Previously, on MinerBumping... We explored the carebears' claims that the New Order and other fun-loving highsec-dwellers are bullies, etc. Today, we dive right in and get to the bottom of this question. Is highsec PvP just a bunch of bullying?
WARNING: Real talk incoming, beginning after my face.
Let's begin by taking a look at the traditional "sandbox" argument. We all know that the carebears claim "sandbox rights" to mine in peace, and that they dismiss the idea that a ganker has "sandbox rights" to gank. At times, it seems you can support or dismiss any opinion about EVE by inserting the word "sandbox" into it. However, this isn't the case. When it comes to EVE, some people are right about some things, and some people are wrong about some things. Even if they all use the word "sandbox".
For example, thousands of miners and assorted carebears have filed petitions against the New Order. They've claimed all sorts of nasty things about us in their petitions. But do you know how many of those petitions have been granted? The total number of New Order Agents who have been banned, to date:
Consider the wasted effort of all those thousands of carebears. None of them could pin anything on any of our Agents. Zero cases of harassment or bullying. It comes down to this: If the carebears were right, then some or all of us would be banned for our supposedly inappropriate behavior. But because 100% of those efforts to ban us have failed, it's pretty clear that we're right and the carebears are wrong--at least from the perspective of the people who designed the game, came up with the rules, and enforce said rules.
The carebears then argue that although we're not breaking any rules, that just means the rules themselves are flawed, because we're doing bad things to their sandbox. They disagree that EVE is a "spaceship combat sandbox", claiming that it's a more generalized "sandbox sandbox". After all, you don't have to shoot at spaceships. You can build them, or trade them, or whatever.
EVE does grant players the ability to choose from a wide array of different activities. That doesn't mean, however, that there are no limits on what kind of game EVE is. There is a "wrong" way to play EVE. You're doing it wrong if you pilot an untanked, blinged-out ship that you can't afford to lose--on the assumption that you can't die--and then file a petition for harassment when you get blown up. To call that a legitimate play-style requires you to voluntarily surrender all common sense. EVE is a PvP-based game, in highsec, nullsec, everywhere.
If EVE isn't a PvP-based game, then neither is Dust 514. In an FPS (first-person shooter) game, people engage in PvP. They don't have to, though. An FPS server has just as much potential for PvP-free zones as EVE does. The soldiers on each side of a battle could call a truce, admire the amazing 3-D graphics, and prance amongst the daisies. Some FPS'es include roles for building things, or supplying or healing other players. Yet the games remain first-person shooters just as EVE will always be a spaceship combat sandbox. You don't have to shoot at other spaceships, just as you don't have to shoot at other soldiers in Dust 514. However, in EVE and Dust, the other players will shoot at you because that's the game.
Nevertheless, the carebears will tell you that we have impure motives in shooting spaceships. They might point to our collection of carebear tears. MinerBumping, for instance, has 394 posts affixed with the "Tears" label. (Actually, 395 now, because rswfire's tears in Part 1 got the label attached to that post, too.)
There's no denying it: Many carebear tears can be found on MinerBumping. It's the single largest repository of carebear tears to be found anywhere. The critics will tell you that this is proof that the New Order is playing EVE for sadistic reasons, that we're propelled by our sociopathic tear-collecting activities.
Let's look at this another way. Imagine you've embarked on a mission to climb Mount Everest. Suppose you've documented your journey with copious photographs. Some of those photographs are of yourself in the environment, while others are of the scenery. Now suppose you share these photographs with other people, some of whom are interested in mountain-climbing, and some who are merely curious about your experience. They will immediately notice that there's a lot of snow and ice in a lot of those pictures. Should they conclude that the reason for your journey was to take pictures of snow and ice? Of course not. There's snow everywhere because you're up in the mountains.
