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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reasoning With Unreason

A couple days ago, I chimed into a conversation on Reddit in which a player asked about whether Fanfest featured a PvE panel discussion.  This led to the inevitable PvE vs. PvP poo-sling.  I’ll share a couple comments in particular.  The first is mine:
“Without PvE, CCP can seed the market to enable PvP. Without PvP, Eve is a sh*tty game without a distinguishing feature. Which do you think is more important? You [PvE] can be replaced with a machine.”
This met with the response of:
“Hahaha, you're adorable. Typical f***ing Goon. Without PVE, CCP would lose a half of the game's playerbase, there'd be no reason for it to ever be called a persistent universe, there'd be no industry, there'd be no reason to play the market if CCP just "seeded the market" with all the shinies you want.  If that's the game you want, go play on SiSi where everything costs 100 ISK. Get the fuck out of my game, though. There's no place for you here.”
Wow.  I didn’t expect such hostility.

Now, I grant, a certain reading of the last line of my statement could come across as hostile.  But I wasn’t saying PvE players should be replaced or pushed out of the game, only that the PvE components of Eve aren’t particularly good, certainly aren’t unique, and don’t provide anything that a thousand other games couldn’t provide.  And CCP can develop a market algorithm much more easily than it can recreate a machine in the likeness of a human.

PvP is Eve’s big idea that serves as the key differentiator vs. other video games.  Some aspects of Eve are more important because they’re either unique to Eve or they generate interest in the game; those are called “signature features”.  A feature is what something HAS.  A signature feature is what something IS.  Eve IS a space-based PvP game that HAS a number of other aspects that people find interest.  That doesn’t mean the other elements shouldn’t cease to exist, don’t happen more frequently, or have players who really love them.

The Blogger Connection

I typically don’t talk about PvE on this blog, even though I started playing Eve because of it’s dynamic market.  Even though I started as a mission runner.  Even though I make most of my isk from ratting.

I don’t want to push people out of Eve who enjoy PvE.  Eve is large enough for everyone.  But I do argue that PvP is the “first among equals” when people suggest all aspects of Eve are equally deserving of developer attention.

A new article that mocks a “PvP first” position in some very unfair ways was posted today.  It contains a metaphor that proposes blogging as the most important part of Eve – facetiously, of course.  The purpose of this metaphor is to discredit any claim that Eve is about anything specific… instead arguing it’s about everything you can do in Eve.

But more than that, it’s a “reducio ad absurdum” logical fallacy that attempts to discredit a “PvP first” argument by replacing PvP with a ridiculously narrow behavior that misses all of the key elements that justify PvP-first.

But it IS a fallacy – a false argument used by smart people to pretend to hold a logical and justifiable position.  Blogging isn’t supported with mechanics as PvP is, so it isn’t an element of the game itself, only the metagame.  Official CCP Marketing campaigns aren’t centered around blogging, since blogging doesn’t show off the features of the game itself.  No in-game function supports blogging the way industry, mining, ratting, salvage, logistics, and the market supports the end-game consumption function of PvP.  Blogging is an emergent and entirely external element of Eve.  You cannot accurately compare it with a cornerstone in-game behavior like PvP.

Moreover, this argument is brought up in the scope of a conversation that suggests there’s a credible argument for eliminating PvE from Eve entirely.  I’ve never heard anyone say that.  Even my statement, “You can be replaced by a machine,” isn’t one of desire, only possibility.  Eve would be a weaker game without its PvE elements, and they should never be removed.  Please show me the person who argues the contrary.  Positing arguments that challenge a non-existent or non-threatening opinion is called a “straw man” fallacy.  Instead, how about we face credible arguments?

And then there’s the last bit of concern.  Blogging is hard; every article opens you up to criticism.  When you operate a blog for years, you’re bound to piss a lot of people off.  People will disagree with you.  When “someone that I respected smirks at an entire game play style,” it’s an invitation to debate, not a reason to cease the conversation or express disappointment, as if the person you respected was a naughty child.  Otherwise, there’s no room for intellectual disagreement.

Right up there in my blog description, I state that my goal is to get people out of high-sec and PvPing.  I have an agenda.  No one is an “everyman”, and anyone who claims that they don’t have a perspective is lying.  An “all is valid, everything is equal, and weighting one object as more important than another is wrong” stance is not very useful for a critical discussion.  Learning and contemplation requires that strong arguments FOR something compete against each other.  Weak arguments that suggest no correct answer is possible don’t further the discussion, they seek to end it through epistemological failure, which is contrary to nature of discourse.

A Fallacy-Free “PvE-First” Argument

No activity in the game can function without the inputs generated by PvE.  Minerals mined go into the production of nearly everything.  Mission running and ratting provide essential faction equipment and blueprints that provide PvPers with the tools they need.  PvE is the railroad tracks, mines, and crops that allow all else to function.

But more than this necessary aspect of PvE, you also have ubiquity.  Every player interacts with PvE, since every means of isk-generation requires a PvE method.  Even PLEX requires interaction with the market, market forces, and the purchase desires of players.  Null-sec players tend to have high-sec alts to fund the costs of PvP.  The fact that so many players interact with it demonstrates its importance to the game.

Without multiple time-consuming processes to earn isk, the risk of loss would cease to be a factor in making PvP feel so exciting and have real consequences.  Right now, losing a ship represents a certain number of hours’ worth of effort needed to replace it, which requires you to spend time doing PvE instead of your preferred activity.  This “experience cost” makes PvP feel so exciting.

