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Condition for Killing

Over the weekend I was able to attend a few PvP ops. One was third/fourth/sixteenth partying into a faction warfare takeover of a system. It was a scheduled fleet and I do love scheduled fleets. I died for such is life. A few minutes later someone paraded my loss mail in front of me in a chat room. My response was, "Yes?"

Kaeda commented yesterday:
"Because nobody ridicules losses in Minecraft & Space Engineers. It doesn't have the ultra toxic culture of losses being a shameful thing that dishonours your space family and is a blemish that can never be forgotten about. Loss is one thing. Being made to feel terrible just because you lost something is far far worse."
It was a simple and lovely comment for its truth. In Eve, we do teach people that losing things is bad.

"But, what about going and losing 50 frigates until you somehow learn by random osmosis?" you may ask. That is true and few people will berate someone for learning but they will still comment on their fits and what they may have died to. They will still go, "What was that?" but often with more curses and more insults to the persons intelligence and ability to fly spaceships.

We teach shame and it is a shame that we do. Loss becomes not just a challenge and something to get over but a bad and terrible thing that we want to avoid. And that happens because of shaming. It is extensive and it is constant. It is friendly and it is vicious. Cruise one of the killboards and see the endless snarky comments. See people apologize for losing things. It is a culture we have created.

I'm not a fan of removing killmails. I know it is the first thing that people suggest. Without the killmail the loss will not be ridiculed and people will be more relaxed and forgiving. The problem I have with it is that removing killboards opens up a lack of knowledge in what really happened. Fights become a mixture of fact and lies.

The lies are what bother me. It may be a me thing. I could always say, "Well I know what happened!" And that is true, I do. But, I do love knowing what happened. I'm one of those people who want logistics ships on killmails. The information saturation to me is important because the lies bother me so much. The gloating and the smugness that comes from creating a reality that only existed from the moment it was told to another person makes me grit my teeth.

I like the information and the tracking. I like the knowledge and the awareness. But, that is tainted by the shaming that happens over loss. I don't think killmails are magical. We have things like a culture of ISK efficiency where you lose a fight despite having kicked ass and taken names because your ship cost .01 ISK more then their ship did. "Oh its a wash." "Oh, we lost the ISK war." It makes me grit my teeth.

Loss and gain can be as nebulous as fun in a game where goals are self defined instead of preset and measured. Lacking a competitive nature, I spin off into the sunset happy as can be while others sit and stare at their measurements and mutter darkly at each other. Those measurements are fine. We all define what something means to ourselves. The problem is when that measurement is extended to another and affixed with duct tape.

It means that I wind up owning shame that is not my own. Yet, if I am not careful I carry it as if it belongs to me. Because I play with other people and our interactions with each other dictate our day, I cannot just toss every shred of responsibility out of the window. Still, I've found myself shrinking about losing things not because the loss upset me but because the potential berating that would follow made me want to log out of the game.

Maybe if I were a competitive person it would be different. As it is, kill mails have a lot of negatives. There is a culture built around them. but, before one nods I also point out that they have positives as well. I think that a culture would grow out of them one way or another and that culture would still carry some weight of its current negativity. After all, at the end it is spaceship violence against anther player. That comes with its own baggage.

So, no. I will not be the one cheering for a killmail free Eve. But I do, very much, agree with Kaeda. We teach each other that losing things is bad. And when you learn something from the start it tends to follow you forever more. And I know other's will feel differently. It's a big subject, well worth its own thesis.

And as for my lossmail the other day? To me, it is ample proof that I'm out in space doing the pewpew in new and different environments. I'm glad that someone noticed. I'm not shamed by it. I won't cringe that someone is going to spend their time being snarky and insulting. Instead, I'm proud. There is my proof in the pudding. The chocolate pudding. And that is my personal win condition.


  1. Ahhhhh... the Shame Game. I was almost drawn into it way back when myself... We had joined our first Alliance, got war dec'ed, some folks lost ships, a few kept losing ships, and the end product was a general Alliance "DOCK THE FUK UP DAMN YOU ALL!!!" ...

    Well, THAT got nothing but damned boring quickly. This was also one of the (numerous) factors that ended up in our little band moving permanently to Anoikis... War Decs dunt mean nuthin there and it was just 2 corps instead of the whole Alliance and those of us in the hole only use KBs as a way of seeing what happened, who was involved, to critique (not criticize) and to learn fits and discuss tactics.

