Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bonus Quote of the Week: Coddled

I'm not going to wait for Monday on this one:
I am but a humble elected representative of the people.

It just so happens that the people love war, murder, scamming and sadism. vOv
Yep, you guessed it: that's the King of Space, having quite a lot of fun at the expense of someone who just willingly gave him 20 billion ISK.  The story is pretty straight-forward.  The Mittani occasionally advertises himself as a trusted third-party for super-capital ship transfers, similar to Chribba or Darkness.  A trusted third-party generally acts as an escrow service: you give him the money for your new Nyx, say.  He holds onto that money while you take possession of the Nyx from the seller.  Once you're satisfied that the Nyx is as advertised, the third-party transfers the ISK to the seller, minus a small commission for himself.

Mittens likes to skip that last step.  ;-)  Yeah, he sometimes keeps the money, leaving two jilted players in his wake, one of whom happens to have one of the best killing machines in EVE in his possession.  Even more amusing, like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, Mittens doesn't appear to take the money every single time.  Just... you know... most times.  Shocking, right?

I've already covered on this blog that you should trust a member of Goonswarm about as far as you can collectively throw their thousands of members, and I'm not going to cover it again.  Except maybe to remind everyone that... you know... Mittens is a Goon.  ;-)  That post can be safely expanded to address trusting any member of Goonswarm that promises you much of anything.

Anyway, the scammed party in this case, AdmiraI Thrawn(1), started himself up an EVE-O forum thread, entertainingly and self-answeringly titled "Is it normal to get scammed by The Mittani, Chairman of CSM ???"  There, he started venting his pain and rage, turning an entertaining scam into a hugely entertaining scam.  If you like tears, go give the thread a read.  Still, a post from half-way in caught my attention (quoted partially):
It seems obvious you're new here. CCP dev's aren't the least bit shy about saying how scamming/backstabbing in an MMO is something they not only endorse, but enjoy themselves.

Go look at some of the dev interviews (pick them at random) and you'll see this game was made by people who probably are cheering The Mittani on. You wont get any sympathy from CCP on this.
And any other year, I would agree with that.

The thing is, though... this year, a course change is becoming quite discernable in CCP's handling of this kind of thing.  High-sec war-dec shields and other means of avoiding war-decs are now accepted practice.  A couple of months ago, a GM scolded a player for killing a newbie in low-sec.  Hilmar and CCP Zulu talk in public about nerfing suicide-ganking a bit, and another new feature in the winter expansion is that suicide ganks will no longer receive insurance pay-outs.(2)  The official EVE Online recruitment channel features an official notice saying that scamming in that channel is not permitted.  And just today, in the client patch you'll be downloading while you read this, is hidden this little gem:
To benefit the EVE community at large, a small change has been made to game mechanics in regarding criminal flags and how they are inherited in high security space. If a pilot is remote repairing, or otherwise assisting, another pilot who commits a criminal act then the repair module will now disengage. In order to continue repairs the module will need to be restarted and a message will appear warning of the criminal flag and possible consequences.
It's "to benefit the EVE community at large," natch.  Slowly, in baby-steps, EVE Online's new players are being coddled.

Now don't get me wrong: I am and will remain an advocate of tearing down chunks of the EVE learning cliff.  But you don't have to wreck the soul of the game in order to do that.  CCP is obviously taking many of these steps because new players that are hit with these various scams and tactics get disgusted with the game and quit.  That hurts CCP's income at a time that they can't afford things that hurt their income.  And with Incarna out of the picture, CCP is still looking for a way to break EVE out of the niche it's locked into.  But this ain't the way to do it.  As Mittens correctly states in his quote at the top of this piece, EVE players get off on this sort of thing.  It's part of the game we love.  Avoiding being scammed or manipulated or tricked into killing yourself is part of the challenge of playing EVE.

For now, that's all I have to say on this topic.  But if CCP stays on this course, I expect it's going to come up again.

(1) As an aside, may I briefly mention that it's very rewarding to engage your creativity long enough to come up with your own character names?  And this character's name combines my top three pet peeves about character naming into one highly efficient package:
(2) This isn't gonna do a damn thing to stop suicide ganking, by the by, and you're living in a self-created fantasy world if you think it will.


  1. From a legal perspective, I think aiding a criminal (someone transgressing established law) is usually a crime, namely aiding and abetting a criminal. So if aggressing in CONCORD space gives the criminal flag, wouldn't helping the flagged individual logically be a crime?

    I know there is a larger philosophical debate about gameplay styles underneath this change, but coding outlaws appropriately seems to be closing a loophole.

