I knew, and once interdictor-ed for Shadoo. A dream of a career for a casual solo pilot. In short – I created content for the game as much as it created it for me.
      And I do not play it anymore, cause I have work and relationship and a number of other things to do.
      I love reading about EVE. But every time I think about coming back to it i can only think “gosh, what again? more work?”

    • Dannar

      You are doing it wrong. Move to Syndicate. I log in and within 5 to 10 minutes, if I’m not doing a JF run, I’m pvping and having a good time.

    • Nobody

      Are you, by chance, in the kratom business? Just wonderin’

  • Eric loto

    Pics or it didn’t happen