How do you win EVE Online? How do you keep score?
- Is it the number of kills on your killboard? The ISK value ratio of your victories versus losses? The number of battles you have fought and survived? The number of corpses of your enemies that you have accumulated?
- Is it the total value of your assets? The amount of ISK you have in your wallet? The size and number of production lines you have operating on all your manufacturing alts?
- Is it the number of skill points you have accrued? The number of skills you have at level V? The average point value of each skill category?
- Is it the number of transactions you've closed in Jita? The total profits you have amassed?
- Is it the number of naive pilots you have scammed? The value of all the stuff you stole from the trusting corps that you infiltrated?
- Is it the number of ships you have in your hangar? The number of exotic dancers you have collected? The amount of weird flotsam and jetsam you've taken from all the missions you've flown?
- Is it the number of noobships, industrials and miners you have ganked in high sec? Is the number of tears you have elicited from their anguished cries in Local? Is it your negative sec status value? The size of your bounty?
What is the metric of success in EVE Online? How do you win this game?
For me, I have enjoyed pursuing some obvious metrics of success in EVE:
- The number of types of flyable ships in my collection
- The amount of ISK in my wallet
- The total value of all my assets
As you can see, I'm naturally a hoarder and a builder and a trader, mostly. EVE allows me to play the game that way with some success, as I defined by these measures.
But when I really think about what makes EVE most enjoyable for me - the kinds of things from which I get most satisfaction in game - I come up with less obvious but more significant measurements:
- The number of 1 ISK donations I get after I teach a class in EVE University - I always ask students to send me a 1 ISK tip with a comment if they liked a class, and I get some very nice replies, and sometimes a bit of a bonus. I must admit, knowing that people got some value out of a lecture and some practice always makes me feel pretty good.
- The number and variety of classes and events on the UNI calendar - me and my staff strive to schedule at least one activity or lecture every day, and we usually do far better than that. I always get a sense of satisfaction to see a calendar packed with fun stuff for people to do - it's what our corp is all about. (That reminds me, I need to get some more stuff in there this month...)
- The number of students attending our classes and events - we track how many UNIs come to the classes and events in our calendar, and that number has been trending up for quite a while now. It means we must be doing some things right.
- The number of EVE players with whom I converse with in chat, on Mumble or at Fanfest, who I consider friends.
I think it's interesting that none of these metrics have anything to do with game mechanics, yet they are very much a part of how I play EVE.
So, how do you win EVE Online? I think you win when the time you invest produces results you find supremely fulfilling or satisfying - whatever that may be for you. I think knowing what those metrics really are for you is one of the principal reasons that players stick with the game, or conversely, why they drop out. As for me, I'm still enjoying "winning EVE" in my own way, even after nearly four years of play.
I've read some EVE bloggers who say things like: "High sec players need to go play in null sec." What they are really saying is: "Your metrics of success are invalid - you need to play by my metrics." They assume that their measurements are better, and that everyone should play by those standards.
To which I say only this: "Dude, welcome to EVE. Nothing here works exactly like you think it does."
I hope you find your own victory conditions, whatever they may be - in EVE Online, and in Real Life.
Fly safe! o7