Tuesday, January 29, 2013
CSM8 Campaign Season - Ripard Teg and Carebear Creep
I have some new concerns. I was planning on throwing my support behind him, giving him both my votes. Now, I'm not so sure.
I always knew he had some carebear tendencies. He has a long history of posts, some of which espouse those ideals. He's always been careful to veil those leanings in some level of murk. You knew those ideals were there, but you couldn't quite nail him on anything specific. If you tried, he had his outs ("oh, I was exaggerating", or "its your imagination", or "I was writing as Garth", or "I was just writing as the foil.")
The other day, though, he wrote something a tad more concrete than usual. He argued that ganking is not PvP, and he used a particular, famous mass miner gank as an example.. He didn't come right out and say it, but he hinted at the edges that, perhaps, he'd be quite happy with a highsec that catered only to consensual PvP.
The example he uses, is interesting, because his reasons for using it are flawed. The scenario is that a ganker, flying a smartbombing battleship, catches a couple dozen barges and exhumers all mining in a tight group. The ganker is able to take them all down (including pods) via smartbombing, all before CONCORD shows on the scene. Ripard argues that all the power lay in the hands of the ganker, that the miners were themselves powerless.
But were they?
Had they not been mining in such a tight formation, had the ranges between them been such that a smartbomb could pop only two or three of them at a time, would the ganker have bothered? Most likely not. To a highsec ganker, it is probably worth the loss of a smartbombing Armageddon if the exchange rate is the loss of two dozen or so mining ships. It would not have been enticing at all, not worth the loss of that battleship, had only two or three mining ships been within range of destruction. Thus, the power really lay with the miners. They could have prevented the massive loss they took that day. They made themselves a target, most of the fault lays at their feet.
To his credit, Ripard does recognize that the miners did make themselves a juicy target, but argues that the blame is still not with them (by drawing an unfortunate analogy, which isn't particularly applicable where highsec ganking is concerned.) Which, of course, makes no sense in a game like EVE. Conflict is the name of the game, so everyone must be vigilant to threats. At all times. If one insists on wearing a target, then one is going to be a target.
There are some that argue, because EVE is a sandbox, then it's wrong to call EVE a PvP game. Maybe they're right to some small degree, maybe that's too specific a definition. Maybe the correct way to describe EVE is that it is a game of conflict and market economy. The thing is, the market exists only because of conflict. Without conflict, the market withers and dies, the game withers and dies. The market is EVE, and conflict drives the market.
I've written in the past about carebear creep, using the analogy of the boiling frog. James 315 has written similarly, very recently.
What does carebear creep protect? The intelligent player? I would imagine there are thousands upon thousands of highsec players who do their thing successfully everyday, earning their ISK, without ever being faced with the highsec suicide gank. They play smart. They don't AFK. They don't bot. They keep tabs on local. They play with a certain level of paranoia. Occasionally, a few of them are caught by the gank, but it's an event out of the ordinary for them. They shrug it off, and move on. These people, you never hear from them, because they really have nothing at all to complain about. They understand the game, they play accordingly, they're successful because of it.
The dumb players. The ones who maybe bot. Who play AFK. Who never pay attention to local. Who fly with PLEX in their cargoholds. Who fly their mining armadas in ridiculously tight formations. Who load up frigates with billions in officer mods for transport. Those face-palm killmails we read about weekly (that Ripard sometimes highlights in his KotW posts.) Is carebear creep supposed to protect these players? These are the players who whine the loudest. These are the players who make the most racket on the forums. And, yet, they are probably the minority. There are probably far more intelligent players than there are dumb players. Far far more. Yet, it's the dumb players that carebear creep aims to protect.
And the safer highsec becomes, what then becomes of conflict? I'm not making any argument to get people out of highsec. Once a player is comfortably situated in highsec, always in highsec they'll be. There's no getting them out. But if the highsec reward ends up equating to (near-)zero risk, then the problem becomes migration. How do you keep people in lowsec and nullsec, where risk is (or can be) greater? The more people in highsec, the less conflict there is overall, which means the less people are able to sell, which means the markets stagnate, the game stagnates. The game needs risk, it needs risk everywhere, otherwise the health of the game suffers.
It's still murky where Ripard falls with respect to all of this. Is he championing further carebear creep? Or is he just fishing for more of the highsec vote? Hopefully in the coming days and weeks, he'll clear some of the fog, make his stance on the issue more crystal clear. I look forward to his Crossing Zebras interview, where I'm sure Xander Phoena will ferret out more details.
I'm still interested in supporting his campaign, throwing him my votes, but I have some concerns of my own. I hope those concerns will soon be answered.
If he does come down on the side of supporting increased carebear creep, he'll still make a great representative on a host of other issues. Unfortunately, carebear creep is too big an issue for me that I cannot in good conscience support any candidate that supports more of it.
Anyhow, I'll report further on Ripard after his Xander Phoena interview. (I'll be doing this for all the candidates after their Crossing Zebras interview.)