Greedy Goblin

Friday, March 8, 2013

The meaning of "playing for fun"

Enjoying what we do is needed to be happy. A happy person enjoys or at least doesn't hate his day work, his family, his neighborhood, or change them for the better. Enjoying our gaming time should be as obvious as breathing. However the post isn't about that. It's about the declaration "I play for fun". Why would anyone declare something obvious? I mean there is no one who would claim the opposite (I play to feel bad), so this statement is redundant, meaningless at best.

Social people aren't good in explaining their own actions, as they aren't logical beings. But sometimes one comes up with something clear - and usually shocking. I find this gem when I suggested a way how the minerbumping crew could make serious impact on EVE: be #1 on EVE-kill on ISK destroyed (#1 ship kills is trivial, blow up the frig of your alt until you can't make yourself log in again). It would be surprisingly easy. I mean I alone destroyed 1/20 value of what TEST did and they are #3 on the toplist. A corp of 25 players like myself ganking in different places could be the #1 ISK destroyer. Again: a corp of 25 players could beat GSF, TEST, and PL. But instead of enthusiasm to make one of those stories of EVE, I found whining and the epic "we play for fun" nonsense from members. Then I got this:
"Play for fun" is this: rejecting any form of metric that would allow you to be defeated. If you "play for fun" you can never lose as no one can claim that you are not having fun (assuming you aren't 12 and cry on some chat or forum). If you set a goal, any goal, you can fail to reach it. "Play for fun" is a complete lack of goals, therefore the theoretical impossibility to be defeated. Of course it works both ways: since you can't prove anyone that you are having fun, you can't be victorious either. "Play for fun" is removing victory and defeat from the game. Actually removing the game from the game, turning it into a Skinner box: press button, receive candy.

I'm not happy that James 315 yielded for the "play for fun" crowd instead of giving them a "step up or step out". Not only New Order failed to make an epic story that would be great for his CSM candidacy, but he aligned with the very spirit he is fighting against. "I mine because it's relaxing" is a miner bingo field. Cheap minerals allow low-cost "fun" PvP. He is trying to take away both, and it won't happen unless he can display a serious playerbase that will not quit EVE if it becomes risky or hard. Garth is damn right, the first victim of the changes championed by James would be "for fun" griefers and those who want to "farm tears" should not vote for James. James must understand that you can't have a "play for fun game" and a "game with consequences" at the same time.

While I stopped ganking (why should I make effort if no one else does) and express my disappointment here, I still support James 315 with my votes and posts. He is like Romney: not the brightest man, but fighting for the good cause, while others trying to make EVE even easier and "more accessible". I was beaten out of WoW by "accessible", so I'm ready to join with the Devil if he offers to stand against changing EVE into a "press any key, receive reward" game.

PS: don't miss the post for Monday. I found the "Jesus feature" EVE needs. No, it's not removing L4s. It's not a rebalance, it's not taking away anything from anyone. It's adding a feature. Why am I sure that it would make a difference? Because it's already working! See you on Monday!


Rammstein said...

"Not only New Order failed to make an epic story that would be great for his CSM candidacy, but he aligned with the very spirit he is fighting against. "I mine because it's relaxing" is a miner bingo field."

I totally agree. That is indeed a common miner refrain.

"why should I make effort if no one else does"

However, this is also a common miner argument, and it's one of the worst.

If you don't feel like ganking anymore, because you've found something better, or because you feel like you've proved your point in that regard, then that's fine. however, the reason you give in this post is not logical. It's the fallacy "appeal to the masses", which, to be honest, is the absolute last fallacy I would have expected from you, someone who bemoans the fact that so many members of those masses are morons and slackers.

Gevlon said...

The point to gank AFK-ers is to change highsec. I can't do that alone. Even my 52B/month is a bucket water in a big lake. If there are others doing it, competing with each other, we make difference while test our skills against each other. If it's me alone, it's just a lunatic fighting the windmill.

Druur Monakh said...

Quick comment: "I play for fun" does have a metric, namely: "Did I have fun?" You can't put it into numbers, or write down conditions, but to paraphrase the famous definition of porn, "You know it when you experience it."

