XN.YM, or Everybody Needs Somebody

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"There's a selfish reward to this kind of low-level activity as well, I might add. Forming connections and contacts with people who are inclined to think well of you and who maybe owe you a favor can pay off hugely in your later EVE career."Thank you. I try telling people this over and over, and if people would just understand that the noob you train today could be the coalition leader of tomorrow, Eve would be a much more diverse place
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Even if he doesn't become anything so grand, he might be the guy that one day gives you a good market tip or vouches for you you to join a good corp or warns you about a gank planned on your JF or maybe even just gives you a little sensation of pride as you see his career develop.
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What is your point anyways? Shit on the "tiny xn,ym guys" like - as you say - "the :foreveralone: missionrunner" ?
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Rewarding high xn,ym guys properly does not necessarily mean to shit on tiny ones ...
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Since when did "reward those who encourages others to interact with each other and log in" become "shit on the mission runners"?
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That's the point of view of said :foreveralone: missionrunners I guess. Everyone wants to shit on them ! Everyone ! We hate their freedom to be insignificant ! Nerf friends !
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Well put
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That's an interesting conclusion to draw from what I wrote. Who do you think it says the most about?
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Excellent post!
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I think in a game filled with autonomous pilots who determine their own fate, there is too much emphasis on any one person creating such a desire to login or unsub.I understand the sheep mentality of such, as I've played many a MMO that creates such a thing (Everquest, WoW, etc). But if there is a pilot who finds himself basing his playtimes on the chance of (insert name) being logged in, chances are that pilot needs to reevaluate his/her goals. Perhaps even go outside for a week and recharge.Quite simply, that player is doing it wrong.I do however, commend your ability to point the importance of those who others take for granted, I just don't think it's as important in this game, as you make it out to be.
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It can be revealing (if a bit tedious) to occasionally track the full circle of interactions with a foe. If you’ll forgive the self promotion: http://mobilepartyinc.com/arch...Short version:Murdered this fellow then . . .Sold him ship rigs I’d manufactured (I like to believe he was re-equipping post murder) then . . .Purchased raw material loot drops from him (I like to believe he was gun mining his way back into post murder wealth)From his point of view there was no observable connection. From my point of view it was much liketending sheep then culling the herd. We gifted each other purpose.
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Really good article, the best I've read so far on this site. Thank you!
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I think this article is spot on, I log for my community: their accents, lousy jokes, puerile bragging and space prowesses, our leader have vision and i wouldnt trust anyone else, in game.
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I have been in EVE from more or less day one. If this theory had any merrit to it, I should have more old friends still in eve than had friends that have left. But it aint so. An I have been in the large outfits. Still EVE can now claim more subs than ever. The avarage eve player time is still around 6 months as far as I know. EvE will fail when CCP cant pull in players faster than the drop off, NO MATTER THE REASON for leaving. Thats the simple mathematical truth. When they fail to do that, there will be a stagnation for the duration of the average player retention, and then player numbers will drop.This is VERY much in CCP's hands. The delusion of your selfimportance is staggering...
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I'm not sure how to respond to this comment because it doesn't seem to match anything I said. What does having been in EVE since day one have to do with anything with how you interact with and are regarded by other players? At most, it means that you've had more *opportunity* to increase your xn.ym value.As to d(Sub) = p(in)-p(out), well yes, that's the whole point. The way to attract new players is to connect with them. The way to retain old players is to keep them connected. A guy who never speaks to anyone and just runs hi-sec missions day in, day out won't contribute much to either, even if he's been doing that since 2003. It seems that we're in violent agreement and that you're railing against your own misunderstanding of what I said. As for my "self-importance" I don't even know what you're referring to here? Please explain.
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I just would like to point that there can't be no "quality" xn.ym dudes without a good "quantity" of less-than-relevant subscription payers who keep the show running with their money. The tip of the xn.ym pyramid stands on a wide base of the likes of that iconic ":foreveralone: empire mission runner", and one of the sad consequences of summer of rage is that CCP learned the lesson that they should cater to "good" customers and ignore the "bad" ones.That's about as succesful for a corporation as would be for a democracy to let vote only people who can reason a political stance and win a debate on it: sacrificing quantity for quality ends up with diminishing amounts of both.

Well, I suppose the Godwin thing is a little played out, so for the lead-in to this piece, I will instead quote someone for whom I can claim unimpeachable and incontrovertible authority over the source, as well as the ability to perfectly interpret the text:

"The players are the major source of game content. Every person that unsubs (or just stops logging in) makes it x% more likely that all his n subbed friends will do the same, and y% more likely that his m unsubbed friends won't come back. For someone like a :foreveralone: empire missionrunner, that xn.ym value is pretty tiny. For someone like the main FC of a large alliance, or Chribba, or Estel Arador, that xn.ym value will be hundreds or even thousands of times higher. In a situation like that you don't have to be a mathematical genius to realise that this means there's an unstable, unpredictable tipping point after which EVE will failcascade no matter what CCP do."

I wrote that at the peak of the post-Incarna Summer of Rage crisis last year - incredibly as it seems now, merely 14 months ago - at a time when I was on the edge of giving up on EVE and walking away.  At the time, people I knew and liked were dropping accounts left and right, and it seemed that every time I logged in, it was for the privilege of reading yet another "Time to call it quits" post from a valued corp or alliance member.  Sometimes we have to face losing what we most value in order to realize just how valuable it (or he) is, and it was the steady erosion of my will to keep on keeping on in the face of those messages that inspired me to post that. 

