Friday, May 3, 2013

Ramblings: The Punishment for Evil


[TL;DR: Where I mangle concepts of good, evil, and punishment to my hearts content]

"I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."
                                   -Jessica Rabbit

"Make them pay, and I don't mean money."
                    -The Angered Murmurs of the Eve Online Forums

There are many people who are angry about the Tags4Sec feature. They want people to pay for their actions. They want this payment to happen before redemption  They often want this payment to be great enough that it moves outside of the playability of the game and expands into affecting the players real life. A true punishment that would so affect the person behind the avatar that they would become averse to casual 'bad' behaviors.

I have read everything from months long grinding to a decrease in training speed for every infraction that makes Concord pay one notice with the time frame of one month to pay for the experience. A month of real time to pay for playing the game in an allowed method that is not 'nice'.

Eve is about choice and we can all run around and quote CCP Soundwave saying that not all players are entitled to success.  Success does not have to be assured in Eve but that is a different aspect from a player not being able to engage in playing parts of the game.

When I wrote about Low Sec's PvE content being neglected and that perhaps it needed to be updated in such a manner as to assist newer players with keeping their play styles above water, there was a lot of commentary about piracy and 'you choose to live there you get what you deserve'.

What do people deserve? There is a layer of personal morality that often seems to obscure the more simple question of game play mechanics. Is something good or not good should not be dictated by 'well you don't deserve it because you are bad." I often see this method of thinking affect players opinions on things.

Objectivity is not an easy thing. It is one reason why we look for second opinions or third party reviews of various things. It is that narrow line between what I want and what is okay. The line goes over to far in one direction and we come up with a massive imbalance in game mechanics. It tilts to far in the other and something fizzles out and dies due to lack of interest. The sweet spot is hard to achieve and it may take more then once or twice for it to be reached.

But what of evil?

I don't believe that Eve is a PvP game. I believe that Eve is a game with PvP. If Eve was a PvP game such as  Dust, people would not spend time debating that some people should not receive gains because they choose to do unpleasant things. Because PvP is optional to voluntarily engage in and a player has the choice to attempt to avoid it and to not volentairly attack others it changes from what the game is to a thing that is part of the game. A thing that is dictated by opinions and thoughts, personal morals and decisions.

The Tags4Sec feature is one I am very hopefully excited about. I'm hopeful that CCP will continue to listen to our feed back to make this feature something that adds to low security space. Yet, in the thread for the dev blog explaining tags for sec, around page six or seven things started to derail. The topic switched from one that discussed the feature and the pros and cons that it had to one that discussed the morality of the actions of the players that will find the most interest in this feature.

moral
adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong;ethical: moral attitudes.
2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct,as a speaker or a literary work.
3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5. conforming to the rules of right conduct ( opposed to immoral ):a moral man.
 Morality in Eve is an interesting thing. In many ways, the only morals are the ones the social group decides upon. But, because we are people, we bring into the game the ones that we have worked under our entire lives. Some of us shed them, some can put them aside, but many continue to live by what they have always lived by. Let me say now that nothing is wrong with that.

I consider myself a nice person. I think I am reasonably pleasant to hang around with. I believe myself to be trust worthy and I will defend those that I care about. However, to the bulk of the game, due to my playstyle I am somewhat immoral or evil because I do bad things. Most of those bad things involve living in low security space and having no problem with shooting first and asking no questions.

The game does define this as, somewhat bad. I get a security status hit. The gate guns and station guns will fire on me. I cannot dock for sixty seconds. To regain the security status hit I will have to regain security status through engaging and destroying non-player character pirates. Soon, I will be able to lay down some cash and a handful of dogtags and do the same thing.

The question is "am I punished enough for my actions?" Or, that is the question that people ask. The real question seems to be more along the lines of, "am I punished enough for my actions based upon how my actions make the person judging it feel?"

If it is a fellow outlaw the answer may be, "Yes. I also dislike the methods that must be used to regain security status. I tire of engaging non-player character pirates and seeking Concord's blessing that I have redeemed my sins. Even the Tags4Sec feature frustrates me for I must collect tags and travel, spend ISK that I could use to purchase spaceships, and again ask Concord to forgive me."

If it is someone who does not engage in shoot first and ask questions later or who may even be a pacifist the answer is, "No. You did the crime and now you must pay for it. You must be punished and that punishment should not be light or fast but should take a long time and cause you to seriously engage in thought about doing that action again."

My perspective is skewed by what I do. By who I live with. By the social structures around me. They have all molded my perceptions. I've been in a situation where I chose not to raise my security status because the punishment was to great. But a lot of what I hear would push beyond the individual choice I have to live with my consequences and enforce a constant state of punishment that would effect every aspect of my game until a predetermined period was through. And is that what the point of the punishment inside of the game is for or is that what people want as their pound of flesh when someone does something they don't like?

