Posts Tagged ‘social’

BB 47: A complex complex of Complex complexes

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?

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A glimpse into my world as a programmer...

A glimpse into my world as a programmer…

One thing I have come to learn, working in IT, is that Complexity, is almost always on an “opt-in” basis. For example, the code behind an enterprise system is very complex. Looking deeper within that code, you will find that the developer has likely created resources, used through the project, which they exposes like an API, which are even more complex. But when I write a report on the system, for management, I don’t need to explain all of the complexity to them, they opt out of that, and get by just fine without it. And indeed for me, as say a programmer working on the outer functionality of the System, I don’t need to understand the inner depths of the API I am using, so I opt out of that as well. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know the complexity is there, merely that I understand enough to avoid any pitfalls which I might find, and that I know where to go should I need to gain further knowledge on the subject.

Eve, in many ways, apes real life in a quite amazing fashion and complexity is just one example of how it does this. I believe that eve is, very complex, indeed as the BB question hints, it is too complex to know everything. Much like the management in my example before, if an everyday eve player spent their time trying to understand every minute detail of the system, they wouldn’t have any time left to make decisions based on that information. That’s why in both real life, and eve, we have specialists.

Eve is an immensely complex simulation not entirely dissimilar to Deep thought’s super computer “Earth”. Comprised of complex circuitry invisible to the naked eye, with information passing around it contained in packets which have free will. It would be impossible to comprehend everything, and anyone trying would be a fool.

So how do, or should, we keep up to date with the vital information which we need to live our everyday lives in new Eden? The answer is simple, we require several interfaces with the system each of which will trawl select aspects of the system, and pull important data from the muck. The interface will then need to process that rough nugget of information; trimming it and distilling it into a hard pure diamond of information, which it then presents to you, to instantly digest to gain the core of needed information. You need enough of these interfaces to bring you enough data nuggets to survive. What are these interfaces called? Well collectively, it’s a “community” individually, you might call some “friends” others “Blogs” and still more “Forum Posts”.

Eve is too complex to understand, but as humans we have developed a wonderful capacity to knowledge transfer. This is why, to me, you cannot play eve effectively without engaging with the community. Players who try to play eve without the community are attempting to learn everything for themselves, and as a result they are doomed to failure. Eve is complex, and that’s why it is so important that we engage in the community, to use the interfaces to learn quicker than we would as an individual.

Dunning-KrugerThis is not infallible however, as we are often exposed to micro versions of an aspect of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The issue is that the incompetent, by definition cannot comprehend their incompetency, because they lack the knowledge to define what is competent and what is not. Put simply we as humans cannot see where we lack skill, because we lack skill to recognise it. This is also why, as Jester rightly points out, we are all hanging over precipices, we can’t even see, hoping that someone else will fall down first so we might define our own ignorance. Does this mean eve is too complex? Does this mean that CCP don’t document enough, or should make eve simpler?

Categorically, I say no. I believe that such a mirror to real life is part of the wonder and excitement we experience by playing it. Yes once every so often you are going to be the person who falls down an invisible hole so everyone else learns, but we all have to learn to pick ourselves up and keep going. Furthermore we can all mitigate the likely hood of being the “Fall guy” in two ways: (to continue using the falling analogy), we are all like a person walking through an infinitely massive room, in pitch black with holes in the floor. By expanding our group, walking with more people through the darkness we are statistically less likely to be the person taking the fall. Furthermore, we can help the people closest to us to recover when they do take a fall for the group, and indeed in return we will hopefully receive that help when we take a fall for them.

In summary, yes eve is complex, no you can understand everything. No CCP shouldn’t “fix” this because it is this very factor which make the eve community so important to every player. It’s that emphasis on communication, and collective learning which enriches our community and nurtures a deep sense of camaraderie, the only thing which can offset the cold dark nature of the game we play.

