EVE Evolved: How much toxic, antisocial behaviour should MMOs tolerate?

    
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The EVE Online community is aflame this week after alliance leader gigX was permanently banned for making threats of real-life violence against another player following possibly the biggest betrayal in EVE history. Some players don’t want to accept that gigX crossed a serious line and deserves his ban, and others have been asking why The Mittani’s similar actions in 2012 resulted in only a temporary ban. CCP’s official stance is that its policies have become stricter since 2012, but it’s still not entirely clear exactly where the line is drawn.

Another side to the debate is that the internet itself has evolved over EVE‘s 14-year lifespan, and a lot of toxic behaviour that was accepted or commonly overlooked on the early internet is now considered totally unacceptable. Many of us have grown from a bunch of anonymous actors playing roles in fantasy game worlds to real people sharing our lives and an online hobby with each other, and antisocial behaviour is an issue that all online games now need to take seriously. The lawless wild west of EVE‘s early years is gone, and I don’t think it’s ever coming back.

So what’s the deal? Does EVE Online tolerate less toxic behaviour today, has the internet started to outgrow its lawless roots, and what does it mean for the future of sandboxes?

EVE‘s origins and the early internet

EVE Online officially went live in May 2003, but its development influences trace back several years earlier to games such as Ultima Online in the late ’90s. UO not only allowed player killing and theft but had specific stealing mechanics built in, and you could really ruin someone’s day by stealing a house deeds or boat keys. You might consider deliberately ruining someone’s gameplay like that and maybe gloating about it to be griefing, but at the time that was just part of the game. You could do something terrible to someone and it was considered acceptable because any harm was just within the context of the game.

The attraction for many of us getting in on the ground floor of EVE in those first few years was precisely that it wasn’t real life. You could have a character who wasn’t you, an alter ego who lives in a different universe with a different set of rules and different standards for conduct. Scamming and killing other players just because you could was acceptable behaviour, and trolling in chat was even used as a strategy to goad people into making mistakes. There was a presumption that the thieves, gankers and corporate spies weren’t untrustworthy criminals and violent offenders in real life; they were ordinary people playing a role in a universe highly detached from real life.

The evolution of trolling

In many ways, the early years of internet adoption helped create the attitude that your EVE persona is not your real self. The internet was just another thing you could do on your computer, something you could pick up and put down again whenever you liked and that was very separate from your real life. You had an anonymous username and a clean slate, and you could get away with doing or saying pretty much anything to anyone. As ominous as that sounds, you also knew that the people on the receiving end of your words and actions also usually took them in the context of a game.

When people talk fondly about “the golden age of online trolling” and your immediate reaction is to recoil in disgust, remember that this is what they’re talking about. When we laughed at recordings of people’s ventrilo servers being invaded with a soundboard or suicide ganked someone’s freighter with all their assets inside, we did so on the understanding that it wasn’t actually harming the real person behind the keyboard. While the some people were clearly annoyed by those things, many of us believed that it wasn’t a big deal and didn’t cause them any serious distress.

There was essentially a time when you could at least believe that the other person was in on the joke, that he had signed up for the treatment he was getting when he installed the game and took it in that context. The consequences of trolling were also largely ephemeral at this stage; almost nobody used real names, gaming time was a temporary diversion from real life, most trolling was relatively harmless, and everyone could always choose to walk away. This is the gaming age that EVE Online was born into, and I think we have to accept that it’s long gone.

The emergence of consequences

Today we see consequences of online harassment ranging from self-esteem issues to suicide – a true mental health crisis – and we can’t just brush them off as people taking it too seriously or being thin-skinned. We take the internet with us wherever we go, and the consequences of harassment can now include having real-life private information released into the public domain, being embarrassed and exposed to friends and family, and even losing your job. Today it is socially irresponsible not to take account of the person behind the keyboard.

A few generations of us have now grown up with the internet, and another has grown up with smartphones and tablets. You’re now frequently getting your ass handed to you in Overwatch by someone younger than your email address, someone for whom the internet is not a tool but an ever-present part of their life – a true digital native. The internet isn’t separate from real life to many people, and that perspective is quickly becoming the dominant way the internet is perceived and used globally. Most of us don’t think twice about using our real names online any more, and this openness is making its way into social expectations and even laws. With all of this social progress, if you’re upset that you can no longer tell someone to kill himself in your favourite MMO without repercussions, then you might be a bit of a bastard.

