Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nothing of Value, Part 2

Previously, on MinerBumping... Agent Bob Painter and friends ganked a freighter owned by an alt of Kirith Kodachi. A few weeks later, Kirith delivered another freighter into their hands. Though he was aware that hitting Ctrl+Q wouldn't save his freighter, it was the only thing he could think to try. When his ship died, he blamed the stupidity of highsec and announced that he was quitting EVE.

The news of Kirith's decision hit Reddit, which simply linked Kirith's rage-quit announcement on Twitter.

Some EVE players expressed their disgust with the state of the game. progodlegend, a nullsec politician from years past, used the tragic event as an opportunity to call for the removal of ganking.

Like all other forms of combat in highsec, ganking was blamed for the decline of EVE. (Never mind that ganking and other forms of highsec fun were easier and more common during the years of EVE's ascent.)

progodlegend especially bemoaned the fate of newbies, who were being driven from the game instead of protected as they are in other MMORPGs. Newbies just like Kirith, who flew blingy freighters and joined EVE 12 years ago.

When Kirith's newbie status was called into question, progodlegend went into an extended rant about how blingy freighter pilots can be newbies, too.

Opinions varied, however. Not everyone mourned the loss of Kirith. Still another perspective was provided by Ripard Teg, author of the defunct "Jester's Trek" blog. He suggested that Kirith's longevity in the game made his departure all the more bitter.

It's bad when newbies leave, it's bad when crusty old vets leave... It's bad when anyone leaves EVE, unless they happen to enjoy wardecs or ganking or can-flipping or anything else that involves actually being at your keyboard in highsec.

Regardless, even on the EVE subreddit--a place with no shortage of carebears--people were willing to question whether it mattered if one less AFK freighter was autopiloting through the galaxy.

Many carebears threaten to quit the game, but most of them stick around. Despite the support of the community, Kirith held to his decision.
"After a decent night's sleep and a calmer mind I look back at the events of yesterday and I can say that...

I'm still done.

I appreciate the helpful advice in comments and on twitter, I really do. But at the end of the day my industrial activities in EVE were always a casual one man affair trying to have some fun making a small business on one screen while working on another and the two ganks this past month have shown me that its become more frustrating than its worth."
Kirith admitted that his entire modus operandi was to treat EVE as a background process, a game he "played" in the safety of highsec while doing something else on another screen. But gankers wouldn't let him get away with it. They were making a difference.
"I was at keyboard, watching ships around me, ready for danger and still I failed. I had to know the proper way to log off, I had to have scout alts, I had to wait for the right time, avoid certain systems, join channels, etc etc etc. On the other hand, the gankers sit there and ping a channel when a target is sighted, target me, hit F1, and get a kill. The asymmetry of it all galls me still, and has for years. If I can't casually have my high sec little business without this stress, I'm going to quit. Other's can have it."
The carebear insisted that he had done everything humanly possible to avoid being ganked. He had put in so much more effort than the gankers, who merely juggle freighter bumping and landing properly assembled fleets of gankers on their targets. Ganking is so much easier than selecting a system, hitting autopilot, and going AFK for 15 minutes.

This time, though, Kirith claimed to have been fully attentive.

...Unlikely, given his history.

Regardless of the wisdom of sending a blingy, unscouted freighter into one of the most famous freighter-ganking systems in highsec, Kirith was done. He opposed ganking on principle. If people want to shoot each other in highsec, they can use wardecs.

...Or not. Mere weeks before his departure, Kirith was calling for the abolition of wardecs, too.

Perhaps it's not such a terrible thing that Kirith left the game. Given the choice, I would prefer to keep the players who actually play the game, rather than those who spend their time advocating the elimination of gameplay in favor of 100% safety to "relax" or look at another screen.

One question remains, however. From the Reddit thread:

Why didn't Anti-Ganking save Kirith's freighter?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Nothing of Value, Part 1

Agent Bob Painter reports a significant victory in the struggle for highsec:

Bob and his friends successfully detained and destroyed an 8.7 billion isk freighter. The freighter pilot was attempting to illegally transport its cargo without a permit--and all while AFK. Nothing we haven't seen before. But what makes this kill unusual is that we have the opportunity to read about the battle from the freighter's perspective.

The freighter pilot was the alt of an EVE blogger, one Kirith Kodachi. He wrote at length about his taste of elite PvP.
"I planned out my purchases, set the buy orders for minerals, and headed to Jita for the more esoteric planetary parts. On the way back I manually piloted gate to gate always on the lookup for problems... but after I passed Udema I got relaxed and I allowed myself to get distracted for 15 minutes after warping to the Balle gate."
Kirith freely admitted that he was relaxed and distracted--that is to say, AFK. His opponents on the battlefield were actually playing the game, which put them at an advantage.
"I got back to my computer and my heart froze: a Macharial was yellow boxing me and had bumped me 76 km off the gate.

Oh Shit."
That sensation is the effect of emergent content in a competitive PvP sandbox game. EVE shouldn't be relaxing.
"I knew I was already fucked but I closed the client anyway and logged in an alt that I zoomed over to Balle. I tried to bump the Mach away from bumping me but it was a lost cause. I watched sadly as another newbie ship suicide ran my freighter to keep the timer going.

The Mach pilot opened up a convo with me and asked for a billion ISK to let it go. 'I already have a fleet of catalysts on the way, but you pay me and we'll just gank something in Udema.' I said no figuring that paying it would only add to my total loss. There is no trust in EVE.

I made a counter offer. 'Let me go and then I'll give you 1 bil.'

'That's not how this works,' he replied.