Fly incompetently and proud,


Community Frat House

I have actually held this post back for a little while now because I believe it to be a little controversial. I also feel that it is a case of me talking pretty harshly about our community. However with the recent events surrounding the CSM candidate, Fon Revenhort I feel that it might be a good time to let this one out of the bag.
So deep breath, and here goes:
Before I start this post I feel the need to pre-balance it with some good points about the eve community. First I would like to point readers in the direction of just how awesome the eve community can be. All kinds of events (too numerous to list here) have been organised by and with the Eve community, tournaments, contests and games, the like of which are found in no other MMO today. We also have a number benevolent organisations and individuals who are a boon to our community (for example, the Angel Project by Sindel Pellion, and Somer Blink’s dedication of 10bn Isk to all teams in the New Eden Open). We also have the wonderfully worthy PLEX for charity events run by CCP which raises thousands of points to help the wider community of human beings. Because of these Organisations and individuals eve online arguably has the best community of any MMO. Indeed this is reinforced by the awards eve has received in the past. I love eve online and am thankful to make people within it for putting in the effort to make it as great as it is.
But would I recommend eve online’s community to a friend? Would I give it a 10/10, best community ever award? The answer is no. Its not because we celebrate lol mails, or because we enjoy preying on the weak in our universe, that’s fair game. Its because of a rot which has spread through some of the groups in our community, a rift in our moral obligation as human beings. Perhaps a good way to example this is to look at a post made almost a year ago by Corelin.  
On as much as I agree with Corelin, I also differ on several points, not to say that the issue of “Rape Culture” doesn’t exist, nor that it is in any way acceptable fopr our game to nurture it, but more that I don’t think the issue stops there. Let me stop again and counter the argument I know is coming, before I continue writing; I do not believe that the entire community has the moral standing of a religious fundamentalist doing part time work for the Klu Klux Klan helping them write a formal agreement with the Neo Nazis. But I do believe that despite the peaks of some members of our community, a very large swathe of people are dragging the average morality level down to that of someone who flashes nuns for a hobby. And people who use “Rape”* as a positive adjective in eve are actually a small part of the bigger problem of what language is considered acceptable.
I am talking about what is considered “cool” in some areas of eve: While editing this article I found it really sad that rape was the only word, or term I was willing to actually write myself from the lexicon of things “1337” players thought were ok to say in a social environment. The other words which seem to be considered acceptable humour include; racial slurs, references to history of slavery and religious insults. These are things I will not entertain on my blog even for the reason of pointing out the immaturity of our players some times.
To me the true scope of the issue is the massive amount of this downright immature behaviour, and language being practiced throughout eve online and the external communication channels it spawns. Sometimes listening to the collective voice of our player base can be like listening to a 12 year old who has gotten hold of a copy of Razzle, and now thinks he knows the all the cool words. Racial, sexist, misogynistic, creedist, you name it some people think its cool to say it and a coms channel. Its like a frat house in some Corps and alliances out there.
Another quick break to pre answer to thoughts you might already have about me. First and for most I am not a thin skinned individual, nor one who is unaccustomed to immature surroundings. Furthermore I do not consider myself above the people/groups I am taking about here. I grew up going through specialist boarding schools, and that means several things:
  1. When I was 12 years old I and my Dorm did find a copy of Razzle, and thought we knew all the cool words
  2. From the age of 8 I effectively had 20 brothers, taking the piss, having the piss taken and generally doing all the horrid things children do to each other while sharing the same room.
  1. You noted the “Specialist” bit right? I constantly have people making preconceptions about me based on my disabilities and even being down right rude about my problems**
