Corelin, author of Mad Haberdashers, posed a very timely question: What is the point of PVP?
Corelin explains that in other games, PVP is rewarded with money, increased skill and access to better items. EVE is very different in this respect; aside from the occasional loot drop, the reward for PVP in EVE is bragging rights. I suppose there is also the satisfaction of executing a well planned strategy, or optimizing a fit for a particular role within a strategy, but the bottom line is that PVP in EVE is almost entirely about the ego boost.
Truenig1ght suggested that I listen to some podcasts by Kil2 and Sar Caid (Truen1ght, do you have a link to Sar Caid?). I listened to all 8 of Kil2's recordings in one sitting. Episode 2 (?) had an interesting discussion about the motivation for fighting, and specifically, what to do to counter loss fatigue. (My words, not theirs). This was a particularly timely episode, having lost 5 Tristans and a Bestower full of frigates and modules. By Saturday night, one day after joining RVB, I was starting to doubt the wisdom of my decision and my motivation for playing EVE at all.
Any of my friends will tell you that I am not an ego driven person at all. I get no satisfaction from external recognition of my achievements. In fact, my friends often get annoyed with me for not mentioning milestones. Needless to say, having my name at the top of the list on a Titan kill has no allure to me whatsoever.
So I spent this weekend thinking about this question. The fact of the matter is that EVE has taught me so much about so many things. I incorporate my online experiences into my RL experiences almost daily. At the moment, I can offer no specifics - maybe that's a post for another time. The bottom line is that every move I've made in EVE has resulted in a learning situation with practical RL applications. I expect PVP will have similarly useful results.
The lesson I learned this week is about persistence and motivation. Learning something new is rarely easy. You have to deal with a lot of people who are out there who take pleasure in obstructing your path. Occasionally, you have to have to step back and ask yourself, what is it that you want to achieve? Also, how much do you want to invest in the effort to achieve it?
Now, imagine yourself in a Tristan and the FC has called the cruiser sitting within your point range primary. Shortly after you've aggressed the target, your overview starts blinking yellow, then red and damage reports start flashing on the screen. Instinct tells you to align and GTFO. You start thinking about how much of a pain in the ass its going to be to get another frigate out of Jita and how long you'll have to spend shooting at red crosses to pay for (another) loss. Then, just as your low armor alarm goes off, the cruiser pops! In an instant, you align to a tactical, pray that no one is scrambling you, and warp out with a trail of fire behind you. All of the previously flashing red boxes disappear. You collect your wits, take the kill in for a moment while aligning back to the newly primaried target, and do it again.
Yes, I lost another Tristan. Yes, I'll have to spend 15 minutes ratting to pay for it. No, no one even remembered who tackled that cruiser and no, no kill mails in my combat log (my name was at the bottom of the list of participants). Victory? Hardly! But I STAYED, I TANKED, and the target was DESTROYED!
Now, back to RL. Think of all of those moments, when you face a task - especially the little annoying ones: the visit to the in-laws, fixing a leaking faucet, an oil change. Now imagine crossing those things off your list: No more wife agro, no more damage leaking into structure, no more blinking lights on your dashboard. Victory? (!!!)