CZ Minutes: The Price of Fun

Last week on CZ Minutes we discussed the key moments from Fanfest. Fanfest is often taken as an opportunity by the player base to remember what we love about Eve, a virtual battery recharge. The fact is though that often we have to do a lot of things in Eve that may be considered dull or boring or ‘job-like’ to allow us to do the things we want to. This week we are going to look at what we are forced to battle through in Eve Online to facilitate the good stuff. Xander: We all enjoy different things in Eve. For some it may be PvP. Some people may like blinging out their PvE Raven step by step. Yet others may enjoy running together a massive PI network. But one thing is guaranteed – to do something you enjoy in Eve, you probably need to spend some time doing something you dislike. So here is this week’s question – how much time do you as a player spend doing stuff you don’t actually enjoy to enable the ‘fun’? Jeg: At the moment, everything I do is not fun when it comes to EVE. Logging in to swap skills, general corp IT stuff, and trying (and failing) to keep up with all corp events while having limited play time is hard going. One of the biggest problems (in my opinion) with living in null is that there is a lack of “instant fun”. 10-20 minutes is simply not enough time to do anything constructive or enjoyable, beyond trolling the usual suspects. Niden: Part of the reason why I live in lowsec is because I have little patience and am lazy when it comes to EVE ‘work’. What little time I have to be logged into client I want to spend undocked and hunting for the next kill, or being killed for that matter. For a person of my profile lowsec is a perfect fit; PvP at the drop of a hat with very little ‘downtime’. Due to an active RL my sessions seldom last longer than 2 hours, usually less, so I want the pudding straight away thank you. But just like everyone else I have to pay for my losses so I can keep doing what I love to do. This has always been a problem since I have to force myself to do it. Setting up PI, investing time in industry and trade, running sites efficiently and the like have to be directly subtracted from the time I have doing what I actually want to do – so I end up doing none of it properly. Right now you’re thinking “But Niden you twat, you’re in FW, why don’t you run plexes like everyone else?” I do, but my lack of discipline and addiction to PvP make sure I barely make a profit. If anyone has a reason to call me a farmer I’d be a hypocrite. So when the wallet is running dry I force myself. I always feel a little lost in doing all these things simply because I have not invested the time to do them efficiently or with any ease. I’ve tried the PvE route to ISK before, that ended in me quitting EVE, several times. I can’t imagine spending the time some people do in ratting in null for instance, days on end with nothing but red crosses. The bigger question here; have EVE players in general accepted a large proportion of boring content to get to the fun? Is this testament to the quality of the ‘fun’ part? In my case I’d say I only spend about 25% of my online time with things I’d rather avoid, but as far as I’m aware that’s a luxury – for a considerable amount of people that percentage is higher. work-be-fun Forlorn: Most of the time EVE is boring. But those 5% when it is not boring it is pretty much the most satisfying game out there. If you ever have been in a leadership role in an alliance/corp you know that this percentage is even lower as far as pure EVE login time is concerned. What keeps me going? This one good evening where I stress tested the rebalanced CS a few months back and one of PL’s FCs put our fleet in the middle of 300 angry baddies, the day PL won the “kings of lowsec” competition from CCP by repping a Nyx in lowsec, the first few battles on a new deployment or the alliance tournament. I accepted EVE’s PVE as means to an end, every tick making me more independent since I warped to my first belt in 2007. Maintaining a POS network is boring and unfun, but it keeps my currently 4 accounts subbed without putting any RL money in it – just to have this perfect rush and enjoyable PVP every few weeks. The fast killmail with minimal effort is not appealing to me (anymore). Niden: In a way that’s a perfect post to follow mine because it stands in such stark contrast. The scenario Forlorn describes sounds like a nightmare to my ears. However, this type of language is not uncommon from those that are deep nullsec. Spending the majority of your time toiling away, never doing any PvP without a massive fleet, occasionally waiting months between fights and generally accepting it as one’s EVE reality is anathema to me. I understand the grandness of null, and indeed it is impressive to see the results of all this work, but is it worth it on an individual level? Is a man more content if he gets a banquet once a month and starves the rest of the time, or if he eats a regular meal every day? Judging from our vastly differentiating viewpoints I guess it’s a matter of taste – if I was in Forlorn’s shoes I’d be either very bitter or unsubbed. I cannot help but get the feeling that the legacy and splendor of null lives off the backs of people that trudge on from a sense of loyalty and duty, rather than fun. The fantastic stories we all enjoy and that make the front page seem like an iceberg to me, with their shining tips and massive, invisible, bodies of boring. Forlorn: Yet I am not bitter nor unsubbed. 