Tuesday, March 11, 2014

War (And Not In Eve)

You’d have to be a complete hermit not to realize that something big and important is happening in the Crimea right now.

Since we’re all Internet Spaceships dorks, let me summarize.  Ukraine used to be a province of the Soviet Union.  The Russians (who kind of ruled the Soviet Union) kind of want all their territory back, particularly since ever since Russia saw itself as Russia, they wanted a warm-water port.  They fought the Turks back in Catherine the Great’s time in order to get that territory, so they’re partial to it.  It doesn't hurt that one particular region, the Crimean peninsula, is about 40% Russian.

So, when Ukraine – who owned that patch of dirt until a week or so ago – had some internal disability and ousted their elected leader, Russia took the opportunity to smuggle the Ukrainian president out, and he conveniently asked for Russian help to reestablish control.  Thus, Russian troops in Crimea.  I doubt they’ll ever leave.

Why does this matter to Eve?  Well, the recent disbanding of Darkness of Despair initially appeared to be a direct result of this real-world conflict, since -DD- has a good number of both Russian and Ukrainian pilots.  That ended up not being the case, but it raises an interesting question.

Should Eve pilots show each other respect when they face real-life troubles in their home country?  Should enemies of a heavily Ukrainian alliance, for instance, temporarily suspend sov warfare during such troubles since, the chaos would likely affect fleet numbers?  If the U.S. were to suffer a civil war, should EU-heavily enemies of the CFC back off for a time until things straighten out, provided that the CFC didn’t escalate during that truce?

Do Eve players owe each other some slack amid real life struggles affecting large numbers of players?  How far does that extend?  Should it affect thousands?  Hundreds?  Dozens?

Personally, I do think Eve players owe each other some basic respect – and yes, even between the CFC and N3.  We are a community, albeit one that viciously attacks each other online.  And while I personally love to kill N3, Test, PL, the Faction Warfare pilots… that’s all it is.  I don’t hate the players themselves, I don’t hold anything against a person in real life.

And I’m sure I’m not alone.  I doubt many players truly wish ill on other players.  Sure, some care about their fellow players only to keep themselves stocked with a steady supply of targets.  Others may threaten a ganker in real life, but once cooler heads prevail, it rarely ever happens.  This is a game.

But, even if we meet that common ground, what do we do with that realization?  My feeling is that when things like this happen, it’s only fair not to generate or exploit timers (customs office, POS, sov, station).  After all, if your country is in the midst of civil war, while some of your players may be able to log in, surely some have bigger concerns.  It doesn't seem fair to take advantage of a RL crisis for in-game benefit.

But if a player from a troubled country logs in an finds himself on the cusp of losing a ship to PvP… no, I don’t think we should let him off.  Alliances may be affected by a RL crisis, but individual players, if they choose to log in, want to play Eve, and all that entails.  You roll your dice, you take your chances.  Their odds of being ganked or killed in an honor duel are the same regardless of what’s happening in the real world.

I hope the situation in Ukraine is resolved quickly, of course.  The political and social ramifications for Ukraine, Russia, and the old Eastern Bloc really aren't the focus of this article, though.

The -DD- disband doesn't seem to be related to Ukraine, but perhaps other situations right now in the game are.  Perhaps you’re thinking of reinforcing a POCO owned by a Ukrainian corp.  Perhaps you planned to attack a Ukrainian POS.  Out of respect for your fellow players, maybe you might consider delaying it a couple weeks, until they can have an “any-normal-day” chance of defending it.

The Eve activities that are memorable and satisfying are the ones you have to work hard to achieve.  There’s an honor in treating players fairly, even in a game where characters scam and exploit each other.  And that’s a real honor that reflects not on your persona in the game, but the way you face people for real, even if they’re separated by two computer screens and thousands of miles of cable.

Just because we’re trying to kill each other doesn't mean we have to hate each other.

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