Blurring the lines

The lines between in-game activities and real life ones have been steadily blurring for most of EVE‘s lifetime, and the effect isn’t limited to just EVE. Online trends have moved communication from mostly text chat in game clients and private forums to voice chat servers, public twitch streams, Discord channels, and Slack. We used to log into an MMO to catch up with our online gaming friends, but now we take our friends with us onto Twitter and Facebook and we carry a direct feed to them in our pockets everywhere we go.

Some of us may lament that many gamers no longer see their characters as separate personae, and yet we’re closer with the real people behind those characters today than we’ve ever been. We invite other players into our real lives, invest ourselves emotionally in friendships, buy each other drinks an events like EVE Fanfest or BlizzCon, and often count on each other for support. Just as the wider world is waking up to the fact that your internet presence is now a huge part of your real identity, even the most hardcore EVE player has to recognise that there’s a real person behind every avatar. You can scam people and steal all their stuff because that’s just part of the game and part of what they signed up for, but are all your insults still just levied against an anonymous character – or a person?

Attitudes in EVE are changing

One of the things that’s always made EVE special in my eyes is the fact players can lie and steal, not just for the emergent gameplay it creates but because it makes the trust you give to a person in-game all the more real. If the recent betrayal of CO2 by its diplomatic officer has shown anything, it’s that betraying trust for in-game financial gain isn’t as heavily celebrated today as it was back in the golden age of scams from around 2008 to 2011. A great deal of the community response to The Judge’s betrayal of CO2 has been simple disappointment from people who trusted him and have now lost their in-game homes and alliance leader.

Back in May, a player stealing 300 billion ISK worth of rare ships was met with a similar response when the player he stole it from wrote, “I was just sad about losing a friendship.” This isn’t the same kind of response that followed the infamous Titans4U scam in 2010 or the trillion ISK Phaser Inc scandal in 2011, and I find that very revealing. EVE Online is now more of a virtual world than a game, and the social rules that players live by seem to have been getting more progressive over the years. Betrayals of trust that would have been entirely in-game matters in EVE‘s early years are sometimes now broken real-life friendships, and actions that were once considered harmless in-character trolling often now blur into real-life harassment.

Does harassment have to occur in-game?

Part of the debate surrounding gigX’s ban has centred on the 2012 EVE Fanfest “wizard hat” incident, in which another alliance leader was ultimately given only a 30-day ban for essentially telling players to help make a suicidal player kill himself. People have pointed out that the wizard hat incident was a single verbal slip-up outside the game at Fanfest, while gigX’s threat against The Judge happened repeatedly in-game over the course of several hours.

CCP’s community manager has said on-record that the company has robust policies for things that happen inside the game client and in the official forums, and confirmed only that CCP can give advice and some third-party help with harassment that occurs outside the game. But the social universe of EVE Online today includes everything from Twitter and Reddit to Twitch and real life events, so what does it matter where an incident took place as long as a player can be verifiably linked to it?

Let’s not forget the “bonus room” or “bonus round” fiasco, where EVE player Erotica1 subjected a player to escalating emotional abuse in a private voice chat server for two hours until he had a total breakdown. CCP did end up banning the offending player in that case, and even then there were players asking for him to be unbanned. And how about when a few players trolled the hell out of streamer Crasskitty on Twitch about her dead grandfather, or when they doxxed video-maker mintchip in protest against CCP hiring her, or when someone mailed CCP Larrikin a bag of jelly penises? (OK, maybe that last one is funny.)

In a world in which your online identity is increasingly just as much a part of you as your flesh and blood self, all online game companies have a responsibility to curate their game communities. Behaviours such as trolling and threats that we could argue weren’t really harming anyone back when other players were just characters in a fantasy world have become a whole lot more sinister in today’s era of open social media where snooping and doxxing are commonplace.

What does it mean for sandbox games such as EVE Online that are built on the idea of lawless frontiers and unbounded emergent behaviour? Either developers somehow try to force players to never let their personal information be linked to their characters, or they start drawing harder lines in the sand that players can’t cross and invest enough time and money to enforce them.

