The Art of Tears – The Meta of Mean

A lone miner sits in high sec staring at his screen watching the pulsing of lasers play with the asteroids before him. It’s a 0.5 system so there is somewhat a sense of alertness, but not enough to distract him from his coffee and perhaps nudging his cat playing at his feet amongst the tangled web of cords that run behind the desk. While he looks down, a lone Catalyst destroyer warps into the belt and very slowly, non-threateningly, seems to be scouring about the belt.

“Could he be looking for rats? What’s he doing? Can’t he see that there’s nobody here but me?”

Okay, so we all know how this goes down. Destroyer locks miner; destroyer kills miner; miner is podded before Concord blows the griefer into space dust. What follows is usually one of two events – nothing but silence or nothing but tears. When the why’s and public conversation starts, most high-sec gankers usually use this opportune moment to teach the victim about why he got ganked and how he can avoid it in the future. But for some, ganking is a trollfest of “QQ more, noob!” and “HTFU”. But when the attacks on the griefer get personal, that’s usually when things go very badly for the victim. Tentron (for those who remember the videos) was a master at extracting tears to an unreal level. In case you don’t remember:

Fatal Legalese

objection

During my time in Fatal Ascension, I read about the story of SETC’s infamous robbery of over 250 billion from FA. The ensuing hilarity that followed was of false legal claims because FA promptly (and justifiably) blacklisted SETC. The Mittani.com article on this subject back in 2012 contains the information straight to Fatal Ascension’s message boards. The disastrous attempt at bluffing through fictitious legal jargon destroyed many a keyboard with the eruptions of beverages that were spewed uncontrollably.

podsideitunes

Recently, we had yet another example of what happens when you take the game, the smack talk, and the meta way too seriously. For months there’s been an uneasy tension on the Podside podcast between Red and the other guests of the show. Now to what degree Red is at fault here is up for debate based on your point of view, but I think for the most part the general consensus was that things were taken a bit too seriously causing Red to fly off the handle at the end of Episode 172. The ensuing rage spilled over to the after show where Red supposedly made a personal attack on Spear and his wife causing Bronya to stop playing nice go back on the offensive. A very inebriated Harri then had enough of the conversation and basically called for the dropping of the ban hammer, which was shortly leveled.

So what have we learned?

tmyk

Griefers will always be around. The psychological reasons are irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. Whether you participate in it or are the victim of it, you will always come out the laughing stock if you try to play the game on the griefer’s level. If someone ganks you and you spend time trying to extract revenge, griefer claims victory – they altered your gameplay whether you were successful or not. If said griefer simply scams you out of isk and you take to the forums, griefer claims victory – you now look like a gullible crybaby. If you are easily agitated to the point of yelling and screaming, griefer doesn’t have to claim victory – you’re pretty much going to make yourself look like an idiot who probably deserved what he got.

Now, I don’t fancy myself as someone who’d enjoy griefing or piracy. It’s just not in my nature. I do however, revel in the stories of fantastic tears harvested from the eyes of the dirty varmint who probably would just as soon unsub from the game before ever partaking in any kind of PvP. Don’t be deceived: griefing is PvP on, what feels like, a more personal level. It’s personal because you allowed yourself to be put in a situation where not only were you caught off guard, but taken advantage of. That’s what the tear farmer feeds upon, the personal nature of griefing his mark. It may sound inherently evil, but taking advantage of a sucker is just how the world’s always worked. It’s only through the pseudo anonymity of the internet that seems to manifest more people willing to take from someone just because they can without real consequences.

So, how do you win against griefing tactics and scammers? THANK THEM! Seriously.

Show appreciation for their efforts. They may have detoured your gameplay for a few minutes and cost you some isk, but they probably spent HOURS trying to find just the right target. None of this is personal. To them, you are pixels on a screen, isk in their wallet, or an easy target of personal trolling. If your personality is of a sensitive nature and you are prone to being offended easily, this is NOT the game for you. If you exercise just a little restraint to prevent yourself from going overboard, you’ll find that you can have fun at your own expense.

yunocarebear

In some cases, I’ve even heard about the victim turning the tables who convo’ed the attacker, smothered them with kindness, then actually made the ganker upset because he wasted all this time and isk…for a compliment? A few years ago, I got blapped pretty hard trying to move some stuff out of null. Lack of due diligence on my part cost me a load of BPCs and a Dramiel. Now since this was back before killboards distinquished between BPC and BPO, the isk loss calculated still haunts my stats to this day. Since then, it’s affected every aspect of my gameplay from a defensive standpoint. I just don’t take those kind of risks anymore.

