Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Missed This Month's Blog Banter!

For some as of yet unknown reason, I didn't get informed of this month's blog banter and since CrazyKinux was busy in real life I figured it was just postponed or something. Imagine my surprise when I saw a couple this morning on A Mule In Eve and The Wandering Druid of Tranquillity.

I'm sure my invitation just got lost in the mail.

*Quickly checks the Eve Blog pack to make sure he's still there.*

Yep, lost in the mail.

So let's pretend this post is on time and all that and CrazyKinux still likes me. ;)

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Welcome to the fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter

This month’s topic comes to us from Mynxee of Life in Low Sec. She asks "Alts and Metagaming: Is playing two accounts who are logged in at the same time and work together (hauler/miner, explorer/combat associate, trade alts in trade hubs) a form of metagaming that is 'ruining the game'?"

Well, first off lets try and identify how having an alt logged in at the same time and working with your main changes the game.

For one thing, it allows people to do things more efficiently that they could not do alone. For example:

Hauler & Miner - if alone, the pilot would have to stop mining to haul his ore thus cutting into profits.

Explorer & Combat Pilot - if just one character, the exploration would have to be done to find the site, then switch for the combat ship to kill the rats, and then probably switch back for a suitable hacking ship. And if the rats come back, another two switches.

Trade alt in hub, usually a hauler as well - if only one account, the player would have to travel to the hub, do its buying and selling, and travel back to base of operations. If in 0.0 this can be a lot of travelling. With the alt, the buying and selling and hauling can be done with autopilot while the main continues on playing.

As you can see, efficiency is a big driver for why alts are used. Now you can argue that another player could do the same tasks but then you are effectively cutting any profits in half (unless you are taking advantage of that other person). An alt allows a person to save time.

Also its worth noting there are some functions that cannot be done alone at all, like the infamous cyno alt for moving a carrier around. Or scouting ahead through pirate infested low sec.

Finally, another big reason for having alts is to make skill training more focused and allow you to get to two different goals quickly; the combat pilot training for tech II large weapons while the industrial alt trains for Jump Freighters. A single player would wait twice as long to reach those goals.

So we see how having multiple accounts changes the game, but does this mean it ruins the game? To answer that question, we have to understand what we mean by "ruin the game".

Definitions of Ruin:
1. ruins, the remains of a building, city, etc., that has been destroyed or that is in disrepair or a state of decay: We visited the ruins of ancient Greece.
2. a destroyed or decayed building, town, etc.
3. a fallen, wrecked, or decayed condition: The building fell to ruin.
4. the downfall, decay, or destruction of anything.
5. the complete loss of health, means, position, hope, or the like.
6. something that causes a downfall or destruction; blight: Alcohol was his ruin.
7. the downfall of a person; undoing: the ruin of Oedipus.
8. a person as the wreck of his or her former self; ravaged individual.
9. the act of causing destruction or a downfall. –verb (used with object)
10. to reduce to ruin; devastate.
11. to bring (a person, company, etc.) to financial ruin; bankrupt.
12. to injure (a thing) irretrievably.
13. to induce (a woman) to surrender her virginity; deflower. –verb (used without object)
14. to fall into ruins; fall to pieces.
15. to come to ruin.

I've highlighted some relevant definitions. In essence, for dual-boxing to "ruin" Eve we would have see the game moving towards an unplayable state; in essence, Eve would be dying. This is demonstrably not true.

But let's be realistic and assume that the question is more meant to be asking if multiple accounts is harming the game. This is more difficult to answer because it is so hard to measure without removing the ability to play two accounts for a few months and compare the results.

I suspect, and have no evidence to support my supposition, that if you removed the ability to have multiple accounts active at once that the inconvenience would not entice people to work together to do what the single player and alt did before in most cases, but rather force players to adapt to a less efficient and more time consuming method or quit altogether.

In addition, I am of the opinion that allowing dual-boxing is not an advantage to a single player that two players could not achieve in its place, as per the Falcon alt. To another player being attacked by a combat pilot and his alt there is no difference than if he were attacked by two players. That is to say, the advantage of a player collaborating with himself is no greater (and in fact is less advantageous) than two players collaborating which is definitely allowed and in fact expected (unlike an online board game where everyone is supposedly competing with each other and two players collaborating is detrimental to the game).

Thus I am going to say no, multiple accounts working together is not harming the game. As long as a single player playing two accounts has no advantage that two players working together also could have, its acceptable in my opinion. It definitely changes the game but I do not think the change is harmful.

(One could have suspected my final answer from knowing how I play the game but the mental exercise was fun anyways.)



  1. Anonymous11:11 am

    Nice post mate!!

    Yeah, I do agree with you, it doesn't ruin the game at all, it enhances it!!

  2. I got missed too...... and feel so unloved.

    To be fair my posting has dropped a lot over the summer, but that is soon to change (near end of summer).

    Like you, am going to post as well, mainly as I am..... a triple-boxer.

  3. Good post, K. I agree the use of alts impacts the game, but doesn't ruin it. The game mechanics embrace the idea of alts, so we might as well use them. Can't live without 'em, anyway...not efficiently, anyhow.