Eenie, Meeny, Miny, Moe: Choice Overload
To start things off, allow me to present an analogy. It’s a hot summer day and you’re looking to cool off. While walking around town you spy an ice cream shop and decide to stop in. Once inside, you’re delighted to find that shop boasts over 100 different flavors. After looking over all the flavors you notice a sign near the bottom of the list of flavors. It states that each customer can only choose one flavor at a time and once you choose a flavor you can no longer buy any other flavor for three months. You’re effectively locked into buying one flavor for a quarter of a year. Naturally, your mind is suddenly spinning with questions: Which of the many flavors will you be the most satisfied with? Will you become tired of your chosen flavor in a month’s time? Which flavor is the “best”? The myriad of choices that were once viewed with excitement now are a source of paralyzing indecision.
So what does too much ice cream have to do with Eve? The answer is the sandbox. The wonderful aspect of the holy sandbox is that you are presented with a deluge of choices. Which career should you choose? Which ship should you fly? Which skills should you train? Which NPC corp should you run missions for? Which player corp should you join? Do you stay in high sec? Venture into low sec? Or do you take the plunge into null? Which this, which that…. a lot of choices. While this feature is one of the selling points of the sandbox, to a new player it can be incredibly overwhelming. The choice overload is the primary source of the notorious Eve learning curve.
The excess of decisions is compounded by the fact that almost every choice that you make in Eve has lasting consequences. Time spent training for a later abandoned career choice can’t be taken back. The ISK lost from a bad business decision can’t be reclaimed. A single bad decision made by a single FC can change the course of an entire conflict. The weight of choices can be quite intimidating, especially to a newer player that doesn't have experience to rely on. The fear of making a “wrong” choice can be a real problem for some.
I’d like to address the idea of the “wrong choice”. Honestly it’s a flawed concept. It assumes that there is some final destination that one is aiming for and that there are some choices that will slow one’s progress to the end goal. This idea frankly doesn't apply to Eve. There may be long term goals in Eve but there is always another mountain to climb once you've ascended your current peak. There’s always another system to conqueror, always another ship to blow up, always another ‘roid to mine. There is no end-game in Eve.
Every choice you make in New Eden is one more step in the pursuit of fun. There’s no end destination, just a never ending staircase of challenges, defeats, and victories. So don’t let the multitude of choices overwhelm, rather embrace them. If you have a question, ask in the help channel or try your more experienced corpies. At the very least attempt a Google search. In the end, always remember that every choice presents a new experience, a new opportunity, a new chance to enjoy the game.