The Dark Side Redux


[This is a re-post of an article I originally wrote on July 13, 2022 and I think it needs to be said again. The original post has been edited and updated below.]

I made a miscalculation years ago and decided that I'd like to better understand another aspect of Eve commonly referred to as "the Meta Game".  A large part of what drew me to Eve Online in the first place was the community aspect, the global inter-related network of real people playing a video game together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week - that concept was appealing to me on many levels. So it only seemed natural to explore all of the areas that concept contained. And the "meta" game was one of them.

This post is not going to be a re-hash of my time manipulating events inside of Eve, or of the consequences that I endured as a result of sticking my head up out of the sand for a few minutes at a time. This is all ground better covered in many previous posts. Suffice to say that I stepped away from that cesspool of sewage years ago and haven't looked back since. I can assure you that my time and enjoyment of Eve Online has improved dramatically since then. 

Even so it hasn't escaped my notice that there has been a wave spreading around various channels regarding the actions of certain players. I won't be mentioning any names in this post and you don't even need to know who I'm referring to. It doesn't matter. What does matter is the same things that have always mattered, or should have mattered, and that is people's actions and behaviors. And the consequences of those. Much like the real world, the Eve community is grappling with those consequences. Call this process whatever hashtag you'd like, but the important thing is that victims are being heard and people are being held accountable. This is a good thing, way past due. The dark side is having a light shined in its face right now. Pretty much everywhere. And Eve is not immune.

I brought up the "meta" game experience earlier because during that stretch of time I encountered a lot of Eve players who I had only heard about previously. A few of those encounters were positive and they were good people. But the vast majority of those experiences were not good and I bumped heads with a lot of assholes during those days. Many of whom still play Eve today, others who stepped away for various reasons and have returned under new branding. And many more who have vanished into the mists of time. Which is probably the best solution for them.

Why does Eve attract such people? The truth is it doesn't, at least not anymore or less than other places - because these types of people are everywhere. Sadly. And this is the entire point - they are everywhere. And thankfully that light is sweeping into all the corners and finding them. Rooting them out and exposing them. Personally I believe this is a good thing. We need to reckon with these issues instead of pretending they don't exist. And we need to better understand that actions and behaviors have consequences, especially for the victims involved. Because they do. And they will.

I do want to encourage you however. Eve can be a dark game at times, but not all corners of the universe are this way. Speaking personally for a moment my own Alliance A Band Apart and Stay Frosty has had a zero tolerance policy in place since day one. Over the years we've had our own challenges with edgelords and people with their own issues - and we've dealt with those quickly and decisively. Both in-game and out-of-game. There are plenty of other groups out there who also encourage positivity, enjoyment and community. 

When we work together to keep our edge where it should be, inside of Eve, we benefit all players. The "meta" game is not an excuse for bad behavior and nor should it be. Actions have consequences and the more we tolerate bad actors both inside and outside of Eve - the more those consequences harm not only individual players - but the game itself.

Will Eve ever be a wholesome Disney play-land of sunshine and happiness? No, of course not, and that shouldn't even be a goal. Eve should always be a harsh universe full of consequences. But that doesn't mean we have to be dicks either inside of the game or outside of the game. Doing so is a choice. 

Don't be a dick.