These are happier times now and in most ways EVE is back to business as usual: bears vs gankers, hi-sec vs 0.0, buff Gallente, nerf Minmatar - all the normal comfortingly inane background chatter of a reasonably healthy MMO community.  But it would be a terrible shame if we were to have gone through that Summer and gained nothing from it.  Since it's apparent that we're now not getting avatar-based gameplay any time in the foreseeable future, perhaps we'll have to settle for a change in our perception of player value.

At the moment, there are many metrics the players use to rank and compare each other; ISK, skillpoints, K:D ratio, total kills, alliance membership, and so on.  All quantifiable and measurable.  Players also compare each other on slightly softer metrics: FC skills, successful campaigns, in game achievements like disbanding BoB or being in the fleet that killed the first Titan and so on.  And at the other end of the scale, some players gain a measure of fame (or infamy) for doing stuff that doesn't even involve logging in - running popular EVE websites like Dotlan and EVE-Search, writing columns in the gaming media, or simply being well known on popular EVE fansite forums.

But one glaring omission (as you might have already inferred) is recognition for those high xn.ym guys for making people want to log in.  Sure, players within an alliance will express gratitude and admiration for a successful FC for leading them to victory in fights, or a motivating CEO for building up a successful corp, but outside of their immediate group, these players rarely get a drop of recognition.  Yet without people like these, EVE would be sterile and lifeless.  Nothing in EVE means anything without a goal to pin it to, and those players who are able to inspire us towards a goal are absolutely priceless to us, the community at large.  Without them, there literally is no game, just a rather dull if nicely rendered sim.

The issue is somewhat confused because many EVE celebs also happen to have a significant xn.ym value, but it's rare in the extreme to see that explicitly recognized for what it is.  Another factor working against their recognition is of course EVE's highly competitive nature.  It's rather difficult to get the grunts of Alliance A to recognize the value to the game of the leader of Alliance B when A & B are engaged in a desperate war of vicious attrition.  But if few Goons in 2007 would have been able to say a good word about SirMolle, I think many of those same Goons in 2012 would privately or publically admit that without him and the organization he inspired, their game experience would have been infinitely poorer and less vital - and it was an observable fact that there was nothing like a good MollePost to get a spike in logins.  (As I hinted in my previous article, there are few circumstances better than a powerful and active threat to make a narrative compelling and thrilling.)

The "neutral" community service providers fare a little better; everyone in 0.0 loves Wollari's Dotlan site, Chribba has a sky-high rep for his eve-search and eveboard sites, and so on. But its still much rarer to see explicit recognition that people like Chibba and Wollari help keep other people playing, and the understanding of why that is so valuable. 

What should we do about this? Well, firstly I think it's a valuable exercise to simply spend a moment thinking about who you've encountered that has a high xn.ym value.  Who makes you want to log in? Who would leave you wanting to log in less if they left?  Some of them will be obvious - your favorite FC, for instance is a natural candidate.  Others, perhaps less so.  Does your corp have a guy in it who tends to be online when others aren't, and now that you think about it, all those corp POS get maintained and fueled?  Those unsung logistics guys actually have a really high xn.ym value because they keep the jump bridges, cyno jammers, safe POS and so on working.  Likewise the guy who stocks your local market.  Not just because they make your life easier, but because they help to keep people logging in.
Look for people outside your immediate group too. The guys who set up Red vs Blue - they don't just provide an accessible arena for low consequence PvP, they also help to keep the game alive by giving many new players a chance to take their first steps into pewing. Does your alliance have a recruitment alliance to keep up a steady stream of worthwhile recruits? Do you even know who runs it? Running an alliance is a hell of a lot of work, and he's doing that without even the recognition of being the guy who runs the "real" alliance. That guy has a massive xn.ym value because he's helping to keep two entire alliance active and vibrant and he's the leadership figure for a large number of relatively new players.

Secondly, you might look for ways to improve your own value. Not everyone has the time or the charisma to run a corp or the talent to FC a fleet, but you could mentor a new corpie, you could instigate activities by funding a frigate thunderdome, you could document the alliance's sov assets, you could make a point of offering to help out those other guys you identified with high values (maybe help him haul all those frigates for that thunderdome?), and if all inspiration really fails, you could spend some time in the Help channel helping a few newbs out. There's a selfish reward to this kind of low-level activity as well, I might add. Forming connections and contacts with people who are inclined to think well of you and who maybe owe you a favor can pay off hugely in your later EVE career.  Of course if you can come up with better ideas that will give greater improvements to your xn.ym value, you should do those.
Third and finally, you should make a point of shouting out those high xn.ym guys and making sure that the other players in your corp and alliance and whoever else you have any contact and influence will recognize that value as well. Nothing motivates people better than other people knowing that they're doing a job well. Nothing demotivates faster than thinking no one knows or cares. Be aware of who's valuable to your game, and remember that that means that they're probably valuable to others whom you in turn value.

There are some follow-on conclusions that lead from this view of EVE. It might sound like I'm advocating some kum-by-yah hippie brotherhood outlook, but what I'm actually hoping that you'll do is take a cold, dispassionate, clear eyed view on what the real assets of value are for your actual gameplay - the other players you encounter - and that you'll act to protect and increase those assets. I'm assuming that you will want lots of people in the game who think well of you and view you as essential to their game. And, quite naturally, I'm hoping that by doing my little bit to encourage a cultural shift, that my game experience will improve. Always keep in mind that you don't have to like, or even not shoot all the people who have a high value. You just have to be able to recognize who they are.
And of course, inevitably, EVE being EVE, once you know how to analyze people like this, you'll be able to articulate who amongst your enemies to target for maximum damage to their morale and motivation. Just be careful you don't knock out the guys that you need to keep you logging in; some of your best friends in EVE are the people you hate.

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