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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Bump in the Night

Since I gave you short shrift on Monday, I figure I need to offer up something more meaty for this post. What can be more meaty than discussing my views on miner bumping? This has especially been playing on my mind since Corelin of The Fancy Hats paid me a compliment while giving us his take of the situation.

To sum up the issue, back in late November CCP decreed constantly bumping another ship is emergent game play and not grief play. You can read all about it from CCP Falcon at this forum link. There are 30 pages of locked comments. Since that decree, bumping has gotten some press. I honestly hadn't thought it was really that much press, but it seems to have gotten into the current CSM campaign cycle. Besides, what do I know about the goings on of high-sec now I've got my head stuck in a wormhole?

Corelin was right in one regard though. If someone bumped me enough to piss me off, I'd take matters into my own hands. I won't say they'd rue the day they crossed me, but I certainly know there are ways to hand it back to them in spades. But that's me. That's nearly five years of getting accustomed to this game and learning how it works. I'm comfortable with those thought processes now. But, I'm not about to tell other carebears that's how they have to play.

And isn't that really the issue here? It's not about bumping. It's not about some players being so fail at real PvP they have to extort ISK from PvE players. It's not even really about bullies. This is about forcing people to play the game in a way with which they are uncomfortable.

Die hard PvP players are tremendously afraid the carebear mentality will nerf their game, turning it into something they no longer enjoy. Carebears are tremendously afraid they will have to PvP or quit. It's two diametrically apposed alignments if you will, and CCP is caught squarely in the middle.

As in all things EVE, no matter which side CCP appears to favor, the other side becomes even more afraid and the situation escalates. I'd like to think EVE Online players are better than that, but we are just a mob of people. Mobs are panicky blobs with no real intelligence other than survive or die instincts. So when confronted with our worst fears, we react accordingly. At some point, the problem resolves itself when one side or the other is eliminated. That is not an optimal solution BTW.

So what does this have to with miner bumping? That miner you are bumping and extracting tears from is another player who is just trying to have fun in his or her own way. Your actions prevent that. They will determine whether that person continues to play EVE Online or leaves for another game. Chances are, if they are young enough in EVE terms, they will leave.

And that my friends, is a real problem. I've pointed this out before. It hurts all of us when we lose players - new or old. It hurts CCP by lowering their revenue stream. It hurts current players because it limits future expansion: less revenue equals lower headcount which means fewer developers. CCP may claim that does not affect the quality of their product but that's just PR wishful thinking. I live and work in a real world. I know better. You should too.

As rational human beings, I'd hope all of us realize that our actions online aren't just about us. What we do affects our virtual world tremendously. That's the essence of emergent game play. It's not about how you do things. It's about your actions affecting the game. It's unimportant how The Mittani took down BOB. It's only important BOB went down, Goonswarm stepped into the power vacuum, the Technetium Cartel arose and TEST found an incubator to survive in long enough to thrive. Null-sec as it is today - for good or for bad - would not exist if these things did not happen. They happened because of what The Mittani did, not because of how he did it.

Was that good for EVE Online? With the luxury of 20/20 hind sight, I think it probably was. The net growth out weighed the losses from BOB rage quits. I'm sure a few of those happened during that collapse. Here's a Mabrick secret. One of the things about EVE Online that caught my attention back then was this exact event. It was better marketing than I'd ever seen CCP come up with. But at the time, had I been a player, I think I would have feared for the very game itself.

I can't tell you miner bumping will be the end of EVE Online. That notion is frankly unwarranted. I also can't predict whether it could be its salvation. When BOB went down, how many of you bitter vets out there foresaw null-sec as it is today? I'd be tempted to call you a liar if you said you had.

So back to miner bumping. About the only thing I believe all of us can accept is this: when you treat people poorly they will leave. When it goes from being a game to being personal, we are all hurt. The game suffers. If the suffering covers a large enough scope, we run the risk of loosing the thing we cherish most.

Think of that when you play this most adult of all MMOs. Consider what your actions are doing to the other person and by extension the game you love. You can bump me and I'll stick around. Bump someone who is only three months old and struggling, and you'll get the other response. A response that harms you more than them. The decision is yours; choose wisely.

Fly Careful


  1. No, miner bumping won't end EVE. The mentality behind miner-bumping might.

    Yet these are players trying desperately to matter in the game universe. If the learning curve for genuine PvP really is so steep that they feel this is all they can contribute, that's a hole in the game that needs patching.