PvE also provides a sense of accomplishment.  Yes, there are literally thousands of games that do the same thing, but because Eve is an MMO, you feel connected to a community, even when playing solo.  Plus, without PvE players paying, PvP as a signature element would be irrelevant, since CCP wouldn’t have enough money to keep the game running.

Back to Sanity

So, there’s an argument defending PvE based on logic and psychology, not fallacies and the non-argument of “the essential element of Eve is whatever you want it to be”, which fails utterly to answer the question, “What is Eve?”  It takes a stance, and contains an absolutely true kernel: PvE IS necessary in Eve.

I’ll just add one last thing about PvE as a whole (NOT the individuals who practice it)...

P.S. As a side note, apologies for not writing as frequently recently.  I felt the desire to engage in some compelling PvE, so I played Sins of a Solar Empire.


  1. I find it surprising that you were surprised that your comment on Reddit provoked that kind of response, Tal :)

    The reason I find it surprising is that it strikes the exact same tone in almost every comment I've ever seen the pvp crowd use to denigrate not just pve, but also those who like and engage in pve as their preferred method of game play. It's not unreasonable for you to be on the receiving end of that kind of hostility in that context. I'm not saying you were trying to be hostile, just that's how it turned out for a person who's been hearing their play style put down all the time.

    I also think you've totally misread Sugar's post. I didn't get the sense she was arguing that EVE was not PVP-centric. Rather, what I took away from her post, and again, from the point of view of someone who's had to suffer through nasty comments from the pvp-only crowd, either personally or forced to listen to my friends get the same treatment, for the 3 years I've played the game.

    Sugar's post was quite the opposite, in fact. My take on her post was that she was one of the few voices arguing that ALL playstyles are valid. That if industry in EVE is what turns your crank, cool. If it's mission running, great. Trading? Awesome. As long as you were having fun, then your play style was valid.

    Most bloggers tend to pump up their own style (naturally), without mentioning that other ways of playing the game are equally OK. A few bloggers (not this one, at least not from what I've seen thus far) go so far as to denigrate anyone who doesn't think their style is the most mega cool ever and those that don't engaging in the same style need to leave the game.

    1. I get that, I really do. And perhaps I should have stopped writing just before the last sentence on that reddit comment. I do tend to go on and on. ;)

      And I agree with her... all playstyles are valid. But I've never spoken to anyone who says PvE players should be removed from the game. That's a straw man argument. CCP is never going to eliminate PvE and turn their backs on that income stream. PvE is how I fund my PvP. If it ceased to be, the ecosystem would collapse, the same way rabbits are important to a food chain.

    2. Well, you may have had the luck to not encounter those players who want PVE and PVE players removed, but it's been a frequent occurance for me.

    3. I'm a couple days late, but I'd like to echo Heretic Caldari here. I have people state, quite unambiguously, that PvEers shouldn't get nice things because their purpose is to be targets for roaming PvPers and therefore they shouldn't be allowed to make trade-offs between efficiency and safety. (The context was the Higgs anchor which, when fit on a mining barge, allows it to be almost stationary while being fully aligned.) "People doing PvE are stupid and should be shot (except for me I'm different)" is a sentiment I run into not infrequently.

  2. Talvorian,

    If I may begin by quoting you quoting yourself:
    “Without PvE, CCP can seed the market to enable PvP. Without PvP, Eve is a sh*tty game without a distinguishing feature. Which do you think is more important? You [PvE] can be replaced with a machine.”

    If I may continue by merely quoting you:
    “Now, I grant, a certain reading of the last line of my statement could come across as hostile.”

    Certain reading? The English language reading?

    A bit of friendly advice . . . You might want to look into microaggressions ( Though the theory’s not well developed, the money quote can be helpful, “Microaggressions are considered to be different from overt, deliberate acts of bigotry, such as the use of racist epithets, because the people perpetrating microaggressions often intend no offense and are unaware they are causing harm.”

    Fortunately, we’re only playing a game here so no genuine harm is being dished. Still, on more than one occasion I’ve seen you befuddle your customary civility via unintended micro jabs.


    Having chided you (hopefully helpfully), I have a point of critique but its subtle so please bear with me. Again, quoting you:
    “Without multiple time-consuming processes to earn isk, the risk of loss would cease to be a factor in making PvP feel so exciting and have real consequences. Right now, losing a ship represents a certain number of hours’ worth of effort needed to replace it, which requires you to spend time doing PvE instead of your preferred activity. This ‘experience cost’ makes PvP feel so exciting.”

    Everything you say here is correct. In Eve, PvP loss is real precisely because it generates recuperative grind. Such observation, however, does not mean PvP is Eve’s signature feature. No, it means ‘loss is real’ is Eve’s signature feature.

    Now . . . I make a big fuss about signature feature precision, not to be pedantic, but to set up a way into seeing the horrendously difficult design challenge CCP is in. For the PvP centric, PvE is supposed to be grindy drudgery since that drudgery is what makes PvP loss excitingly real. At the same time, according to the Fanfest 2015 keynote, it appears that roughly 50% of players are not PvPers. (Fanfest 2015’s Keynote doesn’t give numbers in this fashion, but looking at the charts, it seems reasonable surmise).

    So . . . for one robust sized group (the PvPers), PvE is supposed to be annoying drudgery. At the same time, for another robust sized group (the PvEers), the very same PvE is supposed to be agreeably satisfying. Kinda mutually inconsistent, no?

    Yup, it’s a poop slinging conundrum.

    1. Dire, I love and respect you. You always come at me with logic and hit the points that may be a little obscure. That's the hallmark of an awesome conversant.

