Sunday, February 17, 2013

Unsheathed Claws

[TL;DR: Random thoughts with no conclusion or coherency.]

When I started writing this, it was pondering over the issue of war decs and how they affect high sec.  It is one of the eternal "broken features" in Eve.

After reading some of the comments on both sides and by third parties with the Purple (Red vs Blue) x Eve Uni war it presents itself at a different angle.  Some say that no one should dec Eve Uni due to their position as a New Player helper organization   However, there are more than new players in Eve Uni.  If no one ever did anything to Eve Uni 'for the newbies' it would become a haven for people to hide from the rest of the game forever.

A war with RvB is one where people can participate.  It's not the Pirate Faction station camping that I see complained about vs the Eve Uni blob.  The last time I remember RvB decing Eve Uni it was an agreed upon conflict.  This time it seemed more a decision on one side with a notification brought by Concord on the other.  Everyone brought the fight to play and the Eve Uni POS died.

"Did this damage Eve Uni?" Someone suggested to me that it did. I don't know. I'm not in Eve Uni.  I just hang out in their help channel.  Damage is part of Eve.  As is loss.  If the war dec system was removed this day could not have happened.  If war were mutual this may not have happened.  Yet, the very defines of war does not speak of mutual decisions.

War
  • : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations
  • : a period of such armed conflict
  • : state of war
  • : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism
  • : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end
Yet, why do people expect it to be mutual because it is in a video game?  It is a video game that we entered with the foreknowledge that we can not dictate the environment and all of the events.  I learned this well myself this weekend and I will cover that on Monday (I think).

Yet, listening to discussions and having discussions I'm picking up the strands of thought that speak of why the war dec system is broken and needs to be mutual.  It is not that the dec system itself is hopeless and conceptually wrong it is that war within a video game may create a presumption formed from a participants idea of what would be fun for them.

This war was "fun" while other wars are "not fun". Should war in a game have to be easily defined as fun?  

A few weeks ago, in a conversation a newer player asked:
 "Why don't warring parties just make a gentleman's agreement not to pod kill? A gentleman's agreement not to pod kill seems like a way to move to a more mutually beneficial nash equilibrium."
Nash equilibrium
In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his own strategy unilaterally. If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing his or her strategy while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium.
Someone told him that his idea was not a Nash Equilibrium.  I asked him why someone would go to war and then hand over benefits and gains to him?  He said, "add game."

Ahh yes, Eve is a game.  I don't actually forget that.  I believe instead of "add game" it is more create an environment I want to participate in on an equal situation.  It decreases risk and minimizes loss.  If that is what both parties want then go for it.  However, when one thinks 'War' I doubt that many also think, "Let me allow my target into a situation where he too will receive benefits from this".

"Adding game" may mean "let us make sure that everyone is having fun".  But sometimes people's fun is removing others fun.  This is where we step into the types of games and people get to lift their sandbox flag to defend Eve.  It all fits in there, sure. But, the sandbox has edges and those edges are controlled by CCP.  It wanders back into the land of "what are the worlds restrictions?"  It always will because CCP ultimately controls the world and creates the restrictions that we then work with to the best of our abilities.

Our sandbox flag only has the strength in the materials that CCP gave us to create it.  Yet, inside of it we are allowed to run free.  Only, not quite.  We have zones and areas and rules and we work inside of them.  CCP has created hard boundaries and unfettered our hands to go and play inside of those boundaries.  But they are still there.

But the freedom is confusing.  It is as confusing as a wild animal raised and tamed and then kicked out into the wild to figure out life.  Some do and some don't.  The above solution, so simple is domestication meeting the wilderness.  Domestication often gets stomped but the wilderness too can be crushed by the relentlessness of domestication.   We have war between the wilderness and domestication with each side stomping over the other depending on who comes to visit.  War is not a static concept.  The very use of the word is wrong for the majority of uses the 'war' system has.  But, because it is not static all the uses also fall into what war can be defined as.