I believe that all developers of online games have a responsibility to define the line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour as best they can, to enforce a code of conduct both inside and outside their games when possible, and to actively remove unsuitable individuals from their games. Recent statements from CCP Falcon seem to indicate that EVE is somewhat heading in that direction by adapting to changing online perceptions of trolling, and not everyone’s a fan of that. What bazirbta on reddit says with disappointment on this issue, I say with glee: “The wild west is dead.”

EVE Online expert Brendan ‘Nyphur’ Drain has been playing EVE for over a decade and writing the regular EVE Evolved column since 2008. The column covers everything from in-depth EVE guides and news breakdowns to game design discussions and opinion pieces. If there’s a topic you’d love to see covered, drop him a comment or send mail to brendan@massivelyop.com!

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possum440 .

The EVE developers are the first problem. Corrupt liars. Until that one thing changes EVE will be what it is a shitfest of people that think everything is normal because they all hang around one another.

There are no in game counters to the things that can happen in EVE. Your game time is forfeit and the developers do not care because if they did, the 27k monthly users would drop to nearly nothing as the toxic outlet for the ingrates would dry up.

thus the devs leave the game the way it is, a piece of garbage with the occasional set of players, like this latest hype train news, set up a fake situation in which the dry mouthed lemmings ate it all up.

There is one good thing about EVE. As long as it is running these malcontents and ingrates will stay in their pig pen, with others of their ilk, feeling like everything is normal because they hang around each other and not pollute other games.

I am sure the rabid EVE fanbois will no doubt attack this thread to defend their game. That’s when the real entertainment starts.

Ernost
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Ernost

Damn… seeing all these incidents in one place like this, all I can say is, I’m glad I don’t play this shitfest of a game.

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Paarthurnax Dragonhearth

If there was a MMO worth playing …. Then yes that would have been a real question …. since most MMOs are just Hollowed pieces of crap games …. It doesn’t matter ….

I only hope in the next 10 years we will get a REAL mmo …. Not these jokes we have now.

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draugris

Why people play games like Eve or Albion where the community is so toxic is really beyond me. Why do somebody want to spare his precious free time with such people, i really don´t get it. MMO´s are a social experience and so they matter just like the content that is in a game.

I mean OK you can´t get along with everyone and in a competitive environment things can get heated, but the level of toxicity i have seen over the years in games is disturbing. And i don´t even mean the “usual” sexual or racial slurs that are brainlessly thrown around, i mean the threats of physical harm to real life property or persons.

I started with online games maybe 15 years ago and things where different back then, i don´t know what it is, did kids have better manners, was there something like a limit of decency , i am not sure.

Sometimes i whish that game accounts should not be able to be created anonymously so players could be held accountable for their actions. But of course for privacy reasons that would not be a good idea.

Imo Developers should have a 0 tolerance policy to that, perma ban for everybody and in extreme cases of physical threat get law enforcement involved. Some of these people do only learn through pain unfortunately.

the_0estroyer
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the_0estroyer

Why people play EVE is because, though (like society) there are a toxic few (with disproportionately loud voices) you are given a chance to build.

Build a community, build an empire, build just enough to keep yourself afloat in-game it doesn’t matter! In EVE you have the opportunity to pick and choose your connections, to get up and walk away from that corporation that is mistreating you, to find those like minded individuals with whole you can confide in.

Many people create anonymous accounts because they are simply to afraid in the real world to speak up, to take the actions that that anonymity offers (though, that two is a double edge sword) providing them with the courage to engage with another member of humanity.

My corporation was part of Co2, I have nurtured 80% of my members from their first week of Eve to the capital pilots they are today; I lost a third of my members to this betrayal.
It wasn’t the in game asset loss that hurt, nor the taunting words of a vile enemy as they defiled the alliance Citadel with phallic imagery.. but the loss of a friend.

The betrayal from one of our most trusted against all the members of our alliance shocked us and the tactical maneuver to ban a man who’s put more hours into this game than he does his day job shook everyone in the alliance to our core.
If someone I trusted robbed my home of all my possessions, a place I’d built from dust 12 years ago and then laughed at me, in that moment I’d be a bit ruder than telling them to enjoy writing in alliance chat while they can, with their hands.

But I digress, a permanent ban may sound an easy option, but in a world where profanity is used as part of day to day language who do you ban?
Are you suggesting the developers should take up the role of Kira and execute every transgressor?
In a world that people flock to, to avoid persecution and the opportunity for free speech, to reach out in a way they feel they can’t in today’s society do you really think they will view martial law as a utopia?

