The Daily Grind: Does an MMO’s reputation keep you from playing it?

Needs more space dragons.

If I could shed a lot of cynicism and years, I think I could’ve been an EVE Online player. I’ve always loved sci-fi more than fantasy, and the thought of exploring a galaxy in a ship that I customized is a powerful one. Yet every so often when the urge comes over me to install the game and play it — the other week, in fact — I am checked by the game’s reputation.

Maybe it’s completely unfair, as some EVE players adamantly tell me, but I can’t get past the seeming gankbox culture that exudes from every story I hear about this title and the notable personalities that are promoted in it. From the studio on down, there’s this attitude, this reputation that is anathema to me. And that’s regrettable, because I think there’s a part of me that would’ve liked to play it, even casually.

Does an MMO’s reputation ever keep you from playing it? Have you ever pushed past that to give a game a try on its own merits?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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You all play games where the main enemy is a dead horse you flog to death while making sure not to step in the clearly marked “don’t stand in this” lava. The extent of your mmo tactics and strategy is yelling at the healer when he doesnt heal, or yelling at the tank when she doesn’t tank.

In Eve the enemy is other people. Smart people who have taught themselves how to fit their ships to kill you as well as possible. Sure, you lose ships. But you should never undock what you can’t afford to lose. When we go out to fight something, it is dozens or even hundreds of other humans, testing themselves against other humans. Victory is real, the tension and fear is real. CCP gives us a platform, and we create the content. You got ganked? Learn to avoid ganks. Fly tighter. Don’t get distracted. Eve is the only game still running with real consequences. If you just respawn and keep collecting tokens towards x elite mythic shoulder set, you never have to change or grow. Eve is still a relevant and enjoyable gaming experience today because the enemy is other humans, not mindless bots who are entirely predictable.

JP Andrews

First, any attempt to characterize Eve as anything other than a gank box is simply not credible.
High sec ganking? Hell ya, but Eve’s rot goes way deeper than that.

Honestly, when does Eve make the news? When some poor smuck transporting a bunch if ISK gets ganked moving his stuff. When some treasonous asshat dissolves a corp, invalidates their security, and cheats all the members out of the benefits they worked hard to achieve? When a member of the “Stellar Council” encourages his buddies to taunt another player into commit suicide?

And what happens when these things get brought up? Someone dutifully stands up to say “Oh it’s not all like that… nooooo. Those things never happened to me… nooooo. Most of Eve’s players are nice, really they are.” And my favorite… “But Mittani said he was sorry…”

Because that makes it all better.

I honestly do not understand how anyone can chose to defend, let alone be part of that kind of community.

Knight Porter

I avoid EVE because I played it for a year, and the Gankbox reputation is accurate and well-earned.

Nosy Gamer

I have to admit, I haven’t played Runescape due to the reputation it has for massive botting and RMT. I probably should try the game one day.

As for EVE, I have to say my experience on a PvP server during vanilla WoW was a lot worse than anything I’ve experienced in EVE. Being corpse camped as a level 30 by level 60s is not my idea of fun. I heard that when the original Darkfall came out, new players could get camped and repeatedly killed at their initial spawn point. In EVE, new players can report players who gank them even once in a beginner system and potentially get the older player temporarily banned. With EVE’s reputation, it’s hard to believe, so here’s a link to the rookie griefing policy:

I should also add in my 8 years playing EVE, I’ve never been suicide ganked in high sec. Of course, that’s probably a result of creating Minmatar characters, staying away from Jita, and always manually piloting my ships.

I normally don’t recommend EVE to people because the game is so different that I’m not sure anyone I talk to would like it. But if you ever decide to try the game, look up either the scholars of EVE University or the space-hippies/wormhole rescue crew of Signal Cartel. I don’t think either group really has a counterpart in any other game.


