Writing these posts is a good bit of work – but so is reading them! I know this is less narrative and more theoretical than your typical videogame blog, and that’s the niche I’m trying to fill. While I have been humbled by the large number of weekly readers, I also want this to be an accessible resource for players, community members, and anyone interested in the game. To that end, here’s a handy index with some more-or-less accurate abstracts, so you can find and share what topics interest you most!
I – EVE Online is a Work of Art
I use my personal manifesto as an artist – the way mediums do different jobs and interact with each other – to define EVE Online as “the most videogame” that a videogame could be. EVE could be to videogames what the Gilgamesh tablets were for literature; what we do with videogames in the next 3,000 years will determine that.
II – The Real skillpoints: veritcal versus horizontal learning in eve online
Unlike mediums like film or literature, every videogame has to teach us how to play it. “Metacognitive Skills Pedagogy,” one of the current trends in teaching, (and a model I use at work every day) shows us how some aspects of EVE teach us to get better at the game, while others teach us to do more with the skills we have.
III – Well-Endowed: the language of ownership and EVE’s death popup
In this essay, I close-read EVE’s controversial “death popup” for how it reinforces notions of ownership by saying “lost your ship,” to trigger the psychological “endowment effect.” I contrast this with the language experienced players use for their ships, and the way in which impermanence of assets in EVE makes this kind of monetization scheme fallible.
IV – More Money Less Problems: Monetization versus Skills Development in EVE
Building on the way EVE teaches us skills from Post III and the way standard trends of monetization don’t really work for such a unique game from Post IV, I now draw on research done on videogame patents to expose how simpler games are easier to monetize, so that CCP is incentivized by industry logic to dumb down the most complex game ever.
V – Lysistrata: How a war can end
Totally switching gears, I now compare Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata to the largest war in EVE’s history, which at this point was just winding down. Who knows if, like in the play, that was due to a sex-strike by the wives of the combatants?
VI – If You’re too big to fight, you’re too big to exist
This essay is an opinion piece. Over the past 8 years, EVE’s population has simultaneously shrunk while the big groups have grown, leading to unsustainable concentration in nullsec. This keeps people from practicing the gameplay that they really want, and also further limits the growth of the game.
VII – “Wait, You WANT the Response Fleet?”: Strategic vs Recreational Gameplay, Part One
This is the first of a three-part essay introducing my framework for defining different types of PVP by the mindset. I explain what Strategic, Recreational, and Competitive mindsets are, and how these are almost like playing different games in the same world.
VIII – “Why You Running?”: Strategic vs Recreational Gameplay, Part Two
In the second of this three-part essay, I dig into some of the implications of the framework I laid out in the first post. Most notably, I talk about the existence of ‘spin,’ propaganda, and narrative as an actual form of gameplay in Strategic, but not in Recreational PVP.
IX – “It Doesn’t Matter Until it Matters”: Strategic vs Recreational Gameplay, Part Three
…but can narrative go too far? In this third part, I look at how narratives can form and divide communities, and how narrativization is a skill that blends between our real lives and the game. This is good, but it can also be harmful. As EVE is the most potent videogame in this regard, we have to think of Strategic PVP and ‘spin’ like a powerful drug, fun in safe doses and harmful in large ones.
X – I Don’t See the Point: Playing EVE While Blind
You know, I do actually play EVE too. And I’ve played for about as long as I’ve been legally blind. This post is part theory, part personal narrative about my experience existing in an almost totally visual world, through a series of prostheses, while visually disabled.
XI – Speaking EVE: Specialized Language as a Way to Define Fleet Size
Symbolic thought – that is, the technology of language, and how it lets us think – allows for specialized language shared by certain communities. EVE’s specialized language isn’t for a discipline, like music or medicine, but for navigating another world. This lets us define gang size based on the type of comms and specialized language they use.
XII – Tanizaki vs the Triglavians: the Role of Mystery in Worldbuilding
It’s not just the details in a story or world that make us believe in it, but how these outline some mystery that imitates how we experience the real world, and keeps us coming back. I use Junichiro Tanizaki’s “In Praise of Shadows” to look at how new game expansions can help or hurt worldbuilding, using his descriptions of light and shadow.