Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chapter Nine Delta

Without Goals, We Are All Truly Wanderers

ISK Balance: 6,683,387.94

Goals are an important commodity in EVE. Unlike datacores, Tritanium, or Caldari Navy Ravens, they cannot be sold or traded for anything of value, but they're just as essential to making ISK. So long as you want to turn a profit, a clear, driven state of mind is easily equivalent in value to the right friends, the right resources, and being in the right place at the right time. In fact, so many of the predominant goals in EVE have to do with making ISK. It's those heavenly goals - the ones that will remain beyond your grasp for years - that require the most commitment, and of course, the most ISK. That carrier, for instance. You want it? Well, you need ISK for the skillbooks, the fittings, the ship itself, and enough ISK to sustain yourself in that year-plus before those golden doors will open for you. Maybe you're more of the station loving type, and you want to wage market warfare from across the region or dominate an aspect of manufacturing. You'd best become acquainted with the magic of capital, and those capricious beings known as investors. So many of the average player's goals deal so heavily in the flow of ISK into and out of their wallets that money is even more of an omnipresent force in EVE than in the real world. It drives the entire game.

I mulled over all of this as I shared the view of the eastern edge of the galaxy with RT64-C VII, a lonely planet whose craggy, inhospitable surface certainly matches its outlook on life - an unfortunate side effect of such intense focus on the abyss beyond.

As I stared alongside the planet, I thought to myself; "I haven't talked an awful lot about being poor, about hoping the next marketplace I have to peruse for yet another Stabber won't overtax my wallet yet again and I'll have to call in 'just one more' favor from my magnanimous friends. I haven't talked a whole lot about ISK at all - mostly, it's been 'adventure here, journey there, wander everywhere.'" Then again, isn't it a way to get away from the constant thought of poverty? Isn't that what we do in the real world? We try not to think about the extent to which money determines our fate, especially if we haven't got much of it. It's an uncomfortable truth - what better place to confront and theorize about and struggle viscerally with than in a virtual environment?

And with my navigational journey finalized with the eastern frontier, I looked for another journey with which to occupy myself. I turned to Amarria Black, who after a few suggestions, struck goal; low security. It's commonly considered worthless, neglected, frequented by crazies with nothing to lose (and the occasional mothership, of course). That's the way the community seems to paint it, anyway. But what's low security really about? The only way to find out, I decided, would be to go there and ask around myself.

Most of all, I want to know what drives the inhabitants of low security. Is it something similar to my journey? After all, it could be considered the least profitable place in EVE. Are those that frequent - live in, even - low security more free from the grasp of ISK than the rest of us? Or are they simply the marginalized poor with nowhere else to go? Maybe low security is much more than meets the eye.

But first I've got to fight my way through the oncoming tide of Smashkill back into Empire.

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