That makes 'fun' a very personal affair - but it also means that you /can/ lose in your attempt to have fun. Because in order to distinguish 'fun' from 'not fun', there must be something you need to do in order to feel good about. Even if it's just "log in and chat with your friends".

I can understand that this fuzziness can drive engineer-minded folks crazy, but that's how the world operates.

Another comment: Humans are not logical beings. Not even you. The sooner you grok this, the easier it will be for you to understand the world (and yourself).

Also (and it supports my previous paragraph): /Of course/ James yielded to the "play for fun" crowd. As a self-proclaimed Rational Person(tm), you should be able to understand why - even (and especially) if it isn't something you would ever do.

Alrenous said...

Socials frequently falsify subjective measures. They will tell themselves they had fun when they didn't. They will continue the activity that long ago stopped being fun because of this. E.g. World of Warcraft. See also: Farmville.

Druur Monakh said...

I forgot: You can't change the AFK mindset by ganking - not as long as game mechanics encourage AFK mining, AFK trading, and AFK moon-mining. The weak minded will complain. the sober minded will chalk losses up as cost-of-business, but overall nothing of importance will change.

The real solution, and unsurprisingly the furthest out of your reach, would be to make AFK-gameplay of any kind the least-fun. Which is hard because you'd need to be able to offer alternatives.

Josiah Carlson said...

You really shouldn't comment on US Politics.

If you told people to buy an account that had been trained up to fly a Titan, use real $ for PLEX to make sure they always had a pile of ISK to replace the ships they would inevitably get blown up in, and advise people to bribe individual developers directly any time any of the high-end ships that they flew got nerfed - you would be a natural ally for Romney.

You claim that anyone can follow your methods to in-game success everywhere, as long as they aren't carebear social wanker. But here's the thing, Romney wasn't fighting for any "good cause", he was fighting for cronyism everywhere: pay money, get what you want, screw anyone who isn't in the top 1%. He was working against the ability for non-wealthy people to find success in real life.

In the game world, Romney's position is like saying that unless you paid for the ISK via PLEX, you don't deserve to fly a Titan. And if you kiss enough ass of the folks who fly Titans "the right way", maybe some day they will let you fly in the same fleet as them. But not all the time, because you had to work for it, and that makes you worthless.

Dàchéng said...

'I was beaten out of WoW by "accessible"

That's an interesting viewpoint. From my point of view, you were driven out of wow by your guild's inability to learn how to coordinate the execution of boss fights withiut voice chat. You blamed Blizzard for making the fights too tough, so that if one person failed in his part of the fight, the others couldn't carry him. Oh, you came up with all sorts of excuses about dancing, but basically the fights required voice coordination and for reasons of your own, you forbade it, and suffered the consequences. Accessible LFR didn't affect you because you didn't do it.

nightgerbil said...

No actually the PUG did quite well raidin wise as far as it went. The reason for its lack of success raiding wise has more to do with the lack of emergence of other raid leaders aside from gevlon. The reason for this ofc were due to how everyone in the guild had joined to play with gevlon and if gevlon left a raid saying "fail" the raid then promptly fell apart, even if it could be recovered before that. I find it tragic that Livia has not been able to continue the guilds success, but shes cripples by the realms dead server anyhow.

Druur Monakh said...

Quick comment: "I play for fun" does have a metric, namely: "Did I have fun?" You can't put it into numbers, or write down conditions, but to paraphrase the famous definition of porn, "You know it when you experience it." this is a really good point though. Fun is so persoanlly defining. I have enjoyed arena gamea I lost in wo (go figure) and come out of bg games I won raging cos things werent right.

Anonymous said...

I think it is more accurate to read it as a leeching slacker saying "I play for [only my] fun."

If an IPFFer wants to do raid, they will raid. Getting better gear/tactics would help them raid better but they would rather spend all their time on their main activity and get the people that have done a some homework to carry them.

In the above example, the comment could paraphrase to
I get fun from killing ships. Metrics could reduce my fun be:
a) Showing I am bad at killing ships therefore making me unhappy

b) Lead to a new ship killing model where I spend less time killing ships because it produces better metrics.

