Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Blog Banter #22: Corp Loyalty

Posted: 2010/10/26 by evilsilents in Eve Blog Banter, Thoughts
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Welcome to the twenty-second installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month topic is brought to us by L’Dene Bean of Nitpickin’s who asks:

Why, and how did you pick your corporation? Is your loyalty solid or just until a better placed organization “recruits” you. The shorter version:  Who holds your Unshakable Fealty and why?

Trust.

It’s the single most valuable commodity in Eve Online; above Titans, above ISK, above PLEXes.  In a sandbox where backstabbing shenanigans are not only possible but celebrated; where impregnable, proud alliances are brought low by a single dedicated spy; and where your treasured assets are no more to others than loot to be scavenged and sold; trust is rare and vital.

There is the well-known facepunch test: that the only people we trust in Eve are those we can physically punch in the face if they screw us.  This is often the cornerstone of strong corps and alliances – a group of players known to each other in Real Life 1.0.  For a corp director or CEO, these may be the only people in their circle of trust, even as they direct thousands of pilots.

For those in W-space, we must trust those inside our shield with our ships, our materials and indeed our very existence – every pilot is potentially a source of an entrance hole for a POS-busting fleet.

Pilots join corps for a variety of reasons: reputation, camaraderie, opportunity.  Many (dare I say most) pilots joining a corp will genuinely intend to behave as advertised.  But Eve, being the king of the metagame, has many pilots who join with the intent to strip a corp of its assets; and smart Directors know it.  There have also been tales of CEOs betraying their members with a corp designed and manipulated to do so.  It’s a dark, unforgiving universe.

Awesome.

One can trust a corp, but not be loyal to it (I trust and support Eve Uni, but am no longer a member); one can be loyal without trust (as any Little Bee can attest).  Inspirational leadership, mystique and reputation can build loyalty, but only time and stakes can build trust.

Eve allows us the full range of human, and superhuman, relationships.  From the loyal friend in a rival corp who you can blow up (and be blowed up by) with no hard feelings, to the suspected noobie spy, to the gut-wrenching horror at having a misplaced trust betrayed; the sandbox allows and nurtures it all.

TL;DR: No fealty is unshakable. Any loyalty may be misplaced if the target is untrustworthy (whether or not you know it) and loyalty doesn’t survive a breach of trust.   It’s you and your facepunch friends against New Eden, with temporary cease-fires at best for others.

Fly paranoid! o7

Please note that the following Eve Blog Banter post is as-yet unofficial.  I just couldn’t resist, as it’s a topic very relevant to the whole purpose of Evil Silents.

Welcome to the twentieth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

With the recent completion of the 3rd installment of the Hulkageddon last month,@CyberinEVE, author of Hands Off, My Loots!, asks: “Griefing is a very big part of EVE. Ninja Salvaging, Suicide Ganking, Trolling, and Scamming are all a very large part of the game. What do you think about all these things? You can talk about one, or all…but just let us know your overall opinion on Griefing, and any recommendations you may have to change it if you think it’s needed.”

Timmy sits in his Retriever shooting rocks.  Yawning, he drags another load of Arkonor into the jetcan spinning lazily beside his ship, parked unaligned and solo in the midst of a pristine belt.  Bored already, he brings up his mining spreadsheet.  No need to watch D-scan, Local or the grid; he is safe.  Eve no longer permits non-consensual PvP, can-flipping, ninja salvaging and scamming.  With a few calculations, he smiles – four more months of doing this two hours a night, and he’ll have enough ISK to upgrade to a Covetor.

If you have played most other MMOs (for the record I was an endgame Rogue in a 2nd-tier WoW raiding guild for a looong time) you will understand that Eve is different.  The sandbox is not just a marketing concept, it is literally the case – every player action does have real effects on other players.

But many people do come to Eve from other, lesser games; games in which they had a slow grind upwards, risk-free, with the amount of input effort the only factor in their rise in wealth and experience.  They are conditioned to expect that they can play how they want to play, and others have no ability to upset that.  PvE servers on WoW are the classic example: outside of battlegrounds and arenas – tightly controlled and consensual – there is no real way for another character to interrupt your slow climb.  Effort = reward.  Linear relationship.

Then they come to Eve, and their slow climb is interrupted by a flipper, a ninja salvager, a suicide gank.  They are offended and confused – how can this be?  Another player has affected their slow climb to wealth and power!  Hax!  Griefing!  Shenanigans!

Welcome to Eve.

Eve without risk is this: shooting rocks and shooting AI.  Is that really what you want? Without loss, there is no market for ore and salvage because there is no market for replacement ships.  There’s no market for those looted modules.  There are no people to play Eve with, because they all got bored and went away.

