The Psychology of Eve


When Xenuria contacted me to ask that I publish this piece, I was reticent to say the least. His history in Eve Online could generously be described as ‘chequered’ and he is very much on the radar of CCP. However, he felt the article was important and after reading it myself, I think there is a husk of an important idea in here. I’m looking forward to constructive discussion this post generates in the comments.

Most of you know me as “Xenuria” and some of you may know me as “OldSmeller”, but right now I am going to get Meta~ and discuss what those names and associated concepts actually mean. EvE Online is probably the most brutal and unforgiving MMO ever but rather than just accept this as fact and move on to discussing the latest heist or corporate hijack I am going to illuminate some of the key psychological and behavioural phenomena that are consistent in most eve players. Rather than bore you with the tedious minutia of a scholarly article on the subject matter I am going to summarize and simplify.

~Those that desire something thicker and more detailed can either do research themselves or specifically request another submission from me with a deeper attention to detail. ~


Key Terms

Online disinhibition effect: This is when somebody online gradually or entirely lets go of the social norms and rules that are typically present in the real world. EvE is full of spies and Space Criminals that will smile at you warmly just before stabbing you in the back and taking everything you own for themselves. In the real world there are consequences for doing bad things to other people, consequences also exist in EvE but despite that people tend to behave differently when given anonymity.


Proteus Effect: There is a reason Xenuria pilots a proteus so often. The Proteus Effect refers to a phenomenon that occurs when an individual is acting online under a digital persona (This persona can also be non-digital). If the persona is that of an Evil Space Tyrant then the individual behind this persona will often act or adapt to conform to the persona. This can go both ways as well and how a persona is perceived or labeled can also affect how the person portraying it will act and be shaped. There are both positive and negative examples of this.  I am only going to cover the positive.

Positive Examples

Roc Wieler got into better shape started hitting the gym in order to be more like his in-game persona. Roc is also rare because he only enacted the positive characteristics of his in-game persona. Roc is a powerful motivator and regularly encourages others to do what he did and shape themselves into a healthier, stronger version of themselves.

Xenuria is an insane savant with preternatural foresight, methodical plans for everybody and a grandiosity that is arguably unmatched. Xenuria adapts to any change rapidly and always has some kind of secret~ contingency in place no matter how outmatched or out gunned. In the real world I used to be horrible at planning and compensating for changes in schedule. These days I carry a notepad around and document almost everything both digital and real world.

I only covered 2 main concept but there are many more. Next time you are about to get ganked at a gate camp or empty a corporate wallet you may have a new perspective.




Tags: psychology

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.