PVP is Grief Play

EVE[EVE Online] My subscription has run out and I think I’m done playing EVE Online for good. War between large alliances has shown me some things about pure PVP games, things I don’t care for. Is PVP in it’s true form nothing short of grief play? At least in EVE, I say yes it is.

In EVE, it seems the best way to win a war is to try and ruin the fun of the game for your opponent. Smack them on the public forums, get spies into their alliance so you can post private forum threads on the public forums, steal their stuff, shut off their player-owned stations from within, and do everything you can to demoralize them. In short, make them want to quit playing the game. In a game that supports these play styles, expect nothing less.

I used to have fun in EVE. I could do what I wanted, only an occasional issue with other players to deal with. But when a huge alliance decides they don’t like the way yours plays the game and they want you to quit, they can make it happen. There is little recourse for a “carebear” alliance against an alliance born and bred to destroy anything and everything. It’s not fun to watch the things your alliance built taken away or destroyed. Smaller alliances will have even less of a chance to survive. It’s kill or be killed – nothing more, nothing less.

I guess I really am a carebear, because I have no desire to play a game that encourages such low and spiteful behavior. This is why I avoided PVP in games before and why I’ll avoid them in the future. Any time I decided it would be fun to do something, someone else would show up and ruin my fun. No thanks.

There must be people that enjoy this, as PVP servers seem to be pretty popular. After all, fighting other people is more challenging than fighting computer controlled creatures, right? When you pretty much know if you will win or lose before the battle starts, how is it fun? I must be missing something, because I don’t understand the appeal.

The things I’ve seen players do to each other in EVE Online surprised me. Some say it’s just a game. I agree, it is just a game. But when it ceases to be fun for me, I need to cut the strings and walk away. When many players’ fun involves ruining the game for me, it’s time to go. Really, I should have left sooner. There are some real scumbags playing EVE.

To those that enjoy this aspect of games, more power to you. I don’t understand it, but that doesn’t automatically make it wrong. You have your places to play, I have mine.

It’s too bad though, because I saw the potential for a lot of amazing things in EVE. Things that could be done. Things that still might be done. But it’s going to be difficult with all the grief-happy players in space.

There are a lot of good people playing in EVE. I only hope they can survive against the growing groups of people that feel that the only way to play is to kill everyone that doesn’t play the way you do. I have seen many a good person quit because they aren’t having fun any more. EVE is not yet all about war and only war, but it is heading in that direction. The people that want it can rejoice. In their mind, they are just weeding out the weak. So be it, I’m weak. I can admit it.

– 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.

23 thoughts on “PVP is Grief Play”

  1. I tried to discuss this months ago with that last big fraud in Eve, because honestly? Eve really is a sleazy game. I also praised it for being a hard game to leave. And for having probably the most innovation in any MMO right now. But there is a tipping point that I also reached and cancelled/quit before Dec. I did leave. There’s PvP and then there’s just griefing. When a provider allows their forums and any third party sites to effectively be extensions of the game world, and to not have any curbs on bad player behavior — AND when you have these probably credible claims of employee collusion — then you’ve got a really sleazy situation, in the game and with the provider. I also just couldn’t cope with all that. I find CCP really mercenary and dismissive of probably some very deep community problems. But like Shadowbane and maybe other PvP centric games, if they allow their community to spin out of control, it will eat itself. And they’ll be more attrition. Thanks for letting me rant :D

  2. Let all the assholes play the asshole games and laugh at them from your cozy seat at the fireplace.

  3. You’re not a carebear because you refuse to participate in or be the target of griefing. You are a carebear when you refuse anything that involves you possibly interacting with another human being in a situation where you “may not” come out the winner. Carebears are the people you see complaining about getting destroyed while AFK mining 0.0 space.

    EVE is a double sided sword. It can be hella fun and then hella frustrating. Either way it was never boring when I played! The fact is, EVE can not and will never be able to support the LARGE SCALE warfare that the majority of players really want. This results in things like exploiters, spies, and the such becoming far more important than actual WARFARE. Lag is not going to stop that exploiter from logging on at 1 am and hijacking a POS. Lag is definitely going to stop the 200 ship fleet coming to take it back.

    Also CCP needs to draw a line between in-game and out of game. Right now there is no line and we have all seen the results. CCP won’t do it because it is hard and would be very tough to police initially. The more they let it go the more it hurts the average gamer that will make or break EVE.

    EVE is great, but it narrows it’s audience every time a massive in game corporation is allowed to get away with theft or murder. It is a tale sung a thousand times and we’ve just heard the intro.

