Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why Praise James?

If you play EVE for any length of time, you're bound to hear "Praise James!" in local chat. The phrase is a common one these days, and it has become a part of the EVE lexicon. It gained an additional level of notoriety two years ago, when the "Broadcast 4 Reps" movement launched its official video, which concluded with an Agent saying "Praise James."

Though obviously a lot of EVE players praise James, said praise has generated a lot of questions. Today we'll answer some of them.

To begin with, some players wonder, when they see an Agent saying "Praise James!" in local (or in a private convo, or wherever), whether the Agent is praising me, or whether the statement is in the form of a command. Are Agents instructing everyone else to praise me?

Well, it's both. For instance, a ganker praises the Saviour of Highsec for the death of the carebear he just ganked, while simultaneously commanding the carebear to praise me. Makes sense.

And that leads us to the main question: Why praise James?

Some rebels say that it's evidence of the New Order's cult-like atmosphere. This notion can be easily dispensed with, since it's incorrect.

In fact, there are several reasons why people praise me and command others to praise me. Even the most stubborn "resistance" member, when presented with the facts, typically comes to understand how rational it is. So let's get to it.

First of all, when an Agent praises the Saviour of Highsec, it serves as a reminder of how far we've come. It has now been five and a half years since the dawn of the Code and five years since the mighty CODE. alliance was formed. Highsec and EVE were very different before then. Unless reminded, it's easy to forget that. And newer players, especially, are likely to take all that progress for granted, since they probably have no memory of the pre-Code era.

There's also the fundamental issue of attitude. As an MMORPG playerbase, and as a society in general, we've seen a shift from gratitude to entitlement. People expect or demand things, rather than being thankful for them. This attitude makes a world of difference--and reflects a distorted view of the world. The things you value do not materialize out of thin air simply because you deserve them. Rather, they are created through effort, yours or someone else's. Highsec didn't get to where it is today by accident: There are many Agents enforcing the Code, and it all started with the words of the Saviour.

On that note, if someone praises me, then by implication they are also praising the Agents of the New Order. Miners who encounter Agents ought to say, "Thank you for your service." And mean it.

We know, of course, that the Code requires miners to show respect for highsec authorities. But do you realize that the exact phrase "praise James" is not found anywhere in the Code? And yet it's everywhere in the Code, from the first line to the last.

Then there are the practical uses for the phrase. How many bot-aspirants do you think are willing to say "Praise James!" in local? Basically none. (And miners wonder how our Agents are so efficient at identifying the bad guys!) We've seen how the humble mining permit, costing only 10 million isk, serves as an effective filter. There are some non-compliants with fake permits, but they're extremely rare. I suspect that the number of rebellious miners willing to praise me is even smaller. It's hard to fake gallantry when you're a Goofus.

As we've discovered (or rediscovered), a hearty "Praise James!" does a lot of good for a lot of people, in a lot of ways. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a cure-all, but it's about as close as you're going to get with just a few keystrokes. And that brings us to our final question, one which CCP ought to spend a good bit of time thinking about: Should the EVE launch screen present the words "Praise James!" so that everyone in EVE reads it every time they play the game?

Well, it's a smart idea, and CCP is in need of smart ideas right now. I've got a hunch that it would improve player retention, particularly among new players. CCP would stand to make a lot of money doing it--a tempting prospect, given their present situation. In any event, it would definitely weed out a lot of the "problem" players who don't pull their weight. The phrase already does that in highsec.


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