Oh I get it: you want loss and risk, lots of it.  You just don’t want it to happen to you.  That’s the crux of the matter right? You want to pursue your strategy in a bubble, safe from the chaotic maelstrom around you, reaping the benefits of that storm while being insulated from it.  I’m sorry Timmy, that just ain’t how it works.

You are Tony Stark. You have wealth and power, obtained by providing the tools of misery to others for profit, all the while insulated from the harshness of the world you help create.  Then you are forced to confront the realities of that world in the harshest way imaginable.  Do you curl up and die, bemoaning your misfortune; or do you rise as Iron Man from the ashes, using your intelligence and creativity to forge a path to greatness?

Losses are without doubt a source of grief for the loser.  Whether you’ve lost a jetcan of Veldspar or 74 Plexes, it hurts, and I know that all too well.  But people, transcend your hurt.  The chaos and lawlessness of Eve is it’s biggest attraction – it is a big boy’s MMO, where you have to grow up fast or be eaten.  Either you find that awesome, or you don’t belong.  Unfortunately it’s as simple as that.

Eve is ultimately about the balance between convenience and risk/reward.  AFK mining Veldspar in 1.0 space in a Mammoth is low risk, convenient but very low reward.  Autopiloting that same Mammoth with a POS tower in it to Rens is also convenient.  But, as it turns out, high risk when you traverse known trade pipes in the process.  Mining to a jetcan is more convenient than returning to the station every time your hold is full, but you accept a risk when you do so and, according to the Eve Wiki, can flipping is officially considered griefing only in rookie systems.  You could fit a huge active tank and salvage each mission wreck as you make it, almost eliminating the risk of having them stolen, but you make a convenience trade when you do so.

I’m all for letting new players settle in, as I believe this is an investment in future targets – similar to throwing back undersized fish.  This is why I have a personal ban on targets under 1 month old, and avoid rookie systems.  For reference, the rookie systems are (I believe):

  • Gallente : Cistuvaert, Bourynes, Duripant
  • Minmatar : Ryddinjorn, Hulm, Ammold
  • Caldari : Todaki , Amsen , Kisogo
  • Amarr : Emrayur , Sehmy , Chaven

However, arguing the amorality of stealing is utterly bogus in a game.  You simply can’t make the case that it’s OK to blow up somebody’s prized battleship in “fair” PvP (which almost never happens), which they worked and saved for; but not OK to steal someone’s ore, salvage or loot.  Every loss is an ISK loss.  But though you grieve for your losses, you must understand that you have not been Griefed.  Your loss was part of the game, and you accepted the risk of that loss when you undocked.

If you get suicide ganked in highsec, you get kill rights.  Now you have a month to exact payback.  Exciting huh?  Doesn’t that add a dimension to the game that fires you up and leads you in interesting directions?  Revenge.  Locator agents.  Hannibal chewing on a cigar, saying “I love it when a plan comes together” with a mischievous grin.

If someone takes your ore or loot, you can shoot them without Concord’s interference, and bring in corp buddies to help.  Feel that thrill?  That’s the risk/reward centre of your brain kicking in, arguing with your pride and struggling with adrenaline and testosterone.  Why the hell else would you want to play a game, if not for that awesome high?  Someone looking sideways at your wrecks?  Bait them, trap them, convo them and practice social engineering.  Don’t be a victim.  Play the game.

Feel the joy of your loss, as it opens doors for you.

Timmy sits in his Retriever shooting rocks.  Yawning, he drags another load of Arkonor into the jetcan spinning lazily beside his ship, parked unaligned and solo in the midst of a pristine belt.  He grins as the can flipper beside him falls for the trap, and laughs as his corpmate decloaks his Rifter and blows the flipper to glowing dust.   Exhilarated, he brings up his mining spreadsheet.  With a few calculations, he smiles – four more days of doing this two hours a night, and he’ll have enough ISK to upgrade to a Covetor.

Other Blog Banters:

More to come…

Cherry… popped.

Posted: 2010/08/22 by evilsilents in Activities, Thoughts
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I have stolen.

It felt good.

After an hour scanning a likely ice system for candidates for my first love, finding nothing but a very well organised and staffed ice operation, I decided to move to a nearby intersection system to see what I could rustle up with my D-scanner.  I immediately got a hit on a Cyclone in a mission site, which I certainly wasn’t confident of taking out with my backup 2nd account but hey, who dares wins right?

Being a 0.8 system it was never going to be a super dangerous mission, but you gotta start somewhere.  In with my Vigil and nobody there.  The inconsiderate vandals from Fish ‘n’ Fun had left a bunch of half-looted wrecks in a one-room mission and scooted right out of local.  I felt it was my duty to clear it away.

