Guest Post: Being the Bad Guy

Over the years I've published many "guest posts" from players and authors that expand on themes or thoughts that I think are important and interesting to the larger community. These are players who feel compelled to write, but perhaps don't want a full-time blog of their own to do so. Please contact me if you have something relevant you'd like to say.

Today's guest post comes to us from Opeth Ivey, a young player currently plying the Faction Warfare lanes of Low Sec - who thought yesterday's post deserved some additional thoughts.


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Being the bad guy
by Opeth Ivey

Contrary to popular belief in the EVE universe being the bad guy does not mean you have to be a dick. I know this may come as a shock to some players, but it is true.

A long time ago when I first started playing EVE I didn't have a clue about anything. I was just running the tutorials when someone contacted me and asked if I wanted to join a corporation. Sure why not I replied, I could sure use the help. So for the next few weeks I spent the time with corp mates running missions, learning to mine, and generally trying to figure out my place in the game.

About two weeks later our corp got war decd. This was a long time ago so I don’t recall who the Merc company was that decided out new tiny corp needed a lesson in EVE, but I remember our experienced CEO telling us, just don't undock and feed them kills. I remember thinking how do I play the game if I can’t undock. I didn’t have any alts at this point so I was extremely upset. When you first start playing EVE you take everything personal for some reason, and I think I still have guys from that merc corp on my watch list even though I never saw one in space during the war. Why? Because I never undocked.

After the War a bunch of us wanted to know how we could defend ourselves, so if it happened again we could do something about it. So our corp CEO took us out to give us some PVP training. Thinking back now it’s obvious he had never really had any PVP experience other than large fleet stuff, but to us at the time it was awesome. So armed with our fresh knowledge of PVP, and cabin fever from the war, a few of us set out to find some rats in a low sec system near our home system. What could go wrong?

Three guys with mining skills, and horrible fits flying cruisers that they couldn’t even fit fully were going to take on some low sec belt rats. Well it took around 10 minutes for us to get jumped, and we were all wiped out. I was so angry that this guy would do this that I sent an angry message to him about how awesome he was being totally sarcastic. To my surprise he responded with friendly words of advice and an offer to help. We talked for around 10 minutes about skill paths and how to properly fit my ship and ended with a fly safe.

This interaction completely changed the game for me. I no longer took it so seriously, and personal when I lost a ship, I realized that they guy on the other side was just another player like me trying to play his game, and even willing to help me get better at mine. From this point on I was hooked, and wanted to find a corporation to teach me PVP, something I never thought I would want to do.

So why is this story relevant? Well since that encounter I have played several alts trying out all forms of play available in EVE. I credit it all to that one encounter with a kind pirate. I have had a gank alt/ Awoxer character, and even updated a blog from time to time about his exploits. I have a indy alt, a PVP alt, and I have participated in large scale PVP events, faction warfare, solo roams, small gang roams, null roams, worm hole ops, just about everything except living in Null sec. I have had more freighters and hauling ships ganked than I can count including several billion isk jump freighters, had all manner of mining barges ganked, lost hundreds of PVP ships, and killed hundreds more. Each time this stuff happened my reaction was tempered by that one original encounter and the understanding that everyone is just playing to have fun. Most encounters end up turning into friendships, or at least mutual respect from both parties.

Every once in a while I like to sample other space games in particular. And this is where all this becomes relevant. I was an alpha and beta tester for Elite Dangerous. A great game if you haven’t tried it. I spent a lot of time on forums reporting bugs and making devolvement suggestions. My hope was always that Elite’s universe would be as open and vibrant, with a lot the same play options you have with EVE. Reading the forums I could see that I was in the extreme minority on this. In fact the moment EVE was mentioned on the forums the venom just flowed about griefing this, and ganking that, and how it was just a game of assholes. I wish I could say that was just one thread, but it was any thread where EVE play style was brought up at all. This just made me so sad. All these potential EVE players experiences soiled by perceived griefing.

I know many reading this would say well screw them, we don’t need more carebears, and I don’t disagree with that sentiment. But I think that all those potential customers just thought they wanted to be carebears because they never had the chance to see there was any other play styles with nice players they could relate to. I vowed to log on to EVE and see why this perception exists and how it could be changed.

I pulled my Faction Warfare alt out of his corp and headed off to high sec to see what could be done. I found a group called the high Sec Militia that were actively trying to fight against hauler and mining ganks in high sec. I had no idea that anything like this even existed in EVE. A group actually trying to be the good guys. How cool. I joined up and started actively hunting the usual ganking suspects like CODE and Goons. Trying to stop ganks in Uedama.

