Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Optimism in an anti-heroic age

 Blog Banter #54: Heroes
Today's topic comes Diaries of a Space Noob blog and other sources:
Quick post. I was listening to a song and a question occurred to me. Where are the EVE heroes? Against a dark background surely all we have are anti-heroes? A lot of mockery is aimed at any who attempt to be white knights. EVE is a dark place and yet pretty much all other MMO's try to place the player in the role of some form of hero, boosting the ego and taking the player out of the humdrum 1 in 7 billion that is RL. Why have I fitted into EVE? Did I never want to be that? So I guess my question is:
Do classic heroes exist in EVE? Is such heroism even possible in EVE? How would you go about being one without opening yourself wide open to scams? Is the nature of the game so dark that heroes can't exist? How do you deal with that irony? What effect does this have on us and the psyche of new players coming in from other MMOs? Is it something special that we don't have classic heroes, or should we? Are our non classic heroes more genuine?

And I would add to this, who have we elevated to the level of larger than life heroes ourselves in the game, and do they actually deserve it?
"Who" are heroes? Is SirMolle or Mittens a hero? They are larger than life...people whose ambition beggar our imagination that we may do the same one day, or frighten us into believing they would only crowd us out and nip our ambitions in the bud. Whether they "deserve" it or not is besides the question.
Is it Chribba? how about Grismar? I'd certainly say Chribba is a famous figure well known and liked. What is there to debate about them "deserving" such high stature?
What is the frame of reference for such a question? I'm not going to deal with the question of whether they earned the fame or not. The fact is they are names of characters we know of in a pixelated universe we pay CCP $15 for us to pretend to work in outer space. period.

I'd rather focus on the definition of Hero and ignore the "who."
I go by C.G.Jung's definition of a hero being someone we place the best of our social mores onto and stop expecting it in ourselves.
We are all heroes, at least those that don't use the excuse of roleplay to interfere with the play of others simply because it takes little to no effort on our part. Heroes in the sense that we play this game grateful for the risk inherent in flying that which you cannot afford to lose. Heroes in the sense that we will try to warn others of griefers (aka those roleplaying the dickheads they can't be in real life; aka villains) and protect the weak instead of hurling as many of them as we can off that spartan cliff.

The anti-hero is that which blames the victim. Who admonishes the n00b with condescending talk about "thou shall not fly that which thou cannot afford to lose"...who ridicules any criticism of their grief behavior with hair splitting distinctions about how long can n00bs dance on the head of a pin before they're no longer considered n00bs. As though they'd not know a n00b if they saw one.
The anti-hero is that which exclaims, "there are no innocents" and proceeds to aggro trap in starter systems fully aware that CCP won't enforce it's EULA unless some samaritan happens by and bothers to petition and even then probably gets a polite "go fuck yourself, plzkthxdrvthru" from a jovial GM ever so serious about looking into it. yeah, right.
The anti-hero is the cult of personality. The ones that say, "internet spaceships is serious business" and don't give a fart about noble qualities just fame &/or fortune.
The anti-hero is the elitist prick whose peers snigger aloud, letting the sandbox bully get away unchallenged with the notion that kicking sand in a weaker opponent is somehow acceptable.
But, then again, the true Anti-Hero is the rebel - the person who isn't a team player at all;  With zero idealism, courage, nobility, fortitude, moral goodness, nor altruism. There's nothing to "see" here, move along. The sort of person who cast a jaundiced eye at roleplay excuses for griefing and exclaims, "well played"

But do we want a villain (a 'foil') so badly as a roleplaying device that we'll turn a blind eye towards anti-social behavior and say, "wow, he really did a professional job on that contracted hit" - swallowing hook line and sinker the griefer's excuse for hitting a random target in the wrong place at the wrong time??

Just look at CCP's ToS section 4 compared to CCP's smug marketing happiness about the loss of Ubiqua Seraph oh so long ago. Really? A contract from some mysterious patron? That's original *cough*NOT*cough*
By their actions, certainly not words (like the blind leading the blind there), CCP have proven they have stopped expecting heroic things from themselves and expect the players to police the sandbox. It's a fairly simple rationale actually: Every player is a hero, therefore why should we step up to the plate and fix this damned social minigame of theirs called "corp management: a lazy griefer's paradise"?

And what brainfart occurred to have them 'fix' jetcan aggro trap with a duel popup that is not only opted in by default but there's no opt-out option in settings? One misclick and pop goes the weasel.

When does it cross that ethical line from nonconsentual immergent gameplay that champions the element of risk into a clear violation of ToS article 4? It's like the judge talking about pornography: "i know it when i see it"
CCP has championed the smaller than life anti-hero to the point where their actions truly are larger than ToS.4, and flipped the scales so that the actual heroes are usurped in favour of the imposters.

I for one am certainly not going to fade away in noble sacrificial fashion. The pigs may have taken over the animal farm, and run around acting like Don Quixote bashing afk carebears, but that doesn't mean they "deserve" the pearls cast by CCP. To expect larger than life figures like SirMolle, Chribba, Mittens and Grismar, et al. to do something about it while we complacently toil away and do nothing to help is to stop expecting the heroic in ourselves, as C.G.Jung once opined.