People play EVE because it allows for every interaction available in this world, every opportunity, if you can dream it you can build it; but you can additionally mute/silence/block those you encounter that are toxic, without ever having to fear being forced to interact with them again.

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draugris

Thanks for the insight into EVE, while i understand that there are interesting mechanics and interesting gameplay in EVE, that does not excuse toxic behaviour.

I really disagree with you regarding the prosecution of some toxic behaviour. To be honest i found it disturbing that you even bring the point to free speech. Calling people “Nigger” or “Faggot” or in the case of women “Whore” or “Slut” has absolutely nothing to do with free speech. My freedom ends exactly there where the freedom of the other individual begins. And these kind of slurs are clearly not “profanity” they are hate speech and we should learn not to accept it, not on the internet and not in real life, there is no difference. If you are a douchebag in online games you are a douchebag in real life.

What i suggest is that developers should first of all implement mechanics that do not encourage people to scam each other and if players do, take appropriate actions, temporary suspension, perma ban etc. etc. Then i would suggest that developers decide what kind of community they want to have and what behaviour is OK and what not and enforce it.

the_0estroyer
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the_0estroyer

I feel like you did not read my reply, your blatant disregard to the highlighted fact that “people flock to, [this artificial world] to avoid persecution” indicates that you are not interested in the opinion of others.

That you would immediately take the statement that those who “are simply to afraid in the real world to speak up” as an opportunity to commit a hate crime speaks more about your warped take on humanity then it does the players.

You take away the possibility to scam, you provide “absolute security” you will in-turn take away all trust.
A community that does not look out for one another is not a community, remove consequence from actions and you will strip the need for contemplating decisions and you will in-turn create a playerbase that acts on impulse rather than better judgement, where people are simply players rather than friends; you will create a senseless environment devoid of true life.

I agree that profanity should not be acceptable in any format, I agree that those who are deliberately evil in game share/show those characteristics in real life but these “are a toxic few (with disproportionately loud voices)”, you should not let them rule your opinions & therefore rule how you run your life.

Rom12:21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.

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draugris

” people flock to, [this artificial world] ”

Well and there is the problem with your views. Every time when actions in the artificial world affect somebody in the real world aka if somebody is scammed and looses real money or harassed or threatened with physical harm etc. we have a problem don´t we ? Or do you have another excuse for such kind of behaviour like “escaping from the real world to avoid persecution”.

“indicates that you are not interested in the opinion of others”

I am but i am not your opinion, if you can´t stand that, well that´s not my fault

“your warped take on humanity then it does the players.”

Lol, and that from somebody who is talking about “free speech” in that context. My sense for humanity is simple. Act like a human beeing, treat others like a human beeing , nothing more, nothing less. Let´s not overcomplicate things.

“You take away the possibility to scam, you provide “absolute security” you will in-turn take away all trust.”

Why on earth should i have the desire to scam somebody ? This is delusional. Are you saying you need the possibility to be ripped off to trust somebody ? I dare you…..

“I agree that profanity should not be acceptable in any format,”

At least there we can agree.

If you enjoy playing EVE and if you enjoy the community good for you, i don´t say that EVE is a bad game per se, it just shares the same problems a lot of these sandbox games (at least all that i have tried over the years) have and that makes these type of games not enjoyable for me. That´s all.

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kgptzac

There’s a distinct lack of ability to put yourself in the shoes of others in this comment. I can only assume most people started playing Eve Online isn’t because they are attracted to the toxic community you attributed; at least I wasn’t. I wanted to play a sandbox scifi universe where I could cool spaceships.

Now, I’m going to assume you never played Eve. You should try it before asking the “why” question again. For all the stories of great villainy you read here in Massively, that community isn’t as toxic as many online fps, moba, and even other mmo, in terms of average interaction with other players.

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draugris

“There’s a distinct lack of ability to put yourself in the shoes of others in this comment.”

Sorry i don´t get that.

If you enjoy EVE and if the community as a whole is OK, for you fine. My experience with sandbox games is that a lot of players do not enjoy the freedom of what they can do, they enjoy the lack of consequences. That is with EVE the same as with Albion or Archeage.

