Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Still a Noob After All this Time…

~or, I Need to Emo Tank Better.

This has been a hard post for me to write. I have had to ‘fly careful’ as I approached this introspective topic… orbiting in carefully from long range… You see it seems I’m steppin on toes lately, and it aint the first time… and I just don’t get it.

Corp & Alliance COMMS whether on Team Speak, Mumble or Ventrilio… Voice over IP Real Time Communications are a key utility that allows players to work together as a group with common goals. Ingame no matter where corpmates and Allies are, action or reaction to events can be vastly more effective and in Fleet, whether mining or in sites and most especially in PvP, voice comms are absolutely essential. Of all the labels you can slap on EvE, IMHO ‘social’ is the most important and real time voice comms are a huge aspect of that sociality.

Chat, the typed in kind, has its place but chat does not convey urgency, or a sense of emotional context. Chat aslo is a hands on, or I should say hands off your ships controls, method of communication... not inducive to winning or even surviving in PvP...

Due to the audible nature of voice comms, during Ops many aren’t watching chat windows as closely so sometimes stuff you type in chat gets missed… and that can be tough if it is at all important, and stuff typed in chat can be misinterpreted without the verbal cues the human voice adds.

This is where ‘emoticons’ come from… I personally hate the std :) because almost all systems now immediately convert that into the ‘smiley’ and that it not what I typed… so I use  =]  instead. It does not get instantly converted and I actually kinda like it more. But the point is, you if add one of those like a period to “Damn yer an idiot man.” =] this is an attempt to convey a sense of the sound of your voice grinning as you say that to your friend who just derped up really badly… without it, there is the possibility you were serious, but no way to know whether you were or not, and that is a totally different thing.

I have considered myself a decent communicator and have been told by others I respect that I am. I love to communicate, I love to converse and to write and in my writing I love most off all when I get feedback. I like communicating so much I have fought all my life to slow down and stay just a ‘part’ of the conversation and not unintentionally try dominate it. I do not know everything and I am keenly aware of that fact, but like anyone who is fascinated by something, when I learn new things I like to pass them on and I am always seeking new knowledge.

These two things above have been at odds during my time in EvE, and I am not taking about just recently either. My desire to join in the dialog on voice comms ingame and my desire for knowledge or most especially my lack of same… well, along the way I have inadvertently trod rather heavily it seems on some toes… and it bothers me greatly for I really am trying very hard to fit in.

I like and respect most all of the guys I have flown with in EvE. In the last two and a half years I have met very very few who are not intelligent, highly capable and social people. But one thing causes me some real problems… trolling, especially trolling noobs or players who are new to this or that or simply who don’t know as much about the game as others.

All my life I have not understood the joy many if not most guys get from being verbally rude or even cruel to each other, sometimes extremely so. I can never know if they mean it or are just putting me on. I understand that it is supposed to mean you are accepted and one-of-the-guys because if they didn’t like you, they wouldn’t kid around with you. But, I just don’t get it. I have spent my whole life trying to fit in in this regard… and I still don’t do it very well.

I tend to take things and people and what they say to me at face value. I am honest in my dealing with others, I find it very difficult to do otherwise. There are many who will troll you pretty hard but honestly do not mean real harm… And often these are the guys you want to fly with, your friends and corpmates and Allies.

I want to do well when in Fleet, and communication is as I stated above absolutely key… In all the times I have been in Fleet comms since I joined EVE almost everyone without exception understood that during PvP comms needs to remain clear for the FC as he works with scouts, sub-commanders and the fleet as a whole.

‘Chatter’ or the usual banter and discussion and joking around that goes on when things are quiet is at a minimum or nonexistent during all PvP combat phases… from first report of sighting to initial contact through engagement to disengagement to warp off... This is referred to as Communications Discipline. But during the in-between times Comms Discipline is relaxed to nonexistent and comms can be full of any and all topics from the days events, to politics in EvE, to serious discussions of ships and fits, to just yanking each other’s chains a bit.

But in EvE we also have a middle ground… PvE, missions in Empire and sites in holes. In these the risk is not nearly as high and in the right fleet under the right FC risk can be almost totally mitigated aside from unexpected or unforeseen events such as someone DCing (DisConnecting from the game IE a client crash or loss of internet connectivity) or an Anoikis Hot Drop…

A DC drops the ship in question out of fleet and leaves it unpiloted… in a site or a higher level mission this can result in the loss of the ship if it is targeted before it warps off. And in Anoikis, in a C6 that is at the least extremely likely. Another possible risk is the Anoikis Hot Drop where another corp/Alliance sneaks in and logs off a fleet, unbeknownst to the inhabitants (we have done this) and on logging in instead of ships jumping in through a watched hole or a newly spawned hole, you have a true Surprise Ambush and it can be devastatingly effective…

Aside from these types of risks PvE, even in a C6 against the toughest AI in the game, can be… well, a little boring. It can be very rote… As a matter of fact it goes the fastest if done exactly by the numbers… when everyone works together, knows their jobs and the FC is hitting the marks right on time every time. But the checklist nature of site running leads inevitably to, as I said, it being a little boring… hence often comms discipline gets very relaxed and ‘chatter’ is common.

This can unintentionally get in the way of the FCs job sometimes and you need an FC who has his head in the game and is able to command respect and get things quieted down with a short “Break, Break.” give his orders, then let things go back to normal… Two things can get in the way there… (1) The FC like everyone else can get just as bored and distracted as the rest of us (as FC he should not allow himself to but we are only human) and (2) one must always remember, this is a game.

As ‘real’ as EvE may seems or as CCP wants it to seem, it is not… it is a game we all play for enjoyment and a large part of that enjoyment is the social aspect… and comms is a large part of that socializing… so during sites comms can get a little shitted up which ‘can’ interfere a bit with how things get done, especially if the FC is as bored as everyone else and has an expectation that all of us know our jobs almost to the point of not needing to be told when to hit the mark, and to a large degree most do… unless you are new.

Then mistakes can be made… sometimes costly mistakes. And the seasoned players are not going to blame themselves… they knew what they were supposed to do and that expectation carries over even if you are new and actually don’t know what you were supposed to do or if, due to chatter, you didn’t clearly hear the FCs orders… and it can suck, it can really suck to be you at that point. Especially if you don’t hold your temper and get a little ragey or go all dramalama about it… which I am very sorry to say I am a little guilty of… =\

And holding a new guy to the same expectations as a veteran is not intentional… it’s just simple human nature. We look down on those who are not as ‘good’ as us at this or that… we make fun of them and call them names… Noob, pubbie, scrub, loser… it’s a PvP verse and PvP is everywhere… on comms as it is in space.

This does not mean there are not guys who will bend over to help a new guy… there are and some of them are really great mentors. They just want to see the new guys step up and learn fast and when they do, then ‘trust’ can be considered… but only after it’s earned. Until then you are on the hook for your actions even if you didn’t know exactly what to do.

But… I’ll hang in there and keep trying to learn… I am doing so many things I have never done before in EvE now… I have never flown Amarr ships until now… never flown Dictors… never flown Logi… never ever flown in a fleet of more than like 10 guys and that was a mining fleet in Null. Who knew after two and a half years in EvE... I would still be a noob?

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

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