For all the new players looking at running incursions, there is a downside when considering running them now, as I noticed yesterday.
Now, incursions ARE probably the safest way to make buttloads of ISK in EVE Online, yes. Especially if you have a group of friends to run them with every now and then, how you want to and how you feel like.
If NOT, if you are alone in your quest to make piles of ISK in your fresh shiny battleship or logistics cruiser, you’ll probably go looking for an established incursion community. This is where the problem becomes apparent.
Trust is so vital in EVE Online, all the more so because it is so scarce. Public incursion communities run a tight operation, with strict rules, mainly to ensure they have as little chance of being sabotaged as possible. It’s not so bad; the draw of making ISK generally keeps everyone in line and obedient.
It’s not like people don’t break rules, it just doesn’t seem to happen in a major way. But where there are rules, there are people who want to break them. Or in other words, there is tension between some, and the system. People who want to fit their ships their way. People who want fleets to be flown that way. They clash with people who abide by the rules, when in the end both sides simply are thinking: “My way is the best way to make more ISK.”
Despite their common goal, we all look at situations from different perspectives. Had a chat with Sugar Kyle, actually, about that. She disagreed with some points of mine in a previous post (FINALLY, SOMEONE with a strong opinion on something I write). Our conversation ended with a nice little Portal 2 video, which aptly captured the conclusion we came to: it’s cool to have different perspective, and everyone can do whatever they want with the lemons life gives them; making lemonade isn’t the only way to go about it.
Back to incursions. Actually, before that, another little digression. I will admit I have ran incursions quite a bit these days, and yesterday I did my first training fleet, which I will daresay was mildly successful. It wasn’t great, but for my first time I’d like to think I settled into the groove eventually.
As you can see in the screenshot above, TDF mandate all trainers backseating a trainee to send training reports to the trainee and other trainers, so everyone gets a feel for what the trainee is like. Really cool system, I wouldn’t mind using a report template similar to this if I ever find our pirate alliance wants something like that. Right now though, I personally prefer players learning naturally over having scales and numbers being assigned to them, especially for the more fluid and unpredictable nature of PvP. For incursions, this sort of structure suits the unchanging nature of every site you run.
OKAY. So, the downside of incursions. Drama. I dared to say it. Why? My logic behind it is that incursion runners, especially those who lead major incursion groups and as such dedicate all their time to it, do almost nothing but make ISK.
Conversely, many also share a fear of losing their wealth. So we have a situation where people are constantly finding ways to make MORE ISK by optimising fleets to minimise site times, but even as they acquire it, they remain as reluctant to lose it. I think this explains the strange phenomena of people ‘pimping’ their incursion ships beyond rational proportions, spending abhorrent amounts of ISK for a miniscule improvement. They keep investing what they earn back to create more ISK, a vicious cycle that only builds up that constant worry of being ganked in their ship that is now worth the entirety of the time they’ve spent running incursions. Elitist is a bit to negative to describe the community… cautious, I think, would be more correct. Overly cautious to the point little discussions can turn into arguments as people assert themselves over each other, because as with all things, no one wants to be seen as the weakling who just meekly accepts orders.
That’s internal friction within a community; then you have intra-incursion community tension. Here’s where all that pent-up frustration from having too much ISK and apparently nothing to do with it can be released in even greater proportions. Community versus community. Because rather than let all that negativity spill over and create discord within your group, why not channel it into a force that unites your group against someone else?
It gets pretty damn hairy and stuff, and creates quite a bit of… disquiet. People I originally thought were cool and collected turn out to have fairly short tempers when the drama escalates. Assertiveness is great and all, but damn, when it gets to the point where it’s “my way or the highway”, it gets a little restrictive.
Anyway, if you enjoy this kind of environment, then by all means incursions are the place for you. I feel uncomfortable and out of place when the drama hits boiling point. Times like those, despite the ISK we’re making running a site, I’m desperately thinking of joining that chilled PvP roam happening on the other side of the cluster.
All the while, FCs are teaching me to be a more assertive FC myself. They appreciate my cool demeanour and calmness whilst running a fleet, but they don’t understand why I don’t bother to quiet down a fleet when their conversation starts rolling. Perhaps it’s their worry for me as a trainee and under pressure. But then, why would they say they liked how calm I appeared to be? They’re training me to become less tolerant of bullshit, and I don’t argue too much because there certainly has to be a point where I draw the line. I find, though, that if the fleet is following my orders, there’s no need to constantly shout them down to ensure they’re doing exactly what they’re already doing.
ISK makes monsters of men. Personally, the money pouring into my wallet is draining away almost equally as fast because of the PvP I get up to. Also, I’ve recently come up with an initiative that will involve spending a significant amount of ISK for the alliance. I’ll keep that under wraps until I see how well it goes. So all of my ISK is siphoned away, and to be honest, I feel all the better for it. Sometimes, I wonder whether it’s a bad thing that I seem to have an unquenchable thirst to make more ISK. Then I look at the incursion runners floating in ships that may as well be made of ISK chits, with wallets bloated to bursting point, and their seeming dissatisfaction with their lot. Then I wonder again.