The Real Issue with EVE


Header art by Cryo Huren

Before we start, just a quick request to all the snowflakes out there: be so kind as to just lay back, chill for a moment, and think about my thesis. 

I believe the concept of EVE and what it tries to be, as a sandbox MMORPG, has been difficult to understand and to accept since the beginning. You may wonder where am I going with this vague claim. Well, to be quite frank, players enter a world full of opportunities with very few boundaries, but EVE players have increasingly imitated the structures of real-world governance and political infrastructures. 

In an automatic and unconscious drive for security and especially power, players organize into corporations, which in turn form alliances, which form coalitions and create big power blocs in nullsec. They dominate, dictate, and organize space and resources, driving forward a certain narrative. All this is common knowledge, but is this conglomeration model good for EVE, as it has become a ruthless and unforgiving sandbox experience?

What we have, but actually nobody needs

We should get rid of what we know, and which we have copied from the Real Life Political System into EVE and adopt another idea of how to run things in the space. The hype-train pings and news articles about the newest record-breaking fight between mega-coalitions read well and make you fantasize about these amazing huge battles, but everyone who has taken part in such battles knows the reality. They are a mere waiting game with horrible TIDI, client crashes, and are not much fun, except granting participants the right to brag about having been part of them.

OH, supercap pilots, I know; I hear you already starting to scream and throwing stones toward me, but behold! A quick and simple disclaimer: I don’t intend to say that caps and anything bigger are the issue here. No. They are simply not. But they are the adopted and lived mindset of the Cold War era, where power blocs stopped waging war and just tried to get their blue donut under control, which was definitely a better outcome for the Real World. However, EVE does not profit from standoffs, threats of nuclear strikes, blue balls, and a lack of content and destruction. 

What we need, but few seem to want

What we need is a different mindset, perhaps going back to the dark ages or the times of cutthroat ruthless clans and tribes, constantly fighting for power, loot, and a good workout.

So, to get back to my cap and supercap pilots. Let’s go and risk our caps in random small and fun skirmishes. The attitude of most of the big alliances seems to be to hold back the big and fun toys, for just mere ship-spinning. This show of potential power isn’t what makes the game fun and engaging for anybody. 

How to solve the Issue

There is not one simple way to solve this dilemma. Big bloc leaders and their followers will probably continue to form and shape EVE to mirror real-life political and social systems. It really doesn’t matter what alliance, coalition, or other powerful names you drop; they are just a temporary title for an ever-existing system or syndrome.

I m tempted to say – for the sake of EVE as a real merciless sandbox with more content, fun, and engaging activities – stop holding all your ISK and assets! Fly what you think is fun. Stop the mentality of โ€œdon’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.” Go ahead and lose it as long you have fun and get back into the grind for what we love and hate EVE. Don’t just stand by, like thousands of other players, on the sideline and watch the game and the players who enjoy the punch-in-the-face experience which EVE should be.

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  • chimpy

    You sound like some pinko space communist with brightly coloured hair who wants to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.Joking aside players min-max games according to the rules of physics of the game. Players who band together will always have an advantage over solo players. The whole of Eve is a competition between players over finite game resources. That compeition is specifically designed to drive conflict. The conflict is the content of the game. If the CCP wanted they could put a button in every station that would simply give you whatever resources or ships you wanted for free and no more effort than pushing the button. If they did this there would be no compeition for space and resources, the market would cease to exist, as would the game a week or two later. No one would care or write history books about Eve because there would be no achievements, no heroic wins, no total routs of a leaderless blue donut, no great heists or spy treachary shenanigans. Ohhh you stole/destroyed my stuff? I better push the button again. Eve is from top to bottom players competing against each other, and the structures and mechanisms that the players adopt in game they do so to be as efficient as possible and gain an advantage over other players.
    I don’t feel you defined the problem you wanted to solve very well. It almost seems like you are in the middle of a thought process but haven’t yet been able to distill it down to a clear concise problem that you can precisely communicate.

    August 11, 2021 at 12:56 PM
    • Solai chimpy

      I’d like to put forward a different frame –
      You say that the game revolves around competition with one-another, and that conflict is “the content.” I think that’s a fetishization that’s further from a more impactful truth, which is the opposite. I think we’re driven to cooperate, need to and wish to cooperate, mostly. There’s the emotional element of wanting to have friends, wanting to have people you can relax around, share experiences with. But very significantly, there’s also the constraints on our playtime, focus, weariness. We can only do so much alone. Especially if we want something big. We want and require help from allies. The game mechanics foster this need at every step, vastly overshadowing conflict. Whether it’s industry, n+1 combat, the desire to raise a thriving space tribe, or even to become individually space-famous.

      Much of the competition that comes forward, I think, isn’t driven by the mechanics, nor human nature, so much as it’s driven by a desired experience of conflict. Video game conflict is fun. But so is achieving your goals, most of which are usually advanced primarily through more cooperation. I would therefore posit that without taboos or safety constraints, such as happens IRL, conflict arises mainly for entertainment, not necessity, not because it’s central to the game. Folks claim that things fall apart or stagnate without conflict, but in fact folks will tend to cooperate some more in order to adapt to those emergent shifts in the landscape, and move forward in a different. Where conflict is very mutable, by contrast cooperation is the constant.

