A thousand posts on EVE Online

1st December 2011 – 5.33 pm

This is the thousandth post I've published tagged with EVE Online. That's quite a few. I think now is a good time to take a look at how my journal has progressed since I started playing, obviously influenced by my involvement in the game, as well as highlight some of the most interesting moments. Some commenters provided some welcomed feedback about my journal and letting me know what they appreciate, focussing on the posts about EVE Online. I'll begin by looking at how my writing style has evolved and been shaped by New Eden and beyond. Tomorrow I'll publish a retrospective of the thousand posts.

Ardent Defender and Zandramus mentioned my consistency and daily schedule. The open nature of the game is what has given me my stories, experiences that are sufficiently personal in a way that World of Warcraft couldn't quite create consistently, although the adventures only really open up once the beaten path is left behind and I dabble with PvP. I would say that PvP in EVE Online is pretty broad, though, as it would include manufacturing and the market, as well as other areas of involvement, such as courier services, that I haven't come close to. Essentially, knowing that what I was doing was almost certainly not what someone else was doing gave me the motivation to record my experiences, and as they could be different each day I started writing regularly. Indeed, often there would be days where I felt I could write enough to cover two posts, or more.

The daily schedule came about because of my own reading habits. I knew that I liked posts appearing in my feed regularly and consistently, and would prefer having five posts drip-fed to me one a day rather than as-and-when they would be written. It made sense for me to publish my own posts in the way I'd like them to be presented to me, so that when I wrote a couple of posts to cover a single gaming day they would be scheduled over two days instead of one, providing a more balanced feed. As my activity increased and the types of encounter prompted more detail, and I like detail, I ended up generating enough posts to easily cover posting once a day, including weekends, and so I did.

In fact, I generated more than seven posts a week, even playing maybe only five days a week, and still do on occasions. This has led to my worst-kept secret of the several-week lag between what I do and what I post. There are beneficial reasons behind this, including operational security, and calming down after dramas to gain perspective rather than fanning flames, but the reason is simply that I was writing too much. I thought about dumping a load of posts in quick succession to bring the delay down, but in truth it suited me. I could draft my posts and leave them for a couple of weeks, editing them with fresh eyes to find mistakes or make corrections to ambiguous sentences, and schedule a handful of them at once another week or more in advance of publication.

I don't need to write, edit, or schedule any particular day, or even get on-line to play, as I always have a buffer. It lets me take a night off if I don't feel like playing, or am going to a gig, or have my weekly RPG night (which I also chronicle, although in a different style), and I never feel like I should be playing, that I should be creating more content. It really helps remove some of the self-created pressure of maintaining a daily schedule.

There is also the issue of writing about an evening where nothing happens, which Zandramus also mentioned. I must admit that I wasn't sure about how to approach a quiet night, or slow weeks, because writing about nothing is not easy, in itself or to make interesting, and could easily be dull for the reader. But at least wormholes come and go in w-space, replaced by connections to new systems, unlike the persistent stargates in known space. Exploration can also be an end in itself, although it is always better when the constellation can be completely mapped with time to spare, and that it leads to at least one system where there is something to see.

Partly because of the daily posting schedule, partly to show what w-space life is like in totality, and not only the interesting times, I decided to chronicle all my time in w-space. I don't think it helps corporation recruitment, or game adoption, to post about the exciting nights and pretend that there are no boring times. Some days there is little more to do than scan through a few wormholes, finding no one and having no colleagues on-line. But I am showing what life is like in w-space, and all the better if I can make that sound interesting, or at least fulfilling, if only some of the time. I feel the quiet days also provide a good contrast to when something actually happens. Sure, we can go a few days without seeing another pilot, but then we get involved in a mighty scrap, either on the fighting side or trying to escape the clutches of hostile pilots.

Given the buffer of posts I have and that I include details of even the most minor of operations, it has been tempting to gloss over certain incidents at times, even if they are a little embarrassing. But as a Snyperal comments, I admit my mistakes, including the stupid ones. I'm not special in this respect, but it's still an important part of my journal. I act stupidly sometimes, either from ignorance or an occasional burst of stubborness, and each time I really ought to learn from the experience or I'm doomed to suffer it again. The best way to learn is to analyse the circumstances and situation, to try to determine what went wrong, what I could have done differently, and if there was any preventative action I could have taken. And, despite my blushes, I feel I can't withhold this information simply because it could make me look a fool. We all look stupid sometimes, and it is often the case that we learn that it isn't so bad when many people have done the same.

