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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Concerning "Death Squads"

I was asked a question by Karn Prime in local last night and I didn't answer it. There was not a quick and simple answer. But It is something I've been mulling over since before Burn Jita. Here was the question.

[ 2012.05.10 03:23:24 ] Karn Prime > did you read about the Goon death squad?

Here is the answer that question really deserves. I need to quote something here. It is from the official CCP banning page found here.
An immediate permanent ban of an account may result if a player:
  • a. Organizes or participates in a corporation or group that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies.
Severe offences may result in an immediate ban without warning; however, warnings may be given for first time offenses, followed by account suspensions of varying degree and ultimately a permanent ban if a player:
  • a. Is abusive, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, ethnically or racially offensive, or threatening to another player or an official EVE Online representative.
  • b. Uses role-playing as an excuse for violating the guidelines regarding fair play with others.
  • c. Sends excessive e-mails, EVE-mails or petitions, petitions with false information or repeatedly petitions under the wrong category in an effort to circumvent the customer support queue. <snip>
  •   g. Engages in griefplay tactics which may include, but are not limited to, market/courier exploits.
I believe all those words I highlighted apply to Goonswarm. Their actions walk a very thin line. When they single out one individual they feel has slandered them, and perpetrate vigilante justice upon that person, they cross that line.

"But it's just like all the other things they're doing!" I can already hear some of you saying. No, it is not. They can run an event like Burn Jita because it is not aimed at one person. They can form a cartel and enforce its declarations because it is not aimed at one person. They can bankroll Hulkageddon and it is still not personal.

Sending a "death squad" whose only purpose is to ruin the game play of another person is personal. It is designed to cow the individual into not speaking their mind. It is designed to silence them through threat and intimidation.

Everyone has a basic right to speak their mind; the right to disagree. Threatening them to make them stop, whether "in game" or not, is a violation of that inalienable right. It goes beyond game at that point. It becomes malevolent  purpose: dark and wretched Gestapo-tactics. It is the worst of human nature given rein to express itself in the cruelest manner. It is that thing we fear will come for us in the night with torches lit because no one else cares. "But it's only a game," you say. True, but the emotions behind the action are the same - and just as vile. I truly hope I am preaching to the choir here...

I think the rules here are clear. The only thing that remains to be seen is if CCP will enforce them.

Fly careful.


  1. 99% sure your blog post just put you on a list for one, heh

    1. To be honest, this is one of the more rubbish Goon initiatives. A lot of what the Goons have brought to Eve has enriched the game enormously. But selecting people to drive out of the game forever?

      Have fun in 5 years time when no one plays who isn't a Goon. Have fun reading blogs when all of them just parrot what Mittens spergs at Ten Ton Hammer.

      Fortunately, Mabrick, I am able to help you in this instance. For the low low fee of 500m isk I am empowered to arrange a full pardon, lasting in perpetuity, that will protect you from this or any other Goon-arranged death squad.

    2. The good stuff the Goons have brought to the game has been by accident. Remember, their started goal is to ruin YOUR game. Of course, that's somewhat BS; their real goal is to have fun. However, the personality of many goons, and of the tone-setting leadership, is that of the schoolyard bully; the most fun is had when making somebody weaker than you feel powerless and sad.

      Good stories need villains; the Goons provide that in spades. What EVE lacks is a powerful hero that can really stand up to the Goons. Sure, there are other nullsec alliances that at least somewhat balance their power out in nullsec. However, it is only the game mechanics that limit the stuff they're increasingly doing in highsec, leaving highsec residents looking to CCP to protect them from Goons- which the Goons then interpret as tears, i.e. more victory phys for them.

      The game's story needs some sort of NRDS alliance that can proactively protect highsec from the Goons. Alas, here the game mechanics are in the Goons' favor, as CONCORD doesn't distinguish between a gank and a preemptive kill of a ganker. Given the changes coming to wardec mechanics, it will take a coalition of big and very rich alliances to maintain a wardec against the Goons and their allies. Still, it'd be nice to see a large group like that set themselves up as Goon foes to make it much more hazardous for Goons (and any other nullsec alliance that wants to get into highsec griefing) to move freely about highsec. That would make the game's emergent story more interesting than the current Lord-of-the-Flies-like story of the most children bullies laughing at those not organized enough to resist.

  2. Also, the rules you've outlined above are all about stopping people for being harassed in-game for out-of-game reasons.

    Quite literally, to stop "hate crimes" of a virtual nature.

    So they would apply, say, if the Goons decided they were going to gank all women, blacks, homosexuals, muslims (etc) - but not if they have a valid in-game reason for the actions that remains in the game.

  3. And this invalidates my point about vile behavior how? (Don't answer, it's a rhetorical question.) Also, item 'g' concerning griefplay tactics is not a hate-crime provision. We'll have to see how this plays out regardless. It may be just an empty threat designed to enhance the Goonswarm image. It does fit their game play style. If it is never acted upon there is no foul.

    1. The death squads have been active since Burn Jita.

      They're not an empty threat, they're currently happening.

    2. Also, on "griefplay" - you may want to read CCP's definition.

      "This should not be confused with standard conflict that might arise between two (or more) players, such as corporation wars. The EVE universe is a harsh universe largely driven by such conflict and notice must be taken of the fact that nonconsensual combat alone is not considered to be grief play"

  4. Yeah, your arguments aren't going to fly. I can come find you in game and kill you once for disagreeing with this post. It's a perfectly legal action in-game. My actions only become harassment if I start to make a nuisance of myself in the process. Killing you once doesn't qualify.

