The Ages of the Pod Pilot

The Ages of Eve.

Every pod pilot grows through time, maturing like a mighty oak tree or fine vintage of wine.  But what are the ages of a New Eden Capsuleer…?

The hapless noob (age < month):

The hapless noob is fresh in his pod, and largely clueless about the world of EVE.  This young specimen will spend the majority of their time not doing the tutorial and trying to work out what the thousands of modules they can’t fit to their frigate actually do – oblivious to the truth that a phased muon sensor dampner is in fact just another type of sensor dampner.  The hapless noob can be seen careening through low and null sec again quite oblivious to the hazards around him or alternatively trying to mine enough veldspar (in an imprairor) to buy a dreadnought.

Ship: T1 Frigate

Forums: lurking only, wondering what GB2W stands for.

The Enthused Acolyte (age 3 to 6 months):

Having grasped the rudimentary basics of EVE the enthused acoylte is now armed and ready in their (probably badly fitted) ship of choice.  They may well have mastered something tech 2’ish, or skilled up so they can get into a Battleship or BC.  They are now ready to ‘take on all comers’.  Fanatical and fearless the enthused acolyte will think nothing of rushing the nearest target for a kill, guns blazing whilst being bemused that he can’t hit his foe.  A short while (and several ship down later) the enthused acolyte can be found in their corp channels bemoaning the unfairness of (pick one) cloaks, ECM, drones, that a BS can’t hit a frigate, scrams.

Ship: BC with insanely expensive named modules

Forums: Features and Ideas > with ideas on how to nerf/solve; cloaks, ECM, drones, that a BS can’t hit a frigate, scrams.

The PK’er aspirant (age 6 months to 18 months):

The PK’er aspirant can be found either hoovering up level 4 missions in Motsu with the dream of owning a golem, or hurtling through low sec with his gang of pirate buddies ganking anything and everything that moves. If there aren’t any targets said gang will start shooting itself to bits.  The PK’er aspirant rather fancies being in null sec (when he’s ready) or in high sec dominating the T2 modules market.  Cooler than cool the PK’er is dismissive of anyone not in the ship of the moment and spends any and all down time trolling the forums and telling folks to GB2W!  Now in his prime the PK’er aspirant doesn’t suffer fools gladly, fly’s drunk, stoned and with zero tank. Easily excitable can be found on Team Speak screaming obscenities and posting pron in corp chat.

Ship: Vagabond

Forums: GD trolling. Crime and Punishment (also trolling).

The Veteran (age 2 year to 3 years):

Experienced and wise to the scams and brigands of EVE the Veteran is the man of wisdom, able to trip ship fittings and market data of his or her tongue with consummate ease.  Willing but slightly tired of helping the hapless noob, the Veteran is plotting his or her next big project.  Most Veterans will be CEO’ing or FC’ing, their calm approach and measured ideas instilling confidence to all around them.  The Vets also started their own blog and is saving cash to hit fanfest next time around so he can instill is wisdom to CCP.  Sadly such pre-eminence is to be short lived as at any moment the Veteran will be stricken by that most virulent of diseases – Bitter Vet Syndrome.

Ships – T2 sniper HAC or RR BS. Runs 12 accounts on 4 PCs  consuming as much electricity as Luxembourg.

Forums – Test Server, Market discussions, character trade bazaar.

The Bitter Vet (age 3 years+):

This terrible affliction strikes nearly all of EVEs capsuleers.  Despite intensive studies no one is entirely sure of its cause, or cure.  The Bitter Vet Syndrome is most likely to manifest itself when the Veterans master plan goes awry.  Alternatively extended periods plugged in, crippling lag or the dawning realisation that that ‘busy system’ is just full of macroing bots leaves the Vet well…bitter. For the Bitter Vet the a terrible truth dawns that EVE’s lustre is but an illusion, the market ‘broken’, null sec a yawn fest and CCP a bunch of incompetents who want nothing more than their next pay check and to be left in peace.  Some Bitter Vets succumb almost entirely to this devastating disease, logging in only to spin their faction fitted Bhaalgorn whilst spouting vitriol with their other Bitter Vet chums on scrap heap challenge (or fail heap seeing as scrap heap…failed).  Some of course will run for CSM, hoping that they can indeed change EVEs course whilst others look sadly on knowing in their hearts of hearts that blasters aint gonna be fixed any time soon…

Ship: Faction fitted pimpmobile (perma docked). T2 fitted Cane (“its cheap and disposable but I mean wtf its gonna get blown in a laggy fleet fight anyway.  meh im going to bed”).  Alt with a Carrier.