  4. And let me add…

    It really is as simple as CCP saying; “Corporation leaders you are responsible for your corporation. If anything considered exploiting or illegal is found to occur within your corporations the offending player will be banned, the corporation will be flagged, and upon further review may be disbanded. More than three incidents will result in a permanent ban of the corporation name and the public dispersion of it’s assets.”

  5. Sad to hear you quit. I’m not currently subscribed, but I have every intention to join up again – likely with the next patch (voice chat etc).

    I believe it was you that said, in an earlier post, that you felt that because of player-driven forums, you were playing the game even though you weren’t logged in with the game client. I fully agree with that. But when external resources are becoming an integral part of the game – forums, killboards, CCP’s item database, various player-driven databases of game info, external trading sites, the numerous spreadsheets handling everything from mining to POS operations – it is inevitable that some people will use them for malign purposes.

    Ideally we should all separate our competitive online personas from our own selves, and practice sportsmanship in the MMOs we play. Ideally all game boards should be considering In Character, so that when someone runs off with your secret master plan you don’t feel personally betrayed, but can rather interpret the situation as one game character betraying another. Ideally there should be no exploits like monitoring Local or logging off while in the middle of combat. But the world is not ideal and neither is Eve.

    For all of Eve’s faults, it is still the most “sticky” MMO I have ever played, the one I keep going back to because of its unpredictable and dynamic gameplay. I would much rather give other players the ability to mess up my game, than settle for a static world where I can’t be affected and can’t affect anyone else. Besides, griefing in Eve is at least “honest” – CCP allows for all the dirty tricks, while griefing in other games consist mostly of corpse camping and similar exploits, which personally makes me furious since I consider corpse camping a bug and the exploiter a cheater. In Eve, I grumble over how stupid I was to trust so-and-so or why didn’t I fit warp stabs before flying through

  6. continued because of the (less than sign) problem:

    (less than sign)0.5, but it makes sense within the context of the game and I don’t necessarily get as angry with other players or the game itself.

    I guess what I’m saying is, as an Eve carebear (I am in RNAL, “Real Nice and Laidback Corporation”, which is part of MWA, “Miners With Attitude” – I didn’t pick that for the PvP action) I would be horribly bored with popping Veldspar rocks if I didn’t have to worry about the possibility of a couple of Ravens warping in and beating the crap out of me. If/when that happens, it gives me and my corp mates a good reason to, within the scope of the game, hate on the attackers, which in turn provides conflict and good gameplay. I certainly find it more appealing than what the title of this blog implies.

  7. I think I said a briefer version of Ethic’s post for why I want to like EVE but I cannot. It is ugly PvP, and I do not want to be a part of that. I still play a month or two a year to play with some things, but I have no hope of or interest in participating in the endgame as it stands.

  8. I quit this month. CCP condones all manner of griefing. The increase to 800k skillpoints on new characters made high-sec suicide alts even more of a problem, even accounting for the effect of the hp increase on one’s chance to survive until Concord arrives. I was flying with FIX down in Querious, and we were constantly at war. Problem was, our opponents (1337 and powerful PvPers that they were) would reasonably frequently use small noobswarms with decent cruiser skills to take down our ships in empire… not to mention the curious number of newbcorp alts active that far out from empire space.

    Though, I must say, the reminder of that phenomenon of creating something makes me want to go back to ATITD. *Very* hard to grief there, and very easy for admins to see when it’s being done.

  9. That’s the trouble with PvP in general..the only way to truly win is to stop your opponent playing altogether, which isn’t fun, and all to often the win becomes more important than the fight.

    Plus the Risk-vs-Reward balance in EVE is quite staggeringly off-putting in most cases, in terms of ‘hours spent grinding to get back into the fight’ – short brutal engagements for not a great deal of prizemoney, and a lot of grubbing at asteroids in between. If PvP in there were more Planetside-esque, I’d probably have at it with gleeful abandon, no matter how badly I sucked.

    Still going back at some point though, although that’s just masochism, I suspect, and can totally understand the OP point of view.

  10. To answer Tide’s comment:


    [quote] Kieron says:

    I am closing the thread to further discussion. It was my hope that the replies to the original statement would remain on topic, but due to the lack of clarity in that statement this was not the case.

    To those that are saying, “CCP will sweep this under the rug and not offer further comment”, you are incorrect. More information and answers will be posted before the start of the weekend.

    In the interim, please do not open new threads about this topic. Members of the EVE community will have an opportunity to voice their opinions and comments shortly.[/quote]

    I am waiting for these new answers

  11. It’s still a compelling game for me, although it’s hard to play with a short time investment and hard to play with less-than-100% attention because of all the risks.

    Stalking and being stalked in space is a tremendous feeling, to me the best part of Eve’s PVP.

    What has got out of hand is the desire by some groups of people to win at any cost. There is little the non-hardcore player can do about them, and the GMs are no use.