      I mention this because the fetishization of conflict gives rise to ideologically stilted and narrow perception of the game, such as this article. There’s a lot of ways to engage with Eve that don’t individually require or benefit from the articles thesis, nor chimpy’s post. Conflict is shiny and fun within a certain scope, but more often our actions demonstrate that we overwhelmingly favor cooperation more often, and more impactfully. Certainly we all want a healthy mix. I’d just caution folks not to overstate the role of competition and conflict, especially when proposing how we play the game.

      August 11, 2021 at 2:33 PM
      • chimpy Solai

        I do not think the word fetishization means what you think it means ๐Ÿ˜‰

        August 11, 2021 at 2:43 PM
        • Jangles chimpy

          have an excessive and irrational commitment to or obsession with (something)
          eg “an author who fetishizes privacy”

          August 11, 2021 at 4:39 PM
        • ShutUp ShutUp chimpy

          it’s a legit use of the word, fetishization exists outside of sexualized contexts.

          August 11, 2021 at 8:19 PM
        • Solai chimpy

          Can it be both? At the same time? Tonight? *waggles eyebrows*

          August 13, 2021 at 12:19 AM
  • Guilford Australis

    I think the fundamental problem with EVE is that CCP wants to have it both ways.

    CCP claims EVE is a sandbox. It is not. Although the devs allow more freedom to players than we see in most games, they also insist on micro-managing nearly every aspect of the game (Team Talos, for example). Any time players are enjoying the sandbox too much, CCP swoops in to nerf whatever they’re enjoying and impose new rules. That is not a sandbox.

    CCP has been on an endless nerf-train for at least the five years that I’ve been playing this game. Hilmar and the former CCP Falcon admitted they don’t like it when players “figure out” the game, and they want us to be constantly thwarted and screwed. I believe Falcon’s comment was that he wanted EVE to be an “absolute hellscape of terribleness.” They promised that the developers would roll out rapid-fire changes to make sure no one could figure out the game. That is not a sandbox.

    We already understand the concepts of PVP and PVE. What CCP is doing is DVP. Developer versus player. In a true sandbox, CCP would manage the basic rules of the game, create the environment, and leave players to do whatever the hell they want to do. And EVE’s players tend to create their own balance of conflict and prosperity without CCP’s babysitting.

    CCP needs to focus a lot more on game mechanics (Aegis Sov, the various PVE nerfs, the horrible PVE experience in general, new player experience) and stop trying to control player behavior in what they falsely characterize as a sandbox.

    August 11, 2021 at 1:48 PM
    • One of my greatest gripes with CCP is how they balance the game. Its death by a thousand cuts.

      All the stupid little stipulations they have to place on everything just in the name of “balance”. The covert ops timer, the stupid jump timers, the insane cyno changes (try explaining cynos to a new player now), you can only shoot a structure in a window of time, damage caps, fozzie sov. The list of stupid dumb hard caps and limitations on what is ostensibly a sand box is just further proof that this is becoming less of a sand box every update.

      And none of it even makes any sense from an immersion point of view either.

      Yeah, this basically reads like a laundry list of CCP’s dumbest hits over the last decade, but maybe that’s the point.

      August 12, 2021 at 1:22 AM
      • lachrymus Zaand

        This, exactly. Over 11 years playing this game and the last five (at least) have been a pain in the arse trying to figure what I now can or cannot do, thanks to endless tweaks adding unnecessary and increasing complexity which seem to be CCP’s modus operandi.

        I wish CCP would stop f**king with the game and leave us to get on with it.

        August 12, 2021 at 5:47 PM
      • At one time you could fit a covert ops cloak on an Avatar, provided you equipped enough officer co-processors in the low slots.

        I want that kind of game back again. Instead we get HACs Online and no way to ever make money again.

        August 19, 2021 at 4:53 AM
  • BriscRubal

    Let people play the game the way they want to play the game.

    August 11, 2021 at 4:27 PM
  • ShutUp ShutUp

    “hey snowflake shaddup and listen”


    August 11, 2021 at 5:33 PM
    • Not on my short list of ways to open a persuasion piece lol. But at least we know its uh…. From the heart.

      August 13, 2021 at 12:25 AM
  • Michael Porter

    You madman o7

    August 11, 2021 at 6:39 PM
  • Nate Hunter

    So you’re encouraging take risks and have fun which is good. Too bad CCP this year changed it so players have even more incentive to continue the Cold War playstyle with their titans.

    August 11, 2021 at 7:59 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    CCP is just annoyed they can’t cater to new players without the game which old players have organized controlling the game experience. Unlike most games the organizations players have created over many years control how the game is played.

    August 12, 2021 at 12:05 AM
  • hanabal

    Yeah just throw that 100 bill asset into a small gang fight dont worry about it lol not like ccp made them hard to build or anything lol so dumb

    August 12, 2021 at 11:10 AM

    Hmm. So the question becomes how to encourage this sort of behavior. One way might be to increase the organizational power of large groups while at the same time placing limits of some of the larger assets. As an example (not suggesting this, but perhaps something like it) 1 cored keepstar per aliance/corp, or 1 titan per corp? Haven’t though this all of the way out, but it might shrink the organizations, to where coordinating action between those with mega assets becomes more difficult? The better tools for alliance management are (and need to be) a carrot to balance out the limitation “stick.” Just a though, likely a poor one, perhaps it inspires the “good one” though.

    August 12, 2021 at 4:56 PM