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.
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.