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EVE Online: Losing on a Grand Scale

When 3000 spaceship pilots devote an afternoon to killing each other, does everyone walk away happy? The second part of our look at how being a loser is part of EVE Online's player culture.

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[Continuing on from EVE: A Game Played By Losers]

Most frequently, EVE's mainstream press headlines feature huge fleet clashes between the vast territory-holding player alliances in the depths of null-sec space, where player control is absolute.

Often, these battles are the result of weeks or months of posturing, propaganda and skirmishing, resulting in jubilant claims of victory at ship losses valued in tens of thousands of dollars and a player-led event involving thousands of subscribers.

It's the kind of event that produces numbers which has CCP's marketing department rubbing its hands together.

Of course, whilst the victors are wreathed in glory, somewhere hundreds of EVE players will be licking wounds, nursing bruised egos and calculating exactly how much they have lost. Perhaps they'll be wondering why the bothered. After all, they too have invested thousands of man-hours in building up their assets and organisation.

Undoubtedly, for some, it'll be just part of the rich tapestry of the null-sec life they have committed to in their virtual career as a capsuleer. But for others, they might be wondering why the hell they spent the last few weeks preparing for an experience which has left them digitally destitute and quite possibly homeless.

The annals of null-sec warfare are littered with organisations whose defeats have contributed to a 'failscade': the often slow, downward spiral toward organisational death as member pilots bleed out, either defecting to another alliance, migrating to a different playstyle or simply succumbing to EVE burnout.

Will there be a TEST at the End?

Test Alliance Please Ignore, an alliance which once had over 10,000 members, has been a recent victim of this phenomenon. Following a succession of costly defeats during the war for the Fountain region (culminating in the record-breaking Battle of 6VDT-H, which involved 4,000+ combatants and losses in excess of $15,000), TEST lost its last sovereignty system in September and haemorraged over 50% of its members (down to a still respectable 4,250, according to EVEWho.com). 

Such is the nature of EVE, especially those who choose to participate in the null-sec sovereignty warfare, which leads to these 'epic' fleet fights and 'glorious' victories. Fair warning should be given: at this level, EVE Online is high-stakes video gaming, and those considering taking part would do well to bear that in mind.

Fair warning should be given: at this level, EVE Online is high-stakes video gaming and those considering taking part would do well to bear that in mind.

Developing a tough skin and learning to accept the inevitability of the crushing defeat is a rite of passage for any EVE player. 'HTFU,' as the locals say.

Valuable Lessons

The moral of the story here is that to be lured into EVE Online solely on the strength of the giant fleet fights is to fall victim to your first EVE scam. Let the journalists be lured by the easy headline, but new players would do well to make an informed decision.

There's so much more to experience in EVE Online than alarm clock ops at the whim of an armchair space general or day-long slow-motion space battles just so you can claim 'you were there' (of course, if that's what you're after, then by all means, null-sec wants you). 

But there are many aspects to the EVE Universe which are less demanding and more accessible. You don't have to be a professional space warrior for EVE to be worth your while. 

Nowhere is safe though: low security space less frequently sees destruction on such a massive scale (the famed Battle of Asakai proves that it can still happen though), and personal losses can still be just as devastating. Even high-security space, where a zero-tolerance NPC police response will see assailants explode as quickly as their victims, there is no guarantee of safety as our PLEX-couriers learned.

EVE Online veterans will tell you that you get out of the game what you put in, however that's not exactly true; somebody will get out what you put in, but it won't necessarily be you.

Be prepared to accept loss and you can still win at EVE Online. Probably.

Originally Published Dec. 20th 2013

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Comments
  • 10
    Samuel Smith 9 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    I've never played EVE outside of the 14 day trial. Not that I didn't like the game I just knew I couldn't give it the time it needed for true enjoyment.

    I don't know if I'm the only one but I LOVE hearing the stories about the happenings of EVE Online, thankyou for sharing!
  • 1
    James_4438 9 months ago
    Great article! Really sums up a lot of what EVE is about without having to resort to complicated jargon and vernacular.
  • 1
    Brian Smith_1283 9 months ago
    Nice summary of Eve, thanks for writing it!