Option a is lazy.
Option b is potentially valid. Efficiency is laudable but care must be taken not to game the fun out of the system. Ultimately you get zero efficiency from the worker if you've reduced their enjoyment enough to make them quit.

Anonymous said...

Playing "for fun" means just that - you don't play to "win", you don't play for external validation, ... you play because the act of playing is fun to you.

It's something humans are known to do.

Leave a child it alone for an hour or two and you'll very likely find upon your return that it has spent the time playing - using whatever materials were at its disposal and without any clearly defined goal or purpose.

It doesn't matter if you can demonstrate your level of fun to someone else or not. Why would you care what he thinks? You play for yourself, not to get a pat on the back from some random internet stranger...

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out how much of this is a rhetorical critique and how much is your expectation as a player/customer.

Obviously, EVE isn't going to be a consistent simulator of RAW RANDIAN BRUTALITY because it doesn't exist in a vacuum. The works that influence its design don't work on goblin-philosophy; they rely on the idea that the second quarter you put in is justified by gratifying yet unsuccessful play you get from the first. There's usually enough for the sub-optimal player to want to keep going. There's something to be said about what a reasonable expectation for EVE would be, then.

That aside, as a new player I like how the "goblin" perspective shows EVE to be cuddlier than lots of players reckon and I am actually pretty intrigued as to what your idea of a Jesus-feature would be.

Anonymous said...

It's about the declaration "I play for fun". Why would anyone declare something obvious? I mean there is no one who would claim the opposite (I play to feel bad), so this statement is redundant, meaningless at best.

No. The opposite of "I play for fun" is "this is not a game, it is a job". Setting your alarm clock to do stuff on someone else's schedule is a job. Spending/wasting all your play-time keeping the POS going is an example of "this is a job".

Losing my main PvP ship and having to spend hours mining the minerals to make a replacement is another example of the opposite of "this is a game". It takes me about 10 hours of mining to get the minerals to make a battlecruiser (my nullsec constellation is lacking isogen, so I am not happy that the Gallente battleships now require me to import isogen to build them), so every ship loss costs about that much of my time.

When your part of space is so structured (or risky) that you must fleet up, then it stops being a game and turning into a job. That's why I won't move to a wormhole - it is too much of a job. Remove local from null, and it becomes just another bunch of w-space and I'll move back to empire. My corner of null is quiet enough that if I have just 30 minutes before bedtime, I can log on and if it looks "safe enough" go mining, or exploring. If I have to make appointments in order to be "safe enough" to undock, then screw it, it is a job not a game. It is a lot more fun to go out with the rest of my corp on roams or doing bigger anomalies, but I have to work, and most of them are in other timezones.

Work can be fun. Usually it isn't -which is why it is called "work". But I get paid to work. I do not get a paycheck to play Eve.

maxim said...

The big misconception here is that fun is unquantifiable.

It is quantifiable. In the most basic of terms, fun games make more money. Unfun games make less.

Quantifying how fun (or unfun) given mechanics are and how much dough are players ready to shell out for having access to them is pretty much the job description of game publishers and game market researchers.


When someone says he is playing for fun, it means, no more and no less, that he is playing to get his time and money investment's worth.

Now, what's worth what is different for different people. For some people the only thing of worth is making lasting impact in persistent worlds (Real Life being the mother of all persistent worlds).

Other people see value in carefully constructing an elaborate castle in Dwarf Fortress, spending copious amounts of time and effort, only to them pull out the cornerstone and enjoy observing how their work tumbles into lava and how dwarfs descend into self-reinforcing spiral of virtual insanity.

And other people still see value in firing up a still-functional copy of Doom 2 and annihilating monsters with their l33t keyboard turning sk1llz.

This diversity makes fun difficult to quantify. But to say that "fun" is equal to complete lack of goals is just plain wrong.


That all being said, a politician saying that "we won't align to a specific goal because only then we can't lose" is a politician forfeiting any possibility to make an impact on the world.

On one hand, this politician loses the support of his most effective followers, f/ex Gevlon. On another hand, this politicians openly admits his inability to recognise the personal goals of his followers - what makes their games fun - in any actionable sort of way. And in admitting this, forfeits whatever leadership he commanded.

Agent Trask said...

