Curing burnout, refinding fun

The ultimate question all EVE players will eventually ask themselves:

“Can I be bothered playing anymore?” (known variations: “who should I give my ISK to?”, “should I create a forum thread to announce my departure to anyone who cares?” and of course, “should I just go ahead and win EVE?”)

My EVE playtime has been patchy recently at best, and these are the questions that have been floating around in my head, when last year I would’ve thought now would’ve been the most I’ve ever played. I mean, I’m sitting at 25m SP, I have most of the skills that constitute a solid foundation for PvP, and my goal of being a renowned solo PvPer only becomes easier to achieve.

Only yesterday I confronted the issue of why I wasn’t so interested anymore, and it wasn’t self-reflection but it was in the process of a conversation with some guy who somehow remembered my name from EDU, after months, contacted me when I logged in for the first time in a while, and offered me a corporation to join.

Earlier that day, I have to mention, as soon as I logged in, two old members of the alliance I failed to support (feel a little guilty, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger) contacted me and asked me whether I wanted to join them on their next chapter in their own EVE careers. They expressly told me they missed the roams I led.

These two events had a hand in reviving the spark that I feared I had accidentally extinguished by burning a little too brightly at the end of last year.

I was foolish, you see. I let myself believe it was up to myself to look for the fun in the game again. A task that I could only undertake alone. When I tried to explain to the EDU guy why I left High Life Industries and the alliance The Black Sails, to rejoin FW, I answered:

[ 2015.04.06 14:05:35 ] Revileushin Eyri > combination of burnout trying to help coordinate a new alliance, not having fun with pvp, real life, and missing FW

Reflecting on it, it’s mostly true. I was a little burnt out with the alliance, I was busy in real life, and I did miss how I could mess around in FW, making ISK and yet having access to lots of PvP any time of the day.

Not having fun with PvP, though, isn’t exactly right. You see, being one of the only self-proclaimed FCs in the old alliance meant whenever I went out to shoot things, people knew and wanted to come along. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I feel responsible for the members of my fleet, more so that I assume other FCs do. They’ve entrusted their time to my hands, and I want to make it as fun as possible for them. The fact that they remembered my roams today, after a couple of months of me being absent from their EVE lives, indicates I had some degree of success, but it came at a cost. The high standards of enjoyment I wanted from the fleets meant running for hours, chatting, sharing fits, discussing tactics, explaining mechanics to the steady flow of newbros we had, and it was exhausting for a feeble, weak mind like mine (oh, avid readers may also notice I enjoy abusing myself in my posts. I’m not depressed, don’t worry, just feel like I have an ego even though I don’t think I do, so I take every opportunity to cut myself down to size).

Hence, eventually, I started to dread the roams, not because they weren’t fun for the members, but it wasn’t fun for me. In the end, leaders sacrifice their time for their followers, but I wasn’t giving myself enough ‘myself time’ to do my own thing. I never expressed to my members I needed that break from them too. I just smiled and nodded and took them on roams, and in the end I just couldn’t force laughs out anymore.

Selfishly, I dared to think it was their fault. So by leaving the alliance, I could refind the fun of EVE. So I did, and returned to my old FW corporation.

Then I went inactive for a further month or so. I came back yesterday, had those conversations…

… and then it clicked. I wasn’t having fun because of me, not anyone else.

Today I went and fought, dying 3 times, getting 1 kill and losing two pods, one of them with +4 implants. My rustiness showed in some of the fights, the experience that has been ingrained in me the past year showed in others, and the big pod loss was because my hand was shaking from the encounter so badly I couldn’t click the warp button. I didn’t think the shaking hands would ever come back since they stopped last year, but I guess I was away for a bit.

I realised in the first few fights I was way, way too worried about losing ISK. When had that ever been a problem for me? If I had to look back, I’d say it was when I started working with the alliance and its financing. I was always the one (was disturbing how the others ignored the issue) who consistently brought up the question of ISK, and I felt it was one that was brushed off by the others who were part of the leadership. We had one guy who just poured ISK in with PLEX, but that I knew was a finite pool of resources that we couldn’t rely on forever. The worry had me running cheap bait ships when roaming, thinking up cheap T1 cruiser doctrines for the alliance, grounding myself even as the others let their minds wander amongst glorious faction-fitted HAC fleets complete with T2 logistics. This mentality bled over into my own thinking, clouding the visions I had early on.

Some of you might say I was naive and just experienced a taste of what EVE really is like; harsh and unforgiving. I refuse to believe that’s the case. If it was naivety that let me fight like a demon even in the face of insurmountable odds when I had a couple of million skill points to call my own, then I want it back.

I thought I had to figure this out alone. Perhaps I had to make my own decision, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t accept help with making it. Just as its the other players who can crush everything you own in EVE, its also those players who will continue to provide a reason for you to return.

Returning to no-one is daunting. I’m lucky; I have made good friends in the game, and of course, I have this blog that now exists permanently somewhere in my head, mentally kicking me for neglecting it. If I’ve learnt anything from this experience, it’s that

1) Don’t let ISK (or any form of material attachment) get in the way of fun

and

2) If I see someone returning to EVE, say hi. It matters.

What lies ahead? Interestingly, I’ve been playing a lot of DUST 514 to replace EVE lately, but now that I’m feeling the groove again, I think I have plans to strengthen the Minmatar militia and maybe try some orbital strike support for DUST bunnies. Oh, and of course, return to work on solo PvP. Too ambitious? Perhaps. Could I burn myself out again? Probably. But does this warrant not giving it a go? Hell no.

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2 thoughts on “Curing burnout, refinding fun”

  1. I feel your pain. The CEO work in my case can be a real drain on ones fun. And then I always think only moments later, that I can experience, what only a few hundred (thousand, whatever) in Eve can. Having 50+ people trusting in me making the right descision. So I log back in and work on. For my vision of a lowsec corp. drama off šŸ˜‰

I'm just a poor boy, but I'd like some commentary~

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