Looking over some of the stats on the blog leads me to one conclusion. You are far more interested in posts in which I discuss things about EVE in general than tales of my exploits in blowing up. This is clearly evident when I look at this post which has more views than all my other pages combined. So, with that in mind, I have good news and bad news. Bad news is, I'm still going to be posting quite often about my personal exploits in the game. Those posts probably help me more than you, because it allows me to look back on mistakes I've made and analyze them in a detailed manner so that I don't make them again in the future. The good news is, I'll try to break them up a bit with posts like this one, where I'll discuss some more general aspects of game play and how you can apply it to yourself.
I've actually been holding onto this post for a little while now. But then I saw the most recent Blog Banter from over at Crazy Kinux's Musing. Now, I'm not part of the blog pack, or too keen on answering the actual questions from the banter, which was in short "How does your real life personality compare to who you are as a character in EVE?" It just seemed appropriately timed since I already had this one waiting in my queue, so I decided to post it early. Anyway, here you go.
You know those posters you see in stores that say "Everything I ever needed to know about life I learned from Kindergarten/Star Trek/Spaghetti"? Well, this is one of those lists. Except it's my own personal list of things that I brought with me before I ever started playing, and how those things influence how I view EVE Online. I'm sure you're all the same in this regard. We all take advantage of the sandbox in different ways, and the reason that one of those ways appeals more than another isn't because of some inherent cost/benefit analysis within the game, but because of the person sitting in front of the computer. I'd love to hear some of your own examples in the comments section below.
For those of you who don't know, (which is probably everyone, since I've not mentioned it on this blog before) prior to playing EVE Online I was in the United States Marine Corps. Now obviously this experience shaped who I am as a person, and it also provided a lot of valuable life lessons that I can now apply towards EVE. I now present to you:
Everything I Need to Know About EVE I Learned in the Marines
Situation Dictates: Almost every question you can possibly ask in EVE is answered with two simple words. "It depends." Which is better, a MWD or an AB? Point or Scram? Active or Buffer? Shield or Armor? In the Marines, we learned that almost every tactical decision one can make will have to account for factors that are unique to that particular scenario. It's the same in EVE. I'm constantly amazed at the completely open ended questions I see pass through various channels on EVE in which the person is honestly expecting a yes/no answer. Whether it be my own Corp mates, or various public channels and forums, it never ceases to amaze me.
Due to my place in EVE as a low-sec Pirate, I often completely disagree with the answers given by people on NPC Corp chats, or Rookie Help, or whatever public channel my alt happens to be in while I'm hauling something into lowsec. I have to remind myself that situation dictates, and the answer they got was probably the answer they were looking for.
Don't Panic: In PvP the worst thing you can do is freeze up. There's a saying in the Marines that's oft used as an off color compliment, "Good initiative, bad judgement." You hear it when you screw up through action rather than inaction. It's meant to say that at least you did something, because doing nothing is always the wrong decision.
Don't get me wrong, "wait and see what they do" is a legimite decision to make, just make sure it's a conscious decision you're making and that you're not just freezing up. When that red flashy icon appears on your overview, do you run or fight? If you're going to run, do it. If you're going to fight, do it. If you decide you made the wrong decision, try to go back, or try to disengage. Maybe the decision you make will turn out to be the wrong one, but at least you took the initiative.
Kill Babies: Allow me to explain. For those of you not caught up on your U.S. History, "baby killer" was a pejorative term aimed at U.S. service members returning from the Vietnam War. It was meant to say that they were killing innocent people and had no right to be there in the first place. What I'm sure many of you may be appalled to learn is that today it's used as a term of endearment within the Marines, or "kill babies" is used jokingly in agreement with a statement. Wait, what?
The Marine Corps took the term, and made it it's own. If this is a concept you're finding difficulty understand, I point you instead towards the use of the "N" word and its integration into Black Culture within the United States. Instead of finding it insulting, they internalized it, and began using it as a compliment within their own culture. OK, history lessons aside, how does this help me? I've been called a few creative things in my time as a Pirate. I assure you, I don't lose sleep over it. I'm not one of those you'll ever find talking smack in local, but when people do, I'm usually very pleasant and courteous in return. After all, I've probably been called worse in real life.
Fire and Maneuver: Another saying within the Marines (Yeah, we had a lot of them) was "Fire without movement is a waste of ammo, movement without fire is suicide." In PvP in EVE, whoever is able to move better on the battlefield will have a great advantage. Whichever side is able to maneuver into the most advantagous positions will probably come out ahead. It's one of the reasons the Rifter, and Minmatar in general, is so popular in PvP, because it can move better than most other ships in its class.
Quality not Quantity: One of the reasons I ended up in EVE Piracy is the same reason I ended up in the Marines. When I decided to join the military, I knew I wanted to do something that only the military could do. If I had wanted to be a cook/clerk/mechanic/etc I could have just gotten a job doing that. I ended up going into the infantry, because I knew of very few places I'd get to shoot big guns and blow stuff up in the real world. If you're playing EVE to Mine, or trade, or run missions, or whatever other PvE related activity you're doing, I can't understand your logic. Why not just play a single-player game and open up an IRC channel to chat at the same time? Wouldn't it be pretty much the same? I feel like people often accuse Pirates of rudely sticking the multi-player back into their game.
Another decision I had to make then and now went like this. When you compare the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army, you'll notice a few things. The Marines are 1/4 the size of the Army. Marine Boot Camp is 50% longer than Army Basic Training. (On a side note, never call what the Marines go through Basic Training...there's nothing basic about it.) The Marines also generally do what they do on a shoe string budget, and they do it well. When it came time for me to decide who I was going to serve with and fight beside, I wanted the small well trained group over the larger less trained one. It only took me a very short experience with a Nullsec Alliance to figure out the same thing applied in EVE. I'd much rather be a poor Pirate engaging in PvP where my actions mattered, than in a large fleet having trouble locking my target before the Alpha tore it to shreds.
It's Just a Game: Probably the most universal lesson to have brought to the game with me. I can't help but feel bad when someone emo rages over a ship loss. Not because I blew up their ship, but because I wonder how that ship could have been so important to them. Try to gain a little perspective on the situation, and understand that it's only a game. It always puts things in perspective for me when I compare being ganked by a gate-camp to being ambushed in a war zone. Hard to get upset over a ship exploding when you've been inside a vehicle hit by a roadside bomb. Hard to cry about losing your pod when you've watched friends bleed out while there was nothing you could do. It's just a game.