Skip to main content

I Want to be Neutral

Of course. Here you go.

Sakaane's article is very dense so I sat down and read it a few times and let my mind stir. It goes back to the topic that has been floating about some about people who do not want to be the villain. People who want to be a hero in a game that does not have heroes.

I've written my opinion on heroes in Eve before. Eve does not have the classic structure where the player comes in and has a story line to progress where they save the world. The player is, instead, thrown into a game that is unformed by hard rules of coded and instead created through the softer, ever shifting structure of human social behaviors.

But none of that is new. The topic is raised that the Sandbox nature of Eve is a lie because people cannot be heroes and that the game pushes people, even in the basic hard coded structures, towards a more negative path.

I wrote a post for Blog Banter 54 called 'There are Only People Here'. The topic was about heroes in Eve. People define heroes in different ways. I, consider myself, to be a classic villain in Eve. I maintain a negative security status (normally). I PvP at will and without any other reason than the pilot crossing my fleet in low sec. For many, that makes me a villain and I'm okay with that. But, many don't see me as a villain because outside of those particular game activities I spend my time community building and helping other people.

One of the simplest differences between villianness and herodom (for I shall not use good and evil in this argument) is reward in Eve. To do negative things tends to grant reward and to do positive things tends not to. And frankly, this is reflected much deeper than the game and out onto human nature. When I help someone, when I do something for someone I am often the one giving and not receiving. My reward is whatever reason I have given myself for what I do. Is a hero a hero is he does a job for money or is he a professional for hire?

I can wander down that path but its not productive. The concept of hero is, honestly, somewhat broken and it is hard to apply it to the game because in the game we can be heroes quite easily. We just harm ourselves doing so. We restrict ourselves. We tend to place ourselves in a bad position because of it and I don't think that can every be fully 'fixed' because of the nature of giving and selflessness.

However, Eve does cause us to harm ourselves and place us in a 'bad' potion through game mechanics. I actually agree with that one. I'll point at Faction Warfare because it is, perhaps, one of the most clear examples where game mechanics clash with player options and force people into positions they should not be in. And, what makes it worse is that new players, gleefully running into an aspect of the game with a very defined system of sides and reasons for what it is doing can have devastating consequences to their faction standings that they will struggle, painfully to overcome.

I've said it about missions and it extends to many parts of Eve, currently, that cause co-op gameplay to be a negative. Don't join corporations because your corpmates will kill you. Don't share missions because you get less. Don't, don't, don't don't, don't. We need a bit more do. And currently that do sits upon the backs of to few people to support the entire community.

Let me roll back to one of my own recent ventures. When I decided to help Rykki I had several hurdles to climb. I had to ask my corporation to join her war as an alley so that I could help. The other option was resign for a week and I found that unpalatable. Because of Tags4Sec I was able to clear my sec for ISK and go to high sec to help. I donated money to her corporation that I earned so that they could be in a better place when it came to supplies.

Three things happened. One would have been a very hard decision carrying a weight of losing access to my corporation just to help someone defend themselves. One was recently solved by game changes made in the last year, otherwise it would have taken me a focused number of days if not a week to change. The third was a complete and total choice that I made that I do not believe I should be compensated by game mechanics.

Speaking of game mechanics, let's move to some of the game mechanic aspects.

There is a complaint about CCP calling everything a pirate faction instead of an independent faction. Yeah, they do. And that's marketing. It is one area where what CCP does to sell their game is going to make a decision. A more complex system of NPCs may be interesting where people were actually aligned with the NPCs and not just the players. What future that holds, I don't know.

I don't think that a more complex system where players can align with NPCs would be bad. I don't think that it would take away from players. We already do this to some extent. It would be more interesting to have NPCs become neutral to players. It would deepen game play for people who cared about that type of thing and that is the kind of future concept that as a member of the CSM I can discuss with CCP.

My hope, and it is one I'm sitting on, is that when the new mission tools are done, when we've worked on corporations and sov and POS that we can get some time to look at the structure of players and NPC interaction and give it some true depth and gameplayability. At the same time, I'd like us not to lose our ability to opt out or be neutral. In fact, neutrality is a very important thing to me. I do think that lost players would anchor into the game better if they had someplace to go and some way to help them define themselves. Self definition is great but it often takes a bit for it to happen. Saying that you want to do something and learning how to make that thing happen are different things.