      I reject microaggression theory because it leads to a "100% accurate or nothing" argument. It seeks to destroy the basis on which anyone can establish categories, make conclusions, or take any bold stances, It's a doctrine that leads to an epistemological crisis. Example: according to microaggression theory, you can't say what "Eve Is About" unless you hit every single point. And that's utterly useless; that's already been done, and it's called reality.

      But what surprised me about the response I received was the vehemence of the response. So many f-bombs. I've never wanted nor stated that I wanted to destroy someone else's game (a PvE game). But I DO have an agenda of providing reasons for PvP to be and remain the focus of the game. I want PvP to remain the "first among equals". To do that, I have to make a strong claim. That's going to piss some folks off. So I do expect some hostility to my argument. I know I'm going to goad some people. It was the extent that really struck me, the "Get out of my game" response I received. I don't want PvErs out of my game and never said they should go...but they obviously don't feel the same.

    2. I debated referring to microaggressons at all for fear that in would sideshow my main point. For me, the interesting question to ask is *why* your cranky PvEer responded so vehemently. While “He’s stark raving mad” is certainly a possibility, it’s not a terribly illuminating one since it doesn’t take his feelings seriously, rather it discounts them. (Importantly, I’m not accusing you of saying he’s stark raving mad.) Fortunately, microaggression gives me a way to see the interaction in a manner that recognizes both your civility (because you are civil) and his sanity (which he presumably is.) Unfortuantely, microaggresson is also often used as a silencing cudgel which, for a person of my interests, can be quite a shame as I’ve often found it a useful tool towards coming to deeper understanding of points of view very different from mine. It is perhaps unlucky that for me (as so many other people), how I come to a particular observation is inextricably linked with what that observation is (especially when the observation first coheres). Sometimes, you just have to trudge through the narrative.

      So . . .
      I’m coming to believe that Eve has a wonderful mutually inconsistent design dichotomy built into its very core. For the ship on ship PvP centric, PvE is the necessary evil adding excitement. At the same time, for the out and about PvE centric, the ongoing threat of involuntary PvP is the necessary evil adding sparkle. Except to posture, claiming one or the other is logically prior is mere shell game: they both absolutely rely on PvE *and* PvP.

      But . . .
      And here’s the rub, though they rely on each other, they don’t mesh well since both see the other as little more than a necessary evil. Accordingly, being little more than a necessary evil, both styles display tendency to get annoyed when they see the other style garner too much (according to them) developer time.

      I, for one, embrace the contradiction. Joyful dance amid chaos can be such fun.

  3. Are playstyles are valid of course, but Eve is a PvP-centric competitive sandbox games. CCP explicitly states this in the New Pilot FAQ when they say "[t]he essential core concept of EVE Online is that it is full time PvP in a sandbox environment." New Eden is however a single-shard universe so Industry, PvE and PvP are all intertwined in a complex web where all are essential to the vibrancy of the universe we all play in. However, PvP is the core concept which drives demand for the other activities and if you pull that thread out, the whole thing falls apart.

    If you want to play Eve exclusively for the PvE or the industrial aspects, then more power to you. However, the satisfaction of collecting or making something valuable in large part comes from the demand for these items by players that are exploding them. I have no problem if players want to play in the sandbox this way.

    I do have a large problem with players that argue they should be allowed to play this way in isolation from the rest of the sandbox. You cannot extract the benefit of these activities while immune from the actions and whims of the other players in the sandbox. If you don't want to be at the receiving end of PvP, then go play on the test server where non-consensual PvP is prohibited. Players don't do this of course because they enjoy the sense of accomplishment the single universe provides.

    CCP has put PvE in the game primarily as something to compete and fight over and it is essential to the sandbox. You are absolutely right that CCP is never going to remove it from the game, and while it could always be improved, it is not the main feature of the the game. That is the player-drive stories that come from the fighting between the players, not the NPCs, in New Eden.

    1. And I agree with you. The medium itself is a MMO, so the default stance about playstyle is that you should expect and desire interaction with others. An extension of that is that it includes both positive and negative interactions (in other words, what earns you resources and what costs you resources). But that implies that you want conflict and challenges in your way, and not just an ever-continuing accrual of IG wealth.

  4. Mocking? Not the intent but I can see how it coukd be framed as such. But then I realized I could say the same thing. What it was is frustration at an aspect of the games culture. I'm fascinated that you broke it down into a true comparison of PvP and Blogging. That is interesting to see the break down. But you are the professional writer so I can see how my venting could be viewed so technically.

    But you and I cannot see through the others eyes. Its one reason I read your stuff. It at least let's me try.

    1. Yeah, it was a bit silly on my part, but I felt that PvP and blogging interact with Eve so differently that a substitution between the two wasn't fair to the "PvP-first" argument.

      I do love your writing, Sugar... you add a lot to the community. I definitely take a different approach, and come at it with more of an agenda. I want people to try PvP, not to abandon PvE but to provide more people floating about shooting each other.

      And I think this got my Irish up because it touched on something that I'm very sensitive about in society as a whole. A perfect storm, as if were, between what bothered you and what bothered me!

    2. You touched on something I'm sensitive about as well. No worries. I've never believed that people have to agree with each other to respect the differences. And how do we learn if everyone reflects the same thing at us every time?

      I want people to play Eve in a way that keeps them coming back and being a part of the game world. I want PvE to be worth doing, or industry, or PvP in whatever amounts they want as so many, many people dabble upon doing.

      I think when we have content that is cast aside as worthless that content needs to be fixed, not ignored or scraped aside more.

