Header art by Redline XIII
EVE, of late, has experienced much turmoil. As big changes and events plough through the topsoil of the game’s established core, almost everything is disturbed. With all this change, discussion is rampant. Where is the game going? Is EVE’s grind good? What’s the deal with cloaky camping? With more changes coming to capital ships soon, the discussion will not end for some time. For each change that sweeps in, we see a domino effect. If mining changes cause bigger ships to be less viable, will this reinforce the habit of blobbing with smaller ships, so that one side is less likely to lose valuable assets? Note: based on Gobbins’ most recent Townhall, that’s exactly what is happening. If this continues to be true, will it lead to the decline of solo roaming or small gang PvP, as we see players become more conservative with their wallet? How will this affect the in-game economy? What factions will benefit from these plethora of changes? To analyze one issue is to analyze all of them, for they are so interconnected. For this article, the centre point of the investigation will focus on the presiding issue of players’ motivation for the game: content.
What is Content?
Content, if any reader is unaware of the term, refers to the things you do in EVE. It refers less to mining and ratting, although some players may find trading and markets interesting. If one goes out on a roam, one wishes to find content. Roaming could end up with finding some ratters caught with their pants down due to not watching local, or it could be a gate camp with a good chance of a thrilling fight. Good content is engaging and is a big reason why players are willing to play for hours on end. It’s safe to say that good content is important to the health of the game.
As for independent content, this is not a common term, but more a definition that I formulated to accommodate my concept. For this reason, it is loosely defined and refers to roams and fights organized independently of a large governing body. It may include lowsec solo PvP on your own terms, or getting a couple of friends together to roam for the afternoon. Independent content, when done right, is fun. It is a culmination of your ratting or mining efforts, and it is an opportunity for the player to achieve something on their own merit, rather than simply always being an F1 monkey.
So What’s the Problem?
Now that we have established the concept of content, how is this related to stratops and preppings? As alliances and coalitions get more demanding with membership participation in fleets, a player may begin to feel less like an independent entity and more like a commodity. Many alliances push attendance for a certain number of fleets per month. This demand is fine, as it is important for members to contribute, but these requirements should only be reserved for important events. Bashing structures with no hope of contention is not important content. With the constant demand for players to be accounted for, players may begin to develop their play style around the demand. For example, it is easier to simply sit in staging, waiting for pings, than to catch flak from your alliance CEO because you value dead lowsec cynos over fleet attendance. When going out on roams, I notice this a lot. Most people seem too busy ratting, hauling, or doing god knows what to fight. Very few are willing to go out and engage in a genuine fight where one side is not blobbing the other. I am not saying they should suicide a battleship into a bomber fleet, but maybe bring a T1 frig out every now and again and they will be surprised at what they can achieve.
A Solution to the Issue
So now that the issue has been identified, it would helpful for me to propose some sort of solution. I am in no position to demand that FCs stop pinging stratops. After all, they have demands to be met. But I want to perhaps direct my solution at the line member. Many people say that the reason they don’t roam is because there is no good content. Who can solve that problem? Only you. You cannot force people to undock to fight you, but you can bring out a cheap ship, preferably a frigate or destroyer, and go look for content. You will die, lots of times, but you will get better, and more importantly, you will begin to find more fights. You will be amazed at how quickly people undock once their tractor unit is being shot. I know this does not appeal to all, but what I can say is that my favorite EVE moments were always in solo or small gang roams. Killing a Keepstar is cool, but catching an arty Cynabal at 0 in a bubble is even better. Defending an Ansiblex from bashers is cool, but taking on a bait Viator in enemy staging, and coming out ISK-positive, is even more cool. Sitting in staging looking at alliance contracts for doctrine ships is cool, but going out with a ship of my own creation, seeing what I can do with my own fittings, is better 100% of the time.