Monday, May 14

Griefing, Tears, PvP and accepting loss in general

If you spend 2 weeks doing little else then blowing up miners, you wills sooner or later encounter some anger, rage and frustration or a mix of these, commonly and frankly quite poorly all dumped on to a big pile that most of EVE calls "Tears". But what causes "Tears" and why do people 'give them'?

From experience I have learned that if you generalise a little there's three distinct types of responses you tend to get from people when you relief them of their assets against their will.

The Stoics; The silent ones you explode their Hulk with a faction booster, pod them for good measure and they take it on the chin, no angry mails, no harsh words in local. At best you'll see a notification that you've been set to terrible standings. They are easily the largest group about 85-90% of all people fall into this category (yes "Tears" are a lot more rare then some griefers would have you believe).

The Upbeats; The ones that take it in good cheer, they compliment you on your excellent gank with no sarcasm in their tone, sometimes inquire how you pulled it off (I always explain when asked) and generally go on their merry way. These are easily the rarest of victims however, say 1% or so.

The Ragers; These are the ones you always hear about, they give a negative response, sometimes get really angry, sometimes they're just frustrated some go as far as stalking you in game for days after the event took place (yes really). They're the remaining 10-15% of victims.

Now the Ragers however need some further subdivision. As they come in shapes and sizes but their general responses become familiar to you over time.

The Potty Mouth; They will call you names in local or in mails, nasty names, they will make threats etc. They're really quite boring, impotent rage is what it is, they bark but never bite. These come in shapes and sizes form mildly abusive to making real life threats against you. They always accuse you of being 12 however.

The J'accuse!; You're only ganking me because you're terrible and afraid to go into lowsec and/or nullsec! You're bad and afraid of real PvP! This one is very, very common. It's based on the miss conception that somehow PvP and ganking are mutually exclusive and that if you do one you don't do the other, this is of course false.

The Posturer; This is only my mining alt! Me and my big alliance full of baddies are going to come and get you! I only ever reply to this in one way; "Bring it" this category of rager just puzzles me, you're threatening a PvP'er with PvP...? But I enjoy PvP... So not sure how that's a threat exactly... Also they never actually come and get you.

The Aggrieved Bear; How dare you force PvP on me in hisec! It's an outrage! CCP should buff CONCORD/Faction POPO not allow -10.0's in hisec at all and probably ban you, people like you make people quit and one day CCP will stop you! The list goes on. Basically these people walked into a PvP game expecting they can avoid PvP and then when they find they can't they get angry and refuse to adapt or even consider they might be wrong. Some of these are remarkably old players too and some of these can be "salvaged", which I'll get to in a bit.

The Avenger; These are the fun ones, they camp your undock, they stalk you in game for days, follow you around advertising your ill intends in local. I tip my hat to them, for they amuse me without end, despite being a little creepy sometimes. And sometimes they succeed and manage to get even. These people 'get' EVE after a fashion.

But why are you naming all these people and putting them in neat little boxes Kaeda? Well after some local banter yesterday night I found myself wondering what it is that sets the minority of Ragers apart form the Stoics and the Upbeats.
And the only thing I really could come up with is that the Stoics and Upbeats have learned the most vital thing you can ever learn in EVE; They accept losses. And the Ragers haven't learned this, maybe never will.

Why does that matter? Well first I need to explain that I personally do not think that people who 'provide tears' are weak or in some way inferior to other people that play EVE.
I get frustrated too sometimes, it's only natural and quite understandable when a loss is incurred suddenly, unexpected and with nothing you can do about it. Feeling powerless and or helpless is not a nice feeling at all. The entire concept of 'lol tears' is basically just a sad form machismo of the same ilk that deems all negative emotions to be somehow a sign of weakness, if you actually  really believe that to be true I feel sorry for you and you can stop reading now!
Mind you people that 'give tears' can be very funny and highly entertaining, but I understand that they're angry/frustrated and why.
But I'm not doing it for the tears, I get my rush from racing CONCORD and the preparation work going into a good (successful) gank and if at all possible the profit and sometimes to meta-game a little like with the Pointy Sticks gank I wrote about. Tears are always just a side effect for me, they're not a goal an sich.

There's actually only one brand of 'tears'  that I really have no sympathy for and that's funnily enough griefer tears. If you can't take punches you shouldn't throw any, it's really that simple. With the number of people I've ganked and griefed in EVE over the years I fully expect it to one day bite me in the ass. Somebody sooner or later is going to come and extract some sweet sweet revenge on me. I plan to take it like a bauss when that does inevitably indeed happen.

Accepting Loss

Which is what I really wanted to write about despite that entire wall of text I just made you read through!  Learning to accept losses is a game changer in EVE, the game almost literally becomes a different one once you learn it. Some players never have to learn it, some players learn it early on in their EVE career some players never manage to learn it at all.