I soon realized that most of the guys in this movement are new players who were mission runners, or miners who got the bug for EVE but, want to stop the evil griefing that they perceive. There is little organization to the movement, and the guys who really know what they are doing have trouble getting everyone on the same page. So this rag tag group of relative newbies, most with almost no PVP experience, are trying to take on large  groups of players who are highly skilled and well oiled machines, at the mechanics of what they are doing. They have been doing it for years they should be.

Turns out its extremely difficult to stop the ganks. The mechanics of the game are just not in favor of trying to be the good guy. Which probably explains why I had never heard of this play style. It’s really not very viable. In order for you to even have a chance to be a good guy you eventually have to resort to counter ganking to overcome the limitations of the mechanics available. This shouldn’t be. But what really clued me in as to why so many are turned off by EVE was just reading local. These guys were just ravenous. The worst part is even the leadership was involved. I thought ok maybe its just the mob in uedama, so I went to other systems where it was just small gang miner ganking, and the same stuff was going on. Why? Seriously.

I don’t have any issues with ganking, or awoxing or any nefarious play styles. I think they make EVE more awesome than any other sandbox game out there. But playing the bad guy does not mean you have to be a dick to people. When you blow up someone you can still be nice. You might just sell someone on the game for good. Leadership needs to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. The sort of mean spirited stuff that’s in local should not be tolerated by any FC. And don’t tell me that you can’t do anything about. It. If someone doesn’t like it then tell them they don’t fly with you. I’ve seen FCs do it before. We are all grown men/women.

Be a bad guy who encourages carebears to fight back by helping them figure out how to fit ships better, manually fly their ship, how to get their pod out. I mean really, doesn’t that make EVE a better game than berating them and embarrassing them in local, when you know dam well the mechanics, and experience are all in your favor. Do you guys watch videos of teens beating up special needs kids and cheer and laugh? I doubt it. So why would you want to perpetrate that sort of behavior in your fleets? You guys need the High sec Militia. EVE needs good guys and bad guys. Carebears who feel wronged need a place to turn that may just turn them into PVPers instead of carebears. I don’t think Code and Goons guys are trying to destroy the game I love like many of the guys in the militia do. I know they are just having fun. Most times at others expense. That’s fine, but do it nicely, and let the victim see the person on the other side of the keyboard. Then maybe these carebears will gain some understanding, and respect. All the current behavior if continued is only going to lead to is some sort of major nerf of the bad guy play style eventually. Just like they are doing for awoxing in the next update. I don’t want that, and I am sure you guys don’t either. So please be bad as hell, but don’t be a dick.

I would like to just mention one particularly bad mechanic that if tweaked might at least give the militia a fighting chance. The bumping mechanic needs to be changed. There is no possible reason why this is not considered a hostile ace that should either damage the bumpers ship significantly, or give them a suspect criminal timer. The reason this is relevant is because the bumper can bump a freighter completely off the gate grid and out of range of gate guns and local concord. That in and of itself is not even almost realistic, but on the few occasions that the freighter has been saved by remote repping it. The bumper just bumps it some more and then they get it on round two. The only way to stop it is to gank the bumper. Which goes against being the good guy. It just shouldn’t be the only way.


I suspect I will really hear about it from the trolls who will say I’m just crying and these are such sweet tears. If you think that then you just haven gotten my point. I love EVE. I want to see people make it better for everyone. No matter the play style.





19 comments:

  1. There is a small ganking problem in Elite Dangerous at the moment where people find the gaps in the game rules (having station killing people while remaining invulnerable etc, eagles oneshotting people with unguided missile volleys) but most of these will be fixed in 1.1
    However, I actually expect it to become 'nastier' and more 'evelike' in the future. To be honest I'm slightly worried that the instagank-for-the-lolz crowd from EVE will move over to ED. I'm all for piracy but the people that break people's toys just to see them cry is something I hope will not follow me to ED

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  2. If they make ganking a criminal act and/or damage the ships we'll see a lot of criminal freighters undocking in Jita and a lot of frigates exploding to undocking freighters. Tags for security made a counter to gankers even worse as they don't fly around being -10 and free to shoot for the "white knights". Dedicated killrights might help. Public killrights have to be somehow expensive to avoid the ganker just kill himself with an alt. Expensive killrights prevent "white knights" to activate it. I'd love to sell/donate any earned killrights to a "white knight corporation" hoping they'll deal justice. Sure, they'll get infiltrated by gankers but that's part of the game.
    Bumping can be avoided if the freighter pilot is brave enough to start a duell with a "white knight" which could apply as many webs as needed to get the freighter into warp.
    Trust the "white knight" or not...? Reputation, who wouldn't trust a Chribba? That would leave enought space for gankers to awox while it would enable some form of counter.

