The Covert Operation

EVE[EVE Online] Part of what pulled me towards playing EVE was a few incidents that occurred in the game. One involved something on the line of tricking many investors into handing over money for nothing and the other involved gaining the trust of a few key people only to betray them. It was quite intriguing to me. Many people would call this griefing or cheating. The developers of EVE seemed to have allowed it to happen and by doing so perhaps even encouraged more such behavior.

Don’t they care about the people that might quit because of losing everything? Or are they counting on gaining more people than they lost because of the publicity? To me, this is a fascinating subject. Certainly, EVE is doing better than it used to, could it be because of these events? They got quite a bit of attention from them.

The forums lit up like lighting after each event became public. Cries of cheating were followed by pats on the back and congratulations. People quit. People signed up. The question is, does something like this add to the game or detract from it? A carebear player might say it ruins the game. A griefer will certainly think it is wonderful.

Does it add a level of excitement to the game? Is stealing from a corp any worse than declaring war on a corp and blowing up all their ships? Can the blame be placed on people giving the keys to the candy store out too freely? Who can you trust? Should we respect the mercenary corporation that does a job it was hired to do? Should the anger be directed at whomever hired them? What about the victims? Are they completely blameless? What did they do to someone that ended up with the hiring of a mercenary corp in the first place?

For reference, here is something from the EVE FAQ: “Spying, scheming, double-dealing and espionage are devilishly delicious features of EVE for those who relish walking on the dark side. Corporation leaders are urged to exercise extreme caution when accepting new members, particularly when granting access to their private communications and corporate holdings. There are criminal elements in EVE who can, and will, take advantage of unsuspecting marks.” – EVE Online FAQ #6.7 Can I be a corporate spy?

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

7 thoughts on “The Covert Operation”

  1. What happened to the start of your story? ;)

    I think this is a great part of EVE, but I would hate for it to happen to me. I like it because it makes the game feel more like a dark future simulation than a game, more like real life. However just like in real life, I would hate it to happen to me!

  2. Start, you say? Hmm. You saw that did you? Well, um, follow me around back I have something to show you. ;)

    It needed more editing so I pulled it. Hope to have it back later.

  3. Rejoined the game after a two year absence. Joined a nice corp, been with them for 3 months now. In that time, we’ve had one corp thief come in, and leave with a small (relatively) amount of corp assets. And one, erh, predator? join the corp, solely to lure a very rich player into an ambush, where he extorted a huge sum of ISK from the victim.

    Both events happened because someone didn’t take some fairly basic precautions. Both were preventable. Die and learn.

    Is being screwed fun? Nope. But, somehow, the risks you take in EVE, the loss you may suffer, makes the victories that much sweeter. Very strange, I dislike griefers, and devs too foolish to stop them, but, heck, it works for me in EVE.

  4. I had a friend who had his ship destroyed, then was podded. Lost his ship and his implants and that was it – no more EVE for him. He’s still pissed about it.

  5. Not my cup of tea ultimately. I’m generally quite distrustful of anonymous online strangers anyway, and I’d hardly think that spying, schemeing, double-dealing and espionage are gameplay features unique to EVE – you can get that in any online world where there are People. They just seem to support it better as a gameplay style is all.

    Being a villian is all very well, and quite ‘realistic’, but having three characters per account makes the consequences somewhat trivial. Also, once you’re stung once or twice like that, or even see PC magazine spreads about it happening to other people, the paranoia sinks in, making many of the normal social outlets of an MMO – groups, guilds, colaborative trade skills, etc rare and foolish at best in EVE.

    Die and Learn indeed.

  6. Good topic.

    I just joined Eve a few days ago. I tried a trial version a few years back, and didn’t really like it, but it was only a three-day trial version, and I was very busy in my real life, so I didn’t have time to really test it out.

    The aspect of the game that appeals to me is the economy. Finally, there’s an MMOG that focuses on making money and actually gives players the proper tools and incentive in order to do so.

    I tried making corporations in NWN, SWG, and WoW, to no avail. I tried lotteries, insurance protection for gear, and other money-making enterprises, but failed miserably. I don’t attest my failure to my own inadequacy, though. I fault the game design. Yes, yes, I know. For the most part, the games weren’t designed around the economy. They were designed around some theme, with primarily PVP at the center.

    However, I was sorely disappointed with SWG. The designers tauted the game as a player-based economy, totally bereaving the players of the age-old “vendor” concept, and letting them rely on each other for parts and supplies. Well, unfortunately, Lucasarts (or whatever) didn’t consider the fact that the majority of the players would be very young, and not care one bit about the economy. That’s the key… care, concern about the entire thing. Someone, somewhere has to care, or it tanks.

