Friday, August 17, 2012

Risk is good, not greed

Blog Banter 37: The Line in the Sand 

"EVE Online sits on the frontier of social gaming, providing an entertainment environment like no other. The vibrant society of interacting and conflicting communities, both within the EVE client and without, is the driving force behind EVE's success. However, the anonymity of internet culture combined with a competitive gaming environment encourages in-game behavior to spread beyond the confines of the sandbox. Where is the line?"

  1. The line is not about a "golden rule" morality nor a "ToS" legalism. That is something beyond the confines of any blog banter and belongs strictly in real world laws and CCP's 'EULA'
  2. The line is where players stop making observations of the facts of game mechanics and begin speculating with a bias so severe it casts a shadow over not only EVE but any mmog. And it's a pattern seen everywhere. It's called "risk aversion" (so severe trolls simply don't have the word in their vocabulary)
  3. The line is created and maintained by the trolls lumping 'non-consentual' activity into the PVP ("conflicting") community exclusively. it's a bias that damages everyone playing in the entertainment environment of any MMOG.
  4. The line exists at all because 'risk averse' players demand a wingame button (both pvp and pve) that requires very little effort and risk on their part, and are blind to the nonproportional and negative affect this has on everyone else in the mmog.
  5. The line has a clear bias, once crossed, that is stated simply as, "this game is at core about pvp" and everything trollish stems from that mentality - because not only do the griefers (pvp) promote that but the carebears (pve) do as well. The latter in denial their PvE actions have an indirect impact on other players. Both profit when a mmog's developers buy into that bias.
  6. The line, if crossed, becomes a flamewar where both sides unwittingly (through arrogance and ignorance both) promote a one-sided bias completely at odds with the reality of the mmog they are playing and the asskissing brutal nature of the griefers is very seductive to the egos of developers who take this game way too personally (especially when they never have made a clear vision for their mmog, nor understand what really goes on in pvp and pve alike because they don't make the effort, but lie and say they do "understand" and that they do have a "vision")
  7. The line in it's endgame is an unbalancing out of control spiral into mmog oblivion where only the 'killer' types are left with their lips firmly planted on DEV/GM buttocks as they give condescending elitist prick attitudes to n00bs in help channel and get away with it as the developers look on blindly with their egos inflated thinking "wow, this game is at core pvp"...because when you get chummy with developers that is metagaming at it's worst and lacks all sense of professionalism.
  8. The line should not be tagged with a simple, "what happens in eve, stays in eve" cliche. Internet Spaceships is a serious business and the above points draw a line in the sand about not only in-game behavior but metagaming behavior both (and this includes developers obviously)
  9. On one side of the line stand the interacting PVE players and the conflicting PVP players...on the other side of the line its the trollish griefers vs carebears. Seen in this light the line is plain to see: it's risk, and if you're blind to the realities of actual game mechanics the corollary is you're going to have zero vision where the blind lead the blind.
  10. As for the anonymity of the internet, and gaming avatars in particular, i believe it's besides the point; A red herring at best, and strawman argument at worst. "outside the sandbox" is a loaded question, assuming we all agree the line is between ingame and reallife. I do not agree with that interpretation, obviously.
  11. As for the competitive nature of both PVP and PVE...that is the point, although i suspect the creator of blog banter 37 was partisan enough to imply that only PVP was competitive (non-consentual)...and almost begs the question "et tu, Khadafi?"

PVE is non-consentual - markets drying up, that 0.01 isk stuff, high value things dropping in price once everyone gets into the act, roids being popped and belts cleared. how about those asshats who strip mine n00b systems? How about the lack of office space at some stations? the prices of rent?  It might be PvE but it affects the players indirectly in a mmog.
"The sandbox. where the actions of a single player can resonate throughout the entire game world. In eve the choices you make shape the outcome of events...what matters most is the event was emergent, unscripted. Because, in the sandbox, all player actions no matter how subtle or bold always have an impact."
PVP is also consentual - just look at RvB. Faction Warfare. And how about all the "waaaaa i got blobbed" emorage stuff? One cannot rationally and logically lump 'non-consentual' activity entirely in pvp.