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    1. The (professional) freighter pilot does what anyone sensible would do: Bring his alt, who is in his one-man corp, to scout and web for him. Why bother playing with other players when they're being rewarded for acting as dicks and get absolutely nothing but waste their time for playing the good guys?

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    2. @Angry Onions: Well, some people just enjoy to be the good guy. Take eve-scout.com as an example, why would anyone waste his time to scout all the wormholes when all they (might) get is pocket change as donations? Once a week I see a Tornado waiting off a gate, I do know he will one-shot an industrial but even if the industrial deserves to die (anti-tank fitting, autopiloting, high value cargo, ...) I would really enjoy shooting the Tornado just because of :reasons:. I can't, because either there is no public killright or the killright is way to expensive (100+m ISK) and as soon as he gets criminal the victim is already dead. I do agree with OP that ganking is perfectly fine and fascinating gameplay, to add "white knights" as fine and fascinating gameplay would be nice.
      "Silent killrights" (not available to public but only to corps choosen by the killright owner) sounds like fun to me.

      Oh... and I intended to write"...make *bumping* a criminal act...", not ganking o\

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  3. I like the piece. My only exception is awoxing. To awox you need to take advantage of the trust that exists between corpmates. A high sec gank just requires a target and good setup for the kill and collect. Faction warfare is a faction-wide wardec, and wardecc'ing is pvp with war targets anywhere.

    Awox'ing, however, requires trust to work. Awox'ing functions at a level above the actual gameplay level. I can blow someone away in lo sec as a pirate, but then turn around at that level and chat with the victim and offer tips or give isk if I realize she's a noob. Someone who awox's is someone I cannot trust in the game, and since the game stretches out to the meta-level, trust would only come when engaging totally outside the game as a subject of discussion.

    Now, do I think awox'ing is bad for EVE? No, it's part of EVE and you deal with it. Sometimes you even laugh at it. I mean, in a lot of ways EVE is like life. There are many people in the real world I don't trust. I still like life and all it has to offer.

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  4. Excellent post. I had a similar starting experience with pirates. Nicest folks in low sec, honestly :P I prefer that Awoxing being something a CEO can decide is okay or not in their corp culture. I don't think it should be removed or prohibited in general. But then, I like a dangerous EVE. That said, I am spending much of my time these days educating my rookie corp members on how to fly safe and smart. Education is often the best counter to ganking and griefing.

    I love the soundbyte, "Be a bad guy, just don't be a dick." Really sums it up nicely. One of my corpmates last night almost warped into a bubble camp at a wormhole. He asked if he could address the campers in local. In accordance with our corp credo, I said, "Sure, but respectfully, maybe with some humor. After all, they are doing what they think is fun in the game and you can't bash them for that." That's always been my approach when I've been killed or ganked, always a "GF" in Local (even if it wasn't, I take the high road and be nice) and maybe some light-hearted, good-natured banter. It's amazing how positively folks respond to that. If enough of us set that kind of example, maybe the Butterfly Effect will kick in...

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    1. Kill them with kindness. It is amazing how much kindness in local has led to recruitment in Stay Frosty, I can't tell you how many members used to be former targets - but it is a very high number. I don't always have the time for it sadly, as engagements and danger lurk around every corner, but I try to extend a hand when I can.

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  5. Preventing gankers from ganking anyone is difficult, but preventing them from ganking a specific target is trivial. A single webbing escort removes almost all the risk of getting suicide ganked to a freighter, and a small fleet makes it invulnerable to anything but the most determined and well-funded attacker. While I hate comparisons of Eve to real life, it does mimic real life - the police have a very difficult time directly prevent all petty crime everywhere no matter how well-funded yet it is easily possible to prevent criminals from hitting a specific target by investing the appropriate level of security (like armed guards and an armoured truck). I agree a more compelling "cops and robbers" mini-game in highsec would be ideal, but the current NPC-enforced restrictions on highsec criminality force -10 players to hide in stations most of the time, making this not viable.

