Blog Banter 10: It’s Just A Game
Sorry for this being a little late; I’ve been very busy this week and didn’t get to polish up my rough draft of ideas until yesterday.
Welcome to the tenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
This month’s banter leans a little, OK a lot, on the academic side. It comes to us from xiphos83 of A Misguided Adventurer, who asks the following: ” Victor Davis Hanson argues that western culture, comprising of ideals such as freedom, debate, capitalism, and consensual government, are what make western society so successful at waging war. These ideologies create a warrior who’s direct participation in government, ability to think freely, and desire to remain free, fights harder and is willing to suffer more than his conscripted foe. Though a military must remain a structured oligarchy to fight a war effectively, why in a world where military conflict is as familiar as breathing are there so few alliances that embrace these ideologies when governing their members?”
An interesting question. Essentially, it compares real life motivation through ideologies with the nonidealistic oligarchies in Eve alliances.
I’d like to start by saying that I haven’t had that much experience in an alliance. I was in Starfleet Federation (aligned with CVA) for a month or so before I switched corps.
But I think the question is correct in saying that few alliances embrace western ideologies. From my own experience and that of some of my mates, many alliances lack such ideals.
But why is this the case? Why don’t more alliances hold to such ideals?
The cause is Eve itself.
To begin with, Eve is characterized by a lack of morality. Yes, it has more real-life features than any other MMO. But like the others, it lacks a moral basis. Religion and ideology are simply used as props. For example, the Amarr are wacked, religious slave owners. Were Eve real life, we’d be horrified that such an empire existed. But in Eve, it’s just part of a storyline. Can anything be done about this moral vacuum? Not really. It’s just a game, and people treat it as such.
Because ideals are determined by morality, this moral deficit causes a lack of care about justice. The ideal of justice brought forth by the prompt is not highly valued in Eve. Unlike real-life revolutionaries, we do not act in Eve to further such ideals. Instead, Eve is powered by the mantra of “Me first.” We PVP, wardec, and pirate for the fun of it, not to right wrongs. And those who value justice highly either quickly accept the fact that Eve is a dangerous, lawless universe, or they rage quit after being scammed or laughed at after losing their ship.
This apathy toward justice makes it essentially impossible for alliances to be idealistically driven. We in Eve do not hold to a moral high ground based on ideals. Some do set up some system of justice – NRDS, NBSI, fair 1v1s, honored ransoms. But this flimsy creation of “justice” is not always honored by others.
With the lack of value on justice, the only real factor binding alliances is friendships with others in the alliance and pride in how “good” the alliance is. For some this is military prowess, for others it is manufacturing ability. Obviously, this is a flimsy object to hold on to, leading to what has been dubbed the “failure cascade”. When the “we are better than you” mentality is broken through defeat in wars or lack of profit, alliances splinter like the USSR after the Cold War.
But even if alliances don’t have a strong valuation of ideals, why do so many lack a democratic structure?
One reason may be players’ lack of care about such a structure. After all, Eve is just a game, and as long as the alliance is doing well, all is good for the members.
But a larger reason for an absence of democracy may be due to the lack of any good mechanism from CCP for such democracy. We cannot vote for measures or elected officers. There is no balance of powers; the CEO and directors are all-powerful. Some roles can be assigned within corporations, but those are difficult to use, do not provide much structure, and do not integrate with alliances.
The only real player structure in Eve is the faction warfare rank system (which is nothing but a computer-awarded badge) and the fleet/wing/squad system (which, obviously, only works in fleets). Of course, alliances can always choose to set up such a system out of game, but for the most part, members in an alliance have very little say over what happens in an alliance.
So in the end, there are few idealistic alliances due to a lack of ideology. There is a lack of ideology due to a devaluation of justice. There is a devaluation of justice because of an absence of morality. And there is an absence of morality because, at its heart, Eve is simply a game.
Other blog banter articles can be found here: Blog Banter 10