    Later, in SYJ Alliance, KB stats were used by many older vets to shame those who lost ships, but a few, the good ones, used them to teach and we did have many Doctrine Fits, so that was, to a degree, avoidable... but then the asshats would jump on WHY you lost and try and shame you that way...

    I had by then reached a point where I ignored the assholes and learned as much as I could from the decent guys... Oh and we did one other thing... seems that if you take the time to look, you can ALWAYS find some real shits fits and poor losses on ANYONES KB... so when someone got really shitty, we just posted links to their fails and then ignored the froth of "YEA!!?!? SO!?!? I KNOW BETTER NOW!!" ya-da ya-da ya-da...

    I gotta admit though... I have died so many times in Minecraft I feel like I am going for a record or something... and no one cares one bit. =]

    1. Minecraft - I make my son's heads explode by playing on Hardcore, with the goal of being able to cure zombie villagers to the point of having my own village with 10 villagers (none from an existing village). This means being able to construct a portal to the nether to collect materials to make the potions to cure the zombie villager. Its very hard to do without dying in stupid ways (or by creeper surprise). and on hardcore once you die, the world is deleted. I've been able to do it twice, but failed dozens of times, each death scrubbing days of effort. The boys don't understand why I do such a thing, and they feel the pain of those deaths.

      so many minecraft deaths, but someone does care when I die :)

    2. My 11 y.o dottir has been playing Mncrft for 4 years... and she is SOOOOOO bittervet about it when I play as I am "Such a NOOB Da!" as she puts it... LOL

      I play Survival/Normal and I have lost all the villagers in one town, but I locked all of the others in another all up, then got the Wall and Portcullis finished before I let em back out. But now I am exploring a really huge cavern complex below the town and I have died so damn many times and lost so damn much STUFF!!!!!! ARRRRRGHHHHHH!!!!!! Boo thinks it's hilarious... =]

  2. Kinda sorta but not at all off topic. I've long wanted killmails and killboards to change to a Kill/Assist system. I've always found the idea that everyone involved is credited with a kill to be toxic to Eve. It artificially inflates efficiency to where everyone who really wants to can walk around with 90%+ and look down from mount epeen at those without. People gloat about that number, they kick them from the corp if they drop below a specific value.

    And it goes well beyond just the bad math for efficiency. A long time ago 10 people were a large roaming fleet. You were more likely to see 2's and 3's out an about. Back then you could look at a killmail between equally sized forces and have an idea of what happened in a specific engagement. But, as fleets get larger killmails mean less. If you can look at the killmails of B-R and figure out what was happening from anything but a high level birds eye overview, you're lying. There isn't a single thing anyone can learn from them to make themselves better pilots. A better FC... maybe... I'm dubious about that, but maybe.

    I don't know how to make them useful, I honestly don't. Given the option of what to do and if I had unlimited server resources, I'd outright delete Killmails and Killboards and instead implement a Battle Recorder. That way pilots could pan around the fight, slow down, rewind, and play as a fight happened to learn with.

    If someone sent me a link to a battle record they thought was interesting, I'd look at that. But with what we have now, I can't even remember the last time I looked at either a killmail or a killboard. I don't even look at my own. They just hold no meaning beyond getting sucked into **** measuring contests.

  3. I think there is a middle ground between the current toxic environment and the no-killboard which allows denial: "no, the fight didn't even happen, you can't prove it.

    It is *delaying* kill reports. When you kill someone, both the ingame screen and the API report appears 48 hours later. So you still can sit down with a newbie of your corp and tell him what he did wrong and competitive people would still have the statistics, but no one could rub a kill link into the face of another. I mean sending a mail 2 days later "i ownd ur ass n00b" is rather pathetic than angering.

  4. When recruiting corps to my alliance or members to my corp the question about killboard stats frequently comes up. I tell everyone the same thing - Green is better than red but red is better than an empty killboard.

    It's very easy to avoid loses in EVE if you never log on and play. Where's the fun in that though?

    1. In other games that are, you know, more fun to actually play while hanging out in a Jibberjabberjive channel, waiting for someone to :create content:.

  5. The sad thing is Eve does not celebrate the Sacrifice, the Novelty or the Innovation. Killmails remain a one-sided affair that only report the loss. Read through the Game of Century (Chess) there is more weight put on Fischer's good play verses Byrne's underestimating. (and its generally true of most Chess media). We get to see both sides of the table. It is something interesting to read when a master stumbles, but I am not a sadist that prefers someone's failure. Maybe killmails should include the victor's fitting - that is also a lesson to learn from.