It is such a hard balance.  The war thing.  It is so simple and to me sensible to say 'deal' it's war.  The problem is all of those hard boundaries and domestication.  I am not going to have a gentlemen's agreement not to pod someone during a war.  Yet, I have personally created those agreements to create prearranged fights to help introduce the wilderness to the domesticated parties. At some point the war can turn into a prearranged situation.  It is still defined as war but it loses the feel of war and becomes more of an event.

I don't come to an answer.  I kind of get lost in my own musings as I try to figure out how to end this.  My thoughts have a lot of elasticity here.   I will leave it open and see what else bubbles to the surface.

9 comments:

  1. I have a friend in EveUni who has been playing a lot longer than I. They're also into heavier things like multiple wormholes with full capital support, and sound more than willing to be looking for fights anywhere in Eve. So unless someone wanted to split them into an explicitly newbie organization and then make that dec-free it wouldn't work. Just something to pass on if someone suggests that to you again.

    But as people have noted plenty before, there is a lot not-warlike in Eve "wars". Sides are not extinguished (since capsuleers are immortal, even when they don't just dock up) and there really is little or no resources acquired in highsec war decs. Maybe a moon changes hands at most.

    So I'm fine with "wars" as events - content providing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've made the point to people not to "newbies so exempt!" at me when carriers are being dropped for triage support in low sec and null sec fights.

      I have no problem with carriers being dropped on fights. Bring them in. I love that they do it.

      Delete
  2. I've been flying in the war with RvB. I think we're testing E Uni in a way that doesn't normally happen and they've made quite a few mistakes of piloting and FC. Which is a great way to learn.

    So not only are we giving the newbie unistas a very exciting and pvp-oriented start to Eve Online but we are also improving the teachers. At the moment it's looking a bit like "those who can't do, teach" as FCs have warped link ships and logis rather naively at times. We've also seen hilarous chat confusion - I joined in the conversation this morning as a couple of unistas were working out in local how to proof the organisation against spies.

    At top level though there's a lot of good will towards Eve Uni from RvB and while we like going round to their house and smashing up some toys we're only playing and they are our friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand this technically but not actually as I am not prone to attacking people I like. It falls outside of my fun levels. I do understand that it is fun for others.

      Wars and fighting are to multilayered for the simple ways the game addresses them leading to the broken feel. I think. I'm to ignorant on the subject.

      Delete
    2. The game is somewhat schizo in delivering pvp that can be seen as sport or as war when those activities in real life are in many ways diametrically opposite.

      Delete
  3. I don't think it's at all absurd to add rules and conditions to war. It happens in real life, and sometimes the belligerent parties even abided by them. There's certainly less moral imperative to create a Space Geneva convention or similar things (e.g. WMD bans), but there's no particular reason that two parties in EVE couldn't come to some reciprocal agreement that, war or not, it will be better for everyone if they all follow certain conventions (don't use links, don't podkill, don't convospam, don't attack 'civilian infrastructure', etc...). I think it happens less because:
    a) it's a game and no one sees it as a moral outrage to podkill
    b) victory by inflicting material loss on your enemy is impractical, people fall back on 'crush their spirit' as a tactic, which is not conducive reciprocal agreements to not be dicks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Within EUni, there is very little that RvB brought us a fight, but there is nontrivial upset with how we dealt with it. Learning experience to the face. All to the good, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sometimes we tend to take a too serious look at EVE and use words as War to describe it.

    It's more like playing rugby against your mates in school. It's an aggressive high contact sport, we use the same rules as the real "pros", it will have a winner and a loser but in the end of the day we pat the loser in the back and say "good game and see you next year for a rematch". Winners are happy, and losers go plan and train hard for the rematch. At least is what we did in RvB.

    We could have added rules of no podding like we have in RvB, but they are really hard to enforce and discussion about reimbursement for accidents would probably spoil the fun for people and create an hostile environment that would lead to real war which would be the same in space, but with angry people behind the keyboards. Soon mockery, arguments in local chat would emerge and instead of friends we would become real adversaries. Not fun anymore.



    ReplyDelete
  6. Also, podding helps people getting out of implants into clean clones :)

    ReplyDelete