There's also 'griefing' and that's a pretty subjective term. any 'non-consentual' activity (pvp and pve) can be seen as crossing that line by some of the people in eve or most. Scamming, spying, metagaming, piracy, theft, racial slurs breaching ToS/EULA, et al.
But, we're really not talking about 'griefing,' per se, are we in this banter? It's more of how ingame behavior melds with metagaming both for the interacting (pve) and conflicting (pvp) communities

It's very bewildering, so i usually attribute any 'risk averse' mentality as either hard core griefer (who wants to be able to hurt others with zero risk to themselves) or hard core carebear (who wants to be able to have a win-button that's risk free, but is blind to the negative monopolizing impact that has on other players - especially other pve types)

To call this game a "social engine" CCP must understand the 'risk averse' camp has TWO sides (griefers AND carebears)...The griefers want a "sandbox" where they can kick sand in other's faces as long as it takes very little effort and risk to themselves; The carebears want a "theme park" where they can play a single player game with win-buttons everywhere with little effort and risk to themselves. Neither gives a damn about how they impact everyone around them negatively (in a pvp and pve sense)...both profit from trolling the line that EVE is at it's core PVP.

This game never was, nor ever will be, based on a "pvp" vision. CCP never had a vision biased towards pvp or pve. They hardly "understand" this game. It's typical of developers of mmogs to get too attached to their game and play whack-a-mole with nerfs against players who simply have to invent their own vision for the game cuz the developers never have (that whole "we never intended that" is disengenuous.) In CCP's point of view, pvp seems to be "sandbox" and pve seems to be "theme park" where in reality it's the hardcore griefers who want full-on sandbox and the hardcore carebears who want full-on themepark. To CCP it seems like both camps are saying the same thing - and they are. They're greedy risk averse trolls. duh. Tell me why CCP boasted that infamous line about "greed is good" and that will be your answer why they bought the trolls' lines in the sand. Now, CCP in their ignorance are blaming their problems on incarna failing as trying to be too "theme park" content and wanting to focus on "sandbox" tools to compensate...which is to miss the lesson that greed isn't good because they don't know 'risk' is good - simply because the trolls don't have 'risk' in their vocabulary. Can't really blame CCP...would you rather yes-men than bittervets?

The best way to keep from crossing the line is to remember always that risk is good, not greed. Now if the developers would only "understand" this game and formulate a clear "vision" that doesn't pander to the troll's bias we might actually see Eve survive in the long run.

The bright spot in all this is if the developers themselves make the effort to stop lying and create a real honest to goodness "this is what we originally had envisioned eve and this is how it evolved as a VISION through each expansion and here is our future vision for how the interacting and conflicting communities both ingame and metagame should be" then a line would form that promotes interacting and conflicting within the community that is eve, and without: Making it a social engine not an anti-social one.

Let's not fool ourselves though. right now it's the blind (trolls) leading the blind (developers)...just take a look at how easy and risk free griefing corporate roles and access right are, and how much effort one must put into creating a minimum of pathetic security against such griefing.  And that's just one facet of this complex mmog rife with similar mechanics full of risk free effortless loopholes for griefing that CCP neither "understands" or has any "vision" because they are simply blind to the problems about which most customers will simply quietly take their wallet elsewhere.