Forums: Occasional bitter rants on EVE-O, general lack lustre trolling on failheap.

The Methuselah (age 5+ years):

Old beyond time the Methuselah has been in EVE ‘from the beginning’.   He’s seen it all and done it all.  No more sub fees for the Meth as she’s long ago worked out how to game the system and rakes in ker’billions from the markets or just by running plexes in a quiet spot in null.  The meths character history is a tally of ‘who’s who’ in EVE corporation terms.  The Meth doesn’t play EVE, he is EVE.  Drinking buddies with Chribba, owner of a handful of mothership’s and mates with at least 6 Devs (from fanfests past) the Meth no longer deigns to visit the EVE O forums, not least because he’s too busy guest appearing on some Veterans podcast or saying hi to EVE TV’s cameras.  He’s now gone beyond bitter vet stage his rant exhausted the Meth has resigned himself that nothing much is going to change any time soon whilst still harbouring that feint glow of hope deep in his heart that the next patch really will be ‘awesome’.

Ships: Too numerous to count the Meth now flies a T1 cruiser hoping to relive that moment when he was a hapless noob.

Forums: No longer posts as it’s all been said before anyway.  Appears on EVE TV at fanfest or on podcasts where she’s excitedly introduced by an enthusiastic presenter, probably with the words “well you’re never going to guess who we have on the show today listeners!”


What comes next for the capsuleers of New Eden can only be guessed at.  Perhaps some will be immortalised as great statues in the vastness of space or, as many fear, they will simply wither and die only to re-suface years later with an EVE O thread asking what’s changed…..


19 Responses to “The Ages of the Pod Pilot”

  1. Virtuozzo Says:

    Interesting post.

    Considering you are sketching what to many might seem as a mostly vertical progression, it would be very interesting to see how that equates to the more typical mmorpg subscriber addiction curves, particularly in light of EVE’s principal potential for people to go through more than one of those.
    That is probably more a topic of game design and marketing however.

    • Heh, and there was me just writing because I was bored! I think most other MMOs have a faster cycle, they’re the equivalent of fast food or disposable fashion. You consume the content, maybe run through it again from a different angle and park it until an expansion comes out. That’s a high intensity burn model – grind grind grind to the finish line. EVEs addictive qualities strike me as subtler, drawing players into the potential of whom they could become. Once the player reaches that summit they have invested to such a degree it’s hard to back out.

      That’s one of the reasons I think Vets get BOV disease: we’re sold promises of a future eve that dont quite make it. And that’s hard to take. But what do you do? Quit? Hope for a brighter tomorrow?


      • mikeazariah Says:

        would you mind if I did a riff on this?


      • sure feel free 🙂

      • Virtuozzo Says:

        Quitting is not an option, or at least an unlikely one. EVE is not just real, it is very much like life itself. Yes, in a virtual world, but that does not diminish the emotional connections people make with the virtual environment, and because of that even more so with the humans behind the pixels. There’s a few good reasons why word of mouth pushed EVE so hard to grow, and why players creating trends & events in a sandbox model was such a bright idea to adapt from UO at the time. Unfortunately, it does look like CCP has forgotten these things, or perhaps they have just gotten lost somewhere along the road. Maybe when they segregated themselves from the dynamic.

        Hope for a brighter tomorrow however does not last forever. While people do not want to quit, they can fade away. Which for a game subscription, comes down to an end of paying – regardless of whether there is some continuity by means of plex, or by means of presence continued in user or community media channels.

        At the end of the day, this is what game design really is about. Think about it. This is not just marketing, or publishing, or programming or art or qa. This is game design facing an amalgam of human behavioral challenges.

        Engaging that, is perfectly possible. But one must have a stable base for that, and an extremely well trained affinity with the immersion.