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socontrariwise

“Behaviours such as trolling and threats that we could argue weren’t really harming anyone back when other players were just characters in a fantasy world”

Maybe I misunderstand the sentence or other parts alleging the same thing in my eyes but: They were always people. Just because the internet was not so wide spread in social feedback about actions, the harm done back then was the same as it is today. I find it incredible that there is what sounds to me like an excuse of “back then it was just fun, today it is differently affecting people”. Not it never was or is.
Harassing people with depressive tendencies or threats to their life or such was and is always the same. The only thing I feel has become worse is the intensity and sheer malevolence in harassment and abuse some exert nowadays. But what was done back then was not affecting people differently. That was plain pretense of “dog eats dog” attitudes of those who offended and excused.

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Robert Mann

I’m a fan of a moderate approach. As in profanity filters and the like exist for a reason… but that reason is not to have people put the profanity in their name or describe it to avoid the filters, for example.

There’s no one answer, but I do think developers need to realize that is the case. We see the rush of cloned ideas as everyone tries to tap the newest success constantly. Just make a good game, and pick a level of rules for it.

You can then have games that are for the full out trolling of everyone playing, games that are aimed at a middle level where a few words may slip but there’s a firm line before banning or exiling an account to the trash-server, and games where there are strict rules of behavior that shall never be infringed upon.

Honestly, I am of the opinion that most games should take a middle-strict approach, where they are fairly strict about not breaking certain limits but allow for things like profanity filters to do that job. Very few have succeeded at that, as they rely far too much on player reports to adequately police their policies though.

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Nic

I think there are 2 parts to this topic.

1. Let say griefing/betrayals are all acceptable within a game’s mechanism and design. Before embarking such negative endeavors, one should consider fellow gamers’ feelings as not everyone is emotionally strong or stable to handle such distress. The impact felt is harsh and real to this person.

2. On the other hand, if you are a person that put your heart and soul and immerse yourself totally into a game while not steel enough to deal with harsh consequences, do yourself a favor and avoid games that allow griefing/betrayal to happen easily, save yourself from heartbreak moments.

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Utakata

I wonder though, if this is about the chickens coming home to roost. The bed that EVE made, and they are having to sleep in it. Or reaped what they sewed. And putting aside the cliché metaphors…they where okay with the toxicity they started out with, became the thing that boiled over when the internet became more intwined and intertwined with RL. As well as, the thefts, skullduggery and betrayals came with higher stakes with potentially RMT involved. And as well as the populist shenanigans of the gomer gaters set empowered players more to cross lines, along with evolved technology that enabled them to better do that…

…I mean I could be wrong. But to say anyone isn’t surprised about this is living under a rock to put it mildly. o.O

I am however glad CCP is doing something about it though. They just need to be clear what they’re doing about it, so it doesn’t look too arbitrary, political and knee jerked.

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Jon Wax

For the most part, at this point, I try to stay out the day to day stuff and let you guys pretty much be. I learned from last Massively that we are not on the same page. That’s cool, I respect that.

But this stuff above, can’t stay silent. This is prolly gonna be long. Apologies but it’s been a long, long time coming:

The Disney Shooter

that’s what pretty much every game is today. doesn’t matter if it’s a moba, mmo or fps, really. they are all now just Disney Shooters. WWO is the most recent and perfect example.

When you go to Disney with two fully functional legs, you have a certain experience. When you go to Disney in a wheel chair, for the most part, you have the same experience. Disney is commendable for the progressive position with regard to people with special needs requirements. They have managed to create a balance between diversity and equality, ie with people differing requirements all have an equal experience.

which is GREAT for Disney.

but not for gaming.

Majority of current devs have not found this balance. They have in fact created a situation wherein Equality > Diversity: it’s more important for all players to have the SAME experience in the game as it is to recognize that there is a spectrum of ability, from incompetent to apex, that is diverse. This is done at the expense of the better players experience and skill level:

if a raid is high level end game and requires gear or skill rating of 100, with enough corrosive forum requests, the devs will create a match making system where the game slides down to match your level 9 rating, turning all the bosses into 12s so the level 9 can experience the same success as the level 100. it becomes more important for the low level player to experience the illusion of beating the game in a weakened state then it is for the low level player to actually tier up to the expected requirement.
What it does on the meta is devalue the success of the high level players, which is yet another case of the Star Belly Sneetches syndrome that plagues games, no way to actually make a distinction between good and bad gamers because everyone gets “credit” for everything. Unless the dev team adds in some high level gear drops that are exclusive, then the whole thing is a wash. And if they do add in those types of gear drops, invariably someone will request same drops for lower tier players on the belief that those drops invalidate their experience of the game, making said experience no equal. The Division did this with the dark zone.

