In my continuing efforts to speak directly to the EVE community as I campaign for CSM, I've written about my philosophy of campaigning and my platform for changes to game mechanics. A lot of people have expressed an interest in learning my view of the CSM and what its role should be. That's the subject of one or two future posts.
But today, before we go further, I think it's important for us all to sit down and have an honest conversation about where we are as a community. This is real talk. It's like an intervention in reverse, with one person telling everyone else in the room how it is.
If we're going to have real talk, we need to get real. By continuing to read this post and not clicking away, you are giving me permission to get real.
EVE is not in good shape at the moment. In 2011, I began warning you about the threat posed by carebearism, specifically from highsec miners who influence CCP with their endless whining. I claimed that the carebears wanted to remove all danger from highsec. I warned that a skewed risk/reward balance in highsec's favor would cause active PvE in lowsec and nullsec to be shifted into highsec. The boost in highsec population would give carebears ever-increasing influence with CCP and enhance their ability to further skew the game.
That was then. Let's stop a moment and take a look at where we are now. According to the most recent CSM minutes, miner ganking is now at "historic lows". Can-flipping is on the brink of extinction. In their last summit, the CSM and CCP engaged in a serious discussion about scrapping non-consensual wardecs altogether. We've come a long way.
If I had told you a year ago that they would even consider eliminating wardecs, would you have believed me? It would have sounded excessively pessimistic and paranoid, no? But that's not what should concern you. What should concern you is, if I told you today what they'll do a year from now, you wouldn't believe me, and for the same reason.
The discourse has changed just as dramatically. Even though pretty much everyone agrees that risk/reward is imbalanced in favor of highsec, it's considered "radical" and "extreme" to suggest fixing the problem by lowering the rewards of highsec or increasing its risk. Yet it's not considered radical to make the problem worse. We all know highsec has too little risk, but no one calls it "extreme" to continually lower the risks and to give the highsec miners an AFK money-printing machine.
We're told that this is all done for the benefit of new players. We need to tilt the risk/reward further in favor of highsec because otherwise EVE will lose subscriptions, they say. I find this interesting, because seven years ago I was one of those new players. Things were much more difficult for newbies back then. But for some reason, no one ever thought it was important to eliminate wardecs or suicide ganking or can-flipping. Highsec is safer than ever, and all anyone can talk about is how to make it even more safe.
Carebearism isn't limited to the people who mine in highsec full-time. Part of the problem with our CSM process is that we're electing candidates without knowing what the candidates stand for, or even asking for that information. Let's consider two of the people who can rightly be considered extreme, even though they're treated as mainstream moderates in today's environment:
Trebor Daehdoow is currently on the CSM. I wrote about him in my review of the CSM minutes earlier this year. He's one of the CSM members who's in favor of eliminating non-consensual wardecs. But he's not some newbie miner; he's a 2007 character in a PvP corp.
Ripard Teg is considered one of the leading candidates for CSM this term. I took him to task in a post a couple weeks ago. He's a member of Rote Kapelle, an alliance known for PvP. He has thousands of kills to his name. Yet he's one of the most strident advocates for the carebears. In a recent Twitter exchange with Poetic Stanziel, Ripard confessed that he's a believer in the thoroughly-discredited concept of "isk tanking". Ripard thinks it should take 20 or more tier-3 battlecruisers to kill a freighter. He also thinks killing Hulks with 5-6 Catalysts is "too few" (even though Hulks are supposed to be the low-tank, high-yield option).
Advocates of isk tanking believe gankers should always lose as much as their victims. Why? Probably because it would eliminate ganking. It's important to note that isk tanking does nothing to help the newbies that people like Ripard claim they're trying to protect. Newbies do not fly 200 million isk Hulks or billion isk freighters. A perfectly safe highsec is perfectly safe for everyone.
While we're debunking the "protect the newbies" argument, we may as well debunk the other favorite argument of the carebears. They say they don't want to make highsec 100% safe, they just want to make it a little safer than it is now. I don't buy that any more than I buy their concern for newbies in freighters and Hulks. If highsec is the safest it's ever been, why do we need to make it safer by eliminating wardecs? If miner ganking is already at "historic lows", why do we need to increase the cost of suicide ganking? It's simple. I've said all along, there is no stopping point, because their actual goal is 100% safety, regardless of what they say. Actions speak louder than words.
And, lest we forget, these CSM representatives are supposed to be the guys telling CCP not to make EVE into a theme park. Instead, they're leading the charge. So here's the situation. On the one hand, the "Monocles and gold ammo" faction of CCP is pushing for the lucrative theme park option, and on the other hand, supposedly hardcore PvP'ers on CSM are saying "yeah, what the players want is a safer highsec". Now it's easy to see how things have gotten out of control, and why they'll get a lot worse if nothing is done to change the trajectory.
I have a question for everyone reading this. How many of you, prior to this post and other recent posts on MinerBumping, knew about Trebor and Ripard's pro-carebear positions? Though Trebor's been on the CSM before and Ripard authors one of the most popular EVE blogs ("Jester's Trek"), their views weren't well known. You wouldn't guess their positions, based on their PvP corp affiliations. For the most part, those type of affiliations are the only thing people know about the candidates. We know nothing about what they intend to do when they're elected. So you have normal EVE players voting in people like Trebor, and they're shocked to find that he's telling CCP to get rid of wardecs.
Do you think Trebor and Ripard are the only carebear candidates out there? Don't forget, in my review of the CSM minutes, Trebor wasn't alone in his views--he's just the example I gave in this post. You have to wonder how many other candidates feel the same way. Based on what we've seen so far, it's impossible to tell. They certainly don't all run on a pro-carebear platform; Ripard, for example, will probably run on a platform of knowledge and work-ethic. So will the rest, but how will we know what they're going to use that knowledge and work-ethic to push? Is it a good thing for them to be skilled and experienced, if they're going to pursue a destructive agenda for EVE? I would rather they be incompetent and ineffective, if they're pro-carebear.
Prior to voting day, I will evaluate all of the leading CSM candidates and let the readers of MinerBumping know which are good and which are bad. However, my ability to expose their carebearism is subject to one major limitation: If no one asks them about it, they may not disclose it.
This was originally supposed to be one post, but I'll need to stop here. Rest assured, the real talk will continue.