  2. Funny thing: About half of the miners I bump have already stopped playing this game - they were completely AFK, only coming back when their Ice hold should be full. If they leave, Eve will be better off.

    1. Better for who? You? CCP? of the two I care by far the least for you... or, are you gonna pay the salaries of the Devs CCP will have to drop as you grief players out of the game to "improve" it...? Yea... I doubt that.

  3. Your arguments will be lost on the bumpers because they will say they are bumping AFKers and bots, and those types have no place in the game and have no opinions. I would agree with the sentiment. However, I have seen them continually bump and gank people even while having a conversation with them.

    I will disagree a bit with you though. As I primarily mine, I don't have a problem fighting back. The problem is I have to change my entire focus to fighting and not to whatever else I prefer to do. Every suggestion for how to fight back entails me changing my barges/exhumers into combat ships. The gankers and pvpers get to play the game they want. I really want bounties and mercenaries to work. James 315 and co. extorts 10M from people that I would gladly put 1000 times that much into killing him and his group over and over. Look at how they sidestep wardecs and bounties. Read Gevlon's latest about how they call all the shots. Read Ripard's post about who holds all the cards in this situation. Again, I KNOW I can remove all the mining enhancements from my ships and turn it into a battletank.

    I want to have a max efficiency exhumer that I can actually defend with a combat fleet, instead of providing a show that will hopefully have gankers pick easier prey. It's the frustration of having to play their game in order to have the small chance to fight back that drives people away.

    1. Refering to the goblin doesnt help you're argument. If you're serious about the bounties thing, you need to take a look at what kind of ships they are bumpers are flying. Then hire someone to suicide gank them (since they are adept at avoid war decs, an utterly useless, fucked up mechanic for another rant) and compensate those pilots for the loss of the gank ships and sec standing.

      You're right in that the bumpers are altering the play style of miners and "carebears". But CCP wont care until it starts affecting their bottom line. If you want to fix something yourself, find a new location to mine from, change your playstyle, or quit. Hell, you could go mine in null sec in relative safety.

      EVE is unique in that there are consequences to everything you do, if you want to do something and the other guy wont let you, avoid him, give him a bloody nose, or go back to the themeparks.


    2. I agree. Goblin is mostly an idiot whenever he talks about motivations or gameplay mechanics. But he did talk true about how he avoids the vultures that hunt him when he tries to gank miners. People wardec the bumping corps to fight back only to have them dissolve the corp and reform it immediately even with the same name, which destroys the wardec but still takes the cost. This group has actually never affected me. I would certainly just move to a new system until they move on. I actually liked that they were "killing bots" and looked to support them. I moved a few exhumers to their HQ system of Halaima to see how they operate. After seeing how they were not just killing bots but belittling, bullying and extorting people and then posting the tears on their blog, I thought they would be better off dead...repeatedly. The mechanisms for making that happen just suck.

      And yes I do agree that it is much, much, much safer and profitable to mine in nullsec. I did it for years. I will move back when I tire of Guild Wars 2, but I still would like to give goblin and james and new order and those like them some of the pvp they claim to want...just not me doing it myself but using the bounty/mercenary/wardec system if they worked right.

  4. Eve is a zero sum game. There is a certain amount of reward available to all miners and when one of them is bumped the rest all make more money.

    Goons very much play on this and it's an element in their high sec griefing strategy. Many systems in Deklein are at Industry 3 or higher which means a LOT of mining going on in Goonspace. The famous ice interdiction interdicted the ice that spawns in Goonspace.

    Bumping is not just dickery it is economic warfare. As such it seems very viable for a militaristic sandbox game.

    Also anyone who doesn't like it can simply use a Venture. Almost as good and really hard to bump if orbiting the roid it's mining.

    1. PvP is a negative-sum-game: the ship that gets blown up is totally lost with only *some* of the fittings/cargo dropping. If it were zero-sum, the minerals lost in the hull could be recovered by the victor.

      Procurers used to sell for 3-4M before the buff, now they're 7.5-8M.
      Retrievers used to sell for 6-7M before the buff, now they're around 30M.

      Corestwo, one of the larger Goon builders, said he made about 5000 barges before the buff, and about 10k of the T1 logi cruisers before their buff. I built less than 20 retrievers before the buff. James 315 used to be a Goon.

