Griefers, Populations, and EVEness

Letrange posted about the connection between high-sec griefing and server population, noting that the griefing might be slowing the rate that new players enter the game, and that this seems to be a good thing, because of lag issues with large blob fights, and in Jita.

So in the end I’m ambivalent about the high sec griefers. One one hand they are legalized school yard bullies (and thus scum of the galaxy). On they other they keep the server population in control and keep the ratio of PvP players to carebears withing reason (which is needed for a non-deflationary economy). Incidentally I’m drawing a very big difference between Pirates in low sec and Griefers in high sec (not that there aren’t pirates that also grief in high sec). Most of us really don’t have much of an issue with low sec piracy as such.

Actually, I think the population proportions between PVP and PVE are self-adjusting. More pvpers makes for more demand for goods, which makes mining, looting, and even mission running more lucrative, thus, more PVE. More PVE means more targets, and more competition in high-sec, which means more jaunts into low- and null-sec. And it means cheaper ships and fittings, making piracy and PVP more profitable.

When you think about EVE populations, you must consider alts. I think they distort things. They are often slave labor, and do not behave in any (in-game, the accounts are paid for, and exist for very solid meta-game reasons) economically rational way. This will tend to distort server loads. How many of the Jita station-campers do you think are the sole character owned by their player? I didn’t think so.

Finally, griefing is pretty heavily woven into the fabric of EVE. Hulkageddon might have been griefing, or it might have been instigated by someone who owned a Hulk BPO, and was intended to stimulate demand. Suicide ganking might be griefing, or it might be a vendetta, or it might be a highly profitable act of piracy. Can-flipping seems like fairly pure griefing, but ninja looting a mission doesn’t. Not that it won’t irritate you when it happens. When I first heard about insurance fraud, my reaction was “Wow, how cool is that!”

Now its true that I have a lot of friends who don’t really get why I play EVE. “Why would you play a game where someone could ruin your day like that?” is the typical question. And my day has definitely been ruined a few times. Another question is “What is the point?”

Eve is like playing a game of Civilization with 40,000 other people at the same time. It is full of operational planning problems and strategic decision making. I love the strategy game. Everquest had some element of it, but it’s mostly gone now in EQ2. It is a pvp game with a very low fast-twitch element, which, sadly, is appropriate for my age (remember, I’m 3 million years old!).

Another question about EVE is “what is the point?” The point of EVE is whatever you decide to make the point. Control territory, conquer the world, become filthy rich, or hone your skills. Build things, or blow them up. Visit every system. It’s an economic sim, not a quest. It’s like a breath of new air. The air isn’t fresh, though, since it’s been recycled through your capsule’s life support many many times already. But it’s still a very different feel from any other mmo experience.

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