    As for the "mean spirited" stuff I can't comment directly as I don't know what was said. But in general, if you think something has crossed the line, you can always petition it as there are strict rules against personal insults to other players, but taunting and trash talk has a long history in Eve battles and in warfare in general. Various sides have often purposely provoked the other in order to make them angry and cause them to make a mistake in that engagement. I agree, if you are just minding your own business and a player comes along and starts taunting you that is pretty dickish, but if you were actively opposing another force, you have to expect such meta tactics may be brought out against you. As long as it is kept in game, trash talking and trolling is and always has been part of the Eve meta.

    As for bumping, I find it amusing that freighter pilots feel entitled to be excluded from a game mechanic that has been around since the dawn of Eve. Large, capital ships are vulnerable to bumping - that is one of their weaknesses and why they need support ships. Many a capital or supercapital has been lost because smaller ships have used bumping to keep it from entering warp. Why should highsec haulers be immune from this, especially when the risk of bumping can be almost completely avoided by bringing a single escort ship, or flying one of the smaller haulers that are effectively immune to bumping?

    More practically though, if you remove bumping, freighters will become completely OP. That is OP in the sense that they would be so safe, there would be no reason to fly any other hauler in highsec (although this may already be the case). The massive EHP of freighters already makes them the safest ship in highsec (maybe second to marauders) and without bumping, they would be nearly ungankable in the hands of a competent, active pilot. Some other balance change would have to be made in order not to render hauling in highsec completely safe and uninteresting, or they would have to be removed from highsec completely.

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    1. *struggles with his braincells*

      Man, if there was one way to stop a ship from warping away, without bumping it...

      *struck by the lightning of inspiration*

      Oh wait! There *is* a way to prevent another ship from warping away, without bumping it!

      :rollseyes:

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    2. "Large, capital ships are vulnerable to bumping - that is one of their weaknesses and why they need support ships. Many a capital or supercapital has been lost because smaller ships have used bumping to keep it from entering warp."

      All true except in null or lowsec you can freely engage the bumpers and blow them up. in hs you can just sit there and watch, or resort to counter ganks. So its not the exact same mechanic.I am not arguing for freighter immunity at all, just an opportunity to save a few once in a while.

      Honestly the article is mostly just about the perception that the actions against the victim combined with the relentless jeering in local cause on the eve community as a whole. As seen on forums for other games where EVE is truly hated for the way players appear to treat each other. I feel that this matters.

      The gank mechanics are truly secondary I'm honestly not experienced enough at many facets of the game to be sure that some form of defense will eventually work occasionally when the group is organized properly.

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    3. @Angry Onions, I assume your sarcasm is referring to the existence of warp scramblers/disruptors. They are not a viable way for tackling a ship in highsec, at least not for more than 20 or so seconds due to the CONCORD mechanic. Once CONCORD is on grid after your first use of them, you will not be able to use them at all as you will be insta-popped.

      Gankers need to use bumping in order to tackle the ship long enough to undock and land a gank fleet of sufficient size to overcome the large amount of EHP. I am not saying it would be impossible to do without bumping, but ganking actively-piloted freighters would be much, much harder, and therefore they would be ganked much less frequently. Do we really need the safest ship in the game to be even safer?

      @Opeth Ivey, as the bumping discussion is secondary, I won't go in to details here but there are ways to escape a bumper either by counter-bumping, or by having friends in your fleet to warp to. I agree it isn't the greatest game mechanic ever seen, but it is one that has been in the game since the beginning and I have little sympathy for freighter pilots who do not bother with one of trivial techniques to avoid getting caught in the first place.

      But to your main point, while I have no sympathy for ganked haulers - this is a competitive PvP game and there are enough tools to make you nearly 100% safe hauling (or mining for that matter) in highsec if you spent just a little effort, or sacrifice a little yield - I do agree that excessive trash talk can be unpleasant to be around. Personally, aside from the vitriol and personal attacks from ganked carebears, I have never seen anything much beyond "nyah nyah, you couldn't stop us" or the like in highsec (although I haven't spent that much time in Uedama), or the general permit trolling. I've seen much worse in lowsec, but obviously I don't know your experiences. But all this said, I do agree with your point that we should all be nicer to one another and keep the trolling light and in game, and I hope people that read this take your comments to heart.

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    4. Bumping is a shit mechanic which gives no chances nor any way out to the victim. Once engaged its 100% risk free to the bumpers, unless they chase the guy for several hours and several systems and then maybe CCP will bother to call it "harrassment".

      That shit mechanic exists because of shit collision detection.

      Shit collision detection is the result of 11 years old shit coding.

      11 years old legacy shit coding is not the same as a good mechanic.

