Carebears always have an excuse for violating the Code. Whether it's fear of a diabetic coma, rogue antivirus software, a child setting himself on fire, or their country being invaded by Russia, there's always some reason to go AFK or otherwise break the rules of highsec. The most commonly heard excuse, of course, comes from the miner who claims that he didn't even know there was a Code. That's what we're going to talk about today.
As we've discussed in the past, anyone who has played EVE for any length of time should know about the New Order and its Code. The time for warnings is over; anyone who has managed to remain unaware of the Code by this point must surely be a bot-aspirant. Indeed, ignorance of the Code is itself a Code violation. Most of these claims of ignorance are lies anyway, generally framed as "I would have bought a permit, but now I won't." To which a sharp Agent can immediately reply, "I was going to reimburse your loss, but now I won't."
What about the player who has only just joined EVE? More and more, we're seeing carebears complain about being new to the game; they say they haven't had the opportunity to learn about the Code. They're not happy that their discovery of the Code occurs only when they're ganked by an Agent of the New Order. Again, most of these claims of newbie status are lies--sometimes from people who have been playing EVE for many years. But what about the genuine newbies? Are they right in saying that they should be given a warning instead of a gank?
First of all, we must recognize that these complaints are a strong incentive for us to continue spreading the word about the Code. Claims of genuine ignorance are an argument for the New Order to get more publicity, more people dropping "Praise James!" in local, etc.
And it's a condemnation of the Anti-Gankers for their failure to impress upon fellow carebears how important and powerful the Code is. For every Anti-Ganker who says that we're single-handedly ruining the game, there's another Anti-Ganker who embraces denialism, saying permits don't exist, that the Code has no real impact on highsec, that the significance of the New Order is exaggerated, etc. Their guilt is magnified by the fact that their own actions prove they know CODE. is the most relevant alliance in EVE. The rebels spread skepticism when they should be telling every newbie they can find about the Code. (It's ironic. Imagine a real-life rebellion telling people, "Don't worry about the government we're trying to overthrow--it's not that big a deal." Yet another reason the Anti-Gankers are continuously failing nonstop daily.)
Let's be honest: CCP must share some of the blame, too. If new players are complaining that they don't learn about the Code until they're ganked, then the EVE tutorial needs more Code-related content. If we're to believe that highsec is a place where newbies live, then newbies should be told about the people who run highsec. Granted, the denialists moan and whine whenever CCP acknowledges the New Order and its permits. However, CCP indirectly acknowledges the power and importance of the New Order every time it nerfs highsec ganking. When you consider all of the nerfs aimed in our direction, the New Order is the most-acknowledged organization in EVE. So it wouldn't exactly kill them to give us a name-drop in the tutorial.
What, then, about the newbie himself? He isn't responsible for the content of the tutorial or for the Anti-Gankers' failures. Is the genuinely new player blameless, then?
Arguably, a new player should infer from his surroundings the existence of the Code, if not the particular details of it. If one enters an unknown country and observes the complexities of its civilization, its hustle and bustle, and its various social and technological systems all working together, he would be a fool not to assume that some government and some law are responsible. Hence the clichéd space alien's request, "Take me to your leader." Perhaps we should expect a new player to intuit that highsec must have some Code that keeps it all running, and to seek it out for the sake of his own compliance with it.
Let us put all such arguments aside. Let us assume, for the sake of discussion, that a genuinely new player is absolutely clueless of the Code's existence, and that his ignorance is perfectly innocent. Should he still be ganked for violating the Code?
Although it's true that we want everyone in highsec to be informed about the Code, that's only the first step. Knowledge of the Code, on its own, is not enough. Not nearly. Consider the Anti-Gankers. They know about the New Order and its Code. They know it well enough that when our Agents enter local, they tremble! But all that knowledge does the Anti-Ganker little good.
No, we want new players to know the Code and act upon it. To accomplish this, a new player must be informed about the Code in such a way that he believes in the Code. His skepticism must be wiped away. If you went to a miner and told him that a group runs highsec and that a payment of 10 million isk per year is required for mining, he would have knowledge of your claim. Hearing the claim, he may or may not believe it. By contrast, a demonstration of the truth of the claim is much more effective. To prove the New Order rules highsec, to prove the power of the Code, our Agents enforce the Code with violence.
Ganks are a proven method for convincing new players of the Code's power and relevance to their lives. Hence the complaint, "But no one ever told me about the Code," as opposed to, "There's no Code. You can't do anything to me." He accepts the reality of the Code. He only wishes he'd known about it sooner. That's a victory!
But what about the vulnerability and tender feelings of the newbie? Aye, the tenderness of the newbie. "Malleable" might be a better word. The newer the player, the less time for him to be poisoned by the rebels and skeptics. Newer players also stand to lose less-valuable ships when we gank them. True, they may lose a larger percentage of their assets. Some newbies complain, "That ship was all I had, and now I'm broke." It's an important lesson, though. A newbie in that situation learns that the New Order can take away everything he owns. A wealthier carebear takes in the truth in smaller doses, losing one ship after the other. He suffers longer, like the apocryphal frog who doesn't realize he's being boiled in the pot as the temperature slowly rises.
For various reasons, EVE's newbies are coddled too much these days. People act like it's a bad thing when they lose a ship. EVE is built around spaceship combat. That means people lose ships. When ships blow up, that means the game is running smoothly. About a week into my own EVE experience, I was rummaging around in lowsec in a cruiser and was attacked by a random player. Within seconds, I'd lost my ship. It almost wiped me out, but I learned more about lowsec and EVE in that encounter of a few seconds than I had in the entire week leading up to it. It didn't occur to me to whine or petition or threaten to quit. That wasn't how an EVE player behaved.
In truth, a blameless newbie losing his only ship to a New Order gank is a lucky newbie. He stands the best chance at truly grasping the urgent truth of the Code. If it were possible, I wish that every EVE player would be struck by a "reset" one week into the game, being ganked and losing everything they'd accumulated up to that point. Then they could put aside all that they thought they knew, read the Code, and really play EVE for the first time.