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Potential is Not a Guarantee

Risk is a very popular buzzword in Eve these days. Often, it is pair with reward. I looked it up because I was arguing about the cloak microwardrive trick. I'm told that it is risk free because they escape the tackle or gatecamp.

I disagree with it. Because someone successfully evades and escapes that does not mean they were not at risk. It does not mean that they do not take a risk. No where does 'risk' mean 'they automaticlly die to me when I do the pewpew at them'.

And then I asked myself, "Do we even know what the word we are using means?" I asked myself that because we have reached the point of throwing it down and asking it to stand for itself and carry the weight of the conversation.

I went and looked up the definition of RISK:
  • possibility of loss or injury :  peril
  • someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard
  • to put (something) in a situation in which it could be lost, damaged, etc.
  • to do something that could result in (something bad or unpleasant)
  • to do (something that may have harmful or bad results)
  • to expose to hazard or danger <risked her life>
  • to incur the risk or danger of
For such a small word it has a lot depth to its definition. Risk as a noun. Risk as a verb. Risk in medical usage. There are examples. It is used as an insurance term. It is a very large small word.

I do think that we are using it correctly. But, personal desires are getting mixed up into the actual usage. The entire definition of risk carries the suggestion that the action may have a negative outcome. It does not say that it does.

If you mission in low sec you may lose your ship. It does not mean that you will. It means that you have the potential  to put yourself into that situation. It does not mean that you will lose it. It does not even mean it is worth it. It simply mean that the potential of ship loss is the risk.

This applies for null sec as well. Null sec is not 100% safe. If it was we'd not hear so much about cloaky campers, fears of hot drops, and see bubbled gates that are themselves spectacles to amaze. Null sec has risk. It may just not be the levels or intensity of risk that the parties discussing agree on. There is a difference between a guarantee and the potential of a thing.

Really I hate hearing, "Its 100% risk free!" It is simply not a 1 to 1 scale to define the reward. It was wicked to mention null sec without pitchforks and tar so let me abuse something else. I will use wormholes since I know very little about them.

A C5 or C6 wormhole is full of people in capital ships that PvE in dreadnoughts and make eleventy billion ISK an hour with no risk. Or at least, this is what I hear. However, they are at Risk. They are at the potential of Risk. They are at this potential from other players and their enviorment. But let's say that they have managed this and they now have all of their special wormhole stuff. This stuff now needs to make it to the market.

At this point people will tell me that they make it to the market and make eleventy billion ISK. Sure, but they don't always make it tot he market. Sometimes they get ganked. Sometimes it takes them weeks to get into a position to go and cash out. Then they are paid back out and that eleventy billion iSK isn't just injected into their wallet fifteen minutes after they killed their last, magical wormhole NPC. Most often they make it to market and roll in the eleventy billionness of it and that makes sense because IRS a game and they did a bunch of stuff to gather the game rewards.

I use that simply to suggest that risk vs reward is to narrow a view point. The behaviors that a player takes to do PI in low sec, to move their cloaky stabbed hauler through gate camps, to get it back out, to get it to market are behaviors that we want to reward. They are possibilities to make those tools work.

I have a hard time feeling anything that might be considered pitty that your gatecamp did not cacth them. Because if your gatecamp did.... if it always caught them... why would they ever take that risk? What reward would they have to engage in that risky behavior that even puts them within view of you?

A lot of Eve's gameplay is about behaviors. Social behaviors. Human behavior. We don't have to be social. It our behavior dictates our play. I asked a few days ago if people would see a greater good in another player group large enough to see past a killmail. It is about trying to place players in the position where they make decisions. Some are going to play it safe. They are going to play it safe each time. There is nothing that we can do to make people who will always play safe no longer play it safe. They will stop or quit. They don't have to play Eve.

"But, Sugar I want to kill everything! Rawr! Rawr! Nomnom!"

I can't help there. We're not entitled to rewards. Be that ISK or killmails. We're not entitled to safety. We're not entitled to success. We're not even entitled to failure. What we are entitled to is potential. And we bring that with us when we start playing.


  1. What are the people trying to catch the blockade runner risking? Is the level of risk appropriate to the potential reward for catching the blockade runner?

    Risk/reward is one of those ideas that sounds good, but crumbles under any sort of critical analysis. The sooner CCP move past it, the better.

    1. Outside of high sec just being in space. In high sec a price paid. But even that varies. And yes it crumbles quickly and stops making sense.

  2. "We're not entitled to sauces"
    Pretty sure this was supposed to be "success"
    That said it works either way.

