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Reader’s Pieces: The mysterious workings of ProviBloc

May 12, 2014

This article really represents only my view, and mine alone. I just wrote down my thoughts and (self-)observations derived from living in Provi as one of the rock-hugging, rat-harassing, salvager-fitting and nrds-loving fun and friendly crowd we have in our nice little 0.0 garden (mis-interprete that, meta-gamers).

As there has been a lot of speculation into the “sudden” appearance of ProviBloc as a voterbase (hattip 2 corebloodbrothers) I just wanted to take you on a short and fun journey into the strange lands and residents living there.

Part 01: Welcome to Eve in Hard-Mode

To some it might be a surprise that there is a place for casual gamers in 0.0. Admittedly it is not the best (*ahem*) and most profitable part of the sandbox, but then it does not need to be. But still it is surprising and satisfying, that in a game known for it’s unforgiving gameplay, provibears can come out into one of the coldest corners of New Eden and hug rocks, research, manufacture and put up space-tents.

ProviBloc lives by NERDS (not red don’t shoot). As pointed out in forum discussions again and again, it might be “EVE in hard mode” but it also “fosters and requires trust, patience, people skills. It also makes for a certain fatalistic attitude concerning the survival of undocked ships with neutrals in system. That said, in Provi we start off better than other 0.0 entities because you don’t pay for space here – so the ISK you earn goes right into the sturctures and services you and your corps run – and you don’t have to pay rent before thinking of replacing the ship you just lost.

This lead to some of my fellow citizens to have different ship-types and fits to undock in: the “Blue Skies”-set with all the latest gadgets, the “Not more than one tear”-set that still offers a nice fun/isk/whatever 2 loss balance, and the “Didn’t want this anyway”-set (that hopefully only consists of ventures and noob-ships).

So much for the theory. But from painful experience we certainly know that undocking in the wrong fit is one of the harsh realities of EVE. Loosing your “Blue sky”-set is just one wrong click away, while fending of hunger, paying the delivery guy and somehow persuading the girlfriend that it is important to play in your virtual space-pixel world although she is around n o w. And that’s all I will say on that topic.

But NRDS and all the effort going into it (headaches, talking, compromise, more talking) is one of the reasons individual ProviBlock-members – that are normally harder to herd than cats – can be motivated if you just talk to them and explain your reasons. This includes not only voting, as we can see in the current election, but also *gasp* upgrading from casual kitchensink (bring what u are prepared to loose) to some sort of doctrine.

While fleets and participation can range from terrible to awesome, ProviBlock sometimes just magically conjures ships and pilots – that (more importantly) follow primaries and commands *gasp x2*. This can lead to good fights but also successful sov-defence with a decent isk-kill ratio in favor of Provi.

I think these variations can be partially explained by residents in Provi being casual gamers out of necessity. Speaking of myself, I just want to relax and have fun in Eve from time to time, not be on a permanent and time-consuming vendetta/expansionist/harrassing-spree to get content like other entities. With girlfriend, family, friends and job all demanding some of my time, I still want to play EVE (meaning PVP and anything that does not remind me of the usual theme-park-mmo).

Here Provi is perfect: As all of EVE’s maps point to our region with remarks of “easy takings”, “careless carebears” and “no dragons – just sheep”, we get a surprising number of equally care- and clueless reds wandering in front of the guns of even the most peaceful Provi-resident. So instead of sitting on a Titan for half the night trying not to “bump and be bumped”, we do various PVE (yes, also mining – it was quite a zen moment to mine in the old ice belts) and indy while docking every once in a while to reship and either die in an inexpensive ship (situation a: reds not so clueless as we thought or equipped with this cyno-thingy) or produce some empbarassing killmails for reds just because there’s “Providence” as location on it. I call this win-win for my casual gameplay-style.

And this is also the reason, why ProviMembers get annoyed when you invade the region in a more serious way.

Being lazy (oh, so lazy), nerfing their play-style really makes them wake up. Even greedy industrialists and ship collectors (think: owning at least 1 of every shiptype in the game but only undock for am moment to see how the radiation beautifully shines around their shields) have been known to produce, fly and even loose their babies in numbers. To give them the time to wake up even the last ProviBlock member, Providence has a station in nearly every system. Reds not quitting full of disgust because of dwindling member participation in the painful sov-grind will face the noble logi-pilots and fleets of freshly awoken warbears to lenghten the process to a seemingly endless tunnel of salvage and loot with no light at it’s end.

While other players shy away from looting, Provi is uniquely suited to this kind of gameplay. Just thing – we salvage, rat and mine for fun *gasp x3* And this is also why members, like “army ants”, salvage and loot fields in record time (who said war isn’t profitable disregarding of the outcome of a battle), and like to rep up structures. For those wanting an explanation I can only repeat some of the comments in chat and let them make their own opinion of the mysterious workings of the provi-mind at the end of part 1 of this series:

Some Reasons why sov-grind is fun:

* “It reminds me of mining”
* “I really like how the logi-drones swirl round and round”
* “So many nice beams in space”
* “Largest fleet I have ever been in”
* “Can I loot the field while repping?”
* (…)

The end of part 1. Stay tuned for the next parts, where I explore the relation to BRAVE, some background on the voting pattern concerning CSM09 and many more fun and shocking revelations.

– Gecko Hareka

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