So never any tears shall be shed from these eyes. Gankers taught me more than I ever learned from playing without PvP. Thank you to all who participate in this meta. May your tear harvest be plentiful…and don’t be afraid to share the stories!

Confessions of a High Drag Podcast Contest Loser

Protovarious
Protovarious

Beginning of December. I finish my inspection of the truck and just before I take off from Texas to California, Random McNally and the rest of the High Drag crew drop the bomb about an introduction contest. Ideas began to flood my head as I headed west. All night, I kept thinking of music backgrounds, the way I wanted to format it, etc.

Did I want it to be funny?

Did I want it Dramatic?

God…WHAT MUSIC DO I USE?????

Taking my break in El Paso, I broke out my older laptop, downloaded an open-source sound editor as well as several back episodes of High Drag then got to work. Like most people, I don’t like the sound of my own voice at times, so what do? Ah, how about an open source reader to go with the software I’m downloading! At the break-neck speed of a truck stop wi-fi connection, data streamed through at the pace of a sleeping snail nailed to a two-by-four. Coming back from eating some dinner and taking a shower, I set off to work.

Funny. Yes, it had to be somewhat of a parody. All of the moments about the podcasts that I remember were hilarious moments done at the drop of a hat. I snipped a few clips of each of the panelists and thought about a theme. I imagined a clone bay coming to life then set the narration to do the introduction of each member of the podcast as if they were rising from their suspended animation.

“Clearance request for incoming transmission: Granted…Clone bay accessed…”

It just began to fall together. Doom music in the background, I set out to create something both epic and funny. “Genious!” I thought to myself. This is going to be great!

Then, just before the holidays, the rules changed. No longer was this for a Plex and a Daredevil…but FOUR Plex and THREE Daredevils. Now, understanding that I’m Eve poor, this now officially turned into a “Oh, that’d be nice.” to “ZOMG I’m gonna be SPACE RICH!!!11!”. But alas…I was the only entry thus far. I didn’t want to win by freaking DEFAULT! So I set to the boards, Twitter, and spread as much word as I could.

Judgement day. Another night at a truckstop back in Amarillo, Texas patiently waiting for Fintarue to start his twitch stream. Bandwidth was better tonight. The video was choppy, but I could hear the crew doing their preshow preparation in the background. It was kinda cheating, but I did hear Random read off the results to get confirmation from Fintarue, Asherothi, and Zealot that these were the agreed upon results. They confirmed it and the recording began.

Eight minutes of intros, hellos, and updates from each of the panelists. I knew where I placed, I just wanted to hear the other two competitor’s submissions. This was freaking killing me. What beat me? What didn’t I think of? Was I off base with what the panel wanted to hear?

Then the playbacks began, first that of the third place winner; who’s introduction, while clear and according to the rules, was a bit slow for me. Nothing really jumped out and grabbed me. Sorta felt like I was going to be listening to a Deaf Poetry Jam podcast. It was good, but I could understand why the panel didn’t select it. Next was mine. Fin really liked the music set to it and Random seemed to really appreciate the clips I used…

Come on…play the freaking winner already!!!!

Epic music sets in. Clips from mission control in Apollo 13 cue up with self intros from the panel followed by, “This…is High Draaaag”. It was good. Damn, it was good. The cutting was seamless and the volumes were spot on. I had to comment in channel that it was good. Better than mine. This seemed to be the story of Goldilocks and the Eve Bears. First one too cold, the second too hot, with the third juuuuuust riiiight.

In the end, I came out with the Plex and Daredevil that I participated for in the first place so to me I won either way. 🙂 Congratulations to the winner of the High Drag Intro Contest!

…I’ll be back!

Listen to the Intro (right click to save)

“Meta” or “Made Up”?

Protovarious
Protovarious

So, here we have it. The CSM minutes are finally out and the tears not only continue, but the whole faucet has exploded off the pipe and the geyser of  Ol’ Tearful  is flooding the house and threatening to drown us all.

Alright, maybe that is a bit of an overstatement, but I deliberately put my opening in that kind of “sky is falling” context to illustrate what we’re going to discuss today.  When Eve spin doctors become so overly-dramatized in an effort to either gain followers, promote their corporation or alliance, influence changes on the game, or just generally being drama queen attention whores, the real out of game war begins.  For most players, they disregard anything they don’t agree with and carry about their daily existence in-game because it’s not worth their time.