  5. Tal, I really like your blog and bet anything we would get along fine IRL... but all of this, ALL of it comes from a perception of your denigrating other playstyles than PvP, period. And remember, perception is reality.

    To state unequivocally that playtstyle "x" can be replaced by a machine and then in the same page state that "all' playstyles are 'equally valid' is hypocritical at best, denigrating and condescending at worst.

    And that is what you did. All the rest... all the back n forth, all the argument, all the rhetoric does not change the basic fact that intentionally or not, you 'made light of' and 'looked down on' PvE gameplay and hence, PvE centric players.

    I myself do not and never have thought of myself as a PvE or PvP player... I'm an EVE player. I do those things in the game that interest me. I PvE for ISK and some of it I enjoy one helluva lot...

    When we run Sleeper Sites we are in Fleet and working and having fun together and as Sleepers are the hardest AI in the game, we occasionally lose ships and because we live in Anoikis, there is the ever-present danger of PvP and the losses and potential wins that come from that... I do PI and get a great amount of satisfaction from that and it has some inherent risks too... I recently lost a Baitstodon doing PI and got podded out of the hole too boot. When we do roams or scout for ToOs in the low... or see others PvEing in holes... then I PvP.

    We are not PvP players, we are not PvE players... we are EVE players. To make light of... to denigrate any playstyle in favor of another is simply bullshit. EVE is a sandbox. The signature difference, the real difference between EVE and most other MMOs is the degree to which loss is real. An important, but not 'signature' part of EVE is that is does allow full time PvP...

    But where you and so many other's get it wrong is that while PvP is not proscribed and is only marginally limited based on security level by the games mechanics... it is not the raison d'être for EVE.

    EVE is a sandbox PvE/PvP game... and we are all EVE Players... 'How' we play is not the definition of the game... it is only the individual definition of the way each of us plays the game.

    1. There is no hypocrisy here. I can both believe that players engage with Eve for a variety of reasons AND believe some reasons are better and more in line with the "purpose" of Eve than others.

      If a person defends PvE through the argument, "You rely upon what we produce" - which is what the other player did - the natural counter is that end-product seeding can perform the same function. This is, in effect, replacing the player's effect on the gameworld with an algorithm that distributes and seeds resources. I came to Eve because of the market; I originally played a game called Federation way back when that had an algorithm that did exactly that. It was excellent and engaging.

      On the other hand, no machine can replicate the actions of another human being, the surprise, the strategy, the accidental awesomeness. Human beings engaging with other human beings cannot be reproduced by a machine. And that's why PvP depends on multiplayer. Particularly in an MMO, which lives and dies because of those interactions.

      The other half of this is the difference between tolerance and acceptance. I tolerate players who only PvE. I have no desire to remove them from the game, and I don't want to destroy their playstyle. I'll fight and argue for them to be allowed to do it. But I won't accept that they should do it in complete safety. I won't accept - without a fight - changes to the game and allocation of dev resources to a method of playing I don't believe in myself. I'm going to try to persuade people and devs to view things from my perspective.

      Keep in mind, I haven't once said what players SHOULD BE ALLOWED to do. I don't deny that players play Eve for a wide range of reasons, and that PvP isn't a reason for a majority of them. No one can deny the fact of why people play Eve. And that's perfectly fine. The money you pay CCP allows me to happily murder people in-game. The more, the merrier!

      But I do have a very strong opinion that the signature feature of Eve, the thing that makes it unique and ensures it's existence and resilience to competitors is its PvP mechanics, particularly its sovereignty mechanics (including both null-sec and FW). That's about Form, in the philosophical sense: "The essence of Eve is that which makes Eve unique", straight out of Philo 101. And that's not PvE.

      So, I do think I can safely say, "You CAN and SHOULD BE ABLE do whatever you want", while still saying, "You SHOULD do this one thing." I certainly make light of the PvE-exclusive playstyle and I do think it's a poorer way to play the game. I don't think I look down on them, as I prefer to view them as "not-yet-PvP players". ;)

  6. I have to admit, I quite liked Sugar's post. In a few paragraphs it made me first laugh, then pause and then realize that she has a very important, very valid point:
    "Don't be uncomfortable if that's your thing. Be uncomfortable if you insist the same for everyone." (quoted from the comment section).
    Thank you for putting it so eloquently Sugar, I'll be sure to steal that quote in the next discussion about this I'll find myself in.
    I'm not gonna go on about the fact that all play styles are important for the sandbox, or that whatever makes you happy and enjoy the game is a good way to play, both points have been covered in depth already, and I don't really think anyone disagrees with either.

    So here's my two cents, here's what I actually found interesting about all of this:
    The hostility between people who focus on PvE and PvP respectively. It's higher than in any other game I've played before, but why is that? Let's focus on the PvP side first:

    As you said Tal, for most PvPers PvE is a chore, a necessary evil, basically a punishment for losing a fight and being forced to replace your ship. Or to PLEX your account. Or buy that Officer Mod Armor Rep you so desperately want. It is a means to an end. And it can be quite annoying, especially if it's not going well (just last night, 6 hours of ratting and I found 2 clone soldier tags and not a single Mordus ship around). It is something to get over with so that we can go back to what we actually like to do: killing.
    Now I think when we hear someone say "I love PvE" there are two things that go through our killing-focused, blood-frenzied mind:
    1: "Poor lost soul, I have to show him the right, the true, the only way to play this game. He thinks he's having fun, but just wait until he tries PvP, he'll see the universe differently."
    2: "Content!!"

