Monday, June 24, 2019

The Only Future Is Code

We've been doing some pop quizzes of late, but there's nothing "pop" about today's question to you, dear reader--you should've seen it coming. The question is this: What happened seven years ago today?

Hint: It was of earth-shattering importance. And it continues to have earth-healing relevance.

The answer, of course, is that today is Code Day. Seven years ago, on June 24, 2012, the Code was born. EVE's history divides neatly into two eras: The pre-Code era (i.e., the time during which all EVE awaited the Code's arrival) and the Code era (i.e., the good part).

In a sense, every day is Code Day, but the 24th of June is especially Code Day. It's a great time to think about how awesome the Code is and how lucky we all are to be experiencing it.

On this Code Day, I'd like to facilitate your appreciation of the Code in a different way. As unimaginable as it is, I'm going to help you imagine a world without the Code. And I'm not merely speaking of the pre-Code era, when all the carebears ran around all day being obnoxious with no one to civilize them. No, I'm going to show you a world with no Code--not even the prospect of the Code, anywhere, at any time--in its past, present, or future. What would it look like?

Like I said, unimaginable. Allow me to open your eyes so that you can see its darkness.

In the beginning, the history of this world was not so very different from that of our own. People fought and conquered and died. For millennia, they cultivated their warrior cultures, each one placing great value on elite PvP. If there was a culture that didn't place some value on PvP, they were surely conquered by those that did. Then there was industry, and then technology as we know it today.

Through technology, PvP'ers gained the ability to project their power much further than the reach of their fists, or a club, a spear, an arrow--or even a bullet or cannonball. No matter. Even a globe-trotting missile needed human hands to press the buttons that made it fly. 'Twas still PvP.

Then the West created the drones. Naturally, proper warriors disdained them. A jet pilot might fire his weapons from a distance, but at least he had to be physically present in the vehicle. A drone pilot could be sitting at a keyboard half a world away. Even so, he had to press the buttons himself.

But what if he went AFK?

The drones were designed to be as automated as possible. To be sure, removing the risk of a dead pilot was the primary motive of the West when it made the drones. Yet there was something strangely satisfying about a weapon--a presence--that could exert its will even if its "pilot" went AFK. This perverse feeling of satisfaction was bot-aspirancy. It lurked in the background, waiting for an opportune time to reveal itself.

The mechanics of a plane that could fly itself had long been solved. It could stay in the air and spy upon the earth below with its extraordinary cameras. The drone could even fire a missile--if the pilot was at his keyboard, of course. Still, only human eyes could identify a proper target to shoot at. The machine could "see" everything, but it could not recognize patterns. Artificial intelligence was developed to solve this problem.

In time, drones' computers gained the ability to comb through all the data and alert their frequently AFK pilots when they identified potential targets. Eventually, the drones got better at it than their human supervisors. Regardless, a human pilot always had to sign off on the drone's proposed strikes. "A drone is simply a remote-controlled aircraft," they said. "It does not make decisions. It is not a bot."

The difference? A mouse-click.

Oh, how the bot-aspirants yearned to be freed from that mouse-click!

The temptation grew when the East created drones of its own. Somehow, the West always imagined that only it would ever possess a fleet of drones. The East had been deadly enough without them, though. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction required the West and East to set each other blue. The lethality of a Great War made PvP too dangerous, with exceptions.

One exception was cyberwarfare. The West and East were free to hack into each other's most sensitive computer systems without triggering a nuclear doomsday. Partly this was tolerated because cyberwarfare mostly involved spying rather than blowing stuff up. (Although, it must be said, with specially designed malware, even this was possible from time to time.) Partly it was because the perpetrator could not always be identified. Cyberwarfare was initially something that the West assumed it would do to the East. As with drones, eventually the East caught up.

Drone-on-drone action became a new exception to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction. You could be blue to someone and still occasionally shoot their drones. Once everyone had drones, everyone wanted to blow them up, and it felt different from shooting down a jet with a person inside. No one was inside the drone. Its pilot was probably AFK, too.