  6. It takes two entities to successfully shame. One who disgraces and another who accepts the designation. Sans both parties’ actions, a successful shaming will not occur. None of this is fact based. It’s all interpretation.

    I happen to be the CEO of a small corp in an alliance that occasionally gets in a conniption fit over expensive losses. In response I’ve informed my corpies that should alliance ire get pointed our way, they can rest assured I’ll be on their side rather than our sometimes persnickety alliance’s side. Sure I keep an eye on the killboard to see what’s up and I even look in on our losses but, importantly, because I’m curious just how *bold* our pilots are.

    Sugar, I truly believe you when you say you’ve not been shamed by your loss. At the same time, I’m a little dubious when you claim you’re not a competitive person. One doesn’t get on the CSM lacking a strong desire to win. That being said, one can be competitive sans desire to shame others. Though often linked, there’s no requirement they be so.

    1. I know that one has to accept shame. I have done it for a while and I had to stop myself from doing it. Still, the pressure is unplesant. There are few things I dislike more than seeing someone ranting about someone elses lost and berating them for it. It causes me to speak up and often get into fights with people for how poorly they treated that person.

      I have decided not to sit quietly and watch other people be abused.

      As for the CSM, that's a very common response these days, Dire when I say I'm not competitive.

      I'd urge you to go read what I wrote in Feburary. I ran for the CSM not off of a desire to win, beat anyone, or be on some list, be known, or anything else.

      I did it because I believed that it needed to be done. I believed that I had the strenght to do it and do my hardest if I made it. I did it because I do not believe in hoping that someone else will come along and do what needs to be done. I did it for my love of this game and my love of low sec. I did it because I wanted something particular from a CSM rep and I realized that I would have to go make that happen.

      The CSM is many things to me but it is not 'winning a competition'. I never said I was the best rep. I've been told that I'm not the poster child for low sec. And that is fine. I never promised perfection just to try. But never, ever, did I do it to win over anyone. And if I had not made it I would have accept that I was not who people wished for at that time. And that too, is okay.

  7. I did it because I believed that it needed to be done. I believed that I had the strenght to do it and do my hardest if I made it. I did it because I do not believe in hoping that someone else will come along and do what needs to be done. I did it for my love of this game and my love of low sec. I did it because I wanted something particular from a CSM rep and I realized that I would have to go make that happen.

    The music swells! A tear springs into the eye!

    Aw, shucks. Your humbleness humbles me. You're still my fave rep.

  8. I'm glad you wrote about this subject.

    I used to be a merc in a merc alliance some years back. Generally, the measurement of success for a merc outfit is their kill ratio. It show proof of their ability to successfully complete a contract IF the contract goal is to 'kill' the other guy. But not all contracts are kill contracts. In that aspect killboards are a necessary evil.

    On the other I fully understand ridicule and shaming from losses. When a corp I belonged to joined an alliance that was a member of the HBC TEST members, an alliance that supposedly gave no f**ks, would absolutely pummel any pilot that lost anything. A JF or freighter loss would generate so much rabid frothing by way of comments on the killboard host site to the coalition forums. It angered me to the point of hating them. The culture of a gaming group is so rampant throughout Eve. And it's a shame.

    I can be a real arse at times. I admit that. But gawd-damnit the abuse and literal shaming of makes one not to participate at all. And then the berating and slamming for not producing because of that spurs more shaming and berating. It's a vicious cycle you've touched upon here. I don't know how one breaks that cycle that is so deeply ingrained in an anonymous internet culture.

    Nice read.

    1. And I wish that there was another measure for mercs. I'd you get your job done and fulfill your contract who cares how you did it? Having to have green kiklboards to prove to clients and prospects that you are good is a Terribly constructive path. What better ways could there be?

  9. The more losses on a killboard the more willing a pilot is to throw themselves into the fire. Two of my all time favorite PVP pilots to fly with had tons of losses (Ant Ant and crazy man Decko Alpha). Internet Spaceships when flown with reckless abandon and some skill can accomplish amazing things.

    Don't accept shame, throw it back in their face and go find something to else to pew :)

    - Than

    1. My losses are low for my kills. However, I've never hidden the fact that I am a gang pilot and not a soloistm

  10. I have often wondered how different my in game experience would be without killboards. In a lot of ways it might be more interesting.

