Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Am I a bully???

A shoutout to Judu Hekki for a comment on one of my other posts for the idea behind this post.  Essentially Judu and his corp killed a Prospect in their hole that they managed to catch mining and subsequently the ganked pilot accused him and his corp of being bullies.  The gankee linked Ganking is Bullying as a kind of rational for that accusation.  Judu was wondering on my take on this, as what I do would fall under the category of  'bullying' according to the gankee in question.  So am I a bully that just kills poor, defenceless ships?

First of all, Ganking in Bullying defines ganking and bullying as essentially the same thing:
Repeated aggressive activity by one person or group of people against another specific person or group or class of people over a period of time, 
With the intention of causing them physical, mental, and/or emotional harm, and
Involving a real or perceived imbalance of power between aggressor and aggressed, in favor of the former.

Repeated aggressive activity by one person or group of people (e.g. gankers) against a specific person or group or class of people (e.g. miners) over a period of time, 
With the intention of causing harm (e.g. loss of in-game assets), and
Involving a real or perceived imbalance of power between aggressor and aggressed, in favor of the former.

And further clarifies that Ganking in their view is not an acceptable form of PvP:
Ganking is PvP in the sense that all active spaceships are valid hostile targets to each other, but it is not PvP in the sense of consensual combat between two willing players. It is the latter sense that is morally relevant to the concept of bullying.

So, it appears that the author over at Ganking is Bullying has an issue with pilots shooting at pilots that don't really want to be shot at.  Furthermore, where there is a real or perceived imbalance of power in favour of the aggressor, this constitutes bullying.  Ok, for a practical example let's take a look at Rooks and Kings engaging in the despicable bullying of a Brave fleet at 2m 15sec in the video below.

That Brave fleet certainly didn't consent to being pipe bombed, and Rooks and Kings had a definite power advantage in the form of a cloaked cyno HIC and smartbombing battleships that wiped the Brave fleet in no time flat.  Totally unacceptable form of PvP that, must be bullying, seems pretty clear cut.

But no, the video is a promotional video (and one of the best made by CCP so far I must say) released by CCP to advertise the game - fleet combat is a cornerstone of how CCP markets the game to the wider public, and to not call that an acceptable form of PvP is a bit of a stretch.  I also take particular issue with the use of 'consensual combat' as a delineation between what is considered to be an 'acceptable' form of PvP.  A definition such as this defines every PvP encounter I've had thus far on this blog as 'unacceptable' because I am usually cloaked and my targets that don't know that I'm there.  I can choose what I engage and usually the engagement proceeds on my terms and therefore there is a real power imbalance in my favour.  But that is just utilising the strengths of the ship I'm flying - covert ops cloak, nil sensor recalibration and high DPS vs larger targets.  Should I not utilise my strengths?  Maybe I should convo the next Noctis I get on grid with and ask permission to engage them, I wonder what response I'll get?

I'm willing to bet that the rationale for Ganking is Bullying is driven by Highsec miner ganking.  But here's the thing -  the moment you undock your ship is the moment you become fair game to each and every other player out there.  A lot people operate on the false assumption that Highsec should be 100% safe.  That's just simply not true, anyone can and should be able to attack anyone at any time, it's just that in highsec Concord will come and kill the aggressor after a set amount of time dependent on the security status of the system.  This mechanic allows for suicide ganking and the associated danger that brings to Highsec - all working as intended.  But CODE is bad, suicide ganking defenceless mining ships, something should be done to stop/limit/counter gankers etc.

And this highlights the issue I have with most opinions that ganking is bad - the lack of responsibility they assume for the victim.  'My yield fit Retriever got ganked by CODE.  Bad CODE.!!!'  Maybe if you actually put a shred of tank on your mining barge and weren't AFK you would have noticed the warp in ship they moved within 2000m of you, and maybe if you had pinged dscan few times you would have seen the Catalyst inbound and been able to warp out in time.  "You killed my Prospect at an Ore site in wormhole space - you shouldn't have done that and you're a bully because you did".  Ah, I'm sorry, missed that dev blog where wormhole space was now a no fire zone.  Perhaps if you had properly scouted out the system you might have realised that the people living there were online and decided that it may not be the best idea to engage in one of the most dangerous activities you can do in wormhole space.  "Havlac is a bully because he ganked my poor defenseless Mammoth in his stealth bomber".