This means that not only have I developed an exceedingly robust sense of humour and exceedingly thick skin (along with a very laid back attitude). But I have also been one of the immature masses spouting racial epithets because I thought it was cool. I also remember how funny and great it was when our sub community found an offensive phrase and used it within our social group. It was like a secret language, within the group, we knew it was wrong, but that almost made it better. Because we thought it was cool we thought people who used it were cool. And because people who used it were cool we used it. Worst of all anyone who spoke out against it was fighting the social norm within our sub group and as such lost standing within the dynamic, or were temporarily ostracised in extreme cases. Its a self perpetuating cycle of social bonding, and as a child its a phase most of us went through, and in a twisted way I can understand the mind-set which sustains it within a community. Its time to grow up though.
Again referring back to Corelin’s post we see a lot of discussion about John Gabriel’s theory of the Greater Internet Fuckwad. i.e. Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Dickwad. And this is a tried and tested formula which accounts for a large amount of low level ass-hattery on the internet, and indeed in eve. But I don’ think this is everything. I think it is merely a contributing factor to the foul mouth immaturity rampant in our game, I believe that the Theory of Dickwad bases  itself on the concept that people are immature because people don’t know who they are. Yet in eve the anonymity isn’t there; ok so all but the most determined internet stalker doesn’t know the real name behind your avatar but eve, unlike say a forum, gives us our own identities and reputations. The Theory of Dickwad falls down here, because racist and sexist people in eve would find that their in game reputation was diminished by these slurs. So if its not the Theory of Dickwad at play, why do we have this rot within our society?
Here is my own theory. Eve online asks us to break our normal constraints in terms of what governs our actions. In real life someone who scams another person out of millions of Pounds would be banged up. A corporation who sponsored a mass murder spree of a particular cast would be in court before they could sign the first pay-out. But in eves lawless universe we are not only told to ignore these social barriers to action, but actively encouraged to break them. The law of most countries is upheld by a solid hard barrier, punishment for our transgressions in the form of incarceration or indeed physical reprisal for our bad actions. By asking us to break this social norm, the game awakens some people to other social barrier, which is even easier to break. Social etiquette (i.e. Not bring a small minded, self important prick). Transgression of this law is only punished by soft, social, punishments. Rob a bank, and go to prison. Use a racial slur and you wont get invited to many parties (at least none worth going to). After being told to break a law discouraged by physical punishment, how many people suddenly realise that breaking a soft law like not being sexist is the next logical step? How many people take that step? Find out how many eve players have used the immature language I have referred to and I think you will have the answer.
The issue is that because of the self perpetuating nature of this plague its going to be near on impossible to stop, and its gotten so bad it’s going to take a very long time. So here is what I’m going to encourage you to do; and its really not much: Don’t join in. I said before that this is self perpetuating. If you as an individual can simply not endorse immature behaviour, and where you can do so without pariering yourself, stand up to people who do. Some people are willing to do more (and I sadly don’t count myself in this group), to stand up against this kind of behaviour like Corelin, and they should be encouraged and supported at every opportunity. But as a normal individual just don’t fall into the trap of helping the cycle perpetuate.
Finally for anyone reading this who thinks I am talking about the kind of language they use, I simply say this. Your words and actions may make you feel big and cool in the social group your in. But to the rest of us it makes you look like a prat. If a subset of people playing an internet spaceships opinion of what’s cool is more important to you than the rest of the world… Well good luck with that one.
**Seriously this makes it sound really bad, save your pity/support for someone who is worse off than me, trust me its not as bad as I make it sound here.