I don't want to be a hero. I don't want to be a knight in shinning armor. I just want to be who and what I am and that thing will wander across both sides of the line from day to day. The pursuit of herodom should have some clarity but villianhood will always be easier and to many, more appealing. But, both should carry their own set of prices. Those prices will not have direct comparisons. For a hero and a villian are two very different people. The reasons and goals cannot be compared to each other but both should be able to exist and with the energies of the player, thrive.

Sakaane is a role-player and there is often a clash between role-players and non-role-players as to the players place in the game. I am not a role-player and I do not pretend to see the game as they do. I also think that is okay. Eve is an enormous game with plenty of room for vastly, different styles of gameplay.


  1. "Eve is an enormous game with plenty of room for vastly, different styles of gameplay."

    I feel that as more and more accept that and stop dictating to other players how to play, the game will be far better for it.

  2. There is another way to be a hero than giving to the weak: do bad things to bad people! For example you were my hero for popping that Goon titan!

    1. And that is an interesting point. Snuff jumped on that Titan as they would any Titan. The kill was not heroic. Some might consider it the opposite because we killed it simply because we could.

  3. the base line is this; there is no penalty for Recidivism. Concord and security loss have long since ceased to act an deterrent for criminal behaviour. The bounty system is again being gamed.

    I survive by being the needle in the haystack and a just another tree in the forest.

    I once did ECM cover for a mining fleet. Occasionally get to perma-jam some poor sap wannabe pirate. That might be someone's idea of a fun time or gudfight. It got old fast. Give me the damsel for the umpteenth time any-day.

    1. Because people don't care. They don't have any desire to be good. This is a video game and there can only be so much punishment before the game part gets tossed out of the window for some type of moral teaching machine. The entire game is based around players enforcing anything and everything but the problem with being a hero is that you don't do bad things.

      That means you limit yourself a lot. It is a problem with being a hero. The tools given will only make things easier for the villain unless you put in hard coded counters. After that, you've destroyed the concept of social groups defining themselves and their behaviors and the game defines everything not the players.

  4. I joined this game as someone who wanted to build. Explore. Do cool things like in the promo vids.
    Got ganked. Read out-of-date guides and deliberate mis-information (part of the meta, I assume). Died some more.
    Tried mining, industry, FW (d-plexing), exploration in Hi, Lo, and Nul. Had my own POS. Tried other stuff too.

    At every turn, after putting months into one project or another, someone with 3 or more times my time in game would crush me. Or a group would.

    Corporations were scammers, awoxers, or intoxicated frat-boys. Never have found a group that wasn't.

    So now I'm doing what CCP wants. I'm providing "content". I'm killing venture pilots near the rookie systems. I only attack those with less than 2 weeks in, usually less than 5 days.

    36 kills in the last two weeks. Not a lot by the standards of you "pro" players. But I'm doing what I can -- trying to convince people to _not_ invest time and money into this scam called EVE.

    I spent over a year learning how much of Eve is a lie, and a pyramid scheme. How much will be forever out of reach for a player starting now. Now I have a mission. Even if every kill makes me feel nauseous.

    1. For every high experienced player that ganked you, there were hundreds more that didn't. Rather than gank those under two weeks old, why not talk to them instead?

    2. I do. After I kill them. I send them links to info about stuff like T20 and Somergate and more... what else should I say?

      It is not like any of us newer players will ever truly change anything...CCP has let this situation fester for more than 5 years. It is "working as intended".

  5. It's too late, the "community" are forcing new players away and old players are leaving (e.g. Barakus recently).

    I think CCP are great but can't abide the community they've allowed to fester!

  6. Sugar, what do you think of the suggested change to the sec' status mechanic? under the "Concord needs to Math" section?

    That the alteration in security status following a kill depends on the relative values of the winner and loser?

    Your sec' status goes up if you kill a player with lower sec' status and vice versa?

    Hunting criminals becomes a valid pursuit, drawing people into low sec to shoot things without fear of losing hi sec space access?