  2. You are right about the lack of insurance not going to stop suicide ganking. But what it will do is cut off that particular isk faucet.

  3. "But you don't have to wreck the soul of the game in order to do that."

    If the soul is rotten it has to be destroyed. All those "game mechanics" that you mention do not add any appeal to this game for anyone with a half sense of moral right or wrong. It can be funny and entertaining to read about, but playing something where crime goes unpunished day after day is not as much fun. Yes it is just a game, but in a world where people get killed for much less than what virtual goods worth in this game, something just doesn't sound right about it. Tear or no tears, any one of those "criminal" is just a jerk who exploits a system without consequences.

  4. Consequences are healthy. Forfeiting an insurance payout for engaging in illegal activity is a gigantic obvious.

  5. Clever assassins are cool; dumb griefers are not. Especially if they are allowed by game mechanics to remain dumb and still be consistently successful.

    Current suicide ganking mechanic is ridiculous and completely immersion-breaking. Wardecs are so-so. Scamming is ok.

  6. I think the trend is worrying. The change in and of itself is a good thing.

    Scams and the intrigue of EVE is fun. Fooling and out-thinking players makes a good scam, however, using obscure mechanics to target specifically new players doesn't really add much to the game. I may be wording this badly, but scams should be about choices and those choices should be clear. If the choices are not clear this is frustrating for new players and the scams become heavily one sided.

    Scams ARE a part of EVE and they should be allowable in the game by design, but at the same time, it should not be completely one sided against new players.

    The current change is probably a reaction to the recent ganking of incursion fleets in high-sec, I don't like the causation of the change. I think it is good that a pilot is given a choice before repping a criminal though.

  7. Oh, Anonymous. In addition to being a coward, you are also demonstrably an idiot.

    First off, as a sandbox game, EvE is fundamentally about right and wrong - about how people come together to overcome the crushing adversity imposed by their fellow men, and in the end to triumph by imposing their own brand of hurt on others. If you didn't perceive that in CCP's marketing, or intuit it from your first few weeks in-game, you are mouth-breathing, mindless husk.

    Secondly, there is a world of difference between things that are illegal and things that are immoral (i.e. "wrong"). There are a couple places where the two are similar, e.g. killing people is sometimes wrong and sometimes illegal, and in most cases the two are the same. But in the end, killing people is both fun and profitable, so there are tons of cases where it is not only legal, but morally encouraged by everybody. I have digressed.

    The point is that The Mittani's scam was entirely legal, in fact the game mechanic of not being able to contract supercaps positively encourages what he did. It may have been wrong, in a "it's mean to pick on the retarded kid" sort of way, but let's face it: we all pick on the retarded kid. We do play EvE, after all.

  8. Wow pretty huge tinfoil hat here I see Jester.

    What you see is the same effort CCP are doing on other areas to fix the game applied to faulty game mechanics and enforcing policies that is both well known and has been in effect for years.

    As for the highsec war mechanic - well its a faulty system, as is plainly obvious to everyone, including CCP. What CCP has done is to fall back on curbing defensive abuse of the system, because they realized they couldnt find good ways to stop offensive abuse of the same system. I wouldnt be surprised if we see a total revamp of this mechanic within a year. And long overdue It will be.

  9. You need to read the change notes again guys, " If a pilot is remote repairing, or otherwise assisting, another pilot who commits a criminal act then the repair module will now disengage." It deals with the guy who commits a criminal act while being repped...which is one of the latest ganks in incursion fleets. If I am driving a bus and you decide to start robbing my passengers am I guilty of the crime? So no I don't think we are being coddled here, rather a broken mechanic is being fixed. As for the suicide gankers not getting insurance, if the r/l insurance company can prove that the vehicle operator deliberately drove his vehicle into a house they won't pay either. And yeah I don’t believe that it will stop ganking either but it will make the cost of ganking higher for some.

  10. Disagree that the "dec shield" decision was a reversal of CCP/EVE policy.... Mittani can scam people for billions and it's ok, and me and my corp/alliance can scam our way out of war decs we don't want- it's as simple as that. (anybody who disagrees is just pissed because they aren't entitled to easy killmails from corps who know the trick, and their tears are no different than the tears of the guy that got ripped of by Mittens)

  11. ...as far as the nuetral repping change, sounds good. I mean, does the guy driving the get away car for the bank robbers not usually get charged just like the rest of the bank robbers?