  12. The appearance of actions intended to destroy an opposing side in game and those intended to get them to quit are quite difficult to distinguish.

    All those actions described are valid means of destroying your opposition, leaking information, sabotaging their bases, spying upon them, stealing things valuable to their wellbeing etc are all legitimate acts of war.

    Unfortunatly the losing of a war is going to mean you end up with nothing, and this will make some people quit, but can it really be judged that the aim of these actions is to cause others to quit.

  13. I have to agree with the OP, and also with VanHemlock’s thoughts on risk/reward.

    I’m not much of a PvP player, but the curious thing is that if I’m a carebear, I’m a carebear on MMOs only. I enjoyed and had lots of fun playing straight up PvP games like UT and RTCW with a group of friends and later on semi-competitively in ad hoc leagues. I had no problem there, I enjoyed the action and the PvP thrill a lot.

    But I can’t bring myself to do it in MMOs. It turns me off immediately and I think it has a lot to do with VanHemlock’s point: The balance of risk/reward for PvP in MMOs is generally out of whack for a lot of people. For a lot of folks like me, it’s just a couple of notches past acceptable, or past what I can bring myself to bear in the name of ‘fun’.

    When I died, creamed to hell and back by other players in UT or RTCW, it was not an issue. I accepted it as part of the game, and moved on. There was no loss of anything other than tactical/positional momentum for the team and that was it. Even if you are being griefed in online FPSs, sure it’s annoying, but it’s a minor inconvenience at best. Things are fast-paced enough that a griefing/camping situation doesn’t last long often.

    PvP/Griefing on MMOs is generally the opposite. With some deaths + the inevitable griefing and corpse camping that follows… a player can stand to lose hours of progress sometimes. Not to mention how pised off players can get when this PvP is non-consensual. You know how it goes, you get the idea.

    I decided a few years back that, as a matter of principle, I wouldn’t play games that didn’t offer at least the option of consensual PvP. The only game I broke this promise for was EVE, briefly, because I wanted to check it. It’s a good game, the framework is there, but the rampant PvP just ruins it for me. I refuse to lose hours or even days of work because someone else needed to get a boner out of killing me for no reason other than killing me. I realize that there’s the thrill for a lot of people… hunting and being hunted, with no recourse for when the crap hits the fan one way or another. If that’s where their fun is coming from, I think that’s cool. I really do.

    But it’s just not for me. PvP and PvE people just don’t mix. And games that don’t acknowledge this, to me, simply lack the vision and the balls to offer players a good way out in the shape of a consensual solution. I won’t play them.

    Non-consensual PvP is not hardcore, it’s stupid. I don’t know why we even keep the concept around. IRL we call it bullying. I wonder how many of us geeks here (let’s face it, that’s who we are), support N-C PvP but hated it when they were bullied at school. Repressed feelings surfacing up anyone? ;)

  14. Going to try to post this from my BlackBerry. See if it works.

    I was listening to a podcast tonight and in it the host was complaining about getting ganked by high level players. His response? I can’t wait until I am high level so I can go gank some low levels and get even.

    Perfect example, the circle continues. Someone pisses you off? Make sure you come back later and piss off some other new player. Dumb.

  15. I guess the web.archive.org link is unnecessary for that site:

    In a nutshell, what is presented is a mechanism for allowing “PvP” and “PvE” folks (although they’re described using different terminology in the document) to co-exist on the same server and in the same game world. It is likely the absolutely best attempt ever made to make that happen. Given the immense ambition of the system, it succeeded beyond expectations.

    But it didn’t succeed – frankly, it was a mess. Staff members spent an ever-increasing chunk of their time trying to sort out various unintended side effects of the system – such as “I’m Fate 2, but a Fate 4 killed my girlfriend, who is Fate 3 but consented at the time – but I don’t consent, because I’m Fate 2, and I want my girlfriend back, because I can’t sleep at night knowing that my character’s girlfriend character died, so that scene has to be retconned” and blah blah blah. It is simply extremely difficult, even with the best intentions and system, to keep consent-only players happy while trying to ensure that the populace can perform actions on their own without constant baby sitting, and preserving some degree of suspension of disbelief and plotline integrity.

    Personally, I think Eve does a great job of allowing non-consent PvP types and consent-only types to co-exist, due to the mechanisms of the game such as 0.0 vs Empire space, corporation and alliances for mutual support, the relatively large possibilities of station/POS-play, warp stabilizer modules and so on. I believe that if an MMO will cater to more people than a small group of friends, such mechanisms are a prerequisite since most people fall in somewhere on the scale of uber-sensitive carebear and full-scale PvP griefer, not often at one extreme or the other.

