Monday, April 19, 2010

The Tobold Eve Kerfuffle

Normally I wouldn't write about a feud between two bloggers. Up until now, I've kept quiet about the whole Syncaine/Tobold feud. After all, none of it concerned subjects I'm really invested emotionally in. But now that Tobold has decided to actually play Eve, a game I'm currently playing, I actually have some first-hand knowledge about what the two are writing about.

(Disclaimer: Tobold has chosen to play a no-good, twice-damned, holier-than-thou slaving Amarr pig-dog, so I might be just a bit biased against him. I'll try to be fair.)

Now, I'm actually interested in reading what Tobold writes about Eve. Eve is the only game I've ever really liked that I don't unreservedly recommend to my friends. That's because Eve is a bit, shall we say, complicated, as the chart below demonstrates.

Like me, Tobold is a carebear. That is, someone who is not a big fan of player verses player (PvP) game play. I know what I am getting out of the game. I want to know what Tobold gets, or doesn't get, out of playing Eve. I actually think that once Tobold discovers that high-sec will keep him fairly safe that he will immerse himself in the economic game. After all, anyone who analyzes the challenges of making gold in World of Warcraft auction houses will see a similar challenge moving into Eve's more advanced economy.

Now, I think that Syncaine's response to the Amarr pig-dog was, to say the least, not exactly on the mark. Of course, Syncaine had to respond to Tobold bringing up the subject of the learning skills and the concept of training them first no matter what that does to your game play in your first month. Something that Tobold labeled "Eve Offline".
"Also somewhat comical is the talk of the ‘optimal’ path, without the identifier that it’s the optimal path for a veteran player and not someone new. Yes, maxing out your learning skills is the best thing to do to ultimately have the highest skill point total, and if that’s your goal for the game, have at it. But again, if skipping ahead is ok to begin with, you might as well do it right and just buy a character with all of the learning skills maxed. Sitting there complaining about EVE Offline while you make the choice yourself to not play and not get skills that would help you right now is, well, rather silly. Just because the veterans of the game have min/maxed something, does not mean everyone is forced down that path, and that applies to any MMO." [emphasis mine]
I found just a couple of things wrong with this passage. First, at the time he wrote his "Trying to Understand the Eve Skill System" post, Tobold had been playing for 2 days. And given my own experience when I began, trying to figure out the skills system and during my research I saw some veterans advice new players to learn all the learning skills first. So if Tobold also heard that advice, I don't wonder that he brought up the "Eve Offline" meme. Of course, I prefer forum threads like this one that give, I think, more sane advice.

The second thing I found funny was that Tobold never said that he was going to follow this path. Tobold wrote:
"Now I'm not planning to play EVE that way. I matured well past the point in my MMORPG career where I think that progress is actually important. Having fun with gameplay is. So what I will be doing is running missions, explore the universe, learn the various complex game mechanics of the different careers, and be hellishly inefficient in accumulating a completely unfocused set of skills, based solely on what I want to do next, without a larger plan or long-term goal. I am pretty certain that A) this is how most newbies would play EVE (as opposed to a second character of an EVE veteran) and B) this is more fun than first spending a month offline accumulating learning skills." [emphasis mine]
Where in the above passage does Tobold say he is going to follow the "Eve Offline" plan?

Now, I'm not sure that Syncaine is not just playing a joke on everyone with this post. Why would I think his last paragraph is a dead giveaway.
"Oh and one final note: How can someone who ‘plays’ the AH in WoW through a UI mod for an hour a day, day in day out, selling the same stuff and gaining gold in a game where gold has next-to-no meaning or challenge in acquiring it, call mining in EVE boring?"
Syncaine, a champion of PvP play, defending mining, the biggest carebear activity in Eve? That IS a joke, right?

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