      My suspicion is that the "bumping" and miner ganking is to deplete the pre-buff stockpiles of barges by destroying them.

  5. Bumping should cause damage, damage = aggression, moar fights in high-sec. CCP could do some sort of exception for station undocks, but any bump anywhere else would cause some small amount of damage. Suspect flags go up, miners can defend themselves.

    1. I really want something like this...bumping requires you ship to ramming speed, thus raising a flag. The whole intent is that the bumpers and gankers would have to flag up somehow and become valid targets. Negative security gankers at least face this and adapt. I bet the bumping would end if miners could fight back.

    2. That's much the same argument which put criminal flags on mission loot thieves back in 2005. That didn't turn out too well for the mission runners though :)

  6. I once suggested this on the EVE-O forums:

    Would CCP change their mind about bumping if someone put up ad cans in Uedama and Niarja that said "You must pay a 50mil isk toll or we'll bump you forever." Then actually did the bumping. Freighter traffic would come to an immediate standstill and the entire EVE economy would feel it. Whatever actions someone like yourself thinks they're capable of, I know for a fact that you wouldn't be able to stop me. Sooner or later you'll run out of ISK trying to suicide gank me. And good luck trying to counter bump. If the Goons did something like this, well, they COULD do something like this, couldn't they?

  7. I cannot wait till 2 years from now when the new Space MMORPGs come out....and the Exodus will commence. More than likely they will not allow the "emergent" gameplay that EVE does by not allowing harassment and extortion.

    EVE will die, and rather quickly.

    What has always gotten me is that all these supposed "Elite PVP'ers" aren't fighting at all. 95% of them are the worst Carebears in Null as well as being completely lost on the entire concept of building a playerbase. What I'd love to see is a list of definite connections between Alts and Mains so that if you get ganked, you can see ALL of the players on the guys account.

    Most of these guys would whine just as much if their victims had access to that information. Its so hilariously one-sided that CCP need to come in with big-dicks-a-swingin and lay down some serious ass rules. Highsec should be the "safer" island just like the Mangroves are the place where all the baby sharks grow up. Keep fucking with it, and the newbs will have no place to learn at their own pace...and they'll quit.

    1. I think CCP is aware of the problem. They know, a reasonable amout of their playerbase will switch over to said other Internet Spaceship game, if only to give it a try.
      The only solution on CCPs side is to attract the players which will most likely find pleasure in griefing, emergent gameplay and the like, so these hardcore players won't leave or come back soon after to EVE.
      CCP will force Dust 514 to be the companys No.1 product, with all the support it needs, leaving EVE and its then maginalized playerbase as the niche game it ever was.

  8. As I see it, as an industrialist, high sec minig is almost risk free(remove the gankers and bumpers from the equation and it becomes completly risk free). Furthermore the ammount of roids (yeah I know only for the low end minerals) in high sec is tredemous. Guess which mireals goes in incredible ammounts into a capital constructions .. yup exactly those.
    With perfect skills and maxed Rorqual support a 22 Hulk fleet can drill enough veldspar to supply the build of a Moros in an hour. Or one AFK Hulk in a high sec with Oraca bonuses gets that in a bit more than a day.
    While in the first case I agree, yup that is ok, fleet, 21 toons, all maxed skills, they need to strip several belts, maybe systems. On the other hand the second option is just plain outrageous.
    In my opinion, all links should support in stepings based on fleet member count, not full for a two member team.

    Harassment of simple miners, and players while could be validated (there are plenty out there in the different forum threads already.
    Have I ever killed a suspicious ship (botter, afk miner etc) ? Hell yes. I want to protect my precious EVE from them as well. But those huntings were based on surveilance. Once we saw that someone is suspicious on AFK ISK grinding for days, we served our own justice. Was that bullying ? Maybe, you could say we have no mandate to act as a game police.

    Just a few questions for this topic :
    How come that where the four empires live and prosper so much resource are left alone, free for the taking without taxes ? Don't they need those resources to feed their armadas or CONCORD ?
    Why there are no Empire owned "mines" where you can go with your minig barge/exhumer and do some work for the empire. Less risk, less profit. (Somthing like the miner missions)
    Couldn't be something like the RL Fishing rules be applied to High sec mining ? Controlled roid ammount per toon, "seasonal" bans ?

  9. While I agree with what your saying about the new guys I think in many ways EVE is at least a little a 'trial by fire' and most of the interesting stories from EVE players usually have adversity that is overcome and they become stronger for it - so I think that there needs to be some better balance.