    Let me explain that last one with a quote: "So, when we’re in “Eve Mode”, we not only loosen the self-control we exhibit in the real world, but we actively create controversy and fan the flames of conflict out of a habitual desire for content." (Quoted from Tal's "What you don't say" post from February 25).
    So I think the PvPers brain sees the whole situation as "maybe I can become his savior, or maybe I can kill him. either works."

    Looking at PvEers is easier, I think. Just try to imagine two things:
    1: Constantly being ridiculed for what you love, people try to convert you and think they know whats good for you better than yourself.
    2: Involuntary PvP. In this situation ALL the power lies with the PvPer. He decided whether to engage or not, he will be better prepared for the situation, and he set his mind to precisely this task.

    In short: PvEers are victims. First they get their mining barge or mission running BS blown up, and then people tell them "what you were doing is stupid anyway, come join the dark side".
    Is anyone really surprised there's hostility there?

    Now personally I'm very strictly on the side of the shovel wielders. And I do like hostility and aggression in this game, it does create content, makes for good stories to share over and over on comms and it is quite satisfying to be hated sometimes.

    But maybe we can ease off the missionary work a little bit. And that's the lesson I took from Sugar's post. Something I am definitely guilty of myself. Maybe we can all make an effort to respect other people's style while we blow them up.

    1. And 99% of the time, I agree with you. But we're also entering into a very large, multi-faceted battle for hearts and minds at CCP. Our options, our actions in game, and the way we talk about the game all wage a silent battle for developer resources A discussion that happens three months prior can influence the perceptions of importance, which causes finite dev time to be reallocated to the "other side".

      And that's how you get POS code stagnating for 4 years. How you get capitals unbalanced for years. How you get null-sec stagnation and a system that doesn't reward excitement and engagement.

      Meanwhile, we've seen incursions, wormhole PvE, an industry revamp, and the introduction of FW (which is half PvE and half PvP). We see isk faucets come in, all of which increase inflation. We see new ways to use PLEX come in that makes it more expensive for us to pay for our accounts. High-sec PvP is made more difficult, awoxing is effectively eliminated from skittish corps, and freighters and mining barges are buffed to reduce the chance that non-consensual PvP can happen.

      And, worst of all, we see small gang being absolutely murdered by each subsequent decision.

      It's hard for a PvPer NOT to feel under siege, as we watch one playstyle after another sacrificed on the altar of "keeping the PvErs happy".

      Mind you, these decisions all have positive effects on the game. And some changes have definitely encouraged new players to try and love PvP (particularly tiericide and the buffing of T1 ships). But the past few years can easily be seen as devs siding time and again with "make Eve safer for those who don't want to PvP".

      So, yeah, I feel pretty justified that PvE has gotten plenty of help, and that we PvPers DO need to make our voices heard to harden the game up again and strongly encourage players to fight each other through the mechanics.

    2. That's an interesting point that I admit I hadn't thought about. Maybe it's because I really haven't been playing long enough to see those changes first hand. But I get what you're saying, and I do agree that taking Eve into a direction that makes it safer is a bad idea.

      So thank you for speaking on behalf of us PvPers, I do agree it's important that people like you think about it, write about it and discuss it. That, I believe, is the only way to improve the game we love.

    3. To hop onto one part of Tal's argument here... for feeling under siege... working on PvE has two important aspects for me. For one, it feeds people's ability to PvP. That is something I have watched people struggle with and one of my major motivators in improving low sec income.

      Secondly, it creates reason for people to be out in space. No matter how beautiful and elegant PvP is, it requires targets. Those targets have a need to be where they are for there are only so many people who will have only but the purest of PvP goals in their game play.

      A healthier environment is a healthier environment for everyone.

    4. And I share your desire for people to be out in space. PvE coupled with an attitude of, "Oh, well, I got popped... but it's still worth it!" is what I'd aim for. I don't hold to those who want PvE to be safe, or are offended when others "interfere" in their game, though.

  7. It's very interesting, the view that PVP has been buffeted by the forces of chaos and is now endangered. I haven't done much PVP in the 3 years I've been playing the game (mostly because until recently I hadn't encountered a group that wouldn't mock mistakes or inexperience), but in all that time, it's been my opinion that PVP was being given too much focus, that hardly anything was being attended to in terms of giving defenders a chance.

    For every point you raise that PVP was being nerfed, I can come up with one to prove the opposite. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    But it's not is EVE a PVP game, does PVE in EVE matter, is it okay for EVE players to not go out looking for PVP that's the real issue. Jonathan got it right with the last paragraph in his post:

    "But maybe we can ease off the missionary work a little bit. And that's the lesson I took from Sugar's post. Something I am definitely guilty of myself. Maybe we can all make an effort to respect other people's style while we blow them up."

    That's the real issue.

    I've also noticed, Tal, that you seem to be falling victim to the same thinking I've noticed in almost all the pure pvpers when it comes to pvers complaining, and that is to paint all of them with the brush that says all PVEers should be safe all the time. That just simply isn't true, except for a vocal minority, but it seems to colour almost all the arguments I've ever seen on this issue.

    And just to show that I'm not picking on you or all the other pure pvpers out there, I've seen and heard a lot of the same sentiment expressed by miners and industrialists against the knuckle-dragging, mindless pvp thugs :) And it's just as wrong when they do it.

  8. Sure, PVE could be removed from the game but the game would be less interesting.

    PVP could be removed as well though, just replace pvp-ers with NPC's if you insist. You argue those NPC's wouldn't be as good as real PVP and you are right, but if our goal is a PVE game then nobody is expecting an AI that could pass a turing test.
    This PVE EVE would be a more boring game as the EVE we have now as well.