Well said. I have been ganked in highsec before, but only when I was doing something dumb. I’ve also ganked a highsec miner before, mostly just to see if I could. As far as recommending the game, I always do. Even if they don’t like it, there’s always a chance they might, and more people to fly with is good.


I have never got around to playing Tera. I started looking at the game again this year, but I keep coming across references to a very “negative” community. It’s likely not a fair assessment, but I was enough for me to decide to wait until the console launch (start on equal footing with a new community).

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I always try the game so that I can form my own opinion.


Only if the reputation is “Gankbox” .


I’m with you on this.

Jack Kerras

Yes, absolutely. And it particularly affects casuals, who are basically the biggest group of players, but also quite fickle and really unlikely to leave any MMO which has lots of inertia. Extra points if they’re leaving for anything less-polished than WoW, which, spoiler alert, is everything.

I bitch on the Worlds Adrift forum about this all the time; it’s an MMO, but a rabid few fans want to cultivate a PvP-only, ganky atmosphere and ensure that no safezones or individual instanced noob islands etc. exist for newbies despite ‘newbie gets ganked’ being a huge reason for the majority of MMO players to quit forever on the spot. :/

It’s an MMO, it’s not like Conan Exiles or Rust or ARK, you can’t just run your own server. It needs PEOPLE to live, and folks are all about WELL THEY SHOULD PLAY SOMETHING ELSE IF THEY DON’T LIKE IT, which… I mean… fine, except that’ll kill your game, you silly bastards.


No I tend to try a game and have my own opinion. Just because player x doesn’t like it doesn’t mean player y will not like it. I am not a lemming.


I’ve avoided games due to their reputations from time to time – but more often I find that I pick up games, discover the reputation for myself, and then quit them when it just gets to be too much. It usually falls into two categories:

1) Rabid griefing-style PVPers. I don’t mind games with PvP. I actually *like* meaningful PvP, where you’re accomplishing an objective that matters in the context of the game world and it’s not just the glory of the kill or advancement on a ranking somewhere. But I want my PVE too and when I pick up a game and it starts to seem like just a massive gankfest all the time, I give up and go back to theme parks and sandboxes. Ironically, EVE is one of the PvP games that lasted the longest for me (11 years) – I’ll explain why in a moment.

2) A terrible PvE community – You know, the kind where you’re turning off global chat channels because they cause you to feel like you’re losing brain cells. Where you can count the actual nice, decent people you meet on one hand. Where players seem to spend as much time being jerks to each other as they do trying to race each other to the top of the game, and putting down everyone else for being too slow. To some extent, every game has bad people in it, but for whatever reason in some games there seem to be a lot more of them than others (or maybe they’re just more visible). For me when it gets to the point where the players are actually starting to kill my own immersion and fun in the game, I bail.

Anyway I said I’d explain about EVE – when I started playing EVE, all those years ago, PvP was exciting. It happened rarely, and it was meaningful when it did. Often when we’d be attacked by people out in lowsec or nullsec we’d end up chatting with them and sometimes setting up rematches because it was fun. Even as the game progressed and I moved into wormhole space this happened too – there were plenty of times where hostiles came into our wormholes and sparked hours of good-natured fun for everyone involved.

But somewhere along the way, things took a turn in the places where PvP wasn’t really supposed to happen. I brought so many people to EVE the last few years who just quit the game after getting repeatedly suicide ganked in high-sec space. And while you can say that this is part of the game and should be allowed, the point is that it had become so easy to do, and so easy to get around the penalties, that the bad apples who’d always been present in EVE could now act with impunity. As it went on, more and more of the people I enjoyed flying with left the game over it, and finally I threw in the towel too. It wasn’t the only reason for sure (I was also at the point where the only things I hadn’t done in the game involved serious nullsec warfare) but it was a big component of why I left. It just cast a pall over everything and the game became not fun anymore for me.

I fully admit that others could be playing EVE today and having vastly different experiences – for all I know, things have turned around and even improved since I played. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t go back even though I really do miss the other parts of the game sometimes.