A Case of the Dumbs

One of the best - and sometimes, the worst - things about EVE Online is that even the slightest error can cascade quickly into hilariously tragic consequences in very short order. (Remember Asakai, anyone?) To paraphrase the great Robert Heinlein, space is a harsh mistress - it will turn on you with vengeance in a moment, if you ever commit the sin of becoming too complacent.

Sort of reminds me of my charming bride on one of her off days - but I digress.

Unfortunately, my EVE Online career is full of sad examples of losses resulting from the simplest of mistakes. I can say with conviction that every time I have lost a ship, it was always 100 percent my own fault - the result of being inattentive, overconfident or just plain lazy.

The lesson to be learned here is this: if your diligence in space ever wavers, EVE Online will gleefully take the opportunity to bludgeon you on the side of the head with a bat. And it will continue to whack forcefully on your skull until this knowledge is driven firmly into your consciousness.

EVE Online always knows what's best for you, whether your like it or not. Get used to it, or be prepared to die - a lot.

Never get out of line when flying in space, or EVE Online's gonna slap you - hard.

Never get out of line when flying in space, or EVE Online's gonna slap you - hard.

That Moment When...

My hauling alt's corp has been under a wardec for the past week. Yesterday, I received one of those happy notifications from CONCORD saying that war was ending in 24 hours.

"Oh, good," says I. "Now I can finish those courier contracts that have been backing up."

I go out to dinner with the family, content in the knowledge that I will soon be able to fly my freighter safely again.

I return home late, eager to get online and finish a couple of those contracts before I go to bed. I'm tired and fuzzy-headed, but it's just a quick run from Jita to Amarr - a short 9 jumps - so it shouldn't take long. Easy, peasy.

The cargo is small, so I fit reinforced bulkheads to maximize my tank. Satisfied with the fit, I undock from Jita 4-4. Everything is running routinely for the first three jumps - and then I see a red band appear on my overview.

No big deal - I see red bands all the time, usually from pilots with negative security status flying capsules in high sec. But then I see it's a Condor. And now he's targeting me - hmmm, isn't that interesting.

Whoa - now he's webbed and scrammed me. And launching rockets. A sliver of red appears on my HUD.

"How cute," I say aloud to myself, and I smile wearily. "Somebody must want to lose their ship tonight." I watch the screen intently, curious about how long it will take CONCORD to rain their torrent of justice upon my aggressor.

And I wait. A minute passes.

My smile turns to a frown. CONCORD hasn't arrived. The sliver of red slowly rises on my HUD.

I finally bother to take a look at the Condor pilot. He's in the corp that wardec'd us last week.

Oh, crap.

I open my mail notifications, and re-check the time that the war was ending.

Oh, fuuuuu.........

Needless to say, this encounter didn't end well. In short order, the Condor was joined by a gaggle of his buddies, and I ended up using my podsaver tab on the Overview to warp off safely after my ship was blown to smithereens. I docked up in a station, and issued my congratulations in Local. All's fair in war, as they say.

It was a simple mistake - I assumed I knew when the war was ending, and undocked without verifying that first. When you make a bad assumption in EVE Online, you generally lose something valuable.

Fortunately, I was fully insured, so my actual material loss wasn't intolerable. I lost a bit of collateral from the failed cargo contract, but that wasn't bad, either.  But I chastised myself for being so dumb - I named my rookie ship that I received after docking, "The Cone of Shame".

Owning Up

I've learned to own my mistakes in EVE Online, no matter how painful a reminder of my fallibility they may be. They make for great stories to tell at Fanfest or when I'm teaching classes to new players at EVE University. That's because I've realized that I learn far more from my errors than I do from my successes. When you master a new aspect of the game, and it pays off, you simply reap the rewards for doing something you'd already planned or expected. However, when you screw up tremendously, that's when the real lesson begins.

I'm always highly suspicious of players who brag about their combat kills or their vast riches in game, but who won't own up to losses or mistakes. I discount these people immediately, because they typically have nothing to offer, other than: "I do it right, and you are doing it wrong."

The best industrialists, market traders and PvP pilots are all quick to share how they lost profits, screwed up a trade, or got their ship blown up, because they are all excellent at one essential skill: they know how to identify where they went wrong, and what they can do better. There's no doubt that I have become a far better EVE Online player by dissecting my mistakes than I have by achieving my successes.

Still, having to learn from silly mistakes is always a little painful. I'd prefer that I keep my occasional bouts of the dumbs to a minimum. My hope is that by sharing my mistakes with others, I can help others avoid the the same kinds of blunders, at least.

Fly safe! o7