Friday, 2 September 2011

Coming Out of the Closet

  Part of my intention when creating this blog was to discuss game topics near to my heart.  Recently I've been participating in incursions as a logistics pilot, and I am exclusively shield focused on all of my characters.  Yesterday it took awhile to get a fleet but I noticed in chat that armor logi's were in high demand.  The Guardian is far and above the logi of choice for armor but I can't fly one.  I could train for Amarr cruiser 5 rather easily but it would mean choosing to endorse the Amarr empire, and that is something I' won't do.

The thing is, I'm a closet role player.

 I don't need to stay in character all the time, I don't participate in faction warfare, and  I don't shun the people that choose to fly for enemies of my chosen empire.  What I do though is have a specific view of how I see the elements of the game with very strong feelings regarding Amarr.  I'm opposed to slavery and religious extremism, real life or in the game, and I just won't be part of that kind of behavior.  Which means so far the only time I've come close to breaking my anti-Amarrism was to fly their shuttle which required no training or commitment on my part, and something I have since stopped doing because I feel a little guilt about it.
  I have a small bit of quirkiness in that I always play a good guy.  I've played other MMO's such as Everquest 1 and 2, WoW, WAR, Rift, Aion, DAoC, and AoC with one consistent trait being I've never felt comfortable playing on the side of evil.  The closest I've come to being a bad guy is playing a ranger character which is typically found somewhere in the rogue class.  Yes, I consider most rogues to be closer to bad guys and avoid the class in general because of these feelings.  The class I've played the longest has been Paladin and have spent over a decade pretending to be a Holy Knight in various games.

  This trend of seeing myself as one of the good guys was reflected in Eve as well.  One of the first things I did when I decided to pick up a trial account was read the background information for the different empires.  I found out the Minmatar were former slaves and fighting for their freedom; Gallente were described as "Self-righteous, meddling, pompous and tiresome, or virile liberalists and defenders of the free world"; Caldari are patriotic, loyal, and oppressed by the state; and the Amarr are theocratic slavers.

  Each empire has it's own unique theme and I explored the material posted on the Wiki about each one. 

Minmatar were definitely good guys and I could easily see myself as a member of a population fighting against an oppressing religion.  I immediately followed the links through the Minni pages until I found their ships.  Oh my goodness the ships are ugly.  I liked the looks of a few.  The Scythe/Scimitar looks nice and the Hurricane is without doubt exudes combat effectiveness.  The Maelstrom is one of the best looking ships in the game but I wish the wingy bits would extend out at angles like wings instead of fins.  These few designs weren't enough to overcome the ugliness of every frigate, most of the cruisers, the other BS, and the capitals.  Everywhere I looked I saw poorly rendered ships without outrageously placed bits and pieces.

Gallente were interesting and the further I read the more I realized that, while my initial impression of the empire was rabid liberalism, overall the Gallente seemed to mean well.  I'll be honest that it was difficult for me to picture them as anything except Hillary Clinton in space, but I was willing to give them a shot.  So I viewed their ship designs.  The Gallente are definite fans of curves, smooth lines, and soothing tones.  I liked the green background as well.  What I didn't like though was the alien feel of their designs.  The ships bubbled, bent, and curved in odd ways.  The overall shapes were anything except symmetric and while I wasn't against them completely I wasn't eager to fly any of them.

Amarr is next and these guys are bad.  Slavers, religious bigots, forcing their will on others.  These guys are the worst kind of extremist and I knew no matter how pretty their ships were I wouldn't fly for them.  I did look at the ships though because I was genuinely curious what was offered.  In general I found the ships to be much closer to what I would be willing to fly, but some of the designs were just creepy.  Flying skulls, flying genitalia, claws, hooks, and beaks were just not that appealing.  I will give them credit for the best looking shuttle, hard to go wrong modeling on Star Wars and the A-wing was always one of my favorite designs.

The final option was Caldari.  I read their description and I could see hints and indications of corporate subjugation in modern day times.  The people of Caldari were described as hard working patriotst being f'ed over by their government.  Hmmm, why does that seem familiar?  While not my first choice I will say I could definitely see the potential of playing Caldari as a patriotic dissenter trying to make changes for the betterment of society and not the idiots running the country.  Then I looked at their ships and found my home.  The symmetry of the Drake, the Bird of Prey look of the Caracal, the beauty of the Chimera, the ascetic pleasure of the Ferox.  Merlin, Osprey, Rokh, Scorpion (new version), and even the Phoneix were all ships I wanted in my hangar.  The Raven even had appeal on some levels despite the absurd concept of cramming two different wings on a ship.  Symmetry is something humans are comfortable with so the only reason I can think of for the Raven's look is the designer has two kids and combined both of their drawings into one ship.  Lack of symmetry on some ships aside, the Caldari had the most ships I was comfortable with and they use shades of my favorite color for their background.

I had found my home.

I'm still proud of picking Caldari to be my relatives.  I have the Caldari logo on the portrait of all my characters.  I log in each day knowing my character, and thus a small extension of my own personality, is part of a group trying to make the world better.  Yes, I know it's a game, but I've found who we are in game is probably the truest part of who we are since we don't need to hide behind the masks and barriers that real life forces us to assume.  I try to be the good guy, I fight what I consider to be the good fight, and I do what I can to treat others like I want to be treated.  I know, I'm an idealist, but I find it's easier to go to sleep each night being true to myself, even when it's only in a game.

Which leads me back to the first paragraph and my choice not to train Amarr skills  As long as I feel that flying Amarr ships is some how showing approval for Amarr theology I won't be able to train for them.  Hopefully I'll find a good argument one day to show me how I can reconcile my grievance.  Until then I'll just have to use the other realms ships as best as I can.  


  1. Have you read the backstory to eve, and by that I mean all several hundred pages of it?

    The Federation was initially Gallente & Caldari working together but the Caldari are responcible for starting the war.

    Remember there are no good guys in EVE, and every capsuleer is (according to the back story) a mass murderer of epic proportions.

  2. I have not read all of the back story. I have read some of the novels as well as quite a few of the featured items on the forums.

    I'm not opposed to Gallente anymore. My initial impression about them was unfavorable, but I've since changed my opinion towards them.

    I also realize the Caldari have done some fairly bad things, but that's almost exclusively the result of corporate mismanagement and greed of CEOs. The average Caldari citizen is depicted as struggling to make their life better in a system stacked against them. The Caldari State very much resembles a form of feudalism.

    The only group I'm outright against is the Amarr for reasons already discussed in the blog.

    As for capsuleers being mass murderers I would respectfully disagree. I think you are referring to the death of ship crew but that's not accounted for in the game design. I choose to assume that my characters spend the extra money for escape pods and do all in their power to ensure the crew has a chance to escape. It's basically the same as any commander ordering his troops into combat. Casualties will occur but as long as you do your best to minimize the risk and ensure the reason you are fighting is good then you can be considered a good person too.