😉 Mangala: So going back to the question at hand as you guys are small fry when it comes to time spent. An average week for me consists of around 20+ hours of boring crap that is necessary for me to do the things I do, which usually enables others to have more fun than I do. Be it working on a doctrine for Ganked – I like efting but eventually you get tired of it – ensuring RvB FCs are in the loop with other events, or working on other long term things that crucially OTHER people will enjoy more than I will. And if I am lucky I get 4-5 hours of actual play time, and then much of that is spent herding cats and trying not to call them all names for not reading everything I have prepared in advance, for not managing to follow the most basic of instructions and things on similar lines. And lets not get started on time spent when I am preparing for something major.  Ganked 100 took months of prep, just about everytime I logged on I was involved in some form of work for that, even if it was chasing down evemails and convo requests. The Spring Fling has really been a task though, fitting thousands of ships, having things transported, double checking and triple checking all my prep work, and all done at a time when CSM9 was taking office and I was balls deep in organisation for an RvB event too. And you know what, in and out of game I have spent maybe 60 hours on those the past couple of weeks, and managed around four hours of play time, and that was me leading a fleet – so again ensuring other people’s fun happened, not so much my own. Don’t get me wrong, all of the above is terribly ranty and I know I bring it on myself by being a content and community minded guy, it just sucks when I look at my actual time played versus time doing the necessary. Could be worse though, I could be a poor and have to rat on top of all of this. wolf-of-wall-street Joran: I think Niden has a very good point. There is simply a huge amount of work that goes into every bit of fun that exists in Eve. I think the people that put in this type of work quickly become leaders in general to the rest of the population. I also think the nullsec style of life enable a huge amount of people to play the game that otherwise would not. Plenty of nullsec players are reimbursed fully for their losses, take part in the grand design, and only log in to have fun. There’s nothing they don’t do but log in and fleet up. The classic nullsec grunt is simply a more casual type of player, and as Forlorn said, some people outgrow it. Personally, there’s a ton of work you put in for everything you do in wormholes, the only exception being perhaps escalations. The amount of scanning that needs to be done for every PvP or PvE opportunity means your time is spent almost 50/50 doing things that are necessary compared to things that are enjoyable, even when splitting it among a corporation. Logistics are as painful as any other area of Eve, and require huge amounts of man hours for relatively small corporations. I think that is why the rewards needs to be so relatively high compared to the rest of Eve, as it simply ceases to become worth it after a point. I think what is gained from people who put work in the game is the leadership position they achieve within it. Mangala: Joran I agree with your final point, those who put in the work get the position they deserve, I mean without what I do in game for many people, would I be in RvB leadership, have made it onto the CSM two terms and so on. Hell would people willingly follow me into a fight even? Probably not, things like that are not gifted to people they are very much earned, even if to earn them you have to do things that bore you to death, or are just routine now and so on. Xander: I mean, I don’t do anything I really ‘hate’ in game in order to do other stuff. No-one loves PvEing to fund PvP but even plexing out in Vale has it’s own rugged charm on occasion. I guess a lot of the stuff I do that I would say I really or consider ‘work’ would be stuff like the CSM8 interviews I did a year ago. But even that was a lot of fun too despite being a huge time-sink. I guess I am lucky in the regard that a lot of the mundane stuff I have to do is nullified by being in a major 0.0 bloc. For example, I have access to abundant and relatively safe ratting space so in terms of PvE, I make a lot more ISK than a lot of people do (incursionists, WHers and FW farmers aside). I don’t tend to have to think too much about logistics because I have my own carrier or I take advantage of abundant corp and alliance couriers. Markets are always well-stocked with what I need. Course the question then becomes, if there is less ‘work’ involved in doing what has to be done for the ‘good times’ – PvP or whatever – is it as enjoyable? Does a sense of work and effort and time taken make the fun more ‘fun’? Mangala: Fuck yes, the effort