    1. I don't know. I am kinda sad that I am not entitled to sauces.

    2. The best part is I corrected my misspelling into something more awesome.

    3. Awesome, yes, but now without sauces.

    4. But I think something was learned today.

  3. Fellow CSMer Mike Azariah had a good post on this very same foolishness the other day:

    Linked together, the two posts do a pretty wonderful job of exploring the topic:
    1) Sugar Kyle pops the entitlement balloon
    2) Mike Azariah, sans entitlement, considers what it then means to earn reward

    I don’t suppose you two were coordinating posts but damn they do play off each other nicely

    1. Now if someone will just write about sauces.

    2. I make is reasonable Marinara in the crock pot. When I stir fry I use an off the shelf marinade (its stir fry and cutting all those veggies is exhausting enough!). When I go out I’m often drawn to Alfredos (mmmm, butter) though occasionally Pestos catch my eye (Basil! Basil, basil, Basil!) All of them awesome.

      We *are* entitled to awesome sauce.

  4. Definitions

    Risk is a strategy board game produced by Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro).

  5. Gate camps are like a grizzly bear standing over a small waterfall and catching fish that are jumping the fall as they swim upstream...i.e. a choke point guarded by something that can crush you easily. You don't see the grizzly bears complaining about all the fish that make it past him. He eats what he does catch until he's full and leaves. The fact that a bunch of fish got by him is irrelevant because his stomach is full.

    Forget the concept of balancing risk and reward. The balance exists in the fact that some people make it through (whether that's because of luck, planning, fitting, strategy or a combination) and some people don't. The gate campers will catch some percentage of what passes through the gate until they're satisfied and move on. They get theirs. Enough people who planned for the possibility escape the camps that THEY WILL CONTINUE TO TRY TO RUN MORE CAMPS. Until they get caught, eventually.

    TL;DR: If some fish don't make it upstream, there won't be any fish at all to feed the bear next time.

    1. I suspect the problem is that most of the salmon have been eaten, now all that come up stream are hungry bears and flying fish that can leap passed the bears.

    2. So now the grizzly goes onto the forums and types a long teary post about how Darwin ruined the waterfall because some fish evolved wings and clearly this shit should be nerfed, because how else will he eat? :P

      Right? :D

  6. There are numerous tactics that has been developed over years for catching cloakies. Ceptors with drones assigned to them, instalocking ships, bubble traps with junk seeded all over the place. Ah yes, one thing though - most of them take some skill to perform. So the cries for nerf of MWD+cloak come from people who want it easy, they want just to sit at gates and blap stuff with their crap fitted tornados or whatever else. They don't want to learn and get better at it. In the words of Longinius Spear, "f**k these people". You don't hear skilled pilots whining about nerfing cloakies, they are busy padding their killboards with said cloakies.

    1. This, exactly this.

      I have been moving with Exploration frigates through LowSec and NullSec since my second week in Eve. I knew the MWD trick from reading the Eve Uni. Did I loose my ship to gate camps? Of course I did! I don't see that there's no risk if you know the MWD trick, because there is a risk and people DO loose their ships.

      So like Anon said: people are not complaining that there's no risk with the MWD trick. They complain they cannot be lazy and dumb while the other side is clever and and skilled and still catch the latter. If CCP dares to even THINK about what those idiots say, I'd be VERY mad. This is bullshit. Can some moderator just put that in the forums from gameplay discussions into .. err ... I don't know ... unrelated ramblings or so?

  7. Reward/risk needs a total redo! Ignoring subjective topics like highsec incursions paying the same as C3 wormholes, 0.4 systems like Amamake and Rancer have both much higher risks AND much lower rewards than 0.1 systems like Anohel.

  8. I'm against the MWD cloak trick because it just feels like a bug. A mistake in coding or some glitch due to server ticks. If someone wants this ability, they should use a blockade runner which is designed for that

    1. So is jet can mining.

      MWD cloak gives greater accessibility to people trying to do things without training into a Blockade Runner. I like that.

    2. Heck, in that case the whole mechanism by which you warp at 75% of your current max speed sounds like a bug (or at least a lousy design decision). So should we ask CCP to dig into that, which would also mean taking out the whole webbing helper idea? Maybe warp should be at 100% of your hull's base speed instead, making it an advantage to have a running prop instead of a disadvantage. But it'd be a big change for people - if one that might make a bit more in-game logic. Be careful what you ask for...

    3. J Rosen, see Kaeda Maxwell's remark above. I'm having some difficulty not casting you in the role of the bear complaining about some fish making it by.

      The cloak trick is not idiot-proof: try it enough times, and you will screw it up, exposing yourself to being tackled. Also, there are counters. If you want to catch people who use it, bring resebo'd interceptors. The cloak trick is not a risk-free move.

      Also also, it is not a substitute for a BR.


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