Even so, there are days when so little happens that I simply can't bring myself to try to make the evening's lack of events interesting enough for a post. On those occasions I will often wrap up the previous day's events in to the start of the next day's adventure, writing a simple paragraph or two to keep the narrative flowing without slowing down the pace to slower than a crawl. On one occasion I gloss a fairly standard night of Sleeper shooting in to a couple of sentences, in this case because I didn't think I could eke the unremarkable profit-making in to a full post, and also because the next night was so much more exciting and I was keen to write about that before it drifted too far from my memory.

Snyperal and Theorine appreciate my attention to detail, which isn't achieved by relying on my memory in order to write my posts. I understand how unreliable memory can be, filling in gaps with more interesting or self-centred details, which is why I take notes whilst I play. EVE Online has a good balance of action and strategy that gives time to make these notes. I can do little in warp except monitor d-scan, panic, or stare in to space, which makes it a good time to jot down a note or two. Scanning doesn't need to be a particularly quick exercise, and shooting Sleepers has the occasional moment for note-making, although little generally happens during Sleeper combat that's worthy of taking notes. Otherwise, I'll grab moments either before combat or after where I scribble down whatever information I think will be important to remember, although I never remove my focus from the screen if it would compromise the operation. I am at the controls whenever I need to be.

My notes have evolved over time. Initially they were rather basic, and I would fill in the narrative from memory jogged by what I felt was important enough to note. My anatomy of a post shows a relatively early example of my note-taking, along with how I piece the notes together in to a post. Since then, I suppose I've hit my stride. I have written enough adventures to have a style, even if I'm perhaps mostly unaware of it, to the point where I am often drafting the narrative as I fly. Whilst in space I am thinking about how I'll introduce the evening, what focal points there currently are and if they are likely to change, and what is motivating my actions. As a result, I am taking more detailed notes now, often with turns-of-phrase already completed.

I'll also occasionally add notes in the margins after a complex or involved interaction, either to include a detail I know is important and that I'm likely to forget if I don't write it down, or to clarify my thoughts and motivations that could too easily be modified by hindsight. It's important to me to explain why I am performing a certain action, what I suspect is occurring with the other pilot, as considered before events unfold, so that I can present a fairer reflection of the situation. On particularly exciting or otherwise engaging nights I am often returning to my notepad to clarify one point or another, or just to add a natty phrase, just so that I can faithfully capture the experience. Better to do it whilst still hopped up on adrenalin than wait until the sobering light of day.

So that's what my journal has been on the meta level. Tomorrow we can see the journey I've taken on the way to writing a thousand posts about EVE Online.

  1. 6 Responses to “A thousand posts on EVE Online”

  2. Great post, it is always enlightening to see how someone else puts their thoughts to paper or cyberspace as it were. I myself like to reflect over the previous evenings happenings and form an opinion about them, though I can be such an idiot from time to time lol. I do like the fact that regardless of the outcome you will post about it, I think that is what makes your blog one of the more Interesting ones, anyone can blog about how great they are measuring ones épéen and all. But to analyze your own mistakes and draw conclusions on them makes this a really interesting blog to read.

    Keep up the great work

    By Zandramus on Dec 1, 2011

  3. Kudos. And here I thought I was posting a lot, but I'm only at 670 or so. It is one thing to post a lot and another to do so well, both of which you continue to excel at. So congratulations, looking forward to more.

    By Rixx Javix on Dec 1, 2011

  4. Congradulations!

    When I first came across your blog (maybe a year ago, I was becomming a little disenchanted with New Eden).

    It made playing enjoyable again, I ended up reading it from begining to end!

    A habit I learnt from your blog and haven't given up, is naming my ships in a way that gives me a connection to them.

    At the moment I don't have time to read all of you posts, but I apprecaite very much the time you take to write your story. It has had an impact on me.

    By Michael Smith on Dec 1, 2011

  5. Well done a great read and excellent source of information

    By amarrahh on Dec 1, 2011

  6. Congratulations on achieving this grand milestone! This is my first time posting a comment on your blog though I've been a regular reader for many months now. I stumbled across your blog with my WP7 phone trying to get my EVE fix after my computer blew up and I feel in love. So much so I went all the way back to the beginning and read every single post you've made. Its been an amazing journey to watch as you developed from a newb mission runner to a to a ruthless killer living in the unknown all on my little Samsung focus.

    Keep up the excellent story telling so I may continue living vicariously through you until I can rebuild my computer and return to New Eden!

    By Aldebaran Redstar on Dec 2, 2011

  7. Thanks, everyone, much appreciated.

    And I see what you did there, Aldebaran, with your 'grand' milestone comment. Very droll.

    By pjharvey on Dec 2, 2011

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