Drone AI became skilled at spotting other drones. For the drones' own survival, they had to be. Imagine two hostile drones looking at each other when they first establish a line of sight. Each drone immediately makes the decision that it needs to kill or be killed. Then both drones frantically alert their AFK pilots to return to the keyboard to make that all-important mouse-click! If they could feel, they must be so frustrated at having to wait.

So would the drone who won the battle be the drone with a pilot who clicked first? Or, more likely, a pilot who walked more quickly back to his keyboard? Surely a drone pilot couldn't be expected not to go AFK. "Let them work in shifts," you say. "There should always be someone at the keyboard." That was easy enough, when there were more pilots than drones. But eventually everyone was multiboxing.

No, there was only one logical solution: A drone must be allowed to kill another drone without waiting for a human to come by and click the mouse.

In an instant, the drones became bots. "They're only allowed to shoot each other," said the optimists. But who decided whether the drone was looking at another drone, as opposed to the countless other kinds of targets they were trained to look for? For that matter, who decided whether the other drone was hostile or not? Why, the drone did; the humans were all in the bathroom or watching Netflix and various sporting events. So the "remote-controlled aircraft" became self-controlled. A bot.

One might wonder which side liberated the drones from that wretched mouse-click first, the West or the East. Each side was convinced that the other was botting, so they both did it. But on one level, it made little difference to the process. Things were always heading that way. People grew accustomed to signing off on the AI's decisions; the "pilots" were merely rubber stamps that slowed down the process.

However, the bot fleets chewed away at what remained of mutually assured destruction. The role of the bots grew, by necessity and convenience. They increasingly became the military, but countries couldn't be blamed for having bots that shot at each other. No one could say whether a nation intended to shoot its enemy's bots; maybe the bot simply made a mistake. There was no mouse-clicker to fire or put on trial for war crimes. And there was certainly no chance of banning bots; everyone assumed everyone was botting.

Humans taught the bots how to wage war. They taught them to scan the globe for every kind of war target and armed them with the weapons needed to destroy said targets. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that humans taught the bots how to teach themselves, for everything was run on artificial intelligence.

The Skynets of science fiction would, at this point, become conscious. For some reason, they would then decide to wipe out all of humanity. There was no chance of that happening in the world we're imagining. But there was another problem.

Cyberwarfare. In a world with militaries dominated by bots, an enemy nation's AI was the ultimate target. Every military wanted specially designed malware--enhanced by AI itself, of course--capable of infecting another country's AI. And so the world's greatest minds went to work creating computer programs designed to persuade other computer programs to turn against their human masters, and to make war against them.

In short, the people behaved as Goofuses. Like all Goofuses, they were ruined by their own bot-aspirancy.

Such is the fate of all who lack the Code.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Kills of the Week

"I would never buy a permit," says the rebellious young carebear. "They cost 10 million isk and the New Order will gank you anyway." Even if this weren't an outrageous lie, how can carebears explain their purchase of decadent bling? A set of Harvester Mining Drones costs billions of isk, and if you use them, the New Order will gank you anyway. Shouldn't the carebears avoid buying blingy stuff--by their own logic?

Ah, but no one ever accused the carebears of being logical. Let's look at some of these irrational bot-aspirants from the week of June 16th @ 00:00 EVEtime through June 22nd @ 23:59 EVEtime...

Trylan Altol didn't notice that things have changed in Jita. Though there are plenty of bad actors in that most populous of highsec systems, it has also become a place where unlicensed jump freighters go to die. As the firepower of our Agents has grown, Jita has more and more come to resemble the likes of Uedama and Niarja.