    I have never attacked a player-owned ship or structure in Eve, and my alliance has been at war multiple times – during those times of war, I’ve been limiting myself to Empire or station based activities, I’ve been extra careful, and I’ve had escorts available. The few times I’ve been attacked, it’s been because of my own inexperience and/or stupidity, or because I’ve taken a high-payoff risk. I have never lost a ship while still planning and thinking ahead, though I have lost my fair share. To me, that’s a pretty good indicator of Eve’s mechanisms for handling player interactions – certainly more appealing to me than for example ATITD’s or LOTRO’s “there is simply no such thing as player-vs-player strife”.

  16. There are plenty of other features in EVE you can take advantage of that do not involve PvP. Yes, large alliance PvP is EVE’s “end game”. No, I don’t agree with you that it’s griefing. Smack talk in game, on the forums; ultimately who cares. Personally, I fight battles because of the adrenaline rush and generally because even-sided battles are a ton of fun.

    But if you don’t like the large scale fights, do something else in the game. The sandbox is plenty large enough to support the myriad of other game mechanics EVE presents to us players.

  17. Yikes at that document, Lachek. Just… yikes. :(

    All in all I think I’m most partial to WoW’s implementation in non-PvP servers: Want to PvP? Then just /pvp. Don’t want to? Then don’t /pvp and don’t walk into enemy areas. Quite simple to grasp.

  18. The large scale wars (lag free in my dreams) and politics are what I *did* like about EVE. It’s when someone declares war on your alliance and then publicly vows to not stop until you quit playing the game, and then using your private forum (not EVE forum) conversations as ammunition on the public EVE forums that I decide it’s gone into grief. Even side battles? You bet. Sadly, it’s never even – there is always one group that will resort to any tactic in order to beat down the opposition – even if it really has nothing to do with playing the game.

  19. “there is simply no such thing as player-vs-player strife” is probably the opposite of ATITD’s design. The game is designed to promote strife, and various events have worked to instill it where it did not previously exist. It also has permadeath, which I have only seen relevant in one case (where someone was trying to kill her in-game husband and found a possible way). That there is no direct combat does not mean that the game is not hardcore PvP. It is the playerbase that keeps that down, not the game.

  20. “All in all I think I’m most partial to WoW’s implementation in non-PvP servers: Want to PvP? Then just /pvp. Don’t want to? Then don’t /pvp and don’t walk into enemy areas. Quite simple to grasp.”

    Yes, which works in a game like WoW where PvP means literally nothing and is merely a mini-game that provides some distraction when you’re bored of questing, raiding and grinding. Games like Eve, ShadowBane, and most old MUSHs uses PvP to produce dynamic content for the game – the ability to turn that functionality “off” on demand because you just want to strip mine some rocks in 0.0 and not be bothered defeats the purpose of the game. We’re talking about two entirely different beasts when discussing Eve vs WoW.

    ““there is simply no such thing as player-vs-player strife” is probably the opposite of ATITD’s design. The game is designed to promote strife, and various events have worked to instill it where it did not previously exist.”

    This of a game renowned for being “THE collaborative MMO”. Yes, there is some measure of strife between factions in ATITD, but please do provide me with some examples other than simple “our city’s better than yours”, and mechanisms by which characters can find an outlet.
    Eve has competition over resources, that have a rather lengthy respawn period. In ATITD, trees “restore” all their “wood” resource every 60 seconds.
    Eve has competition over system sovereignty. ATITD has minor bickering over “you built your house too close to mine, it blocks out the sunlight and makes my front lawn look dreary”.
    Eve has competition over new tech and research. In ATITD, once a tech has been unlocked at a University (at great expense of the people involved) the University freely teaches the skill to anyone who chooses to make the pilgrimage, even a Deep South Egyptian with a different skin tone and accent.
    Eve has lore, and considerable tension (even war) between player races. ATITD has no lore, or features even really a hint as to what “roleplay” is. ATITD simply has no character identity at all, unless you choose to make one up, which is very uncommon and considered “weird”.
    Most of all, Eve has a method by which to deliver swift death from the barrel of an artillery cannon. I don’t even recall if you can make rude gestures at each other in ATITD.

    Don’t get me wrong – I like ATITD a lot, and its absence of PvP allows for some interesting mechanics, but by and large what turned me off the game was the drudgery (similar to Eve’s mining) mixed with the predictability of being left entirely alone if I so chose, not being harassed or interrupted, my resources being available when I needed them, most actions being so predetermined that I often felt more like a scripting language runtime engine rather than a player. As I said, in Eve Online I have to constantly look over my shoulder and plan ahead, an artifact of the unbridled PvP gameplay which makes the game worth playing, IMHO.

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