8 comments:

  1. All groups of people be they families, tribes, villages, towns, cities, states or nations are communities that have agreed upon social norms and morality. When a member of the group crosses a moral or legal lone as defined by that group there is punishment or redemption at a level agreed to by the group as justified.

    In EvE, the social norms and morality and laws are set by the Empires and enforced by CONCORD... The only 'say' we Empyreans have in Empire is through the CSM and of course, in Nullsec the nullbears set the laws and have a better, faster and vastly more deadly response than CONCORD could ever wish for..

    We live in a society where the laws are far far simpler than any RW group... and Sugar, I thnk the world of ya, but EvE is a PvP game with PvE content. That was how it was designed and that was, and is, the goal of it's owners and makers... CCP.

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    1. We are all full of opinions on ways to define things. Eve's content is not all inside of its PvP. I tend to write on and use the way I see things. I know people won't agree but it would be silly to write with the goal of always having people agree with me.

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    2. And THAT I agree with fully!!! I too write as my Disclaimer and Comment Policy states...

      As regards the opinions, statements, tales and recountings I do and will post here it is highly likely that you may not, will not or could not force yourself, to agree with them or how I choose to express them…

      This is not my problem… and it never will be.

      I make no claims toward being even-handed, fair, or nice. I write what I want here. Any offense or difference of opinion anyone chooses to take is not and never will be a reason for me to stop writing as I choose.


      On the is EvE a PvP game thing, I have read a piece by one of the original creators that they wanted EvE to be a better Ultima Online with PvP being the primary goal and gameplay... (and if I find it again I will forward) That said, they realized that it also needed a wider variety of overall gameplay including PvE... what they got was Emergent Gameplay that they did not expect... They made such a good game that it became a true sandbox... =]

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  2. I am a moral relativist. I don't believe in an absolute good or absolute evil (inb4 Sith joke). Sec status is nothing more than a mechanic determining ones ease of access to highsec and and whether one cane be engaged without incurring the wrath of station/gate guns.

    It's a sum of the consequences of ones actions, be it shooting neutrals or shooting NPCs. Therefore to label the process to increase sec status as punishment is ascribing some sort of morality to a mechanic that doesn't care.

    I'll admit I've got miner ganking before, took the subsequent sec status hit (including a few for pods). I've since found it far more profitable to gank miners wallets by buying cheap minerals from them.

    To those who wish for there to be "punishment" on low sec status pirates, I'd like to invite them to come out to lowsec and exact some vengeance. Until then their cries of "morality" and "punishment" is nothing more than screaming at the sun for being in the sky.

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  3. I don't believe Eve is a PVP game. The biggest feature of Eve is the non-combat options a player has... whether it be exploring the stars for treasure, mining rocks, making ships, or even just playing the market. I'm a little tired of people telling me I'm not having fun unless I'm shooting someone else.

    The mistake here is that people are confusing in-game Role Play with real life morality. The game supports pirates, and mechanically gives them the flavour of that life (gates shoot at you, you get a special tag so people fear you etc.).

    Now they have a mechanic where they can bribe officials to get into Empire space to do more dastardly shenanigans. That's pretty damn piratey!

    The point here is that the sec status mechanics should not enforce morality, or even be there to punish. It should be there to support role play.

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  4. Eve is being sold as a 'fully immersive(spelling) science fiction experience' - how many minutes did the Millenium Falcon spend in combat? The real 'Tie fighters in the asteroid field' is how easy it is for someone to use Eve to play 'How much can I tick you off tonight'. There are some actions that are basically aggressive (ship scanning purely used to identify value of a target) which if they generated a suspect flag would reduce the aggressor/defender imbalance and allow more opportunities for PvP. It may not introduce much (you don't have to engage a suspect after all).

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  5. The question I would rather prefer to be asked is "is the penalty for attacking without provocation in low security space sufficient to dissuade not all, but enough people from doing it so that getting attacked is a risk, rather than a near certainty?". Which is admittedly not as catchy. But if the answer was "yes", it would allow players, especially new players, to enter PvP situations gradually, as a chance of occurrences while doing other things. As it is, and I actually doubt Tags4Sec is going to affect it either way, lowsec is essentially a free-for-all PvP arena. Which is not inherently wrong (but that really should be NPC nullsec, which is a thing that already exists), but it does effectively destroy any smoothness in the difficulty/challenge progression.

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  6. EVE is a pvp game. Plain and simple. Some people like to offer up something to counter that not everyone plays to pvp. Well thats on them. Wether you want pvp or not , at one point you will undock and someone will PVP you againts your will. So that is how it is.
    They might have pve content, but I think that is just a step towards pvp, so people can train skills while they make "some" isk. People like to rush into things. We see weeks old players on lolfit Battleships, faction even. And we get called all sorts of names because they didnt make it past the first or second jump into low sec and we popped their "shiney I just outran my skills" ship. People need to seperate RL from ingame mechanics.

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