Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Choice and Action

I live in low sec. I engage in spaceship violence another other players. I do this in a way that brakes the virtual NPC laws of Eve and because of this I lose security status. The loss of security status comes with some penalties. These penalties are inconvenient to me. The bulk of them involve restrictions to high security space travel without being engaged in a hostile manner by NPCs. The other parts have to do with players being able to engage me without any assistance by NPC spaceships or structures in various parts of the game.

People with negative security status enter high security space all of the time. With a fast ship or in a pod one is able to avoid the negative and hostile interactions of the NPC police. This allows one to engage in business in high security space. This business may be moving from one place to another (there are low sec pockets in high sec space and low sec islands separated by high sec bridges), buying and selling, or more unlawful spaceship violence.

Quite regularly people ask why can outlaws still function in high security space. Why are not they cast out? Locked out of stations? Locked out of gates? Sent to do their penance or fully kept from high security space? Why does not CONCORD pop their pods? Why are they even allowed to enter in fast ships? Where is their accountability for their actions?

The accountability is right there. It is there as the pod flashes red. It is there when the suspect flag triggers. Anyone can kill them. Anyone. Yet, rarely does one. I've seen camps on the high sec side of a popular low sec gate. When bounties meant podkills some people would sit and pop pods all day long for ISK. It does happen. It can happen. Yet, it often does not happen.

What is often being asked is, "Why don't the NPCs kill them so that I do not have to [do it]."

How accountable are the people that do not want the riffraff of outlaws in their space to help clean up their space?

Some will read it as my wanting more targets. Or wanting people to participate in PvP who do not want to PvP. I don't. I simply wonder what part of their choice not to do anything about their problem situation are they accountable? Is this an area where it is a good and bad separation? The non-violent, peaceful resident of high security space is good and should not have to put time and energy into dealing with what they could deal with because they are the lawful ones? It want to detach these things from the 'good' guy and 'bad' guy dynamic where reactions and opinions are based off of preassigned morality and focus on the actual situation and solutions available to it.

Spaceship violence is a volatile thing in Eve. Many people do not want to engage in it. I fully support their disinterest in engaging in it. I will never tell someone that they have to go and do X, Y or Z (PvP in low/null/wormholes) to enjoy Eve. I know that many people get their enjoyment from their missions in their very special, beloved blinged mission boat.

But not engaging in spaceship violence in a game where you can engage in spaceship violence is a choice. Not popping an outlaw pod, shooting a suspect thrasher, shooting a suspect hauler as it totes away the gank is also a choice. I'm not asking people to come to low sec or run off and gank newbies. These are situations where one can do something about it.

Should the players or the game control these fine details? The game lets the players do so but some choose not to. That is fine if they said, "I do not wish for violence." But if they are screaming for the blood and corpses of the outlaw characters and screaming for the NPCs to do these deeds for them, in a game focused on social consequences where the tools to handle those consequences are given to them to do...?

Is the answer stricter hard coded rules? Or should players be expected, at some point, to pick up the flexible, shovel and bucket to build their sand castle and go and do what they want to have done? Are we accountable to the game or to each other? For my actions should Eve Online punish me or the residents of high security space when I kick around where I do not belong.

There are anti-pirate groups, anti-gankers, mercenaries, etc. More often however, the more aggressive types band together. The fragmentation of high sec as an entity may be what calls for these hard coded rules. But are they what we really want? Do we want the game code to answer our every question and situation?

What holds people back? Inexperience? Fear? Loss? They seem blood thirsty enough as they call for the people to be destroyed. Yet, going and doing it does not seem to be an option. If one is accountable for ones action, it seems that one is also accountable for ones non-action.

9 comments:

  1. The main barrier of "anti-pirate" activity is the very low reward. A 10M catalyst that drops like 1M loot. An empty pod. Pitiful bounty. A killmail that no one respects a it's not "elite PvP". But above all: a very small inconvenience to the target. You did not "punish the bad pirate", you just took away a few minutes of his gaming life and he has plenty, or he wouldn't spend it on random PvP.

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    1. But a lot of pods are not empty. A lot of people would be inconvenienced. If it is always said that it does nothing how will we know whatnot does do?

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    2. I have to second the 'pods are not empty' sentiment. I did some HS exploration on an alt and saw a flashy pod drifting past me on autopilot*. I thought a good long while if I should pod him and figured that if he got kill right on me, maybe i'll get some pew in HS and he might have something shiny in there. So he got the Pod Express, I got a shiny pod mail and he lost 600mil in implants.

      * I can't understand why you would go afk while in a pod in space and even less so if you are flashy. Maybe he learned his lesson.

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  2. "...[for] what part of their choice not to do anything about their problem situation are they accountable?"

    In EVE Online, they are accountable for all of that choice, just as you are accountable, as you have laid out, for yours. How? by you both paying the price of your choices... in their case, losses due to 'not' proactively doing anything about it except whining and moaning.

    It's simple really, they perceive 'doing something about it' as a 'waste of their gametime.' They should be free to totally focus their time on what they like to do (and I will qualify that by saying, on THAT toon). IE Exploration, Ratting, Mining, Missions, Industry, etc., etc... IE PvE, or at least non-PvP gameplay.

    IMHO it is the 'totally focused game time' part that is the key here. And while yes, they do take the 'time' to piss and moan in local, chats and forums etc. to beg for others (preferably game code restrictions or NPC mechanics) to 'deal' (IE waste their time) with all of us who's gameplay includes 'initiating' non-consensual PvP against them, they are not willing to change their playstyle to 'do' anything about it. Like the miner who will never ever 'tank' his Retriever or Hulk because it reduces his max yield, and for him, max yield is EVErything.