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  6. I love the idea of a high-sec militia. One of many misconceptions I had when I started Eve was that we could choose a career in law enforcement.

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  7. I would like to reinforce the experience describe by Opeth regarding chatting with opponents particularly in LS I found this happened regularly, was a large part of the fun and has led to new corpies as well as new friends. Being a good sport about kills and losses is a necessary defense against the difficulty of Eve. Just when you think you are a PVP god, 6 T3's will decloak and teach you different.

    Hail Bob and pass the scorch.

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  8. I've been playing wargames for 35 years. I don't hold back. I love nothing more than utterly crushing my opponent's forces. Note, his forces, not him. I will not engage in smacktalk, I won't try to get a rise out of him, nor will I try to insult him. If a friend, we'll engage in semi-trollish banter, but nothing serious.

    The Golden Rule applies. I wish more would try it in EVE. Blow up people's stuff, sure, take fun in the exhilaration of it. But is it really necessary to troll the person in order to get that feeling of pleasure?

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  9. This is all about "Tears"... 'Tears' as defined as the emotional reaction some players have to losing their ships to non-consensual PvP. I have no issue whatsoever with non-consensual PvP, I engage in it as often as possible BUT... trolling someone publicly after you have non-consensually ganked an unarmed ship of theirs is not "...provoking a player in order to make them angry and cause them to make a mistake in that engagement." nor is it, "...just minding your own business and a player comes along and starts taunting you.." either...

    "...trash talking and trolling is and always has been part of the Eve meta. ONLY because WE have always allowed it... not because it adds to gameplay or is useful or appropriate in any way. And just because something "...has always been that way..." is not sufficient reason for it not to change to something better if it not a good thing in an of itself.

    Smack talking, deriding and making fun of someone AFTER a gank, after non-consensual PvP adds NOTHING to the game that anyone needs and in the long run hurts us all more than anything.

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    1. I agree that trash talking another player after you relieve them of an industrial ship is poor form as it serves no purpose. However, as I gather from this post, the author is referring to the trash talking going on between the gankers and the anti-gankers, two sides that are in active and persistent conflict with each other. Why should these two sides be exempt from the norms of verbal sparring that takes place everywhere else in Eve?

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  10. @Black Pedro.
    EVE isn't an exclusive PvP game, and all those fiery PvP guys lack respect to other playstyles, thats the problem. To be more accurate, non-consensual PvP is the problem. There would be much less "tears" without that, most tears come from it, and thats what griefing is about.
    I like PvP, but I really don't get it why there is a need for non-consensual PvP except for griefing. At least in "safe areas" like high-sec. Realize that guys like you are the absolute minority, most people obviously like PvE and a safe place to be, thats why high sec is way more populated than null sec, althouth there are already bigger rewards in null sec. Guess why? Because to most it's a game where they want to relax, not to be bothered getting shot every single minute, nor do they want to organize an escort fleet for every trip they make to Jita.
    And the disrespect of the "bad guys" towards "carebears" is already shown by that terminus and your intention to "teach" those poor "carebears" what this game is about, or what YOU think this game is about.

    Why do you need that? I know some people say they like that risk, that you can get blown up anytime, anywhere (in theory), well OK, then thats your thing, if you like that, take an industrial and fly around in low sec, if thats entertaining to you, but if somebody just want to peacefully mine all day, whats the f****** problem with that? Why do so many people prefer to gank miners every single day, instead of roaming in low-sec for some fun pew pew?

    EVE gives people freedom of choice, but why can't you just chose to be safe? Well, I know why, because all those griefer folks would cry because they won't have victims.

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    1. This I disagree with completely. Eve was conceived of as competitive sandbox game and for this to function you need risk vs. reward. The universe is suppose to be dynamic, consequential and player-controlled, and for this you need ways for players to disrupt each other. The economy, one of the major draws of this game, will not function if players can gather resources or make ISK at no risk to themselves.

      This is why CCP has purposely coded suicide ganking, and wardecs into the game. If you don't like these forms of non-consensual PvP, there are several other space-themed games out there that may be more of your liking. However, because they are not sandbox games, they will lack not only the sense of risk, but the dynamic player-driven stories and economy that make Eve such a unique game.

      By the way, you can have a "safe" zone even in a sandbox game. I would have no problem with a fenced off new player zone where non-consensual PvP is forbidden. The only thing is that the rewards of such a zone have to commensurate with the risk, so they would have to be so low that they would not influence the greater economy. But for new players just trying to learn the game and the interface, this would be fine.


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