        The problem for CCP in this, is that CCP depends heavily on the integrity of its brand for its future. That would be fine, if the distance between their presentation and their delivery (regardless of whether it goes fine without hiccup or gets screwed up) is constantly increasing. In spite of their understanding of the necessity of it, CCP demonstrates constantly in media that it lacks an understanding of expectation and perspective management.

        If EVE were a can of soup, it would be fine. But it is not a retail product, it is not just a game or a service model. It is an immersive product, with an IP foundation with roots in an immersive market model. That has consequences for best practices.

        Customers, do not want to have to care about any of such things, yet they do, because they face the divide that CCP sometimes creates, often leaves lingering, and sofar has not yet managed to grasp fully.

      • Sure, immersion based products need to work, because if they don’t immersion is broken. Like a music cd that keeps skipping the experience is jarring.
        For me game design is the interface between the game, it mechanics and how those gears mesh with human behaviour and expectation. CCPs presentation is of smoothly running cogs meshing seamlessly with the human experience – the butterfly effect video for example or the latest ‘future eve’ vid. I think some part of CCP believes, or has come to believe, it’s own marketing. I’d agree with you that the promise and the delivery have diverged so far as to become laughably tragic. Take PI for example – originally “hyped” with flying over planets and from that to Civ in Space to er…some pins and stuff. Or the ground hog day of fanfest “we’re looking at fixing (insert subject from previous fanfest)”.

        I think part of the problem is that the Devs live in ‘Dev World’ where they mingle with other games developers who are working on technical projects or have had success with them. The CCP Devs use that atmosphere to generate the next EVE content. Take a glance at ArenaNets ‘events’ content for GW2 and then compare that to Incursions. Someone somewhere sat at a conference and heard the words ‘interactive group content’ and rushed back to Iceland to write up the design specs for Incursions. What should have happened is that that someone should have been crunching a solution for sov warfare, or the next iteration of FW or bounty hunting, or whatever was on the damn backlog.

        That’s a big disconnect. Maybe such a policy will bring in more players as old bitter vets drop of their perches and EVE will grow. My confidence of this is low, but then what do I know?


  2. This is to a degree accurate enough to be damn creepy…

    Sitting at a tad bit over 5 years in, I’d say I’m still at “bitter vet” stage…

  3. I definitely remember hitting BV a few years back. And… looking back I think I can see my rant just … running out of steam. Yeah, things are broken… lots of things. But I still have fun in game, and I guess that’s what I’m paying for.

    Also, the observation of going from pimp mobiles to T1 cruisers is amazingly apt.

  4. […] has been said,” he started, “that there are four distinct ages of a capsuleer.  (1, 2)  I don’t know, there is always finer iterations to classifications but what I want to […]

  5. Vanadiel Mandrax Says:

    very entertaining post, made me wonder where i fit in. i think i joined eve just before empyrean age, had my ups and downs but haven’t gone through the BOV stage yet. oh and btw, i’m from luxembourg and the country is tiny indeed, maybe even so tiny that i might be the only eve player in luxembourg?

  6. Soliloquy Says:

    consuming as much electricity as Luxembourg

    OMG! I nearly died laughing…

  7. Jumping over Bitter Vet phase right to Methusela phase in 6 more months! \o/

  8. I fluctuate between vet and bitter vet. Due to real life stuff I’ve been away for a month just training, and I am now refreshed and craving more time in Eve. Breaks really help keep perspective, and make for a great time to train bad boys like battleship 5 or JDC 5.

  9. I’ve been at this game since 08, so technically I should be a vet/bitter vet, but I don’t think I am. I think bitter vet status can be avoided by finding a very good corp (rare) or group of people to fly with. Or, just continuously try new things. For example, I’m now doing RP and the last 7 months have just flown by 🙂

    The other theory, is I’ve stopped and started at least 5 times, so I may have just broken the process up a bit. Bitter vet here I come!

  10. This:
    Ships: Too numerous to count the Meth now flies a T1 cruiser hoping to relive that moment when he was a hapless noob.

    So true. Skipping about in an Augurer just relive those early days.

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