The Measure

“Ayup. I am winning, right now.”

“How in the seven hells do you see that?”  Scotty blinked at his own cards and the pile of chips in front of him and the much much smaller pile in front of Mike.

“Oh, not here,  You be cleaning me out right proper.  But I is comfortable, cool drink in my hand and a warm bed to go home ta.  I can fly where I want and have lots of friends ta chat with.  That be winning.”

“Is that how you measure it?”

Mike frowned at his cards and nodded as he pushed some of his chips to the center.  “Lots o ways ta measure success.  Folks down in nullsec have one way, hisec another.  I was listening to some guy called Rundle who was saying that opinion ain’t right, there needs to be some units or objective method that ain’t biased.  Otherwise you are like that guy in the comic, playing poker

“Oh I know that one.  It’s just a variant of ‘welp, didn’t want that Titan anyways’.”

Mike grinned.  “For there to be winners and losers you first have to agree on the game that is being played and I think THAT is where a lot of the argument about winning and losing falls.  Pilots who are running industry and mining ‘games’ are not worried about kill-boards or combat efficiency.  Kry once told me of a battle she was doing with a couple of bots, trying to mine ahead of them and keep them from even getting a single full hold.  Most folks I tell that to ask why she didn’t just gank them.  Thing is, by trying to outmine them she was playing HER game with HER set of rules.  When she and her mates sweep a belt or leave rocks for a bot that each hold only a couple of cubic meters of or then she is ‘winning’.”

“Not a lot of people see mining as winning.”

Mike shrugged.  “Their problem is they don’t see outside of their own game.  That is one of the biggest differences between hisec and null.  Each has a problem with how the other side judges or ‘wins’.  Incursions was a prime example of that.  One group decided that winning involved accumulating the maximum amount of isk with the minimum amount of risk.  Others took offense to that method of ‘play’ and tried to stop it by attacking.”  Mike chuckled.  “Short term it worked but then the runners got more organized and the griefing was less and less effective.  So then they lobbied for the powers that be to alter the returns on the activity so that the winning would cease.”

Scotty frowned.  “This is like a basketball player cutting down tennis court nets to force his game to be played.”

“Happens all the time.  Hulkageddon . . . cutting the nets, as you say.”  Mike raked in a small pot.  “Burn Jita, now that was something, but it didn’t make a huge dent in anything but a lot of folks had fun.  I have heard multiple sides of that event claim total victory.  Maybe they were all telling the truth but they were NOT playing the same game.  If one side was defending and the other attacking you would think that there would be winners and losers, no?”

Scotty nodded as he shuffled the deck.  “I suppose”

“But neither side could ever totally hold the field.  Billions were lost on but nobody was willing to admit that the losses mattered.”

“So if the didn’t ‘lose’ . . . ”

“Then they could claim they won.  Exactly.  There was an old joke about a prince who was wandering through his lands when he came upon a bunch of bulls eyes, each painted on a fence or tree and each with a single shot right through the center.  He sent his servants to find this phenomenal marksman so he might train the princes troops.  Eventually they came back with an old man, hands palsied and eyes rheumy.  In one hand he held a rusty old gun and in the other, a small bucket of paint and a brush.  The prince was astounded that this was the marksman and demanded a demonstration of his skills.  The old man raised the gun to his shoulder and shot into the woods, smiling,  then he and the others followed the shot and found the tree he had hit.  There, the old man carefully drew the bulls eye around the hole the bullet had made.”

Scotty laughed.  “So how do you measure winning, then?”

“I asked around, spoke with a few pilots about this and every one of them gave me some variation on the simple question.  ‘Are you happy’.  I think they were right.  For a single pilot it does come down to whether you are happy or whether it feels too much like a job.”

“Easy enough but subjective.”

“I know, but the best I can come up with for the corp or alliance level is far more objective.  Activity.  If your corp has 10 pilots and 7 show up for a group objective then you are doing better than another corp where 50 out of 1000 show up.  If you don’t have them flying with you, taking part then you are not really serving their needs and they are not serving yours.”

“For a guy who thinks so much about winning.”  Scotty said as he laid down the cards one by one and raked in the pot.  “You don’t seem to do much of it yourself.”

“I am always winning.  I do what I enjoy doing and I don’t care for any of the bigger objective measures.  I take my shot and then . . . ”

“You draw the bullseye”



I think winning is a mistake to even try to define in a sandbox.  There is no end game, there is no true winning.  The subjective supercedes the objective as a result.  I am winning because I say I am.  Anything on a larger scale is just a waving of epeens and a recruitment method to get the sheep in line and keep them as happy members.

Members is the measure.  Watch any corp or alliance in meltdown.  How do we know it is in meltdown?  Pilots moving assets and getting the hell out of the corp, may be the most activity the corp shows for the past month.

I don’t think there is an endgame in a sandbox until they empty out the sand and send the box off to be made into an ikea couch.

I may quit . . . then

Had to link this

fly it for the fun of it, win


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5 Responses to The Measure

  1. chris k says:

    I think that all the ‘casters have come to the conclusion that you win if you participate in whatever op is going down. I prefer that positive outlook to the “you can only “win” eve by quitting” meme.
    EVE is real in that; like so many thing in life, it’s not the destination that is important – it’s the journey and who you can persuade to take a walk with you.
    It’s good to have a fella like you with a lantern during the dark times when you are on your own begin to doubt you are on the right path at all.

    • mikeazariah says:

      Lantern? Hell most of the times I am wandering around looking for reflections. I am almost of the opposite to those other pundits. You lose when you quit. You win if you keep going.

      If you can make one heap of all your winnings
      And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
      And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
      And never breathe a word about your loss

      Kipling, If

  2. Bleys says:

    Exactly. Play the game, make your own rules, and break them.

    • Bleys says:

      ” A lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory.” Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

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