    (Disclaimer: At the moment my mains next plan involves having a low security status)

    Is it something you can put before the CSM and/or CCP and find out what they think?

    1. Kudos to Sakaane for the base idea and to Noob for seconding the motion...

      Sugar I think you missed the point. Yes Sakaane was talking about playing the 'hero', but the salient point you did not discuss was her idea on how to FIX the Security Status mechanic so that playing the hero would not involve harming ourselves in the process...

      As you said... "The concept of hero is, honestly, somewhat broken and it is hard to apply it to the game because in the game we can be heroes quite easily. We just harm ourselves doing so. We restrict ourselves. We tend to place ourselves in a bad position because of it and I don't think that can every be fully 'fixed' because of the nature of giving and selflessness."

      Sakaane gave offers a definitive mechanic change that would allow players to act as the 'hero', and I do not mean as a role player, simply to give a rational and reasonable buff to intentionally PvPing AGAINST Low Security Status players. This is not role playing, this is just one 'beneficial' GOOD reason for PvP as compared to simply one more in a long list of 'beneficial' BAD reasons for PvP.

      Please see my post here for my take on this.

      I feel, VERY strongly, that the CSM should discuss this and bring it to CCPs attention.

    2. I've actually been thinking about how I can abuse the sec status mechanics listed. One has an alt with a -10 sec status and its like an instant sec gain button with less grinding and no ISK involved.

      "Exploit!" So have a greater GM load for all the people abusing it?

      And that's just the simpliest way of things.

      I don't think I'm missing the point. I'm sorry that I didn't answer it in the way you wanted it to be answered or focus on the points you wanted focused on, Tur.

  7. Solitary Pilot seems to be concerned about that fact that being a villain is easier. I dont think this is true at all. Being a petty thief or griefer is as easy as being a miner or highsec missioner. Ruining a miners evening by ganking him, is as easy as giving a new player a few million isk and teaching him something new for him to do. Eve university does this everyday. I do it every day at a smaller scale with my corporation. There is plenty of groups helping people in eve, all day everyday. But being good to someone means sharing something valueable for free. Sharing some of your knowledge, some of your time, some of your isk, some of your territory. And most people do not want to do this, if its for free.

    The problem here is that this person seems to think that being a petty thief is being a true "Villain" as the Emperor or Darth Vader is in starwars. But its not. Its just being a petty thief. Petty thieves are legion in eve, as are average scamer, average pirates, average gankers and whatnot. And as are average mission runner, average miner, average anomaly farmer, average industrialist. Neither of the groups are being heroes or villains.

    He also complains about adversity. Some of what he is talking about is clearly over the line (real life harrasment to gain an advantage over an ingame war), but most of it is just regular in game adversity. It is sometime hard to deal witht adversity, but there is a famous quote about the fact that there is no glory in winning without challenge. And what is a Hero if not a glorious good person? No difficulty, no adversity, no heroism.

    I dont claim to be a hero, but I fancy myself as a good person. With a friend I taught a group of new players what I knew about PvP, I took a lot of time and resources to teach them about how to fight, how to organize a fleet, how to probe, how to live in wormholes, how to make money there, etc. It took a huge amount of collective effort and good will for me and my group to progress, and it still does. I am not even a master in any thing I taught them. I just knew more, and I shared this knowledge for free. I have been paid back in respect and friendship, and with the ability to learn more with my group than I would be able to do alone. It would have been easier to join a big group and learn from them. It would have been better for my wealth if I would have keep doing incursions instead. But I would not have been specifically worthy of respect from anyone doing so.

    We are not Heroes, because we only want to make people in our group to progress, and Anoikis is a harsh place, where you shoot yourself a bullet in the foot if you dont assume by default that strangers are ennemies. Where we are now is not perfect, but it is rewarding to look back and see what we have achieved in 5 month, going from a little group of highsec miners and missioners to a slihtly bigger group of people that like each other, and progress both indivdually and as a group in terms of personal and characters skills, income and knowledge. Some individuals in my groups are definitely some kind of heroes for some other in the group.

