Thursday, April 15, 2010

What does roleplay (RP) mean in Eve Online?

In the recent event of the Eve Universe, a player controlled roleplay alliance has lost a vast portion of space called Providence. I've written about these events before and talked about CVA, Ushra'Khan and AAA--all player alliances. Many players of Eve have commented that CVA's rebuttal of AAA's demands was "stupid". The logic behind these statements is that AAA is a much, much larger alliance and would mop the galactic floor with spilled CVA guts--which they have proceeded to do. These pilots are confused by CVA's motivations... why on Earth would the fools choose to fight AAA? CVA has said they have done it for "roleplay" reasons which has sparked a wave of bewilderment from the AAA community about the stupidity of roleplay as a reason and further that CVA has quite obviously "lost" so roleplay has failed. But that misses the whole point... Let me back up.

Eve is a very open ended game. You have pilots, skills, spaceships, lots and lots of industry, and a whole galaxy of solar systems to explore. You literally wake up in this world with no set goal. You get to decide what ships to fly, what goods to buy, and how to make your living in this world. Now maybe you're serious about your roleplay and create a back story for your pilot and you live life as the immortal "capsuleer" that all Eve pilots are... But even if you don't do this, to some degree, all your decisions are roleplay decisions. What did you want to do in the game? The game didn't lay out a path for you. You were not created a Mage in a static region with 250 quests to complete before you could advance to the next region... Your story will not be the same as any other player. All your choices have been a reflection of what you wanted to do, not forced down an alley of what "character class" you picked.

The CVA alliance is just an extension of this taken to the Alliance level. The leaders of the player created structure had decided they would control Providence as their own entity. They would fight to keep it "free" for all pilots to explore. They would fight against aggressors that disrupted their space and aggressors that would not honor their "right" to rule the region. No one at CCP Games gave them this right... they took it. When AAA appeared (yes, provoked, but that's not important here) CVA kept true to their vision and vowed to fight the aggressors. They knew they would likely lose, but it was more valuable to them to keep up their identity as CVA than to keep the region known as Providence. They did not acknowledge that AAA had any greater right to tell CVA what to do than anyone else. Of course, AAA has overwhelming force of arms and has demonstrated its power. While AAA laughs at CVA's "roleplay" decisions it is humorous to note that AAA itself decided it didn't like CVA's lack of respect (a very roleplay decision) and invaded Providence. For all the pundits hurled at roleplayers in Eve, we seem to not realize that all of us are roleplayers in Eve--some just write more fiction about it than others.

Enjoy the show folks. These events are what make Eve interesting. There will be no "Lich King" release to drive some sort of story in to Eve... the story is written every day by each of the pilots in New Eden.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone wrote this. There's so much baseless angst against role-players in EVE which I don't quite understand.

For me, without some element of 'role play', EVE is just like a second job.

You go there. You make isk. You don't really have a purpose except to keep going there and making more isk. Anything that is fun but doesn't conform to the 'make more isk' goal gets thrown out the window -- unless making isk for isks sake is fun for you.

Role-play isn't about dungeons and dragons, it's about having a goal in-game that somehow relates to the story; and if you don't care at all about the story, why are you playing EVE?

Thorvik said...

Nice post and very true. As part of Ushra'Khan I like the more good vs. evil, terrorist/freedom fighter aspect and play the game accordingly.

Most don't seem to understand that when they choose to fit their ship with an AB over a MWD, they are roleplaying being 'pilots' on a 'spacestation' somewhere and while they aren't physically standing in the station, they are fitting their ships getting ready for combat/mining/exploration etc...

One small point is that CVA didn't really fight for any of what was left in Providence. Defending the whole section of space would have been nearly impossible, but defending one pocket or constellation would have been a little more RP of them. They would have lost, but fighting the desperate last fight would have made it more RP given their reasonings. They could have had their "Alamo".

Masada (aka: Curtis) said...

CVA fought in D-GTMI... Perhaps you could call it the CVA Waterloo. Hundreds of losses to virtually zero kills (146 capital ship losses to zero). This demonstrated that Dominion sov war was broken. CVA would never recover and would never commit capital ships to combat again.

I suspect CVA is waiting for AAA to get good and distracted by the North before it will begin to do exactly what AAA did... snipe systems back while defense fleet will be unable to load grid. Or CVA is well and truly beaten. It will struggle in Low Sec and Empire until the day it can face Ushra'Khan again. Regardless, the roleplay experience will be grand.

Kalis Tak said...

('scuse necromancy)
Just wanted to say I'm glad to see this commentary. CVA and UK (before they were infiltrated and disbanded) both made choices that outside of RP were unwise, and it led to some fun times. I know less about AAA, but in game bias aside, I believe it makes the game richer and more fun for more people.
For those 'allergic to RP', EVE is a big place. Be elsewhere, ignore the RP, or deal.