    Now for me the question that seems to be unasked is WHY do players mine AFK?

    Is it because new players simply can't afford ships because of the changes in economy or mission rewards not scaling with cost of living?

    Is it because missions or EVE combat is too complicated for new players so they look for an easier option?

    Is it because they feel that they can earn ISK while not playing the game and that style of play is encouraged and should be protected?

    Personally I feel that if you feel that any game needs to be played AFK then its not really a game at all. You play a game to be entertained or at least have some passing interest in what your doing. Yes AFK for a few mins is fine but I think that anyone who feels that their badly tanked indy ship setup with a mining laser setup in a belt to mine for 8hrs a day is 'acceptable gameplay' need their head examined.

    I think the problem is that a ganker generally won't know (or care) for the difference between a noob or a AFKer / bot - one of those clearly needs to get ganked while the other one doesn't

    Should we change mining so that it can't be done AFK and require some or minimal input to make it more interesring & rewarding to those who mine 'at keyboard'?

    But yeah - if you mine AFK or use bots and get ganked then you've got no right to complain because either you're running a bot and most likely got more money than sense and all your doing it bitching about a slight dent in your profits or your stupid enough to think that going AFK in a game like EVE and a poorly tanked, and easily destroyed ship is a good idea and someone took advantage of your stupidity.

  10. "Think of that when you play this most adult of all MMOs. Consider what your actions are doing to the other person and by extension the game you love."

    Alright, let's get all philosophical on this then :D

    I've dedicated the vast majority of my time in EVE to being mean to other people in high-sec. I steal their stuff and if they're angry enough to shoot me, I asplode their ships. I'm not above bringing a tremendous amount of excess firepower and remote repairs to bear on a hapless PVE-fit target.

    I'm sure some people have quit EVE over this type of asshattery, possibly even due to my personal actions.

    I'm cool with that.

    I firmly believe that EVE is rickety, unappealing and thoroughly mediocre game. The only thing that makes it shine (and boy does it shine!) is that there is danger lurking around every corner. There are nasty people in EVE doing terrible things to each other and taking cruel advantage of a significant slice of the playerbase that is naive to such things.

    It is the cut-throat criminality, the vastly unfair ambushes and the blatant extortion of the weak that keeps this old game afloat. It is the twisted siren's call which keeps people trickling in at a steady rate. I'm part of that, however small. I am emergent gameplay. I am content. I am EVE.

  11. So, in other words, the survival of EVE depends on there being a significant proportion of the playerbase that is ignorant of the nature of the game? That sounds awfully convenient. Following your argument, then, it is in fact the rickety, unappealing and thoroughly mediocre "game" (by which I assume you meant PVE--the game is, by design, PVP) that keeps the game afloat, because without it you wouldn't be able to play the minigame that keeps you around against the people who enjoy that content. There are people who enjoy it, whatever you or I believe about it, and however firm your belief is.

    Now, I agree that EVE is characterized by cut-throat criminality, vastly unfair ambushes and blatant extortion, though not exclusively. Here's my question: Does that have be the player's attitude to other players (as implicit in "the weak") or can you blow someone's failfit Rupture up and then take a few minutes to tell them what they don't know about how to survive in EVE? The NPE doesn't tell new players anything about safe spots or D-scan, and the criminal flagging system only recently became somewhat comprehensible, but it's not explained anywhere either. It gives them flagrantly bad instructions about fitting. So "the weak" are "weak" because they get spit out into the game that way.

    I ask because it was a sporting attitude after a fight--which, believe me, was [i]not[/i] a fair fight, even before the other side dropped a Bhaalgorn on our mostly T1 fleet--that got me really interested in PVP for the first time. The times I've been ganked merely reinforced the meme, prevalent through highsec carebear culture, that PVPers are just sad little boys; that's the direct parallel to your referring to them as "the weak," by the way. Now, I know that's not true, but appearances count.

    The tl;dr question, I suppose, is: do you want to bring more people into the game of EVE that you consider more robust, or do you want a large portion of the playerbase to remain ignorant and scared so that you can get them to ragequit? If the latter, then you actually believe that EVE should remain rickety, unappealing and thoroughly mediocre so that the Elect, certainly including you, have cattle to feed on. If the former, you can help EVE grow without compromising its nature as a cutthroat PVP game.


Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.