    The point I want to make, is that joining or creating a community and becoming a hero in this community is definitly possible. The greater the scale, the more difficult it is. Chribba is some kind of Eve wide hero. And each and every subset of the eve community has its own heroes. There is definitely heroes in Eve, and it is definitely possible to become one. But you cannot ask to be a hero without working hard to deserve that title. And more than anything else, a hero never complains about the hardship that he had to overcome.

    1. You also missed the point, or more likely, you are semantically ducking it.

      A pickpocket is a much a criminal as a serial killer, the difference is not in 'kind' it's simply in magnitude. So yes, a petty thief (-5 player) is the same as Darth Vader (-10 player). Darth Vader just did WORSE crimes than the pickpocket is all... a criminal is a criminal, period.

      And all Sakaane wants is a balance to the game that gives as much benefit to playing the hero, IE fighting AGAINST players who prefer non-consensual PvP as it does currently for those who do.

      I myself have lived in Anoikis for basically 3.5 of my almost 4 years ingame... but Anoikis is, by it's very (coded) nature, very very different from ALL other space in EVE. High, Low and Null all have local and CONCORD (if you say Null doesn't then who pays the bounties on NPCs in Null hmmm?)...

      Anoikis (Negative Sec) has NO local, NO CONCORD presence at all and it has NO Stations, Outposts or Gates and nothing we do in Neg Sec affects our Sec Status... ever... So Anoikis is just simply very different and therefore played differently than Known Space.

      Sakaane and I have no problem doing the work needed to be the hero... We just want a balance in the game mechanics between hero and villain... and right now, the games mechanics favor the villain.

    2. All mechanics would favor the villain because a true villain would also pretend to be a hero to correct or manipulate what they wanted to do and jump back and forth at need.

      And if you put in absolutes, ways that someone once they decide on a villains path could never reach redemption to save the hero their path, you've destroyed a chunk of the game in the process.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Maybe one day!

 [15:32:10] Trig Vaulter > Sugar Kyle Nice bio - so carebear sweet - oh you have a 50m ISK bounty - so someday more grizzly  [15:32:38 ] Sugar Kyle > /emote raises an eyebrow to Trig  [15:32:40 ] Sugar Kyle > okay :)  [15:32:52 ] Sugar Kyle > maybe one day I will try PvP out When I logged in one of the first things I did was answer a question in Eve Uni Public Help. It was a random question that I knew the answer of. I have 'Sugar' as a keyword so it highlights green and catches my attention. This made me chuckle. Maybe I'll have to go and see what it is like to shoot a ship one day? I could not help but smile. Basi suggested that I put my Titan killmail in my bio and assert my badassery. I figure, naw. It was a roll of the dice that landed me that kill mail. It doesn't define me as a person. Bios are interesting. The idea of a biography is a way to personalize your account. You can learn a lot about a person by what they choose to put in their bio

Taboo Questions

Let us talk contentious things. What about high sec? When will CCP pay attention to high sec and those that cannot spend their time in dangerous space?  This is somewhat how the day started, sparked by a question from an anonymous poster. Speaking about high sec, in general, is one of the hardest things to do. The amount of emotion wrapped around the topic is staggering. There are people who want to stay in high sec and nothing will make them leave. There are people who want no one to stay in high sec and wish to cripple everything about it. There are people in between, but the two extremes are large and emotional in discussion. My belief is simple. If a player wishes to live in high sec, I do not believe that anything will make them leave that is not their own curiosity. I do not believe that we can beat people out of high sec or destroy it until they go to other areas of space. Sometimes, I think we forget that every player has the option to not log back in. We want them to log


Halycon said it quite well in a comment he left about the skill point trading proposal for skill point changes. He is conflicted in many different ways. So am I. Somedays, I don't want to be open minded. I do not want to see other points of view. I want to not like things and not feel good about them and it be okay. That is something that is denied me for now. I've stated my opinion about the first round of proposals to trade skills. I don't like them. That isn't good enough. I have to answer why. Others do not like it as well. I cannot escape over to their side and be unhappy with them. I am dragged away and challenged about my distaste.  Some of the people I like most think the change is good. Other's think it has little meaning. They want to know why I don't like it. When this was proposed at the CSM summit, I swiveled my chair and asked if they realized that they were undoing the basic structure that characters and game progression worked under. They said th