Now loss in EVE is different then it is in other MMO's because it's actually represents some real in game economic loss or if you PLEX to fund your stuff in actual real money. And as such it can be a painful lesson to learn. Getting your fully blinged out Nightmare ganked from under you in 1.0 space when you thought you were 'safe' is painful and not very fun. Neither is losing your shiny Cynabal when you're out soloing to a gate camp with 3 Falcons and 2 Rapiers and insta locking long range scram Lachesis.
The only difference is that the Cynabal pilot probably knew he was going to loose his ship sooner or later and had made peace with this idea before he undocked it. The Nightmare pilot probably did not. If I would be said Cynabal pilot I'll probaly give a sarcastic 'gf' in local and maybe remark upon it in a killmail comment to get it out of my system (if the campers want to call that 'tears' that's fine it doesn't bother me), and then I'd move on and grab a new ship.
If I was said Nightmare pilot I'd go and figure out how exactly the gankers pulled it off (quite likely I'd outright ask them) and then do what ever I can to minimize the risk of it happening again. But I don't RAGE.

Both pilots however have the choice to either accept their loss or to dwell on it, the Ragers do the latter. And while it's not my place to tell people how they should play a game I sincerely believe that the overall enjoyment of EVE is increased spectacularly if you don't dwell on your losses overly much.

I'm not just saying that I've seen it happen a fair few times.

A good in game friend of mine somebody who I've since gone on to meet in Iceland last fanfest was when I met him in game in early 2010 a raving carebear (and had been since he started playing 2004). Someone who had never fired a shot in anger at anybody and got quite upset by griefers. Then he started flying piracy Rifters with me on an alt, got some kills, lost some ships and eventually even started doing some loot ninja'ing (and he got kills doing it) and he got over the entire loss thing. He learned to accept losses and I guarantee you his enjoyment of EVE improved spectacularly. The once piracy Rifter alt now flies around in the Minmater militia and he PvPs to this day. And yes he still does industry and and invention and plenty of carebear stuff too.
Testament to the change is that he lost a couple of itty's that he may have packed a little to much value in, in 2009 this would have upset him, now he just shrugs and moves on, it annoys him but it sure as hell doesn't ruin his enjoyment of EVE. Despite me giving him endless ridicule over it ;-)
He has also since gone on to infect his entire corporation with this attitude. He's a pretty swell guy. And still a carebear but with some very serious claws now.

Another real life friend who has actually been playing EVE longer then me as well originally came to EVE wanting to just be a trade mogul and get space rich, he often frowned upon this entire PvP thing and costly losses didn't seem like a good way to get rich (he's quite right they aren't). But as such things go you get tainted by the company you keep, so now he's in Agony Unleashed exploding all the things and loves to 'solo'. He still frowns upon griefing though admittedly!

But what I am trying to illustrate, quite poorly, is that if you learn to accept that EVE is game that comes with PvP (and thus losses) instead of putting your heels in the sand and fighting this notion to your last breath and igniting in furious rage when you eventually loose something anyway you might find that your enjoyment of EVE as a whole increases a whole lot.

Learning to accept loss is the key to EVE happiness.


  1. It's quite scary and awesome that you have taken your ganking to such perfection that you can be scientific about it.

    "...also since gone on to infect his entire corporation with this attitude."
    No. I still cry, on the inside.

  2. Couldn't agree more man, I lose shit all the time, especially expensive industrials packed with goodies. I get annoyed but only really at my own stupidity. I chalk another lesson up on the board and get on with it.

    I think i may have got a little to cavalier recently tho. I've got the point where i have enough disposable income to fly shiny ships and lose em regularly. I often engage in stupid situations and my killboard efficiency is getting pretty lame. But you know what its just a game, I have more fun jumping into silly situations and dying in fire than only engaging with a blob or with 99% success rate and keeping a "oh yea look at my supper l33t killboard stats, i'm no.1" attitude.

    Good article man!

  3. One of the great things about suicide ganking is that it teaches you that ships are disposable tools. Don't get attached to them, don't 'pimp them out' - fit them, use them and lose them.

  4. Great article, Kaeda.

    I've learned to accept loss. (Though I've lost enough that unlike many I have no interest in going out and SEEKING loss.) I still need to learn to accept just how much CCP sucks, though.

  5. Great post. The first thing I tell people when they start pvping is learn to lose. Still bugs me that some of the people in my alliance rage about losses and the number of ships lost

  6. Another post and comments about how all EVE players need to conform to your playstyle in order to have fun. Accepting losses doesn't make anything more fun for me. I lost 2.5b in implants. I was very unhappy about it. I spent 5b in merc contracts to hunt that ganker until they quit playing. That kind of reprisal isn't possible if I just accepted my loss and moved on.

    The simple fact is PvPers NEED all of those types of bears. Would EVE be nearly as fun if everyone flew rifters and were all looking for a fight? Be honest...the variety of targets is fun and exciting. Let people get attached to the ships, pimp them out, and get angry at losing them. Isn't it more exciting to think you might gank my hulk and I return the favor a few dozen times over?