It was worth a shot."
The bumper performed admirably. And he saw right through the carebear's deception.
"Finally 15 minutes later (and 25 minutes after I logged out) the catalyst fleet arrived. The end loss was almost 9 billion ISK, of which 1 billion came out my pocket (for the ship), the rest hitting the bottom line of the corporation.

Later I picked myself back up, got back to Jita, got a new freighter, another load of parts, and even more carefully made my way back to base, ready to kill the client at the first sign of anyone looking at me sideways. I made it back without incident.

High sec sucks."
Kirith made the classic mistake of choosing to AFK autopilot through hostile territory with an anti-tanked 8.7 billion isk freighter. Naturally, he blamed highsec.

An unfair characterization. Highsec is only as stupid as the player. Even so, EVE players are expected to make mistakes--and to learn from them.

A few weeks later, Kirith lost another one, this time in the freighter graveyard of Niarja. Surely he learned his lesson this time?

Nope. The game was too stupid to learn, it seems.

Kirith returned to Twitter to announce his departure from the game.

Though he didn't deny that he was rage-quitting, he blamed EVE's game mechanics for failing to save his ship from the people who were actually at their keyboards.

This time, Kirith claimed that he wasn't relaxed or distracted; he was a fully attentive player. However, he made no attempt to take any of the precautions that freighter pilots are expected to make when traveling through New Order space. Instead, he relied on the tactic of logging off after he was bump-tackled.

As everyone knows, logging off does little good after your opponent already has you in his clutches. Just ask CYV0K, who lost his titan--the first ever built--while logged off, way back in 2006. When a freighter is bump-tackled, gankers typically have one cheap ship designated to fire upon it. This activates an aggression timer that prevents a logged-off freighter from eventually disappearing. That's why the list of killers on a freighter killmail often has a rookie ship or other low-damage dealer at the bottom.

This mechanic has been around forever--and Kirith was entirely familiar with it. As he wrote in the blog post of his earlier encounter:
"I knew I was already fucked but I closed the client anyway and logged in an alt that I zoomed over to Balle. I tried to bump the Mach away from bumping me but it was a lost cause. I watched sadly as another newbie ship suicide ran my freighter to keep the timer going."
In other words, Kirith knew ahead of time that his cowardly log-off maneuver would do nothing to save his ship. Yet it was the only tactic he could be bothered to use--even while sending a blingy freighter through Niarja.

Though you've probably never heard of Kirith, he is not unknown among the EVE community. And when the collective carebears of EVE learned that gankers had driven him from the game, there would be hell to pay.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades

If you end up like this:

...You'll probably be sent something like this:

Agent Minx Mattel gave Liyan Amurao a warm welcome to the new highsec. There was a lot to process in that little EVEmail, and Liyan had three reactions--so he sent three replies.

Agent Minx must have been disappointed. You'd think at least one of those three EVEmails would be accompanied by 10 million isk.

Minx was full of information and insight. And there was no risk of being scammed or sold a fake permit; our Agent belonged to the mighty CODE. alliance.

Still, the miner had concerns.

Once again, Agent Minx was able to put Liyan at ease. With all questions having been answered, there was only one thing to do now: Buy a permit.

Yet there was a part of Liyan that made him hesitate. There was a little bit of greed nagging at his soul. He couldn't quite bring himself to part with all 10 million isk. He wanted to keep a fraction of Minx's hard-won isk for himself.

Minx tended to doubt that the miner would qualify for reimbursement. Even so, the Saviour of Highsec works wonders. You never know. Reading the name of the Saviour brought out Liyan's true nature: Another multi-reply.

That final million isk proved to be a stumbling block. It stood in the way of Liyan's progress.

...But our Agents are experts at kicking away stumbling blocks.

There was no turning back. Liyan bought his very first mining permit! A few minutes later, the greed-pangs came back:

While his permit purchase was being processed, Liyan took up Minx's invitation to file a petition for reimbursement.

Many come to EVE Online in search of a better tomorrow. Most don't find it. And among those who do find it, it's never by accident. There is only one path to a bright future: the Code.

Liyan took his first step.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Don't Mistreat Your Keyboard

The Agents of the New Order are basically the reason why the private convo feature exists in EVE. Random people are always contacting our Agents to ask them all sorts of questions.

Kathier Darkhearth had a question for our Agent--and he wasn't shy about asking it.

Interestingly, the two already shared a connection: Agent Lawrence Lawton had ganked Kathier's Retriever about 15 minutes earlier. Kathier eventually returned to his keyboard and posed his burning question to Agent Lawrence.

From Lawrence's perspective, this friendly chat was quickly turning into an interrogation. He found himself accused of botting and persecuting new players. Which is pretty ridiculous, since none of our Agents use bots.

Kathier chose not to disclose his evidence that Lawrence was botting. Presumably he would withhold the proof until an opportune moment, at which time Lawrence would be officially indicted. Until then, Kathier would investigate the alternative charge of newbie abuse.

Lawrence was perfectly willing to answer the accusation that had been brought against him. It also presented him with a chance to test out a variation of "miner calm down". It seemed to help.

(As for the bounty, 'twas the mark of 315. Nothing sinister.)

And people wonder why I have the New Order Bathroom Protocol bookmarked.

Apparently Kathier's bladder was as weak as his Retriever's tank. As if going to the bathroom should grant a player invincibility in a competitive PvP game. Such a policy would doubtless have all manner of unintended consequences.

(The bio in question. Makes a pretty solid case, if you ask me.)

Kathier finally realized the argument was lost, so he beat a hasty retreat. He did not, however, learn his lesson.

Just a few days later, Lawrence caught Kathier again. By now, the miner had downsized into a Venture, but he was still illegally mining. We shouldn't be surprised. Considering how these miners treat their own computer equipment, why should we expect them to treat highsec any better?