On Anarchism and Content Creation

Hey there, folks! Your friendly neighborhood Phisto here with one of those posty post things I like to do. I’ve been ruminating on my history in Elite: Dangerous (three years this summer!) and I’d like to share some learnings with you all.

First, some things this post is not.
  1. This is not the end all be all lesson on content creation in Elite. This is simply my own experience and perspective. If you find something useful, great! If you find nothing useful, great! If you’re inspired to get out there and give it a go for the first time, fabulous! If you’re an old timer looking for a spark, hope you find it!
  2. We’re going to be taking the game as it stands right now. That means all you armchair Commanders with all your amazing ideas on how whatever game mechanic and what not can be better feel free to pull up anchor and shove off to the Suggestion Forum. Haunt there instead!
  3. I am not at all interested in discussing the minutiae of existing game mechanics. I’m taking the whole of Elite from a high level view and attempting to explore how I play that on a personal level for the edification of others.
  4. We’re not starting a discussion on real life politics. I reference my own simply as an example of inspiration for my gameplay. It’s exactly like other art, stories, friends, or even my struggle with chronic illness. I’m also using it to help illustrate the line between out of character and in character beliefs and actions and how it can let you experiment with thoughts you might otherwise not.
Alright, here we go!

As some of you may know early in my Elite career I became enamored with PvP and ganking as a way to play the villain (you can read about that journey here: https://inara.cz/cmdr-logbook/23543/28644/ ). Since then it’s expanded into a sort of political game where I explore my own beliefs through the dystopian lens of the game world. Briefly summarizing here, my real life politics fall into some kind of mishmash approximating anarcho-syndicalism. This means I usually get along with people like American Libertarians and get quite prickly around authoritarians of all stripes. If any of you are familiar with the endlessly useful Political Compass (https://www.politicalcompass.org/) I land in the bottom left corner. My character lands in a much different place, but more on that later.

Back to Elite! It provides such a lovely sandbox you can jump into and do all kinds of things. Again, what I do is try to explore my beliefs and attitudes through the lens of its dystopian vision. What does this look like? Glad you asked! For me, playing with Anarchies and the Commanders that support them have been the perfect way.

Why?
  1. Anarchies represent the most clear and present way to reject the hierarchies of human space. Whether it’s the Pilots Federation, the Superpowers, or any of the Powerplay figures Anarchy thumbs their noses at desires to control and dominate humanity.
  2. They create all kinds of interesting game play from the lack of System Authority, opening of black markets, and goofy idiosyncrasies of groups like The Nameless. There isn’t really any other kind of ethos that does it quite like Anarchy.
  3. Lots of players have out of character and in character objections to Anarchies. As conflict is the source of all good storytelling, the benefits are obvious.
  4. Anarchies are what you make of them and are straight up about this fact. No one is going to do it for you. Take the initiative and see where your imagination can take you.
Let’s step back and revisit what I said earlier about exploring all this through the lens of Elite’s space dystopia, or “space punk.” The context of this game can only be summed up for me one way: if you can’t defend it, it isn’t yours. In other words, resources in the Elite world are still limited. We’re not in a situation where humanity can stop focusing on their day to day needs and focus on just bettering themselves. There are powers, gods, and all sorts of folks that will snatch away what you have if you drop your guard for an instant.

What’s a jolly old anarchist to do? Fight like hell! This is where my character differs massively from myself. He is a person that lives in a world that condones ruthless, violent behavior to get what one wants for them and their people. Better yet? He’s got the means to make it happen. You, dear reader, have that power too no matter how you choose to go about it.

So get out there! Ask forgiveness, not permission. Get in people’s faces. Dream big and dare bigger. Find a bunch of friends, have someone hold your drinks, and get to work carving out your piece of the galaxy. Most importantly, enjoy all the rewarding gameplay that comes along with this. Sure, you might make mistakes and more than a few enemies but in the end you’ll find it was worth the effort.

Blaze your own trail and remember: the journey’s the thing!
 
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Nope. Not if everybody else is cheating. Not even exploring anymore, cos some twot in a hacked ship is bouncing all round the galaxy.

ED is boycotted for me.
Shame. I really liked it. Oh well. I got my moneys worth.
 
Dude it's too much grind + RNG + repetition have fun in game doing anything but blowing stuff up.

I can see where you're coming from I just don't think this game can deliver.

I personally find out-of-game content stuff (Zarek's videos being the pinnacle, but also stuff like the shapsugabus and various other things) as being much more compelling content than any way you can manipulate the procgen trinkets.

Even DG2/DW2. Sure some of us got on names on procgen filler that few will ever see, but the real roleplay content was out of game (for both us murders and also the explorers).

Even just going to Colonia is grind. No thanks.
 
Dude it's too much grind + RNG + repetition have fun in game doing anything but blowing stuff up.

I can see where you're coming from I just don't think this game can deliver.

I personally find out-of-game content stuff (Zarek's videos being the pinnacle, but also stuff like the shapsugabus and various other things) as being much more compelling content than any way you can manipulate the procgen trinkets.

Even DG2/DW2. Sure some of us got on names on procgen filler that few will ever see, but the real roleplay content was out of game (for both us murders and also the explorers).

Even just going to Colonia is grind. No thanks.
That's the thing though! The in game stuff is just imagination fuel for the out of game stuff.
 
That's the thing though! The in game stuff is just imagination fuel for the out of game stuff.
Exactly. So why bother with the ridiculous BGS mechanics required to put anarchies in control. Just grab footage while blowing stuff up or doing wacky hijinks like putting an SRV into orbit, and then make funny videos or webpages or whatever. Saving 42 hours of stupid mission board hunting.
 