    TL;DR, they are, in a way, lazy. They want to partake of and enjoy the complexity of EvE's Industry and Markets without the player interaction that supports those very same game mechanics being used against themselves.

    What I don't get is, if EvE was coded without ANY non-consensual PvP, how much Industry and how much of a Market do they think they would have left? They are caught sharp inna Catch 22 and they don't like it nary a bit...

    Too bad. It's EvE, HTFU or GTFO I say.

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  3. >"Why don't the NPCs kill them so that I do not have to..."

    I'm reminded of those scenes in The Jetsons where all George Jetson does at work is press a button. There's only 1 button, and I think he only has to press it once per day (and he works 9 hours per week). But he still complains about slaving over a hot button all day long.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhF4gu87rn0 (notice how he repackages his ship before going into the office)

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  4. I think many people have a hard time separating "bad" behavior ingame from "bad people" meaning for lots of the more outspoken "pro-highsec" players being an outlaw and being a bad person are interchangeable. That in turn leads to thinking about outlaws consequences not in terms of game mechanics but in term of crime and punishment; people who fail to make the first differentiation don't tend to have subtle views about crime and punishment. So in the end it defaults to a very human "bad people need to be punished harshly but I don't want to be the executioner myself" and the bad fairy has to dance in glowing red shoes, the wolf gets thrown into the well, the witch burned in the oven ...
    This is what feels right.

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  5. Suppose you live in a nice suburban neighborhood. You decide to go down to the corner to get a coke. There's a 7-11, a Subway, a grocery store and a police substation. You pull into the parking lot of 7-11, and walking through it is a gang member carrying an assault rifle. The other people in the parking lot are driving SUV's or small hybrid sedans, just looking for a drink or a pack of smokes, maybe taking their kids to soccer.

    This gang member walks by, and you can tell he's got blood on his clothes and he's carrying the gun like he wants to use it. You look over to the police substation and see nothing. You watch the gang member walk into 7-11, buy a beer, and leave, still holding the assault rifle as if daring people to do anything. Still no police, and the business just let him in and out.

    The people in the parking lot cry out, "Why was this allowed to happen? Why didn't the police or the business do something to stop him?"

    Your response is, "You have the tools to stop him, why didn't you do it?"

    The answer is not because we are lazy, but because that's not our job. Even if I carry a gun myself, its not my job to stop them. The reason we have police is because it is their job.

    If high-sec residents ask why nothing is done about low-sec people coming and going with impunity, the reason is not because we are lazy or whiny. Its because "high-security" is supposed to mean something, and we are wondering why we don't get it. What's the point of having the police substation next to the 7-11 if the police don't stop the gang member waving around an assault rifle?

    The low-sec player who comes to hi-sec feels free to engage anyone at any time. That flashing red is a banner of pride for them, and most people who see it are not equipped at that time to handle it. Rather than expecting CONCORD to do their job, you're saying we should ship up and go for vigilante justice. For us law-abiding citizens who aren't interested in going out of our way to do CONCORD's job for them, why would you ask us to?

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    1. As much time as I spend comparing people's habits and behaviors in game and IRL and in their social and habitual norm I would never compare people's behavior in PvP to an action that they do IRL. The two do not compare. One is a video game and the other is your actual life. One you get back. The other you do not.

      They are not on the same level. At all and I will not touch that entire part of your response.

      After that:

      If you say that it is not your job in Eve to do anything about people you have made your choice. I did not say that anyone was lazy. I said that they wanted the game mechanics to take care of the situation for them. If I had wanted to speak of or point out laziness I would have used laziness.

      Instead, I used choice.

      It is your choice when you have the tools to do the job not to do the job. As long as you know that you made that choice and acknowledge that it is a choice you have made, your decision is your own and you are answerable to yourself.

      But at the same time, when you are tired of a situation and want it to change, it is also your choice to ignore the tools that the game has given you to change the situation.

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    2. You're right in that some things don't compare. In real life, most of the players of Eve wouldn't be wandering around waiting to jump random people and kill them for no reason. Yet here, its acceptable. You justify that choice by saying the consequences aren't the same as real life. Maybe not. But you allow the ganker to do what he wants, even if its not what he would do in real life. Why then do you expect hi-sec players to do what they don't want? If a player in hi-sec doesn't enjoy PvP, and wants the game to represent the criminal actions of pirates in a more realistic fashion, their "choice" looks less like a choice. Instead, it looks like you telling them they've chosen inaction rather than act against how they wish to play.

      The hi-seccer says to CCP, "If this were real, pirates wouldn't be allowed to jump, or dock. Explicitly allowing them that freedom to play as they wish implicitly condones their actions at the expense of players who think criminal actions should carry stiffer consequences than the ability to conduct vigilante justice."

      You argument seems to be that the game allows player criminal actions as well as player-administered "justice". If you don't like my previous analogy, how about this one?

      Suppose a player said, "I wish I had more encounters in space." Your response is, "You have a spaceship. Other players have a spaceship. If you choose not to encounter them, then you should accept responsibility for that choice." CCP's response was, "Here are some NPC's, exploration sites, etc."

      Now the hi-sec player says, "I wish I had better security in high-security space." Your response is, "You have a ship, guns, bounties, and flashing red security status to shoot at. If you choose not to enforce the security you want, then you should accept responsibility for that choice."

      It is not a choice to ignore the tools if you are asking for a different toolset.

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