Social: History of Dirt [GBB]

Dirtys: Lore, Shelly, Thunder (original), Hark, Mini, Toon and Arian to name just a few
Eve online is quite possibly the most social MMO I have ever played. I say this as a fact because I believe that the chances of a new player continuing to play eve past the three month barrier is severally affected by how quickly they can penetrate, or create a social group. Without friends, sponsors or benefactors; a new eve player will likely wilt under the harsh exposure to the reality of eve. It was because of this inescapable fact that my first foray into this universe failed after a few weeks. But today I want to dwell more on my second/third attempt at joining eve because the very same principles ensured my, and indeed our success.
As all good stories do, this one starts with a statement that things started before the point the statement initially talks about: Long before I started playing eve seriously (perhaps even at all, I can’t remember the very first time I played) I joined the Battlefield 2142 Troop of a clan by the name of  The 22nd SAS Regiment Gaming Clan, or 22sas for short. I was still at Uni at the time, so as all students do, I had a lot of time to invest in gaming. It wasn’t long after I joined that I first met Ex3cu7or.
I’m sure you have all met the type of player I am thinking of here; numbers and letters in his name, 12 years old, types in all capitals and has a questionable affinity to the word ‘fag’? This was not Ex3cu7or, you see despite his name (which you might take as an early attempt at meta gaming), Ex was as it turned out a good gentleman of excellent standing. At first  the clan fell for the meta game name and mistook his excellent grasp of tactics for cheating. However a quick look at server records, and from his own teams point of view soon showed that no malpractice was going on. So we began the task of wooing him into our clan. It didn’t take long.
Ex and myself got on famously and before long we were placed into the positions of Troop Leader and Second in Command respectively. Our personalities worked well in this together, my attention to detail and patience offset by Ex’s impulsive sense of fun and aggressive tendencies, furthermore both of our senses of humor matched perfectly. Along the was we soon picked up several other friends with similar humor and complimenting traits:
  • Lore Solo, a fellow 2142 player
  • Fliske a counterpart in the Battlefield 2 Troop
  • Thunder who played both Ghost Recon and BF2
  • Crazyfrotto – BF2 player
  • Scouts – BF2 player
We all got along great and formed fast friendships. Sometime in 2008 we discovered that most, if not all of us had at some time in the past to varying degrees of success, attempted to play eve online. Further more we all found that we had an urge to try again, this time as a group. Our clan allowed any member to play with they liked (as long as they kept up with their responsibilities in the clan), and so we jumped in, inviting other members of the clan to join us in our SAS ClanCorporation. I should not that when joining eve, Ex3cu7or took on the name “Arian“, as such he is called both frequently.
Its worth noting that Just as we were beginning our first group play of eve online, the 22SAS Clan was entering into a new period of subversive politics. Put simply, the old guard of the clan didn’t like that they were out numbered by the 2142 members and felt threatened by us. Eve was an excellent escape from this (using eve as an escape from politics, oh my), although at some points the politics did spill over into the game, but for the most part we enjoyed  ourselves running missions and skilling for new ships.
Soon our core group started to change though. Arian and Lore were the first (as the players with the most experience), to start gravitating towards PvP. However there was a problem: carebearism. A lot of the people who had followed us into the game (none from our core group!) were not in the slightest bit interested in PvP, they were happy enough playing eve online ignoring other players except their handful of friends: The very concept of going out to engage in combat with others was way out of the question. There was a bit of an internal war, followed by a parting of ways between sub groups, and our now much slimmer clan group, led by Scouts, applied to join a Corporation called Virtual Warriors. All this happened in around a half year and suddenly I found myself about to sit my final exams at University, and so eve very much took a back burner for around a half year.
Sadly the SAS clan also took my time away as a good excuse to turf me and Arian out of our leadership positions in the Clan (Arian was also on personal leave at the time). We both soon decided that we had had enough of the politics and posturing now infesting the Clan, writing our leaving posts before the year was out. However I was soon pulled back in to eve by the power of our social group. Arian called me one day to catch up, and we got to chatting about eve: Arian who I don’t think had taken a break was still in Virtual Warriors (as was my inactive character); who were currently fighting a war, the pull was to much, I re subscribed. I only really saw the end of the war that killed ED but what I did see was amazing, Czech Lions & Riverini’s fleets and the final evacuation of our space. VW left ED in June 2006 (a few months after I returned).

