Friday, 18 May 2012

Standing at the Crossroads of Opportunity



When it comes to my relationship with EVE Online, I find myself in a strange place.

Last Summer, in the wake of Monoclegate and the Jita Riots, my affair with EVE hit a rocky patch. Unlike most, my disconnect came more from the disappointing realisation that the grand visions of EVE as the "ultimate sci-fi simulator" had come crashing down to the reality of "an MMO about spaceships".

I set out on a pilgrimage to EVE Vegas where my passion was reignited as I found a new hook to maintain my interest. I found inspiration in the idea that not all EVE content had to be within the game engine and, like a good book, sometimes it was better to just plant seeds in the ploughed fields of imagination. The following months saw me oversee the birth of Tech4 News and the re-emergence of the Blog Banters, as well as my involvement in various other podcasting and writing ventures.

Putting My Back Into It

My creative itch was being well and truly scratched and my involvement in all things EVE hit an all-time high. My EVE community output was greatly assisted in October by the aggravation of a recurring back injury, preventing me temporarily (so I thought) from working in my meatspace role as a paramedic. Whilst painful, being stranded at home recovering gave me plenty of time to devote to my hobby. As time wore on, it became clear that full recovery from damage caused by twelve years of lifting the fat and the dead was not going to happen.

However, I was enthused by the positive response to my various creative projects. The community approval of my work on Incarna: The Text Adventure and my writing/podcasting showdown with writing hero Mord Fiddle, the plaudits for Tech4 News and various other audio skits and continued interest in Freebooted gave me the belief that writing could become a viable alternative to my stuttering ambulance career.

Confessions of a Dreamer

My wife, long-suffering EVE widow that she is, was concerned by the amount of time I devoted to my EVE hobby. Although I rarely logged in, the weekly hours I spent on my writing, community and audio work was easily the equivalent of a full-time job.  However, after discussing my aspirations she saw the benefits of my continued spaceship-related pursuits as a means of developing my skills and building confidence. We made a deal; I would continue to focus on EVE-specific writing projects until Fanfest in March 2012, after which we would review the situation and I would very likely walk away from all things EVE, unless an opportunity had arisen requiring me to stay.

The next few months were quite a rollercoaster (as much as any series of events can be when my default location was supine on a sofa). I was pleased with the evolution of the Tech4 News despite only managing three of the originally planned six audio episodes (there's a tale for another day), I won the Guild Launch EVE Correspondent contest and my paramedic career was officially pronounced dead. March arrived, Fanfest came and went and The Situation was reviewed.

End of Line

So here's the thing.

Firstly, you'll notice I'm still here. The line was crossed, the watershed was passed, yet still I remain. This is partially due to my commitment to Guild Launch - as part of my correspondent contest prize, I won a 12-month paid writing contract which, given that they want me to write about EVE, pretty much means I have to stick around. But also, why the hell would I want to leave this vibrant, endlessly inspirational community who, after nine years, are redefining dedication (or desperation) by still hanging around waiting for EVE to become the game we all hope it will be. Three cheers for you... er, us.

But there's the rub. I'm not sure what part I should be playing now. I am neither content provider, nor community manager and whilst I have been making pretend at those roles for the last year, the bank balance has told me to stop. I'm just a community member who got a bit too involved. I need to re-focus my energy toward endeavours that will allow me to build on the experience I have gratefully gained in my service of the EVE community, but which will also line the nest.

Shedding the Burden

Ultimately, I need to offload many of my more time-consuming commitments and convey my heartfelt apologies to those whom I am letting down; those involved in current projects and those with whom I've discussed future endeavours. You know who you are but I hope to catch up with you all at some point soon.

The community as a whole is bigger than any one of us and some institutions need to be maintained. I feel strongly that Tech4 News is a community project that deserves to continue its growth and I would be happy to discuss handing over the reigns. Also, the Blog Banters are an important community glue and the torch is available for the right individual to carry. Please contact me if you think you can help continue either of these institutions.

I'm not giving these things up easily - god knows I don't want to - but I need to bring my internship to an end and clear my calendar to focus on the Next Chapter. In any case, I'm not planning on disappearing entirely, I would still like to flex my quill on Freebooted from time to time and I will of course be playing EVE for the next year to continue my Guild Launch-sponsored odyssey.

Onward and upward.

8 comments:

  1. Weee writing contract you are stuck forever!

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  2. It's only one article per month, so a modest but encouraging start. But it has given me cause to re-engage EVE, which has been fun so far. Twelve months isn't forever though.

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  3. I was starting to wonder where you'd got to and was concerned there might be a CK-level extinction event on the horizon.

    Very glad to see there's not. You are in a tough spot given you've had a peak behind the curtain (er, forcewall?) at CCP.

    Perhaps a series of interviews from various players about the inferno release, from an indy, ratter, PvP specialist viewpoint etc etc. Put yourself in a journalists free) boots? What would they do?

    If you're unable to provide opinions because of the NDA and whatnot, ask and report on others.

    Two things whatever happens next:

    Firstly the BBanters are too good to let die. They generate huge amounts of community interest and imho extremely valuable feedback for CCP. Please make sure someone picks them up.

    Secondly, life is about change, it is a loss that you can't do what you were doing, the podcasts you and Dani did were a must hear for me.

    That said, we understand that nothing can stay forever the same, and hope to see you hoon through the crossroads, microwarp on full overheat, to whatever woderful future awaits.

    FS

    H

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  4. Having lifted a lot of the fat/dead people before, I know what that's like. Also, going through a serious life change myself (New job+moving) I understand the indecision about a lot of things. EVE, for 4 years now has been my center point. As sad as that sounds there is always some to talk to. Someone to have some fun (pewpew or otherwise) with. EVE is simple to understand. Hang around for an hour or two....something will happen somewhere. Promise.

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  5. Eve isn't a matter of life or death.... it is much more important than that! :)

    As you know, I'm happy to help as and when required!

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  6. As someone who has also been through a catastrophic watershed moment recently, I can understand completely where you are coming from. While my own inherent compunction to over-due it continues, I've had to curtail my own activities back to a more sustainable level of late. But that's life isn't it? Constantly changing and adapting, moving under our feet and seeing how long we can stand. I'm certainly no paragon of advice and in hindsight I probably didn't handle my own decisions in the best way, but a deep breath and an honest appraisal always goes far.

    Pick the path that interests you the most and brings the most satisfaction, that almost never works out the way we think, but at the very least you'll be justified.

    Keep the courage.

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  7. You always were my favourite blog and I also liked what you were doing with Tech4New etc and I am sorry to see you go. but

    You need to do what is right for you, and I support you in that.

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  8. Thanks for the support and words of wisdom folks, particularly Rixx's "Pick the path that interests you the most and brings the most satisfaction." This, I will heed. I'll make sure to make the appropriate arrangements for the community institutions.

    @A, Thanks for reading mate, and I'm not going anywhere, just taking my foot off the gas. I'll be writing on Freebooted and Guild Launch for the best part of a year yet.

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Lay it on me.