  9. I've been playing EVE on and off since the closed beta and there's one thing I've noticed over the years - and that is that the PVP element seems to have gotten 'nastier'. What do I mean by that? Well, back in the day you'd have roving gangs hunting people, but there would be a degree of civility to it - if they got you webbed and scrammed they'd burn you down to structure and then some groups would at least offer you the choice of paying a 'ransom' for your ship or they'd blow you up - and more often than not, they'd actually honour that (if players got a bad rep for doing otherwise, folks would stop paying - it was a smaller community back then). These days those same gangs (or individuals) warp in, blow your ship up and pod kill befdore flying off (at best) or will rip you in local for being a 'noob', acting like some violent teenage yobbo off his Ritalin. Is it any wonder that for most PVE style players their experiences of PVP are so negative? They see PVP'ers as psychotic yobs that like terrorising and/or smack-talking them, while at least some of the PVP crowd see PVE'ers as sheep to be slaughtered for being 'weak'. BOTH attitudes do the game no good and widen the gulf between the two camps. Case in point: the activities of CODE and MiniLuv in hisec may be amusing (and profitable) to their members, but for the PVE'ers they gank it's anything BUT a laughing matter - and I would guess makes people LESS inclined to try PVP, not more.

    Part of the problem (certainly with the case above) is that most people that play PVE are WOEFULLY under-equipped and inexperienced to handle PVP - as someone stated above the advantage and momentum in combat is with the (PVP) aggressor. Corps like EVE University and their ilk can help PVE players with this. Get trained up then go back to mining veld if that's what you want to do - but at least you've got SOME idea how to equip your ship and defend yourself - while also getting a taste possibly for a little PVP on the side to liven things up between those long hours of mining ;)

    One final point: CODE has been making a big deal about CCP's research into ganking and it's effect on player retention. CCP's conclusion (MUCH to CODE's delight I might add) is that players who get killed are MORE likely to subscribe. The point I'd like to make is that CCP only looked at players on their initial 2 weeks of experience in-game. Now speaking from personal experience - if I lose a ship in the first few days of play, I'm not going to be too bothered - the ship is (comparatively) cheap and insurance (if I bother with it) will cover a good chunk of the costs. NOW - go tell that to some solo PVE'er who has managed to save up for his first mining barge. Being a PVE'er he is unprepared for combat, he has sunk most of his cash into his shiny new Hulk - and then some ganker comes along and blows him away for shits and giggles (for 'the tears'). All that effort down the toilet - insurance (if he bothered with it because the cost goes WAYYY up with ship size/tiers) covers a FRACTION of the total ship cost so he basically has to start from scratch.... I wonder what the player retention rate is for someone in THAT position? I know I've rage-quit on a couple of occasions over the years out of frustration...

    1. You make two points, and both deserve consideration. I do think PvPers have become more desperate of late. Roaming gangs are finding it harder to find targets - for a variety of reasons - and this frustration comes out as overzealousness when they DO find a target. The frustrations of not finding targets build up, and the excitement of actually finding one is a lot more than it would be if you were getting your dopamine rush regularly.

      I'm sad to say that even I've experienced delight in being part of a gang of 10-12 that finds a mining barge in low-sec and kills it. Even though I know it was an execution, not a fight. Sure, I'd much rather fight against a comparable gang and win, but I'll take a hapless guy with the bad luck to be caught. Otherwise, we might not come across anything else all night.

      To your other point about CODE in particular and PvErs losing ships in general... what is the purpose of collecting all that isk from faucets without the occasional gank to purge it? I admit to not understanding the desire to just accrue and accrue isk with nothing to spend it on. And without the risk of loss, there is no equilibrium to fight against.

      For instance, as a PvPer, I'm constantly losing ships. You start losing T1s, then you go to losing T2s, then T3s, then capitals. Plus, you tend to PLEX your account. Just to do my business, my net isk sink is about 1.2 billion per month... and that's after SRP reimbursements. When I had to plex two accounts and pay for all my ship losses, it was at about 2.5 bil per month. So any ratting, trading, or character selling I did was meant to offset those losses. I needed income to offset my expenditure, and PvE had a pragmatic "purpose".

      Now, I grant you, I'm heavily influenced by the "PvE is a chore" thinking that a LOT of people don't share. But my general point is that without suffering regular losses, you accrue isk only once... your balance goes up and up without let, and once you've got it, you've got it. Then what? But if you add loss into it, your actions have meaning again... you lose a ship and have to work to earn it back. You have an incentive to continue to grow in case of a future possibility of multiple bad-luck ganks in a row.

      I have 54 bil in liquid isk so I can replace all of my ships if something awful would happen and I'd lose everything (like a deadzoning of a staging station, for instance). I wouldn't have ratted to earn that isk if the risk of losing everything didn't exist.

    2. I think part of the problem here (possibly) is that you 'seem' to think that all PVE'ers are some kind of Scrooge McDuck (hehe that reference may be lost on you depending on your age), piling up ISK for the sake of it, never spending or investing it - but most aren't like Smaug, going to bed at night in a huge pile of ISK and PLEX while dreaming of ways to make the pile even bigger :) I mainly PVE - and I'm into Industry, Manufacturing and PI. I make ISK and I spend and invest it (sometimes not too wisely lol) BUT I also buy ships and equip them and go ratting and missioning and take part in the occasional fleet anti-ganker patrol - I even give ISK away to other players to help them out. Sure, PVP probably costs more (depending on your luck and skill) but it's not like PVE is cost-free and all PVE'ers are sitting on mountains of cash chortling away at 'poor' PVP'ers and their expensive combat hobby ;) You can still do combat (and combat can still hurt you) but in a more - I guess 'structured'? - way where you can, to some extent, control your risk. Though even there, you can still get gankers camping known missioning sites ready to jump the PVE mission runners when they warp in.

