In my last post, I danced around the topic of nastiness in Eve's culture, a topic I thought deserved a little more attention. I started thinking about this after reading Ripard Teg’s response to Blog Banter #54, in which his despair about the Eve community is palpable. Go ahead and take a read. I’ll wait.
Yikes. I see a lot of despair in that post aimed at the culture and nature of Eve players.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Ripard. His blog is one of the few I check every day, hoping for a new post. It even inspired me to start this blog. Of course, that doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says. When it comes to Eve’s prevailing culture, I plain disagree.
For every example he cites, I can give a personal example in which Eve players impressed me. Let me give you an example from this week. Razor Alliance is in Doril attacking Brave Newbies as much as we possibly can. In the US TZ, we’re heavily outnumbered, and we get into great scraps in the 20-30 man gang range. It’s good fun, but we’re constantly killing each other. That didn’t stop Nick Cornax from greeting me in local with some encouragement about this blog. From there, we started chatting and actually decided to 1v1. He scouted me into Sendaya so I could buy one of the BRAVE T1 frigs, and we fought (next time, I’ll bring one of my own ships and it’ll end differently!) In the end, he didn’t destroy my ship or pod, we shared some tips and fits for fighting FW pilots, and we left amicably.
This all happened despite Razor and BRAVE being at war right now, and both of us having just finished fighting the other’s alliance. If we meet on the battlefield, I’m going to try to kill him and he’ll do the same. But just because we’re killing each other doesn’t mean we have to hate each other.
After all, we’re all Drazi (those of you familiar with them can skip the next two paragraphs).
Who were the Drazi? In Babylon 5, there was a race of reptilians who, even few years, used to pick either a purple or a green sash from a hat and split into two camps. These camps would literally punch each other into submission. The winners got to rule that particular region for that next few years, after which the cycle would repeat again. The sashes themselves were entirely arbitrary. If you took a purple sash off a Purple Drazi and swapped it with a Green Drazi’s sash, the Purple faction would attack their former compatriot without mercy.
Now, things worked like this for centuries, until someone got the idea that they could win much faster if they simply killed all of the other faction instead of punching them into submission. When that happened, things started to spiral out of control, and only the cunning application of some dye turned things around.
By and large, I’m convinced that the majority of Eve players are like the majority of Drazi, content to generate meaningful content for the rest of the gameworld. But there are a few – in the case of the Drazi, one guy – who decide they’d rather break everything to benefit themselves. But you don’t judge the whole group by the actions of a few.
Let me put it another way. How many times have you fought someone, been impressed by how they conducted themselves, and ended up becoming friends? How many times have you fought against a corp, only to later join them? How many times have you started a conversation with someone who killed you, and ended up getting their fit and learning what you did wrong because the other guy was interested in helping you out?
I’m blinded by the bright spots in Eve’s culture. I’ve seen so many, in fact, that I question whether culture as a whole is the problem, or that there are a few bad apples preying on newbies that make things seem so bad.
Anyone can point out select cases to support their point. But my experience in Eve has largely consisted on a long series of great people – both on my side and on the other side – who are willing to treat me as a player with respect, even if they hate the organization I belong to.
As to the rest… the cases of terrible scams… I think CCP can do much to resolve a lot of them. Prevent purchases of more than x PLEX until accounts are y months old. Eliminate “minimum to buy” aspects of buy orders. Eliminate Margin Trading. No, CCP can’t nor shouldn’t stop people from being scammed, but they do have to protect new players long enough for them to get hooked on the game before they lose everything they have.
Because chances are that, if you can delay the point when that scam occurs by even a few months, those new players will have had plenty of positive experiences to make them shrug off that bad one. Then the one bad experience is just that, a blip in an otherwise great game.