What’s the culture of your corp?
Whether corps have a ‘culture’ – It’s an odd question perhaps but one which arrived unbidden in my mind as I strolled the streets of Leipzig, Germany. We are, as a species, often described by our culture. Maybe that’s the ‘coffee’ culture of Europe or the ‘pub’ culture of Britain. One of the reasons I ended up straying down this particular line of thought was just before I wanded aimlessly around the city of Leipzig, I’d just spent a couple of hours watching Jame’s Cameron’s AVATAR.
A diverting film, but perhaps best seen in 3D. If you’ve not seen it the film sets off the two protagonist cultures against each other – the gung’ho, money driven humans (predictably enough) VS the tree hugging blue skinned Na’vi. You’ve probably already worked out the plot and predicted the ending by now.
Then I logged into EVE to be faced with local full of other blue skinned fellows – my corp, alliance and friendlies and the question arose in my mind…do we have a culture? Are there cultures already extant in EVE?
My initial thinking was “no – EVE is devoid of any cultural groups”, its just like AVATAR with a black/white divide of ‘Not Blue = Shoot It’ but on reflection I think there may be some emergent cultural groups….
A ‘culture’ is generally a group of people displaying or presenting themselves in a certain roughly consistent fashion, through language, dress, music, art and so forth. And to a degree we do have these within the EVE Universe. The two most starkly contrasting are the mission running, PVE dwelling ‘carebears’. Whilst at the opposite end of the spectrum are the grief inflicting, HTFU, pew pewing pirates.
Both have a language, of sorts as do other groups; camping, gate fire, Yarr, tears, shield tank, gank fit, drag
bubble, C5 static, IPO, ABC’s, ninja, ME, PE – some of these phrases your’ll be very very familiar with, others of course will sound like a foreign language or different dialect to you. Glance around EVE and you will see other cultural markers – mission PVE fit Navy Ravens, pirate vagabonds & dramiels, ponderous mining barges or skull icons of the criminal.
A brief foray through the forums and we can also see the hints of cultural groupings – some players almost inhabiting certain forum subsections, or decrying the habits of other cultures; “carebears, griefers”.
Are these traits enough though for us to really point at and say ‘that is a culture’? Possibly. Certainly there seems to be a culture around WH exploration and those ‘living’ in W-Space and that’s possibly because these players are more easily discernible by ‘where’ they live rather than ‘how’. After all that “pirate vagabond” could just as easily be a PVE player who just happens to like vagabonds – or a squeeky clean NRDS Null Sec Alliance player.
Because cultures around the world are so often described visually (dress, jewellery etc) I think it will be interesting to see if Incarna brings about a greater visual representation of cultural groups, or indeed of new cultures. This of course may only happen if certain styles of dress / image are actually adopted by a group and are recognised by others as being a part of that group. I personally wouldn’t mind if certain activities in game resulted in a visual clue within Incarna – for example: say you don’t un-dock for weeks perhaps your avatar gets fatter over time? Or prolonged periods in space result in bright blue eyes (a la the spice of Dune)?
EVE Gate may also allow a greater collaboration and emergence of such groups – groups which have, until now at least, been restricted by the mechanisms of corp & alliance in terms of communication. EVE Gate at least will allow players to be members of separate corps/alliances whilst being affiliated with different ‘EVE Gate Groups’ or cultures.
Of course there is still a limit to how far we can go here. Ultimately, when I glanced at that blue filled local channel there was very little to differentiate my corp from any other. My Alliances is, to all intents and purposes, very very similar to dozens of other Null Sec alliances across EVE – indeed its not really so obviously different to another alliance anywhere within EVE. Our avatars exist is a pretty flat and homogeneous universe.
Should there be more differentiating between these embryonic cultures though?
What if our ships could have corporate or allegiance markings on them? Visual ‘Im in X corp’ or ‘I loath ninja ratters’? How important is it to you that you are able to visually proclaim your identity, your cultural identity, across EVE’s tableau?
Sovereignty markers for example already exist – flying the flag for any given alliance. Sure enough they also indicate who is getting what bonuses where, but what if there were other icons of intent? Very often our real world cultures mark their terrain visually as I could readily appreciate around the streets of Leipzig – be that the classical sculptures on the older buildings, or the faded graffiti along the side streets.
Would you erect a monument to your corporation in space? Or “tag” the outside of a station you’re camping?
Such questions might seem a bit obscure (Art? In EVE!?) but players have shown a willingness to create things like ‘can art’ in the past – an otherwise pointless activity which provides no ‘in game’ benefit what so ever.
Perhaps in the distant future CCP will provide the very tools for players to better style their own cultural heritage – after all what good is a sandbox universe if you cant create the odd sculpture now and again?