Pvp:
this is already too long so lets to go the heart of it. PvP doesn’t work for the most part because the maps are too small and the games provide too little to do in order to actually exist in them. the old saying “idle minds are the devils playground” applies. if folks are griefing, then they have too much free time because the environment is designed incorrectly. by removing survival requirements from a game, then anyone can run amok and disappear into the country with no worries. Once you add in the requirements for certain basic needs, food water shelter occasional meds, etc. it slows things way down. if devs could find a balance between making a game into a work situation vs a well armed version of recess, then the pvp elements could be brought in in a healthy way.

WWO again is a classic example: all they needed were warrants and jail.
someone kills you, you respawn and game asks if you want to put out a warrant for murder on that player. you say yes and go about your bizness. other players now can pick up the warrant and legally, with the games support, either arrest or kill said player. player either gets arrested and goes to jail for period of time or dies. or kills law man and picks up federal warrant which equals more jail time and more people looking for him. pretty simple stuff. one or two times in jail playing the harmonica minigame and thatll be enough for most folks.
if we apply tru survival elements to a game like mmo, sure you can rob people. but then what? you gonna hide in the desert with no supplies? that won’t last long. if the posse doesn’t get you, the cold, thirst, hunger, sickness, bandits or animals will.

this whole issue of text chat and voice chat: that has nothing to do with gaming. it has more to do with how kids are raised then how games are played. Being yelled at in a high intensity game is gonna happen, both positive and negative. That’s not griefing. Criticism is not griefing. But again, because devs place more importance on experience then diversity, they removed the one tool we early gamers had that took care of all the nonsense and the irony is they did it FOR the casual gamer:

Vote To Kick. That’s where gaming went awry. We HAD tools to deal with all this way back when it first started but because 1. a lot of you considered being kicked out a room of players who were an actual team to be abuse and 2. those of you who weren’t really teams, just groups of random casuals wearing clan tags (“Star Belly Sneetches”) you actually DID abuse it and got it taken out. Now that it’s out of gaming, we are stuck with all of us. you. each other. whatever.

I apologize for the length, i tried to keep this civil, but with all the watering down of gaming and the constant cheerleading by blogs and “reporters” over every single game (game informer seriously, these guys… everythings awesome, every game is awesome, even the ones that suck are still ok if you just keep telling yourself everyhings awesome!!) without any objective scrutiny of how the constant ez mode mechanics are creating generations of players that play under less and less competitive conditions to the point that we can’t have ANY good games because if it really is a good game, more then half community can’t play it and consider the folks who happen to be good at it to be either all day, oil tycoon rich gamers or just hackers and glitchers with p2w buff. some of us have been playing since the 70s. over time you just get adept at stuff in a general sense with that level of investment. and for those that do have the free time to invest, why are they being penalized for that? why should the game have a wider sense of progression simply because folks who are limited in time demand it?

if we are gonna label the griefers as Toxic and agree they ruin the community in a certain way then you’re gonna have to acknowledge that the softer side of gaming, the “too” casual gamers, are Corrosive and that their requirements are turning all games into Disney Shooters and that soon, the only games out there will be the same ez mode game with a 6 month life span because without the competitive survival elements there’s really only going to be about 6 months worth of content until the masses move on to doing the exact same thing all over again with whatever new FOTM game/genre comes out next.

There’s two sides to this coin, but the only side that gets any mention is like the article above.

good to get that off the chest.

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Sally Bowls

On one hand, I go with the ancient UO dev quote:

A griefer is someone who, through his social actions, costs you more money than he gives you.

EVE’s culture has taken it way, way past that.

OTOH, you can’t fundamentally change an MMO after it has launched and certainly can’t change one in its second decade. So trying to change the culture, not really expanded the playerbase – EVE’s reputation is pretty well set at this point – yet driving off the people who like it would be worse than the status quo. So perhaps CCP should and perhaps they are, consciously or unconsciously, thinking that EVE is a small/med cash cow and they should spend their money on something else in hopes it could grow. WoD, WiS, DUST and Project Legion have not worked out and it is TBD about Sparc, Valkyrie, Gundrak & Gundrak 2.