Editorial: Walk the WalkNiden
There’s a wonderful scene in Full Metal Jacket in which a verbal dispute between Private Joker and Animal Mother breaks out. Having exchanged insults and found each other on equal footing, Mother challenges Joker, saying he can talk the talk, “But do you walk the walk?”
The EVE community is divided into doers, talkers, and those that straddle the in between. Due to the respectable age our hobby has reached, the “talkers” category has naturally grown over time. The out-of-client “game” has developed to such an extent that there are people who rarely interact with EVE itself, preferring instead the interaction of the community, which is fine. A lot of these voices add considerably to the health of the game and its community. But there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.
an ever-expanding orbit further and further away from what’s actually going on
Some of these voices have taken a soap box with them as they stepped away from the client. As they age in this state, they become more and more detached from the reality of EVE, and their debates and opinions exist in an ever-expanding orbit further and further away from what’s actually going on. As Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction puts it:
“You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t.”
This is exactly it. “Unrealistic motherfuckers.”
Mind, this is not a blanket accusation leveled at anyone who doesn’t really log in or undock any more. Plenty of those people are very realistic about those topics on which can speak with authority, but also know when to keep quiet. Others can’t seem to find the brakes and indiscriminately run their mouths where they don’t belong.
On podcasts, reddit, Twitter, forums, and streams they appear. Their bread and butter is fame; their currency, visibility. They are the politicians and cheesy salesmen of EVE. Making noise and having an opinion is what matters, not the substance of what they’re saying, or actually having a perspective anchored in reality, or some kind of real need within the player community. Maybe they’ve made a career of having forceful opinions on reddit. Perhaps they appear on podcasts and loudly barge in on topics which they have no business even touching, or maybe they enjoy posting entitled tweets at people who are actually involved in EVE itself.
Some of them believe that their choice to continue paying a subscription entitles them to an opinion that matters more than that of the average Joe, simply because they have built a “reputation” upon which they can rely. Some feel that this, in turn, gives them license to smack others down with righteous indignation. Meanwhile, they haven’t undocked in six months and their killboard (or whatever other metric you prefer to evaluate how connected a person is to EVE) prior to that is a joke.
a whole sphere of debate that has virtually nothing to do with what actually goes on in EVE
Herein lies the wrinkle. As these faux populists preach from the pulpit, fools listen and are swayed. Based on what they hear, they form a second wave of opinion that is even more unanchored, in the end creating a whole sphere of debate that has virtually nothing to do with what actually goes on in EVE.
In the end, a sort of metagame of the metagame is conceived. This thing lives its own life, independent of the goings-on of Tranquility. It has its own “truths” – pillars on which the narrative rests, things that have been said so often that people take them as facts.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d say that the opinion of someone who’s not seen the outside of a dock for six months has very little to do with what EVE is to me. It is the very definition of irrelevant in that setting. In my world, you gotta walk the walk before you can talk the talk.
I would say that it is our responsibility (to ourselves at the very least) to consider the voices we listen to and allow to influence the formation of our own opinions. Trust what you see out there with your own eyes and take in what you’re told with a healthy helping of skepticism. Find time to reconnect to EVE itself and keep it real and balanced. Perhaps you need a change of scenery or a new crew to fly with in order to motivate you. Find that thing that gets you excited about EVE and go do that.
The alternative is being stuck down the rabbit hole that is the metagame of the metagame, the proverbial pit of The Sarlacc of EVE.