From here our corp had a rocky road, our hearts were never truly far away from 0.0 space, although our clones often lived elsewhere. We tried joining two Alliances who turned out, after the heady heights of Ethereal Dawn, to be down right terrible, and moved on quickly. While we worked out what to do next booked into the homeless shelter known as Providence under CVA. With the bad taste of Dark Taboo and Vanguard. Alliances in our mouths we decided that we would be unlikely to find an Alliance who could live up to the expectations set by ED, and so with some friend we had made along the way we decided to try our own hand at this alliance business. Forming IMPERIAL LEGI0N in September 2009. It took us 3 months to find our first patch of 0.0 space (Geminate) under the watchful eye of Wildly Inappropriate, only to be turfed out when RA/SOLAR caved in the heads of our new Masters.
It was about here that our sub group actually gained its name: Dirties. At the time Imperial Legion Alliance was running  sortie missions into RA/SOLAR space and trying its best to entertain a Nullsec PvP based membership, while not living in 0.0. Our sub group which now included Lord Drokoth (CEO of our alliances Co Founding Corp The Army of the Ori) was as boisterous, rude and fun as ever before. Unfortunaty Imperial Legion was a family friendly alliance and as such had a quite a few members who had children. Sadly a smaller sub set of this group decided that they could only ever play eve with speakers on, and soon complained about some of our language. It is my opinion that if you have children, it is your responsibility as an adult to ensure that they don’t hear naughty rude words or inferences and as such you should buy a headset, not complain until the offending parties are made to go elsewhere, but I digress. Grumbling but compliant, our group was only allowed to use adult words in a sub sub channel (called the pub), we also created a private in game chat channel over which we could use what ever language we fucking well wanted. The channel was called Dirtys (spelling now intentional) and it was intended to keep the dirt of off the open coms.
The Alliance once again found a new master when R.A.G.E Alliance (again the NC) gave us another home in the Vale of the Silent in February 2010. This time we managed a good 7 months in our new home before another combined Russian force (this time including L.E.M Alliance) booted us from our homes. This time, with our own communications channels keeping us close to the friends we left behind; Arian, Lore and Myself left Imperial Legion to experience life working in a large scale alliance: RAZOR.
RAZOR, and our corporation within it (Nailortech) was an interesting group, although we found it quite difficult to integrate with the Corporation on the level we had been used to within Imperial Legion. I should explain that we had been a major part of the Imperial legion since its inception, we were used to being a recognised part of the community, with voices and people we knew and loved always around. Nailor was a good bunch and they were friendly and helpful as you might expect, but it was still a bit of a shock to our systems. I’m sure with tome Nailor would have become  just as familiar to us, but sadly Nailortech left the NC for greener pastures in June 2010. We to took our leave of them and returned to our old friends and home, IMP-L. In the time we had been away, the Alliance has made friends with our two time bailiffs: SOLAR FLEET, and were now comfortably housed back in Geminate, as their vassals.
Upon returning we also gained two new members to our Dirtys (now 7 eve players strong) in the form of Toonlad, who had joined Imperial legion just before we had left for RAZOR, as a very young character. We also acquired Minijack, whos Cearbear corporation had fled IMP-L at the first sign of combat: Unlike his corp Mini got a taste for blood and so joined VW. IMP-L did well during the period expanding further into Geminate and beginning to establish a forwards base in Insmother during the Russian Civil War (fighting alongside SOLAR). In late March 2012, with the Russian Civil War in its closing stages, IMP-L, for the first time, elected to move its home once again to a new constellation in Scalding Pass (losing its Geminate home but keeping the Insmother secondary). Here it was charged with organising SOLAR FLEET’s English speaking allies and forming a sub coalition to aid in the spaces defence. Things didn’t always go to plan, but IMP-L did well in its job and its members had a good home for a long time.
Over a year later in late 2012 the Dirt group (tagged in other games as GBB, don’t ask what it means), decided to move onward in their eve careers. Some of our members have found homes in other Alliances, some have returned to the simple pleasures of small gang pvp, others have even left the game. We who are left however, maintain this blog, and keep the group going. On our own Voice coms we keep in close touch with all our members old and new, we also support and help each other in any way we can. Its this camaraderie which has made us successful in eve, its our trust and real life friendship which keeps us going.
We are Dirty. We are not a corporation, we are not an alliance: We are friends. We are Dirt before we are anything else, we will be Dirt after everything else is long gone. We don’t worry about our group causing a conflict of interest with our separate Alliances, because we know our friends respect our choices, and would never ask us to betray them. Dirties still fly together on our alts and on our mains, making a point to get drunk and die in stupid ways on regular occasions.


This article is based around the members of Dirties who have played eve online. There are considerably more of us than this, however I have not included them in this history as people reading this blog are most likely interested only in our eve credentials. It has also been written very much from my own point of view, as its the only one I have. There are more stories in the history of Dirt, perhaps others might tell them as well some day.
Also worthy of note is the current residence of the majority of the eve dirties. Indeed regular readers may note that I have never directly stated where we reside at the moment. This is intentional, but not designed to completely cover our Alliance ticker. We have elected to downplay our current employ as we are not a direct voice for that group, nor do we intend to talk much about the politics or nuances of being in that group. This blog is written from the perspective of Dirties, and Dirties does not belong to any Alliance (actually it kind of belongs to several, but that’s by the by). If anyone really cares to know who that group are, it wont take much to find out. All we ask is that people consider what we have to say without pre judging us by who we fly with (well except that we fly with each other, and thats bad enough).
Fly with friends,