Destroy/Create

 
If EVE Online were set in the world of Warhammer 40,000, lowsec would be the realm of Khorne, the Blood God. Long before New Eden had even been conceived 40k was already old, and it’s one of those worlds that’s been with me for so long that it’s almost like mythology from which I tend to draw comparisons. Of the four main deities of the Chaos powers in Warhammer, Khorne is the god of anger, violence and hate. As such he/it rewards nothing but violence for violence’s sake, beyond reason or higher purpose. When his followers run out of people to slaughter, they turn on each other. The blood must flow – much like in lowsec. Given that the World Eaters legion, crazed Khornite fanatics, were always dear to me, it is little surprise that lowsec is where my heart lies in EVE. Those who are deep lowsec PVP know this pull – the fight evolves to be much less about the “why” as the years pass. The fundamental principle becomes more clear: dominating other people, and thereby expressing an integral quality of human nature that may be difficult to accept, yet cannot be denied. So why do we do it EVE? Is it for personal monetary or material gain? No, not primarily. Case in point: I destroyed a pod worth 4.4 billion ISK yesterday, I gained nothing from it, only took away from the other guy. I simply destroyed. I ruined his hard work, perhaps hurt his pride and probably spoiled his evening. Mine however, was made. Why? Because I could. Because I knew that I had destroyed something that was meaningful. Because we as humans not only seek love and companionship, but also dominion over others. The circle is complete because with dominion we gain admiration from our peers, thus tying into the former instinct. Although this can be seen throughout human civilisation, it is all the more clear in EVE Online. From making harsh jokes at the expense of others (a form of domination), to destroying entire alliances. The greatest destroyers are the proverbial rock stars of EVE.

Destroy-Create-layout

Shiva

Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir. Pogue Colonel: The what? Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.

– Full Metal Jacket

So, who’s going to make all this stuff that we destroy? There can be no destruction without an equal amount of creation, after all. In many ways I am a consumer in EVE itself. Meaning that my primary motivator for logging in is to destroy what someone else has built. My time online is limited, so while I keep promising myself that I’ll get into market trading, PI, production etc. some day, the call of war is always too strong for me to waste any time not doing it. This virtually singular approach suggests that my need to dominate or die trying is much stronger than any other, in which conflict is the end more than the means. While there is nothing to suggest that I am especially talented at it, managing only to be above average (for lowsec), it is still the benchmark for the satisfaction of my gameplay experience. Meanwhile I have found myself looking down on highsec mission runners and miners, nullbears and explorers – the very people who create what I destroy. I cannot help but feel slightly ‘better’ than them simply by virtue of (an assumed) superiority in the realm of violence, even though there is no logical reason for me to do so and a stance that when objectively viewed can be perceived as morally grotesque. What right do I have? None. Is it not so that the very ships I fly and the modules I fit them with come from these people, toiling away without honour or glory? They work countless hours, often under circumstances I would define as mind-numbing boredom, hauling their wares to highly competitive markets to eke out a meagre profit, just so I can have fun for the hour or two I have time to be online on any given day. What gives me the right to feel superior or to feel sorry for them because they couldn’t fend for themselves in the realm where I ply my trade? Isn’t how they choose to live their life in New Eden of equal value to mine? Yet, there it is. An unmistakable feeling of accomplishment born out of pure destruction with no other reason than destruction itself and being the hand that wields it. I destroyed what you created, because I can.

Love, fear, respect

When all is said and done it’s all about how you measure your worth in EVE. Some do it in ISK, some through politics and scheming, others on the number of people they can engage in community events. And then there’s people like me, who just break stuff. I am quite certain as I feel sorry for others, they feel sorry for me – the lowsec meathead, thrashing like a maniac, killing everything he can get his hands on because ~reasons. It all boils down to love, fear and respect. We all want these things, to some degree or another, in one combination or another. It’s part of what being a social animal is all about. The paths we choose to these things vary, and thank God for that. Because if everyone was like me, there would be nothing left to destroy.
Tags: lowlife, niden

About the author

Niden

11 year EVE veteran, Snuff Box lowsec scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.

