Why Jester Was Wrong
I set myself a 20 post limit and watched to see what would happen. In twenty minutes I had made 450m ISK and met some very nice new people.
If you, like me, happened to be a regular reader of the now dark Jester's Trek - then you are aware of the rather large axe-grinding in regards to griefing that Ripard was doing after his CSM term expired. He rather famously led the charge to get players banned and generally tried to rally the idea that griefing was causing the death of Eve. I called him out about the public nature of his campaign in this post, so my position on that issue is well known. I mention all of that so no one thinks I'm being a "johnny-come-lately" on this issue.
I will state emphatically that I am opposed to ANY in-game play, style, or grind, making its way into the real world. As I suspect 99.99% of all players are. If I met any Eve players in real life I'd buy them a drink and we'd be spending our time talking about Eve and life. My Eve does not transcend my own life.
But I will also state that the grief culture is not responsible for the flat-line subscription numbers. Grief culture is not driving away players. Grief culture, like any other aspect of Eve, is easily avoidable. Both in-game and out-of-game. So, as an easy to avoid aspect of Eve, it is not inherently a threat to anyone. (To the .001% for whom it represents a legitimate threat, reporting features are available. In the past six years I have used those features myself many, many times. Without resorting to writing a blog post about them. CCP has, in my humble opinion, an excellent zero tolerance standard and response to these issues.)
In-game griefing is easy to avoid. Don't want to be ganked? Then learn to stay aligned, find some friends to fly with, learn the game mechanics, don't fly what you can't afford to lose, there are so many ways to develop the skills needed to make this never happen in your game. My alt has spent five years moving my stuff thru Null regions, Low sec and everywhere else in-between. She has been killed once by a gate camping smart bomber, and that time her transport was empty.
Out-of-game griefing is also easy to avoid. Simply don't participate. If you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. Eve is a game that does not require you to visit public forums, post on Reddit, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact I'd argue that enjoyment of Eve is directly proportional to the amount of time you DON'T spend on those sites. I read them sometimes, but generally avoid them. And I personally don't have anything against those that do enjoy such places. The trick, as always, is in finding your own place. (In fact I have a certain level of admiration for some forum posters, they are masters of their art.)
Having said all of that, there is an aspect of truth about the "perception" of Eve as a negative place. In my own way I have taken this aspect as a personal challenge and it is one of the primary goals of this blog to work on changing that perception. In-game over the years it has challenged me to run events, to take time to manage and sponsor DeathRaces, Frigate Free For Alls, and many other pro-Eve events designed to bring some level of enjoyment to more and more players. It also inspired much of what Stay Frosty and now A Band Apart stand for, and brought many, many players both young and old, into the fold. In other words, I have spent a lot of effort and time putting my money where my mouth is.
I love Eve. Else I wouldn't be able to do what I do. But I also know Eve is not for everyone. It will never be as popular as other games. There are those that prefer the simple pleasure of Kerbal Space for example. (A game I also enjoy, as much as I do Words for Friends, or Boom Beach, or The Last of Us, or Half-Life, or any of the dozens of other games I also play regularly.)
If someone breaks the rules they are dealt with. But griefing is not the problem. Griefing is part of the sandbox. And like all aspects of that sandbox it is the players choice to participate, enable, or dismiss those aspects that they find don't work for them. I don't want everyone to be a Pirate. And I respect those that choose to do other things, to mine, to serve Null masters, to hide in High Sec, to explore, to do whatever it is that they find enjoyable. More power to them. Eve is a better place for the sake of variety.
There are trees. But there is also a forest. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the forest for all of those damn trees in the way.
Eve is better now than it has ever been before. Are there parts of the game that demand improvement? Of course. And we will all continue to fight to see those aspects improved. And I will continue my own fight, in my own way, to get the word out to as many people as I can - come play Eve. It isn't like anything else.
It isn't defined by anyone - other than you.