The war between the naive high-security miners and the goons who suicide them continues – apparently in perpetuum. I don’t specifically care for either group much. The miners bore me with their whining about “security” and the gankers bore me since they represent the anonymous and self righteous mass that makes up 90% of online (and RL) populace. And as a Wormhole Dweller and non-industrialist, I don’t care much for mining anyway. So, this little drama should not bother me.
But it does and I wondered why and I only now figured out, why. It has nothing to do with the unfairness of the fight. After all, I like shooting at unarmed ships. That’s part of EVE Online as much as its spreadsheet appeal. You don’t like it, find another game. In fact, I like that miners need to deploy organization, wits and some coordination to their game. Creativity is never bad. What really bothers me is something different. It is the “suicide” mechanic of the gankers that creates the appearance of an exploit rather than a game mechanic. Let me explain:
Science fiction stories – and EVE is noting but a big, interactive science fiction story – rely on altered parameters of the world. We have railguns, laser weapons and mining lasers as part of this environment and work with the tools that we are given to create our corner in the universe. Good science fiction is internally consistent. I.e. you can make up rules, new laws of physics etc but they have to mesh into a consistent and – somewhat – believable whole. Otherwise the immersion is broken and bad science fiction is riddled with that problem. For example, in EVE Online, Concord represents the police force that prevents and punishes crimes. Attacking others in “High security” space is a crime. So, someone attacks a miner, police ships come and destroy it – before the miner is destroyed hopefully but certainly afterwards. It is supposed to work as a preventative and a punitive mechanism at the same time. It just doesn’t. The punishment that is dished out is – in ISK terms - negligible for an alliance or even a motivated player. The “Police” is powerless as the perpetrator doesn’t have a high enough risk to contemplate.
This is not internally consistent with the environment we play in. In other words, the suicide tactics of the Brainless Ones is anathema to the laws of the world we created. I mean, how many thousands of non-capsuleers have died for the whims of The Mittani? Wouldn’t there me mass industrial actions among the crews? Wouldn’t Concord not understand the very basic mechanics and adapt to the strategies? We demand better AI from our NPC rats, where is the AI of Concord? I am really not a RP player – I have a ton of respect for those who make it work for them – but I rebel against game elements that are internally not consistent and break the immersion. And suicide ganking is one of them.
Now what? CCP wanted to make it difficult and expensive to commit crimes in high security space. Now it is dirt-easy and virtually free of consequence. The fact that it is called “High Security” and that a powerless police arrives eventually creates the illusion of safety that the miners desire. So, I put it to CCP, if they actually wanted a real “High Security” environment, they have to create one. This means, make the police much faster (park them on all belts), improve tanks on miners and so on. Is that desirable? I personally don’t thing so. But it would delineate the high-security from low. And, at the same time, make mining in low sec much more profitable than mining in high sec, same way as CCP basically killed PI in high sec.
The bottom line is, we do participate inside a RP environment whether we want to or not. We all adhere to the given rules of the universe but unlike the physical laws CCP is at the power to change the physical laws. The conflict we have currently between the miners and the gankers is caused by an invalid and outdated expectation of what the laws of the our universe are.