    - How would we measure ourselves if nobody is keeping score. If the score is so important why isn't ccp doing it in a perfect manner. As it stands it's like having a sporting event with really bad referees. Boost toons, logistics, tacklers waiting on the far side of the gate, scouts and others who contribute to the success are not counted.

    - When wandering through space and encountering a ship which likely contains no value would I still kill it? The board encourages me to.

    - Vessels taken because the pilot ejected are a bigger accomplishment than a mere kill yet it is not counted either so this sort of win is not focused on.

    - Yes shame prevents other encounters.

    - Without a board perhaps we would focus more on objectives such as holding the field rather than merely snipe and go.

    - I have not seen an industrial board proclaiming who is the greatest builder or miner or mission bear, surely they must measure themselves against some bar and they do not seem unhappy for lacking a board that proclaims who is the greatest marketeer.

    - without the board reputation would be more important. Currently statistics dominate.

    I can't see discontinuing killboards, however, my eve would be more interesting without them. Perhaps it is time to re - invent the concept.


    1. Perhaps an easy first step to cleaning up the bad refereeing would be to include all pilots in fleet at the time of the kill in two new sections, one for the aggressors support fleet, another for the defenders. Also list what system they each pilot was in, what ship they were flying, if they were on grid and what active links were in play at the moment of death. Do this for both sides adding a section for the fleet that was supporting the lost ship. The boards could then implement their own logic of what to reprint. Some might elect to include only logi, another might include combat ships in system or perhaps even the adjacent system. Some might ignore links, others might feature it; but at least the information would be available.

      It would also be nice to include unimportant details like the names the players gave the involved ships. It sounds silly, bit that name is an important part of the story to me when it is my ship. Taking it a step further and perhaps it's more for the killboards to do than ccp, the fit could be made less important by making the opening screen the encounter showing who was there in what ships with some summary numbers lime total damage received or isk destroyed / dropped and the story of the fitting buried down a level where only the curious venture.

    2. Seriously, how much activity in EVE is driven by the pursuit of kill mails, and how different would the game be without them as a factor?

      I can only think that it would change the game for the better.

  11. The shaming culture surrounding KBs - including requirements for X number of kills or Y efficiency or the "we don't care about KB but we'll still jump on you for what we think are silly losses" etc - is part of the reason I've finally given up on EvE and let my accounts lapse.

    Trying to find decent groups to fly with, groups who want to have fun - not be reckless, but not be super serious - is like looking for a RL job. Even w-space is polluted with the KB disease. For my money, that's way too much effort and negativity for what should be a pleasing pass-time.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Sugar. Its a fight that needs to be fought. Hopefully it'll begin to make a difference sooner rather than later.

    1. I understand all to well that sometimes you realize you can not handle an enviorment anymore even when others thrice in it.

      The swim upriver is exhausting. Don't be a stranger. I'll keep paddling for us both.

  12. Change the killboard to a storyboard. Instead of focusing on this kill then that kill then some loss wouldn't it be more fun if it said these guys went on a 50 jump roam and had this encounter then that encounter meanwhile back at home some retrievers got dumpsterd. It's a subtle thing but if the focus is story and not kills the outcome might be different. The story format is more about showing activity rather than efficency. Also killing a fleet scythe named "rampaging rhino" is much more interesting than killing a nameless one.

    - Kynric

  13. Reading through all the comments of this made me remember an article Jester wrote a year or so ago about how Eve is a game where you win by learning from other people's mistakes, not your own. You just have to hope someone messes up before you do before you do so you can learn from it first. All the little unspoken rules, gotchas, and weird mechanics.

    I tried to find the original article to re-read it, but my google foo is not strong today. Anyway....

    I think about that article a lot, not because I agree with it absolutely, but it encapsulated an idea I didn't know I had. So now whenever I read about mechanics or features of Eve, there is a small little part of my brain that constantly asks these questions, "What poor fool is going to run headlong into this unknowingly and unsubscribe over it?", and, "What are his/her corpies going to learn from it?".

    So. Since we all know someone who's ran straight into the culture of Killmails and Killboards, what exactly have we all learned from it? Is there a single salvageable positive thing we've came away from it with in regards to the game? At all?

    But I'm not good at complex original thought. I let someone else do that, then plagiarizer heavily.

  14. "but they will still comment on their fits and what they may have died to"

    Why do killmails need to show the entire fit? Just show what dropped.


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