That's the thing though! The in game stuff is just imagination fuel for the out of game stuff.
I'd wager there's a section of the playerbase for whom the imagination module is woefully undersized on their Funship; they must be scooping imagination fuel for it with a 1E. You know, the kind of kid who can't actually have as much fun with the box as the toy. While it's a thing, personally I pity them.

Some of them will counterpost how they pity me for having to make my own fun from practically nothing; but since I'm having fun and they're not, I don't put much credence in such counterposting.
 
Dude it's too much grind + RNG + repetition have fun in game doing anything but blowing stuff up.
^ ^ This plus doing missions to increase or maintain PMF influence in controlled systems or avoid another mindless war with another faction becomes almost a full time job and is having toll on me. Also, no one likes anarchists and you have to constant manage relationships with PPs who control or exploit systems, not to mention rouge SQs or PMFs who independently fights for a controlling faction aligned with a superpower despite system does not have any PP presence :cautious:

Since FDev declines to change a PMF's government type, I wish they can make anarchists more attractive as things are now unbalanced or unfavorable to us.
 
While it's not in my character to support Anarchists (although I have from time to time in the past, for the right reasons), I like that Phisto is taking the initiative to make entertaining content for himself and others. This game is 100% sandbox, and you have to make your own goals. I understand that things can be done better in the future of this game, and I hope that will happen one day. However, the grind being what it is (and every online multiplayer game is a grind, don't kid yourself), having the imagination and drive to have your own story is what this game is all about.

For the record, Anarchists don't have it easy in life. The whole idea is to fight the status quo. Getting an Anarchy to the top faction in a system is difficult, but the rewards are all the sweeter for the people who fought the good fight.

Great idea. Roll with it. 100% support.

There are a lot of players that should pay attention, and find thier reason to play like this. I'm tired of reading defeatist attitudes.
 
Dude it's too much grind + RNG + repetition have fun in game doing anything but blowing stuff up.

I personally find out-of-game content stuff (Zarek's videos being the pinnacle, but also stuff like the shapsugabus and various other things) as being much more compelling content than any way you can manipulate the procgen trinkets.

Even just going to Colonia is grind. No thanks.
Yep, pretty much sums it up. The repetitiveness of the game eventually just kills it. Been to colonia - Twice! Eff me sideways! Fast travel, please! I've been there, I've discovered it, I legged it, twice. No more.
Want to engineer your ship? You better love the grind!

That's the thing though! The in game stuff is just imagination fuel for the out of game stuff.
Yeah, about that - I think we all play a game to get immersed, to be in game! If I want to play an imagination game outside of the PC, I play D&D or Star Wars the Roleplaying game - with atmospheric landing, space legs, and create my own content that my players get to enjoy.
I play a game to impersonate someone - a dragonborn in Skyrim, a lone wanderer in Fallout. When I turn off the PC, I'm back in my chair, being the IT guy I am during the day who goes to bed after an immersive session. I won't yell Fus Ro Dah at the dishes in the kitchen, and I won't pretend my car is a space ship leaving the mail slot. What happens in game, stays in game. If I want my Sims to Woohoo with everything that moves because they can - stays in game. Doesn't mean I will Woohoo everything that moves on the count of 3.
 
Content creation needs an interactive game master. Other player groups have tried and put massive efforts. As for now I have the feeling BGS gameplay is as significant as thermic agitation and self fulfilling prophecies. Would be happy to be wrong.
 
Content creation needs an interactive game master. Other player groups have tried and put massive efforts. As for now I have the feeling BGS gameplay is as significant as thermic agitation and self fulfilling prophecies. Would be happy to be wrong.
Agree, plus plenty of egoistic players too.
 
Exactly. So why bother with the ridiculous BGS mechanics required to put anarchies in control. Just grab footage while blowing stuff up or doing wacky hijinks like putting an SRV into orbit, and then make funny videos or webpages or whatever. Saving 42 hours of stupid mission board hunting.
Guy tells you to use your imagination and you talk about BGS mechanics...

The problem always starts when people want some results not looking at anything else, whether in BGS, engineering, or travel. If you want results above anything else, every step required is an unnecessary obstacle.

When engineering ship I plan visit some engineer, doing stuff along the way. Trading, looking for interesting signal sources and gathering mats, whatever. This way engineering becomes an adventure.
I don't do BGS. But I do missions for factions that my character supports and I know it has some impact, however miniscule at times. It doesn't bother me, because I don't expect one pilot to be able to influence things just like that.
If you expect to end famine, win war, or whatever - you're setting yourself for a grind for no reason, while It can be just a story that you take part in.

I don't do grind. I do have fun, where a lot of others can't, it seems.
 
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Great thread as usual.

Sadly no political discussions are allowed, I took your test and landed in the bottom left corner as well. I just wondered how anyone can manage to land somewhere else and if I want to live on the same planet with these guys?
Anyway, enough about real life politics.

I am not ready yet to help shaping an utopian galaxy since I want to engineer some ships first. Erst kommt das Fressen, dann die Moral. But I am not sure what I should do once I am ready. Problem is that the way anarchies are depicted in game doesn't do them justice. Anarchy doesn't necessarily mean the absence of order but the abscence of authority (since English is not my native language I am struggling to find the right words...). To make things worse, the only way to have an Anarchy in Elite is to have a controlling faction which is kind of contradictiory. Anarchy pretty much just means lawless in Elite.
 
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