Clicking on that “Yes I Am Happy To Steal This” button was cathartic.  I had a little evil giggle and pressed on, engaging my best W-space d-scan and Local surveillance.

10 minutes later I had about 300k worth of salvage and loot (nothing special right) and a good feeling that I had done something new.  Had I been just slightly more distracted by waking kids and inquisitive wife, I might have indeed pressed that “dock” button in my eagerness to enjoy my spoils.  As it was, the old Eve instincts kicked in, the hairs on the back of my neck went up and I paused for thought.  What is it.  What’s wrong.

Aggression timer.

My first one.

Time to write a blog post while I wait.

Fish ‘n’ Fun have not been heard from, and I doubt I will as they had cut and run.  Litterbugs, all of them.  Me, I’m happy to be alive and if I should lose my salvage Vigil, hey it’s just about paid for itself already.  Obviously this stuff isn’t as profitable as the 20M/hr C2 sites I’m used to, but the potential for giggles is much higher.

And if you’re not playing for giggles, why play games?

o7 Silents

Postscript: On docking up at the end of these shenanigans, I noticed a certain miner undocking in a Retty.  Checking him out, I saw he was youngish (though eligible) and popped out to have a look for him.  Turns out he was solo mining in a belt, tanking the 0.8 rats.  Hooboy.

Long story short, he was mining to cargo and unloading at the station.  Dude is more patient than me.  I waited a whole cycle cloaked up off his port bow to see if he’d spit a can out, but no joy.  He really needs to get a friend with a hauler :)

Hello world!

Posted: 2010/08/20 by evilsilents in News, Thoughts
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I’ve been playing Eve Online for some time now.  For a lot of that time I was a carebear, then late last year I joined Eve University and the Ivy League Navy with my main, Silent Bruce, to get some PvP.  I loved being a unista, loved the ILN and still think E-Uni is one of the proudest achievements of the Eve player base.

As Brucey ascended the ladders of the ILN, my alt Silent Shaz decided it was time to leave her carebearing ways and go live in W-space.  Forming Into The Pink with some buddies, she set off into the unknown.

Not long afterwards, Bruce reluctantly left the Uni to join Shaz in the hole to defend ITPNK’s POS (as E-Uni prohibits mixed-fleet PvP, he could not do this as a Unista).  A week turned into a month, and both toons remain in the corp to this day.  Wormhole ops recently ceased (as you can read on the ITPNK blog) and both accounts were scratching around for something to do.

So, dear reader, that brings us to Evil Silents.  Throughout my Eve career I have experienced much in the way of the dark side from the receiving end, including a very expensive suicide gank in highsec.  I never once flew into emo rage though, as it’s the non-consensual danger of Eve that makes it such a compelling MMO, especially having come from the consequence-free world of WoW.  I have never, however, trodden on that wild side myself.

Until, as you have no doubt guessed, now.

I’m going to see what the world of Eve has to offer as a game, where I can explore shades of morality that differ wildly from that which I adhere to in RL.  I want to know what it is to flip a can, to suicide gank a hauler, to ninja salvage.  I do this not with malice or intent to grief, but in order to get the full experience out of my subscription.  No doubt I will fail spectacularly on many occasions and give my would-be targets cause for great hilarity.  That is all part of Eve’s rich pageant and I wouldn’t deny them that.

I will adhere to my principles though, for what they are worth.  I know that the line between griefing and piracy is a fuzzy one, so I elect to define it thus: I will not set out to deliberately ruin someone else’s enjoyment of the game, as that is what I call griefing.  Non-consensual PvP and thievery are intentional, legitimate game mechanics, and do not constitute griefing even in highsec.  Having your shit blown up or took in Eve is a part of the game, and while that may diminish your enjoyment of that day’s play, Eve would be pointless and banal without it.

If you pay your ransom, I will honour it.

Toons under 1 month old are off limits to me, unless they’re in ORE ships or they shoot me unprovoked.  Similarly I will abide by my corp’s NAP with E-Uni.  Unistas are off limits in recognition of E-Uni’s sterling contribution to developing the new players of New Eden.  Note that this in no way implies an endorsement by the Uni of my activities.  I am not affiliated with the Uni in any way other than as an alumni.

If you do not fit into one of these categories, then I will look forward to seeing you in the black.

Please note that my activities are my own – as enacted by Silent Bruce and Silent Shaz – and do not reflect on the attitudes or preferences of my corpmates (though they may change their minds!).  It’s for this reason that I’m blogging seperately from the corp blog.  I understand that some may wish to wardec ITPNK for my actions, but as CEO I accept that risk on their behalf and will do my best to keep them out of it.

I will at some point update the Info page to elaborate more on why I think engaging in these more… unsavoury… aspects of Eve is legitimate and fun for all involved.

07

Silents