Player agency or just what have I been blazing if anything

Recently I've seen a couple of threads over on DD discussing "player agency" and I thought to myself, WHAT A GREAT IDEA. I've been feeling a bit unnoticed and underappreciated lately so I thought hiring an agent would be a great idea to turn that around. In spite of all the talk I've had a very difficult time actually finding any of these agencies. Oh well. ¯\(ツ)

Anyway during my thus far fruitless searching I spent some time thinking about the game's tag line and what actual trailblazing I've done if any at all and my conclusion isn't great. Though I've tried many aspects of the game and even been at the forefront of some of them I can't honestly say that I've been a trailblazer outside of the exploration rank. I've come to the conclusion that I'm just a cog in a wheel of FDev's construction and that's not sitting well with me. I mean it wouldn't bother me but other players have left or are leaving their mark on the game.

I'm going to have to do some soul searching and hard thinking on this matter. Lord Braben help us all because that almost never ends well. ;)
 
'Roun' these 'ere parts I sound like a broken record... or a, er, textual tumbleweed... but apropos soul searching on that term? I have blazed an RP trail since just before Horizons came out, and I've found it entirely satisfying in that respect. My own story, completely unlike anyone else's, which began with the simple question of 'Why does my character want to get into Sol?', and which became more complex once a background was created. I have RP'd in many games across several generations, but none have lasted as long as Elite's (helped in part by how the game evolves).

Is it for everyone? Clearly not. Elite's a niche game, and people who role-play it to some degree are surely a niche within the community. But in terms of subjective interpretations of the game's fairly lazy tagline, I personally think it's justified when you introduce RP. Without that framework the game's really just a giant contextless playground for people's daily/weekly/monthly whims - and that can easily burn itself out.

Thinking about character motivation and expressing that through the game's toolset (mechanics/features, lore, affiliations, etc) suddenly imposes context, limitations, and goals which are more complex than 'I feel like X or Y today', and which can create emergent narrative arcs. I didn't end up exploring Sol just because that was the first thing I wanted to do when I got the game - it also had resonance/meaning to my character, which then rolled into something else (disillusionment with Hudson's Federation). Every major event or expression of progress (such as reaching Colonia for the first time) can have narrative value, and often evolve into something else, some other goal or context.

The freedom Elite provides as an RPG is also a curse, because all good RPG's need ways to express differences of playstyle, morality, and so on, as well as some form of corresponding consequence. So all of Elite's limitations must be self-imposed, with an obvious one being I will never fly Empire ships on my main account, because it would make zero sense for my character (or the internal gameworld, frankly, but that's another matter re the awful legacy design of the Fed/Emp auxiliary rankings).

So to conclude? I have no conclusion, given all of this is so subjective... Other than to say that as an RPG the tagline has some worth, but that it requires effort (and an affection for creativity/telling stories).
 
'Roun' these 'ere parts I sound like a broken record... or a, er, textual tumbleweed... but apropos soul searching on that term? I have blazed an RP trail since just before Horizons came out, and I've found it entirely satisfying in that respect. My own story, completely unlike anyone else's, which began with the simple question of 'Why does my character want to get into Sol?', and which became more complex once a background was created. I have RP'd in many games across several generations, but none have lasted as long as Elite's (helped in part by how the game evolves).

Is it for everyone? Clearly not. Elite's a niche game, and people who role-play it to some degree are surely a niche within the community. But in terms of subjective interpretations of the game's fairly lazy tagline, I personally think it's justified when you introduce RP. Without that framework the game's really just a giant contextless playground for people's daily/weekly/monthly whims - and that can easily burn itself out.

Thinking about character motivation and expressing that through the game's toolset (mechanics/features, lore, affiliations, etc) suddenly imposes context, limitations, and goals which are more complex than 'I feel like X or Y today', and which can create emergent narrative arcs. I didn't end up exploring Sol just because that was the first thing I wanted to do when I got the game - it also had resonance/meaning to my character, which then rolled into something else (disillusionment with Hudson's Federation). Every major event or expression of progress (such as reaching Colonia for the first time) can have narrative value, and often evolve into something else, some other goal or context.

The freedom Elite provides as an RPG is also a curse, because all good RPG's need ways to express differences of playstyle, morality, and so on, as well as some form of corresponding consequence. So all of Elite's limitations must be self-imposed, with an obvious one being I will never fly Empire ships on my main account, because it would make zero sense for my character (or the internal gameworld, frankly, but that's another matter re the awful legacy design of the Fed/Emp auxiliary rankings).

So to conclude? I have no conclusion, given all of this is so subjective... Other than to say that as an RPG the tagline has some worth, but that it requires effort (and an affection for creativity/telling stories).
I get 100% what your saying. I've only lasted this long with Elite because I also have my own head cannon and in that regard I have established my place in the galaxy as well as a sole pilot in the vastness of the galaxy can.

My rambling discord was about leaving some impact on the game similar to how Dr Kaii and friends have with both Distant Worlds events or Surly Badger, Orange Sheets and the gang with establishing the Fuel Rats, not to mention many, many others. I just like the fact the Elite is a game where a player has the opportunity to do something lasting like that. Its something I would like to do though not necessarily on the scale of the examples I mentioned. Presently though I'm at a loss for an idea that fits along with the personal roleplay I've created. Maybe I'll have to change that and my play style a bit. Maybe I'm just not that creative or good at being a leader and rallying others around me. But still it's food for thought for me right now and keeping me interested in the game.
 
