Thursday, February 13

The experience of loss is a fickle thing

People that PvP in EVE lose ships, this is a fact. How we experience those losses however is very much dependant upon individual perception.

For me personally, when I lose a ship, the only thing that really impacts my emotional experience of loss is if I "cocked up" or not. And my baseline is always 'yes, I did, for I died, therefore I made an error and this is bad (to me)'. Essentially I consider every ship loss to be an error if I died when I did not expect to do so; I made a mistake.
I didn't always see it that way, it's something I heard Duncan Tanner mention once, I think it was on one of the (now sadly defunct) Daily Roams fleets, but I can't really say for sure. Anyway it just rung true with me and I've basically adopted this idea and made it part of my own EVE ethos.
Never have I really allowed this view to make me risk averse though, where I suppose it very easily could have, engaging when you don't have the clear advantage is a tactical mistake after all. I quite often consciously make that mistake deliberately however. This discrepancy occurs because I also hold the stern conviction that the only way to truly learn is by doing, how can I learn to and improve my skills at winning fights outnumbered and out gunned if I never engage in such fights after all?

A thing that doesn't factor into my experience of loss -or excitement for that matter- at all is the ISK value of whatever it is I'm flying, a thing that does indeed seem to factor into it for a lot of other players. While I love making fun of that ethic (Noir. is by far my favourite target for this because they carry it to such extremes) I can and do on an intellectual level sort of 'get' it. To them, I boldly presume, the ISK value of a ship represents an amount of economical effort, a thing that can be measured, while emotion on the other hand is notoriously hard to measure and quantify. It makes no difference to me on an emotional level however if I lose a 350 million Ishtar or a 10 million Rifter if I feel I made more mistakes when I lost the Rifter, the loss will annoy me far more then the Ishtars demise. Furthermore I simply do not care about the economical loss much at all, fake money is fake. ISK loss is far more easily mended then my bruised ego!

I don't rightly know, but I often feel like I'm in an EVE minority  however in this way of experiencing loss, it has at times even led to conflict with capsuleers who don't share my antics.
This one time I got into a heated argument with a pilot in a fleet I was flying an interceptor for, when I let go of a Cynabal I could no longer tackle without dying (I left field with 16% structure) the Cynabal also survived because of this, if I had stayed and died it is almost certain the Cynabal would have died too.
I was consequently told that tackle is expendable and that killing the Cynabal would have been worth the loss of my Malediction and that therefore I was a bad interceptor pilot, I disagreed then and still disagree today.
I'm not willing to make that sacrifice because in my mind staying to die when you have a clear opportunity to disengage and survive is a piloting error. Provided, of course, your actions do not cause a larger threat to your fleet as a whole. I would make the same call today and be perfectly happy with it.
A crow I lost recently was actually my most frustrating loss in a while, because seconds after it died I realized I should have just pulled point and warped the second I registered how hard it was hitting me. I did not, and that bothers me more then I'd like to admit. Yet I suspect that many people will argue the resulting kill was worth it, that doesn't change that I feel I erred on the wrong side of caution there, I *hate* it when I make poor piloting decisions.

On the other end of the spectrum is this loss where I went in knowing I was not even remotely likely to survive, the objective was to kill two T2 frigates, I only killed one, so mission failed. The loss doesn't bother me overly much though, I know the error I made; I warped to a faction warfare plex at 50 instead of 70 or more. Leaving me with to little time for the neuts to work their ancillary repper crippling magic, before the rest of the gang managed to close the distance. Which I could have prevented by scouting the gang first and noting they were microwarpdrive instead of afterburner fit. Mistakes were made, but lessons were learned so I'm fine with how the situation worked out in hindsight.

My point being that loss as an experience in EVE is a very fickle thing. What affects one capsuleers experience of losing a ship may leave another completely untouched, or have an impact on them so different from our own experience as to be alien to us. There's however certainly no single universal standard nor even a vague consensus on what constitutes a bad, painful or indeed good loss in this New Eden of ours.

Three blogs in a week. So I reckon you'll have to wait for the next one for like 6 months now, or maybe not.



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