Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The talent stack

Eve is such a deep game that applying 'real world' concepts to our game-play is usually interesting, and often worthwhile. So when I read Scott Adam's blog post on the 'talent stack', I immediately thought of Eve pvp.

Scott Adams is best known for his 'Dilbert' cartoons, but he is also a trained hypnotist and has some fascinating insights into human interactions. He was predicting Donald Trump's election victory long before it happened, for example, simply by ignoring the polls and looking at Donald Trump's persuasion skills. 

This post looks at Trump (and Kanye) as examples of 'talent stacks'. Adams makes the point that neither of these men are the best at anything - not a 'Tiger Woods' - but their combination of strong skills nevertheless makes them very successful.

This had me wondering about the 'talents' that go into successful pvp in Eve. Off the top of my head (and stealing shamelessly from Adams) I came up with this list:

Risk tolerance: Some people fly 7 billion ISK Moas. My risk tolerance is not that high. In fact, I'd say that my risk tolerance is fairly low, as pvpers go. I tend to fly cheap ships, and I fly fairly conservatively. But I suspect that still puts me in the top 5% of risk takers in New Eden. This factor, more than any other, stops people from getting into pvp.

Risk management: Pvp requires taking risks. Successful pvp requires doing everything you can to make sure that risk pays off. That might mean pulling a fight off a gate, or fitting a defensive web. Eve pvp is not for the kind of player that likes to hit 'autopilot' and go afk. It's a lot of work.

Game knowledge: For me, this is a really mixed bag. Some things I understand really well, such as the mechanics of the various weapons. But in other ways my knowledge is lacking. In part this is because of all the stuff that has been added/changed since I last played, and in part because my game experience has been fairly narrow, focusing on frigates in low sec. However, because I actively examine my fights and experiences for learning points, my knowledge base is increasing all the time.

Decisiveness: The OODA loop is such a huge topic it could have it's own post. Absolutely critical. But also something that develops with practice.

Patience: This applies to some forms of pvp more than others. But in most cases you can't assume that you will find a winnable fight just because you want one. A lot of time goes into searching for those fights.

Strategy: It's one thing to have all the knowledge, but it's another thing to apply that in practice. I do fine in small fights, but I'm new enough to fleet pvp that I still get a bit overwhelmed. Fortunately, the Tuskers have a really strong stable of FCs, which helps a great deal.

Game relations: Do you have friends, and how fast can they get here? You don't need to be the Mitanni to pvp successfully, but getting into a good corporation allows you to take on targets that you could never consider on your own.

I'm probably missing some key points, but it seems to me that this is a useful exercise for considering what kind of pvp you want to do. 

Patient, but poor game relations due to limited play time? Perhaps roaming wormhole chains in a stealth bomber is for you.

Poor game knowledge due to newness, but great game relations due to joining a large corp? Perhaps you'll like fleet fights, where you can just follow the crowd while you pick up the game.

Making a list of valuable skills can also highlight areas where we need some work, and remind us of some of the things we do well, but probably take for granted.

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