Thursday, January 19, 2012

BB32: Against Your Will

      "A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option.
      Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online? Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"

Mainline Response:
     "Fuck anyone who plays EVE and doesn't want to risk getting attacked."

Less Popular Response:
     "There should be areas where people ARE safe from attack," and sometimes with a "...and here's my idea for it..."

My Response:
     First, I'm defining PvP as attacking/blowing up someone else's ship. Nothing else. No other form of PvP is under as much scrutiny as this form, not by far.

     Ultimately, EVE is a game. It doesn't have to have the same sorts of consequences as real life ALL THE TIME everywhere and anywhere. As it stands, EVE models things in real life pretty closely, and if you made everyone immortal and gave everyone spaceships, I bet the two would be the same.
     But remember, it's still a game. Not everyone wants to spend real life playing real life. In fact, almost no one does when you look at the number of EVE subscribers versus, well let's say WoW as the typical case. At any one time, the most logged in accounts I've seen online crested just over 50,000, and knowing the game as I do by this point, I can safely trim a third of them out as alts or bots. So at any one time, you're looking at roughly 36,000 people worldwide ACTUALLY playing EVE at any given point.
     It's no wonder you spend 2 hours roaming around for a measly few kills. There's hardly anyone playing, never mind those in the areas where you don't have to worry about CONCORD.
     How many people sign up to try EVE, only to find out that in their starting phase they get ganked. Frustrated, having to work to play at work, and not wanting to play real life, they move on. Instead of someone who would have one day become ISK sufficient enough to partake of PvP regularly or even just weather the losses, they've abandoned EVE. One less future combatant for all those who love to fight or at worst one less repeat target. I don't know the numbers that sub and unsub, but the number of active accounts at any one time doesn't seem to rise even by a thousand in a few months...
     How many people want nothing to do with combat, and invest everything into developing a super pimped out ship. It's akin to working on your car; you want to invest in it without actually risking it, because you want to take pride in it. Now how often do we hear about said people being attacked and robbed of that accomplishment, complete or not, and all the time it took to get that far. Should that player get fed up and leave EVE, it's one less source of revenue and minerals, of items, one less source of the stuff that shows up on the markets that lets PvPers PvP, and one less buyer of those faction, deadspace, and officer mods that help support PvPers. Drive enough away, PvPers will have to work a little harder for ISK. Maybe not enough to truly hurt, but enough to be uncomfortable.
     Is there any reason there should not be PvP-free zones? Sure, EVE is a sandbox, so what if I cordon off a small chunk that no one is allowed to be violent in? You still have your sandbox, and I have mine. Two sandboxes, largely similar, slightly different rules, and more people are happy and able to play. It's not as though preventing PvP in the highest of security systems would cripple EVE, or even muck around with the storyline, and it's not as though PvPers need all the hi-sec "leave me alone I hate PvP" targets they can get: there are plenty of targets elsewhere. Everywhere else, in fact.
     I'm not proposing a design to implement this, I'm not a game designer. That said, simply disallowing PvP in 1.0 systems should be rather simple: AOE systems are offlined in said systems, and targeting a player's ship is impossible. Simple. It's a bazooka, but it does the trick.
     The standard argument is that EVE is PvP, that the sandbox is a do-or-die jungle in every regard, and that the moment you undock, you've agreed to PvP, whether you know it or not. I call bullshit. Even CCP says that if you grief people on trial accounts, you stand a good chance of being perma banned. There's your PvP: you versus CCP. How's that sound? This standard argument runs the risk of ignoring what happens when PvPers drive too many non-PvP types away from EVE. a) CCP will be forced to institute hi-sec = no PvP in order to stay alive. b) no carebears = minus half of EVE = EVE is crippled at best, dead at worst.
     To make the best of both worlds, yes, I think there should be PvP free zones, but very few. Enough to accommodate those that want to stay away from the possibility of being blown up, but few enough that accessibility of targets is not noticeably affected. This way, we can have our carebears (some who will grow to love PvP, some who will hate PvP) keep playing and subscribing, who get their friends to try EVE (some of which will subscribe, and some will love PvP and some who will hate it), which generates more funds for expansions and dev teams and better servers, the list goes on and on and around and around.
     Giving just a few PvP free zones could do nothing but help the game in the short term, or at worst do nothing, and if it did nothing, it'd be a simple matter to just go back to the way EVE is now. Leaving EVE the way it is now and never even trying PvP free zones though...stagnation is the surest sign of death in a society, and EVE is no different. It needs change if it's going to grow, never mind simply survive.


  1. My first thought to reading this was that someone had hacked your account. True wanting to have PVP free zones, the same True who sat with me in a WH as we tried to lure some guys (later good corpmates and friends) into an ambush specifically to kill them? True who once flew through NPC navy fire to kill some wartargets? That True??? But I have to admit I read the whole thing and I can see what you are saying and why you said it. Having 1.0 systems free of all PVP would probably work really well, they have F**k all in resources anyways so if the noobs want something better they have to risk pvp to get it.

    Ranger Gama

  2. Hah, indeed proof that too much EVE can cause split-personality disorders.

    That said, I think your argument of a "nursery slope" for the benefit of new subcriber nurturing has merit, and your counter to the "undock is PvP flag" argument is solid too. CCP *doesn'* arbitrarily approve.

    I certainly can't see how protecting those who participate in entry-level missions or similar low-reward activities would have any impact on those who pout and threaten to unsub if that were to occur.