First off, I'd like to ask what the "player agency" concept is. It's not an especially descriptive term, and can be very situational.

Second, about leaving your mark in the game: I can see it being especially difficult for console players, as the majority of things I've seen are from PC players. Without cross-play, but universal data, it's much harder to accomplish anything. Also, it's difficult to find players in-game, particularly ones with a mic.

Looking through the available preset camera suite angles as I started to get back into the game, I thought it would be interesting to get a couple of people together to role-play as a ship crew (the first game I've ever had the inclination to do so in), and the game seems to lend itself to that idea pretty easily with all the travel time. However, with the very different playerbase on XBox (read as "few and far between"), execution of this inclination is rather difficult.
 
My rambling discord was about leaving some impact on the game similar to how Dr Kaii and friends have with both Distant Worlds events or Surly Badger, Orange Sheets and the gang with establishing the Fuel Rats, not to mention many, many others. I just like the fact the Elite is a game where a player has the opportunity to do something lasting like that. Its something I would like to do...
Hm, when I see/hear the game's tagline, issues of legacy and impact don't come to mind. In fact, I kinda have the exact opposite reaction you seem to, which ties into this (I'm not refuting or negating your experience/angle, btw, just giving my own);
...I have established my place in the galaxy as well as a sole pilot in the vastness of the galaxy can.
In terms of the lore, the scale, and the concept of the game, the fact that the player is ultimately a nobody with a barely-there impact on the BGS, let alone the 'story' and lore, is something that's always massively appealed to me. It's the antithesis of all the Chosen One narratives blighting--- er, I mean, 'often found' in RPG's and games in general.

I often compare Elite and Dark Souls [1], and this is another reason why; they're both endearingly existential... Elite's galaxy is indifferent to us as individuals, just as DS1's Lordran is. Just like the real world/universe, they'll blithely carry on without a single care for our individual non-existence. We are not important to the world's functioning.

Why would I want to feel unimportant when I can do that fine enough in reality as it is? Well, that's the genius of art/entertainment, and especially something like Elite; it's an awesome, out of this world (sorry... ) experience that directly juxtaposes the mundane with the mind blowingly fantastic. Elite players often end up feeling as if they're just doing a job, just going through the motions for an incremental change in a virtual value on screen. And yet we're doing that jumping farther than our species may ever really travel, faceplanting stars of every type on a regular basis, landing on worlds 1.4 to 2Ls from a white dwarf, blowing other spaceships up in the ring systems of, say, Saturn (or, potentially, a system some player has ultimately 'created' - via PG/the Stellar Forge - thousands of light years from Sol), and so on. The mundane is always side by side with the spectacular.

That inherent dynamic - the spectacular becoming familiar ('Oh. Another star right outside my cockpit... ', or nonchalantly going from 0m/s to 1000 times c in about 10secs, as I did when re-entering SC whilst visiting Voyager/New Horizons the other day), and the familiar often being spectacular (simply docking or flying around can still be stupidly entertaining, this many years into the game's lifespan) - perfectly suits that premise of being just another guy/gal going about their business in a largely indifferent universe.

However... When you're talking about trying to leave a mark on, essentially, the community and the history of the videogame itself? Then yeah. I can see your issue. Personally, as well as the above being more than enough for me to be satisfied with (i.e. that not being 'note worthy' is in fact a positive to me), I'm fine with having my name on that white dwarf and its orbiting [landable] world I alluded, as well as the other thousands of objects that aren't quite as memorable. To return to the existential framing; real life has value because of the experiences we have and the people we engage with, and (as far as we can know) none of that will endure beyond when we die. And so Elite's value is similarly in those experiences we have, alone or with others. The experience of exploding after a month's play and 18,000Ly travel is very much included in that, because it was an experience no other game could provide (and it had intrinsic value in my RP. it was also a learning experience, given I never again made the same mistake).

As for leaving a mark on the community and the game itself, beyond the above; isn't time a key issue and stumbling block? Short of-- well, literally stumbling across a new alien species or jump-gate, the examples you gave (and stuff like Cannon) require dedication of time and effort (even by Elite's grindy, attention-hogging standards), and that's not something most players can commit to.

Like any good entrepreneur, you'd need to either find something in the community that you can do better, or find something no one else is doing. Neither's exactly straight forward, when the game sprawls across three formats and is this old.
Maybe I'll have to change that and my play style a bit. Maybe I'm just not that creative or good at being a leader and rallying others around me. But still it's food for thought for me right now and keeping me interested in the game.
You could make waves on YT as a content creator, and get into the actual game as a station tannoy. ; -) Just found out Plater has his own station, replete with voice. No idea how those things come about, but as with all the other ways the community is represented in-game, I think it's a great touch.
 
In every aspect we are all just cogs in wheels, of any game and reality itself. Everything is ultimately pointless... \o/

Flimley
Spiralling down the drain of eternity, sliding down the razor blade of life, our names written in water...

:D S
 
In every aspect we are all just cogs in wheels, of any game and reality itself. Everything is ultimately pointless... \o/

Flimley
At first glance this seemed uncharacteristically dark for you then I saw it punctuated with \o/ and I had to laugh. Admittedly I'm still not clear whether I should be laughing or not.
 
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