Quotes from blogs i found relevant/germaine:
"In essence, there are those who who strongly believe in their line in the sand. And then there are those who don’t give a crap about theirs or anyone elses." ~Aggressive Logistics
"What I soundly reject, however, is the idea that this competitive gaming environment encourages in-game behavior to 'spread beyond the confines of the sandbox.' " ~Han's Job
"The most interesting part about all of this though, is that deep down, we secretly like that its a part of our game. I'm not saying everyone is out there hoping and praying that the opposing alliance gets DDOS'd into submission. No one roots for the internet stalker gathering others' private information. But it is intriguing. We like that people are willing to go to these measures. Its part of our culture at this point. It is very much a part of our "Eve is Real" notion. Its an extension of the old saying, "if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying," and in this game, everyone is trying." ~Rollin's Ride
"So, sorry to burst the griefer/window licker bubble, but you folks are WAY outnumbered." ~Blastrad Tales
"It’s probably more interesting to ask the question “Where did the line go?”, since it’s much easier to answer: CCP took the line, and buried it in gravel somewhere for three months.  Then, piece by rotting piece, they ate it with a chaser of BrennivĂ­n as a test of manliness." ~Warp Drive Active
"'EVE players are the nicest people in the world,' Hilmar said at this year's Fanfest, 'because they get all their nastiness out of them in game.'  I think we all recall what happened that same day.  And it didn't happen in game.
ddos attacks on enemy super-cap pilots and Teamspeak servers were reasonably common for a time last year, as were such attacks on EVE News 24 when they published something that this or that group didn't like.  White Rose Conventicle claimed such a ddos attack on their website a month or so ago.  Personal attacks against EVE players are commonplace and only rarely acted upon by CCP.  War declarations launched for personal out-of-game reasons go on for months at a time and CCP declares it as a 'social repercussion you've created'.  People are hounded out of the game on a weekly (if not daily) basis."  ~Jester's Trek
"If you feel that there should be some agreed 'line in the sand' in terms of the entire gamut of acceptable behaviour, with meaningful consequences from some 'higher authority' for stepping over that line, CCP has some words for you: Harden The Fuck Up." ~Rinn's Rants

Which illuminates what CCP considers their EULA for: covering their own legal ass and not ours...and it's the only line on CCP's mind that blinds them to the law of unintended consequences - that trolls will take this and run with it until all CCP has left are risk-averse game mechanics because they listened to the asskissing trolls who promote the "HTFU" (and the carebears do it just as much as the griefers in their desire to eliminate risk to themselves)
"To be honest. I think the line that the majority of people would draw in the sand has been obliterated by the number of people crossing it. Surely, even if you are not a roleplayer, you should make the distinction between in-game and out-of-game?" ~Sand, Cider and Spaceships
 "The view that there is some difference between your “true” self and your “online” self  really clouds the ugly truth that such a difference doesn’t actually exist.  True, people can “act” like contrary to their real personality for a time.. but even professional actors, if they play their parts for too long, start holding on to various personality traits of the person they acted as.  All it takes is time.  It is a human trait, that is used for both good purposes and bad.  Having a role model, for example, allows you to “roleplay” certain personality traits and habits until you see and experience the benefit to them and then those traits become part of who you are." ~2nd Anomaly from the left

Opening up the blueprints

There's two reasons i created a corporation. 1) to have lots more item bays to shove my crap in so 'assets' window is ship shape and Bristol fashion 2) that all the blueprints i've collected and upgraded over the years can be shared for use with others as early as possible in their eve career in OMNM.

Both those reasons are why i'm reluctant to leave or merge my corp with another...Sadly, CCP has seen fit to neglect their duties rather signally, in fact, when it comes to allowing corp espionage to be committed with such ease. The loopholes are staggering, and the interface not at all user friendly when it came to knowing about corporate security and then finding work arounds to the glaring issues.
 There's not a month that goes by where i don't mourn the loss of Ubiqua Seraph. I personally never believed that crap about "we were hired to assassinate" and saw it just as another opportunity to grief realized randomly in this "social engine" of a game. I find it slightly disgusting CCP gloats over this yet did absolutely nothing to tighten up the mess that are corporate roles, in their "social engine" of a game.

What have i done to allow myself the freedom to throw my crap in corp hangars and on the other hand open up my valuable blueprint for corporate use as early as possible to industry n00bs?
  • On the one hand i've needed to handicap the "based at" hangar access privileges - i'd like nothing better than to allow corp members to rent their own office and be "based at" and thus have full access exclusively to that station's corp hangars. unfortunately, i need two stations that aren't included in the "other" category (there's only "other", "hq" and "based at") for my stuff. Why two? one for my personal factory location with upgraded blueprint copies and lots of ingredients to make stuff, the other is my personal piggy bank of toys.
  • On the other hand i've allowed early access to my blueprint original collection in all 5 stations locationed in Kourmonen (they all have public laboratory services)...There's a half decent work around to making this secure: in order to start any factory/laboratory job you need only 'view' access to the blueprint hangar. So, by limiting players access to "other" offices hangars to view only they can play with manufacturing and research to their hearts content without worrying they're going to make off with ur stuff. Then, if you limit 'take' access to just one corporate hangar (i call this "loot/industry") hangar, corp members can put input required in the process to that hangar and select that hangar for where the output will be. Sadly, i need to give these corp members "factory manager" which allows them to not only start and finish jobs but cancel can see the potential for abuse clear enough. If only CCP would give the role of starting a job to "rent factory" and "rent lab" roles and isolate "cancel job" to the directors/CEO (just like it's only the director/ceo who can unrent an office)
There's another facet to corporate 'roles' and that's the very aesthetic "title management" which allows me to group roles under certain titles that i'm allowed to name. I chose a religious overtone to my corp simply cuz i adore Warhammer 40k (although i'm not religious in real life)