    You know, even though being the "Bad Guy" in EVE is allowed, and is fun to do sometimes- being the bad guy is not the "soul" of the game as you imply with this blog, there has to be room in the game for the good guys too.... or else being a bad guy becomes kind of irrelevant. (especially if people who want to be the good guy just log out in favor of playing a different game)

  12. another thought do rep drones shutdown as a result of this change?

  13. @Tjo Sephagen
    The name calling and abusive language that you used is proof that you are suffer from a "bully" syndrome my friend. Implying that any anti-griefing sentiment is an indication of a cowardice is totally unfounded and proves that you assume that it is a show of weakness. I feel really sorry for you, because it does seem that you have been abused as a child a lot and really need a hug.

  14. Anon @ 8:49 AM

    You don't like it when Timmy destroys your sandcastles? Go back to your favourite themepark then.

  15. @randomToon
    LOL, I wish I had sandcastles, alas, I do not care about that at all, I just hate griefers and scammers in and out of the game. Not everybody who is not into seedy parts of EvE is a "carebear".

  16. Who's "we"? The idea that somehow "we" all support the more grief/misery oriented style of play is a myth. The majority of people who have a problem with that playstyle never post a thread or voice their complaints. They just move on to another game. Before you speak for "us," you should probably get some hard numbers on how many people support any particular opinion. One of the most intractable problems with EVE is that CCP devs who play the game feel they own it. That their way is the way its supposed to be. That its some sort of ethos from which they cannot stray. Its that kind of thinking that has been strangling this game's development. You can tell that its the problem from the single most common response to these sorts of complaints, a reason you used yourself: That's EVE; get over it. That's not a reason; its a description of the current state of affairs. Defend your position. Why SHOULDN'T concessions be made? What's going to happen as a result?

  17. Going to have to agree with others here and say this looks less like shutting down griefing and more like unfucking some of the game's more excruciatingly retarded mechanics.

    It's sidling in the wrong direction, granted, but I don't think we can reasonably claim the sky is falling until we see, say, PVP flags being mooted, or perscriptions against scamming in the TOS.

  18. Jester, you can stop worrying about CCP nibbling away at existing principles of EVE Online. Sure, there is a lot of wiggling room in their presentation efforts and the consideration for the casual player, but the first part is simply what CCP always does and the second part is something they are going to have to deal with either way.

    But rest assured, while they will aim to make ways to land on feet in EVE and stay easier, engaging on tweaking principles is not going to happen without a fundamental course change in game design.

    And that, is considered ill advised. Particularly since the summer focus remains up in the air for elements of practicality.

    There are select simple things which do not impede longstanding principles of operation, and CCP will engage on those. A lot of people may perceive that as sliding the wrong way (and sure it is possible that in select cases CCP could do that but in the current circumstances that is not going to stick). The reality however remains that for such steps to be on a road, CCP would first have to come up with a plan and create a roadmap.

  19. A point to raise, there has always been a lot of emphasis on "tears". And that has always been a cornerstone for EVE's growth.

    But it has never been the only cornerstone. Plus it is important to realise that (like other elements) it is an expression of emotional connect. That is the shared foundation between "tears" and any other building block to EVE's growth.

    Tears are needed. But so is the rest of the spectrum. I'm not saying there is need for or even necessity of balance between these things. It's the human chaos that shares it to those not yet connected.

  20. Insurance mechanics needed to be fixed: they don't stop legitimate scan & ganks.

    Rep mechanics and criminal flagging are broken in high sec (from what I've heard - idk too much about this)

    So far, then, CCP haven't yet gone too far in their efforts with high sec mechanics. Maybe you are unnecessarily scared about what they might do - I very much hope so. A GM criticizing a player for killing a noob is worrying but this may just have been a bad GM. If I hear that this has become policy then I too will start complaining. (great blog btw)

  21. For the most part I would agree with almost everything you said in this post except one,the change to remote repping. Until now a war-dec corp could keep they're logi's in a non-affiliated corp and still use them for reps. Sure they turned red and could be shot but they also never got aggressed to stations or gates so they could remove themselves from harm at any time effectively making them invulnerable. Hopefully this new change to the mechanics will void this little loophole and result in many logi pilot tears. Properly implemented this should help improve game play without pampering anyone.

  22. Tjo Sephagen said...
    Oh, Anonymous. In addition to being a coward, you are also demonstrably an idiot.

    You do realize you are hiding behind an avatar and are thus posting anonymously or are you just an idiot. I have an idea, why don't you post with your real name and address, unless of course, you are a coward.