    3. I wouldn't say my opinion is based on a view of how PvErs think, but rather as a consequence of individual isk sinks and faucets.

      I don't deem purchasing a ship to be an isk sink, for instance, since you can sell it later, usually for a profit (inflation means prices are generally going up, particularly for mission-running ships). Nor do I consider purchasing faction equipment for LP to be an isk sink, since I'm looking at the individual level... that faction equipment earns a pretty penny.

      As I see it, the only individual isk sinks in the game are ammo usage, repair bills, bad market deals, and ship destruction. The first is expended as isk is brought in, so that's just a lessening of the mission/mining faucet (if you don't have it going in, you don't spend it on ammo). The second and fourth are threats that some PvErs would like to do away with (preventing non-consensual PvP), and the third one is usually don't when you already have oodles of disposable isk, and is entirely within your control (just don't market trade).

      So, on the individual level, it looks like PvP and player-caused loss is the only real threat to a perpetual accrual of wealth. At least to me. And my issue is only with players who want to reduce that threat to zero.

  10. Oh, one more point - as you stated, at least some PVP these days involves gangs literally 'executing' ( your word) some poor PVE sod they come across. To my mind that's NOT even REMOTELY what PVP should be about - and it's something that needs addressing. Hopefully the incoming sov changes will give gangs something more constructive to do than simply fly around vaporising the occasional miner in all of 2 seconds...

    1. I absolutely agree. I don't think executing hapless victims is very satisfying, and I'd always rather fight someone who shoots back. The point of PvP is to fight against another human brain. Without that, the accomplishment means nothing.

      Knights weren't bad-ass when they slaughtered peasants... they were bad-ass when they fought one-on-one and defeated another knight.

      But, all that said, it's undeniable that in lean times (few targets you can find), killing a ratter or miner tides you over. It's unfortunate, but true. Improve the PvP landscape and you'll see fewer ganks.

    2. This is probably my biggest complaint about CODE and MiniLuv - not just that they are, effectively, bullies but that like most bullies they will only beat up on folks who can't - by their very nature - defend themselves. They are like a pack of hyenas circling a baby wildebeast - they are the lowest form of PVP'ers in the game. Unfortunately, their tactics, while reprehensible (at least to me) are also VERY profitable, due to the carelessness - stupidity even - of the people they prey on. Case in point: the other night I was in an anti-gank squad. We spent the better part of 45 mins trying to save a hauler in Madimilire. CODE got him - eventually (we killed the first fleet of catas they sent in - the second one was t2 fitted and ammoed and they blitzed him before we could kill them all) but it looks like he was AFK the ENTIRE time... Things like that really irritate me lol....

    3. If I may gadfly in . . .

      Quoting anonymous, “[‘Executing’ is} NOT even REMOTELY what PVP should be about - and it's something that needs addressing.” I assume by ‘addressing’ you mean addressing by CCP – perhaps a change to the EULA and/or game mechanics. Oddly however, you follow this up with a delightful story about a 45 minute tangle with CODE. over an AFK freighter. Why, for the love of all things space holy, would you desire CCP remove the possibility of such wonderful emergent content busting out?

    4. Unlike most 'carebears' (I would still lump myself into that group, I guess, even though I do some PvP) I don't want CCP stepping in, in some arbitrary heavy-handed manner, to 'protect' hisec by nerfing PvP'ers' game experience - that would (rightly so) piss them off and make hisec wayyyyy too bland even for me ;) I think that both CCP and the game's players need to find some way of encouraging mutually enjoyable PVP where desired, but WITHOUT making it the completely (for the most part) one-sided affair it currently is when you get roving bands of pilots suicide-ganking PVE'ers in hisec. Maybe some way of encouraging more people to move into low/null sec where I think most 'carebears' expect PVP to be found, while leaving those who do just want to sit and mine and manufacture in hisec alone... for the most part (can't let things be TOO uneventful for them...). Maybe that's not a possible option, but if there's one thing this game's community is good at, it's finding new and creative ways of playing in this sandbox. Yes, the game should have risks, but it also needs to reward ALL types of players and playstyles... I think a lot of the "carebear tears and rage" comes from feeling like they are the 90 pound kid with glasses at school getting beaten up by the 150 pound school bullies every time they venture out onto the playground at break... After a while you just don't bother. Maybe part of the problem here is just a basic misunderstanding by prospective or new players of the dynamics of this game - I don't know. As for DireNecessity's point - I DON'T want CCP removing the opportunity for players like me to gank the gankers lol - I just wish that the game had more options for players in groups like CODE so that they didn't log on every evening and feel that the best way of spending their time was by clubbing baby seals.... :) OK, they make a lot of money at it - but even so, it's got to be boring as hell just sitting on gates for hours at a time waiting for the opportunity to kill some careless or AFK freighter pilot - lots of money, sure - but where's the excitement, the challenge of actual, PROPER PvP? The kind of PvP that Tal wants in the game (judging by his blog)... They actually would seem, from Tal's argument, to be part of the problem - they make lots of ISK but with little risk and very little cost. To quote Tal: "The point of PvP is to fight against another human brain. Without that, the accomplishment means nothing." And another one: "So, on the individual level, it looks like PvP and player-caused loss is the only real threat to a perpetual accrual of wealth. At least to me. And my issue is only with players who want to reduce that threat to zero." Well to my mind, by picking on freighters, CODE players and their ilk are trying to reduce their threat/losses to an absolute minimum while maximising their returns - you sacrfice a few million ISK to make BILLIONS in an easy kill by seal-clubbing.