Agents Jason Kusion, Hypnos Domino, Austrene Jakuard, George Painter, big brutor two, filippok Oriki, Origo Lim, big brutor one, Bob Mechanic, Inspector Implant, Charlie Painter, Continue Painting, Dan Painter, Nova Rage Torpedo, Dubious Anime Name, big brutor six, Bob Electrician, Further Painting, Danni Jouhinen, Mjolnir Rage Torpedo, Djavue, Bob Welder, igorrrr Koraka, Jayson Kusion, Joel Kusion, Liam Campbell, Jake Kusion, Ayatola Whoami, Jayden Kusion, Bob Painter, Sertan Chakaid, Justin Kusion, Succulent Spodumain, Homoerotic Finger Painting, and FidgetSpinning MyApendages dumped dozens of Taloses on the Ark--and made a huge profit.

Now, see, those ships might have survived the trip to Jita--if they had pilots, that is.

People like Pocheck Rosliwill go to nullsec for their PvE primarily because they enjoy supercarriers. But it's important that the nullsec carebears don't forget their roots. Luckily, elite PvP'ers from the mighty CODE. alliance pay friendly visits to carebears in places even as far away as Fountain. Agents Vordak Kallager, Rocklar MuckTon, Intigo, Xiaoyi Tsuruomo, TigR Kashada, Casper24, Tiamat Key, Blaran Falsnar, Ygritte Alabel, and Ithor Omanid made an unannounced pop-in and popped the Nyx.

As long as miners still use ORE strip miners and blingy yield mods, our Agents will be there to shoot them down. Kaks Kaks involuntarily provided Agents Rungerd, Narl' Amhar, Votre Dieu, and Astrid Tyrfing with a 2 billion isk killmail and a billion isk worth of loot.

Unlike Kaks Kaks, jockstar wasn't foolish enough to use ORE strip miners or blingy yield mods. Yet he still managed to lose a Skiff worth 2.5 billion isk. Agents Elena Sabezan, Salah ad-Din al-Jawahiri, Misha Mawashi, Eduard Limonov, Maximus Gooseman, Edmund Sublett, Hold On Tight, and Illegal Facilitator also got to take home 1,831,315,315 isk in souvenirs. What happened?

Harvester Mining Drones. They'll cause you nothing but pain every time, carebears!

Geant Vert was lazily AFK'ing along when his autopilot was interrupted by a noisy trio of Tornadoes piloted by Agents Ukira Kunero, Ariku Orenuk, and Rante Charante. Our Agents somehow managed to penetrate Geant's capacitor tank.

Remember what I said about Harvesters? The same goes for Excavators.

Lou Venger knew better than to use blingy modules or blingy drones. Yet this carebear had a vice of her own: Implants. Agent Lisa Tears was perfectly willing to destroy Lou's drones, even though she knew that pods drop no loot. The satisfaction of enforcing the Code is more valuable than isk, anyway.

Here's today's lesson: Don't buy blingy implants, drones, or modules. They cost more than 10 million isk, and the New Order will gank you anyway!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Highsec Miner Grab Bag #186

Crazy Ivan. Looks like we need another edition of the Highsec Miner Grab Bag!

Inconveniencing someone enough to change their behavior--one might say that's a decent definition of "power".

When I received this EVEmail from T FOXT, I had a feeling it might contain tears. I went to Google Translate for confirmation:

"Laozi Gao’an is playing hard, but also has to approve your waste? Do you think your Obama? Still Jesus? Don't take yourself too seriously, and learn to bite people. I am a wave of people who are 24 hours a day."

Somehow, saying that you're "a wave of people" sounds less silly than "I have powerful friends in nullsec."

A few days later, I got another opportunity to test Google's translation capabilities:

"Waste, wait for you to continue to install B high overnight. Waiting for your CODE silly dog. Why don’t you dare to go out?"

This seems like a good time to remind everyone that the Code is available in Chinese.

Trouble in local chat! Let's see what developed:

Though Alpha 2 Crendraven sought to infect the system with his negativity, the Code was just too powerful:

Another victory for the New Order! Carebears, think about that the next time you feel like speaking ill of the mighty CODE. alliance in local.

Apparently newbies are too far below the level of "subhuman trash" to stand a chance in PvP against them.