  23. People these days are far more entitled than they were in previous generations. It's gone from Gen X to Gen (wh)Y? to Gen IwantitFREEanditshouldvebeenhereYESTERDAY! Money for nothing and chicks for free, as Dire Straits predicted 30 years ago.
    Nobody is going to bend "gaming culture". Not you, not CCP -- only a major societal shift of the sort Mittens might dream of pulling off someday, will meet that end.
    WoW is immensely popular because entitled, narcissistic fucks grew up with hand-holding, a life of little to no consequences, and hate above all other things, with an unparalleled passion: losing (hence blobbing, perhaps? ;-) ). In WoW, as discussed before, it's virtually impossible to "lose". "Dying" is a minor inconvenience at best... whereas in EVE, "losing"/"dying" have very real impacts and consequences. Depending on the situation, it can be FAR worse than "awww I gotta go back in god-mode and pick up my stuff..." After all, trying to get get your stuffs back after bein killed, especially in lol- or no-sex, may very well mean being killed AGAIN.
    No entitled lil fuckstick is gonna stand for that. "I lost! But I can't lose! I'm great. This game just really fucking sucks. I'm going back to WoW."
    The only way CCP/EVE will have the kind of numbers WoW does, is if it becomes "WoW in space". Sure, people say that in jest, but you guys really have no idea how much of a truth you're hitting on when you make a "WoW in space" joke.

    The only other way around it that I can see, is basically nerfing hisec, and playing up the "wildlands of space" aspect. After all, people love that aspect of sci-fi. Imagine how fucking BORING Star Whores would've been had it taken place in Empire space and shown nothing but everybody going about a nice, peaceful day, Hail Syphilis. Most Easily was a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and that made it COOL.
    As for the "moral issue" -- look at Hands Alone. He was a rogue smuggler, ran illegal shit and scammed all the time, but in the end he was still a "good guy", fighting for the Alliance, even though he was a scruffy-looking nerf-herder (and we all know what those guys do to those poor nerfs).

    Another fine example of a "good" rogue--Mal Reynolds. You can't tell me that tons of Firefly fans wouldn't LOVE to be the good-natured fast-talking space pirate who still had an ethical sense, even if his moral compass was a few degrees off.

    Everyone has that side of them, that's why we relate so strongly to characters like that. Play that aspect up, entice people who'd like that sort of gameplay and style, and get them involved.

    I will say, though, that with FW being the only way of really "PvPing as a good guy" (and besides sov warrioring/hisex griefdeccing the only way to do it without GCC/sec penalties), and FW being as half-assed as it is, it's pretty obvious that CCP fully intends that PvP in their game be a clear case of "tear/lulz-collecting" and piracy.

  24. Eve desperately needs to make high sec safe space if it wants to grow. Plenty of dastardly deeds can be done in null and low, but Eve is the only MMO I know of that offers PVP with no option for a non-pvp zone, and the lack of player expansion over the years clearly shows the consumer does not like Eve's game plan.

    Most MMO players want to engage in PVP on their own terms and then return to a safe area when they don't feel like putting up with the risk that PVP entails. Eve doesn't allow for this type of player and that has hurt the bottom line for years now. A lot of people have tried Eve and left and I would wager the primary reason for departure has not been the steep learning curve, but rather the constant stress of knowing there is no time in the game when a player can relax and feel safe. Even in high sec there is concern that a gank could happen.

    While a lot of Eve players love the ability to act however they want whenever they want, the average gamer does not enjoy this type of game.

    So does Eve truly want to grow or is it content to continue saying "my way or the highway" and watch as more and more gamers continue driving down to the next stop that offers safe havens from PVP and the option to engage in PVE without having to worry about other player actions?

  25. I don't like the change to remote reaping mechanics. As much as it is nice to know that I can group up with random strangers and be relatively safe, it's exactly that "safety" that is antithetical to the EVE experience. Of course I'd prefer that sending my drones to assist someone wouldn't result in half the fleet being CONCORDED when that guy makes a mistake with targeting, but that's just the kind of hypocrite I am.

    I half-like the restriction on scamming in the recruitment channel. That's where new players are directed as part of their tutorials. There should be a moratorium on scamming young characters in that channel — to provide a fatter victim to ravage later, you'll want to make sure they enjoy the game long enough to build an asset base big enough to be worth scamming.

    I don't agree with the restriction on scamming targets identified through that channel either. The only protection should be for recruitment offers made through that channel, to players whose characters are younger than six months, who are still in their starter NPC corps.

    After that, they should be regarded as fair game.

    And Zymurgists "Scammers in my EVE Online" thread should be required reading for all players. Just to point out to people that this game is not a theme park ride: enter at your own risk.

