One of the few Eve bloggers on my RSS feed is a pirate by the name of Hallan Turrek, who writes for A Merry Life and a Short One. He recently posted an entry about E-honor entitled Giving In:
Honor isn’t something to be poked fun at. I see folks making jokes about the kinds of people that use real world principles in an online game. E-Honor they call it.
I don’t use real world principles in an online game, I use real world principles.
Hallan, do you also refuse to bluff in poker because you’re an honest person?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If CCP wanted to create a game in which formal ransoms and duels were possible, they would have codified it in the rules of Eve Online. Instead, they made a cold, hard sandbox where there is no single ultimate objective and a player can actualize himself in any way he wants. If you look at the original retail packaging for the game, you’ll see that one of the selling points is that Eve is a world where deceit and treachery is always a possibility on every level of player interaction.
I’m sick and tired of the artificial constructs that are the “1v1” and the “ransom” being held aloft as unwritten rules that should be followed by all, under pain of social ostracism. It’s no more valid than my demanding that all ninja salvagers should loot if they want to follow the One True Way, or declaring that it’s obvious that those who run missions are obviously cowards in real life. There’s a nugget of distaste on my part for both those cases, but they pay their subscriptions and play the game they want to play. Not only is it not my place to call for a codification of my preferences, but to imply that they are of a lower ethical or intellectual quality out-of-game because of their in-game persona would make me a real-life asshole.
Now, if a player wants to honor ransoms, and build their reputation and that of themselves to the point of being able to integrate the trust of victims to honor such ransoms into their business model, then I salute them. With no in-game rules to ensure their honesty, to have their reputation developed to the point that people just hand them money in exchange for some words in a chat window is quite an accomplishment.
THAT makes sense. Trust is earned, not granted by default. Such a business model works great for pirates like Hallan, but I exist in Eve almost exclusively for the purpose of tricking carebears into doing something foolish and then causing them to lose something they weren’t really wanting to risk. By the time I’ve landed in a mission and warp scrambled a PvE battleship, my hand has been played, and it’s highly unlikely that the victim will ever fall for my ruse again. In my case, why on earth would I do anything other than take the victim for as much as I possibly can?
What’s that? Because I’m supposed to be a good and honest person IRL? Well, if that’s the standard, would a truly honorable person trap and kill a battleship wandering into lowsec to run a mission or do some ratting? It’s an unfair question, right? I mean, the victim of the pirate should have known the risks before he ventured into low/nullsec.
But let’s keep the question in play. If you think it’s OK for you to victimize the ignorant or careless, and your in-game standards are identical to your out-of-game standards, then you certainly wouldn’t have any moral obligation to return a purse left under a seat in your subway car, right?
My point here is pretty obvious. You can poo-poo the “it’s just a game” line, but it really is just. a. game. The rules are different because everyone either knows or should know coming into it that because their character and assets exist only as bits on a server in Iceland, anything that someone else does to those bits within the formal Terms of Service is fair game. You can either accept that reality and come play in the sandbox, or go to another game where people are mandated by the rules of the game to be nice to the folks they’re hacking to death.
I respect that some folks play differently. That’s just not me, and I hope we can see more respect for my kind of mindset in the future.
I honor ransoms. I honor duels. I do what I say I’m going to do. If I don’t, I can’t pretend it’s just my character doing it, because I know better.
In the first line, you claim to respect those who don’t adhere to your arbitrary in-game morality standard. In the next line, you imply that the ethics of the avatar are inseparable from those of the player. That doesn’t sound much like respect to me, it sounds like an attempt to make yourself feel better about your judgmental attitude and double-standard.
You might not agree, but leave me alone about it.
Sorry, but those who live in glass houses (blogs) shouldn’t throw stones (moral judgements) and expect to escape unscathed.
Here’s a tip that actually does apply equally well in-game and out-of-game: When someone points out a double standard in your code of ethics, it’s usually a good idea to stop making moral judgements until you have that sorted out.