As we've seen, CCP has gone to some length to demonstrate how few EVE players benefit from the existence of wardecs. First it was comments in the CSM summit minutes claiming that wardecs "allow a small number of players to negatively affect a huge number of people," and then the EVE Vegas presentation about how only 5 "corps" are responsible for 50% of the wardecs.
A negative attitude about wardeccers, always simmering among carebears in the background, has suddenly sprung to life. Take, for example, PC Gamer's new article about the upcoming wardec nerfs. Below are a few snippits from the article. See if you can detect a pattern in the new narrative being written about wardeccers:
"Conflict is the lifeblood of EVE Online, but how players initiate a war is a serious problem. Right now, 50 percent of all wars in EVE Online are instigated by just five corporations (EVE's version of guilds) who are exploiting the system to sow pain and chaos across the virtual galaxy of New Eden...Ah, video game journalism. Reading this article, one might forget that for the entirety of EVE history, CCP considered wardecs to be legitimate.
For years this system has been exploited by a few groups who act as a kind of mafia, shaking down much weaker, industrial-minded corporations and forcing them into a war they stand no chance of winning. While EVE is a sandbox meant to have as few restrictions as possible, being forced into a battle you have no chance of winning or escaping from is a special kind of hell...
And that these bullies were destroying 105 ships for every one that they lost...
In early 2019, CCP Games is going to redo the war declaration system from the ground up to eliminate this kind of trolling. It's just one more interesting niche playstyle in the EVE Online universe, even if these war mongers are basically just big jerks..."
In fact, there were good reasons why wardecs were allowed--even encouraged!--to flourish across highsec. Even if you preferred not to engage in wardecs yourself, you certainly benefited from them. Wardecs have always had a positive impact on the game and on the vast majority of players.
To begin with, there's something incredibly valuable about having spaceship combat going on in a spaceship combat game, and especially having it occur in the place where the vast majority of EVE players actually live. Every player who still has an ounce of humanity, any player who has not yet been completely corrupted by bot-aspirancy, benefits from at least witnessing PvP. If you live in highsec and grind isk all day, the sight of wardec-related activities at least reminds you for a moment what EVE is, and what it should be. PvP must always be in the atmosphere, even in CONCORD-patrolled highsec.
Countless newbies are exploited by highsec PvE corporations. If they're not careful, isk-minded older players get drawn in by them, too. They are encouraged to spend all day grinding. They waste their EVE experience on repetitive, unrewarding tasks. Even what little money they make is further taxed by shady ore buyback programs and other machinations devised by their cruel carebear taskmasters. Through sheer force of inertia and habit, or a sense of misplaced loyalty to their fellow corpmates, or out of ignorance of the outside world of EVE, the isk-grinders would languish in these prisons forever. Until they are set free.
Who liberates them? The PvP'ers. People who actually know how to play EVE attack these corp-sized loot piñatas. Inevitably, the bad corporations implode, freeing their members to go elsewhere. Maybe they end up in another bad corp, but maybe they find their way to a better place in EVE. Maybe they become PvP'ers themselves--perhaps they even learn to destroy bad corps like the one they used to be trapped in.
Someone needs to break apart the weak, dysfunctional corps of highsec. Otherwise they'll hoover up all the new players--the ones whose welfare they claim to care about so much. We've seen how bad corps aggressively recruit players who end up slaving away in the highsec asteroid belts with nothing to show for it. How is an ignorant young EVE player (or ignorant old EVE player) supposed to know that they're in a bad corp, unless the corp is tested by fire and antimatter?
And yes, wardecs are needed to help combat the risk/reward/convenience imbalance of highsec. The carebears hypocritically accuse the wardeccers of not taking enough risks. These same carebears insist on absolute immunity from all risk in highsec. Meanwhile, they claim that if the rewards of highsec were nerfed, everyone would quit the game. So in order for CCP to survive, they say, the carebears must receive sufficient rewards with zero risk--all in the most convenient location in the entire game. In Jita, they can buy the maximum supply of every item, at the minimum prices, and they can make a few jumps to their highsec incursion site, all while immune from attack. And these same people claimed that wardecs weren't balanced?
The powers that be want us to disdain the wardeccers, to look down upon their style of play as illegitimate. "If they want spaceship combat, they should go to nullsec." But the wardeccer chooses to engage in solo or small-gang PvP that doesn't involve joining a 50,000-man coalition or getting a pile of carriers or titans dropped on him every time the action starts. "Go to lowsec, then." How are things in lowsec these days?
No, I do not disdain the wardeccer--or the next group to be targeted, once the wardeccers have been done away with.
Think back to the words of that PC Gamer article:
"Conflict is the lifeblood of EVE Online, but..."
"EVE is a sandbox meant to have as few restrictions as possible, but..."
Today, they fill in those blanks with "...but we need to eliminate wardecs." Tomorrow, they can fill in the blanks with any other form of gameplay that still involves PvP.
First they came for the can-flippers, and I did not speak out because I was not a can-flipper.
Then they came for the awoxers, and I did not speak out because I was not an awoxer.
Then they came for the wardeccers, and I did not speak out because I was not a wardeccer.
Then they came for the suicide gankers, and there was no one left to speak for them because everyone else was AFK.
My friends, there are dark forces at work here. Next time, we'll discover how and why we reached this point--and what will happen next.
To be continued...