  26. "So does Eve truly want to grow or is it content to continue saying "my way or the highway" and watch as more and more gamers continue driving down to the next stop that offers safe havens from PVP and the option to engage in PVE without having to worry about other player actions?"

    I for one sure as hell hope it chooses option B. Money ain't everything, and you can't please the masses, especially in this day and age -- the masses are a notoriously fickle bunch, anyways.

    To me this is like American politics. People often cite other countries (particularly liberal/"progessive"/socialist ones) as how WE should do things. To that I offer: why do we have to be them? There's already a [Canada/England/etc], if you want that lifestyle, why not go there?
    I'd offer the same thing -- if you want WoW, go play WoW. If you want this, come play this. DO NOT, however, roll up in this, thinking you're going to change it to WoW.
    I'd sure as hell hope you get the same reaction as the "cold dead fingers" response most of the more conservative American types would give.

  27. Scams, destroying people, and in general being utter assholes are parts of the things that make EVE glorious. But I wouldn't call fixing a nonsensical mechanic, one that should have been changed ages ago, a step towards coddling.

  28. I am totally fine with the change to the recruitment channel. It shouldn't be a replica of the Jita local channel. The recruitment channel is meant for infiltration, not scam.

  29. http://www.evenews24.com/2011/11/11/dead-irish-interviews-psychotic-monk/#



    Are great places to read about the reason behind the RR aggression mechanic hotfix.

    Tbh, I think that if CCP wanted to be taken seriously by those people who are offended by their half-assed fixes for insurance payouts and RR mechanics, they should have fixed the other halves of them:

    1. If suicide ganks aren't going to pay insurance, why should self destruct? (Also, self destruct with player damage on it should generate a KM.)

    2. Neutral RR, as someone did mention in a mistaken recount of the hotfix, should aggress the logi pilot for 60 seconds (just like any other act of aggression to another pilot in Eve). They shouldn't be able to dock/jump immediately after repairing another pilot on a station or gate.

    CCP has chosen to fix only half of these broken mechanics, and they chose the carebear friendly halves of the fixes. These sort of fixes are why people are frustrated with their carebear coddling. Balanced changes balance a game, one sided hotfixes (that are really hurried, read the popup they added and look for the title bar on the window that mentions wardec instead of aggression mechanics because they clearly half-assed it) just alienate portions of your playerbase.


  30. Mittens scamming. Oh my what is Eve coming to I don't even.

    Remote repping change - I'm a wormhole dweller, so... whatevs. Personally I think flagging and aggro and whatnot should be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up, accounting for the modern field, rather than the 2003 battlefield with bandages all over it.

    Suicide ganks - I'm in agreement with the change. Not that I am against ganks, I just think that it ought to be selective to be profitable, and otherwise ought ALWAYS to be part of the game, for no better reason than that one feels like it.


  31. I have no problem with scamming and ganking.

    However abusing official requirement channels and using a flaw in the aggression mechanic does not fall into that category. (just like the orca thing). The insurance payout stop was just a logical step and I think everybody agrees on that. It will not stop ganking and I don't think it was intented as a measure to stop ganking.

    People should get punished for their stupidity and greed, but scamming people in an official channel set up by the game for recruiting new players is something you don't want as a company.

    Goons convincing people to part with all of their ships and pay money to enter the goonsswarm any other way... no problem.

  32. https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=27145&find=unread

    Coincidence that they changed the logi aggression mechanics right when Skunkworks are running a major campaign of "lets hit the nice fat incursion loot pinatas with the big stick marked 'logistic based aggression transfer'"??

    I'll let you guys be the judge but my thinking leads me in a different direction. The aggression system to the best of my limited knowledge has never been tested in this way and on this scale before, maybe it simply took something this big to begin pointing out the flaws in such a way that they could be fixed.

  33. Seriously?

    Ya´ll getting your griefer panties in a bunch over this?
    Looks like removing payout for suicide ganks wasn´t THAT useless after all.

  34. "Dumb griefers"? Oh really? Don't you think that all those "dumb griefers" make their living by killing even more dumb carebears? If you gonna carry around some valuable stuff, use a transport ship, or blockade runner, or at least a fully tanked drake. Those who haul expensive stuff in crappy indies or frigates, like that notorious guy killed with 70 PLEX in his cargo, definitely deserve to lose everything. Suicide gankers are cleaners of New Eden, they prey on stupid and careless, doing Eve a favor. Darwin would be pleased to see his natural selection theory working as intended not only in real life, but also in videogame.

  35. I got scammed by the goonswarm once... they were suprisingly gentle.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.