Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Currency of Trust

I will admit that the concept of spying and intrigue was one of the many things that drew me to Eve. It was not until I started to play that I discovered that I had no stomach for what seemed to be a very romantic idea. I like people. I've met very few people that I'd wish to never have known existed and for those, they are normally surrounded by a group of incredible people. At the end of the day I found other ways to keep myself occupied.

That does not mean I do not love the idea. The social interactions of Eve are amazing. I understand how people can spy. I have a deep loyalty to some people in the game. As I've moved around and gameplay has changed I've developed a core of people who I'd never want to betray. 

Betrayal and Honor are interesting concepts in Eve. I consider myself honorable due to my loyalty to my friends and that I keep my promises. I consider betrayal harming someone that one considers a friend. Other's define honor by the style in which they fight and when others do not buy into that fighting style. Kiting is honorless to some while brawling is full of honor. And beyond that, some do not worry about honor or its lack in a video game but just explore various threads of thought and interest, action and reaction, in an environment that is for the most part safe for that.

But none of this is about judging bad or good, honor or deceit. It is about my curiosity on how people reach their social choices.

I've had very close corporate ties and I tend to hold my corporation very close to myself. I have a very classic loyalty to my group and that helps to anchor me to the game. I know that for other people, corporations are a fleeting moment in time that come and go. Loyalty is restricted to a personal group or may not even exist at all depending on the amount of video game vs personal interaction of the individual. For some, nothing that happens matters. For others, everything does. Both have draw to their respective parties but most of us fall somewhere in between the two.

That gradient is where I find the social choices people make most interesting. There are people who are in and out of their home corporation and it does not matter where they go, they can always go home. There are others that burn every bridge behind them and bite the hand they used to play with.

But a lot of it is just opportunity. People change. Situations change. I've watched people join different corporations and their mindset and game view changes. I know my own reflects the places that I have been and the things that I have done. It is easy to question another's loyalty but we don't really know what may have caused a person to make the choices that they do.

Still, I find the espionage aspect of Eve fascinating. The paranoia is not just from the casual violence that we can wreck upon each other but deepened by the sheer, destructive havoc that the cooperation aspects of the game can create. Assets can be stolen. Corporations and alliances destroyed. The sandcastle is as susceptible from the inside as from it out. When someone leaves a corporation there is a trail of information access points that have to be cauterized. And that is not offensive. It is not considered rude. "It is sad to see you go, access snipped."

And how well deserved that paranoia is. I've seen misplaced trust land people on the wrong side of their assets more than once. I've seen people who try to sell out their previous corporation as a key to get into the key one. "Do you want cap kills? I can get you cap kills." Suddenly, the currency they are trading in is the trust that they were once given. Have they lost forum access? Can they get a mirror for the fleet comps? Do they still have jabber access? Whos alt is who?

In a way, I gave up the potential for spying and intrigue when I started writing. I indulge myself in writing out what is going around me. While, I try to share no more than the casual surface for others, I do leave my own doorway wide open for people to peek in. Of course, the paranoid would say that to is a cover-up. Thankfully, I'm not paranoia prone.

Still, I find the currency of trust fascinating. I know the simple mechanics of theft where a relationship is never developed. It is the deeper relationships that fascinate me. Do we come to hate what we loved? Or, is it all just business at the end of the day? In a game where who you are follows you, eventually, every bridge can be burnt. 

But, not everyone is carelessly burning bridges. Sometimes it is calculated and accepted. Other times it is just a hefty shake of crazy sauce on the situation. I find that I understand the espionage and the spy. I understand the calculated choices. I may not understand the crazy sauce but I'm okay with not understanding crazy. What I personally find oddly fascinating is the casually burned bridge to pander to another choice.

The ruined reputation does not bother some. For others, it becomes a type of infamy. And for the rest of us? Well, its a reminder to lock the doors.

3 comments:

  1. Playing Eve helps me reflect on my true nature. Does anyone really know who they are? Just they other night my alt was flying an InstaLock hurricane in lowsec when he landed on a gate with 8 blinky thrashers. My alt is a neutral with good standings. Here was my dilemma. I knew these 8 pilots - they are in the same militia with my primary character. I don't fly with them but I consider them allies. I sat on gate waiting for them to warp out but they just sat there. So I had a choice to make. Do I engage 1 or 2 of them and most certainly kill 1 (I had an instalock hurricane and a point) or do I let them be. They had no idea who was piloting the hurricane. I could get 1 maybe 2 easy kills and them jump in to hisec (Ichoria) after my timer is up. So what did I do? I let them be. I jumped in to Icho and delivered the hurricane to my pri. Some might say that was honorable and some would say that was stupid. What would you have done Sugar?

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    1. IMO, you traded kills for another currency: Stories. Next time you see those guys you have a tale to tell!

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  2. I, too, purchased an alt with the intention of using it to infiltrate a corp and help boost my wallet. But, in talking with the recruiter, some of the members, I very quickly started to identify with their goals and their attitudes. Sure, they didn't do all the checks they should have done, but in just interacting with them, I lost my stomach for infiltrating them.

    It's the rare person who can actually talk with people day in and day out, then betray them. I'm actually a little jealous... it's a skill I just don't have.

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