the actual role descriptions for "station services" and "general" are not only cryptic, counter-intuitive and badly outdated...they're also FUBAR. plus ccp has a habit of fixing what ain't broke.

DEFAULT rights given at join:
  • they can view "corp members in space" on the eve map under "my information" tab  
  • they can put stuff into any corporate hangar even if they can't view inside anything  
  • they can see the "standings"tab in corporate neocom panel  
  • they can see the members list which shows the "last login" of all corp members  
  • they can send corp wide evemails
LAYMAN roles given:
  • "Layman wallet division" (can give and take isk to and from said wallet division)
    ACOLYTE roles added:
    • "Query" rights for the loot/industry hangar - allowing members to view inside but not take
    • Auditor general role given which is pretty much useless redundant and stupid. yay
    DEACON roles added:
    • "Query" rights for all but the last corporate hangar (security)
    • security officer station services role 
    • starbase defense operator and starbase fuel technician general roles.
    PRIEST roles added:
    • "Take" rights for the loot/industry hangar.
    • "Query" rights for the security corp hangar
    • Rent office/lab and Factory manager station services roles 
    • Personnel, Communications and Junior Accountant general roles
    BISHOP roles added:
    • "Take" rights for all but the last corporate hangar (security)
    • Trader station services role
    • Contract, Fitting and Diplomat general roles
    CARDINAL roles added:
    • "Take" rights for the security corp hangar
    • Rent Office  station services role
    • Config equipment and Config starbase equipment general roles
    SUBDIRECTOR roles added:
    • Station manager station services role
    • Accountant general role
    • access to all the divisional wallets

    errata and clarification of the official descriptions:
    1. trader allows access and view of the "deliveries" tab in inventory. also allows members to purchase things using corp wallet (it will appear in the 'deliveries' tab)...does NOT give access to the "corporate orders" tab in market.
    2. security officer does NOT allow "access to corp hangars" NOR does it allow viewing of the "deliveries" tab (new feature; moron ccps fiddling with redundant shit)
    3. communications role also enables the "settings" option in corp chat. It also enables "add/edit/delete" corporate bulletins. This role allows member to 'trash' corporate emails and delete corporate bookmarks.
    4. junior accountants can see the corporate wallet settings tab and toggle buttons but there's no ability to save/submit changes. yay. Junior accountants can NOT see the "corporate orders" tab in market (nor the 'assets' tab in corp panel.) But, this role does allow 'view' of the "deliveries" tab (items will be 'greyed out' and cannot be taken).
    5. personnel manager enables use of the "find member in role" tab (useless garbage) and view only of of the "role management" also enables a member to create/award decorations.
    6. stack all and manual stacking not enabled for 'view only' corp hangar access rights. neither is 'repackage'
    7. rent office role doesn't give the ability to unrent an office. (that's exclusively a director/ceo right) 
    8. station (audit) containers/cans are useless, crippled and downright frustrating. do NOT use them. 
    9. accountants aren't able to see corporate shares regardless of the popup saying that role is's only available to the directors/ceo. They also need access to wallet divisions for this role to be effective. Accountants can also view the "assets" tab of the corporate panel, and see the Corporate orders in market.
    10. Directors/CEO can unrent offices, see corporate kills/losses (in "wars" panel), edit the corporate "details" (although only the ceo can edit the hangar divisions), vote to (un)lock BPOs (although only the CEO can complete), kick members and access the role&title management panels (although only the CEO can toggle director role)