Having played a few other MMOs, EVE is somewhat unique in my mind where the combat system has enough complexity that it makes your "inventory", for lack of a better term, more difficult to manage properly than other games. People new to EVE may view their ship as they would their character in Diablo III. Guns are weapons, tank is armor, and you equip the best you can to achieve the best effect. It is, unfortunately, mostly wrong. In Diablo III, your weapons, skills, etc. all add up to a DPS number that damages the enemy directly. In EVE, a multitude of modifiers affect your damage application from type of weapon to resists to speed and distance. This makes simulating true damage application harder than even EFT or other fitting tools can present. Most veteran players refer to this as "paper DPS" and why even the most seemingly powerful fits out of game can still fail miserably in practice. I believe that this is good complexity, to borrow a term from Mynnna. It creates a rich environment that makes EVE combat like few other games.
I am a father of two kids who are now entering high school and middle school. Not too many years ago, they, like many their age, had a Nintendo DS and enjoyed the Pokemon series of games. It wasn't long before they came across the card game and they were soon hooked. As a former Magic the Gathering player in my college years, I also enjoyed that style of game and quickly brought myself up to speed on the basics and found a local group that met on the weekends where kids could play against each other. It wasn't long before we were attending our first Pokemon tournament where we each (including myself) were quickly eliminated using what I can only now liken to a complete failfit.
You see, in Pokemon, a tournament or competitive deck is vastly different from the slapped together kitchen sink deck you might find when you play your friends. It is cohesively designed, meticulously assembled, and in many cases built to counter or otherwise deal with other decks in the current meta. Sound familiar? It takes research, planning, and yes, a bit of money at times, to build a deck that has a chance of doing well in a tournament. Not only that, but the Pokemon Company does a genius job of cycling new cards into the system thus changing the meta every few months repeating the cycle of deck building and card acquisition. Players are constantly having to stay current with the current meta.
But in terms of EVE, what relates here is the extensive out of game information that must be applied to building your fit in order to make it effective in the game. It goes far beyond simply understanding the mechanics, however complex. It requires you to have a full understanding of how the game itself works, how other players are playing the game, and how what you are doing fits into that game. It is truly the "meta" in meta-gaming. It is not something that comes naturally to all players. It is the reason that I often did not enjoy playing games at our local Pokemon gathering after attending a couple tournaments. Our decks were tournament decks. They obliterated nearly everyone at those events who were not also tournament players. It was a bit like a competitive poker player taking money from his neighbors in the game down the street. However, instead of simply beating my opponent and walking away to find the next victim, I often would take time and give them advice on what they could do to improve their build.
This is very similar to what I have done with EVE as CEO of a corporation. It is something that I've seen Sugar Kyle blog about when it relates to low-sec PvP. It is something that I think the veteran EVE players would be well served to do, for what fun is there in obliterating poorly fit ships? It is not something you'll find in large fleet compositions, those fits are dictated by their fleet commanders. This is unique to solo and small gang PvP where EVE is a very intimate and personal experience. Not all players are open to a conversation with an opponent which is disappointing but understandable in a video game. In person, across a Pokemon game table, there is a sportsmanship that is respected where advice can be given and received as it is intended. Much like how competitive poker players feel like a big family and can discuss the finer points of the game, EVE too could be that type of game. It often is that type of game within the confines of a corporation or alliance, at least the ones where failfits are not grounds for expulsion. Players, instead of being mocked for their lack of understanding, should be viewed as opportunities. Opportunities to share knowledge, to build up another person and thus strengthen the community we live in, even if it is adversarial at the end of the day. Who doesn't want to beat a strong opponent vs. a less capable one? I know I don't.