I'd like to take a moment to relate the story of my latest kill that I believe ties nicely into this discussion.  I had found a likely C1 to stalk out as the locals appeared to be relatively active in my time zone, but things were quiet so I went for a bit of a wander down the chain.  I happened upon a C3 and dscan showed some promise with wrecks on scan, but also combat probes.

I couldn't locate an anomaly that the wrecks were located at so I assumed that the site had despawned. While looking around a Legion decloaked not far from the wormhole I was sitting at and dropped combats.

Ok, looks like I was spotted coming into the system.  Thats alright, I'll fully reconnoiter the hole and do some research on the locals.  It turns out it's only a 4 man corp and there are 2 of them currently online.  While I'm doing this the Legion logs off.  I'm beginning to suspect that the online player has eyes on the wormhole I came through, so I'll try going back through the wormhole and jumping back through when I'm not polarised to see if I can't catch something.  The moment I jump out the legion logs back in.  Right, if they want to play silly buggers with me I'll hang around and see if I can't catch them with their pants down.  I jump back into the hole and logoff at a safe for the night.

Next morning I scan the hole out when the locals aren't online.  I get stuck into my play time later that afternoon and poke a C5 frigate hole where I find a Prospect at a gas site.  While I'm trying to get in position to try for the Prospect, a notification chimes - the pilot I suspect was sitting on the hole last night has logged in.  I get a point on the Prospect but he warps off, probably stabbed but I may not have managed range properly.  Oh well, back to the C3.  I warp to the local tower in time to see a Buzzard swapped for a Mammoth.

A quick check of Zkillboard shows this pilot has previously been killed in losec in an untanked Mammoth.  I think I know where she is going, as the single static for this hole is a U210 losec connection.  But then Kottavai throws me a curve ball when she warps off to nothing I have a bookmark for.  Maybe bouncing from a safe to the hole?  I warp to the U210 at 20km and start pinging dscan.  Nothing, nothing - Mammoth.  Reduce to 10AU, she's still coming, 5AU still there, 1AU, she'll be here shortly.  The industrial lands 10km from the hole.  I was going wait for her on the return trip back to the tower but as she's at least 5km from the wormhole activation range this will do. It's a rush job with the screenshot, but I think it looks pretty dramatic.

The Mammoth pops after one volley.  I'm such a bully for killing such a poor defenceless ship, right?

Well no.  As you can see from the fit above, there isn't a single defensive mod or rig on the ship.  It's maxed out for cargo capacity.  I had a quick play with Pyfa and came up with a reasonable setup that would have evaded me due to fitted stabs, has 11K EHP and still has a 13,300m2 cargo capacity.

The Mammoth I killed wasn't defenceless, the pilot flying it made the choice to make it defenceless. Everything from the ship type, fittings and the decision where she flew the ship ultimately contributed to it being killed.  If she had the above setup or something similar, it wouldn't have been ganked.

Not to let the cat out of the bag, but if you reasonably tank your Noctis (ala Judu's 22700 EHP Noctis ) and put out 5 Warrior 1's (yes, a Noctis has a 25 m2 drone bay, which will fit 5 Warrior Is.  I had to look that up because I have never seen a Noctis launch drones), you will kill me in my stealth bomber before I kill you.  If you fit half a rack of autocannons to a salvaging destroyer instead of 8 salvagers and I don't know, maybe fit some kind of tank to your ship, you will kill me before I kill you - that's the funny thing about Destroyers, they're designed to kill frigates.  Prospects need to be locked before they cloak (pay attention and no one will be able to catch you), Ventures need 4 points of warp disruption to be reliably caught and both ORE frigates can sport a couple of drones that can cause a stealth bomber problems plus a reasonable tank vs torpedos.  Explorers can and often do fit stabs & most of the typical exploration frigates can sport drones.  But I'm a bully because I kill players who don't do any of the above.  Yeah, right.