Unfortunately for the spin doctors, I am not one of these people. (Begins singing ‘Two Princes’) Ahem, my bad.  So since there is so much we could cover, let’s try to keep it TL;DR in an attempt to dry a few eyes.

When you’re reading any kind of article regarding Eve Online (Yes, even this one) there are several questions I suggest that you ask yourself:

  1. Is this a biased source that will stand to gain an unfair or unjustified advantage by proposing this point of view?
  2. Are the proposals or opinions contained in said article helpful or hurtful to the game or community?
  3. Has there been ample discussion on the topic, or does it warrant further examination?
  4. Is there a CCP conclusion to the argument?
  5. Is the opinion or idea expressed backed up by fact, a conjecture of loose facts, or emotion?
  6. Finally, what is the best course of action for CCP to take in the interests of their BUSINESS?

I emphasize business because as players, we often neglect the delicate balance between what the players may want versus what’s in the game’s best interest as a business. Sometimes, ideas for improving CCP’s business by changing things about the game are difficult to swallow (cough, Ripard Teg). But we’ll take more about how game changes directly impact the business in another article. For now, let’s focus on the importance of proper analysis of data when it’s used in a debate or argument about the game or it’s mechanics.

Examples:

  • The sentry drone argument exalted by Dabigredboat HERE and the subsequent obliteration of that article by Grath HERE, while good to eat popcorn by, is an example of “Made Up”. While loosely based on scattered data, DBRB conjoined the information in a way that on the surface SEEMED convincing, but lacked the ability to stand up to real scrutiny.  Grath did an excellent job.  If the argument was reversed, I would be applauding DBRB. I always appreciate the ability to scrutinize with fact regardless if it’s biased or not. Also, this was not a subject that would have any significant measurable amount on the number of subscribers. I don’t care how many people sided with DBRB and threatened to rage quit if CCP didn’t nerf Archons or sentries. If Grath hadn’t taken the time he did, DBRB’s article would’ve been allowed to stand an potentially taken as gospel. I’m of the belief that this was a calculated risk based on the assumption that nobody would take the time or effort to debunk the article on TMC, a clear attempt at gaining a meta advantage through deceit.
  • Ship doctrines, deployments (or lack thereof), ALODs, strategic escalations, talks of “failscades”, smack talk, adapting to new game mechanics, and other general propaganda are classified under the “Meta”. For example: I could be said that the CFC’s reluctance to escalate fights to a capital level against N3/PL is either a sign that they’re incompetent/incapable in that area, or the CFC is holding their cards close to their chest and waiting for the right opportunity. Whichever way proves to be true in time, one thing that the CFC can be counted on is sticking to a type of “Deadly Ground” standard of warfare as CFC (particularly Goonswarm) forces are rarely engaged on a large level that they don’t want to be. When the CFC have brought capitals to any situation, there is usually a calculated reason to do so.

Alright, I’m not going to delve into the who’s or why’s on either of the above topics. I just wanted to use them as an illustration of the identifying the differences between “Meta” and “Made Up”. Use fact to disseminate between the two before jumping to conjecture and demanding changes be made to the game because someone has an upper hand at the moment. The offline game can be just as important to the online game if facts and opinions are not kept in check.

That’s it for today.

Are Trolls Good for Your Health?

Protovarious
Protovarious

This is something I’ve been chewing on for quite awhile. Although I don’t consider myself anywhere near the level of a psychologist or behaviorist, I’ve been guilty of partaking in conversations and forum posts that are, shall we say, the equivalent of beating your head against a wall repeatedly? While we’re involved in some of these arguments over controversial issues, your blood pressure rises, you become more mentally focused, and by the end you come down and relax deeper. It’s…pleasurable.

Well, it was then that I started understanding why trolls get as much of a rise as they do. Directing negative energy and anger seems to have a positive effect on your health, at least mentally. See this Men’s Health article that cite the University of Valencia in Spain that took 30 riled subjects and tested their cortisol, heart rate, testosterone and arterial tension.

Men’s Health Article

The tests seem to conclude that what they call “Motivational Directness” is a pleasurable thing. Hense, being riled up results in pleasure and is good for your health. Fascinating!

So Troll on! Those forum and channel trolls are helping you! Instead of resenting them, thank them! 🙂 They’re taking time out of their busy day to better your mental acuity, ability to deal with stress, and your heart health.

