Last time, we saw the concerns raised by CSM members about the effect of wardecs on new players, and how CCP's own stats suggested wardeccers don't actually target newbies. Long-time readers know that this sort of thing isn't a recent development: Grizzled vets have long demanded changes "for the sake of the newbros" when they really hope to benefit themselves.
This phenomenon is so commonplace in EVE, and it's so ingrained in EVE culture, that there's a name for it: Malcanis' Law. The eponymous Malcanis (a former CSM member himself) coined the law ten years ago.
"Malcanis' Law: Whenever a mechanics change is proposed on behalf of 'new players', that change is always to the overwhelming advantage of richer, older players."There are critics of Malcanis' Law, chief among them CCP Fozzie himself. According to Fozzie, the law is meaningless because it could apply to any mechanics change. Theoretically, richer, older players are always better able to take advantage of any mechanic.
However, Fozzie misses the point. Malcanis' Law challenges us to see the "for the sake of the newbros" justifications for the smokescreen that they are. The motives of those who cry loudest about protecting newbies shouldn't be trusted.
We see this often in everyday MinerBumping posts. Carebears demand special treatment because they're "new", only to be exposed as 10-year vets of the game. Or they turn out to be experienced players who then claim they recently came back--the so-called "new returning player".
In every corner of the internet where carebears demand nerfs to highsec PvP, we find their almost unbelievably clumsy arguments. Take, for example, the case of freighter ganking. Freighter pilots have been begging CCP to nerf the practice of freighter ganking for years. On multiple occasions, CCP has complied, only to be met with more nerf-begging after freighters continued to be ganked. The rationale? "Protect new players."
Of course, people who own expensive ships with a bunch of skillpoint requirements are not newbies. A newbie might own a Venture, or possibly even a Retriever, but he certainly is not autopiloting a 10 billion isk jump freighter through Uedama. You'd think the pro-newbie carebears would admit this. Somehow, though, the blingier the ship, the more likely the gank recipient is to moan about the need to protect newbros from ganks.
When questioned on this point, the theme park crowd eventually threw up its hands and declared all ships in highsec to be potentially newbie-owned. During a CSM summit a few years back, highsec carebear Mike Azariah famously declared:
"You said the guy in the blinged out Golem is ganked. But those are often noobs who have purchased a character and ship with PLEX. I have met these people who are only three weeks old. They can still be new players."The addition of skill point injectors stretched this flimsy logic even further. The owner of any ship, no matter how expensive or SP-intensive, could be a newbie. If you care about retaining new players, you shouldn't even gank a blinged-out faction battleship or bling-laden jump freighter.
And so it is with wardecs. Demands for nerfs to wardecs aren't new. As with freighter ganking, wardecs have been nerfed on more than one occasion over the years. Each time, the nerf-begging was framed as a way to rescue newbies from the pitiless might of older players. Upon closer examination of these efforts, we find Malcanis' Law to hold: The nerfs to wardecs were made in service of richer, older players.
The most noteworthy moment in wardec history came all the way back in 2007, when the Privateer Alliance was at the height of its power. The Privateers, originally a small group of highsec wardeccers, became infamous when they began camping the Jita 4-4 undock and wardeccing everyone in sight. Eventually, they implemented an open recruitment system (not unlike that of Pandemic Horde) and invited anyone and everyone to join the fun. At one point, the Privateers had over 150 wardecs running simultaneously--including all the biggest alliances in the game.
Rather than simply overwhelming the Privateers with numbers, the wardec recipients simply cried and begged CCP for a nerf to wardecs. But the crying was led by the big nullsec alliances, who had two main problems with the Privateers. First, the nullsec alliances weren't used to having their highsec logistics threatened; they preferred to use highsec as a safe zone where they could gather their supplies and convoy them at leisure. Second, the Privateers began to dominate the killboards. Before, the Band of Brothers alliance topped the charts. The Privateers ruined that by out-killing the elite nullsec alliances by an order of magnitude.
When CCP nerfed wardecs to shut down the Privateers, some newbies did benefit, if their corp/alliance happened to be caught up in the Privateers' net. But the changes were made at the behest of the most powerful nullsec alliances, which also happened to be the noisiest whiners.
When CCP overhauled wardec mechanics in 2012, it was even more clear that Malcanis' Law governed the proceedings. Before, big alliances and small alliances carried the same wardec fee: 50 million isk. CCP changed the system so that big alliances were much more expensive to wardec. To wardec the biggest alliances, it costs 500 million isk per week. This incentivized wardeccers to attack smaller alliances, rather than going after the big fish.
This may seem bizarre, since it's obvious that the fee structure benefits the established groups and hurts the newer ones, which are naturally going to be smaller. According to CCP, this was done because wardeccing big alliances gives the wardeccers more targets to shoot at, so they should have to pay more for the privilege. In reality, the fee structure was put in place to protect the big nullsec alliances' highsec logistics--just as when the Privateers were nerfed into oblivion five years earlier.
Likewise, the pearl-clutching we see today has little to do with protecting newbies from the inconvenience of spaceship combat in a spaceship combat game. Having exposed the truth about the carebears' motives, let us examine the substance of their complaints about the wardec mechanics.
To be continued...