      Just my two cents :)

    5. You're definitely taking my comments in context, and these are all valid escalations of that thinking. I participate in ganking only during Burn Jita... because it's a big event with a large number of alliance mates on comms... it's much more social than PvP. And I stay away the rest of the time for the reasons you stated.

      While the risk isn't 0 - after all, everyone who participates loses his/her ship - but the risk of unexpected loss is nearly 0. But I have to ask... would these gankers exist if PvE wasn't so risk-free and predictable? If there was more risk in PvE (ie. adaptive AI tactics that can't be put in a wiki), mission runners would be less likely to fit the deadspace modules to min/max their efforts, which makes them a target by gankers. If the PvE agents moved around, or if you could comm an agent remotely, but be taken to any area within 20 jumps to start the mission, gankers couldn't gang up in lvl 4 or lvl 5 hubs and wait for targets.

      It's the very behavior and mechanics that mission runners use to maximize their output that puts them at risk. A mechanic change of this nature - making mission running less predictable, harder, and more dispersed - would make the job of gankers REALLY hard. Juicy, fat targets wouldn't be as common, and they wouldn't all cluster together like gazelles at a watering hole.

      Changes to reduce isk/hr would actually serve to make ganking less likely. Security and profit in an inverse relationship? Whoda -thunk?

    6. Exactly Tal - on the one hand, CCP don't want to be alientating a large and very vocal part of their community (the PvE'ers) but at the same time they need to cater to the PvP crowd as well - it's a hard balancing act. As you've pointed out, the 'watering holes' here are certain systems/gates in the game - Uedama, Madimilire etc spring to mind. Not a lot you can do about that. But yes, CCP could at least randomise the locations of missions or their warp-in points to make it harder for folks to gank mission-runners... Nice idea there :) At the very least the gankers would need to scan down players, rather than just sit at one point waiting for some unsuspecting player to warp in. Again, I'm not anti-PvP - it's fun WHEN it's mutual or at the very least expected - I just wish there was a way to ease newer players, or those interested in dipping their toe in the 'PvP Pool' into it - a way of doing it that doesn't leave a bad taste in the mouth afterwards. To take one of your points about adaptive AI - maybe in hisec you could have small groups of roving AI gangs - say 1-3 ships. And I mean something with a bit more intelligence than the existing belt rats that basically just burn in straight at you pew-pewing only to get melted by your . Maybe the game logs your kills against these opponents so every time it throws some at you, the difficulty ramps up a bit - they employ better tactics, better equipement, better ships. You get trained by the game, while also benefitting from better drops as you improve - you are rewarded for fighting and improving your combat skills. As you wander down the sec ratings, the opponents get tougher - let's say at 1.0--0.7 you just see frigates, 0.6-0.3 cruisers and 0.2-0.0 battlecruisers. By this point they are not only fighting NPC AIs but also folks like you Tal - BUT they are ready for it and are used to 'PvP' (at least to some extent) - the game has eased them into what you might think of as 'the proper mindset' ;) They may still consider themselves PvE'ers - but they can defend themselves against actual players too - and BOTH camps benefit from this...They get the necessary 'training' while you guys meet opponents that can actually fight so you're not just taking part in the odd drive-by seal-clubbing...

    7. I suspect that would be a more engaging and rewarding experience providing a greater sense of accomplishment than the current mechanics, as well.

  11. One final issue - was talking in one of the anti-ganking channels tonight, where I made the same comment I did above about CODE and MiniLuv being seal-clubbers - within 30 seconds (I kid you not) of making it I had a GoonWaffe recruitment officer contact me via private chat (I had no idea who he was at the time or I wouldn't have accepted the invite) and confront me over it in a way that I took as deliberately threatening - with the implication "GoonWaffe will be coming for you". He then added me as a contact with Terrible standing and shut the chat down. Now ok - that's just words and I doubt very much that GoonWaffe, as a group, would be so petty as to go after individual players over a single comment in chat - but it's the ATTITUDE and BEHAVIOUR that we've been discussing that far from helping the game is hurting it. My sub is up at the end of the month - and you know what? After being out of the game for a few years and just coming back to dip my toe in it again, so to speak, I've got a good mind to let it lapse and not renew - I log on to enjoy myself and relax, NOT to get some wind-up merchant threaten me with punitive action because I expressed an opinion...

    1. I wouldn't let a single person sour your opinion about the game. I've surrounded myself by players who like to kill other people, but who respect the players they kill, realizing that they are actual people with feelings and who deserve respect.

      Eve is more than one person, one corp, one alliance, one coalition, or one whole area of space or type of activity. Eve is who you surround yourself with.

    2. ...Which is why I've applied to EVE University so that I can get some PvP training and support from folks who hopefully have a much better idea of how to fight and play than I do :) I don't expect everyone in EVE to get along and like one another - but I would expect at least a degree of civility and mutual respect - something which - as I stated in my first post - USED to exist in this game but these days seems to be sadly lacking. It sounds like you are in a good place in the game Tal and can take care of yourself and have people you can rely on around you - I'm quite envious of that :)

    3. Yeah, it suits me. And that's the key. No corp can be everything to everyone. Once you find out what you like, don't settle for a corp that is something else. There are so many options out there.

      I'd start with timezone, then age of players, then most important single activity. That last bit is key: what do they choose to talk about FIRST? I've seen too many, "We tat, mine, and PvP..." corps out there that try to be everything, yet succeed at nothing.