Boredom

“Your kids don’t know how to be bored.”

My father said this to me a few years ago, and unusually, he was right.

He wasn’t suggesting my kids needed the ability to quietly accept boredom as some sort of badge of self-punishment. He meant that they didn’t seem to be able to rectify boredom for themselves.

Aside from school, my wife shuffles our children from one scheduled activity to another all week. In between are many visits to and from friends and family. If they stop and idle in place for a moment, she drags them out on a bike ride or to visit a park or to get some treat from the shops. Any time left over will generally find them glued to their precious screens or demanding food.

They are always getting attention and never having to entertain themselves.

Every so often however, on school holidays when my wife has had to return to work, the kids get boring time at home with Dad. It is a small window for them to detox a little from their hyper busy lives and just relax. It is also when I try to teach them how to be bored. It has not been easy, and my success limited.

I wonder how much of an issue CCP has with this in EVE.

CCP is now competing in a world where there is a bewildering amount of entertainment available on demand when and almost wherever you want it. When it comes to games, I still find it astonishing how many enjoyable and usually free to get into games there are in the iOS and Android platforms. You don’t even need to think for yourself – there is always a chain of tweets, or articles, or posts or reviews that point you towards the next great time sink.

That is the world most of us now live in. My kids have known nothing else. When I was a kid I had a modest collection of Star Wars Figures, Lego, Army Men, Hot-Wheel cars, colored pencils and a cricket bat which kept me entertained for many years’ worth of school holidays. I remember days spent in the garden with huge combat bases carved into the dirt, and the hard lesson of toys being buried or chewed up by the dogs if you were not careful with where you left them. My kids have much bigger collections of the same stuff – but it barely provides them 5 minutes of distraction here and there, and then often only under sufferance.  As I said – they expect their entertainment to be served up without much thought or effort on their behalf.

How does EVE fit into such a world – especially after the initial excitement and enthusiasm wains. They offer up a sandpit game where you are to entertain yourself. I know CCP pushes the social game and acknowledges the content drivers and providers. I love reading The Ancient Gaming Noob, and how he is able to be alerted to what fleets are operating and to log in for some sort of guaranteed EVE content. It is such a different game to what I play – even if some days it sounds like an hour or two of watching cats being herded around space.  I see the failure in that approach however when those social groups break down. I also see it doesn’t support the hermit players.

At the moment my EVE time is really disjointed and constrained. I feel my options are limited, and it is easy to fall into the trap of doing a bit of ship spinning then logging off bored. That’s what my kids would do – they would discard EVE and be chasing the next shiny bauble. Once they attain that, it will be discarded for the next and so on.

Instead I know EVE can be rewarding, so when I have some free time I will go look for entertainment in it. I’ll try to catch up on some of my blog reading, looking for some inspiration and ideas. I’ll undock and clear the local exploration sites. Occasionally I’ll get a faction spawn with some nice loot, or an escalation that sees me flying across the region or having to slip into Low Sec. I’ve been half AFK mining a lot lately in a Skiff, just because by being logged in I’m available if something turns up. (In recent weeks it was Operation Frostline sites appearing on my overview.) The other day I went to clone jump my alt into NPC Null to check the market and mistakenly clicked on an empty hi-sec clone instead. That saw me fly over to Jita and get lost for hours in reviewing implant options and costs. It doesn’t make for interesting blog posts, but like I did as a kid, I have been taking control of my own entertainment.

I’m not sure how I can get my kids to do the same.  I’m not sure how CCP can get the younger adults of today to do it either.

(As an aside, the game that has most successfully held my kid’s attention over the years has been Minecraft. They don’t play it every day any more, but regularly something will trigger their interest and they will be immersed in it again. CCP could put more Minecraft into New Eden. Just imagine the Citadels that would pop up in space.)

10 thoughts on “Boredom

  1. Get bored in EvE a lot, I’ve had a continuous subscription since 2010 and often I find myself just sitting in space at my POS wondering what to do. I am finding that I need to do mundane stuff like PI in order to have a revenue stream of some kind so that I can PVP, even though I am useless at PVP it is what I would prefer to do. If you can find a fight that is.

    • After playing EVE long term, I find at times I need a spark to get each session going. I used PI to do that for some time. Now it is generally running exploration sites. It is just something easy and mundane that helps you get into the zone or mood for the more complex aspects of the game. Good luck with your PVP – I find I am having to work harder to avoid it over recent months, so I had thought that meant more than normal numbers were out and about looking for it.

      • My corp live in a WH but when I am on i tend to try and solo so pop out into low and null sec exits to see what is about, I am finding either no one or many more than a single ship can deal with.

  2. I remember as a kid complaining how I was bored on Sundays or in the school holidays. I guess I had less back then and there wasn’t much on TV but now I don’t think I’d ever be bored now. There is always something to do. Maybe your kids will have the reverse and become super chilled adults who treasure low activity boredom downtime after stressful work!

    The problem with boredom in EVE is that you find yourself slipping into a rut and doing the same thing. EVE tends to make you invest heavily in what you’re planning to do. Once you’ve completed your preparations you repeat the resulting ability ad nauseam because otherwise, why set it up in the first place? In the end – what’s more fun a) setting up a base in null, with all the ships and gear you need or b) using all those ships to run sites and mine near the base? It’s a) every time. But what about all that ISK you’ve just invested?

    I’m tending now to keep a file of ideas I think of, and things I see in the EVE related media, that I can go and try when I’m bored, distracted or otherwise in said rut. I had a big plan for the new year and then someone went and bought me The Witcher III. That said my minor plan of investigating the viability of T2 frigate production is underway even as I wander around doing ridiculous things in The Witcher.

    • We generally had 2 TV channels when growing up in the country, and they only showed an hour or two of kids shows. Now – even just on free to air, my kids have 3 channels dedicated to them. As you said – there is so much you can do now that you should never be bored. The discomfort comes from analysing the real value to you and your families lives in many of these time sinks.

      I have to admit I often find the setup of ventures more interesting than the execution in EVE! There is a lot of boring grinding at the end of that work.

      I also think you are right about keeping a to-do / goal list. It is probably the main reason I’ve managed to play the game for so long.

  3. I’m in a rut here as well. I find myself logging in, spinning my ship and adjusting my skill queue while looking for inspiration in chat channels. Lately, I find myself not bothering to log in at all and playing some of my older stand-by games instead. Also, I’ve noticed that my house is a lot cleaner in the last few weeks.

  4. I rarely even get bored in EVE. I’m “older,” too, and grew up having to provide my own entertainment usually. When games try to provide “content” for me–like, do quest 1-100, finish this story, collect this item–I tend to just find ways to break the game or don’t play much. I don’t know if my psychology makes me fit for EVE, or EVE makes my psychology…or both

  5. I had a lot of fun the other night pointlessly wasting time.

    A corpmate was HS belt ratting and salvaging in his Vexor, his own alternative to semi-afk mining.

    I had a rather unsuccesful combat exploration run in the VNI and so pulled up next to him and started chatting.

    Another corpmate not long after derped himself in a ghost site a few systems over.

    So we set off to salvage his wreck. Debating as to how long before the site despawns or if we could tank it anyway, in the end we debated that long it did despawn. 😀

    We then proceed to mess around and bump each other off the wreck and wind up our corpmate that his augmented drones would be perfect for our Vexors.

    We eventually got back to our home system, contracted the guy his stuff back to him and then we both gave him some spare modules for him to fit up a new ship.

    All up a complete waste of time, but we made our own fun and definitely weren’t bored.

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