For an individualist like Gevlon, playing for fun means winning.

"Winning" in EvE Online can be a bit nebulous.

I wonder what he will decide constitutes "winning" in the sandbox next?

Oh, and congratulations on the New Order kills. Strong work there.

NoizyGamer said...

I was wondering when you were finally going to wake up and realize that James 315's words were a sham. A very entertaining sham, but a sham nonetheless. James makes a lot of ISK by providing entertainment for some pretty wealthy folks and needs a workforce that will work for cheap if not free. It is a lot easier to keep that workforce around if they are having fun than to try to rally troops around a cause. You were one of the few true believers and not one of the ones flying around because creating tears is fun.

To tell you the truth, I was surprised that you joined in and didn't just ruthlessly try to profit from "morons" preying on "slackers". That would have been more your style.

- Noizy

Wescro said...


He did, and we didn't mind paying over Jita for his service. The New Order isn't known for zealously guarding it's ISK piles. For example, we let scouts keep whatever they scoop.

Agent Trask said...

James315 is exactly what he claims to be.

People donate a lot of ISK to him for miners' tears.

He delivers. We help him deliver because he compensates us for our equipment losses, and because what we are doing is a lot of fun.

No one is getting scammed here. Everyone knows what he is getting out of this.

Of course, a bunch of crying miners, who can't understand doing something that doesn't involve AFK ISK generating, are crying "SCAM!".

Here is the honest truth, little miners ... we LIKE blowing you and your pods up. A lot of us would happily spend our own considerable ISK to do it.

The fact that people who are disgusted by highsec carebearism are giving James315 more than enough ISK to compensate us for our Catalysts ( and our Brutixes and Taloses ) is just icing on the cake.

So, Noizy, no one is getting scammed here.

The contributors feel they are getting their ISK worth from James315. Us gankers are getting compensated by James315 to do what we would do for free.

Agent Trask said...

Oh, and I'm pretty sure Gev is moving and selling Cats and modules to us as well.


JackTheManiac said...

Been waiting for another one of these posts, because you've done them a lot of time and never quite managed to define "play to win" vs "play for fun".

I'm a bit late with my reply, though...

Maybe it's just that "playing for fun" is not to be taken litteraly when people say it. I don't know why anyone pointed it out so far, altough someone somewhat did but that wasn't the point of his post.

"Playing for fun" is a figure of speech, "une façon de parler", an idiom, whatever you call it, it's one of those.

It doesn't mean that they don't play to win, or that they enjoy losing.

It means you don't play for competition, it means you play doing whatever you feel like doing, even if it's unoptimized. It means that you have a goal, but will not reach that goal competitively/act competitively to reach this goal.

It means they accept that they are inferior in skill to the more competitive. No contest. They play for their own enjoyment, trying to win at their own pace, with their own method, instead of min-maxing. Motivations? Various. Lack of time for a lot of them.

In simpler words, it means for a sandbox: I have a goal that other people might have. There are multiples ways to reach that goal. I use a way that I enjoy, but prevents me from being competitive with other players.

In a single player game: I take the time to smell the flowers. I might have a harder time than someone who plays the most efficient build/tactics, but I enjoy

In a competitive multiplayer game (TF2, DOTA(&clones), etc...): I might lose a lot of games, but as long as I slowly build my skill and manage small victories, that's enough for me. I seek adversaries with my skill (even as it goes up) for if they are too weak, I find no fun, if they are too strong, I cannot improve (for I'm being spawncamped).

So... yeah.

There, defined it for you in one post.

It just means you play in a way that is not viable in a competitive environment with a set goal. Or it means you have a goal nobody cares about.

It's weird figure of speech. Of course those who play to win play for fun too. Of course winning is fun. But that's why you can't take this figure litteraly. It means what it means, even if it's weird when you say it.

It just mean you play in a non competitive way toward a set goal.

I play for fun. Between me and the pros, there is no contest. I lose. But I'm still decent, I play to win the game, I min-max a bit, but I don't stress myself being the best.

However I am aware that in multiplayer games, I must be on par and capable of succeeding at the objective objective (beating the group instance in GW2, for instance) which requires me to step up my game to a certain level. I am more than happy to oblige.