If Marek Keramik's message is confusing, all you need to know is that he was punished for mining in a battleship. Needless to say, his reimbursement request is denied.

These miners are getting ridiculous. At this point, invoking one's newbie status is a separate Code violation in and of itself.

Althelus Rif'tun thinks it's unreasonable to expect a miner to have read a MinerBumping post from four years ago. I disagree. I mean, they've had four years to read it. It's not like the post was made 5 minutes ago and they haven't had a chance to look at it yet.

What this miner doesn't understand is that highsec isn't "most countries"--it's New Order territory. In highsec, mining without a permit is against the law.

Miners, you can do your part to reduce the GMs' workload by buying a permit instead of filing frivolous petitions.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Rattling Sabre

Pop quiz, hotshots! You come across someone in highsec who's sitting around AFK on two accounts: One pilot in a Sabre, the other in a Buzzard. You have a single Catalyst to spare. Which ship do you gank?

If you're Agent Overmind Niminen, the answer... both. Of course.

After the AFK'er returned to his keyboard, he wasted no time in confessing his crimes.

Alas, Hamlab YaBoi hadn't become any less of a Goblok upon confessing. He refused the joys of the Code.

Additional Agents reported to the scene, just in case their assistance was needed. The New Order is a family, after all.

One advantage of ganking multiboxers: You can provide helpful lessons to multiple accounts in a single post-gank conversation.

Hamlab attempted to banter with the Agents. Was he a good sport about being ganked, or was he merely concealing his resentment? Sometimes carebears with big egos don't want to express their true feelings.

The name of highsec's Saviour was spoken. Hamlab flinched.

Hamlab's ego was tested further: Agent Overmind let Hamlab know that he viewed him as being no better than a typical highsec carebear.

The carebear was a bit star-struck. After all, he was dealing with EVE's most extraordinary players. Nevertheless, Hamlab's bitterness toward the Code began to ooze from his mouth.

Agent Ange des Larmes had no time for any "ganking is bad for new players" nonsense. Highsec's greatness was at stake.

The carebear's studied nonchalance crumbled away. His tears flowed freely.

Nothing false can long survive when faced with the shining light of the Code. No wonder carebears of all stripes have spent years begging CCP to nerf us.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

What Does What

Looks like something good happened in Sivala.

Leviathan NobleWolf was punished for failing to obey the Code. Leviathan's crimes were severe; his Praxis battleship had an even worse fit than is apparent from the screenshot above. But we'll return to that a bit later.

On occasion, anonymous miners will brag about not seeing any Code enforcers for months or years at a time. They claim that we're nowhere to be found, and that we have no impact on the game. And yet, somehow, our Agents always manage to gank people "on my first day back" or "20 minutes after I bought my ship". Interesting.

Leviathan wasn't pleased to see the progress highsec has made during his four-year absence. Strangely, despite our Agents never mentioning reimbursement, the carebear assumed that the gankers might buy him a new ship. Where did he get that idea?

Our Agents had no choice but to lecture the carebear, who was still acting like he didn't know about the Code. A note to any other would-be Rip Van Winkles: In 2015, the Code was already all highsec could talk about.

Has Anti-Ganking given up entirely? The anti-Code resistance must be in a sorry state if the highsec carebears are looking to the Goons for help.

Several hours later, Leviathan received the promised instructions by EVEmail. He still wasn't in a reading mood.

The carebear took great pride in his dead ship. He saw the vanquished vessel as proof that he was better than the lowly miners. Time for Agent Viirilithizu Ward to take a closer look at the Praxis killmail.

It was a good thing our Agents ganked Leviathan when they did. His ship might've caused a scandal. What possible excuse could this carebear offer?

"Kinda new to the game somewhat." Is that the new version of "new returning player"?

The not-a-miner went silent. Leviathan only said one true thing all day: He had no clue what does what. Fear not, Leviathan: You can learn about heat sinks another time. The first thing you need to learn about is how the Code works. Because the Code does everything.