Few weeks ago I decided to take a break from Eve Online. There are a few reasons why I made the decision, but its something that was best for me and I can now plan to focus on other games and projects that I did not have time to do before.

Basically I stepped down as CEO of Volition Cult and cancelled my Eve subscription for a bit. This is quite an essay, but its nice to type it all down. 

I decided to take a break quietly as its wise that focus be on the future opportunities rather than the past events. Normally when someone steps down, they post on the VOLT forums saying “Thanks” or “Goodbye” which is nice but  has an unwanted consequence of appearing negative.

I don’t want that. I don’t want to distract players who still enjoy VOLT and Eve Online to focus on me when instead they can focus on the more productive posts made by Luna or Core that will make them happy and hopeful about the future. So behind the scenes it was arranged and then I quietly stood down. Posting here where few will read works.

Game Mechanics

Part of the problem for me was that the game no longer offers anything enjoyable from a game mechanics perspective. After seven years I know most of the game mechanics well and there is not enough new content to actually keep me interested.

Lack of personnel goals was also a factor as I had achieved them. Having experienced most of what Eve has to offer, there is that odd feeling where there is no reason to undock and do anything any more. It’s still frustrating that CCP never released the Walking in Stations content they showed at 2008 Fanfest as I would have loved things like that where I could focus on social aspects from the comfort of some bar.

None of this is necessarily a problem as the VOLT community is always a good thing to be a part of and that provided more than enough content, but my work on that had burned me out.

Volition Cult

The alliance had become a victim of its own success. It was never intended to become a big player in Eve Online and it was never an intention to attract players looking for that kind of play style. For the first five years we were happy with just being an alliance of friends that just do our best and enjoy the game together.

We could never compete with large PvP successful alliances for what they offer in terms of PvP. We did compete with a solid community and that was our focus back in 2006. We attracted members because of that mind set and as we grew and shrank, succeeded and failed… members that joined for the community remained and we survived where almost all others failed.

This had coined the term “The Curse of VOLT” but it also proved that the community was generally more important than in game performance for the alliances long term survival. Although there are a few exceptions to that rule, the exceptions are few and far between and for VOLT it stood clear for years.

Somewhere along the lines, the alliance started doing well and started being able to compete with PvP successful alliances at a PvP level and we attracted players whos focus was on in game performance and killboards more than just the community. This causes a rift between the opinions of our player base and thus created drama.

No play style is right or wrong as both are valid, but having members from both sides in one alliance causes issues and the managing of these issues is what led to the burn out of PBA lunax earlier this year and later led to my burn out. There is only so much mediation you can do between players before it eventually gets to you making you more cynical about people which is unpleasant.

I feel I have seen similar before with the Imperial Republic of the North and Invictus merger, but I had never understood it properly at the time. In that case you had a rift between what players believed focus should be and that often caused drama. With my inexperience at the time I never properly appreciated the source of it then.

The lesson to learn from this is to be completely certain that when working with others closely that everyone’s focus is either really similar or accepted from the beginning so that there is no doubt or room for discussion that causes drama, stress and burn out of leadership.

Future for VOLT

PBA lunax has stepped up again, now refreshed. From the data I am seeing, the core community is doing well and remains as you would expect. That’s what that side of the alliance that has always has stuck together during good times and bad times as there concern was less about in game performance.

The other group of players that have a different view will move on eventually. Some already have with the 2353 drama earlier in the year and I suspect others with similar but more balanced views will also move on to alliances and corporations that better suit there play style. This should be and will be embraced I imagine. We should appreciate having the opportunity to fly with those players and the opportunity to move on to other things on good terms.

I want to reiterate that neither variations in play style or focus (NBSI vs NRDS or Community Performance vs Game Performance or Casual vs Non-Casual in varied degrees between) is better or more correct than the other. Its just personality differences. The right path for everyone would be to part ways to find play styles that match your focus.

Volition Cult have already made more moves to bring focus back towards the community focus and Luna, Krix, Core, Noeka, Jugg, Temp and Fredo all have the same views on how things should be done. From a corporation perspective, this solidarity will improve things and make the corporation more enjoyable.

You also have the young corporations such as FRIUD or even Blackstorm with its new leadership as two examples who had impressed me. That young fresh drive is very compelling and seeing new members step up with a willingness and drive to improve is really inspiring. So for the Alliance, things like that are great too.

The awkward thing people don’t like to admit, is that sometimes players have different views on how a game should be played and when you have flown with and become friends with others who have different views its very hard to admit that this difference is holding both back. The risk is if you don’t admit the problem, you can potentially end up ruining the friendship entirely.

Anyway, the future of Volition Cult corporation and The Volition Cult alliance is always bright. Even with in game events, numerous setbacks over the years and regular changes to leadership every now and again the core group of friends remain. It means I can take a break happy that when I return, there will always be a nice group of friends to play with.

Future for Stone

One of the things that was awkward with Eve was that you would regularly lose your evening chatting and typing and all of a sudden its past midnight and you have still not eaten and you have work in the morning. With evenings clear, its good to be able to have time to focus on selfish things again.

There are plenty of things that I should keep up to date on that I have let slip lately, but I also plan on having more time to do more reading, playing other games, updating this site more and work on some other projects I had in mind. Its nice to have a weight of my shoulders although I do feel guilt towards Luna a little as I did leave quite a bit of work for him. Should not dwell on that though.

There may also be the possibility of continuing my learning to play the piano or finishing off my sketches. I don’t know yet. I am happier though.