    Ditto with the Goon death squad. They can come find you and kill you without breaking the TOS. They can even do it multiple times if you invite it through your actions. One time, I shot the same guy 8 or 9 times in a row because he undocked from a 0.0 station I was part of a group that was camping. Doesn't mean I was griefing him or harassing him.

    1. My reading of this initiative is that the purpose isn't to gank people once but to drive selected players away from the game permanently.

  5. While I hate to defend Goonswarm (it makes me feel dirty), one could make the argument that posts on the EVE message boards are "in game", especially since we're talking about posts about in-game matters, and as such going after folks because of that isn't violating the in-game/out-of-game boundary.

    Goonswarm are still a bunch of sociopathic whatchamacallits, yes, but I am not sure the rules situation is as clear as that.

    Of course, if they agree with my argument here (and I'm not sure I agree with it myself), they're also hypocritical. They all cried foul because the Mitani got banned for an "out of game" comment (as they argued was the case with his famous comment at fanfest).


  6. I'm no Internet Spaceship lawyer (but I know a couple of guys who are), but I'm fairly sure the "grief play" section refers to the example that it cites; ie, exploits for which there is no current in-game remedy. Of course, you can huff and puff and whinge about what they're doing, but it won't do you the least bit of good. CCP isn't going to intervene because one group of players wardecs and hunts down another group of players, no matter the difference in their size.

  7. Honestly, I too doubt that CCP will sanction the Death Squads. The area is so gray and murky, filled with pit falls and snares, I don't really blame them. Making the decision as to what is game play and what is not isn't a decision I'd want to make if it were my business. My own blog is a case in point. Where does Mabrick end and I begin? That's a hard thing to discern for sure. As with any RL instances of harassment, nothing can be done until a complaint is made. If no complaint is made, there is no offense to investigate. Complaints are handled on a case-by-case basis. Most investigations will come to naught. That is about all CCP can do. They are in the business of making money, not setting moral standards. I still think it's vile behavior. Mabrick does too but it hasn't affected him yet. If is does, well, he's got plans. He can take care of himself.

  8. CCP wont sanction anything, nor will they do anything to stop it from happening. Its the sandbox. Death squads are the player created content called bounty hunters or mercenaries.

    There is no difference between a player putting a price on someones pod (as with current bounty hunting processes) compared to a player who puts a bounty on multiple killmails of a persons ship or pod, to be paid upon api verification of such kill.

    Yet more player created content, which is what CCP fully and 100% endorses.

    1. And if you become a target of being hunted down and killed, then so be it. Get some friends, defend yourself.

  9. At first killing someone ingame is not grief play. The anti-harassment laws are against attacking a PERSON. If I spam you from various alts and throw you insults, that's grief-play and probably illegal by country laws. Blowing up your pixels is considered "playing EVE"

    Also, every word about the Death Squad is an advertisement for them. YOU incite fear in people by talking about it. The Death Squad is a joke in itself, finding and killing someone who isn't a total idiot is extremely time-consuming and boring. The Goons are being Goons, they are happily gank randoms in Jita, but to camp a station for hours in the hope that the target MIGHT undock is definitely not something they would do.

    Also, they can be easily griefed. Get a totally tanked ship and stand in a 1.0 system announcing openly that you will be there. For a price of 70-80M you force them to spend 7-800M or leave in shame. Do it some times and they will give it up.

    1. "Also, every word about the Death Squad is an advertisement for them. YOU incite fear in people by talking about it. The Death Squad is a joke in itself, finding and killing someone who isn't a total idiot is extremely time-consuming and boring"

      It takes, oh, say about 5minutes. Locator agents are pretty awesome like that.

      "The Goons are being Goons, they are happily gank randoms in Jita, but to camp a station for hours in the hope that the target MIGHT undock is definitely not something they would do"

      Don't speak on authority of things you know nothing about. They ARE DOING this, and will keep on doing this. They've even announced it. People have even whined about it.

      "Also, they can be easily griefed. Get a totally tanked ship and stand in a 1.0 system announcing openly that you will be there. For a price of 70-80M you force them to spend 7-800M or leave in shame"

      Except this is completely silly. Firstly, they're wardeccing, so they can shoot legally. Second, no one is going to be "ashamed" at not shooting obvious bait.

    2. @khanh'rhh - I cannot incite fear in anyone and neither can the goons. Fear is self-induced. It arises from within a person and is wholly internalized to that person. You could try and induce fear in me. It will not work. I choose not to be afraid - well, at least not to let it rule my existence and I've had a lot of training in suppressing it. I suppose nothing sums it up quite so well as this:

      I must not fear.
      Fear is the mind-killer.
      Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
      I will face my fear.
      I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
      And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
      Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
      Only I will remain.

      (Thank you for the awesome opportunity to get out a famous Dune quote!)

  10. Welp, it's infamously happened to me, Krixtal Icefluxor.

    Just search the EVE-O forums.

    All I can say about the GM responses to any petitions is not anything you guys would like hearing at all.

    The only thing they will listen too is if more $800 a year account contributers STOP.

    1. If you were paying $800 per year to do high sec invention the Goons did you a favour.

  11. Against 20,000 +. Sure thing. You do it and we'll watch.


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