Part of the appeal to me about Eve is that it is a harsh, cruel world.  It doesn't hold your hand and doesn't holds back any punches.  I have once (a long time ago) lost literally everything I owned in game down to my last ISK to a gate camp.  Did I hold a grudge against the campers? Did I whinge about how it wasn't fair?  No, I got pissed off at myself for doing something as stupid as flying a T1 industrial down a pipe to a dead end system without scouting it out first.  My loss, my responsibility.

I play Eve in the style I current do because it's fun.  I enjoy stalking through the winding ways of wormhole space, finding players, targets, watching, thinking, anticipating, acting.  I try to kill other players because it is a challenge, trying to anticipate what the other guy is doing and getting into a position to execute a gank.  Decloaking is exciting, never really knowing if something nasty is going to decloak next to you.  Do I feel bad after a kill?  Rarely - this is a game after all.  I do remember a particular instance where I killed the same explorer in the same relic site half an hour apart.  I convoed him and had a chat about what happened and pointed him in the direction of my old stomping grounds back when I started exploring (a little quieter than the FW system we were in), as well as reimbursing him the cost of his Cheetah.  That's probably the only time I felt bad making a kill.  But overall I have never felt remorse for shooting a ship, because at the end of the day PvP is what Eve is all about - the moment you undock your ship you consent to the risk of non consensual PvP.  What you do and the choices you make determines whether you will survive.

1 comment:

  1. An excellent response, thank you for covering this topic. Your post adresses very well the victim mentality of both the author and the ganked, who make everyone but themselves responsible for the loss. The length of the message we received and the vehemence with which he used our own (obviously goofy) corp description to make his case, shows the defiance in taking responsibility for failure. In the time he wrote that, he could have made enough ISK to replace his ship twice. Eve Online is a game in the end and like any other game it has rules. I can't blame the other player, when I Iose a boardgame that plays several hours, just because my plan didn't work out at the end - no matter how much time I invested in my plan.

    What makes the argumentation of "Ganking is Bullying" particularly cheap and seedy is the comparison to real life crimes like mugging and raping. Whlle it is true that the author believably oesn't want to trivialize rape, he still does so because he compares it to a function in a game; a function that's meant to be there and is used to advertise it, as you demonstrated. It's in the design!

    And also it's in the world... My answer towards the ganked took a different approach. Here's part of what I wrote: "Unlike the blog entry, I interpreted New Eden as a fictional world in which interpersonal hostility is much more common. After my first death in New Eden, I realized that we in RL have something precious the rich people in New Eden don't: mortality.

    A capsuleer in New Eden simply wakes up again at home when he dies, A human on earth doesn't. I thought about what kind of outlook humans in New Eden would have on life, when the individual doesn't actually die upon death. I think that explains very well the sort of collectivistic and competing mindset the lore points to. It's about empires and ressources and power and military and industry, and almost never about the appreciation of the individual. "High Security" space exists, but only through a police state, giving only a faint illusion of security!

    Life for such humans would be very close to a game. Death would be a loss at a game round. And there would be not a large place for moral considerations of harming others; they get up again anyway and all that was lost was a little material value." One coould also easily argue that these assumptions would necessarily give birth to the profession of a highsec ganker, as long as the income is there.

    I am however aware that it takes time to get to know the world and it only works, if you're actually open to it - if you can appreciate the power of imagination and fictional worlds. The author of that blog didn't it seems and seems to interpret New Eden as an extension of the real world. For players under 30 days my corp decided to not shoot them, but instead educate them about wormhole life. Several times we encountered an explorer that had no idea what he was doing, and more frequently since CCP put the "enter a wormhole" into the opportunity branch. We also reimburse newer players for any T1 loss in our wormhole - hulls and fitted modules. We don't want the players to be overwhelmed. So far this brought us interesting talks and even some recruits.

    It's sad that this side of Eve will forever be closed to the author of the blog and our victim.

    Again: Thank you very much for this article.