Thanks, trolls!!!

Forum Wars

Protovarious
Protovarious

The Eve-O Forums.  Sometimes just the idea of reading through page after page of 1% content and 99% trolling gives even the most hardened CCP Dev or CSM shakes of anxiety.  Like it or not, the forums have been (and most likely will always be) Eve Online’s second warzone.  Behaviors and characterizations in-game are sometimes magnified when in-game matters get posted about on the forums.  Many people up until that particular point which caused them to post, especially in the General Discussion Threads, have either never or rarely posted before.  Unfortunately, this could make dealing with their particular issue worse.

Take this thread for example:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=308498

Now this is a thread that’s ripe for calls of “Troll” and “Moar Tears Plz”.  Now take a step back from this for just a moment and we see a familiar request: OP posts issue, flaming ensues but through the smoke a point is made, issue is resolved but the flame posts keep coming.  New people are coming into the thread who read the first few posts, then reply without realizing that there was a resolution. The OP is powerless to stop it.  The issue was resolved, but post upon post of people naive of the resolution just keep pounding away.  There’s no way to close the thread without moderator intervention.  Flaming continues without regard.  The forums are awash with this because the forums are Eve’s battlefields out of game.

Do you feel like it goes too far sometimes? Should the original poster of a thread be allowed to close it without moderator intervention?

Why ask why?

Proto
Protovarious

So we’ve all had roughly the same sorts of beginnings in this game. (Well, some more mentored than others through buddy programs and real life friends drafting us into the meat grinder).  But as for myself, I dove into this game head first into the shallow end of the pool.  In the beginning, industry was Eve’s biggest appeal to me.  I mean, what could be better than getting paid to build the things that other people blow up?  I didn’t want to fly capitals, I wanted to BUILD them.  Long story short, I was hit in the face pretty hard about what something like that would entail, especially back then.

So, after about a month or so getting myself oriented with some of the game in carebear land, I succumbed to the siren’s call of the great promises of wealth and glory of null-sec.  It was at this point that I was thrust into a totally different culture of players. Far from the assistance of the newbie corp chat, I posed my questions to my new corp mates.  Some questions were answered directly and respectfully, most were not.  Instead of leaving one type of elitist culture in EQ and WoW, I had graduated into a much larger one.  Oddly, this culture fascinated me because this was a game that being elitist was not only encouraged, but deemed necessary.  If you could not conform, you were of no use.  If you wanted to be a part of the bigger picture Proto, drop those indy dreams and get out there and PvP.  So, I did.

Don’t ask questions.  Fit your ships this way.  Train these skills.  Fly these ships.  It was maddening.  I’m a military veteran and was used to getting a bigger picture of the situation, not to mention having the ability to ask questions so that I can perform my mission.  For most people, this would turn them off entirely to the idea of null-sec.  Instead, I took it as a personal challenge to learn all I could by following FCs I respected, learning game mechanics, and analyzing fleet doctrines.  I knew that eventually this would serve me in the long run no matter where I was at in game later on.

I know, I know…a freaking individual in a barrel of monkeys.  Boo hoo, right?  Well, let’s fast forward to today.

newbies

Brave Newbies.  The story of those who dared to just do it rather than suckle from the tit of conformity.  Now, if their story sounds vaguely familiar of mass frigate gangs taking on much larger opponents, then you remember the early days when the Goons decided they were going to play Eve Online.  At face value you can call this Goons 2.0, but in reality there’s a key trait that sets BN apart and that is the ability to say “fun per hour” rather than “no fun allowed”.  It’s a total culture shift in the game that’s refreshing, but their rapid growth can be perceived as ominous when compared to GoonSwarm and their sudden rise to power during the overthrow of Band of Brothers as the most powerful influence in the game.

Brave newbies have reminded us that fun in the game is the most important thing.  If it makes the game fun for you, fit up that blaster-fitted, stabbed Rifter and go lose it gloriously.  Fuck it.  Much respect to Brave Newbies and I hope your fun per hour keeps compounding daily with interest.

So what are you waiting for?  Quit bowing to the EFT warriors, the elitists, and those who deem to run your game that is truly YOURS.  Got a theory on a ship fit?  Go do it.  If it works one time, you’ve accomplished more than any alliance in the game ever could by sticking like Crazy Glue to doctrines that other people tell them to use.

As Morpheus told us, “Free your mind.”

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