There is an old joke that goes like this:
Two men are riding along in a horse and carriage. After a while the horse stops. The man driving the carriage gets out, walks around the front where the horse is. He looks the horse right in the eye and says, “That’s one.” With that the two men go riding along until eventually the horse stops again. The driver gets out, walks around front, shakes a finger at the horse and says, “That’s two”. Eventually the horse stops a third time. With that the driver gets out, stomps around to the front of the carriage and shoots the horse dead. With that the passenger says “Are you insane? What did you do that for?” The driver looks at the passenger and simply says…
Note: No actually horses were harmed in the telling of this joke.
The point to all this is that there are some games that I want to love playing, but just can’t. Sometimes these games are such that I really do enjoy playing them but there is some factor that make me feel about as welcome as “skin head” at a bar mitzvah.
Eve online is one of those games.
Despite what some of our learned readers and listeners may insist, pvp in Eve Online is not consensual. Far from it in fact. It was not that long ago I wrote an article for Virgin Worlds called “consenting adults and other Eve Online PvP Myths.” Now don’t mistake my disappointment for disapproval. In fact where CCP is concerned it is quite the reverse in my opinion – the devs at CCP are (at least as far as game mechanics are concerned) by far one of the best development teams out there.
The big “But” (no not mine) is this: if there is any game out there in the internet global village that is the equivalent of the lawless wild west, Eve Online is it. There is very little that the devs at CCP consider against the rules. Isk selling? Sure, as long as the source is CCP. Players who scam other players out of months or real time hard work? It’s all part of the game. I can put up with all that, but for me the whole “That’s three” was non-consensual pvp. And now, it seems, the dung is starting to hit the proverbial fan if only in some small way. Here is a quote from one of my regular reads, The Ancient Gaming Noob (see below). You can read the full article here:
“Gangs of suicide gankers in destroyers have been roving the asteroid belts hunting Hulks for sport. We just can’t seem to get away from suicide gankers in EVE, no matter what anybody says. Some people just find it too much fun.” – The Ancient Gaming Noob
And here, (in its most recent incarnation) is the source of the angst of which the Ancient Gaming Noob wrote.
Now for those of you who aren’t “in the know” where Eve Online is concerned, a Hulk is what is called a “Tech 2″ ship. It involves a great deal of time and money to buy or make or both – millions, upon millions of isk. The hitch is this – although you may have heard that ships can be insured in Eve Online, the truth of the matter is that a Tech 2 ship can only be insured for a tiny small fraction of what it costs, including the fittings (which can’t be insured at all).
Everyone who has ever played Eve Online will tell you, “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.” The problem is, you should at least be safe in high sector space. There should be some part of the game where you can pve without being killed by players who live off the misery of others.
There was a time when CCP sais they would take action on this. Here is a statement from an article over at Massively.com from August 2008 (Thanks Michael for the correction):
”CCP Fear states: ‘We have been looking at suicide ganking and overall security standing issues, and how these features affect the general landscape of EVE. We are not happy with the current ease of suicide ganking and the relative ‘no hassle’ it has become. In many cases, unsuspecting victims have no chance to escape, nor any help from CONCORD. We want to change this.’” – via Massively.
In the end, not much has changed between when CCP Fear made the statement and this day. Even if they had, those who are determined enough will find a way around said changes. As a Hulk pilot myself (at least until about a week ago) between corporate war declarations and threat of suicide ganks perhaps I had found my Hulk a virtual prisoners in space dock once too often.
There will always be players like the imbeciles who organize suicide gankings. Why do they do it? Certainly not for the money, as blowing up someone else’s much more expensive ship, knowing you will lose yours to the “in game police” (called concord) mere moments later only costs you money. There is a line in the recent Batman movie called “The Dark Knight” where Alfred the Butler (in the personage of the great actor Michael Caine) says “Some men just want to see the world burn.” The sad truth is that if you get enough gamers together in one place there will always be at least a few assholes out to enjoy themselves by ruining the game for other players.
Now it is at this juncture that some of my readers may point out things like “it’s just a game” and that is true. But the players who live off the misery of others, especially those who find ways to circumvent game mechanics, have a much more far reaching affect than that. Long run, if enough players leave a game, because of it, those same players could find themselves with no one to prey on but themselves. Eve Online doesn’t have much in the way of competition now, but Star Trek Online is just around the corner (Yes I am fully aware that are some players don’t consider it direct competition).
However, that is far from what I hope happens
What I hope happens is that the devs at CCP finally take a bit of a firm hand in things (something they are known for NOT doing) and resolve the situation. PvP is great and I am a big PvP fan – .just so long as both parties participating in it agree to it – And agreeing to it DOESN’T happen simply by logging on to Eve Online. However, as Michael points out in the comments to this article, if there is anyone who can “Square that particular Circle” CCP can – I just hope it doesn’t take too long.
See you online,