  • Damien Price Raashaw

    I’m a bit disappointed you didn’t add “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!!” at the very end 🙁

    • Niden

      I had something along those lines there, but changed it 🙂

  • blackhuey

    Your point about how people measure their worth is spot on Niden. It’s hard to ruin someone’s day in Eve if they measure their worth in experience, because even a loss is an experience. But those who measure their worth in ISK can have their days ruined very easily. Grats on the bling pod too! Love those full Geno sets.

    • Niden

      When writing this piece I was looking at how I feel when lose something valuable. I lost a 900 mil pod just two weeks ago for instance. I realised that for me what stings is often the way I lost. When I lose it’s often because I’ve done something stupid, and it’s that fact that annoys me the most I think. That lossmail is never going away, it will always remind me of how clumsy I was in any given instance. The pod I lost for example was to Santo Trafficante – a complete nub mistake, because I know very well that you don’t warp to gates in pods when he’s in system. The value attached to the lossmail gives it weight in a way. But that’s the way it has to be, if I want my kills to mean something, I very well have to be prepared to take it on the jaw when it’s my time to die.

      • Khaemwese

        Ah… I know exactly how you feel… I made the very same costly mistake not too long ago. That’s all he does… Sits by the gate podding others… He’s become sort of an specialist on that.

        • Niden

          “Has become”? I’d say he’s been doing that longer than a lot of players have even been in EVE 😀

          That’s precisely my point. I know this, I’ve seen him do it many many times, I know to check local, but I didn’t because ~dumb. I don’t mind loosing expensive stuff when there’s a good reason, like a hotdrop you can’t avoid or “I know it’s bait but maybe I can kill him before they land” 🙂

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    I think CCP presented data at fanfest showing that the people that stick around in Eve the longest are the people who try the most things. This has always struck a chord with me, basically because the “voyage of discovery” part of Eve is what drives me. What happens if/when the thrill of small gang PvP loses its lustre? Is that it for you, or will you try other things? The worst bittervets always seem to be guys that were pure PvP and then for whatever reason (usually becoming effective enough that people avoided them), fell out of love with it.

    • Niden

      IIRC CCP stated that the players who stick around are those that engage with the community, but you certainly have a point there, and I did talk about this in Lowlife some time ago. Basically, many of us who only do PvP more or less tend to pigeonhole ourselves, eventually that’s the only thing we know how to do and once we burn out we run the risk of dropping out of EVE entirely. I solve this in another way however: Crossing Zebras and Lowlife. This gives me other ways of ‘engaging’ with EVE on a community and metagame level, providing variation. But yeah, like I said, I keep telling myself that I should vary my gameplay so that other options are available to me when I log on.

      • exactly good point.

        “That’s the only thing we know how to do and once we burn out we run the risk of dropping out of EVE entirely.”

        I experienced the same thing. In eve though, there are other aspects that bonds you to the universe. Because after a while you are not only playing this but more like you are in a wa y licing in a community and helping it to improve.

        and thanks for the writeup. good read

  • Kamar Raimo

    You know, I never really judged the playstyle of others much. People get all worked up about carebears or renters or gankers or scammers or LP farmers but I rather observe than judge. I may comment on it and sometimes people interpret that as judgement – like Xander did in a discussion we had some time ago – but it is not my thing to say that they are better or worse than me.

    What I can say is that I enjoy certain things more than others and dominating is actually not quite what cuts it for me. Every animal can dominate another and I would not identify that as something particularly human. What really gets my juices flowing is outwitting and out-thinking others when it comes to conflict. Even if it comes to something like pure PVP I find it much more satisfying to win through trickery and smart moves than through bringing a stronger ship or more of them.

    There just is something deeply satisfying about managing to do something well that really only humans, apes and some whales can do: Being smarter.

    • Niden

      Out-thinking someone is also a form of domination, and it’s certainly human because we can think abstractly about the idea of winning a contest between ourselves and another human being or a difficult task. When you boil your idea of out-thinking down to its base motivator it is the same thing as dominating – winning. All animals have some form of reward mechanism built in to support the behaviour, but with us it can reach an advanced social and intellectual level, so much so that you might think that it’s purely a stimulation of the intellect. But those are just layers on top of the same base instinct as animals have. Our appreciation and anticipation of it are what makes it human in this instance. Nevertheless, we’re both talking about the same thing.