    Well, it tanked. Articles were written, studies were made, and the kids kept playing while I left. I didn’t see the point in spending many hours of my macro time building up a master armorsmith only to find that the sale price for my armor couldn’t even cover the cost of materials. So, who controlled the market? Who undersold everyone else and caused the economy to collapse? Well, farmers, of course. I couldn’t possibly compete.

    I tried other schemes, like I mentioned, but everyone was more concerned with “give me uber gear so I can go hunt some giant thingy to maybe find some more uber gear.” How tiresome. My ideas were really good, too. (I’ll admit…)

    I won’t bother getting into those schemes. The concept of Eve, on the other hand, embodies the principle behind them. Think of ways to make money. Implement them! Unlike those other games, Eve does have a regulatory aspect — something that “cares” about the economy, and works to keep it upright. It’s a combination of corporations, government, and competition. In SWG, on my “server,” I located the most prominent Armorsmith. What could I do, in SWG, to compete? I could… form a guild with the sole purpose of taking over the armor industry! Hey, that might have worked!

    But what was the obvious problem with that? There’s no way I could have found the type of people who would be interested and willing to sacrifice all their time and effort just to wipe out one armorsmith. What was more effective for them? Just buy the cheap armor!!!!

    So, Eve is economy based. Sure, there’s war. Sure, there’s piracy. Sure, there’s plenty of pvp. But fundamentally, it’s all “greed” as the tutorial will bluntly tell you.

    So, finally, we get down to the point. What is acceptable in a world designed around greed? Actually, I believe the answer to be quite simple. Let’s compare Eve to a religious concept, if I may. There are two very large branches of Monotheistic belief. One is that a single deity created the universe, and it actively controls it… a somewhat micromanaging god (theism). The other believes that a single deity created the universe, and sat back, letting things run themselves (deism). Yes, there are even some that believe there is a mix of the two concepts.

    For the most part, Eve is like the concept of deism, with a bit of tweaking now and then (I think we like to call them “nerfs”). This concept espouses “free will.” In other words, the designers set up a foundation with certain basic rules (like physics, the form of currency, location of places and materials, character design, etc.), and then open the floodgates and say, “play nice, kids… heheheh.” With this view, the inhabitants of the world will suffer for their “sins” only in the afterworld (which is a deterrent only to a few). However, they are also subject to the punishments brought on by their peers. And that, my friends, is the point.

    The justification for those “evil” players — the scammers, con-artists, ambushers — is that there are potential repurcussions, and that they can be brought about by other players, especially those who were duped in the first place. This is the closest thing to a corporate-run reality that could exist without us coming to each others’ houses and shooting one another.

    Yes, you put time (a lot of time) and effort into your players. Yes, you’ve built yourself an empire. And, yes, it can (and probably will) crumble before your eyes because you will screw something up along the way. When you start playing Eve, you should understand that with the good comes the potential for bad. The real world is the same. You could win the lottery and get hit by a car.

    And the guy who saw you with the winning ticket could come by and pluck it from your dying fingers.

    But Eve gives you the opportunity to do both.

    Should the devs care? Should they ban bad behavior? Should they refund the money of those who were duped and quit the game in a huff? Should they have internal investigative police around every corner to make sure every transaction is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee? If you said yes to any of these questions, please consider playing a different game. This one is for adults.

    Yes, that was a bit harsh, I apologize. But I believe the sentiment is still on target. Do you really want to live in a highly regulated world? Protected, like infants in a ward? Honestly, regulations in Eve would be what we, in the field, would call the path to a slippery slope. In other words, once it starts, it won’t stop. What’s that, you bribed your way into a corporation, made your way up the corporate ladder, then initiated a hostile takeover from the inside, and totally reworked the operation? Ah, sorry, that’s just too much talent! We’ll have to ban your account.

    Nah, CCP doesn’t need to get involved, and shouldn’t get involved (unless/until the subscriber rate starts to plummet). It doesn’t need to get involved because that’s what other corporations are for! WE are the government. WE control. WE decide. WE punish. WE reward.

    For every bit of influence the devs have in controlling that sort of thing, WE lose influence. WE lose control.

    Yes, I could go on for about three more books, but I’ll end with this thought. Yeah, we read stories about the two “baddest” seeds. Yeah, there are more out there like that. Yeah, they’ll dupe some more of us. (you could get hit by a car!)… but for the most part, most of the players have the same ideas about playing as you do. They wanna make money and have fun. CCP knows this. And CCP is smart not to interfere. The sheer masses of the slightly more moral players will counterbalance the few and far between successes of the evil geniuses.


    -Nyctre Myrchantili

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