I expend makes a “win” better. Even if as it is for me, all I do makes EVE more enjoyable for other people, just to know that I did that, that a particularly great event happened due to my organisation, or a stunning fight was won by my fleet due in part to my fcing/forethought on setups etc, its intensely rewarding, both in terms of what people think of me, and in terms of them telling their friends and spreading the word about the work that I do. Niden: Yes, I see the point in that. Although for very different reasons and in very different ways Forlorn and Mangala fit into an archetype: those that spend a vast majority of their time doing things they don’t like for that 5-10% reward. And yes, I can see that when you’ve done the work yourself, from the ground up, the fruits of that labour are all the sweeter than if it was just handed you from on high. My point is that we’re so used to these stories that we’ve accepted the yoke. We all know people who have gone down that path and simply burned out under the weight. Instigators and organizers starting out full of zest for the benefit of those around them – in the end realizing that the responsibilities threaten to snuff out the last ounce of fun they get from the game. I don’t know what Mangala is made of but it’s certainly sterner stuff than me. When Xander for instance enjoys a stocked market, SRP and safe ratting space, others have spent countless hours doing soul-numbingly boring stuff to make that happen. When I leisurely waltz into Hysera this weekend for a bit of fun, it’s off the blood, sweat and tears of Mangala. If you consider the amount of time Forlorn counts as fun each minute is costing him a day of boring. In my eyes this is one of the most fundamental problems with EVE. It is a burden that has been carried for so long that it has been accepted. There will always be those that have the will, time and willpower to make this world go around, but it is a sad thought that the system itself is slowly killing them. 2013-02-16-20-31-03-620x350 Mangala: Niden, I have been doing the things I do for over 10 years now when it comes to communities in games I play. I just never feel happy as one of the guys, I have to be the guy. The one that makes things happen. Yes I get burned out on it from time to time, but usually I strop off, shout at people, then a few days later I get back on my horse and lead again.  Funny quirk in my character I assume. Niden: Well, yes. Like I said, you’re made of sterner stuff than most, and certainly me. Others don’t survive and carry on. They end up in leadership positions that kill their game. Industry responsibilities that snuff out their passion little by little until they don’t feel any joy about logging in. ISK expenditures that have to be fed to the point where the means end up killing the reason for doing it. I understand the rewards, I just think the toll is too high. We end up in a race where the winner is the one who can put up with the most boredom, and that is a sad state of affairs. Is this what we want EVE to be? Could EVE itself change and take some of the load off, and what would that look like? Or is this simply the result of the freedom we love so much about the game and the natural competition that comes with it? Joran: It’s 100% part of the freedom of it being a virtual world. With a world comes work, and some people have to work for everyone else to have fun. I don’t necessarily agree that the winners of Eve are the ones that can put up with the most boredom, either. I think the leaders are, but there are plenty of leaders that lose. You need something extra to be successful on the traditionally epic scale that most people think about. And if you don’t want to run a corporation or alliance? You can be successful on a solo or small scale without a herculean amount of effort, just logging on and doing things. I think there’s a ton of quality of life improvements that can be made to make the work less intense, but if everything was simplified tomorrow that would just free people up to take everything to another level.
Tags: cz minutes, fun, Jeg, work

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.

  • Saint

    I hear you guys. My corp is only tiny (200 dudes) compared to even the small alliances out there, however I would say way more than 80% of my time is spent on POS tending, setting up and tending orders, sorting out disputes, moving things around and doing the “boring” fleet things no-one else wants to, plus I feel I have to show up to the things I don’t even enjoy, just to show my face. All I really want to do is a bit of small gang PvP. If I get 10% fun ratio in a week (and that includes looking for targets) I’ll consider it a great week.

    • Niden

      Sadly your story is hardly unique. It really is something that needs to be discussed and I think all players would do well to consider their interaction with EVE from a fun/hour perspective. A glimmer of hope is that CCP are poised to address some of these issues with the reworking of legacy code, while others are simply the unaviodable bi-products of competition, freedom and social life.

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