The same principle holds true for MinerBumping. Carebear tears appear in hundreds of the posts for the simple reason that this is a blog about highsec. If you go to highsec and engage in PvP, there will be tears. As any New Order Agent or other highsec professional will tell you, carebears shed tears. We don't go through 9 polite, rational encounters with carebears and then document the one time out of ten that a carebear goes nuts and rants about how shooting his Retriever is something Hitler would do. Quite the opposite. The vast majority of the time that a carebear speaks at all, he's foaming at the mouth. The average highsec miner gets more upset about losing a 40 million isk Retriever than a nullsec player does about getting kicked out of a region.
MinerBumping broke new ground because it shone a light on highsec. Most EVE players never leave highsec, but until MinerBumping, the highsec carebear culture was almost entirely unknown. And if you don't believe that the experiences described each day on MinerBumping are a representative sample, then I cordially invite you to come to highsec and gank or bump a miner or two.
Finally, this brings us to the issue of PvP in highsec. Remember that The Nosy Gamer had no qualms about miners being shot in lowsec, but instantly categorized all PvP against miners in highsec as "harassment". This puts the New Order in a sticky situation, because highsec is our territory. How else can we enforce our rules?
At this, the carebear scoffs. "How can you claim highsec?" they say. "You can't hold sovereignty in highsec. You have no territory to protect, so all you're doing is senseless griefing."
I've covered this point before, but it's worth saying again and again. True, we can't claim sovereignty in highsec systems. Claiming sov can only be done in nullsec. Correction: It can only be done in part of nullsec. In fact, vast tracts of territory in nullsec cannot be claimed by players; they have NPC sovereignty. The EVE influence map doesn't show NPC sov, though. Where possible, it applies player sovereignty to surrounding areas, filling in the gaps and making it appear that more of nullsec is claimed by players. Even then, some nullsec regions are so NPC-sov-heavy that they're left blank on the influence map. In the older EVE maps, cartographers would use their best judgment to show various alliances claiming the NPC-held areas--even if those alliances didn't hold sovereignty in any systems.
In addition, territory is claimed by alliances even when a different alliance owns sovereignty. I'm not only talking about wartime, where territory is disputed. In many cases, large areas are "held" by renter alliances who don't really own the territory. The territory is owned by the host, which forces them to pay rent and can kick them out at any time. However, the renter oftens holds sovereignty, with some renters being big enough to show up on the influence map. There are also alliances who take the opposite approach, claiming territory in nullsec but not getting involved in sov mechanics at all.
Then we turn to wormsec, or w-space, as some prefer to call it. Players cannot claim sovereignty in wormholes. Anyone who visits wormhole space will quickly discover that players nonetheless claim wormholes as their own territory. The same holds true of lowsec. No player sovereignty exists there, but players claim territory.
When you add it all up--NPC null, sov-in-name-only renters, sov-spurning PvP'ers, wormholes, and lowsec--most territorial claims by players in EVE are not actually accompanied by in-game sovereignty.
Viewed in this light, isn't it obvious that the same holds true for highsec? Logic does not merely allow, but demands, that players can claim territory in highsec.
The carebear protests, "But players outside of highsec can back up their claims with violent force!" They can in highsec, too. The New Order has inflicted trillions of isk worth of damage by suicide ganking. We inflict more damage each month than most nullsec alliances. "But CONCORD!", they say. Who cares? In any event, not all violence in highsec is punished by CONCORD. Wardecs certainly aren't. Nor is awoxing. When you bump miners, CONCORD will punish the player who attacks the bumper.
As you can see, it makes perfect sense for the New Order to claim highsec as our territory. You might object that we don't do enough damage to make a credible claim on all that territory. Fine, but that's a reason for us to inflict more damage, not less. To make our claims to rule highsec all the more credible, and to make compliance with our Code all the more common.
Thus, the carebear becomes the ultimate advocate of the griefing, harassment, and bullying he accuses us of. Oops!
In conclusion, it's time for the carebears to get real. In PvP games, there are kills and there are deaths. You win and you lose. If your ship is blown up and you get podded, you lost. Somebody beat you. Congratulate him or learn from him, but don't hate him. He's just playing EVE.